The Grand Traverse Bay, white sandy beaches, lighthouses, boating, wine tasting, parasailing, friends, great food, and horse shows… what’s not to LOVE about Traverse City, Michigan? That’s exactly why I love vacationing in this beautiful city! I am lucky to get to spend anywhere from two weeks to a month here with my horses every July. This place has become such an oasis to me in my busy life. It brings back memories of being a midwest girl living that lake life, when you spend the entire day until sunset in your bathing suit and you are on the water all day. I grew up on boats (my father is as passionate about boating as I am about horses so I had the best of both of these worlds growing up).

From the bay to Torch Lake and everywhere in between, I absolutely love the views. And then there is the food. Local farmer’s markets, fresh caught lake fish, local breweries and wineries too. It is UNREAL. And then factor in that I get to go on this spectacular vacation with my horses and it is literally my heaven.

The Great Lakes Equestrian Festival is an Equestrian Festival which was founded in 2004 and offers a series of  competitions which take place throughout the summer at Flintfield’s Horse Park.

Every year this festival brings together thousands of the country’s best horses and riders to compete in the disciplines of show jumping. Great Lakes Equestrian Festival also hosts national and locally ranked events for the show hunter, open breed and equitation rider. I have had some amazing moment over the years with my horses competing here, and it is incredibly rewarding because the competition is fierce.

Not only did we bring our team and the horses to Traverse City, we also bring the pups!

When I am not at the horse show I cannot wait to enjoy s’mores, having campfires, enjoying the festivities of the annual TC Cherry Festival, swimming in the bay and dining out at some the best restaurants in the city! Traverse City is known for their wonderful restaurants and some of our favorites are Apache Trout Grill overlooking West Bay, Trattoria Stella, and North Peak Brewery in downtown Traverse City. Stella is many known for local, curated fine regional Italian food, local and other worldly wines by the glass, carafe and bottle. From the light and bubbly to the big and bold, there is a knowledgeable service staff and three sommeliers in house, selecting the perfect wine becomes an effortless part of your evening. And that is AMAZINGGGG.

I am also a HUGE fan of the Boathouse, which is nestled on the shores of beautiful Bowers Harbor the Boathouse takes full advantage of its delightful view of the docks and bay with wide-open windows and a summer deck. Indoors, the charming decor invokes a relaxed cottage atmosphere where both the casually and formally attired feel welcome

The Secret Garden is one of my FAVORITE PLACES. Located at Brys Estate with over 6,000 lavender plants, a fresh flower garden, a strawberry patch, a blueberry patch, an herb garden and more! Guests can enjoy strolling the garden, picnic areas and browsing a variety of handmade lavender products in the farmhouse inspired garden shop with a wrap around porch. They also offer lavender lemonade as well as 5 flavors of custom made Moomer’s Ice Cream using their own strawberries, blueberries and lavender. It is a lovely, peaceful place!

We spend time here with our friends and our family, and it is always so amazing. Last year, one of our dearest friends Matt came and stayed with us in the camper and so did my sister and brother in law. And of course, my parents make the trek annually as well. Is it truly such a fun time, because my horse friends are all there, and so many people come to visit that it is truly weeks of laid back, well earned rest.

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