By Grady Olson
Rain doesn’t fall here, but it’s misty; my glasses fogged up from the humidity and there’s sandal straps over people’s ankles with shorts on but a Patagonia fleece up top. This is my Traverse City, Michigan experience, hosted by Pabst Blue Ribbon. The lawn is constantly being watered by the sprinkler that makes a rainbow. Water is no issue here due to the Great Lake. Every stretch of grass is green, and the people ask how you’re doing and mean it.
Each room is designed to a theme at The Grand Traverse Motel. There’s the Arcade Room, Dive Bar, and Rec Room. I was in the Rec Room. All are filled with classic memorabilia that the PBR brand represents. Ice cold ones are kept stocked in the hidden mini fridge. An original Nintendo set is plugged into the TV that was taken from your grandma’s house. The whole motel fits into the traditional mindset of PBR with a single metal key to get into your room after checking in at the quaint lobby.
You can see why PBR chose Traverse City — everything about it is up their alley. The burger joints, the pubs, the thrift stores, and even the grocery store all have their own unique style and welcoming charm. At night on the weekends, The Coin Slot Arcade Bar has live music on the roof, with The Little Fleet providing food trucks and ice-cold Palomas to help fight the heat. The scene’s a mellow one, a somber one, things tend to be like that here, slowed down like the lake’s tide coming up. The lake is almost always within two blocks of where you are in town. You can always walk down for a dip to cool off or stroll the canals looking at the boats.
I heard from a few locals that wintertime in Traverse isn’t necessarily where you want to be, temperatures drop below zero and an icy wind blows off the water. I have a feeling once that snow melts next summer, I’ll be coming back for more.