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!


a coffee and craft beer weekend





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We had a great weekend away exploring Grand Rapids, Michigan. Now named “Beer City, USA”, they have more breweries than you can count and an incredible food culture. I love it when the environment offers as much of an interesting experience as the flavors and this city does not disappoint. They have an appreciation for design (after all they do hold Art Prize) and their city symbol is a Calder sculpture in the square in front of City Hall. He is perhaps one of my favorite sculpture artists and I loved seeing Maggie run around the organic steel structure, mesmerized by how the light created shadows. It was a beautiful family moment.

Some of our favorite spots not to miss:

Founders Brewery
(not pictured in these) – you can’t go to GR and explore their beer culture without making a trip to the flagship.

Perrin Brewing Company
A great atmosphere with tasty bar food. They have a fantastic patio for the summer and offer some great lunch specials.

Brewery Vivant
Located in East Town, this brewery serves up belgium style ales and is located in a renovated church. They serve elevated bar food (can you say duck confit nachos?) and they have a good kids menu with ergonomic crayons. It’s the little things that make for a memorable experience.

Marie Catrib’s
You can’t go to East Town without stopping by Foo’s place. Even though we didn’t eat there this time, we did pick up some fantastic items from the deli. I literally dream about their chocolate pudding.

MadCap Coffee
Located downtown, this coffee shop is for someone who values the simplicity of coffee. They have a small menu, specialize in pour over, roasting their own beans and hand-crafted espresso drinks. If you like sugary drinks – this isn’t the place for you. But if you like a minimalist experience with people who care about their craft, don’t miss it.

Grand Rapids Brewing Company
Our last stop of the trip, this restaurant offers an elevated menu and makes decent beer. The prices are a little high, and while the food is good, it isn’t something I will be thinking of tomorrow. The most memorable thing about them is the atmosphere. It is well designed and they have thought of just about every detail when it comes to the brand experience.

As you can see in the final picture, weekends away with a 2 year old sometimes need the support of an ipad – and we give props to everyone on the list here for having wifi. You are loved.

What is your favorite Grand Rapids experience?

Detroit Foodie

Detroit Foodie: Dangerously Delicious Pies

Dangerously Delicious PiesDangerously Delicious Pies Detroit_2Foodie Detroit: Dangerously Delicious Pies located in the Third Street Bar

We love making the most of our weekends and exploring new places in Detroit. I read about this place on the Detroit Foodie blog (which I love – and check every week for new places to explore). So we yelped and braved the melting snow to try out Dangerously Delicious Pies (located in the Third Street Bar in Midtown Detroit). This place is legit (both the bar and the pies). We loved the laid back vibe – good beer, friendly people and vintage games. We went for lunch – which is the best time for us to explore Detroit places with a toddler. We tried the Steak and Cheese savory pie and the Vegetable Quiche (which had a much better name but I can’t seem to remember it). The pastry was light and flaky and the flavors were spot on. I had a sweet hot sauce on the side that was pure gold awesome-sauce. We love places like this – authentic and real people – working to make a place they love. We felt the heart in this food. Weekends are made for Detroit adventures!


End of Summer



A family day in Detroit:
Midtown: Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company
Eastern Market (and food trucks!)
Back to Midtown for a tour of Shinola 
Traffic Jam and Snug for a late lunch (A Detroit classic but not one of my favorites. Wish they would focus the menu more)
We went on a driving tour during nap time and ended up in the historic Corktown.
We watched a pick up game of baseball and then headed over to the train station to admire some architecture.
Two James was a fantastic experience. Great design and even better cocktails. Mag’s and I enjoyed checking out all the barrels in the wall.
We had to stop in at Slows – a Corktown classic but as always there was over a two hour wait… so onto –
The Mercury Bar – fantastic burgers and a great patio. All the talk about the Detroit Tigers inspired us to…
Catch a game at Comerica Park. We snagged some tickets from a scalper and even a ride on the carousel for Mags.
We cheered our Tigers to win in the 14th inning.

Simply said, we said good bye to summer in the shadow of Detroit.

labor day getaway #puremichigan

Traverse City #PureMichigan

Traverse City #PureMichiganTraverse City #PureMichiganTraverse City #PureMichiganTraverse City #PureMichigan
Traverse City #PureMichigan

Every year we try to make it up to Traverse City for blossom days in May. But this year time got away from us and we kept saying were going to make it up to the Old Mission Wine Trail. After we realized that it was the end of August and we didn’t have any plans for Labor Day we snagged one of the few remaining hotel rooms and packed up Maggie to enjoy the last weekend of the summer in one of the most beautiful places in Michigan. We started our day with the Old Mission Wine Trail. We made our first stop at Chateau Grand Traverse and then made our way along the wine trail – catching the breath taking views at 2 Lads and Chateau Chantal. Taking in some fantastic reds (yes I said reds) at Brys Estate and then finding a new gem of a winery (with perhaps one of the best tasting rooms of the trail) Hawthorne. The second day of our trip we hit some of the vineyards on Leelanau peninsula wine trail but the highlight of every trip has to be L. Mawby. I am a sucker for a good bubbly, and I do believe they have some of the best. The wine trail had a great app that we found pretty useful in helping to navigate the 20+ vineyards.  In fact, we were having so much fun we couldn’t bare to go home on time. So we grabbed a hotel room for a second night and thanks to tripadvisor  we found an incredible independent owned place where we were able to get a 2 bedroom condo for the price of our hotel room the night before.  I will post more on some our family finds, but I hope you can enjoy the views as much as we did.