Although it wasn’t that long ago, one of my most fun (and I suppose spontaneous) trips was going to northern Michigan last November with Chris. One of my best friends told me randomly one day about a great deal in Traverse City that she heard about. It was a wine/food tasting package at 22 different wineries on the peninsula where you drove yourself around and got a wine and food sample at each location. I was immediately intrigued and did some research on packages at local hotels. I ended up finding a package that included two full days of wine tasting, two nights at a bed-and-breakfast, a bottle of wine, and a $40 credit to our hotel’s on-site restaurant – all for $300! I was sold. We bought the package immediately and three weeks later headed up north.
After a 3.5 hour drive, we arrived at our hotel which was cuter than we ever could have imagined – The Leland Lodge. It was tiny and full of people laughing in the lobby and had fresh chocolate chip cookies at the check-in desk. Our room was equally as cute, and we proceeded to do what we do in almost all hotel rooms – order carry out and watch hours upon hours of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Drives until we fell asleep. I’m not sure what it is about this show that is perfect when you are in a hotel, but really brings me no interest when I’m at home. Oh, and we also had the most random little bunk bed that came out of the wall that I was super tempted to sleep on?
The next morning we were up bright and early (well, like 8am) to have some breakfast in bed and read for a while.
After that we decided to go for a walk down to the water, which was only about .25 miles from our hotel. Even though it was no where near warm enough for us to consider this a beach day, the beach was beautiful. However, I was a little sad that we had just missed the pretty-colored fall trees.
Then we went to explore the local town before we had to pick up our passes for the weekend’s wine tasting at the nearest winery. It was a beautiful, sunny day (but extremely windy) and we were happy to walk around with our coffee until we were ready to settle into the tastings for the day.
I really think that we loved the food more than the wine since we aren’t the biggest fans of Michigan wines. However, we had the best time exploring northern Michigan and eating/drinking some delicious things.
On Saturday night, we went into the actual city of Traverse City to explore some shops in an old insane asylum now renovated and called The Village. We wandered around in book shops, coffee shops, and eventually stopped to play some chess at a random board in one of the hallways.
Then we got to meet my grandma and great-aunt for dinner! They live in a nearby town about 40 minutes away and made the drive over to spend the evening with us. We went to a local restaurant called The Franklin and not only loved the food, but the atmosphere was amazing as well. Super modern, but very cozy and welcoming. They’re known for their in-house curated meats (which Chris definitely took advantage of), but I am no fun at all and got a veggie burger.
Sunday morning began very similarly to Saturday. We embarked on a quieter day than the prior for more wine tasting at a much slower pace and at less places. We really enjoyed just leisurely driving around and being together. Our first stop took us to a location on the water where we were able to sit in some chairs on the beach and just read and relax for a few minutes before the winery actually opened.
I definitely found that the people who work at these wineries made the whole trip for me. It was so fun to hear their stories, where they are from, and what brought them to Traverse City to either start a winery, take over a family one, or just work there as a seasonal job and because they love wine.
We also went to our (and by our I mean my) favorite location of the weekend on this day where they served a sparkling rose and a makeshift “sandwich” made with dried apple slices and some sort of delicious white, cheddar cheese. Their winery was on a beautiful property with tons of apple trees, open land, and sunshine to look out at while we enjoyed our treats. I could have sat there all day!
Towards the mid-afternoon on Sunday we ended up driving to Grand Rapids, MI, where one of my little sisters goes to college. Chris had to work in GR on Monday and it just worked out that I was able to work remotely that day. It worked out even better because we were able to take my sister and her roommate our for a quick dinner on Sunday evening and extend our long weekend a little bit more!
We really had a great time on this trip and would totally recommend any of the events that the company who puts them on has to offer. They have all sorts of different themed tastings throughout the year, and we’re already trying to decide which one we want to do next. There’s one in May that would be fun, mainly because of how pretty the weather would be that time of year. If you’re ever looking for an affordable, fun weekend away in Michigan, this is a great choice!
Are you a wine drinker? Have you ever been to Michigan?