Named for the local bay, Traverse City began as a lumber mill in the mid-1800s. As the need for lumber diminished, the town became the center of a flourishing cherry-growing region.
The city's setting at the base of Grand Traverse Bay makes it a busy resort in all seasons. Winter sports are widely available. In summer the bay provides good sailing and fishing. Traverse City State Park is 2 miles east. The area has beaches and more than 30 golf courses, including courses designed by Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player.
Particularly picturesque among the area's many scenic drives is the 36-mile trip on SR 37 through Old Mission Peninsula, which splits the bay into two long, narrow arms. It is especially lovely when the cherry trees bloom in mid-May and when leaves take on their fall colors, beginning in September. The tip of the peninsula, marked by Mission Point Lighthouse, is equidistant from the equator and the North Pole. At Old Mission is a reconstructed Native American mission originally built in 1836. Another scenic route along the lakeshore is US 31 between Traverse City and Petoskey, then SR 119 to Cross Village.
The National Cherry Festival, a weeklong event held downtown in early July, celebrates the long heritage of Traverse City's cherry-growing industry that began when the first cherry trees were planted in 1852. The festival features more than 150 activities, including cherry-inspired dishes, concerts, air shows, parades and sporting events.
Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau 101 W. Grandview Pkwy. TRAVERSE CITY, MI 49684-2252. Phone:(231)947-1120 or (800)872-8377