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Traverse City: A colorful and peaceful escape from fall hustle

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Luckily there is a way to escape the hustle of fall activities. A day’s drive north to Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay and its two peninsulas rewards the soul with blushing rose and fiery crimsons against dark green fir trees.

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Traverse City and its Leelanau and Mission Peninsulas are the second fall destination in a color road trip series. They lie about 6 ½ hours when going around Grand Rapids and then north through the unspoiled scenery of US Highway 31. First in series of fall series was the Door County Peninsula that divides Lake Michigan from Green Bay.

There are dozens of lodging choices around Grand Traverse Bay from inns and B&Bs to resorts and hotels that fit budget, family needs and location preferences. If unsure, here are three suggestions: a hotel, a resort and a B&B.

Consider the Park Place Hotel in downtown Traverse City because it is an easy walk to shops and cafes and an easy drive to Leelanau Peninsula to the northwest and Mission Peninsula slightly northeast. The friendly staff is knowledgeable about what to see and how to get there.

The Homestead Resort at Sleep Bear Dunes is great for Lake Michigan sightseeing and good for drives on the Leelanau Peninsula. Near downtown and the base of the Mission Peninsula is the Wellington Inn, a B&B that features a good breakfast, an antique atmosphere and is convenient to east side sightseeing.

Best plan is to allow four days over a long weekend or week for lots of reasons.

The Leelanau Peninsula’s Sleeping Bear Dunes is a top United States scenic destination. Wineries and restaurants dot both peninsulas.The cute town of Leland also has historic Fishtown. The Mission Peninsula has the century-old General Store and a lighthouse on the 49th Parallel.

In addition, the area is a perfect hiking and biking destination if you don’t mind hills. Hill tops and road bends lead to album perfect photos with the blue waters of Grand Traverse Bay in the background.

As with Wisconsin’s Door County, the Traverse City area is a destination that people return to so reserve a room ahead of time.


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