10 May 2015

May 2015 MICHIGAN Traverse City 2 - A Wine-ing We Shall Go

First stop of the morning was Minerva's, our hotel restaurant and our fave breakfast spot in T.C. Mike had the double triple--two eggs, two blueberry pancakes, two bacon slices. I had Harvest Hash--a layer of crispy hash browns, then a layer of mixed grilled mushrooms / sun dried tomatoes / artichokes / onions, and topped with two perfectly fried over medium eggs. They even had a pretty good version of sour dough toast (rare in the midwest states). Almost enough to keep you going for the day.

Then off to the Spring Sip and Savor Saturday on the Leelanau Peninsula. Bob had arranged a 12-passenger van (it was either a 7 or a 12 seater). It was a bit big for our party of 8, but at least we were legal and had enough seat belts for everyone. Bob also chauffeured, great tour guide that he is. www.lpwines.com/spring/

The first stop was Aurora Cellars, a new one for us. It has been around for a while, but has new owners and a new name. We picked up our tour tickets there. This boutique winery has an old world charm. It sits on a hill with a nice view of the vineyards. No greenery yet though. They had a Pinot Gris for the sip, and an onion and asparagus quiche for the savor. It was good, but would have been better if warmed up. Also tried Radiance, a red wine blend. www.auroracellars.com
Next was Boathouse Vineyards. Here you can relax on lawn chairs and watch the nearby river meander by. It is a fave from last time we did the Sip and Savor. The wine is good, but we also love the party atmosphere. They have lots of unique picture frames and props sitting around, so you can take cool photos. Here we had a nice Pinot Grigio with tomato topped bruschetta and cracker with Munster cheese and dill pickle.  www.boathousevineyards.com

The next stop was not an official S&S stop. It was the North Latitudes Distillery. They make all kinds of distilled products. At home we had some left over products from our last trip, but we did restock their  Limoncello that we love so much. It is the perfect porch beverage for those hot summer nights. www.northernlatitudesdistillery.com
Next was Blustone Vineyards, quite modern with lots of glass and chrome. We had another Pinot Grigio, this time with Alfredo pasta and peas. The tasting room is perched atop a hill overlooking the vines. On their nice outdoor veranda we savored the sun along with our S&S. www.blustonevineyards.com
Our last official stop was Good Neighbors Farm. They specialize in more fruity wines and they also have a wonderful organic farm. We especially like the field of lavender there. If you come at the right time of year you can buy lavender products of soap, potpourri, oils, etc. Here you had your choice of wine, so I tried the peach. It was delish. The savor was a chicken soft shell taco. goodneighbororganic.com
Our last unofficial wine stop was the Motovino Cellars in Northport, more of a modern Italian trattoria in style. Even though they weren't on the tour, they offered wine tastings and a savor of tiny peppers stuffed with wonderful cheese. www.motovinocellars.com
On our return trip to T.C. we stopped in Sutton's Bay for shopping (lots of little unique boutiques there) and then an early dinner. North Country Grill and Pub had been on the minds of many of us for a while. We have a bunch of lobster and prime rib lovers in the group. We ate here after the last S&S and they do it right here. We could hardly wait for this return trip.

They serve a one lobster dinner for only $23. Some ordered one tail, some ordered two, and Tom ordered three (and ate them all with no trouble). Others had the prime rib (up to 22 oz for $30). All goo-ooo-ood! The four that were celebrating got free deserts of molten lava cake and berry cobbler. They graciously shared with all.  www.boonesnorthcountrygrillandpub.com
After that we stopped at a cheese store. We first tried Raclette (a mild cow's milk cheese) in southern France last fall when we visited the home of our Aunt and Uncle. Auntie boiled potatoes and poured this tasty melted cheese on top. It was served with Corniche pickles, pickled onions and pickled garlic cloves. It was so good we have been trying replicate it at home.

In Kalamazoo we found the American version of this cheese at a local deli. They advised their source was the Leelanau Cheese Company. So, for this trip, one of our goals was to check this store out. We were not disappointed. It was available here for two-thirds the price back home. They age the cheese in a cavern dug out of a hill. Wish we could take a peak inside! www.leelanaucheese.com/index.html 

All in all there are 22 wineries that we could have visited today. We hardly made a dent in the line-up, but we had a fabulous time. Thanks to Bob and Lo for organizing the event.

The next and last morning in TC was peaceful and pleasant. After all the good-byes Mike and I took a walk in the neighborhoods. Lovely Victorian style houses with lots of ginger bread decoration. We saw a Little Free Library. I am going to look into this for our neighborhood back home. 
We also saw a huge bent tree that had a sign saying it marked an Indian trail from the pioneer days. 

After that we headed down the trail to our home.

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If you have visited any of these places, we would love to hear your comments. Or send us recommendations of places we should not miss.