While many visitors know Traverse City as an incredible vacation destination, they may not be aware of the long history of the area. Traverse City has exciting historical sites and activities that can be enjoyed by visitors of all ages. Experience these attractions to have a blast and get to know Traverse City a little better. Here is how you can have the best historical journey to Traverse City:
Understand the Area
Before you set out and enjoy the incredible Traverse City attractions, you may wish to find out all you can about the area. The landscape of Traverse City was formed thousands of years ago from ancient glaciers that left behind the dramatic hills and crystal blue lakes that you see today. Over generations, Traverse City has seen a variety of occupants, from Native Americans and missionaries to mariners and fishermen. Many historic homes are still around the city. Additional historic sites include quiet lighthouses that used to light the way for fishermen and mission churches that brought together congregations.
If you are a fan of historical lighthouses, you will absolutely love your visit to Traverse City. Here is a little-known fact: The state of Michigan has the most lighthouses of any state in the country! Traverse City itself has five different lighthouses—Mission Point, South Manitou, Grand Traverse, Point Betsie, and North Manitou—with most of them remaining open for visitors to tour. Each lighthouse has its own schedule and cost of admission but expect entry to be a few dollars per person. Take a tour up each lighthouse and take some incredible pictures. Exhibits and onsite gift shops are another great way to support the work needed to keep these historic lighthouses in operation. Most lighthouses will close down for the winter and early spring seasons.
Traverse City Attractions in the The Village
Just a few blocks away from downtown Traverse City, you will find a collection of unique shops and restaurants in a cluster of historic castle-shaped buildings. This area is known as the Village at Grand Traverse Commons and is home to one of the biggest restoration projects in the US. Decades ago, this property was known as the Traverse City State Hospital and took care of thousands of patients. The hospital has been closed for quite some time now and in its place is an elegant shopping center. History buffs will love the underground tour of the hospital’s tunnels and take a walk around the property grounds. Anyone can lose hours visiting the Village of Grand Traverse Commons by checking out each shop. Each shop and restaurant have their own hours of operation, so make sure to call ahead if you believe something will be closed!
Explore the Big Schooners
Since Traverse City is located on the lakes, you can expect that sailing played an important part in its history. Fishermen and charter captains have utilized big schooners to navigate the Great Lakes and continue to do so. These large sailing vessels can be found just off the coast of Traverse City and be enjoyed. Grand Traverse Bay has more ships than any other port in all of Michigan. While some of the older vessels might be off limits for tours at this time you can still sail on the new schooners. Exciting cruises can be booked where you enjoy Grand Traverse Bay while enjoying a fine meal and drinks on the deck. Dockside tours are also available giving you a great view of the lake. Charters such as Traverse Tall Ship Company will have you feeling like you were in the 1800s and exploring the lake!
Tour Old Mission Homes
Traverse City is also home to many former mission homes such as inns. Many of these homes, including the Dougherty Old Mission House, continue to allow tours. You can see how local innkeepers served Traverse City back in the 1800s when the population was increasing. The Old Mission Inn might continue to operate for guests but is now more famous for its onsite historical museum that was built in 1869. For a collection of historical artifacts, look no further than the Benzie Area Historical Society & Museum. This local museum has preserved memorabilia relating to Traverse City and its rich history. Tours of these historical sites may currently be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
More to See and Do in Traverse City
As you can see, Traverse City has so much to offer for your next historical journey to the area. To prepare, reserve one of our comfortable vacation rentals in the area. You will have all the finest amenities while being just steps away from these many historical attractions. Contact us today and get ready for a Traverse City getaway in your near future!