Prior to your fit-trip: Book the B&B reservation, then load up your bikes, swimsuits, healthy snacks for the road, etc. Don’t forget a Michigan map!
Start out by navigating yourself to the east side of Traverse City, MI (415 E. Front St. to be exact) where you will find the best BBQ, hands down, at Spark’s BBQ food truck. Pick your level of spiciness and enjoy it alone or in a sandwich along with the Avocado Bruschetta. You could also try the BBQ Sundae which is packed with protein! Plan to eat here for lunch as they open at 11:00 a.m. and are only open until they sell out of food. There are tables there to eat with plenty of napkins available. You could also walk to find a shady spot to sit and enjoy your food. (There is a nice bench not far to the east.) After you’ve enjoyed that BBQ goodness, take some time to experience downtown Traverse City and buy a souvenir or two.
Next, start your small trek up to the town of Ellsworth to find The House on the Hill Bed and Breakfast (approx. 50 min. drive). The check-in time here is between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. The House on a Hill could not be more perfectly located in the country, on a hill, overlooking the sparkling Saint Clair Lake, close to Traverse City, Torch Lake, Elk Lake, Charlevoix and Petoskey. B&Bs are the way to go in order to experience the area to the fullest! Watercraft (kayaks, canoe and paddle boards) are available for use at no extra charge. They also have a private beach, a dock for fishing and 50 acres of groomed hiking paths, waterfall included. (In the winter, they also offer snowshoes and are located close to world class ski resorts.) After you check in, grab a couple kayak paddles and get out on the water. St. Clair Lake is part of The Chain of Lakes so plenty of exploring is available. Dinner options are available closeby to the B&B (there are flyers in the lobby) or you can drive about 15-20 minutes north to the beautiful town of Charlevoix where dining options abound. After dinner, consider driving to Fisherman’s Island State Park and take the short, wooded hike up to Lake Michigan waterfront. There you will find a fire pit available for use.
**Side note: If you’re into road biking, consider exploring the area via The “Breezeway”, a rural ride along C-48 from Atwood through Ellsworth and East Jordan, ending in Boyne Falls. Be ready for some ups and downs as you pass by farms, orchards, galleries, scenic overlooks, and more.
In the morning, go for a run or walk while the dew is still on the grass and a slight haze over the water. Getting to know an area is best done on foot or bike! You will be well rewarded for your efforts afterwards with the 9:00 a.m. breakfast served by The House on the Hill staff (also included in your rate). Our breakfast experience included warm sourdough bread with homemade jam, banana parfait and a vegetable omelette with asiago cheese. After breakfast, make your way to Friske Orchard on U.S. 31 in Atwood (approx. 10 minutes from the B&B). There you will find fresh, local produce, sweet Northern Michigan cherries, rare types of honey, and more. Travel South on US-31. Just past (south of) the 88 junction in the Torch Lake area, look on the right (west) side of the road for a brown and white sign with an arrow to a nature preserve. You will want to check this out. After traveling the 1/2 mile dirt road arched with beautiful trees, you will literally drive and park approx. 15 feet from the Lake Michigan shoreline. Get out and explore the water, search for Petoskey stones, and take a swim! You will not experience such crystal clear, blue/green water in many other places in the world! The Great Lakes are incredible, aren’t they? While you’re there, enjoy the beautiful hiking trails the nature preserve has to offer. Get your heart rate up and get that exercise in!
When you’ve worked up an appetite, travel back North on US 31 for no more than 1/2 mile until you reach the 88 junction again. Turn right (east) on 88 and take it to Bellaire (approx. 20 min drive). Eat lunch or dinner at Short’s Brewing Company located in downtown Bellaire. The “Buckingham Green” salad is delicious! BBQ chicken mixed with lime and cilantro, black beans and more. If you’re there in the evening, you’ll be sure to enjoy some live music too.
That’s it, folks! Get out and be fit! Have a great time!
Essential Fitness Oils is rooting for you!