Since we first met, Kerry has been telling me how great northern Michigan is, particularly the Traverse City area. We have been trying to find some time to get up there, and last week we finally did. We made the seven and a half hour drive and spent four days up north, and let me tell you: Kerry was not kidding. It is absolutely beautiful up there.
We stayed at a place called The Homestead, which was this sort of weird complex of cabins outside of a small town called Glen Arbor. Before I get too into our place, I should point out that Glen Arbor was just the cutest little town. No stop light, maybe ten or fifteen businesses … it was adorable. One of the best parts is that we stopped in the corner store, which was not much larger than a 7-11, and it had the most amazing wine selection. We found a sparkling cherry wine that we fell in love with. We ended up buying three bottles of it, and we’ve already drank two.
Back to the Homestead. Our room was styled like a log cabin out in the woods and had this real warm vibe. We had no idea what we were getting into when we rented this place. Was it going to be just a cabin in the woods? Or more of a large hotel out in the middle of the woods? It turned out to be a combo of the two. There were larger units that were broken up into five or six rooms. Our room had a nice little deck to sit on, and was overlooking Fiddler’s pond.
We did a lot of driving around the area. Lake Michigan is crazy, and so much different than what I’m used to in Cleveland. There are these little beach towns every fifteen or twenty miles, with the most amazing beaches. And since it was the middle of summer, the beaches were absolutely beautiful. I was blown away with how crystal clear the water was. It’s something I only expect to see in the Caribbean, or some sort of tropical climate. Michigan, who knew?
Kerry’s birthday was on Tuesday, and this was the day we really took in the whole area. We drove to a lot of different towns. First up was Traverse City proper, where we stopped at a “local meet up” for food trucks. We were expecting lots and lots of trucks … so we kind of laughed when there were only three. Luckily, the two we picked were great. Kerry had grilled cheese, and I had a pulled pork sandwich. Great way to start the day.
Our next stop was the L. Mawby winery. Kerry had read about this place online, and it had great reviews. It’s a winery (which this region of Michigan is actually packed with) but they only do sparkling wine! Kerry’s birthday, beautiful weather, a winery with all sparkling wine!!! Seriously, what could be better?
When you enter, you get a taste of two of their wines for free. Then, for $5, you can get a sample (and by sample, I mean, a full glass) of two more of their wines, your choice, and a little appetizer. We had our samples out at a picnic table overlooking the vineyard. We could have stayed here all day, but we had other places to see. We ended up buying a case of wine, though, to make leaving a little easier.
Next stop was the town of Sutton’s Bay. I loved the colors of all the buildings here, and there were a ton of boats parked in a dock. It was a picturesque town… hence, pictures.
We stopped in a few other towns, I didn’t take pictures of every one. Often, we were just too relaxed to even pull out the camera. Small towns have that way of just calming you down, so we would drive for 15 minutes, stop in a town, sit by the water for a bit, and then repeat. Our final stop of the day was a town called Leland which I LOVED. Not only was it the small town atmosphere that I was falling in love with, but it also had a historic fishing village. All these little shacks were just lined up, still there after years, and still operational.
My favorite part of Leland was this sign I found. I’m not sure exactly what it was in reference to, but I wasn’t about to argue.
We had dinner at a place called Riverside Inn, where we bought ourselves (another) bottle of L. Mawby bubbly (that makes 13, plus the 3 sparkling cherry wines!), and had a wonderful birthday dinner. All in all, I think it was an amazing birthday. I am fairly certain Kerry enjoyed it. She must have, she was trying to hug giant trees.
There are other things we did that, due to camera battery failure, we don’t have many pictures of, like climbing giant sand dunes, and attempting to skip stones in the lake (which apparently I’m really bad at). Maybe some iPhone pictures will turn up over the next couple of days, or you could check our Instagram feeds over on the left.