Are you dreaming of treating yourself to a blissful, relaxing vacation in Traverse City this summer and need some inspiration? Maybe coming to Traverse City has become a tradition and you're looking for something new to discover. Well look no further, Old Mission Peninsula has it all! We'll share all the Brys family tips and tricks to discover OMP as the locals do!
There's no question that Traverse City has some amazing restaurants and dining experiences, but have you tasted what Old Mission Peninsula has to offer? Eat like the locals do and pack a picnic with some made-to-order sandwiches from the Bad Dog Deli or head right next door for casual burgers and pizza at The Peninsula Grill. Visit the Old Mission Table, a beautifully restored mansion (which is rumored to be haunted) for some fine dining with incredible views of the West Bay. Before or after your dining experience, stroll behind to the mansion's original horse barn, now called the Jolly Pumpkin, for some Artisan Ales, or dine there for more casual fare. Delight in their Polish Platter every Thursday evening at Old Mission Tavern (go early, these sell out fast!) Before sitting down to enjoy your meal, peruse local artwork in their in-house art gallery. If you're looking for some lakeside, fine-dining with an incredible view and outstanding food, head to the Boathouse Restaurant. With all these options and more, your tastebuds will never get bored!
Spend a day beach hopping on Old Mission, where you'll find crystal clear waters and a very budget friendly day time activity! Haserot Beach is a local favorite and with plenty of beach front, shimmering blue water, a playground and restrooms, families can stay and play all day! Or if you want to go even further off the beaten path, explore a beach with no name! In peak summer, you'll find cars parking beside the road just before Mission Point Lighthouse. Once, you cross over to state land, swimming is fair game! Slip through the trees and find secluded hiking trails and untouched Lake Michigan. No plans, no worries!
Here's our tips for a successful (and free) day at the beach!
1. Bring snacks! Pack a picnic and stock up on drinks. Give in to those munchies! You're on vacation!
2. Bring things to do! Toss in a book you've been meaning to read but haven't got around to it. Bring some inexpensive sand toys for the kids. Remember headphones so you can go into full vacation-mode.
3. Leave life at home! Set aside that school assignment. Stop thinking about that report you just turned in. No, the laundry doesn't need to be moved to the dryer. This is your time to sit back and relax!
4. Don't forget sunscreen!
U-Pick & Farmstands
Experience what its like to snack on fruits in their freshest form! The Secret Garden has some of the yummiest, juiciest blueberries and strawberries around! Our berries are spray free and so much fun to pick! Put those little hands to work for a delicious payoff! We also have u-cut flowers and lavender to create a beautiful bouquet or a fun craft. If you visit in the fall, pick out your own pumpkins and gourds, grown right here on Old Mission! Buchans Blueberry Hill is another favorite on Old Mission Peninsula with u-pick blueberries, apples, peaches and some amazing ice cream! Most travelers come to Traverse City in hopes of one fruit in particular...cherries!! Only settle for the best and visit Santucci Farms to pick your cherries! Pick for $1.50/pound or less! Does it get any better?
No time for u-pick? No problem! Stop by our favorite roadside farm stand for all your fresh fruit and vegetable needs! Local Yokel's Farm Stand has fresh picked berries, cherries, apples, plus fresh herbs, veggies and flowers! Owners Ben and Jen Bramer also own and run Agrivine, a vineyard care business, and personally help care for the entire vineyard at Brys Estate. Now we might be partial to Local Yokel's Farm Stand but we think they've got the best produce around!
Northern Michigan is crawling with history and Old Mission Peninsula is no exception! Snap a classic OMP instagram photo at the Mission Point Lighthouse. Peek inside a traditional Hessler Log Cabin, see the lighthouse keeper's quarters and climb the stairs to the top of the lighthouse. Next stop...the Old Mission General Store (since 1839)! With over 175 years of business under their belt, this historic site is a step back in time! Enjoy old fashioned sodas and candy, ice cream, tasty sandwiches and more. Shop for souvenirs, chat with the friendly staff and take in all the history!
Explore Old Mission Peninsula's newest historical site! The Dougherty Historical Homesite restoration project is in its final stages of construction and will begin to offer tours for a small fee in late June of 2019. Originally built in 1842, for Missionary Reverend Peter Dougherty and his family, the fully furnished house sits beside the original detached kitchen, an outhouse, an ice house and a replica of the Old Mission log church. Learn more about the history of Dougherty Mission House here!
Get the insider scoop on some of the best historical hot spots on Old Mission! The Old Mission Peninsula Historical Society values preservation, exploration and awareness as they work hard to advocate for the history of their community! Not only have they created the audio-tour below, but they've put together the upcoming 2019 Log Cabin Day on June 30th! If you're in town, check it out for special tours, era-appropriate music, demonstrations, crafts and more. No cost!
Dial 231-354-7550 for the Old Mission Audio-Tour. When asked, dial an extension listed below to get the facts!
As the crowning jewel of the Peninsula, all eleven Old Mission wineries hold something special. The unique placement and narrowness of the peninsula creates a "micro-climate" that has proven excellent for growing grapes and bringing in travelers. With East and West Grand Traverse Bays as protection, the vines survive the back-and-forth of Michigan spring and remain bountiful into the early fall for harvest.
To visit every Old Mission winery would be quite the feat! Stay safe and let everyone enjoy the experience by hiring Grand Traverse Tours! You and up to 13 of your family and friends can enjoy a stress free and informative tour of the Old Mission wineries of your choice!
Explore everything the wineries of Old Mission have to offer:
Hiking, Biking & Kayaking
There is so much to do in the great outdoors here on Old Mission Peninsula! No matter what you enjoy, there is always something to discover! If hiking is your thing, head over to Pelizzari Natural Area or Pyatt Lake Nature Reserve. Both offer plenty of parking, unique trails (for all levels of expertise), and some awesome views!
Dust off the old bike and hop on! Try biking the Brys' recommended loop! Start at Archie Park, just off Center Road, and get ready for some killer views as you head north on Center Road. Take a right on Blue Water Road, where at this half-way mark of your bike tour, you can take a breather on the deck at Brys Estate while sipping some award winning wines. Or, take the paved road down to the Secret Garden to cool off with lavender lemonade or custom flavors of Moomer's ice cream, with Secret Garden grown fruit. Once refreshed, go east on Blue Water Road, which dead-ends into Bluff Road. Make a right at Bluff and take in the amazing views of East Grand Traverse Bay as you coast along this scenic route. The loop is about 9.5 miles, and best for moderately experienced bikers.
See Old Mission from a new perspective...the water! Kayaking can be a blast and there are so many awesome spots in and around Traverse City! My personal favorite is from the Bower's Harbor public boat launch. Here, Neahtawanta protects the harbor from strong winds and waves, perfect for smooth sailing. Take the kids, dogs, friends and family! If you're more experienced and the weather allows, kayak to Power Island and explore!
So I might be a little biased but I'd say the Brys family planted their vines in the best spot in town! Fuel up after a hike at Pyatt Lake Nature Reserve with sandwiches from Bad Dog Deli. Munch on those and ice cream at the Secret Garden, or head straight up to the deck for wine and a charcuterie board! Travel by car, bus or bike and end the day with burgers and pizza at the Peninsula Grill. And don't forget some fresh fruit and flowers as souvenirs!
Summer is just around the corner! We'll see you soon!
Click here for a printable Old Mission map.