Wine Tasting, Oh My

We spent last weekend wine tasting in Northern Michigan with our good friends, Dan and Tara. I  wanted to share these pics with you in hopes that they might inspire you to take your own little weekend trip! It is hard to schedule the time to do it but once you can get away from daily life and let loose a little bit you feel so rejuvenated.

Dan and Cody have been friends since they were little elementary school hellions. Even though we don’t get a chance to see Dan and his wife, Tara, as often as we would like, anytime we get the chance to spend time together we have so much fun. They are great travel buddies too – Dan came prepared with a list of possible things to do (love it), they enjoy good food and wine, and they also like to immerse themselves in the local culture.

It was Cody and I’s first time staying at a B&B and we definitely got spoiled! We stayed at Black Star Farm’s Inn and it was a first-class B&B experience. The Inn is a beautiful old farmhouse that is nestled right in the middle of Black Star Farm’s vineyards. There is a tasting room right on the property. Every morning they serve you a gourmet breakfast that includes a plated entree along with a breakfast bar of fruit, yogurt, and pastries. Every afternoon the Inn hosts a cocktail hour with wine from their vineyards and a beautiful spread of cheeses, meats, and olives.

There are over 25 wineries in the Grand Traverse Bay area. Each one has it’s own unique vibe. Our overall favorite was L. Mawby on the Leelanau Peninsula–they are known for their sparkling wines. Their bubbly was amazing, the staff was fun and knowledgable, and their tasting room had a great view of their vineyards.

Cody and I’s favorite wine was from 2 Lads. We loved the Cabernet Franc. 2 Lads tasting room is super modern with a beautiful view.

Our most memorable winery was Boskydel. They can not be found on any of the wine trail advertising and was recommended to us by the locals. It is a must-visit because the old Italian man that owns it is so grouchy that it’s almost comical. He is like a legend around the area–everybody knows him. It is kind of like Ed Debevic’s–you go there because of how snarky the staff is! It is a small, unorganized tasting room with old newspaper clippings, pictures, and stacks of books all over the place. To be honest, I am not even sure how clean the tasting glasses were–Cody said his may have had a lip print on it and Tara said hers smelled funny! You can see how welcoming they were by a few of the pics below.

If you are a foodie you will love Grand Traverse Bay area–it is a culinary mecca. On the first night, we ate at restaurant called 9 Bean Rows in downtown Sutton’s Bay. It is a farm to table restaurant that has been open for just about a year or so. There are only 7 or 8 tables in the small restaurant and the menu is somewhat limited but the food is to die for. We all shared mussels that had been simmered in a Dijon broth for an appetizer. Cody and I split a shaved brussels sprout salad with pancetta, pine nuts, and parmesan for our salad course and then shared an oxtail-filled ravioli with cream sauce for our entree. I think it is a must-visit restaurant if you are in the Sutton’s Bay area.

One of our favorite lunches was from Village Cheese Shanty in Fishtown. Fishtown is in Leland and is an area where old fishing shanties have been turned into shops and restaurants. Fishtown wasn’t quite open for the season but luckily, Village Cheese Shanty had opened a few weeks back. They are known for their pretzel bread and they have a mile long list of gourmet sandwiches. I chose the South Shore–ham, dill havarti, lettuce, tomato, onion, and pesto-mayo sandwich and oh my loooord it was amazing! Cody had the Northshore–turkey, bacon, swiss, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and herb-mayo sandwich. The whole time we were eating our sandwiches all we could talk about is how good they were!

There is an area in Traverse City called The Village at Grand Traverse Commons. It is an old psychiatric hospital that has been renovated and turned into shops and restaurants. Luckily, we didn’t run into any ghosts, at least I don’t think. The architecture is beautiful, the shops are artsy fartsy, which I like, and the restaurant we ate at, Trattoria Stella, was delicious. My favorite dish we had was Burrata Pugliese. Burrata is an Italian cheese with a firm shell that has a creamy center. They serve the Burrata with shaved Toscano salmi and a charred tomato vinaigrette. You spread the burrata cheese on a crostini and top it with the salami and vinaigrette.

I could not have asked for a better vacation. Between the company, the accomodations, the food, and the wine it was a first-class vacation. Who needs to go to Napa when you can go to Northern Michigan?

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