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10 Best Small Towns in America

Sunday, May 19th, 2013


America’s big cities may get all the splashy buzz, but for savvy travelers, our small towns are our best-kept secrets. In a time when “authentic” is a travel buzzword, these hamlets are attracting visitors with an often unexpected—and surprisingly sophisticated—array of independent and locally-minded cultural, outdoor, and culinary offerings, all minus the urban price tags.

The only downside to all this small town regeneration? Narrowing down this list to just 10 favorites. Our editors pored over the possibilities, ultimately picking the winners based on criteria like population (all are under 50,000 people), and draws like great local eats, interesting museums and cultural points, and noteworthy natural attractions or outdoor adventures. The result is a list that should inspire travelers of all walks to fill up the gas tank and hit the road.

Read more at FODOR’S.

Best Summer Trips 2012

Sunday, May 19th, 2013


Traverse City is the biggest little beach town on the “Third Coast”—the U.S. shores of the eight-state Great Lakes coastline. The region’s 180 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline basically trace the upper left edge of Michigan’s “mitten.” Add another 149 inland lakes that are 10 acres or larger and you get a rambling Cape Cod-on-freshwater summer playground: quaint port villages, sandy beaches, historic lighthouses, rolling orchards, family-friendly festivals (including the National Cherry Festival, July 7-14), and summer-only Traverse City Beach Bums pro baseball games (team members bunk with local families). Head northwest from Cherry Capital Airport to the Leelanau Peninsula and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (pictured here). Michigan’s monumental sandbox is best known for its 150-foot Dune Climb (or roll), but there’s also 35 miles of pristine Lake Michigan beach. Take the 7.4-mile Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive loop in time to watch the sunset from Lake Michigan Overlook observation deck, perched 450 feet above the water.


Traverse City Tops the list

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Those of us who live in Traverse City already know what a special place it is. Just the same, it’s always nice to hear what others say about this great town and its surroundings. Here’s a sampling of some of the national rankings Traverse City has been included in recent months:

AOL Travel News (June 2010) gave Traverse City the #8 spot in its list of America’s Top Ten Beach Towns, and named Traverse City one of the Top 10 “Coolest Towns in the States.”

TripAdvisor.com (May 2010) listed Traverse City in second place in “Our Top 10 Charming Small Towns.” (First Place went to Carmel, CA. We can live with that.)

Livability.com (April 2010) listed Traverse City in first place in its Top 10 list of Surprising Foodie Towns, after surveying 200 American cities.

TripAdvisor.com (Oct. 2009) listed Traverse City as one of America’s Top 10 Wine Destinations.

Midwest Living placed TC in first place in its list of the Midwest’s Five Top Food Towns in 2009 and 2010.

Discover “Pure Michigan” in Traverse City for yourself and we think you’ll put us on the top of your list too.

Traverse City named Best Food Town in the Midwest

Monday, May 17th, 2010


Editors’ Top Picks for the Michigan’s Best Food Towns Plus More Michigan spots to Have a Great Meal

DES MOINES, IA (May 12, 2010) – Ann Arbor and Traverse City have been honored among Midwest Living magazine’s five Best Food Towns. Eight other Michigan communities made the list of 54 towns with meals “worth the trip.” The awards recognize the communities’ increasingly rich and varied food scene, according to Midwest Living® Editor-in-Chief Greg Philby.

In its annual Best of the Midwest issue, Midwest Living serves up editors’ top picks for the five best small to midsize food towns in the 12-state region. (Since most big cities have strong dining scenes, the magazine skipped metro areas of 1 million or more.). After eating more than 700 meals at locally owned restaurants, the foodies at Midwest Living ranked their favorites.

“Researching these awards was tough duty,” Philby joked, as he presented the Michigan awards recently at the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Mackinac Island. Then, he explained, “We check everything out in person so we can be sure the restaurant will be a good experience from a visitor’s perspective. We looked for quality, for a rich variety of restaurants and prices, and for use of fresh and local ingredients. We particularly love when a restaurant or town really expresses its heritage and sense of place. Part of culinary tourism is about food that tastes great, and part is about personality and a unique experience.”

In addition, the magazine highlights 54 smaller don’t-miss destinations, such as great places to stop for pie, for comfort food, for fine-dining surprises, for coffee, and more.

Midwest Living’s Top Five Food Towns:

Traverse City, MI. This food town boasts farm-fresh menus, and its lake climate makes for bountiful harvests. It does an exemplary job of showcasing local foods such as cherries, fish, and wine.

Ann Arbor, MI. Led by Zingerman’s Deli, the town takes chances with food, has a lot of personality, and is consistently high quality. It has a terrific menu range.

The other top-five winners were Bloomington, IN, Des Moines, IA and Madison, WI.

54 More Meals Worth the Trip:

  • Michigan towns/restaurants recognized include:
  • Sawyer: The Lark and Pear (coconut-plum cake)
  • Petoskey: Jesperson’s (cherry-berry pie with a perfectly flaky crust)
  • Grand Rapids: Marie Catrib’s (fudgy chocolate pudding, extra-rich thanks to duck eggs)
  • enton: Uncle Ray’s Dairyland (made-to-order frozen yogurt).
  • Bay City: Krzysiak’s House (Polish golabki—stuffed cabbage rolls).
  • Sault Ste. Marie: The Antlers Restaurant (steaks and burgers, eaten under of the gaze of 200-plus taxidermic critters).
  • Wakefield: Randall’s Bakery (pasties—the UP’s trademark pastry pillows stuffed with meat, potatoes and veggies).

Kawkawlin: Turkey Roost (Thanksgiving dinner year-round).

Midwest Living’s Best of the Midwest, an annual guide to the region’s best restaurants, hotels and attractions, is on newsstands until September 7, 2010 or available at midwestliving.com.

Welcome Spring!

Monday, May 17th, 2010

The cherry blossoms are blooming, spring is in the northern Michigan air and our team at Traverse Bay RV Resort has been busy preparing for the upcoming 2010 season.

Traverse Bay RV Resort, Michigan’s Premier RV Resort, offers guests a laid-back, luxury lifestyle in beautiful Traverse City, Michigan.

We are now taking reservations for your weekend getaways or extended vacation stays so you can enjoy one of the midwest’s greatest tourism areas. Being an upscale site condominium development, you also have the opportunity to purchase and enjoy your own RV lot in our community. We have a wonderful selection of pre-owned RV lots available, including pondside, corner, back-in and fully landscaped lots ready for your enjoyment.

New for this season, we are happy to announce that Matt Geib and Steve Scheppe have joined our sales team as licensed real estate agents and along with Dave Scheppe will be able to handle all of your real estate needs within the resort. Matt and Steve have been part of the Traverse Bay team for many years and bring a great deal of experience, knowledge and enthusiasm about the resort.

With summer approaching, we have many great things planned for our guests at Traverse Bay RV Resort and we look forward to helping make your 2010 season one to remember!

Email us at: sales@traversebayrv.com.

Traverse Bay RV Resort WiFi Upgrade

Saturday, August 15th, 2009

Traverse Bay Motorcoach and RV Resort is pleased to announce the installation and activation of a new state-of-the-art WiFi system.  TBRVR has contracted with NomadISP the largest and most trusted wireless internet service provider in the recreation industry. As a manufacturer of rugged, high quality WiFi hardware, NomadISP is uniquely positioned to provide the technology and service level that the recreation industry requires.

With a reputation for innovative solutions and quick, personal service, NomadISP has grown to provide WiFi to hundreds of locations throughout North America, including the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Top 5 places to retire

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Our exclusive list examines small cities that offer big value.

By Reyhaneh Fathieh

With 401(k)s taking a hit, Americans are in no rush to retire now. But that doesn’t mean they’re not planning for their golden years. A recent survey of real estate agents, by Coldwell Banker, finds that many 50-somethings are buying their retirement homes now, well before they retire.


Buy now, retire later in these hot markets

  1. Helena, Mont. (pop. 28,726): This town has a local symphony and fine-art galleries. Nature lovers can trek 1,000-plus miles of mountain and forest trails. Median home price: $191,500.
  2. Pensacola, Fla. (pop. 54,283): The sun always shines on its white beaches, it’s super-safe (the crime rate is well below the national average), and the American Association baseball team boosts hometown spirit. Median home price: $137,200.
  3. Creve Coeur, Mo. (pop. 16,933): Its 320-acre lake is a boating haven surrounded by picnic sites and an archery range. And St. Louis is a half-hour drive away. Median home price: $355,000.
  4. Traverse City, Mich. (pop. 14,339): The “cherry capital” is famous for its vineyards. Plus, its health services are top-notch; the Munson Medical Center is consistently named one of the top 100 hospitals in the nation. Median home price: $129,500.
  5. Butte-Silver Bow, Mont. (pop. 31,967): This area’s 29 recreational facilities (golf courses, parks, pools) keep residents active. And Butte will host the National Folk Festival again next summer. Median home price: $108,500.

Source: Onboard Informatics for USA WEEKEND


Life On Wheels: RVers enjoy the friendships, relaxed pace

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009


See this article at the Traverse City Record-Eagle

TRAVERSE CITY — Before they left Denmark, Kirsten and Mogens Hermansen dreamed of buying a boat and sailing around the world.

Instead they settled in the U.S. and bought a 45-foot motor coach — the “big rig” of the RV world.

“This is our sailboat,” said Kirsten Hermansen, an amateur artist whose summer “studio” is the windowed storage shed on the couple’s lot at Traverse Bay RV Resort in Williamsburg.

More than 8 million households own RVs, according to a 2005 University of Michigan study commissioned by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association. For some, it’s a way to travel without breaking the bank. For others, it’s a grown-up form of camping, with all the comforts of home.


25 Ways to Enjoy Yourself in Traverse City in the Summer

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009
  1. Bike or hike the 25 miles of the Tart and Leelanau Trails.
    The 10-mile Traverse Area Recreational Trail and the 15-mile Leelanau Trail take hikers and cyclists all the way from Acme to Suttons Bay, passing through a varied landscape of beaches, forests, wetlands and city neighborhoods.
  2. Discover 25 spring wildflowers.
    The woods around Traverse City are full of spring flowers: giant white trilliums, tiny pink spring beauties, yellow trout lilies and dainty blue forget-me-nots. Explore the richness of our spring forests!
  3. Taste 25 different kinds of pie.
    The Grand Traverse Pie Company actually makes 27 varieties of fruit pie – including six kinds of cherry pie. And that’s not counting the seven kinds of cream pie and all the other cookies, scones and other goodies they have on sale every day.
  4. Take two 25-year steps into the past.
    That will put you in 1958, the perfect year to enjoy two of our most nostalgic attractions. Stop in at Don’s Drive-In, an old-fashioned 1950s-style burger joint on Traverse City’s East Bay waterfront that’s a favorite with summer visitors. Then take in a double feature at the Cherry Bowl Drive-In, where nothing has changed since 1953 except the movies.
  5. Spit a cherry pit 25 feet.
    It shouldn’t be too hard – after all, the world’s record for spitting these slippery little critters is 100 feet and 4 inches. It’s a summertime ritual in Traverse City – but the folks at Cherry Republic make it easy by selling packets of ready-to-spit chocolate-covered cherry pits!
  6. Stop in for some baseball with the Traverse City Beach Bums.
    Join Traverse City’s own baseball team for an evening of great Frontier League ball.
  7. Sample 25 award-winning wines.
    The Leelanau and Old Mission peninsulas boast 29 wineries where some of the world’s freshest and cleanest-tasting wines are being made. Two of our wineries also operate off-site tasting rooms — just for your convenience!
  8. Celebrate 125 years of history at Sleder’s Family Tavern.
    Built by Bohemian sawmill workers in 1882, Sleder’s is one of Michigan’s oldest taverns, and a great place to enjoy good fun and good food in an authentic pioneer atmosphere. (Make sure to kiss the moose!)
  9. Take a 25 mile-drive to the 45th Parallel.
    The quaint Old Mission Lighthouse stands in a lovely park at the tip of the Old Mission Peninsula — smack on the 45th Parallel, halfway between the Equator and the North Pole. It’s a fast 20-mile drive up M-37, but why not take the longer, prettier trip along the water’s edge?
  10. Skip 25 stones at Bryant Park Beach.
    Or West End, Clinch Park, Haserot, Empire Good Harbor, Otter Creek or any of the dozens of beaches in the Traverse City area. It’s surprisingly addictive, and when you’re done you can take a stroll, catch a few rays and enjoy the beauty of an early summer’s day.
  11. Try 25 varieties of cherry jam.
    Or cherry jelly, preserves, salsa, mustard, barbecue sauce, wine, soda… well, you get the idea. This is the Cherry Capital of the World, and you can find hundreds of cherry products in our stores, restaurants and farm markets. Cherry sausage, anyone?
  12. Play 25 holes of golf.
    OK, that would be dumb. Start with the usual 18, and then look around for more. Here on “Michigan’s Golf Coast” we’ve got 19 world-class courses to choose from, so you won’t run out of opportunities.
  13. Make 25 new friends aboard the tall ship Manitou.
    Ahoy, maties! Twice a day, this lovely two-masted schooner sets sail across Grand Traverse Bay, giving passengers a pirate’s eye view of Traverse City. (No pillaging allowed.) It’s a great way to experience the romance of sailing ships.
  14. Take 25 minutes to reach the top of the Dune Climb.
    It can be done faster, but why risk a heart attack? This massive wall of sand near Glen Arbor is part of the magnificent Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and climbing it is harder than you might think – but the view from the top is worth it!
  15. Catch a 25-inch salmon in Grand Traverse Bay.
    They’re out there. So are perch, lake trout and whitefish, and our inland lakes are full of great walleye and pan fish action. Meanwhile streams like the Boardman, the Cedar, and the Jordan provide great fly-fishing action for brown and brook trout. This is America’s top all-around fishing capital!
  16. Listen to Beethoven’s Sonata No. 25 at Interlochen.
    Or, for that matter, Chopin’s Etude in A Minor Op. 25 or the Mozart 25th Symphony. All while relaxing in the open air at the renowned Interlochen Center for the Arts, where hundreds of talented young musicians gather to practice and perform each summer.
  17. Play the 25-cent slots at Turtle Creek or Leelanau Sands.
    Between them, Traverse City’s two tribal casinos have thousands of hungry slot machines in every denomination – not to mention blackjack, poker, roulette, craps and other table games. Try your luck!
  18. Spend 25 minutes having your feet massaged.
    The Elements Spa at Traverse City’s Great Wolf Lodge and Spa Grand Traverse at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa have dozens of different spa treatments, massages and soaks. One of the most popular is a 25-minute Foot Relief Massage: a “cooling tea tree spritz, followed by warm towels and a peppermint foot massage.” What better way to end a day of shopping, beachcombing or golf?
  19. Visit 25 art galleries, studios and boutiques.
    Exhausting, but not impossible – Traverse City was named one of America’s Top Art Towns, and the evidence is all around you. Whether your interest is watercolors, jewelry, weaving, ceramics or sculpture, there’s plenty of art to suit every taste. But pace yourself – you don’t have to see it all in one day!
  20. Try 25 different appetizers.
    But bring a decent-sized group or a mutant-sized appetite! This time of year, it’s possible to eat your way through some of the best food in Traverse City in small doses, by munching on tasty little culinary treasures like Vietnamese Beef Noodles or Bouillabaisse Steamed Mussels as you migrate from one wonderful restaurant to the next.
  21. Tell your horse “giddy up” 25 times. (At least.)
    The horses at Ranch Rudolf are gentle critters — perfect for a leisurely ride through the woods and glades of the beautiful Boardman Valley, especially when you’ve got kids along. But sometimes you want them to move along a bit more briskly…
  22. Try on 25 different hats in downtown Traverse City.
    All right, maybe you’re not a hat person. But our picturesque and pedestrian-friendly downtown has more than 150 clothing stores, gift shops, cafes and restaurants. So maybe you want to try on 25 pairs of shoes? We have very patient salespeople…
  23. Identify 25 rare trees at the Grand Traverse Commons.
    Over a century ago, the superintendent of the Northern Michigan Asylum gathered rare trees from all over the world and planted them on the hospital grounds. Today this is the site of a groundbreaking retail/residential development, but the trees are still there – and boy, have they gotten big!
  24. Taste 25 flavors of beer in Bellaire.
    Short’s Brewery, in the picturesque village of Bellaire, makes dozens of specialty beers and ales, flavored with everything from chocolate to orange peel. They’ll set up a special small-glass tasting so you can try several without falling off your chair. Just make sure you bring that designated driver with you!
  25. Find 25 things to do at the Open Space.
    This one’s up to you – but you’ll find lots of ideas if you just look around. Here on Traverse City’s “front porch” you’ll see folks flying kites, tossing Frisbees, walking dogs, pushing strollers, watching the sailboats on West Bay, feeding the swans, playing a little football or just gazing affectionately into each other’s eyes.

Traverse Bay Re-Opens for the 2009 Season

Monday, May 18th, 2009

May 1st the winter gates were removed and Traverse Bay officially opened for the 2009 season. Within minutes coaches were rolling in with owners eager to set up at their “up north summer place”. By mid afternoon patio sets were out and and owners were ready to receive visits from friends and neighbors.

Resort Services was busy with spring cleanup and mulching as well as finishing up on some custom designed  lot upgrades in the South and North loops. They are also designing a customized model lot located in the Northwest section of the resort.

Traverse Bay held their first rally for the season hosted by Sue & Kurt Hurson for the Michigan Great Lakers on May 15th thru the 17th. The rally held a breakfast and 2 dinners at the Main Clubhouse hosted by Sue Hurson herself. Aromas from the kitchen drifted through the clubhouse and reminded everyone of the many events that will soon be happening in the upcoming season.

Traverse Bay will soon be hosting the annual Memorial Weekend events. On Saturday will be a Pancake Breakfast with all the trimmings. And on Sunday afternoon at 5:00 will be the Annual Memorial Weekend BBQ. The menu will be picnic style fare with hamburgers, hotdogs, potato salad, baked beans, fruit salad, bevrages and desserts. This is a free event held each year and owners as well as visitors are all welcome.