Midwest Living Review
An overnight or two in one of the newly renovated condos in The Village at Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City is just what the doctor ordered to fight the winter blues. The former home of the Traverse City State Hospital (also known as the Northern Michigan Asylum), this 63-acre complex is undergoing a major facelift to bring it back from the depths of depression. Meant to revive the concept of community, The Village is constantly growing and blossoming in a multitude of ways and is touted as the nation's largest, historic preservation reclamation project of its kind. Trattoria Stella's -- one of Michigan's finest Italian restaurants -- anchors Building 50, the largest building at nearly a quarter-mile in length. From there, the winding Mercato leads to eclectic shops, galleries, eateries and even a winery. On Saturdays throughout the winter, the brick-lined walkways of the Mercato bustle with visitors and local shopping at the weekly farmers market. The second floor of Building 50 houses offices and service businesses, like spas and fitness facilities. The upper floors showcase studio condos and half-million-dollar units, much grander than the rooms that once housed patients. Scattered throughout the grounds, buildings are being reclaimed and repurposed. The former fire house is now Pleasanton Bakery; the laundry facility is now home to Left Foot Charley Winery and Higher Grounds Coffee; the potato barn is now The Underground Cheesecake Co. All support the developer's philosophy of reinventing and reinvesting in the lost art of community, supporting each other with events and local-focused initiatives. After indulging in all The Village has to offer, walk the grounds and gaze at the majestic brick complex with its regal red spires. The Village is nestled among 480 acres of preserved parkland, and a series of trails meander throughout -- as does Kid's Creek. Step into a pair of cross-country skis or snowshoes and set out for one of the six trailheads on the adjoining property. Considered one of the best kept secrets of northern Michigan, The Village is sure to become a favorite winter destination.