Michigan, July 2020

Friday, July 27, 2020

We were supposed to be going to an Avett Brothers concert in Cooperstown, New York this weekend but of course… that got cancelled a long time ago.  We decided to keep our scheduled time off and go up to Traverse City for a long weekend.  Jack, Courtney and I left Cleveland around 6:00AM and got to our house we rented around 1:00PM.  We were happy that they let us check in early and were happy with the house that was just on top of Long Lake, about a mile from Moomers.  We wasted no time and set out for Sleeping Bear dunes where we went on a vigorous hike at Pyramid Point, a spot we’ve never been to before.  The hike was interesting in that it went through forest, had amazing overlook views of Lake MI and also went through a beautiful meadow.  It was was quite hilly so was a good workout.  We drove down M22 on the way back, stopped in Glen Arbor and had a beer at Cherry Republic sitting outside in their courtyard listing to a guy play music.  Very nice as we haven’t heard live music in months.  We drove back through Traverse City – stopping at the grocery to stock up.  We had a nice dinner of steak and potatoes and spent the evening relaxing outside the house around the campfire.  We tried to stay up to see the shooting stars that were supposed to be out… but of course we didn’t make it that late.

starting our hike at Pyramid Point
Beautiful views overlooking Lake MI
Happy to be able to get away
the woods opened up to a beautiful meadow full of wildflowers

relaxing at Cherry Republic
cocktail hour in the backyard of the house we rented

Saturday, July 28, 2020

We drove to Glen Haven in the morning with out bikes, lunch and beach supplies.  We biked about 2 hours on the Heritage Trail going from Glen Haven to the Dune Climb and then south towards Empire.  It was a beautiful day and the bike trail was gorgeous.  We changed into our beach attire at the car and then hiked through the dunes with our beach chairs and cooler to one of our favorite beaches of all time off of Sleeping Bear Point. We picnicked and relaxed enjoying the perfect setting. We drove back to the house, had a short siesta and then hit the road to Mission Point Peninsula to hit some wineries before dinner.  We went to Black Star Farms, Mari Vineyards and then Bonobo winery.  It was interesting to see how each of them dealt with the social distancing mandates.  All of them were very nice with beautiful settings and good wine.  The wine in the area is actually really good and the wineries that keep popping up are amazing.  The quality is better every time we have gone up here.  We ended up buying over a case of wine over the next few days at different places.  Our goal was to have dinner at The Jolly Pumpkin at the top of the peninsula.  We ended up waiting about a half an hour as their capacity was reduced like all places.  The wait was a pleasure sitting in a grove of trees with the lake peeking through drinking Jolly Pumpkin sour beers.  We had a nice dinner, sitting on their beautiful patio overlooking the lake.

Jack and Courtney walking up part of the Dune Climb
On the beach at last
Bonobo winery. They only had a handful of table so most people were sitting on their hill.
…with a great view.
Mari Vinyards

the front yard of The Jolly Pumpkin
Perfect spot with really good beer
laughing at the crazies who were sitting next to us

Sunday,  July 29, 2020

Jack drove me, Courtney and our bikes to Traverse City to get on the Leelanau bike trail that goes from Traverse City up to Sutton’s Bay – about a 12 mile bike ride.  The bike trail was along an old railroad path and went through farms, vineyards and little villages.  Very nice.  We poked around Sutton’s Bay a bit and went into a couple stores.  Jack was disk golfing while we were riding and we met him for lunch at Hop Lot Brewing Company in Sutton’s Bay.  It had a great huge beer garden and they had the best pandemic ordering system of anyone we have seen so far.  You ordered everything on your phone, the servers brought things to you and set it on a little table next to your table and you paid everything on your phone.  Zero contact. Why doesn’t everyone do that?  They had good beer too 🙂 .  We did a tour of some of the wineries on the Leelanau peninsula after lunch.  Our first stop was Tandem Ciders in an old school house surround by farmland.  They had nice little spots to sit in corn fields and in the woods.  Next stop was Shady Lane Cellars that was another beautiful place with tables spread out all over outside, a beautiful outside bar and one of the few places that let you do real wine tastings.  We then went to Brengman Brother and… surprise… another awesome place.  Jack especially likes this one as the people working there were very knowledgeable and we had some good conversation with them about the wine.  We eventually made it back home, took a short rest and got cleaned up for going out.  We went to dinner at Trattoria Stella which was in a development called Grand Traverse Commons which used to be an old insane asylum.  The restaurant we went to was a very nice place, some say one of best in MI, and was in the basement of one of the buildings and kind of spooky – yet elegant and refined 😉  We had a great dinner starting with cocktails and then had fried zucchini blossoms and a nice charcuterie board with lots of different things from their in-house butcher.  For mains we all split a fresh tomato salad, a local fish that I forget what it was and a plate of their home-made pasta.  Afterward we walked around the very large grounds where most of the buildings were still abandoned, in bad shape but very interesting architecturally.  It will be interesting to see if they fix them all up over the years.

there was a community garden off the bike trail we were on.
Everything was in full bloom and was quite a show
I liked these fish sculptures

Sutton’s Bay
Hop a Lot Brewing Co
Tandem Cider
our little grove at the cidery

Jack was serious: taking notes in his wine journal.  Shady Lane Cellars.
beautiful spot
Old asylum trying to be a new destination
one of the old abandoned buildings

Monday, July 30, 2020

We started our day hiking trail Bass Lake Loop in Sleeping Bear Dunes.  The trail was through the woods and unfortunately it was full of mosquitoes almost the whole way – about an hour hike.  We made it through but it wasn’t fun.  We then drove down about 5 miles to Platte River Beach and waded through the river to get to the beach and then walked along the beautiful beach.  It was another beautiful day and this beach was especially nice with hardly any people.  We then went a few miles north to Esch Beach and found a nice spot with our beach chair and packed cooler.  We brought our lunch with us and had a nice relaxing few hours.  We then went on one more short hike at Empire Bluff which was about a mile hike going up through the woods that ended with another beautiful outlook onto Lake MI.  We decided to stay in for dinner instead of going out and stopped at the grocery store to get burgers to grill. It was a good choice – hanging outside for cocktail hour and having a casual dinner.

mosquito laden woods
Platte River Beach
this beach is almost like a FLA beach

picnicking on Esch Beach
enjoying the view from Empire Bluffs
enjoying the patio one last time

Tuesday, July 31st, 2020

We took our time packing up and getting on the road as we were in no rush.  We had an easy drive back to CLE listening to Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants all the way home which was fun.  Another nice trip and hope to rent a house next summer around there somewhere for a whole week.

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