Traverse City, Mackinac Island tips

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David Glasser
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Traverse City, Mackinac Island tips

#1 Post by David Glasser » March 10th, 2019, 3:28 pm

My wife and I are going to spend some time in the Traverse City area this summer and would appreciate any tips.

Definitely going to spend a day at Sleeping Bear - fond childhood memories of running up and down the dunes.
Also plan to stay overnight on Mackinac Island.

Thought we would stay in Traverse City for 3 nights, then Mackinac Island for 2 nights. Maybe 4 and 1?
Any hotel recommendations?
In Mackinac, Grand Hotel looks like it might be better to visit than stay? Hotel Iriquois?

I gleaned the following list of restaurant recommendations from prior threads. Any comments or updates?

Traverse City
Cooks House
Bistro FouFou
Trattoria Stella
Alliance
Mission Table
Spanglish
7 Monks Taproom
Low Bar
Left Foot Charley

A little drive
La Becasse - Maple City
Trattoria Funistrada - Maple City
Blu - Glen Arbor
Roadhouse - Benzonia
Bluebird - Leland
Port City Smokehouse - Frankfort
Coho Cafe - Frankfort

Michael Martin
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Re: Traverse City, Mackinac Island tips

#2 Post by Michael Martin » March 10th, 2019, 4:49 pm

I can’t give you any feedback on Traverse City, but I have been to Mackinac Island a couple times.
Most of the restaurants on the island are mediocre at best, so saying a place is good is relative.
We enjoyed The Woods, which is in an old hunting lodge behind the Grand Hotel and is accessible only by carriage. It’s a very cool setting and the food is “good.”

For lodging I recommend one of the B&B’s just off the main drag. There is something magical about the town once the last ferry leaves and the “fudgies” as the locals call the daily tourists, leave. Quiet takes over. You no longer feel like you will be run over by someone on a bike for the first time in years.
I highly suggest walking the island since everyone rides a bike and in season it is chaos. You can cut through the middle and make it over to the British Landing, the beach that the British landed on in the war of 1812. The “real” town where the folks that live on the island year round is also in the center of the island. The more you get off the beaten path, the more you will enjoy the island.
A night may be too little. Two nights may be too much. It depends on how much you want to venture off the main tourist street and really get a feel for the island.

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Re: Traverse City, Mackinac Island tips

#3 Post by David Glasser » March 10th, 2019, 6:31 pm

Thanks Michael. We like to walk and taking trails to the interior of the island sounds enjoyable, so we’ll probably stay 2 nights on Mackinac. Did you stay overnight on the island, and if so, any comments on lodging?

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Re: Traverse City, Mackinac Island tips

#4 Post by Michael Martin » March 10th, 2019, 7:17 pm

David Glasser wrote:
March 10th, 2019, 6:31 pm
Thanks Michael. We like to walk and taking trails to the interior of the island sounds enjoyable, so we’ll probably stay 2 nights on Mackinac. Did you stay overnight on the island, and if so, any comments on lodging?
We stayed overnight on the island both times we were there. Check out the Cottage Inn on Market St.
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Revie ... higan.html

Nice place, cozy. Market St is still in the heart of it all, but not in the bee hive of tourists during the day.

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Blake Brown
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Re: Traverse City, Mackinac Island tips

#5 Post by Blake Brown » April 22nd, 2019, 12:55 am

David, I've been going annually to Cristal Lake since being in the womb a couple of years ago. I definitely can recommend a few places for you in and around that area. Coho in Frankfort is really good especially for lake and seafood. The finest quality dinner is 15 miles south in Arcadia at Arcadia Bluffs restaurant. For really good Mexican food, beers and margaritas, The Roadhouse {on your list} in Benzonia is a winner.

As you note, Trattoria Stella, Blu, Bluebird, La Becasse and Cooks House are favs.

I`ll be there around Labor Day should that coincide with your visit.
"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".
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“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

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Re: Traverse City, Mackinac Island tips

#6 Post by Jason T » April 22nd, 2019, 2:46 am

Cooks House is legit and one of the standouts in Traverse City. I’ve been twice and both times were great. Make sure to book your reservation well in advance - they fill up.
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Re: Traverse City, Mackinac Island tips

#7 Post by Jason T » April 22nd, 2019, 2:54 am

You’ve got Left Foot Charley on there... if you are looking for another winery, I’d consider 2 Lads or L Mawby.

Wines at 2 Lads are very nice, especially their whites and rose. Their reds can be hit or miss depending on the vintage (which goes for all of the wineries in Northern Michigan). The Cab Franc usually fares better than the Pinot Noir, and is my favorite example from that region. The drive (or Uber) up to that winery is BEAUTIFUL, with stunning views over both sides of the peninsula.

Mawby (picture from the front of their place in my avatar) focuses just on sparkling wines. They generally fare well in comparison to sparklers from California and Oregon.
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Re: Traverse City, Mackinac Island tips

#8 Post by Jason T » April 22nd, 2019, 3:12 am

If you are into beer at are there is a very nice beer scene in Traverse City, led by Jolly Pumpkin. Their focus is traditionally on sours and farmhouse ales. Good “gastropub”-type food there.
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Re: Traverse City, Mackinac Island tips

#9 Post by Blake Brown » April 22nd, 2019, 6:11 am

Also on the beer scene is Stormcloud in Frankfort. Good eats and across the board good beers.
"In victory you deserve Champagne. In defeat, you need it".
Napolean Bonaparte

“Remember gentlemen, it’s not just France we are fighting for, it’s Champagne!” – Winston Churchill

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Victor Hong
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Re: Traverse City, Mackinac Island tips

#10 Post by Victor Hong » April 23rd, 2019, 4:48 am

Avoid during the Chicago-Mackinac Race.
WineHunter.

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Re: Traverse City, Mackinac Island tips

#11 Post by Michael Martin » April 23rd, 2019, 8:09 am

Victor Hong wrote:
April 23rd, 2019, 4:48 am
Avoid during the Chicago-Mackinac Race.
Depends if you want to party other people's boats. champagne.gif [snort.gif]

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Re: Traverse City, Mackinac Island tips

#12 Post by Lee Braem » May 27th, 2019, 12:22 pm

Stayed at Hotel Iroquois on M.I. And loved it. Paid extra for one of the rooms overlooking harbor (lots of windows). Got turned off by close to $900 + room rates at Grand Hotel. Turns out you even have to pay to visit the hotel. We paid visitor fee and had lunch.

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Re: Traverse City, Mackinac Island tips

#13 Post by Josh Grossman » May 27th, 2019, 1:46 pm

Black Star Farms Inn for food (and wine) near Traverse City. If you are going as far north as Mackinac, I'd make a day for Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. It's really one of the most beautiful 42 mile stretches of coastline anywhere in the world:
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David K o l i n
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Re: Traverse City, Mackinac Island tips

#14 Post by David K o l i n » May 27th, 2019, 4:02 pm

If you’re going to Leland, you must (of course) stop in the Cove Restaurant for a Chubby Mary

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Re: Traverse City, Mackinac Island tips

#15 Post by Jim Brennan » May 27th, 2019, 5:16 pm

And if you decide to go journey north as far as Pictured Rocks, consider visiting the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. Also fairly easy to hit Tahquamenon Falls from there.

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