Our final shakedown trip took us to what some call America’s third coast—the Great Lakes. Specifically, we drove the coast of Lake Michigan, trolling the beaches, talking with locals, camping, and, of course, sampling the wines. Here are some of the highlights:
Mid-century homes along the Indiana coast:
Wineries and watering holes:
As soon as we hit the Michigan line, we started seeing signs left and right for wineries and the like. The first one we hit was Chill Hill. These folks were super friendly and let me set up a work station outside. They had a good variety of ciders, including an especially tasty tropical flavor. Get the flight when you go.
Once we were farther north, in the Traverse City area, we stopped at Bonobo. The wine was excellent—dry and crisp. And the outdoor area was amazing—a glassed-in porch overlooking the vineyards with the lake in the background. They had swings and picnic tables. And the charcuterie board and small plates were something you would expect from a five-star restaurant. Perfection.
We hit several more wineries, including Chateau Grand Traverse, which had a really good limited edition red; Brys, an upscale winery with some very fine white wines (and a secret lavender garden that is not to be missed); and MAWBY / Big Little, a renowned vineyard. MAWBY crafts creative and elegant sparkling wines, while their sister vineyard is slightly more traditional, yet funky. Both are worth visiting.
Old Mission Peninsula:
So lots of the aforementioned wineries were found on a little peninsula called Old Mission. The tip of the strip of land hits the 45th Parallel, where there’s a lovely beach and a historic lighthouse. Their public library is also gorgeous with children’s garden and good wifi.
More beaches and good times:
One of our interviews for our podcast, Jessica, was a great host. She gave us a tour via VW caravan of some of her favorite places and pastimes. After meeting up at MAWBY, we cruised to Leland where we got the world-famous (and Joe Biden-approved) Moomers Ice Cream. Then we hit the beach again—this time to rock hunt for Leland Blue (slag glass that has been tumbled smooth) and a type of fossilized coral called Petoskey (the state stone of Michigan). The next morning, before leaving town, we stopped at a small hidden-away beach (sorry folks—you’ll have to ask the locals) and swam.