Beauty as therapy.” Dr. James Decker Munson, first superintendent of the Traverse City State Hospital (originally named Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane) relied on this intuitive treatment philosophy to guide care from 1885 to 1924. And though treatment strategies for mental illness evolved during the 20th century, the beautiful setting of the hospital surely played a role in helping patients through their day to day. The hospital closed in 1989 and was nearly demolished, but then the Minervini Group bought the sprawling complex (peak population: 3,000), renamed it The Village at Grand Traverse Commons and turned it into the nation’s largest historical renovation project. Today, the site buzzes with restaurant-goers, shoppers, office workers, condominium residents and the sounds of more construction. The grounds are still lovely. Out back, trails for hiking, biking, skiing and snowshoeing lace over and around forested hills. Beauty as therapy—still works wonders.