Traverse City is the county seat of Grand Traverse County, although a small portion extends into Leelanau County. It is the largest city in the 21-county Northern Michigan region. The population was 14,674 at the 2010 census, with 143,372 in the Traverse City micropolitan area. The Traverse City area is the largest producer of tart cherries in the United States. Near the time of cherry harvest, the city hosts the annual week-long National Cherry Festival in the first full week of July, attracting approximately 500,000 visitors annually. The surrounding countryside also produces grapes, and is one of the leading centers of wine production in the Midwest. Tourism, both summer and winter, is another key industry. The Traverse City area features varied natural attractions, including freshwater beaches, vineyards, a National Lakeshore, downhill skiing areas, and numerous forests. In 2009, Trip Advisor named Traverse City the number two small town travel destination in the United States. In 2012, the city was listed among the 10 best places to retire in the U.S., by U.S. News. The city is the main inland port of the Grand Traverse Bay – a long, natural harbor separated from the waters of Lake Michigan by the Leelanau Peninsula, and divided longitudinally almost evenly by a narrow peninsula of tiered hillsides and farmland called Old Mission Peninsula.
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