Traverse Tall Ship Company offers two-hour and specialty cruises of Grand Traverse Bay aboard the tall ship Manitou, a beautiful 114-foot replica 1800s schooner. We found them in their new location in the Discovery Center Great Lakes, off M-22 in Traverse City. We purchased tickets for the noon sail ($37 adult, $19 child) and boarded the shuttle for a quick trip across the street to the dock, where a crew member greeted us and gave a short rundown about safety.
You can sit back and relax or channel your inner sailor and help set some of the 3,000 square feet of sails. Clueless, but not wanting to miss the opportunity, we joined a crew member who expertly (and good-naturedly) showed us the ropes, literally. It's all part of a fun and friendly competition with a group doing the same on the opposite side of the ship. We heaved and ho'd and watched as our sail rose high overhead. Our work done, we sat and watched as crew scampered up the mast (it's quite a sight) and climbed on rigging to set the other sails. Knowledgeable and friendly, Captain Dave McGinnis and his crew chat with guests and share the sailing experience; if conditions permit, you can try your hand at the wheel. Snacks and drinks are available to purchase; however, for the noon sail, you can also bring a light lunch (no coolers).
Three two-hour options include the noon sail, afternoon sail (which features Moomers ice cream) and evening sail. Specialty cruises include popular wine and microbrew tastings and overnight bed-and-breakfast sails. If you're looking for a quintessential Michigan moment out on the water, you'll definitely find it here.