Take a moment and imagine yourself on an adults-only getaway weekend – sitting on a hill in the sunshine, sipping on a glass of wine as you peer out over the rolling vineyards and crashing waves of the nearby beach. Where are you? Must be California, you say? Nope – how about Traverse City, Michigan!
Traverse City Wine Trail
Nested away in northern Michigan is a small winery town where one can find enough vineyards to easily fill a weekend’s plans. But here’s the best part: it’s not just vineyards! This summer hot spot is also made up of incredible restaurants, beach-lined bike trails, spa’s, and several different types of entertainment.
Sound perfect? Well, this is where I found myself over the Memorial weekend. The vines were just starting to sprout, the beaches were only moderately busy, and it was glorious. Simply glorious!
So let me give you just a little idea of why Traverse City is a great getaway place for adults to visit for a weekend away during the summer months – and I think I can almost sum it all up in just one word: Frose’.
Frose’ and Charcuterie, Please.
Finding the wineries was no problem. Just head out on to either peninsula and there are droves of them! Although, in order to stay the course, it does help to stop by almost any hotel or restaurant in town and pick up a free wine trail (or WOMP) map. There are also shuttles that can be booked ahead of time to drive trail-goers around. As for me, I simply brought a designated driver – who was also an expert map reader. Smart.
However, getting back to the wineries, as with most things there were a few who stood out from the crowd. One of which was Brys Estate Vineyard and Winery. This, my friends, is where I found the epic frozen rose’ (the frose’). However, it wasn’t JUST the frose’ that made this place shine – they also had a deck that overlooks the vineyards where I ordered a charcuterie board to snack on as I relaxed in the sun. . . magical.
But don’t let me sway you, there are many other WOMP wineries who also shined for their own reasons. On one peninsula alone, I counted nine different wineries to visit! They each offered something a little bit different than the next and almost all with an amazing view of the Grand Traverse Bay.
From Vineyards to Beaches
After spending my afternoon wandering the vineyards on a hot afternoon, nothing sounded better than heading down to the bay to dip my toes in the sand. Luckily, the downtown area is full of public beaches, boardwalks for biking or walking, and even an outdoor splash pad!
But again, not just that! The downtown area is also great for amazing restaurants and cute, eclectic shopping. Seriously, there’s enough to do and see to make it super easy to walk off a few of the wine calories without even thinking about it. Just sayin’. . .
Where to Eat in Traverse City, Michigan
Besides tasting wine, while we were in Traverse City, one of our favorite pastimes was trying new foods! A few of our favorites were Harrington’s on the Bay, The Little Feet (which are food trucks), and Trattoria Stella. . . let me share a little bit more about that last one because it certainly stood out for a very interesting reason!
Trattoria Stella is a unique restaurant that is actually housed within an old state mental hospital. Yes, you read that right! Now, if you’re into things that are vintage or somewhat creepy, they do offer tours of the unrenovated areas. Just be sure to book them ahead of time because they fill up months in advance.
After grabbing a bite to eat, the grounds are open to wandering and the hallways are now filled with unique shops and vintage photos of a time in the past. Definitely a must see!
Where to Stay
We booked at The Grand Traverse Resort and Spa for this trip and loved it. The tower rooms seemed renovated and offered a lovely view of the golf course or beach below. There were also shops, coffee, and candy shops in the lobby giving the resort a “village” feeling.
Not only did we enjoy the room but we decided to utilize the in-house spa for a little something extra: a relaxing morning massage. . .
How’s that for weekend goals?
For more information on the Traverse City Wine Trail, check out wineriesofoldmission.com.