I set out today to write about some towns I hope to return to. Only one of them, Traverse City, MI was a place Ruth & I visited many years ago. The rest we have been to relatively recently. But as I recalled, reviewed, and researched each of them I ran into difficulties, only one of which was COVID closures.
On a brief visit to Traverse City, Michigan, many years ago we fell in love with the place but have not been back since. Now a city of about 15,000 people, Traverse City is still in a beautiful setting in the northern part of this state. We were there in the summer, and I am wondering now how that might have affected our reaction. What are winter visits like? We drove along Lake Michigan eating local cherries and enjoying the scenery. Is is still so bucolic? We would have to return to find out and we might.
Destination #1. Changes in Traverse City by 2020 might affect our emotional reaction to the place. What I know for sure is that an old state asylum is now a shopping center called The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, but shopping centers have shut during COVID and many were in trouble and losing patronage before the virus struck. Has The Village’s history been incorporated into this shopping center? Visiting it would provide answers. Winery tours on Old Mission Peninsula are popular, but have grape vines replaced the cherry trees we remember and has this peninsula been transformed into vineyards in a decidedly cold climate area with a lighthouse on a beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline of old memories? Traverse City now seems to be a traditional place of bays, lakes, and pumpkin patches. Is the Cherry Connection of Edmondson Orchards a wonderful experience or just a nostalgic throwback?
Destination #2. Ruth has decided that she wants to see Forks, WA again. The publication of Midnight Sun has caused her to think that Forks might spark a surge that will revive interest in this town that was the setting for the Twilight stories. Forks, a town of about 4,000 people was once a forest industry success in the rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula. More than 10 years ago the Twilight books became films making billions of dollars. Forks became a tour center for those who loved the series despite the fact that the 5 films were not filmed in this town. The 1st Twilight movie was filmed in now troubled Portland, Oregon; and I assume that the others were not made in Forks. Are the Hoh Rainforest, unused beaches, and lots of rain reasons enough to travel to this once hot destination? Will Midnight Sun become a blockbuster movie? I personally would rather go back to Port Townsend.
Destination #3. We were in Canyon, TX for a few days. On the first we went to the huge Panhandle Plains History Museum. We were invited to stay after closing to attend a reception for visitors who love Western Art and had traveled to Canyon for its annual show. This party was lots of fun. The next day we experienced an ice storm that kept us in our motel room all day. Luckily, it was an excellent accommodation and next to a restaurant that managed to open. The 3rd day we explored nearby Palo Duro Canyon and had a great time. Our memories are all pleasant, but would a return to Canyon be?
Destination #4. We enjoyed our visit to Beaufort, South Carolina. A man we met in Charleston raved about this town we were not familiar with, its antebellum mansions, and its quaint atmosphere. He told us that Beaufort was his favorite decompression destination, and he liked to just sit on its waterfront and look around. He made it seem charming, and it was a movie set kind of place. We were on our way to Savannah anyway, so we stopped and really liked Beaufort. Would it be worth a 2nd visit?
What about Bandon, OR and Jamestown and Seneca Falls, NY? I checked to see if the new National Comedy Center we visited last year in Jamestown and really liked has reopened and it has.