Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Dairy Lodge

Americana is on display everyday at Traverse City's The Dairy Lodge.

Ah July in Traverse City. Many folks make the trek "up state" during this time of year. Of course, a huge amount of non-Michiganders make their way to the Grand Traverse Region during July as well. Why? Because things seem to be just reaching perfect during this favorite summer month. The water has all but lost its icy bite from the past winter's chill. Temps are steady, maintaining a 75-100 degree span, rarely lower, only sometimes higher. Festivals are rolling through the region, people's vacation time is kicking in and summer sales are beginning to hit throughout Traverse City.

Yes, this truly is the perfect time to be in TC, take in an open air concert, spend a day beaching and wrap it all up with one of Traverse City's oldest summer mainstays, The Dairy Lodge.

Locals and travellers alike love this outdoors ice cream parlor.

The Dairy Lodge has long been a family tradition for locals and visitors alike. Centrally located (nestled on the edge of Slabtown), it is within walking distance of downtown and all of the major beaches. Children love the creative toppings for the small cones......which, truthfully, are not that small!

Grown-ups tend to gravitate toward the flurries or shakes. I certainly do. On my last visit to The Dairy Lodge I ordered a thin mint flurry (as in the Girl Scouts cookies). It was fun!

Be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to peruse the many menus at The Dairy Lodge!

Now, as is to be expected, this TC tradition is a grand outing for a fun end to an awesome day. But, if you're looking for the absolute best ice cream in all of Traverse City, this place, and those like it, do not meet that description. However, The Dairy Lodge takes a pretty boring product (soft serve ice cream) and turns it into something slightly magical! How? Well, with their creative toppings, dips and mixes, of course!

But, as any mother that has never appeared on Maury will tell you, no dinner begins with ice cream. The Diary Lodge has a small, but fun, selection of "sandwiches", as you can see by the above photo (fyi, clicking on that photo, and any other photo in this blog, will enlarge the photo, thus making it readable! Genius!). The sandwiches, actually a small collection of outdoor American fare standbys, are priced perfectly. All come on a bun. There are a few hot dog versions and a sloppy joe. 

Like I said, MANY menus.

After you've noshed on whatever bunned creation you may be craving, it's time for the real decision making to begin. Again, as you can see by the two above pictures and the one below, The Dairy Lodge takes their everyday form of iced cream pretty seriously. As I've mentioned before in this blog, these guys work with one of my least favorite forms of dessert (soft serve) and they actually make it palatable, in MANY ways, as evidenced by their decorative window coverings......otherwise known as their menus.

Yeah, this is not an indecisive person's paradise!

Again, as I wrote before, my favorite thing to sample here would be their flurry creations. they always have some sort of special flurry that usually sounds and tastes pretty swell. For those of you that don't enjoy ice cream, there are plenty of frozen fruit whip and frozen yogurt options. Be sure to study these menus carefully, yo! They also do some grand banana split and strawberry shortcake action!

While few will disagree that soft serve ice cream is the worst sort of lie (ice cream-wise, that it is), The Dairy Lodge takes this mediocre product and jazzes it up quite nicely!

Most of The Dairy Lodge's patrons come by in the evening after the day has begun to wind down, dinner has been served (either at home or at another area restaurant, Sledder's folks LOVE coming here after dinner) and nothing sounds better than a little melty nostalgia.

When it comes right down to it, that's what The Dairy Lodge truly offers, a way to escape the rat race and enjoy a bit of the sweet life in a setting that your grandparents would easily recognize and relax within. This is America, tucked neatly into a sugary cone. This is how we've unwound as a nation during the warmer days of the year for almost a century. If you're into that sort of old time relaxation, the kind that allows you to sit back and watch the world go by, the The Dairy Lodge is the place for you!

(All photos by Brooks Vanderbush)

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