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Perfect night for a Lobster boil on the beach.

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We were looking forward to all things lobster on this trip and our many lobster rolls did not disappoint. However, my favorite #lobsterfest experience was our impromptu lobster broil on the beach. We were getting an epic lobster roll from the 5 Islands Lobster Company (found through this wsj review on the best lobster rolls in Maine). The location is probably a postcard somewhere. It was beautiful, hard to find and quintessentially Maine. The marina had a fry shack, creamery stand and a lobster shack at the end of the dock where you could buy the “bugs” fresh from the boat. Something new that we saw throughout Maine was the soft shell lobster (only available fresh because they can’t be shipped). The meat inside is sweeter and a bit smaller than the traditional hard shell and it surprised us how easy it was to just break open the shell when cooked.

 

Maggie and Doug picked out the lobsters in the back room. We found a fantastic recipe online as our foundation and added some of our favorite ingrediants, and picking up some fresh clams, sausage, corn, garlic, beer, potatoes and onions. And in about an hour, we had the makings of our feast.

 

We cooked the boil in our condo (because open fires weren’t allowed on the beach). We were only a few steps away from the beach so we packed up the finished product in a box with two wine glasses, some fantastic Vermont Cider and our beach bag.

 

Maggie had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and played in the sand while we had quite the feast while watching the sunset. It was a gorgeous night and the lobster was some of the best I have ever tasted. It was the perfect vacation moment. I felt loved, fulfilled and happy to be with those I love most in one of the most beautiful places in America.

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Recipe: Beer Lobster Boil

Ingredients:

2 Live Lobsters

1 Pound of Clams (Make sure to clean them properly)

3 Garlic Gloves, sliced

Medium Onion, diced

1 Tbsp Butter

1 Can (tall boy) of Pilsner Beer

2 Ears of Corn (Cut in halves)

1-2 Pounds of Small Redskin Potatoes

Half Pound of Andouille Sausage

Lemon

Salt and Pepper to taste

 
Lobster Beer Boil

In a large boil pot, sautee onion and garlic in the butter until translucent. Add quartered sausage and sear for about 3-5 minutes. Add the beer and deglaze the pot. Add corn and potatoes to the pot. Layer the clams and Lobsters on top. Squeeze half a lemon’s juice into the pot. Cover with a tight fitting lid. Steam for about 15-20 minutes or until the lobsters are bright red (make sure they are fire-engine red in order to be done). The clams should also be open (if there are some that are not – be sure to discard). Remove the corn, potatoes, sausage, clams and lobster from the pot and reduce the liquid in the pot for about 3-5 minutes. Reserve a cup of liquid for dipping sauce. Assemble all the elements into a picnic basket with shellfish crackers/kitchen shears. Take a white wine or great craft beer and enjoy boil on the beach with a beautiful sunset view.

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a trip to bring me back

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Standing on the beach tonight reminded me why I love to travel so much. While I agree that it offers an escape, it also helps me see the world as a much smaller place. When I travel from a mountain to the ocean in one day and enjoy the ride with those I love most, it helps me to put life into perspective and see that we all are sharing one connected community. Exploring, adventures and having conversations with strangers along the way is a gift. We met so many people this week while on our road trip through New England. Everyone had a story to share, like the New Yorkers spending their Labor day in Maine in the condo next to us. They helped us carry our cooler up the stairs and played with Maggie. Or the mother/son duo from New Hampshire that is doing a beer themed road trip together that we met waiting in line at Hill Farm Stead. Everyone has a story and often a great bit of advice, from the best beer taps in Maine to the perfect lobster role and even how to tame a wild two-year-old.

 

This week has been an adventure and one full of many stories. I vowed to myself that if the blog ever became a chore, I would take a break. And as a new job, getting our house ready for sale and life got in the way, this summer deserved a break. And now, I have been inspired once again to share my finds.

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#PureMichigan Summers

 

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Summers wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Traverse City. I have said this before, but I believe it is THE most beautiful area in all of Michigan and a top 10 in the United States. Perhaps it’s the cherry orchards, the sleepy mainstreet, the breathtaking bay views or the locally owned restaurants and wineries that keep us coming back. It may be the combination of these things or just a certain kind of magic that helps us to forget our normal lives and slip into a moment where we can feel a sense of wonder and freedom. I think it is that element of wonder that makes us crave vacations and as I have added more responsibility to my life, I find it harder to attain. Yet, this place has the ability to make me put my hand out of the window, feel the breeze in my hair, savor some bubbly and enjoy the moment.

 

Here are a few of our favorite places to explore: 

 

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Morsel Bakery – Exquisite bite-sized pastries and hand-crafted coffee. 321 East Front Street . Traverse City, MI BlossomDays24

http://www.highergroundstrading.com/
Located in one of our favorite areas in Traverse, The village at Grand Traverse Commons or the former Northern Michigan Asylum, Higher Grounds joins many of our top bakery, restaurant and shops. The coffee shop roasts their own beans, provides pour overs that rival the best cups I have had in SF and are green friendly. So, don’t expect a traditional to-go cup, if you need it to-go you will be walking out with a thrift store coffee mug with no lid. So take some time, enjoy the patio and savor the hand-crafted taste of outstanding coffee. 806 Red Dr #150, Traverse City, MI

BlossomDays21 BlossomDays20Family park without the crowds (our secret find from the locals) South West Bay Shore (22) just outside of Traverse City on your way to Suttons Bay.  BlossomDays19 BlossomDays18 BlossomDays17 BlossomDays16 BlossomDays15 BlossomDays8https://www.shortsbrewing.com/
It is a little bit of a drive from Traverse, but the beer makes it well worth the pilgrimage. Most nights they have live music and the food is locally sourced, gourmet-inspired and absolutely fantastic. 121 N Bridge St, Bellaire, MIBlossomDays34 BlossomDays5 BlossomDays4http://www.lmawby.com/index.php?route=/
LMawby – You can’t go wrong with bubbles. BY FAR, my favorite vineyard in Michigan. The wine is fantastic, the people are fun and the design is the best! 4519 Elm Valley Rd, Suttons Bay, MI BlossomDays3

http://www.tandemciders.com/
A new addition to our Suttons Bay loop, Tandem Ciders feels like Michigan. They have a worn wooden bar with pickled eggs and ciders from orchards all over the peninsula. Located in a restored barn, the tasting room is nestled in the country side and feels like a get away. 2055 N Setterbo Rd, Suttons Bay, MI BlossomDays2 BlossomDays

http://www.fortyfivenorth.com/
The wine is decent, but the tasting room and the attitude of this vineyard always seems to make it the last stop on our tasting tours. 8580 E Horn Rd, Lake Leelanau, MI 

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Michigan Wine Trails #puremichigan

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For a number of years I have always looked forward to our May weekend getaway to Old Mission, just north of Traverse City. Although it is often a little chilly, I still feel like this experience signals the start of summer for us. Blossom Days offers wine lovers the chance to taste barrel room selections and the best of the vineyard.

 

The eight wineries of Old Mission:

 

2 Lads Winery // 16985 Smokey Hollow Road

2 Lads does a great job with Michigan reds and offers one of the best views on the peninsula. The modern architecture offers an incredible tasting room experience.

 

Black Star Farms // 360 McKinley Rd. East
Black Star Farms original location is on the Leelanau peninsula and they added this location a few years ago. The tasting room is in a quaint farmhouse style and they offer one of the largest selection of wines featuring both dry and sweet. We purchased a Pinto Grigio – perfectly crisp with citrus notes.

 

Bowers Harbor Vineyards // 2896 Bowers Harbor Road

Bowers tasting room is nestled within the vines and they have a beautiful arbor to welcoming you to the experience. They had an incredible presentation on their process and approach to Chardonnay and their focus on aging in the traditional French method is admirable. They also have a fantastic vineyard dog and let’s face it, dogs make every brand better!

 

Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery // 3309 Blue Water Road

Brys offers estate grown wines and focuses on a European style approach to wine making. They have a beautiful tasting room and offered the best food and wine pairing (an incredible asparagus risotto salad). They have an outdoor space with adirondack chairs facing the vineyard and some of our favorite memories are spent sipping wine and watching Maggie.

 

Chateau Chantal // 15900 Rue de Vin

We have stayed at this bed and breakfast and their wine making has improved over the years. Perhaps one of the best views, seeing both bays, they offer a tranquil patio and we got their Chardonnay – a beautiful blend of buttery oak flavor.

Chateau Grand Traverse // 12239 Center Road

They are celebrating 40 years on Old Mission and have gamay noir that is not to be missed.

Hawthorne Vineyards // 1000 Camino Maria Dr.

The newest addition to the Old Mission Family, the tasting room sits high upon a hill and looks across to Leelanau.

Peninsula Cellars // 11480 Center Rd.

Located in an old school house, Peninsula is often our first stop on the Old Mission Trail. They have a great tasting experience.

We love the Old Mission and can’t wait to get back next May!