Heather's Hangout

Sharing the people, places & little moments that make a difference.

10 activities for a fun girls night in April 5, 2017

Filed under: Life Lessons — Heather @ 4:00 pm
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GirlsNightIn_blogpost

I love my girlfriends. I love spending time with them, individually or as a group. I, of course, adore my guy friends too, yet there is something special about being surrounded with strong, funny, smart women. I’m fortunate to have many of these women in my life, women who build each other up, provide support, encouragement and love. These women cheer for me when things are going well, and hug me when things go south.

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I have girlfriends from all walks of life. Some who I’ve known since childhood, others I met in college, and others entered my life in the past few years or even months. As I’ve aged, I’ve come to realize the importance of maintaining strong relationships with many of these friends, and also come to understand that some friendships fade over time and it’s okay to move on. I cherish each as they touch my heart and teach a lesson in their own way.

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I’ve enjoyed many adventures with girlfriends over the years. From international getaways to road trips up north (northern Michigan, for you non-Michiganders!) to visits at the local coffee shops, there is laughter and fun to be found all over. And there’s also lots of fun to be had staying in for the evening. I recently enjoyed a fun night in with a small group of girlfriends, indulging in food, music, facials and girl talk. It was a wonderful night of connecting with friends and the much needed relaxation and laughter recharged my soul.

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Staying in with friends is an easy, cheap opportunity to have fun and connect/catch up. There are so many activities to enjoy so I thought I’d share a few of my favorites. The biggest catch to a relaxing night in – ditch the technology. Leave your phone in your purse and instead tune into your friends. One of my favorite parts of my recent girls night in? Not one of us reached for our phone the entire night, ensuring that we were all tuned in and focused on connecting with each other.

  1. Cook new recipes. Sometimes the hostess will try a new dish or we each bring a dish to share.
  2. Choose a theme. Plan a spa party, fiesta night, ’80s theme. You can plan food, decorations, games and more around the theme.
  3. Wine tasting. Have everyone bring a bottle of wine to sample. You can even make it a theme, such as from certain locations (Michigan, Napa, etc.) or types (white,  Cabernet, Riesling, etc.).
  4. Facials. Who doesn’t love getting pampered??
  5. Games. There’s everything from cards to board games to video games and even ‘made up’ games (and drinking games if it’s that kind of night!).
  6. Movie night. There are some great girls’ movies! You can go ‘old school’ with movies like Dirty Dancing, 16 Candles, Breakfast Club or Pretty In Pink. We also like Sex in the City, any Melissa McCarthy movie, Love Actually or sappy romances such as The Notebook.
  7. Plan an activity. Make cards, a holiday craft or vision board.
  8. Dance party. You all know I’m a big fan of music and breaking into random dance at any moment while I’m at home (or anywhere).
  9. Girl talk! My favorite of girl time is catching up on everyone’s lives. It’s a great time to reconnect. We always touch on topics across the spectrum, from love to career to celebrity crushes to hair styles to family to laundry detergent to recipes to exercise to favorite travel spots to lingerie to…..well, I don’t need to spill it all. You get it. Any topic is up for conversation.
  10. Pillow fight. Okay, I’m just kidding. I know some men reading this are wondering about the pillow fights that girls supposedly have at all sleepovers or gatherings (how did this idea ever start??) so I had to throw it in.
 

10 fun things about Mackinaw City, Michigan July 25, 2016

MackBridge

The “Mighty Mac” bridge connects Michigan’s lower and upper peninsulas

Every summer, my family and I plan a getaway to a location in our great state of Michigan. Family vacation is something that we all look forward to very much as we love family time and vacations! We’ve been north, south, east and west throughout our state. We chose to head north for this summer’s adventure – to Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island.

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Located approximately four hours north of metro Detroit, Mackinaw City is at the northern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula on the Straits of Mackinac. During the summer, the town is packed with tourists staying or stopping through on the way to the Upper Peninsula or Mackinac Island (it’s often listed by AAA as the most popular tourist city in Michigan!).

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Some years we have relaxing vacations where we simply hang out, unwind and make no plans. We were more on the go this year as we explored the area and enjoyed various activities. It was a fun time filled with laughs and, like every year, we wished for ‘one more day.’ We had a great time exploring the city and the island (more on the island in my next blog post). Here are some items that stuck out in my mind:

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  1. Mackinac Old Time Trolley tour: After a snafu with our suite, the manager offered to comp our entire group on the evening trolley tour so we said yes! The 1.5 hours trip took us along the water to learn about Colonial Michilimackinac, the city, bridge and more. Then we crossed the Mackinac Bridge to St. Ignace on the Upper Peninsula during sunset (gorgeous!). The tour driver was very informational and the views were beautiful.
  2. Last stop before the Mackinac Bridge: Known as the “Mighty Mac,” this five-mile suspension bridge is the only connection between Michigan’s lower and upper peninsulas. It’s the longest bridge in the western hemisphere, and was built to withstand 400 mph winds!
  3. Pier at Straits State Harbor: At 1,200 feet long, this pier is one of the longest
    MackCity

    Pier in the morning.

    barrier-free piers in the state. It has a 500-foot long fishing pier with benches, railings and lights. I took some walks in the morning and evening to the end of the pier, which offers beautiful views of Mackinac Bridge and Island.

  4. Mackinac Island Brewhouse: Tucked inside of the Mackinac Bay Trading Co. building on Huron Street is this beverage house. There are at least 10 micro beers on tap or you can purchase bottles from more than 350 craft breweries. Beer tastings are available.
  5. Mackinac Island Winery tasting room: If you’re checking out the beer options inside the Mackinac Bay Trading Co., you might as well taste some wine too. You get a souvenir wine glass with five samples. Lots of wine bottles from Michigan and beyond are also available for purchase. My choices were the Mackinac Red and Sweet White wines.
  6. Fudge options: There are so many fudge shops within walking distance of the hotels. It’s easy to eat your dessert simply from the free samples offered. I highly recommend Joann’s chocolate cherry fudge (made with cherries from Traverse City). Yum!
  7. Fort Michilimackinac: This historic fort was built by the French in 1714, where it became a colonial community until the British took it over. The fort was located to Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island in 1780 and the remaining structures burnt to the ground. When Mackinaw City was formed in the 1860s, the area became a park until a replica was built in the 1930s. Reconstruction continues every summer, making this the longest running archeological dig in North America. Live demonstrations, programs and tours are available.
  8. U.S. Coast Guard Icebreaker Mackinaw: This ship was once known as the largest icebreaker on the Great Lakes. Decommissioned in 2006, she now is docked as a museum that the public can tour. You can see this impressive ship as you walk along Huron on the water. Very cool.
  9. Lodging options: Multiple hotels and motels line the main strip along the water. Most are easy walking distance to the shops, restaurants and activities. Parking gets crazy busy during peak summer season so it was great to be able to walk everywhere.
  10. Shopping options: From tourist t-shirt shops to Michigan-made products to collectibles, the shops offer something for most people. Mackinaw Crossings is a cute, well-maintained shopping area complete with evening entertainment, fountains and kids’ play activities.
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While I love exploring new cities, states and even countries around the world, I do love my home state. We’re lucky to have such beauty, history and natural wonders within hours of home. And, of course, sharing these adventures with family makes it that much more fun and memorable!

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Do you have a favorite destination in Michigan? Share with us!

 

Tips for chilling your wine April 16, 2016

temperature guageYou open a bottle of your favorite white wine ready to enjoy the delicious flavor. You take a deep breath to smell the full aroma. What do you smell? It depends how you chilled the wine, according to a recent workshop that I attended at Michigan By The Bottle tasting room. My sister and I recently attended the “Chill or Not to Chill” wine workshop at the Royal Oak wine-tasting room to learn about the proper temps and ways to chill a bottle of wine (read about the last wine workshop I attended there). Mostly, I learned that I’ve been chilling my wine wrong for ages!

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I learned that winemakers of course intend to get the most aroma and flavor out of their wines, which means they intend to serve at the proper temp to encourage these two things to occur. If you chill a white wine too much, for example, the aroma and flavor are muted.

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For this workshop, we were provided two variations of three different types of wines – one glass was chilled in a regular refrigerator and the other glass was chilled in a wine refrigerator (typically a warmer temperature than a household refrigerator). Note that a wine refrigerator is different than a beer refrigerator, which is a colder temperature too. I could not believe the difference in these wines! The aroma was much fuller and the taste so much stronger when chilled at the proper temperature. I was especially struck by the difference in the white wines, such as a Rieslig and Pinot blanc. Having side by side samples of a glass of refrigerator chilled wine and a glass of wine refrigerator chilled wine was so noticeable. Nothing was distinct on the refrigerator chilled wine, while the aroma and flavors popped on the other wine. I can’t believe I never noticed these differences before now!

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Red wines should be served at room temperature. However, if you really prefer to drink all of your wine at a cool temp, then store your red wines in the basement or put in the refrigerator for 10-15 minutes before serving. You can chill the remainder of the red in the refrigerator to slow the oxidation process, which will extend the life of the wine (bring it to room temp before serving). You can also store the bottle on the counter for typically one or two days.

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winebottlesA suggested temperature for a light-bodied white wine (Pinot blanc) is 45-50 degrees, full-bodied white (chardonnay) is 50-55 degrees and a sweet white (sweet Riesling, Moscato) is 43-47 degrees. A medium-bodied red can be served around 55 degrees, light-bodied red (Pinot noir) is 50-55 degrees and full-bodied red (Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah/Shiraz) is 60 degrees.

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For those of you who might use an ice cube to chill your wine faster (ahem, Mom), it was highly recommended not to do as it dilutes the wine’s flavor, body, aroma, and overall intent. A guest at the workshop said he uses an ice bucket with half ice and half cold water to chill his bottle of wine in a few hours. Heck, we’ve stuck bottles in the snow during January for a quick cool down and it worked great!

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I love myself a good fruit wine, such as Chateau Fontaine’s cherry wine or Black Star Farms‘ pear wine. These wines can be chilled.

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Most wines are meant to be drank within a year. Reds, such as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, age better, and Rieslings age very well (frankly, my Riesling bottles usually don’t last long in my house, let alone a year!).

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I love my stemless wine glasses. But these type of glasses make you hold the glass filled with wine, where the warmth of your hands can start to warm the wine more or less than you want. Duh, I never thought of that!

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Overall I learned that it doesn’t hurt to chill wines, it just depends what process you use to do this. You don’t have to run out to buy a special wine refrigerator (right…yes, I keep telling myself this!). There are several viable options for cooling your bottle, as I listed here. Do you have other suggestions?

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I ended up finding another good, new wine during the workshop – Chateau de Leelanau’s Cherry Wine. Delicious!

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Another great learning experience! I definitely will head back to this local wine resource in the future.

 

*This is not a paid endorsement for Michigan By The Bottle. I went and purchased on my own. I enjoyed the event so want to share with my readers.

 

Northern Michigan wines add great flavor to holiday parties December 20, 2014

homeworkwine With Christmas and New Year’s quickly approaching, it’s a great time to stock up on wine so you can grab a bottle to take to family dinners and parties, or have available at home to serve during evenings with friends (or just for you!).

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We’re lucky to live in a state that is home to many wineries that produce great wines. We’re also fortunate to have great friends who live in Traverse City near many of Michigan’s wineries. Because we often miss them not being close, we try to go north a few times a year. This also provides opportunity to pop into our favorite wineries to taste and purchase!

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While red wine is a preferred choice for many of our friends, I admit to not being a fan of dry reds. I also have a mild allergic reaction when drinking red wine (I get really, really hot and my skin flares up with red patches. Not pretty so I rarely drink red wine in public!). But we have tasted many different red wines to find a few that we enjoy and can serve at home.

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Longview, located in Cedar on Leelanau Peninsula produces a few of our favorite wines. Their Rustic Red is a very smooth wine that is “rich with ripe berry and cherry flavors and hints of spicy clove.” The winery suggests serving it slightly chilled for the best burst of flavors. I enjoy a glass of Chateau Fontaine’s Big Paw Red because it’s not too dry and not too sweet. It incorporates three hybrid grapes for a great flavor. Peninsula Cellar’s Homework is a big favorite of my older sister and some friends. It’s actually considered a rose’ with a little sweet taste of strawberry, watermelon and raspberry flavors. Delicious!

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Longview also makes one of our favorite white wines, Rustic White. This light wine is “loaded with tropical fruit flavors,” yet it’s not too sweet. We get positive reviews every time we serve this wine so Longview is a definite stop when we’re in Traverse City! They also produce a very good Chardonnay that is fermented in stainless steel rather than oak.

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longviewwineIf you like a sweeter white wine like me, try a Riesling. This type of wine is typically sweeter and filled with various fruit flavors, such as peach, citrus, pineapple and apricot. Riesling has its roots from Germany and balances acidity and sweetness for a crisp taste that pairs well with a variety of foods. Riesling wines are usually categorized as sweet, semi-sweet or dry.

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Chateau Grand Traverse’s Late Harvest Riesling has long been my favorite sweet Riesling. It is definitely a sweeter wine, yet oh so good! The winery describes it as “dazzling fruit and crisp citrus flavors balanced with a naturally sweet finish.” It certainly dazzles my taste buds when I drink a glass!

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Ranked up there with it is Black Star Farm’s Arcturos Riesling. The winery describes it as “vibrantly alive, fresh, and highlighted with a balanced sweetness” with “aromas of fresh fruit followed by concentrated flavors of apples, apricots and peaches complemented by honey undertones.” In fact, this light, sweet wine won the first wine tasting party my husband and I hosted with friends.

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We recently discovered Left Foot Charley’s The Missing Spire Riesling wine – it’s a medium sweet late harvest that is loaded with flavors that are delicious on your tongue (this winery also makes great hard cider).

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If you want to try delicious fruit wines, check out Chateau Fontaine’s Cherry Wine, Longview’s Cherry Mead (Honey Wine) and Black Star Farm’s Pear wine. All of these have a light, sweet taste…and the cherry wine pairs perfectly with dark chocolate!

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There are so many more wineries in Michigan that offer excellent choices to drink. These are just a few of my favorites. Whatever you choose, enjoy (and drink responsibly!).

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What are some of your favorite wines?

 

Fun never fails to find us in Traverse City June 7, 2013

Filed under: Random Travels & Exploring — Heather @ 4:38 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

photo(17)One of my favorite Northern Michigan destinations is Traverse City, with its many quaint shops, miles of sandy beach and trails along Grand Traverse Bay, close proximity to fabulous wineries and breweries, and multiple hotspots for outdoor activities. Traverse City has been the top choice for our annual family vacation several times. Justin and I are also fortunate to have some wonderful friends live in the city so we visit them usually a minimum of two times each year.

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Our recent visit to our friends’ house in Traverse City brought a much-needed getaway for both of us. After months of adjusting to a new job, Justin’s graduation and studying for board exams, plus battling weeds in the flower beds and other tasks, we were ready to have fun and relax. And visiting our friends made the weekend that much better.

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While rain was predicted, Saturday turned out to be a gorgeous day with temps in the 70s and sunshine. We took a road trip to Bellaire, about 30 minutes IMG_1404from downtown Traverse City. Our destination: Short’s Brewery, which excited my craft-beer loving husband. Bellaire is a small town located between Traverse City and Petoskey, near Torch Lake. Short’s has 20 of their beers on tap and a menu of good food. The restaurant is a mix of industrial and rustic – welcoming, open and bright. They host entertainment some nights too. Justin and I each tried a flight of five beers and had a fun time.

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After lunch, we headed back to downtown Traverse City to wander. We all said we didn’t need to buy anything yet somehow ended up carrying bags filled with purchases back to the car! There are the usual tourist stores in Traverse City but also some unique and fun stores to explore. I always love visiting Cherry Republic, which offers a variety of samples. We couldn’t resist purchasing some cherry salsa, cherry poppyseed vinaigrette dressing and sour cherry candies. Yum.

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IMG_1410We visited Right Brain Brewery’s new location on East 16th Street. Funny enough, their original location was next door to a hair salon, as is this one. The new location is a big open industrial-type building with the usual bar stools and high top tables, but also mixed in with couches, comfy chairs, long tables and old-fashioned furniture. Eclectic art and sculptures are interspersed around the area. The only downside was the humidity and heaviness in the air. A small fan was blowing near the bar but otherwise it was a bit stuffy. I tried their Strawberry Fields ale while Justin had a flight with variety of tastes and our friends enjoyed a yummy cider. The beer wasn’t as flavorful as Short’s beers but the atmosphere is fun (hula hoops and games!).

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The evening was spent relaxing at our friends’ house, enjoying dinner, drinks, a dance party and even a short workout. Love those type of evenings with friends! We had hoped to hike or geocache on Sunday but woke to dramatically different temps (wind, gray skies and high 40s!).

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No visit to Traverse City is really complete without visiting at least one, or some, of the great wineries on Old Mission Peninsula or Leelanau Peninsula. Longview Winery’s tasting room is located in Cedar on Leelanau Peninsula and carries a delicious Rustic White that is still one of our IMG_1422favorites. Longview doesn’t distribute down state so we usually stock up on some bottles of Rustic White when we visit. As the winery describes it, the wine is “loaded with tropical fruit flavors” balanced with “zingy acidity.” Excellent flavors. We also visited Chateau Fontaine in Lake Leelanau. Welcomed by their friendly dog, we were pleased to learn they still had cherry wine, which is another favorite of ours.

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We had lunch at Seven Monks Taproom on Union Street. This newer establishment has 46 beers on tap, a large bottled beer selection, ciders and wines. The menu has a decent selection, although a bit pricier than other brew pubs nearby. There are several televisions and a fireplace. It’s a narrow, little bit dark venue but I liked the atmosphere and wasn’t surprised to learn it gets busy in the evenings.

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So it was another whirlwind weekend getaway but still felt relaxing. Maybe because we were away from the hustle and bustle of the metro area and our responsibilities, or because our friends are so welcoming, or we just love being in Traverse City. Whatever the reason, it was a fun adventure.

 

Our mini adventure to South Haven October 10, 2012

Filed under: Random Travels & Exploring — Heather @ 2:42 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

While our ‘real honeymoon’ to Europe is postponed until next spring when my new husband (I like writing that!) finishes school, we certainly couldn’t let a wedding occur without some sort of getaway. So we headed to west Michigan for a ‘mini-moon.’

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Our first destination was South Haven, located in the southwest region of the state on Lake Michigan. It was a beautiful Thursday morning as we started the three-hour drive to Martha’s Vineyard Bed & Breakfast, which was recommended by some friends. We were pleasantly surprised that the leaves had already dramatically changed color. It made for a colorful drive.

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Our suite at Martha’s Vineyard. Fireplace is across from the bed.

Upon entering the long driveway of Martha’s Vineyard, a small pond sits on the left, gardens on the right and the main house directly in front. The original home was built in 1852, converted to a bed & breakfast in 2000 and purchased by the current innkeepers, Ginger and Lou, in 2004. I instantly fell in love with the wraparound the porch. We were warmly greeted by Ginger, who gave us a tour of the quaint house. Guests can sit in the parlor, play games, watch movies, read, or even play a piano. A dining room hosts breakfast each morning, although tables and chairs arranged on the porch beckon during warmer days.

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We opted to stay in the guesthouse for a bit more privacy and space. Each of the six suites has a private bath, two-person whirlpool tub, fireplace, television, bathrobes and more. I loved the fireplace! The guesthouse suites share a kitchenette, which provided popcorn, coffee, hot chocolate, refrigerator, games and more. It

Chillin’ in the hammock

was a wonderful (and yummy) surprise to have some chocolate covered strawberries (my favorite!) from my sister and brother-in-law waiting for us when Ginger opened our suite door.

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Martha’s Vineyard is situated on five acres, but backs up to the South Haven Golf Club so the grounds look much more expansive. There are benches and chairs throughout the property, allowing guests to enjoy the quiet outdoors. The hammocks were pretty awesome too.

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We headed a short drive from the inn to downtown South Haven, where we wandered through some stores. A stop in the Blueberry Store scored us a delicious blueberry oatmeal cookie and some blueberry vinaigarette dressing.

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Breakfast is delivered to the guesthouse in a picnic basket.

We woke Friday to a beautiful sunny, crisp fall day. Since we were in the guesthouse, breakfast was served to our room in a picnic basket! We enjoyed omelets, baked apples with granola and fresh cinnamon rolls. We definitely needed to work off our big breakfast so headed to the Kal-Haven Trail. I love that so many places throughout Michigan are converting old railroad tracks to trails for walking, biking, skiing, and other non-motorized uses. These trails let you enjoy the outdoors with fewer cars and noise.

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The Kal-Haven Trail is 33.5 miles, running from South Haven to Kalamazoo. There is an 11-mile parallel section where horses are allowed on the trail. In South Haven, the limestone/slag surface trail picks up at the Kal-Haven Trail State Park.With the changing leaves, the trees provided a beautiful canopy of bright colors as we walked. We encountered a covered bridge, boardwalks and few other people. It

Along the Kal-Haven Trail

was very enjoyable. We also found many geocaches along the trail.

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After the brisk 6-mile hike, we stopped at Blue Star Pottery. Located well off the road, the studio highlights the artist’s pottery. Interesting items but nothing really caught our eyes as unique. We headed north to McIntosh Wine Cellars (you didn’t really think we would miss an opportunity for wine tasting, did you?!). The apple orchard and winery is about 5 miles off the Blue Star Highway. The quaint building that holds the tasting room also offers a fireplace, seating and shopping. The staff is so friendly. McIntosh Wine Cellars offers fruit wines, which I tend to love. We sampled their raspberry, blueberry, cranberry, apple and peach wines, finally settling on their Hard Apple Cider and Apple Cinnamon wine. Yum! Since we had no place to be, we decided to order a glass of hard cider and the apple cinnamon wine and enjoy our glasses in front of the fireplace. The apple cinnamon wine might be one of my new favorites! The staff suggested drinking it warm on a cold, winter day. Mmmm.

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Wine tasting made us hungry so we headed north to Saugatuck Brewing Company. We ate here during our spring visit to Saugatuck and enjoyed the food and drinks. We weren’t disappointed. Back at the bed & breakfast, we turned the fireplace on to warm up and enjoy a movie from the good DVD selection available to guests.

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Temps dropped dramatically Saturday morning but the sun was still shining. We enjoyed another great breakfast delivered to our room – apple crepes, sausage (veggie for me!) and fresh fruit, then packed up for Grand Rapids. Martha’s Vineyard was definitely a place I’d recommend to others.

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Stay tuned for our adventures in Grand Rapids!

 

Wine, chocolate, friends and a moose….a trip to Traverse City August 20, 2012

Filed under: Random Travels & Exploring — Heather @ 4:25 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Traverse City has long been one of my favorite getaway spots. My family and I spent many vacations in the northern Michigan town, enjoying the beautiful beaches on Grand Traverse Bay, charming shops, good food and wonderful wineries.

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Justin and I also enjoy visiting the fun town together, made even better because two of our wonderful friends live there. So it’s always a great excuse to drive north to visit and play. Life continues to move quickly by so it unfortunately had been much too long between visits with Steve and Lucy, and their beautiful little daughter. But we made up for it with lots of talking, laughs and good times.

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We got a late start on Friday so when we arrived, so it was quick hugs and catching up before heading to bed. Steve and Justin woke early to head to a small local lake to kayak, while Lucy, their daughter and I played and had some girl talk. It was Justin’s first time kayaking. He learned some great tips and enjoyed the experience. Then we piled into the van and headed to one of our favorite northern restaurants, the Jolly Pumpkin, on Old Mission Peninsula. I’ve referenced this restaurant in a previous blog so I won’t spend tons of time on it again. Needless to say, we enjoyed some delicious food and beverages.

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Next stop was Peninsula Cellars’ tasting room, which is located in a converted one room schoolhouse originally built around 1896. Many features of the old schoolhouse are still there. Our assignment was to purchase Homework, a delicious red wine. My sister loves this flavorful wine and we can’t find it downstate so we picked up some bottles. The winery also serves Detention, another great selection.

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Then we hit the streets of downtown Traverse City. There are some great shops with distinct wares. Our mission, however, was Leaping Lizard, a quaint store that carries an eclectic array of gifts and house items. I usually wander slowly through this store but this day I just wanted a moose. Justin and I love the unique and fun sculptures created by Yardbirds. Each sculpture is created from recycled metal items, such as farm tools, car parts, mufflers and bike parts. They come in all sizes and shapes, from a small cat to a “hiking” dog to a squirrel. Some are functional (dog dish, wine caddy), desk decorations or yard visitors. Years ago, I purchased a fabulous horse sculpture made from a horse shoe (naturally) and random other metal parts. Justin and I spotted a large moose sculpture at an art fair a while ago and kicked ourselves for not purchasing it then. These are sold in limited stores so luck would have it that Leaping Lizard in Traverse City carries them and happened to have a large moose. Our first joint purchase of art!

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The rest of the day was spent hanging out with our friends at their home, enjoying a yummy Mexican dinner, drinks, bonfire, s’mores and friendship. After a great breakfast on Sunday, we headed to Leelanau Peninsula to check out Longview Winery, another winery creating one of our favorite wines not carried near home. Their 2010 Rustic White is, quite simply, amazing. It’s light and fruity and just incredibly tasteful (their website describes it as a fruit bomb!). Every time we serve this wine, it’s a hit. We were disappointed to learn that Longview had recently sold out of their cherry wine. The early warm spell and then frost this spring will definitely put a damper on the usually delicious cherry wines found in this area’s wineries.

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Our final stop was at Chateau Fontaine located on French Road. This winery has always been a favorite of our friends so it’s a regular on the winery circuit. And there’s good reason it’s a favorite. The customer service is fabulous every time we’re there. The staff is incredibly knowledgeable and friendly. The tasting room is cozy and an adorable dog wanders through the room every so often. And did I mention the wine is great? The winery opened in the 1970’s and has won countless awards for most of their wines. We like a lot of their wines, but our top choice today was their Cherry Wine. Knowing that next year’s selection will be slim, we purchased several bottles to last, as well as a mix for an amazing chardonnay and cilantro cheese ball.

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As I mentioned, Traverse City is always one of our favorite northern Michigan places to visit. We love the variety of fun activities, great food available, novelty of so many excellent wineries, and best of all, spending time with great friends. This was definitely another fun (albeit whirlwind) weekend getaway to add to our book of memories. The next adventure will be here soon enough!

 

 
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