Autumn road trip around Traverse City continues…

I think yesterday I must have witnessed all 4 seasons in a single day here in Traverse City. “Welcome to Michigan” one follower on Twitter said. I woke up to snow flurries that morning, and by the evening, I saw an incredibly dramatic sunset reminiscent of summer. I had planned on exploring Sleeping Bear Dunes, but given the weather, I decided to make a bit of a pivot in my plans.

Traverse City Sunset by

I spent most of the day at the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, where I took a tour of this fascinating former asylum. Grand Traverse Commons is now an incredible multi-use facility with housing, restaurants, a winery and other activities. The compound has not been fully renovated yet, but it’s getting close. After my tour, I stopped by Left Foot Charley Winery for a tasting, before going next door to Spanglish for lunch.

Village at Grand Traverse by

I then did a bit of a beer tasting tour, hitting some of the best rated breweries in town:

The next day the sun was out, it was a glorious day! After getting breakfast and checking out of the Grand Traverse Resort, I headed toward Sleeping Bear Dunes.  Along the way I stopped by Jacob’s Farm for some fresh cider and to walk through their corn maze. I also stopped by a roadside fruit stand to pick up a few snacks for my afternoon drive around Pierce Stocking and Sleeping Bear.

I was so glad that I had re-arranged my plans and waited to come to Sleeping Bear today. The weather could not have been better, it was a picture perfect autumn day. I did two loops around Pierce Stocking, stopping at nearly every lookout and pullout. I then made my way to the small village of Glen Haven before ending up at Pyramid Point for a hike.

Bridge at Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive by

After my afternoon adventure, I headed back to Traverse City where I checked into the Cambria Suites.

That evening I had a sensational fine dining meal at Aerie , which is located on the 16th floor of the Grand Traverse Resort. The views from Aerie are as amazing as the food. 

  • Spiced Artichokes with a cumin, red pepper and coriander crust, smoked heirloom tomato coulis, pickled cherry tomato finished with black garlic and fresh herbs.
  • My entree was a Bronzini Mediterranean Sea Bass that was blackened in a cast iron skillet accompanied with potato gnocchi, succotash of sweet corn, asparagus, heirloom and cherry tomatoes, crispy bacon, brown butter crème and some fresh herbs. It was just divine.
  • For desert I tried the London Fog, which is a honey lavender crème brulee with earl grey chocolate biscotti, garnished with candied lavender flowers. Perfect way to end the meal.

Sea Bass at Aerie restaurant at Grand Traverse Resort by

Tomorrow will be my last day in Traverse City and I plan on exploring Old Mission Peninsula. I’ll drive out to the lighthouse at the very tip, while seeing what else there is to check out. I’ve had a fantastic time here in Traverse City and hate to be leaving already, it feels like I’ve just barley scratched the surface of this wonderful area. I’ll be producing a road trip guide and video of my experience, so please stay tuned. In the meantime, click here to read my previous Traverse City Road Diary entry. By the way, I have done this road trip in a new Mazda 6 Signature, which I found to be a fantastic vehicle!

Mazda 6 Signature on Traverse City Road Trip by

Mike Shubic

Mike Shubic is a seasoned road trip travel video blogger, traversing the byways of the world looking for those hidden gems of the road. From unique destinations, unexpected discoveries, creative cuisine, intriguing inns to exciting attractions…the road is his page. The experiences are his ink. And every 300 miles, a new chapter begins. Whether you live vicariously or by example, Mike will do the exploring so you can have an adventure.