Traverse City's Cherry Festival Among Tops In Country Says NatGeo
Traverse City, Mich., known for its downhill and cross country skiing during winter, is also a top summer destination. National Geographic lists it as one of the Top 10 Summer Trips for 2012.
The magazine points out the area's “quaint port villages, sandy beaches, historic lighthouses, rolling orchards, and family-friendly festivals,” as key reasons for a visit.
Dubbed America’s Cherry Capital – about 70-percent of the nation’s tart cherries are grown here –Traverse City, Mich., hosts the week long National Cherry Festival July 7-14. Now in its 87th year it has been rated as one of the Top 10 Festivals in the Nation, according to USA Today.
It’s the city’s signature event and annually draws around a half-million attendees from around the country. Everything is located conveniently within walking distance and, since almost all events are free, it offers more than a week of affordable family fun. A $15 pass gets you into all the festival’s music shows, which includes performances with Grand Funk Railroad, Blue Oyster Cult, Joe Diffie and Jerrod Neiman, and Pop Evil.
Each day festival goers find cherry delights along with parades, family and kids events and entertainment. In all, there are more than 150 events along the shores of Lake Michigan's Grand Traverse Bay and concludes with a huge fireworks show Saturday night over the water.
Good reason to plan a visit this summer, but if that isn’t enough Bon Appétit calls Traverse City, “one of America’s top five Foodie Towns.”
Check out the Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau’s True Summer Specials. The True Summer packages run through Aug. 30, and combine special lodging rates with a wide assortment of discounts on everything from dining, golf, movies and spa services to bicycle, jet ski, canoe and kayak rentals, wine purchases, and tall ship sailings. Packages start under $100 per day at many locations; $81 per night at the Comfort Inn and Best Western Four Seasons, and $89 per night at Cherry Tree Inn & Suites.
“When people who have never been here and have no idea what the area is really like visit for the first time, they are blown away,” Traverse City Convention Bureau’s Mike Norton toldSnoCountry.com. “The Pure Michigan Campaign’s beautiful images, many of them shot in our area, have been a big boost to tourism.”
An added benefit for lower Midwest residents is the area’s normally low humidity and pleasant summertime temperatures. A jacket or light sweater often feels good at night. I’ve lived here since 1979 and wouldn’t trade it for any other area of the country.
Photo: “Miles of beaches” Courtesy of Traverse City Convention Bureau