Friday, January 18, 2013

Return to Traverse City

I love to travel and there are so many places I’d have wanted to return to. Unfortunately, I don’t get to do it too often since new destinations are always presenting themselves.

Traverse City was one of the first places I visited as a wine and spirits travel writer and I fell in love with the food and wine, as well as the beauty of Lake Michigan. I vowed I would return someday. It took three years, but I finally got to make that trip.

My friend Lisa and I were staying at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa during this getaway. I had visited it briefly my last time here and was anxious to stay and check out this full service resort.

Our stay started in one of my favorite places – the spa – and it happened that the Grand Traverse Spa has been voted when of the top spas in America so it didn’t get much better than this.

We could see right away how this spa earned its honors. Within 7,000 square feet (on two floors) there were 23 treatment rooms as well as a relaxing area and a salon. There was also a separate area for the gym, tennis and a huge pool, which included a children’s area with slides.

After enjoying the pool, whirlpool and sauna, I settled in with a cup of tea and a book before my scrumptious 80 minute Cherry-Infused Massage.

Lisa hit the jackpot with the Spa Grand Traverse Body Renewal, a spa experience she couldn’t stop raving about. She had an aromatherapy soak, hot stone massage, massage oil application, warm linen wrap and neck, scalp and face massage. All of this was done using local ingredients, such as wild birch and wintergreen native to the area.

We didn’t have a lot of time before getting ready for dinner at Aerie Restaurant. I had eaten at this restaurant before, enjoying both the night views of Traverse City and the fantastic menu. I wasn’t disappointed on my return.

I sipped an Argentinian Sauvignon Blanc from Aerie’s huge wine list as Lisa savored about her Lump Crab Cakes. She continued on the seafood mode as I warmed up with the Gratin of Onion Soup. Our appetizers were served with Aerie’s signature unique breads with (locally made) olive oil and vinegar. On this night it was a Cherry Herb Asiago and a Raisin Bread with Chipotle Olive Oil and Peach Vinegar – a perfect combination.

Both our main courses were just incredible as Lisa had a “melt in your mouth” filet with blue cheese and I enjoyed a flavorful Osso Bucco with a Saffron Risotto. We managed to find a little room left for the Assorted Mini Cheesecakes, which included a tasty Mango with Raspberry as well as a coconut one.

After a nightcap in Jack’s Sports Bar, Lisa and I headed up to our rooms at the Grand Traverse to get some sleep before a full day of exploring Traverse City.

P.S. Thanks to my loyal readers for still being here after my long absence. I am sorry that it's been awhile since I have been producing fresh blogs. It is not a habit I plan on getting into. I faced major surgery in December that was surrounded by complications, but I’m back on the mend and ready to start writing away regularly!

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