Saturday, July 13, 2013

Traverse City, Michigan Peninsular Drive…

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Traverse City MI 009We left Mount Pleasant, MI around 11:00 am on Thursday morning. We enjoyed our stay at the Isabella fairgrounds and as it turned out on our last night we were the only ones in the park.Our plan was to head northwest toward the town of Traverse City along the coastline of Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan is one of the two remaining great lakes we have yet to visit on this summer’s Great Lake Journey so this 104 mile journey will get us closer to one of the last two lakes.

Traverse City MI 010It was a nice easy travel day as we pulled into the Northwest Michigan Fairgrounds.This was another nice wide open park with lots of empty sites as only three other people were camping here. Twenty dollars per night provided us water and 50 amp electricity and we are only a 10 minute drive into one of the summer destination towns in Michigan, Traverse City.

After lunch we drove into town where we took about a 45 minute walk around the waterfront part of town.  We found it to be lively and vibrant, very clean with lots of energy… The town of Traverse City is right on Lake Michigan and the blue waters of the lake are visible from many locales throughout town. Pocket beaches are scattered across the waterfront as well. Lots of shops, restaurants and pubs line the street and on this particular day it was bustling with activity.

Traverse City MI 008The next day we drove to the town of Old Mission up the Old Mission Peninsula on M37. The Peninsula projects northward about 16 miles into Grand Traverse Bay and contains approximately 42 miles of Great Lakes shoreline. What a very scenic drive it was as we passed cottages all along the lake… (mind you some of these "cottages" would probably cost in excess of a million bucks!!!) Also on the Peninsula are numerous wineries and cherry and apple orchards. The cherry trees were loaded with ripe cherries ready for picking.

Traverse City MI 023We stopped at a nice little neighborhood beach park where we had lunch while sitting in our beach chairs watching the waves – almost like we were practicing for our planned stay in Florida this winter…We will certainly need to re-acclimate before heading south because we both are amused how hot we felt on this 78 degree afternoon.  After lunch we waded in the refreshingly cool Lake Michigan water and Sharon was delighted at the clear water and sandy bottom.  The lakes she had been accustomed to were not this clear and had squishy, muddy bottoms.  She rather liked this lake experience mentioning she wished we'd thought to pack our swimsuits and kayak!

Traverse City MI 012Further up the peninsula we came across a charming lighthouse at the northern tip called the Mission Point Lighthouse which was first lit in 1870. Although it was a small rather featureless lighthouse, it was delicately perched atop a picturesque ridge just above where we presumed the waters of Lake Michigan once were. Since there was a really long rocky expanse between the lighthouse and lake we felt the lake must be down a considerable amount, unless of course unbeknownst to us this is normal for here,  It just seemed odd. It was pleasant to walk across this rocky expanse to pause and watch as the swans and Traverse City MI 036mergansers were swimming peacefully in the lake, content, as we were, in this serene setting…

The drive back along the west side of the Peninsula along Peninsular Drive was just as pleasant and when we returned to the fairground we were surprised to see that it was packed with RV’s and tents… what the heck was going on? As it turned out we are right next to a BMX bicycle race track and there was a two day racing event for all ages from age 5 to people we thought were maybe much too old to be racing these little BMX bikes. But just for fun we walked over to the track and watched some races from the grandstand… Lots of kids in very colorful uniforms getting ready to race. It was something we had never seen before so we luckily stumbled upon some interesting (and free) entertainment for our Friday night…

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Later today they will hold a Redline Qualifier for the Redline Cup Series which is apparently a big deal to the racers here. We will miss todays racing as we plan to drive up along another peninsula nearby…

11 comments:

  1. Paul has fished in that area the last 30+ years. He says it is a beautiful area. Now the fishing isn't so good any more. Due to the fact that the Indians being allowed to net closer to shore, they have to go way out to fish.

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  2. It has been many years since we were in that area and thoroughly enjoyed travelling the coastline.
    A wonderful area to explore.
    Enjoy this great summer weather we are having.

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  3. I've always heard that area was beautiful and your pictures certainly prove that. We hope to get there next year.

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  4. Some very good breweries up that way too. Shorts would be our favorite in that area.

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    1. so far my favorite as well, but heck it won't keep me from looking ;)

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  5. These fairgrounds prices and amenities sound terrific. The Leelanau Peninsula is one of my very favorite places. Is it too late for cherries???

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    1. nope, prime time for cherries is right now!

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  6. 78 sounds wonderful. You will definitely need to a adjust to Florida again.

    I'd be looking for a uppick cherry orchard. Beautiful Area.

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  7. Enjoy your blog. We are headed up to the UP. Just a couple of weeks behind you.How are you locating the fairground campgrounds. I have found a few via google but not all seem to come up. Also, are you making reservations? If so, how far in advance?

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    1. I use google a lot, I search for the counties that we might stay in with "countyname rv camping" and then call the day before or the day of to see if there are any events. We just got to UPer and are staying at Tiki RV Resort (passport america for 17 per night)...

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  8. Never, ever thought of looking at county fairgrounds to camp. Great information and great pictures.

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