Traverse City: There is never a dull moment in Cherry Town. Whether you feel like braving the crowds of downtown, or indulging in some relaxing alone time, Traverse City is the perfect place to enjoy your summer. With activities which range from visiting Horse Shows By the Bay to grabbing a bite to eat in the hip Warehouse District, we've compiled a universally ideal guide to TC in July.
Horse Shows By the Bay
Just outside of Traverse City some of the world's greatest athletes are convening for a multi-week competition of Olympic caliber. Years of training, near constant practice, and careful conditioning have led to this level of perfection. The only difference between this Traverse City area event and the London Olympics? These competitors all have four legs and long swishy tails.
We are talking, of course, about the Horse Shows By The Bay Equestrian Festival. The Festival runs throughout the summer at the Flintfields Horse Park, and features thousands of the nation's best horses; all competing in show jumping, dressage, equitation and hunt-style events. Every weekend that competition is in session, Horseshows By The Bay opens it doors to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can enjoy events in five simultaneously used competition arenas, vendors, and picnic-style eating. This upcoming weekend, July 14 and 15, watch several show jumping events, including the Grand Traverse Bay Grand Prix from 2-5 p.m.
Check out the Horseshows By The Bay website to learn more about the Equestrian Festival and get a full schedule of summer weekend events!
Check out the Village Farmers Market
Grab your shopping basket and go to the Village Farmers Market at the Grand Traverse Commons. This laid back open air market is perfect for buying, sampling and looking at the huge variety of local and farm fresh eggs, milk, veggies, fruit, cheese, fish, meats, homemade bread, pasta, syrup and much more. Enjoy live music while you shop and afterwards play bocce ball on the courts right next to the market!
This market is held during the warmer months from 2-6 pm on Mondays! For more information click here.
Hit the TART Trail
Summer is the time to get outside and be active, soaking up sunshine-filled memories to get you through the winter. Luckily for those of us in Northern Michigan, we have countless opportunities to do just that. One of the best ways to stretch your legs and enjoy summer is located right in Traverse City: the TART Trail. The TART Trail is 10.5 miles of paved trail running from one end of Traverse City to another. While we would like to say that running 10.5 miles is a walk in the park, we know that it's more plausible to run part of the TART Trail. Therefore, we'd recommend running along the Parkway, which offers views of both East and West Bay. Start near the Holiday Inn on East Front, and run (or walk) towards downtown Traverse City. After your outing take a refreshing dip in West Bay and rejuvenate with lunch at Xylo in the Warehouse District.
Eat at Xylo!
With their motto "we only cook food we like to eat," Xylo Bistro Cafe is one of those places that you can go into with an expectation of an excellent meal. When you leave your expectations are always handedly blown out of the water. Needless to say we love Xylo. The food is absolutely divine (more than once when we were downstate at school we would torture ourselves on their Facebook page, drooling over tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons, pictures of their dessert case and the latest special.) The Xylo environment is open with lots of local art on the wall, so there is never a dull minute! The wait staff is very friendly, accommodating and pleasant to be around. They are open for lunch and dinner and have daily specials that are delicious (the Tom Gai is a must try!)
To find Xylo head over to the Warehouse District. It is located off of Garland Street right next to Inside Out Gallery in the same building that Right Brain Brewery used to be. With the parking lot pretty full every day because of Cherry Festival, it might be a little jaunt from your car but if you are downtown or at the Open Space walk over and find them!
Drive to the Traverse City Golf Center
For beginning and novice golfers alike, the Traverse City Golf Center offers a variety of golfing assistance, it just depends on what you are looking for! From PGA instruction to a fully equipped shop, indoor simulators and an indoor driving range to the 17-acre outdoor range it is the perfect place to practice and improve your game! For more information go to their website or call them at (231) 947-1185
Get authentic dishes at Taqueria T.C. Latino!
After you have hit so many excellent drives that you are exhausted head over to one of Traverse City's latest Mexican restaurants, Taqueria T.C. Latino. Located a little over a mile away on the corner of Zimmerman and Silver Lake Rd, this restaurant is a perfect place to grab food to go or eat in! The food is freshly made and very authentic. We recommend the chicken tacos with rice and beans!
Take in the DTE Energy Cherry Royale Parade
To end your Cherry Festival week on an exciting note make sure to watch the grand finale parade, the DTE Energy Cherry Royale Parade this Saturday starting at 11:15 am. Snag a spot early (seriously, like hours before the parade starts) and watch this 86th annual Traverse City tradition float on by. Say hi to the Cherry Queen (this is your perfect opportunity to use your royal wave), dance along with the marching bands and pick out your favorite float!
Lunch at Maxbauer's
During a little lull in the parade (and if you are close to Union Street) we recommend grabbing a bratwurst or hot dog in front of Maxbauer Specialty Meat Market, a Traverse City tradition since 1913. Each year during the parade they have an outdoor stand in front of their Union Street store where they sell chips, water, pop and of course bratwurst and hot dogs.
Tapas Tours at Chateau Chantal
Northern Michigan is famous for its irresistible vintages and gourmet grub. In fact, Traverse City was recently named a top "foodie haven" by Liveability. If you're feeling the urge to become part of this epicurean scene, head out to Traverse City's Old Mission Peninsula for Chateau Chantal's daily Tapas Tours. The Chateau Chantal Tapas Tours consist of a tour of the vineyard and winery, lead by an experienced guide, who will explain the winemaking process from vine to bottle. Later, participants will return to the Chateau to enjoy tapas-style small plates paired with Chantal wines.
Tours are run daily, beginning at 12:30 p.m. and last for two hours. Groups are kept small at no more than 25 guests, and reservations are required at least one day in advance. Call the Chateau at 1.800.969.4009 or book online for reservations. Guests are encourages to bring an eager palate, an inquisitive mind, and a light jacket as the tours venture in to the cool wine cellar.
Center yourself at the Neahtawanta Inn
Though we all love the crazy high-speed of summertime, occasionally everyone needs to take some time to center themselves. The Neahtawanta Inn on Traverse City's Old Mission Peninsula is the perfect place to regain some inner peace before taking on the last part of summer in full force!
Originally built as a summer cottage in the late 1800's, the Neahtawanta Inn still retains vintage charm with features like the 1940's Garland Double Oven, which has a six burner stove with a grill top–perfect for flipping pancakes–and in the classically appointed rooms. The Inn is currently run by Sally Van Vleck and her husband Bob Russell.
As longtime environmental/peace activists Sally and Bob run the Inn based on a philosophy of conservation, respect for the Earth and sustainable living. A stay at the Neahtawanta promises amazing views of the water, morning yoga classes led by Sally, and delicious organic/local breakfasts.