I only embrace the Mitten if it’s holding a wine glass

Folks in Michigan, much like folks in other states I’m guessing – tend to really love it here. Pure Michigan. Mitten shaped necklaces. Cutting boards shaped like the state (with or without the upper peninsula). And maybe it’s because I wasn’t born and bred here, maybe because moving here as a teen took me away from some crucial developmental period where people learn to love this state but… well… I just… don’t.

In the winter it’s too cold, in the summer it’s too hot. The snow is too snowy. The drivers are too left lane-y. It’s humid. The roads are full of potholes and are brutal on my car’s alignment. The list goes on. It may be home, but for the most part, it ain’t where my heart is.
With one exception.
When I was  younger, my grandparents had a cottage near Traverse City – but I didn’t spend much time there. My brother and I would visit occasionally during the summers when we were younger – shows at Interlochen, miniature golf, to Pizza Hut with my grandmother, and stopping at local stands on the side of the road to buy real maple syrup. Splashing in the lake, watching chipmunks… It was a visit with grandma.
Traverse City was a different place for me when I went up north for the first time after my grandmother passed away. We gathered for her memorial celebration and I realized after my days there that for the first time in a long while, I felt an absence of stress. The heaviness that rests on my shoulders wasn’t there.
Again, a few years later, joining some friends at the edge of the water on the bay. Talking well into dark as the water lapped around our beach chairs. That peace.

And so now, I am overjoyed that we find reason to get up north far more frequently that I ever have in my life. There’s a connection I feel with this town that I have not felt anywhere else in Michigan.

When I’m here, I think, Perhaps I can see myself staying in Michigan.

(I can guarantee you, no place else in this state makes me feel that way.)

And it’s not just the perfect blue sky or the water.


If I’m being honest, I’m not entirely sure what it is about Traverse City that makes me love it so much.

(Wow, this is beginning to feel like a sponsored post. It’s not. I’m just a fangirl.)

I could happily just ride along the coast of Traverse City all day – from one peninsula to another – but fortunately? I don’t have to. There are plenty of wineries to stop by along the way.

And so we did.

L. Mawby. Sparkling wines. I love everything about Mawby – from their yummy bubbly to the cherry jalapeño cream cheese and crackers they serve with it. I tried something a little different this time – a wine called Redd. Redd, as you might imagine had more properties of a red wine – and given my tendency towards headaches after red wine, I tend to skip it.

Fortunately, Chris traded me – his Leland for my Redd.

Lovely, well made and fun.

And from there we ventured over to Old Mission Peninsula.

Bonobo Winery is fairly new – just opened this summer – but the view is pretty darn amazing and the wines are all “known to incite passion” (or so says the description…of every single wine). We were a bit hungry by the time we hit Bonobo – and decided to try out their small plates menu. Delicious olives with feta cheese and marcona almonds – amazing. (The small plates menu was curated by Mario Batali which probably explains it – so on point. I had wanted a savory snack and I never knew that what I really needed was olives. And almonds. And cheese.)

We ended the day at 2 Lads – our fave winery. We recently joined their wine club – their rose’ is a favorite of ours (It’s also sold out which is a tremendous bummer because it is so good, so smooth and perfect for pairing with darn near anything when the weather is ten thousand degrees like it’s been). Saturday night we ate phenomenal food (are you seeing a theme here?), drank spectacular wine (ditto) and shared in the company of each other as well as the company of others who’d also traveled from all over the state (and in some cases, from out of state).

It was a privilege to hear the winemaker talk of wines they were pouring and how they are made. Neither one of us is a fan of Chardonnay and yet bought a bottle to take home (it was that good). And Chris got to drink my Cab Franc. Lucky guy, that I don’t drink red.

It’s not just the water.

It’s not just the sky.

It’s not just the peace.

It’s not just the wine.

It’s not just the good company.

It’s not just a greasy breakfast before heading out to taste wine.

It’s not just feeling sand in my toes.

It’s not just the lighthouses.

It’s not just driving with the windows down and feeling the breeze from the water.

It’s all of that. Every bit of it. And somehow Traverse City feels like the kinda place that could feel like home.


Cheers, Traverse City. Thank you for another lovely weekend.

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.

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