Cherry Festival: Traverse City, Michigan

If you’re aching to get away just for the hell of it, Traverse City, Michigan is as good a destination as any other. Michigan’s coastline is often times discounted by travelers, but the state has actually racked up more beachfront mileage than any other state in the continental USA, even including California. Traverse City’s waters belong to Lake Michigan, but because of the peninsula in the area, you’ll find the waters are actually warm—unlike the blistering cold waters found in other Michigan beaches. If you’d like to get away for a reason, not just for the hell of it, and if you happen to like cherries, then allow me to put Traverse City’s Annual Cherry Festival on your radar.

The festival isn’t a place you go to get away from everyone else, but if you like cherries, it’s where you go to meet every single one of your fruit fantasies—to meet them and bring them home with you, too. Cherry wine. Cherry and Cinnamon Peanut Butter. Cherry Licorice. Cherry pie. Cherries by the carton. Cherry tea. You can explore the depths of cherry-anything at Cherry Festival all while indulging in the simple pleasures that ride on the coattails of your standard carnival: elephant ears and Ferris Wheels, glow sticks and evangelizing sign-holding Christians. Best of all? You can stay at a Cherry-themed waterfront hotel.

While open year-round, the Cherry Tree Inn, I imagine, is at its peak during Cherry Festival. With cherry print carpeting through out and fresh cherries for the taking at the front desk, it’s difficult to imagine this hotel during any other season. As kitschy as it may seem, there’s something undeniably awesome about Cherry Tree Inn: gigantic rooms.

Most hotels try to avoid giving you space (have you been to London?), but Cherry Tree Inn does the opposite. They give you a two person jacuzzi beside your king size bed. They give you a kitchenette. They give you a balcony from which you can gaze onto the calming still waters of Lake Michigan at sunset. They even give you a tv in the bathroom.

So whether you’re in Traverse City for the cherries or the not, this is a hotel you don’t want to accidentally overlook. You’ll get more for your money than you’re used to and complimentary cherry-topped waffles in the morning as part of the breakfast included.

By: Elizabeth Seward, Photos By: Ben Britz