A Beautiful Start to Christmas Week: And Who’s Open for Dinner on Christmas Day?

December Morning at West End Beach: Downtown Traverse City

December Morning at West End Beach: Downtown Traverse City

By MIKE NORTON

At last! Early winter’s persistent overcast disappeared late Sunday night, revealing a bright winter moon and giving us a splendid pink-and-lavender dawn to mark the start of the Christmas week! It was a cold walk to work this morning, but made wonderful by the bright sunshine reflecting off the bay and the surrounding hills. Give me “cold and clear” over “warm and gloomy” any day!

That’s how it is when you live along the water. We love our snowfall, but the beauty of winter really arrives when it gets cold enough for the clouds to move away and let the sun shine down on all this glittery, diamond brightness of wind-carved drifts, crystalline ice and powdery snow sifting down from the trees. And since winter got an early start this year, it looks as though it’s moving even sooner into its prettiest stage!

Icicles and Ice Fog at the West Bay Open Space

I did some cross-country skiing Sunday afternoon on the trails around the Old Mission Point lighthouse, and the conditions were so perfect that I overextended myself a bit. You know how it is when you just go on and on, enjoying the prospect of what you’ll see around the next bend or over the next hill…. And then comes the moment when you realize it’s time to turn around and go back the way you came. Hey, no complaints – it’s a great place to ski (or snowshoe, or just walk around).

Saturday is Christmas Day, and some of my readers may want to know where they can find a restaurant in Traverse City that’s open on Christmas (not as easy as you might think!) Here’s a list that the folks at the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau have put together.. it’s probably not complete, so if you know of any other places that are serving Christmas dinner, let me know and we’ll add it in! One thing you might want to know (if you don’t already) is that Michigan state law prohibits the sale of alcohol on Christmas Day — so don’t expect your favorite bar or tavern to be open, and if enjoying an alcoholic beverage is an important part of your Christmas observance, you might want to stock up ahead of time.

Holiday Inn West Bay
Christmas Buffet featuring Prime Rib
Hours: Noon-5 pm
Great Wolf Lodge
Christmas Breakfast Buffet
Hours: 7:30 am-11am Reservations not necessary.
Adults-$9.95, kids 4-10yrs-$4.95, 3yrs and under are free
Christmas Dinner Buffet
Hours: 4 pm-9 pm
Adults-$19.95, teens 11-15yrs.-$12.95, kids 4-10yrs. $7.95, under 3 yrs. free
Grand Traverse Resort & Spa
Aerie Restaurant-Brunch
Hours: 11 am-6 pm Reservations are highly recommended.
Adults-$22.95, kids 6-12yrs-$11.95, 6 yrs and under are free. Beverages, tax, and gratuities are not included in pricing above. Parties of 8 or more add 18% gratuity.
Sweetwater Café: 534-6000
Hours: Breakfast 7am-11:30am
Lunch-11:30am-5pm
Dinner-5pm-10pm
Shanty Creek Resorts
Lakeview Restaurant (reservations recommended)
Breakfast Buffet: 8am-12pm
Lunch: Noon-2pm
Dinner: 6pm-9pm Order off the menu, plus special holiday features.
Cambria Suites
Breakfast Buffet Hours: 7am-11am
Adults-$7.95, kids 10yrs & under ½ price.
Leelanau Sands Casino, Suttons Bay
Double Eagle Restaurant
Hours: 8 am-10 pm
Turtle Creek Casino, Williamsburg
Bourbon 72
Breakfast-7:30 am-11 am
Lunch 11:30 am-3 pm
Dinner 5 pm-10 pm
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About mikelovestc

These days, I’m the media relations guy for the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau, but before that I spent 25 years as a reporter and columnist at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, a job that frequently took me out into the most remote backroads, forests, beaches and islands of the beautiful Grand Traverse Region. My strategy was pretty simple — just drive, paddle, ski or walk until you’re certain you’re lost, and then find somebody to talk to. It was a great job! I never intended to live in Traverse City. I grew up in Grand Rapids, spent four years in the Coast Guard in places like Miami Beach, Monterey and San Francisco, and when I finally graduated from college I took a summer job at the Miami Herald. To my surprise, I discovered I didn’t like the tropics nearly as much as I thought I would — and when the Record-Eagle offered me a job I took it, figuring I’d put in a year or two and head off to someplace like Seattle or Portland. What I discovered very quickly is that this place gets to you in a variety of unexpected ways. The beaches here are as lovely as anyplace else I’ve ever been, the weather is mild all year round — warm enough for swimming in September and cold enough for skiing in December — and just about the time you’re getting tired of one season you get another one every bit as pleasant. The people are laid-back and friendly, the music and arts scene is awesome, and the place still hasn’t gotten so sophisticated that a guy like me feels out of place.
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