Random Factoids about Traverse City, Michigan
Nestled at the edge of a deep blue bay of Lake Michigan, Traverse City is the cultural and social center of Michigan’s “True North.” For over a century, travelers have been enjoying its unique mixture of relaxation, adventure and unrivaled natural splendor. With hundreds of miles of lovely shoreline, Traverse City presents almost limitless opportunities for boating, sailing, paddling, swimming and beachcombing, miles of hiking and cycling trails, four blue-ribbon trout streams, and some of the best golf in the Midwest. It’s a favorite destination for fall color tours, and a glittering winter playground for skiers, snowshoe hikers and snowmobilers. Increasingly, Traverse City is becoming known for the quality of its wines and is a hotbed for craft brewing. Thanks to a new generation of creative local chefs, the town is also winning national acclaim for its fresh, imaginative regional cuisine.
Many readers will be aware of Traverse City’s charm listed above, but did you know any of these random factoids:
- In spite of its northerly latitude – on the 45th parallel, exactly halfway between the Equator and the North Pole — Traverse City, Michigan has a surprisingly moderate climate, thanks to the warm Lake Michigan waters that surround it. Early farmers discovered that they could grow delicate fruit crops like peaches and cherries on the slopes above Grand Traverse Bay, and the area is still known as the nation’s “Cherry Capital.” More recently, it has also established a reputation as one of the country’s best new wine-producing regions.
- In 1885, the state of Michigan built a mental asylum in the northern town of Traverse City: a gorgeous complex of gothic castles set in a landscape of meadows, hills and forests. At one time, the asylum boasted a population larger than that of the city itself, but it closed in the 1970s. Today, it has been restored and redeveloped as the Grand Traverse Commons, a fascinating complex of galleries, shops, restaurants, and residential areas surrounded by almost 500 acres of parkland — one of the town’s most popular attractions, and the largest historic preservation and adaptive reuse development project in the nation.
- Just west of Traverse City, Michigan, the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is a breathtaking symphony of water, sky and towering sand dunes. Part of the national park system since 1972, Sleeping Bear is a profoundly beautiful landscape: a 64-mile curve of beaches, coves, islands and hills along the west coast of the Leelanau Peninsula that includes the highest perched dunes in North America, some towering more than 400 feet above the surface of Lake Michigan.
- The scenic Old Mission Peninsula near Traverse City, Michigan, has been attracting nature lovers for a long time. Three early fans of the area were friends Henry Ford, Thomas Edison and Harvey Firestone who used to drive up on the dirt roads in one of Ford’s early motorcars in the 1920s to camp out on nearby Power Island, which Ford owned. The island is now a public park, with miles of hiking trails and some splendid beaches.
- Each fall, Traverse City, Michigan becomes “Hockeytown North” when it hosts the annual training camp of the Detroit Red Wings hockey team and the National Hockey League’s fall prospects tournament, in which 14 NHL teams try out their potential new players in a series of high-intensity matches on the ice. The best part is that it’s all open to the public!
If you know any other interesting and/or random facts about Traverse City, please leave a comment below. Click the following link to read about other Random Factoid Friday destinations.