When I approached a few friends with the idea of taking a girls’ getaway to lakefront Michigan, I noticed a moment of hesitation. We had just made it through Chicago’s “polar vortex”, scarred by -50 degree Fahrenheit temperatures. What could be more awful than going outside during a time like this? But after a few moments of remembering how winter actually can be enjoyable (remember snowball fights? Hot chocolate? Crackling fires?), the girls stopped the post-traumatic thoughts — and went all in.
Winter doesn’t have to be awful. Though many expect a visit to warm temperatures during the coldest moments in the northern hemisphere, we drove six hours north to Michigan’s golden child, Traverse City. And we were so glad we did. Here are four great activities in Traverse City that just aren’t as awesome when the weather is warm (or at least we think so).
1. Early morning visits to the Bay Bread Company.
We stumbled upon this little gem while staying at a gorgeous apartment that we were offered through FlipKey. Our hosts advised that we order cinnamon rolls, and heaven, they were right. Those rolls, freshly made when we arrived at 7:30am, so soft and gooey and tickling the roofs of our mouths, could not have been more delicious after trudging through various feet of snow. We swore we would return the next morning, but alas, they were closed. Like Rose DeWitt Bukater’s forever lost love story, our brief but fiery romance with the Bay Bread Company will exist only in our hearts (and in these glorious photos).
2. The Women’s Winter Tour.
This annual event empowers women to be active and to have fun. First created in honor of Madeleine Thomas, an adventurous woman who was killed 16 years ago (and coincidentally the former wife of our generous apartment rental host), the event has been going on continuously with snow-shoeing, cross-country skiing, wine tasting, and more chocolate treats than you could ever dream of. After a day of skiing through wine country, nothing beats the dulce de leche deconstructed pie of Confections by Kim.
3. Cross-country skiing and wine tasting, at the same time.
Speaking of wine, did you know that you can actually ski your way through Michigan’s wine country? Check out one of their cross-country skiing and wine tasting tours and you’ll be glad you did. Try a shop like Brick Wheels for your rentals which, in a bout of incredible kindness, rented us a full set of skis and boots to try out — and even stifled laughs as we asked questions like “how do these things go on?” and “can I sit on this bike?” (see photo for proof of our antics).
4. Warm pie at the Grand Traverse Pie Company.
Though you could probably argue that pie is good at any time (as well as their lunchtime treats, which they offered us a selection of upon arrival, which were certainly four-season worthy), you don’t know the warmth and goodness of pie until you’ve braved snowfall and dusted off your coats and fallen into a chair with the scent of freshly baked pastries all around you. And thanks to all of you, I’m getting hungry for pie again. Lest we forget the fireplace along the back so you can warm your feet back up after a long day of snow-frolicking.
But the thing that really made a winter girls’ getaway worthwhile? The wait times. No lines, no traffic, no pressure. And with the coziness of friends to keep you laughing through a cold night with all-too-many bottles of wine, I think a winter getaway may well be on my top list of things to rejuvenate you for Monday morning.