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Women's Winter Getaway- Traverse City, Michigan

Traverse City Offers Great Women's Getaways

By Mike Norton

By this time of year, many of us have had our fill of winter.
And that's a shame, because March can be the very best time of year to enjoy the pleasures of a snowy forest, a sun-drenched ski hill or a midnight display of the northern lights. The days are longer, the weather is brighter, and the approach of spring lends a certain last-chance poignancy to the experience.

Shopping the strip in Traverse City
Shopping along Front Street

To be sure, late winter weather can be a chancy thing. That's why a destination like Traverse City, on the northwest coast of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, is the perfect spot for a "last hurrah" getaway, especially for the girls. Surrounded by a glacier-carved landscape of lakes, bays and rolling hills, this resort community provides a wide spectrum of winter recreation, with opportunities for shopping, nightlife and fine dining.

Many of those opportunities can be sampled along Front Street, the main shopping thoroughfare, which blends funky sophistication with picturesque 19th-century charm. With over 150 boutiques, shops, restaurants and galleries, it's a great place to ramble, browse and linger.

An added benefit is that late winter and spring are the "shoulder season" in this part of the world, when room rates are low and some great bargains can be found. For example, the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau is running a special "Girlfriends Getaway" packages that combine special low rates at 20 participating hotels and resorts — as low as $24.50 per person per night — with a wide variety of discounts ranging from shopping and dining to entertainment and pampering.

The packages, which run from Feb. 1 to June 12, include discounts for shopping, dining, casino gaming and clubbing, and can be enriched with such add-ons as spa treatments.

Cross-country Skiing, one of Traverse City's many silent sports
Cross-Country Skiing

Thanks to its vast acreage of forest and parkland, Traverse City is probably best known for the quality of its winter "silent sports:"' snowshoe hiking and cross-country skiing. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has eight marked trails, some leading to panoramic views above the lake.

Other marked trail systems include the Lost Lake Pathway near Interlochen, the 3,500-acre Sand Lakes Quiet Area near Williamsburg and the Vasa Pathway, one of the finest cross-country ski trails in the nation. Within the city, the 300-acre Grand Traverse Commons features superb skiing and snowshoeing in parklike grounds among century-old, European-style buildings and stands of old-growth pines.

The Timber Ridge Resort, a cross-country ski and snowshoe center in the hills south of town, offers a March 5 "Wednesday Women's Night" where women gather for lessons, clinics, food and fun on the resort's lit trail system.

When it comes to downhill skiing, the region's premiere full-service winter destination is undoubtedly Shanty Creek Resorts, a 4,500-acre recreational complex in the beautiful Chain of Lakes region about 30 miles northeast of Traverse City.

Ski Magazine rated Shanty Creek the Midwest's number-one destination in value, dining, lodging, weather and après ski activities. Its ski areas feature a 450-foot vertical with 49 runs for every ability level, plus four snowboarding parks and a tubing park.

Other skiers have prefer staying closer to town, taking advantage of low lodging rates and a broad choice of shopping, dining and entertainment options. For them, Traverse City's two day ski areas, Mt. Holiday and Hickory Hills, provide a welcome alternative

Snowmobilers tend to head south and east of town, where more than 200 miles of the country's finest, most diverse snowmobiling wait for them in the enchanted Boardman and Jordan River valleys.

There's something for every taste, whether it's twisting and turning through dense hardwood forests, touring over hills, bridges, and waterways, or racing across wide-open spaces with plenty of room to enjoy the fresh white powder. Best of all, both trail systems are close to Traverse City's hotels, resorts and restaurants, an important consideration at the end of a long day of sledding.

IF YOU GO…

Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau
101 W. Grandview Parkway,
Traverse City, Mich. 49684
(800) 940-1120

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
(231) 326-5134

Timber Ridge Resort
4050 Hammond Road
Traverse City, Mich. 49686
(800) 909-2327

Shanty Creek Resorts
1 Shanty Creek Road
Bellaire, Mich. 49615
(800) 678-4111


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