Live Bold, Live North: Introducing the Traverse City Fairy Trails

There’s something serene, peaceful and tranquil about Up North that is hard to describe to someone who’s never spent time here, but is instantly recognizable to someone who has. It’s a feeling, a smell, a breath of fresh air, and a peace of mind that is ubiquitous and lasting.

The point is that some places are more than places. They occupy more than physical space, they occupy space in people’s hearts and minds. You don’t have to be there physically to, in fact, be there, because such places embody a spirit that stays with you long after you’ve left.

Traverse City is such a place – one that empowers people to live purposeful, meaningful and active lives. But you don’t need to live here to live this way. Anyone, no matter where they call home, can Live North.

That’s because Living North isn’t just about living in Traverse City. It’s about a state of mind that values experiences over things, revels in the majesty of nature, and passionately chases big dreams.

At its core, Living North is about living boldly – in whatever you do, and wherever you do it.

The Fairy Trails 

For us, part of living boldly is trying to leave a positive mark on our community. These days, given that our world primarily revolves around our three young girls, most of our community activity and involvement is kid-oriented. So we set out to create an experience that our kids, and by extension all kids, will enjoy for years to come.

Eight weeks ago the seed of an idea emerged. Four weeks ago, after discussions two other awesome Traverse City brands, it rooted. And today it is ready to bloom.

Life and Whim, ELF | eat learn frolic, and The Little Fleet are excited to announce the establishment of Traverse City’s new enchanted forest, the Fairy Trails.

While mystical creatures have inhabited the minds and imaginations of Traverse City’s youth for years, Traverse City’s fairies and sprites will now have dwellings of their own in a magical woodland setting just outside of downtown.

The Fairy Trails, which will be officially unveiled on May 1st, will be a place for kids of all ages to explore and discover fairy houses built along the Cedar Cathedral Trail at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons. The trailhead is located near the water tower right outside of ELF.

Come Celebrate at the Spring Fairy Fling on May 1 

The Fairy Trails will be unveiled at the Spring Fairy Fling, a family-friendly, community-wide event on May 1st co-sponsored by Life and Whim, ELF and The Little Fleet. The event will take place at ELF and will feature beverages from The Little Fleet (our favorite place to grab a beer and bite to eat in Traverse City), live music, a Maypole dance, and food by ELF. Event details are available at

All are invited and encouraged to come explore and discover the fairy houses that are being built from all natural materials by local artists on the Fairy Trails. Don’t worry if you can’t make the event – these fairy houses are intended to last through many seasons and grow in number organically as more creative fairy enthusiasts build new fairy dwellings.

That’s right – all are welcome to leave their mark on the Fairy Trails by building a fairy house during the May 1st event or anytime thereafter. The only thing we ask is that houses be made of all natural materials such as tree bark, pine needles, acorns, sticks and pine cones – glue or similar adhesives may also be used. Bring materials with you or scavenge for them while on the trails.

We’re really excited about the May 1st event, and more broadly the unveiling and growth of the Fairy Trails, which we hope will be a place of wonder, whimsy and adventure for Traverse City residents and visitors for years, if not generations to come.

Traverse City is not the first place to establish a fairy trail, but it is the type of community in which endeavours such as this flourish. Fairies were an important part of Celtic folklore and fairy houses can be found in many of Ireland’s forests. A little closer to home, the woodland areas of numerous coastal islands of Maine are dotted with fairy houses that have delighted visitors for years. We’re confident that the Fairy Trails will bring similar joy to kids in Traverse City.

Come join us on May 1st to celebrate spring and the unveiling of the Fairy Trails. We’ll need the help and support of the entire community – those that live here and those that simply love it here – to make Traverse City’s new enchanted forest a lasting part of this magical community.

We’ve had lots of fun helping bring the Fairy Trails to life. It’s been an opportunity to see the world through a child’s eyes, from dreaming up the concept, to scouting the trails, to designing a whimsical brand (big hat tip to Heather for her creative work). Now the creativity and imagination of Traverse City’s fairy enthusiasts can come to life as the fairy houses of the Fairy Trails take shape. We can’t wait to see you in the woods!