(For complicated reasons I can't explain, these trip blogs will be in reverse order.)
The last day and night of our trip were spent getting properly cleaned up with showers, refueling on the Northern Michigan wine trail with wine tastings and then a scrumptious feast of Little Ceasars pizza (fast and ready for $5.55- can't beat it!), wine, and other local snacks, enjoyed on the balcony of our hotel room.
We tasted at 6 wineries all on the Old Mission Peninsula just north of Traverse City, Michigan. The peninsula itself was absolutely beautiful with lush greenery and views of Lake Michigan on both sides of the peninsula. The houses were absolutely gorgeous and so were the wineries. 2Lades winery is pictured above. Very modern architecturally. Wines were good and we bought a 2009 Pinot Grigio. We were pretty impressed with all the wineries we visited. We have traveled the Southern Michigan wine trail many times and enjoy many of their whites (esp the Chardonnay from Tabor Hill) but had always found the reds a bit lacking. Up on the Mission Peninsula, however, they have great whites (esp Rieslings both sweet and dry, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc) and also a few reds that could compete with their California cousins (particularly Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot). Very impressive. The wineries we visited were: 2Lads, Chateau Chantal, Brys Estate, Bowers Harbor Vineyard, Black Star Farms and Chateau Grand Traverse.
We stayed at the Inn at Chateau Grand Traverse and it was a great find! The Inn has only 6 rooms and is located in a beautifully decorated home that has been renovated to be a playground for the Inn guests. There are 4 separate sitting rooms with floor to ceiling windows overlooking the vineyard, plus foosball, board games, books, a gym, a sauna, plenty to keep guests entertained (though there is so much to do in the area, I can't imagine needing to stay in!). The rooms were very cute (ours is above). My favorite parts were the complimentary bottle of Chateau Grand Traverse wine, any varietal of our choosing, and the wonderful balcony overlooking the lawn, vineyard and Lake Michigan.
Because of this beautiful view, Adam and I opted to have a low-budget feast on the balcony rather than eat out. (Besides, we are so spoiled by Chicago food that most rural restaurants simply can't compete. However, anyone traveling to the area should try "The Boathouse", the menu and ambiance looked great!). We spotted a Little Ceasar's in Traverse City earlier in the day so that made choosing dinner a no-brainer (for those who don't know, pizza is my favorite food in the world and Little Ceasar's is my favorite "fast food" pizza in the world). We also had fresh sweet cherries from a farmer's market we stumbled upon earlier in the day and 3 varieties of Kilwin's (a long-standing fudge maker in the area) fudge- peanut butter and chocolate, cookies and cream and German chocolate.
While, our food may have been low budget, our wine was certainly not. Our spread is shown on the ledge of our balcony below. A grand total of 8 bottles of wine- some sparkling, some white, some red- plus a bottle of port, plus some delicious cherry jalapano salsa, and cherry bbq sauce. I think we need to have a Michigan themed dinner to showcase all these great finds! Any takers?
The night was really beautiful and we ate, drank, chatted, played Hangman (after some wine, it can be fun, I swear!) and watched the sun go down. A great end to a wonderful trip! Adam did the bulk of the planning on this one (a first) and he really did a great job so way to go Adam!