T-City 125One of the things I enjoyed best about the trip was spending time with Daniel and Alyssa. The image on the right is a reflection – Daniel is being an eighth-grader and messing with his sister. (I’m glad to see Alyssa is still patient. Hope it lasts.) The five of us – Mary, Dom, Daniel and Alyssa – decided to spend an evening walking the downtown. The children and I ate gelato, dissed the tourists and mugged in every window.

Traverse City is beautiful. It has a nice balance. It is not some cheap beach-town littered with souvenir shops and trashy stores or some northern Michigan back-water, hick town. Rather the downtown is manned by local merchants who have managed to keep out the national chains, the graffiti and the garbage. They offer coffee shops manned by local kids, t-shirts designed and printed by local artisans. A canal edges the downtown allowing boats to dock; boaters to pick up pizza; ducks to swim and dive for food; tourists to shop for taffy and t-shirts; locals to work in a tourist environment without being swallowed up by the outsiders. The harbor is filled with motor-boats and sail-boats. It is landscaped with retaining walls and slips. And the sunset colors it red.