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Lighthouses & Maritime Attractions
For centuries, Native American hunters and French-Canadian traders traveled the Grand Traverse region by canoe, christening the area “La Grande Traverse” because of the long five-mile crossing at the mouth of Grand Traverse Bay.
During the 19th century, fleets of schooners and steamships brought missionaries, settlers and summer resorters to Traverse City. Cargo vessels carried off huge loads of finished lumber from the sawmills and helped local farmers bring their crops to market each year, while a flourishing fishing industry grew up in some of the region’s smaller coastal towns.
Reminders of that heady time of sail and steam are all around: graceful lighthouses at the water’s edge, picturesque fishing towns, eerie shipwrecks and fascinating living history museums.
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