Disclaimer: This post has nothing to do with running.
The Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City is a week away, but Lauren and I had a two night getaway before the runners overtake the town. Jack stayed with his grandparents, while we wined and dined and had a great time together.
We stayed at the Cherry Tree Inn and Suites, the same place we stayed for our 1 year anniversary, thanks to a Groupon deal. Sure most people vacation somewhere tropical, but we prefer northern Michigan. It was three days of tasting all the local goodness that our home state has to offer. Very little of what we ate and drank wasn’t local.
We were on the road by 8 and made it to Old Mission Peninsula by noon. We stopped at 5 wineries, tasting at each one and buying at least 1 bottle from each. Our favorite winery is traditionally our first stop, Peninsula Cellars. Being our favorite we bough the most here. The next stop was Chateau Grand Traverse. While we were tasting, a cameraman showed up and started talking to everyone. It was the local news, looking for opinions on the proposal to lower the legal BAC to 0.05%. Lauren was asked to go on camera and she agreed.
The most picturesque of wineries is Château Chantel. They have a large patio overlooking the vineyard. Here instead of tasting, we decided just to buy a glass of our favorites and take in the view.
For dinner, we stopped at The Jolly Pumpkin, a brewery that is now joined with North Peak Brewery and a distillery. So to wash down our crab tots, ribs, and mac ‘n’ cheese, I had a Bam Biere.
Tired, we spent the rest of the night at the hotel and watched This Is 40. Not what we expected from a film by Judd.
Woke up and got ready for our hike. Just outside of town is a large system of trails called the Vasa Pathway. There are loops for 3k, 5k, 10k, and 25k. We chose the 5k loop and it was such a cool place. I definitely want to return and attack the other loops. They also had quite a bit of single track.
After our hike, we showered and headed downtown for lunch. We decided on Asian and ate at Red Ginger for some sushi and Thai. It was a really neat place, that we had always said we would go to, but pass on it each time. Perfect for lunch, but dinner seemed pricey.
Next stop on our tasting tour was 7 Monks Taproom. They have about 40 craft brews on tap. We shared a flight of three ½ pints. Lauren picked Arbor Brewing’s Strawberry Blonde. I chose Left Hand Brewery’s Good Juju and New Holland Dragon Milk. Because it was American Craft Brew Week, they were featuring a different brewery each day. That day it was North Coast, so I tried their highly rated Old Rasputin. I don’t go for stouts as much as I used to and this was an imperial stout. Great for what it was, but not my taste.
While on the topic of beer. If you are a craft brew enthusiast, you should check out Untappd. Its a social website and app, for beer. Instead of checking into a venue, you check-in a brew, give it your rating and share with your friends. You earn badges and can keep track of all the new beers you’ve tried. And then you can friend me, to see what I’ve been drinking.
Hungry for a snack after 7 Monks, we went next door to the blues and jazz themed House of Doggs for a Motown (Detroit coney) and did some (mostly window) shopping.
Next up was a favorite brewery of ours, Right Brain. They had moved since we last were there and the new place is huge. Right Brain only uses real ingredients in their beer, no extracts or artificial flavors. And their creative recipes definitely live up to the brewery’s name. We sampled 7 of their beers and it came down to two that were our favorite. I had my growler with me and decided on the Thai Peanut Ale, a nut brown ale, with cilantro and Serrano peppers. The runner up was Fresh Corduroy, a wheat ale spiced with sage, coriander and ginger. While we were there, there was a pairing event with chocolates. We decided not to, since we were ready for dinner, but Lauren was interested in the “Yoga and a Pint” event that was last Monday. I could get behind that.
Dinner was at Poppycocks, a New American restaurant. The most notable dish was Lauren’s creamy potato leek soup, which I said tasted like “pierogi filling soup”. We ended the night with a little gambling at the casino. Lauren played on $10 the entire 2 hours we were there. I lost $30 almost immediately and then won it all back. Played until I was $10 down overall. $20 for two hours of playing games isn’t bad.
We checked out of our hotel and headed for the Leelanau Peninsula. For all the times we’ve been in the area, the only time we ever head west is for the sand dunes. Since we had a recommendation to visit a cider house and a request to pick up a wine from that area, we had a mini wine tasting.
The cider house was called Tandem, a little pole-barn in the middle of an apple orchard. When we entered there was a walkie-talkie and a sign that said they were out back and to call them, so we did. The guy had us try their 4 draft ciders and an apple brandy. We ended up buying a bottle of one cider and I filled my last empty growler of another. The next stop was at the request of a friend. He was very sincere that we must visit L. Mawby and we found out why. They only make sparkling wines and very good ones at that. The man who served us, I assume an owner, was really nice and friendly. We bought a couple bottles and were finally spent.
I can’t believe all we bought, but quite a bit was for family and friends. Still, we managed to pack up: 15 bottles of wine (4 of which were sparkling), 2 growlers and a bottle of hard cider and a growler of beer. We still had a few planned stops while we were out here though. We still needed tea and ice cream!