Great Lake Trip – Day 7 – Michigan
Traverse City, Michigan
Traverse City is on the northwest edge of Michigan – at the little finger of “the mitt”, as Michigan is often referred to because of its shape. It is situated on an enormous bay called the Grand Traverse Bay. Most of the city is centered around the westernmost bay of the two minor bays that extend from the Grand bay, called West Arm Grand Traverse Bay and East Arm Grand Traverse Bay.
The Boardman River flows into West Arm Grand Traverse Bay, in fact right below our window. Before the river wanders through the town and flows into the bay, it goes through a lovely lake, also in the city, aptly called Boardman Lake. As we walked around some of its shores a dozen sailboats launched and sailed away.
We continued to be impressed with the amount of public walkways in Michigan. This one is a pedestrian bridge as the Boardman Lake continues into the city.
The Great Lakes Maritime Academy is just to the east of your “resort”. In the harbor is the grand State of Michigan, which is used for training purposes. Graduates from this academy are licensed to sail the lakes and the oceans.
Here’s an aerial view of the harbor in summer months. In the background you can see Lake Boardman. The resort is to the right of the harbor.
For lunch each day we try to find a historic site to eat. Traverse City is privileged to have the oldest continually run tavern in the state. Sleder’s Tavern has been open since 1882. It has seen several wars, numerous changes in the economics of the region, not to mention the Prohibition. Yet it continued to welcome visitors and travelers over all those years.
It was founded by Vencel Sleder in a working class neighborhood called Slabtown. It took 3 years to build since the neighbors only worked on Sundays. They used any kind of scrap or donated lumber they could find.
Louie Sleder, a third generation owner, tells the story of how his mother Polly focused on exceptional goodwill in the town. When people came by to buy a case of beer for $1.50, she gave them a double shot and a beer as a bonus – a practice that surely kept her customers happy. During the Prohibition, they kept a barrel of “root beer” at the ready, which they served in teas cups. The root beer was actually a mix of bourbon and rye. Officers drank for free, of course.
This is the original bar of Sleder’s, as is the tin ceiling.
The dining/bar area is surrounded by stuffed animals, who stare hungrily at each plate served.
The most famous of these trophies is Randolph. It is rumored good luck to “smooch the moose”. By the way, Sleder’s is on Randolph Street.
These are not the original doors to Sleder’s.
These are. They still keep them in the back, complete with old posters that were taped to them long ago.
Oh yes. The food was good. The service was genuine. I had some fried flounder and my wife decided on a trusty hamburger. I loved the slaw side.
Now you know a little more about Traverse City, Michigan. Beautiful town. Plenty of coffee houses. I spent a few hours in one working on some writing. A city with many interesting sites and activities.
Tomorrow we drive a little further North – about one and a half hours – to Petoskey, Michigan. We only have one night scheduled there, and after arriving we regretted we couldn’t spend more time there. There’s a lot to show you in this coastal town. See you there.