A Weekend of Leisure Indulgence at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

A Weekend of Leisure Indulgence at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

Aerie_SunsetAs I sat by the window of the restaurant sipping my key lime pie martini, I watched from a bird’s-eye view as the sunset turned the sky a brilliant orange, as though it set the clouds ablaze. I thought, “Wow, this is the life.” My husband and I were staying at Michigan’s Grand Traverse Resort and Spa and dining at Aerie, the 16th floor fine dining restaurant, just one of the resort’s many impressive elements. With several accommodation types, dining options, golf courses, pools, tennis courts, shops and a spa, there is enough to do at the Acme, Michigan, resort to treat yourself to a weekend—or a week—of leisure indulgence.

Accommodations
Our spacious, nicely decorated tower room overlooked one of the resort’s three golf courses and included a wet bar, a fridge and a Jacuzzi tub. A hotel, condos and resort homes are other accommodation options to consider.

GTR Room 2View from roomRestaurants
My favorite restaurant on the resort was Aerie, where we dined on elegant food, all beautifully plated. We started with sweet potato beignets, and continued with salads, filet mignon with asparagus and Broccolini, and shared chocolate bananas foster for dessert.

Sweet potato beignetfilet mignonChocolate bananas foster

We had breakfast at the Sweetwater American Bistro, where besides typical egg dishes, pancakes and waffles, they serve specialty dishes, including three types of Benedicts and bananas foster french toast. Depending on the house count, they sometimes also offer a buffet.

eggs_benedict

Other dining options are pub food at Jack’s Sports Bar; soups, salads, sandwiches and an assortment of entrees at The Grille in the clubhouse; deli sandwiches, salads and baked goods at The Marketplace; and of course, in-room dining.

Shops
You’ll find several boutiques and gift shops in The Tower Gallery of Shops. At American Spoon, taste jams, fruit butters and salsas before buying.

American Spoon
American Spoon 2

Dylan’s Candy Bar and Candy Café, created by Dylan Lauren, fashion designer Ralph Lauren’s daughter, are two separate shops, but both sweet and colorful. Between the two, you can indulge in your favorite nostalgic candies like candy buttons and Pop Rocks, or enjoy local treats like Mackinaw Island fudge and Moomer’s ice cream. Dylan’s also sells candy themed home décor items, clothing and accessories.

Dylans Candy Bar 2
Dylans Candy Bar

Activities
Grand Traverse Resort and Spa boasts three golf courses, each at a different challenge level, including The Bear, designed by Jack Nicklaus. The resort has been the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions over the years, the Silver Medal by Golf Magazine and the Best Midwest Golf Resort for a Family Trip by Travel + Leisure Golf among them.

Resort aerial view

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I didn’t get a chance to visit the spa on my trip, but it sounds luxurious and pampering, offering services from nail care and hair styling (they refer to it as hair artistry) to massages that range from the classic Swedish relaxation massage to the more exotic bamboo massage.

spa

With pools, hot tubs and tennis courts both indoors and outdoors, you can swim or play rain or shine, warm weather or cold. At the Private Beach Club, rent watercraft to use in East Grand Traverse Bay, part of Lake Michigan. In the winter, take a dog sled ride, ice skate, snowshoe or cross-country ski.

Pool

Pool splash pad

Tennis courts

During your stay, you’ll probably want to explore wineries, restaurants, shops and casinos in and around nearby Traverse City. However, if you choose, you really can spend your entire vacation, whether a weekend or a week, at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa and not run out of things to do.

The Grand Traverse Resort and Spa is located at 100 Grand Traverse Village Blvd., Acme, Michigan. Visit the web site to make reservations or for further information.

Disclosure:  My stay at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa was hosted by Traverse City Tourism and the resort, but any opinions expressed in this post are my own. The photos with the resort logo were provided by the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa.

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Tour Mission Point Lighthouse, Traverse City, Michigan

Tour Mission Point Lighthouse, Traverse City, Michigan

LighthouseIn the 1860s a ship sank after hitting a shallow reef near the tip of Mission Bay Peninsula. The event prompted Congress to finance construction of a lighthouse, which was lit in September 1870. The Mission Point Lighthouse served as a beacon for passing ships until 1933, when an automated buoy light was installed offshore. Today you can tour the building, climb up to the tower and explore the area around it. Read more

Traverse City Shops: A Culinary Delight

Traverse City Shops: A Culinary Delight

With only a couple of hours to shop, I had to choose where to browse among the dozens of establishments that make up Downtown Traverse City. Merchants sell everything from inexpensive refrigerator magnets to high-end designer clothing in the shops that stretch for several blocks along the southern end of Grand Traverse Bay. Aside from one apparel shop where I couldn’t pass up a $48 pale orange quilted jacket marked down to $10 on a sidewalk sale, the shops that drew me in were all food specialty shops. Enticing aromas and tasty samples lured me into the shops, and once I sampled the goods, I couldn’t resist the temptation to take home some culinary treasures.

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Spice MerchantsMy first stop was the Spice Merchants, where I tasted several dips made with mixes they sell. I almost always walk out of a spice shop with a new herb or spice, but what caught my attention here were the numerous tea varieties. I love herbal iced tea, and Spice Merchants had canister after canister of tea that they encouraged me to open and smell. I purchased small amounts of two herbal teas: Sharman’s Secret, made of thirteen flowers, fruits, herbs and spices, and because Traverse City is famous for cherries, I chose Dewy Cherry, a blend of sour cherries, apples, orange peel, rosehips and hibiscus.

Next door to the Spice Merchants, a Pop-Kie’s staff member was standing outside with a bucket of caramel corn and cheddar corn, handing out samples. Inside I tasted a couple of the candied popcorn flavors, but cheese corn is my popcorn of choice. I tasted the Hot Jalapeno (yes, it’s hot), almost purchased Bacon Cheddar but in the end went for a bag of the straight Cheddar.

Traverse City PieWalking past the Grand Traverse Pie Company without stopping is nearly impossible while pies are in the oven. It reminded me of the old cartoons where the character sniffs his way along the wavy lines of freshly baked pie aroma to its source. In this case the source is the vent strategically placed in front of the building. You can purchase whole pies to carry out or you can eat a slice there. I chose a slice of the best seller, Cherry Crumb, also a favorite of Super Chef Mario Batali, who occasionally stops in to buy one. A local raved about the savory beef and chicken pot pies, and had I been ready for lunch, I would have tried one.

Fustini'sFustini’s sells gourmet flavored oils and balsamic vinegars. My visit just happened to coincide with their sixth anniversary, and they were celebrating with samples of appetizers and desserts made by Chef Andy Stewart. Sample any of the oils or vinegars, or mix an oil with a suggested paired vinegar to sample what they will taste like together. I purchased coconut balsamic vinegar and lime olive oil that I plan to try as a shrimp marinade.

Cherry RepublicEvery item sold in the Cherry Republic must include cherry, and almost everything is available for you to taste, from wine and soda pop to salsa and barbecue sauce. Choose plain dried cherries, cherries turned into condiments, even cherry sausage. I purchase dark chocolate covered cherries and a six-pack of cherry-flavored sodas, including cherry root beer and black cherry cream soda.

I could have gone on to the chocolate shops, coffee shops and more, but my time was up. However, I did make one more stop when I discovered the Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market that runs every Wednesday and Saturday from May through October. My purchase there was a half dozen fresh herb plants that are now growing in pots on my deck, so I’ll have a taste of Grand Traverse all summer long.

Visit the Downtown Traverse City web site for information on merchants, and the Traverse City Tourism site for additional area information.

Disclosure:  My visit to Traverse City was hosted by Traverse City Tourism, but the shop visits were on my own. Any opinions expressed in this post are strictly mine.

Thank you for reading Midwest Wanderer. Don’t miss a post. Enter your e-mail address below and click Subscribe to be notified whenever I publish another post. Subscription is FREE. After subscribing, be sure to click the link when you get the e-mail asking you to confirm.   – Connie