It is so nice to see this old state asylum being renovated and turned into useful shops and condos. While it is still a work in progress, you can see the potential as you drive up around the old barns and see pictures of what the plans are for each building and area. The dairy barn will be a beautiful indoor venue for weddings, parties, and all wood interior. The outside area will be the future home for outdoor concerts and venues with an amphitheater and tiered levels to place lawn chairs in to enjoy concerts. There are a variety of restaurants, small (expensive) boutiques in the Mercato section that has been refurbished. I recommend taking the elevators up to the upper floors that are mostly offices, but just to look at the architecture of the building with the high ceilings, and the exquisite baseboard molding that curves around the walls. Just beautifully done. They offer tours of areas of renovation, areas under construction, an old cottage that used to house patients, and the infamous underground tunnels. Must be 12 or older, kids must be with adults. $25/person for a roughly 2 hour tour. Make reservation via their website. I was bummed we missed the Underground Cheesecake factory by 5 minutes. We did get coffee and pastry at a bakery that cooks in a brick oven. One of the shops in the Mercato section has gelato and Moomer's ice cream, plus a nice assortment of chocolates and other items such as jams, honey, etc. from various local merchants. You can see walking the grounds the potential of this area as a future destination spot in Traverse City. Gardens, parks, playground areas, walking/biking paths, etc.
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