At the beginning of the year, my husband and I had decided that we needed to explore more of Pure Michigan. We penciled in several must-see stops before venturing across the "Mitten State."
I was grateful to have stumbled across the #miawesomelist from The Awesome Mitten. The list was packed with so many mini-excursions for the family! Whether we were in north, south, east or west Michigan, our "Summer Bucket List" was packed with destinations and unforgettable memories.
Here are our top 5 Michigan summer destinations:
1.) Traverse City - There are endless possibilities in the land of wineries and restaurants. While visiting a city where majority of festivals, shops and the beach are within walking distance, I will share with you some of my favorites.
Trattoria Stella Restaurant is located inside the old asylum called The Village at Grand Traverse Commons. The menu at Stella's has an ever-changing menu completed with fresh ingredients. We make a point to eat here every time we visit.
The Little Fleet is a treasure we discovered this year. Picture a half-dozen food trucks with the most flavorful, nutritious and mouth-watering meals; and bonus, they thrive off of eco-friendly products! There's no other place quite like this fleet of deliciousness.
Visiting Traverse City wouldn't be complete without stopping at the wineries! My top three recommendations are: Black Star Farms, Bowers Harbor and Chateau Chantel. Black Star and Bowers have an exceptional selection of reds and whites, and the atmosphere is much more relaxed (less tourists). Chateau Chantel attracts many tourists, especially during the summer and also have a great wine selection.
2.) Detroit - Tigers baseball, Motor City Casino, the Heidelberg Project, the famous Lafayette Coney Island are only a few hot spots in this great city of mine. Here are a few more I can't say enough about:
The Heidelberg Project was a trip I knew needed to happen. The creativity, passion and inspiration behind the art I saw was empowering. One person could've seen this as someones "trash" while I saw this as a place of expression and a piece of Detroit's beauty. My boys loved it and now I have a little more appreciation for such extraordinary art.
Motown Museum is a legacy and for some the birthplace of highly-gifted musicians and producers. Walking up to the museum, we were greeted by a Michael Jackson impersonator that I could've watched perform for hours - my boys included! There is so much history from the inside out at Motown Museum and glad to have experienced it all!
Belle Isle is gorgeous. My husband and I had our engagement pictures taken here years ago and its view of Detroit is still as beautiful as I remember. Visitors are welcomed by the most majestic fountain display, family-fun beaches, picnic areas, a large golf course, a casino (yes, you read correct!), playgrounds and so much more! We stopped at the Nature Zoo to check out all the little critters and animals after we paid a visit to the Aquarium! We could've easily spent a day here with all that Belle Isle had to offer. We will be back!
3.) Frankenmuth - This amazing city submerges visitors into the devout German culture. I have gained a great deal of appreciation for my German heritage, especially when it comes to food. They take a lot of pride and joy in their meals and drink of choice. Visitors can see this firsthand at the annual Oktoberfest celebration. My recommended eateries are Zehnder's (there's also a Splash Village down the road!) and the Bavarian Inn Restaurant. Also, I have never seen a cheese selection quite like the Cheese Haus. This shop speaks my food love language. And can we talk about how magical the biggest Christmas store in the world is?!? Hello Bronners!
4.) South Haven - I went to college near South Haven and every year I fall in love all over again - brings back great memories. It is the ultimate summer town where everyone rides bikes, skateboards, walks, rollerblades or kayaks. With an adorable bed & breakfast on every corner or near the beach, you will find an ice cream shop close by. The Taste Restaurant will easily become one of your favorites! We ordered just about everything off their menu because we couldn't get enough. Clementine's is a close second and also a historic attraction.
This town is right out of a Nicholas Sparks novel, lighthouse included. The fourth of July firework display is incredible and draws a crowd from all around the country.
5.) Ann Arbor - My in-laws and husband bleed maize and blue so this was a given. University of Michigan is a name well-recognized globally for their medicine (William Mayo, co-founder of the Mayo Clinic and Charles Walgreen, founder of Walgreens drugstore are alumni) , athletic programs (launched Derek Jeter, Tom Brady and Michael Phelps careers - to name a few), and an endless list of famous alumni including James Earl Jones ("Luke, I am your father"), Lucy Liu, and Selma Blair. Don't forget to catch a game at one of the countries most iconic stadiums, The Big House. While in town, check out a flick at the State Theatre!
There are endless options of food and fun in Arbor. Between Main and State street, restaurants like Vinology, Gratzi and The Jolly Pumpkin Brewery have something for everyone. A visit to Ann Arbor isn't complete without a stop at Zingerman's Deli. You can even ask President Obama.
Well, there you have it. The ultimate Michigan destination list that had us wanting to stay at each spot a little longer and wanting to come back. A few cities with honorable mentions are: Grand Haven (home of the musical fountain & coast guard) , Petoskey (shopping galore!), Mackinaw Island (fudge please!) and Grand Rapids because this city has something new to offer at every visit.
Hope you enjoyed our mini tour around Michigan! Its a beautiful state and has so many more hidden treasures that we have yet to discover. The possibilities are infinite when exploring "The Mitten." If you've found an exciting Michigan spot, be sure to send me details at firstname.lastname@example.org
**I was not compensated for this post. These opinions and photos are my own.