Sleeping Bear Dunes and Traverse City Getaway

In honor of both of our birthdays, plus my 21-year TBI anniversary between them, David and I took a long weekend getaway to Sleeping Bear Dunes and Traverse City, Michigan. We visited Traverse City last October, but we’d never been to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. Friday graced us with perfect hiking weather — sunny and mid-upper 50’s. The wind made it difficult to take clear photographs, but we managed to capture some of our time there.

The path to Empire Bluff felt like Faerie, and everyone leaving the bluff flashed big smiles and expanded hearts. For my part, I couldn’t stop smiling the moment we entered the green:


White Trillium blankets the woods of Sleeping Bear Dunes at this time of year …


… and any clearings offer stunning views, shown here through David’s eyes:




Next, we hiked to Pyramid Point:


We especially loved the birch trees, bursting with bright green new leaves:


We took many drives when the weather turned to rain, but spent much of Saturday and Sunday in Traverse City proper. Having so much water around makes me buoyant and satisfies my 4th house Neptune, who loves living by a large body of water. Chicago (1.5 blocks from Lake Michigan), Vashon Island, Monterey, Lake Tahoe: I love the water, the more the better.

We’ve talked about moving to the Grand Traverse region, but we really love all the amenities and beauty of Kalamazoo and the 1-hour radius around it. T.C. will remain our quick weekend getaway where each stay feels like months rather than days. Quite the reset!

In addition to natural beauty, we filled ourselves with delicious food and evocative, humorous and poignant art. In addition to galleries and shops around the Grand Traverse region, we stopped by Michigan Artists Gallery again, making sure we explored the exhibit “The Art of Coming Undone,” which features 47 Michigan artists. Here’s our lovely friend and gallery owner Sue Ann Round speaking at the May 3, 2019 opening:

We made our usual visits to Higher Self Bookstore, the amazing crystal and fossil shop Nawbin Beads, Horizon Books (open until 11 p.m.!), and Oryana Co-Op. We love the food at the Oryana Cafe and ate there twice this trip. We also enjoyed vegan dinner and Holland Brewing Company’s Dragon’s Milk on tap at Poppycocks. They offer menu items for many different dietary needs. On Saturday, we ate an early dinner at Thai Kitchen, where they can even make curries with no fish sauce. They had us in and out of there in 45 minutes, leaving just enough time to get to the 6:00 showing of Tolkien at Bijou by the Bay.


Like so many other things in Traverse City, the Bijou enchanted us — especially me. I love its location right on the water and that it’s only a single theater. The inside walls feature murals of trees, water, sky and sand. Some of the trees pop out of the wall in a sculptural twist, and the left back corner (as you face the screen) has an eagle’s nest, while the right back corner showcases an owl on her perch.

I won’t share the official trailer to Tolkien here, because it doesn’t do any justice to the film. Yes, Tolkien went to WW1, and we see battle footage. Those who’ve read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings will recognize much of Tolkien’s inspiration for dragons and Mordor in those WW1 scenes. But this biopic feels so much like a Tolkien tale — filled with beauty and so many kinds of true love, from friendship to fairy tale romance. We hear stories, view the forests, and hear sweeping music throughout the piece. It’s so well done that I whispered to David at the end, “This is one I’d like to own.”

My advice? Skip the trailer and run to the film.

The weather cleared and we walked along the Bay’s bike paths, then returned to Horizon Books and Poppycocks for a Dragon’s Milk. Those stops seemed appropriate after all the books and the Norse legends quoted in the film.

Sunday morning, the heavy rains began. Our trip felt so perfect and complete that we decided to leave earlier than first intended. As David opened the hotel door, I felt someone looking in. Not in an alarming way: just in a curious, friendly Ent-like way. I peeked outside, and sure enough, look who stood laughing in the rain:


It was a magical time away from start to finish. We loaded up on Oryana Cafe takeout after brunch there, extending our “taste of Traverse City” through today. I hope you enjoyed a glimpse into our getaway. I love sharing these travels. I hope they inspire taking shorter trips and mini-vacations as a way to fill your heart and soul with a little change and a lot of fun. For us, these day trips or weekends add up to a higher consistent quality of life. They never feel like 24-48 hours — more like a couple months, or time in the Faery Realm. We love where we live, but we also love our adventures!

11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Eliza Ayres on May 20, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Reblogged this on Blue Dragon Journal and commented:
    Happy unBirthday to both of you! Looks like a good time was had by all! That’s pretty country and I ❤ trilliums!

    Liked by 1 person


  2. Thanks for sharing and happiest of birthdays to you and David!  

    Liked by 1 person


  3. Feliz Navigate

    Liked by 1 person


  4. […] « Sleeping Bear Dunes and Traverse City Getaway […]



  5. What a wonderful Magical time you two had and such beautiful surroundings, I have yet to watch your friends Sue’s opening in the video, but I intend to watch later.. and saved for the purpose..
    I can see why you have considered moving there, you can sense the peace and energy of the place..
    Many thanks for sharing 🙂 Loved your photos ❤

    Liked by 1 person


  6. […] The Robinhood rose bush I planted by our back patio leafed out like a trooper, even though it arrived during our Traverse City weekend away: […]



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