Traverse City becomes wine destination

Traverse City turned out to be a foodie paradise (Iron Chef Mario Batali has a home in the area). That wasn’t the big surprise, though. It was the wine.

The resort town earned its reputation thanks to its geographically elite position on Lake Michigan. Grand Traverse Bay sits northwest on the state’s lower peninsula, surrounded by forest, sand dunes and farmland. Think Door County, but bigger and with more cherries.

On a map, two peninsulas – Leelanau and Old Mission – splay out on the east side of the lake like skinny fingers. In the middle is Traverse City. It’s the location that allows the area to host a wine trail that, although small by California standards, can meet even a wine snob’s expectations.

During the first trip, we went in with only a half-baked plan and a restaurant name – Cook’s House. It was early June, about a week before the official start of tourist season. Prices for lodging go up when school lets out.

The Beach Haus, a vintage hotel with a private beach on the north end of town, had rates so cheap I asked why the room could be had for under $80 a night when most other beachside hotels started at $100 or more. The clerk gave two reasons: It was a preseason rate and the hotel’s décor was old. But it was clean and the staff was friendly, she assured me.

Right on both counts.

We brought the family, three grown daughters, a significant other and the family dog, for our second visit over Memorial Day. It cost $1,500 a week to rent a four-bedroom house on one of the area’s smaller lakes that we found on www.vacationrentals.com. The price included two kayaks. We would have had to pay $550 to use the pontoon boat for the week, but the weather and our pocketbooks didn’t cooperate, so we skipped it.

Instead, we timed the wine tours for the drizzly cold weather, which left the nicer days and nights open for cooking paella on an open flame, kayaking, taking in a minor-league baseball game, shopping and more eating.

The Cook’s House, the restaurant that got us to Traverse City in the first place, moved to quarters bigger than the tiny storefront that we dined in on our first trip. The night of our visit, the restaurant manager set the hospitality bar high by giving us suggestions for wineries to visit and other restaurants we might like, including one set on the grounds of the former state hospital.

The Cook’s House shifted to an old house only a block away from its former location to border Traverse City’s downtown, an intact shopping area where T-shirt shops blend with the stores selling all things cherry (Traverse City has unofficially dubbed itself the cherry capital). The town is small, and it’s easy to walk from one end to the other. A bustling downtown farmers market on Saturdays is overshadowed only by picturesque glimpses of Lake Michigan.

Tourist Destination for Harry Potter

Harry Potter, the film adaptation of novels by JK Rowling has also given birth places of unique and interesting tourist attractions spread across the U.S., London to Scotland.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios – Orlando, Florida
You could feel the direct experience in the magical world of Harry Potter. Starting from entering your name into the Goblet of Fire (Goblet of Fire), Chinese Fireball Dragon ride up into the courtyard of Hogwarts. In addition to these exciting rides, Harry Potter fans can also choose the wand in Ollivander’s shop, tasting candy at Honeydukes and try different toys weird, like ‘Extendable Ears’ at Zonko’s Joke Shop. Visit Universal Studios

Harry Potter: The Exhibition – New York
Want to see a variety of costumes and properties used when filming Harry Potter and the players wear? Then Discovery Times Square in New York could be an option. Here, you will be amazed with the many miraculous properties that have been used starting from the first film to eight. Not only can you see it up close, visitors can also interact. For example, felt himself holding the Quidditch in hand.

Harry Potter In Great Britain – London and Oxford
Enjoying everything about Harry Potter, in addition to London, England? Most of the set of Harry Potter is here. Many travel agencies offer tours to specific places that appear in books and movies. Like the Millennium Bridge which destroyed the Death Eaters in the series ‘Half-Blood Prince’, or platform 9-3/4 at King’s Cross station. If you want to feel so muris Hogwarts dormitory, can stay at one hotel shaped Hogwarts Castle near London. Want a cheaper lodging, There are many places that deliberately designed like a pub sorcerers, the Leaky Cauldron.

Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden Set Tour – Hertfordshire, England
This place may not have been made, but it was very popular among fans of Harry Potter. For 10 years, Harry Potter filming done at Leavesden Studios, Hertfordshire, England. Now that production is complete, Warner Bros.. plans to open a studio ‘The Making of Harry Potter’. This studio will provide an opportunity for the lovers of Harry Potter to see some of the settings where filming. As Dumbledore’s office, the Great Hall of Hogwarts and the Dursleys in Privet Drive. This studio will be open to the public in the spring of 2012.

Edinburgh, Scotland
In Edinburgh. This is where the location of the establishment of fictional Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and JK Rowling. Edinburgh is also a city where Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter novel. You will be invited to tour the tenement so silent witness to how hard life lived 45-year-old writer before successful and famous. There is also Elephant House, a cafe, where Rowling draft for her first book. Edinburgh is also the site of filming scenes on the Hogwarts Express. Many places in this city that became the set of Harry Potter at the out door.