It FINALLY feels like Fall and I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t be more excited! Fall is about bringing people together, enjoying the outdoors, discovering new places and indulging in the local wine, cider and beer scene.
With great color and Great Lakes views, it’s no question as to why hundreds of fall color chasers make their way to Traverse City for the annual color tour every year. Northern Michigan displays a spectacular colorful scenery, and there’s no better place to experience it than on a Traverse City patio with a view.
From Old Mission Peninsula to Leelanau County, you’ll find the best patios to relax with a glass and enjoy the Fall color.
There’s no shortage of 4th of July festivities when it comes to celebrating in Traverse City! With the summer’s biggest holiday around the corner, it’s time to enjoy all the activities that salute the nation and honor its history. From spectacular fireworks over West Bay, to lakefront concerts, beach parties and more, there’s no better place to celebrate the country’s independence in Michigan than Traverse City.
Grab your friends, family, and sparklers, and turn up your USA-themed playlist, then head to one of these Northern Michigan 4th of July celebrations!
Yeah, it’s a party in the U.S.A
Enjoy the Traverse City Boom Boom Club’s spectacular 4th of July firework display shot over West Bay beginning at dark! You’ll find great viewing from anywhere along the West Bay shoreline in Traverse City. Click here for more information.
The best part about Northern Michigan is its beaches. No salt, no sharks, and nothing but fresh water! If you’re looking for the biggest 4th of July gathering, head down to West End Beach or Clinch Park along the shores of Traverse City’s Open Space. Locals and visitors alike will claim their space on the beach, with boaters anchored nearby, creating a fun boat-to-shore social scene.
Each summer since 1968, Traverse City has celebrated one of its most famous and delicious goods: the cherry. The 2017 National Cherry Festival takes place July 1 through July 8, and it’s full of all sorts of fun – concerts along the bay, good eats, local wine and beer, athletic events, a spectacular air show and of course lots and lots of cherries. I highly suggest hitting up a concert, walking the midway, and topping of your evening at the beer tent.
Happy Birthday America! Let’s raise a glass and toast to our history and accomplishments, and if you’re a wine drinker like myself, you’re going to be sipping on that TC local good stuff. Situated on the 45th parallel – just like France’s Bordeaux region, and Italy’s Piedmont region – Traverse City has quickly become a notable wine destination, boasting a variety of cool-climate wines that pair entirely well with the booming cuisine scene. Combine all of that with the beauty of Old Mission Peninsula, Leelanau County, Lake Michigan and the Sleeping Bear Dunes, the region’s wine scene will have you craving for more!
Let’s be honest, are we even in Michigan? Named the “Most Beautiful Place in America” on ABC’s Good Morning America, the Sleeping Bear Dunes encompass 65 miles of sandy beaches along Lake Michigan’s Eastern Coastline, with bluffs that tower over 450 feet, luscious forests, clear blue inland lakes, and breathtaking views. Escape the town and crowds, and enjoy the scenic ride and experience out to the area’s most beautiful spot.
Here in Northern Michigan, we get to take our beer outside and enjoy it in cool places such as my favorite, Hop Lot Brewing in Suttons Bay. There’s something enticing about getting to enjoy Northern Michigan’s charm with a good beer in hand, surrounded by your friends and family. Hop Lot’s Beer Garden has established itself as the ultimate Northern Michigan destination to embrace the local beer culture, while taking in the breathtaking outdoors.
With a venue like this, how can you pass up a Cherry Festival Concert. The 90’s Dance Party 2.0 featuring Vanilla Ice, All-4-One, and C & C Music Factory will be taking the stage along the Bay this 4th of July. Last year I was able to attend this one-of-a-kind dance party, and I can promise you that it’s a great time. Get your tickets here!
A Traverse City 4th of July isn’t complete without a big slice of cherry pie from the Grand Traverse Pie Co. With two Traverse City locations, they make it easy for you to indulge on their cherry deliciousness.
With a prime location, incredible views, and good drinks, The Hotel Indigo is a must-visit! The rooftop view lines up perfectly with the main stage of the Traverse City Cherry Festival, and the Lake in the background doesn’t hurt either. It’s the perfect destination to kick back and enjoy a nice sunset over the bay, while listening to the sights and sounds of the Cherry Festival.
Now that I’ve provided you with a fun-filled 4th of July, it’s your turn to get out and enjoy what Northern Michigan has to offer! Cheers and Happy Birthday America!
It finally feels like Spring in Northern Michigan, and I found the perfect accessory to pair it with — JORD Wood Watches. When I received my Frankie 35 Series Zebrawood & Champagne watch from JORD I was super excited! I love how unique these hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind wood watches are, and I’m slightly obsessed with JORD’s natural, sleek and modern design.
Made from 100% natural wood, JORD watches are easy to style and go well with anything. My JORD watch fits in perfectly with my Northern Michigan lifestyle. Whether I’m enjoying an evening out downtown Traverse City, wine tasting at a local vineyard, or hiking the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, I have found my JORD watch to accommodate every occasion.
JORD is run by artists, designers, marketers and minders who are focused on creating timepieces that are modeled after a modern lifestyle. One of my favorite things about JORD Watches is that they are designed with sustainability in mind, and use a range of beautiful raw materials to craft each timepiece.
Great news guys! I’m working with JORD Watches on an awesome giveaway. One lucky winner will receive a $100 credit towards a JORD watch of their own! Also, just for entering the contest you’ll receive a $25 credit — awesome right?!
Contest ends 8/31/2017 at 11:59 PM. Good luck!
JORD Watches are designed for people who don’t just have somewhere to be, they have somewhere to go.
Disclosure: JORD sent me the watch for free to try out. I only review products I believe in, that I would use myself, or think might be of interest to you.
While Traverse City and Leelanau County are predominantly known for their wine and beer scene, hard cider isn’t to far behind as a Michigan favorite. With the country’s third largest apple crop, Northern Michigan has emerged as an industry leader, and with warmer weather on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to tour the leading cider destinations in the area. Whether you’re a local or traveler, no trip to the area would be complete without a visit to these Northern Michigan cider establishments.
Here’s a list of my favorite places around Traverse City to grab a glass of hard cider:
With a prime location in the center of Downtown Traverse City, Taproot Cider House has become a Front Street favorite. With 17 ciders on tap, there’s a cider for everyone in the group to enjoy. What I enjoy most about this cider house is that it’s a true Northern Michigan establishment with a welcoming atmosphere! Taproot captures the essence of Northern Michigan, with accents of reclaimed wood from a big storm that hit Traverse City in August of 2015. Other features such as a physical taproot that was donated from a local orchard acts as the famous centerpiece behind the bar.
Taproot Cider House is known for supporting local farmers, distilleries, wineries, and craft breweries. Their earth to table concept features a food menu with a nice variety of local and organic produce. Let Taproot be your next downtown destination!
Yes, I tasted all 17 ciders on tap, and here’s a list of my favorites!
The regions first urban winery located in the center of the historic Northern Michigan Asylum, now known as The Village Traverse Commons, offers a unique space that allows them to create wine and cider from vineyards and orchards around Traverse City. Left Foot Charley has a variety of wine and cider on hand, and is only a short drive from downtown Traverse City! Open until 9pm, think of Left Foot Charley during your next outing! Their patio is unbeatable in the summer months.
With unparalleled views of Grand Traverse West Bay and a bar that looks out to Power Island, Suttons Bay Ciders is the optimal setting for a Northern Michigan Hard Cidery. Family owned and operated, Suttons Bay Ciders is located just a half mile off of M22, and offers the perfect cozy and laid-back atmosphere. My recommendation is to enjoy a nice sampler of all their ciders up at the bar, while taking in the pure Michigan sights.
Make yourself at home, because Tandem Ciders is the ultimate local cider hangout. Found along a scenic country road in Leelanau County’s wine country, Tandem Ciders offers a variety of ciders that you can enjoy in the tasting room, or take to go. I recommend getting a flight, and taking home a growler of your choice to enjoy! Their highly popular “Smackintosh” cider is a crowd favorite.
Located right on the 45th parallel, this Northern Michigan winery has become a Leelanau Peninsula destination thanks to its variety of wine, casual atmosphere, outgoing staff, and of course their unique ciders. 45 North has been able to capitalize off of its distinct location as the driving force behind its approach to crafting world-class wines and ciders that represent the West Michigan wine and cider scene. Tucked between the woods, 45 North has a great Northern Michigan vibe. Stop in for a cider tasting, and pair it with their award-winning wine. You can even enjoy your taste from their horse saddle bar stools.
In addition to their wines, Veterra Winery’s sister project, Chaos Ciders makes a variety of hard ciders that are becoming a staple known to the Northern Michigan cider scene. Nestled in the town of Leland, their unique tasting room — which once was a barber shop/pool hall in 1927 — is one-of-a-kind. Whether your tasting, grabbing a glass, or taking home a growler, Verterra is a great one stop shop for both cider and wine lovers. When you do visit, be sure to ask for Lindy because she was absolutely wonderful! Lindy gave such an educational, yet enjoyable tasting experience and was full of knowledge!
For the cider drinkers with a sweeter palate, Chateau De Leelanau is the place for you. As you’re entering Leelanau County’s wine country, Chateau De Leelanau is an easy stop to hit with direct access off of M22. Try one or all five of their ciders, and take a glass to enjoy outside on their patio. Their large tasting room is fully equipped to handle you and all your friends tasting needs!
Situated halfway out on Old Mission Peninsula, with views overlooking West Grand Traverse Bay, Bowers Harbor offers a cozy and comfortable atmosphere to enjoy wine and cider, while learning about the different varietals, and growing practices. Whether you’re enjoying a glass on the patio, or tasting at the bar, the staff provides a fun, yet knowledgable experience. Their Apple cider was my favorite, however, Bowers Harbor’s cider list has a nice variety of seasonal tastes and flavors. Sipping on their Peach and Blueberry ciders were a nice taste of summer in the middle of winter.
Now it’s your turn to get out and try these local cider favorites!
Add pie to Monday’s menu. The American Pie Council turned an American tradition into a holiday that has become highly celebrated. A holiday that’s not to be confused with National Pi Day, January 23rd is a whole day created simply to celebrate pie. Whether you enjoy baking your own pie, or know of the perfect bakery, it’s a day set aside for eating pie…lots and lots of pie.
The only way I know how to celebrate is by indulging in some of my favorite pies from the Grand Traverse Pie Company, headquartered in Traverse City, Michigan. In honor of the holiday, GT Pie Shops will be giving away a free slice of Michigan fruit pie (Apple Crumb or Cherry Crumb) with any purchase.
Grand Traverse Pie Company is encouraging people to share their free pie photos with the hashtag #LovePeacePie via social media.
Pie is made for sharing! Treat your friends and family this holiday with pie from the best, the Grand Traverse Pie Company. National Pie Day is the perfect excuse to indulge in pie, as if we even needed one.
May your day be pie-filled!
Despite the cold weather, and the endless amounts of snow we received over the week, it’s the perfect time to get out and enjoy what the Northern Michigan wine scene has to offer. If you’re on the hunt for weekend festivities, there are some awesome events happening in the wine and beer industry around the Traverse City area.
What’s Up Michigan is a great source for the best events and deals happening around Michigan daily. Here are a few of their current wine and beer deals to take advantage of.
Bonobo Winery – Cheese & Charcuterie Board with 2 Featured Tastings for $15. Expires 3/31/17
Aurora Cellars – 50% off a 2nd glass of wine. Expires 5/31/17
45 North Vineyard & Winery – $2 off a glass of wine. Expires 3/31/17
Shady Lane Cellars – $3 Wine Tasting. 3/31/17
Rove Estate Vineyard & Winery – Buy on get one free wine tasting, and 10% off retail purchases. Expires 3/31/17
Left Foot Charley – 25% off munchie menu item with purchase of wine or cider pour. Expires 3/31/17
Brew Bus – $75 off private tour. Expires 5/31/17
Bowers Harbor Vineyards – Buy 1 wine or hard cider tasting, get 1 free, plus 10% off wine & cider purchases. Expires 11/30/17
Grand Traverse Tours – 2 Wine Tour Guests for $99. Expires 3/31/17
Rare Bird Brewpub – 50% off Tacos. Expires 3/31/17
Hearth & Vine Cafe at Black Star Farms – Monday thru Thursday buy 1 wood-fired pizza, get the 2nd 1/2 off. Expires 3/31/17
The Workshop Brewing Co. – 4oz Tenpenny American-Style Ale for 10 pennies. Expires 3/31/17
Grand Traverse Distillery – $ 2 off any regular priced drink. Expires 3/31/2017
Taproot Cider House – 50% off Nachos. Expires 3/31/17
Enjoy your weekend fun!
Donuts are by far my favorite “happy carb,” and the moment I heard about the recently added donut shop to downtown Traverse City’s Front Street, I had to go check it out! Peace, Love & Little Donuts is one of the grooviest donut shops I have ever seen. It’s a 1970’s inspired donut shop with a hippie vibe, and everything is made fresh throughout the day, and assembled right in front of you. They use the hippest ingredients, and offer a variety of flavors and toppings everyone will enjoy. Not to mention the donuts are so cute and little, you won’t feel bad about buying a dozen or two!
Customers can choose between three categories of donuts: Groovy, Far Out, and Funkadelic.
Groovy is any of their little donuts with Groovy toppings, such as: Cinnamon Sugar, Powered Sugar, Saigon Cinnamon, Ginger Sugar, Honey Glazed and Maple Sugar.
Far Out donuts are made with their Far Out frostings, such as: Vanilla, Chocolate, Maple, Raspberry, Strawberry, Orange, Banana, Lemon and a fan favorite Mocha.
My favorite, the Funkadelic little donuts have frosting, plus crazy toppings, such as: Fruity Pebbles, S’mores, Strawberry Cheesecake, Salted Caramel, Birthday Cake, and tons more!
I highly suggest taking their advice, and feeding your inner-hippie! These donuts taste just as good as they look, and you won’t be disappointed. From their welcoming staff, to their funky atmosphere and delicious creations, it’s a must-try in downtown Traverse City!
xoxo – Abby
Hello and welcome to Lakes and Grapes, a place for me to share my passions in life. I started this blog as an outlet to capture all things lakes, grapes, travel, and Northern Michigan living. I am fortunate enough to call Traverse City my home, a town that is blessed with miles of Lake Michigan coastline, surrounded by a countryside full of vineyards and orchards.
It has been a longtime dream of mine to start a blog that is my own, and I’m excited to finally share it with you all. I could not be more thrilled to see what the future holds as I embark on this new journey!
Thanks for stopping by Lakes and Grapes!