Wintry wine weekend
It’s hard to believe that I used the word ‘wintry’ in a blog post for April in Michigan, but, alas, I did. Despite the cold, white stuff still invading my days, I enjoyed a fun girls’ getaway to Traverse City. This northern Michigan town is a favorite getaway of mine. I admittedly love it more in the summer, when warm weather and sunshine highlight the beauty of Grand Traverse Bay, the peninsulas and abundant trails, shops, wineries, breweries, beaches and more. It still is pretty, even when I’m bundled up in layers of warm clothes. And, really, you can enjoy good wine, craft beer, food, shopping and friendship in any weather and location, right?
My friend found an amazing deal at Grand Traverse Resort, with a great view of the bay. This was my first time staying at the resort. It’s quite a location! We were greeted by a lot of snow and biting wind, but the hotel was warm and welcoming. There were quite a few families enjoying the pool and restaurants, indicating that this is a popular spring break destination.
I always enjoy wandering downtown Traverse City, with the different shops, restaurants, coffee shops and bars. We did a bit of shopping (not too much) and enjoyed happy hour at Red Ginger. Then we headed toward the Village at Grand Traverse Commons, where Left Foot Charley resides with other restaurants, shops and condos. I really enjoy the wines and hard cider from Left Foot Charley. Cinnamon Girl hard cider and Missing Spire Riesling are among my favorites from this place. We nibbled on a great crab pate with our wines, and enjoyed live music. After that, we headed to dinner at McGee’s, where a kind gentleman bought us drinks, and then we explored our hotel, including beautiful views from the restaurant on the 16th floor.
We headed to Leelanlau Peninsula on Saturday for wine tasting. I’ve visited Traverse City quite often so have had opportunities to visit most of the wineries on Leelanlau Peninsula and the neighboring Old Mission Peninsula. It’s no secret that I love Michigan wines. It is interesting to note that wine tasting in Michigan was most often complimentary. Now, most of the wineries charge a small fee ($5-$10). I’m okay with this, although some of the pours were a bit like sips. I’m not going to purchase several bottles of wine on a small sip.
My friend loves Mawby sparking wines so that was our first stop. They offer two samples, and then you can purchase flights or glasses to enjoy in their tasting area. They also serve small food items. Mawby uses clever and conversation starting names for their wines – Sex, Once, Wet, Grace, Green, Detroit, and others. It can lead to funny conversations (um, maybe a bit childish too), I really liked their new Once sparkling wine. Not too dry, not too sweet.
Our next stop was Shady Lane Cellars. I decided I like this winery much better in the summer when you can sit outdoors in their wooded area. Shady Lane offers one complimentary taste and five samples for a fee. They also offer a limited appetizer menu.
Black Star Farms is one of my favorite wineries for a variety of reasons. I like their wines, and their main location includes the tasting area, inn, vineyard and….stable of horses. So, yes, as a horse lover, it’s pretty cool to enjoy a nice glass of wine while watching horses in the pastures. Black Star Farms offers five samples for $7, including a logo stemless wine glass. I decided to join their wine club. It’s the only one I’ve come across that lets you select as few as two bottles per shipment (four shipments per year but you can cancel after two shipments). You also receive discounts on merchandise, cases of wine, classes and events at their three locations, free tastings with two guests at any location, discounts on stays at the inn, and more. Even though I can get their wines at multiple locations near me, I thought it was a good benefit.
After visiting Black Star Farms, we wandered north on the peninsula to Suttons Bay. Unfortunately it was still early in the season so not all shops were open. Plus, it was disappointingly cold so we didn’t walk too much. By this time, it was close to dinner so we decided to head back to the resort. We enjoyed dinner at Aerie, on the 16th floor, with pretty views overlooking the bay.
Despite the snow and cold temps, I enjoyed my girls’ weekend getaway. So many laughs and good conversations. I always enjoy time with friends, and time with friends on a road trip is that much better. I’m so fortunate to have great friends in my life.
Note: All opinions and reviews are my own. I’m simply sharing the fun times and places.