Traverse City Secrets – Part I
On your first trip to Traverse City, every dazzling image will seem like a secret revealed. From your first glimpse of Grand Traverse Bay shining like a misplaced Carribean paradise, you’ll be saying “Wow.” But if you’re a repeat visitor or staying for awhile, get a hometown bed and breakfast innkeeper like Cindy Ruzak to tell you about some of the “secret” gems you might discover if you lived here.
Innkeeper of The Grey Hare Inn B&B, Cindy points out the Village of Grand Traverse Commons is no secret to residents: it’s the still-developing result of seven years taken to transform the “Old State Mental Hospital,” the former Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane.
Almost ghoulishly-Gothic in architecture and steeped in history and folklore, the sprawling hospital and its spacious grounds are now a condominium community that includes a health spa, gym, eclectic must-visit shops and upscale restaurants. Trattoria Stella restaurant is housed in what was once the institution’s morgue in Building 50, pictured below. The Commons features Left Foot Charley Winery, Pleasanton Bakery, Black Star Farms “Tastes” of locally-made cheeses and wines and more. It also houses an expansive indoor farmer’s market.
One of the largest historic preservation and adaptive re-use developments in the U.S., the project involves the renovation of dozens of historic building on the 63-acre site. It’s century-old Victorian-Italianate architecture is quite magnificent.
After you’ve spent time exploring the shops and eateries at The Commons and enjoying its parkland, Cindy and her husband, Jay, invite you to spend the night at their elegant country vineyard estate, Grey Hare Inn Vineyard B&B, just seven miles away on Old Mission Peninsula. In the morning, awaken to a gourmet Northern Michigan fusion breakfast with Tuscan/Provence overtones.
If the Grey Hare Inn is full up the night you plan to visit, there are a wealth of quality-assured Lake to Lake-member B&Bs across the Grand Traverse area. Each one is unique and each meets the association’s high standards for quality including safety, cleanliness, professionalism and comfort. Use the handy tool shown at the left and located on the homepage of the association’s website to find and reserve an available guest room nearby.
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