October 2015 - Traverse City, MI

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(Written by Caitlyn)
On Saturday, we left mid-morning for the spot I had secretly chosen for our vacation, just like Jeff had secretly chosen for us last year.  I drove the five hours north until we reached Traverse City; I had spent the past nine months researching and planning activities for us to enjoy there.  We made it into town a little early; Jeff, the Best Husband Ever, spotted a yarn store that, despite my thorough efforts, I had not found in my research. After a yarn purchase, we drove past the turn for the bed & breakfast and headed further north up the peninsula. 

The sign on the driveway of our B&B.

We went to the northernmost point to visit a lighthouse and log cabin; unfortunately the lighthouse was under renovation, and we weren't able to enter.

The beach below the lighthouse.

The cabin's display featured an old spinning wheel and a swift!

We returned to the B&B to check in, and I was pleased with how beautiful the area was.  The B&B was on a vineyard and decorated with wine and grape themes.

The view from the side of the property.

The entire house had big and small details, like the rabbits and vines painted on the walls.

The dining area.

The hallway and exterior seating.

Our bedroom.

Our bedroom.

The view from our window, overlooking the grape vineyard and cherry orchard.

We were greeted by the owner of the property and we got settled in.  They offered us hors d'oeuvres and wine, and we conversed with the other guests.  We finally enjoyed a late-night dinner at one of the restaurants on the peninsula.

I surprised Jeff with some wine with our name on it.

The wine surprised us with a cork with our name on it.

Sunday morning began with breakfast made for us at the B&B; the owners seem to enjoy going all out for a delicious two-course meal every breakfast time, regardless of whether we could eat it all.

Their breakfast nook.

We hopped in the car and went exploring downtown Traverse City, enjoying the diverse local shops. When 3 PM neared, we went to the second big surprise of the trip - a helicopter ride that took us over the peninsula and Traverse City.

This is the helicopter we flew in; it only contained the pilot, Jeff, and me.

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Facing the west end of the peninsula, within the view of Traverse City.

The white building at the end is the lighthouse we visited the day before.

Downtown Traverse City.

After returning to the B&B and relaxing, we ate dinner at one of the local restaurants and enjoyed some dessert back in our room.

Monday began with breakfast at the B&B and then a trip to The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, the project that is converting an old insane asylum to apartments and locally-owned stores and restaurants.

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, previously known as  Traverse City State Hospital and the Northern Michigan Asylum.  

We enjoyed coffee and then walked through a tour of the facilities that took us through what hadn't yet been renovated as well as some areas that had.  Our tour guide talked at great length about how special the facility was before it was decommissioned, as the facilities prided themselves because they treated their patients as people and family rather than being fearful.

The kitchen for the Asylum, which is awaiting renovation as soon as someone wants to use the area for a restaurant.  The tiles are worn from walking; they plan to keep as much of the original floor as possible when it is renovated.

Areas that have been made non-toxic, but await renovation.

This isn't destruction due to natural elements or time; this is vandalism.

Old tile floor of a bathroom that will be wonderful once cleaned up.

A reception hall, formerly a church.

Tunnels beneath the campus, because it gets cold in Michigan.

"White" spiders periodically appear in the tunnels.  The spiders turn white because of the high humidity and mold.

During the tour, our energetic tour guide gave the history of how he was hired for the job.  "They were looking for someone who wouldn't bore everyone to death," he said.  Jeff interrupted, "So have they found someone yet?"  Jeff's quip caught the guide off guard, and the guide had to take a moment to collect himself after laughing.  

I'm fairly confident that nobody else on our tour had this shot of the facility; it was taken during our helicopter ride.

While we were walking in the tour, Jeff asked me, "So what do you want to do during the exact time we got married?"  I looked at him, recalling our earlier discussion of lunch plans and said, "Um...eating burritos?"

After eating breakfast on Tuesday, we decided that we wanted to drive around some of the peninsulas to see what was around.  We visited Empire, which was a tiny town with nothing much to see.  We drove to Leland next and enjoyed looking at local shops and the older "Fishtown" buildings.

For lunch, we stopped in Sutton's Bay.  We spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing at the B&B and roamed around the peninsula taking pictures, and enjoyed our final evening in northern Michigan.