Traverse City, a freshwater equivalent of Cape Cod, is a beach town in Northwest Michigan and also happens to be the largest tart cherry producer in the country. Restaurants creatively incorporate the local cherries into entrees and Pleva's meat shop makes famous lean meat cherry burgers and dogs. The food adventure doesn't just end there—TC is also a growing wine region and home to award-winning vineyards like Brys Estate and Bowers Harbor (there's a reason why chef Mario Batali owns a lake-house here). Get a dose of caffeine with a cup of fair trade coffee (as well as organic jam and other local delights) at Higher Grounds Trading Co. The must-see is Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore, where forest meets sand. Climb the huge dunes or hike the Heritage Trail for stunning views of Lake Michigan. For those daring types that want to try something different, Broneah Kiteboarding will take you to beaches or frozen lakes, depending on where the best wind is, for a one-day lesson of the extreme sport.
The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is a historic psychiatric hospital-turned-shopping area and still in development, which makes it a great place to take a walk. Its centerpiece, Building 50, houses Trattoria Stella—a much-loved Italian restaurant whose menu details which local farm or company provided each ingredient. Before heading back, stock up on Grand Traverse Pie Co.'s sweet cherry and chicken pot pies.