When you sip, you sip, we sip! Maybe you prefer drinking a fine glass of wine pinky up, or maybe you prefer sipping your favorite bottle on a patio overlooking a watery, scenic view, or maybe you enjoy tasting different wines in a huge stone castle, overlooking fields of grape orchards. If you have answered yes to any of these, then you should visit Traverse City.
Traverse City has so much to offer such as; drooling food finds, scenic overlooks, sandy beaches, and over 40 different wineries. Where do I begin?! When I first turned 21 years old, I had no idea what to try or what I would like, so I awkwardly ordered a white wine. It was not the greatest, probably because it was cheap bottle of Chardonnay. Little did I know that my palate would change overtime, and I would soon become a wine snob.
When I first traveled the 2.5 hours to Traverse City from Muskegon, I was anxiously awaiting to try new things. One of the most renown winerys’ is MAWBY, which is known for their SEX wine, so of course that had to be our first stop. I have to stress that this winery is does not sell champagne, but sparkling wine. This really appealed to me as someone whose palate was not as developed, so I steered towards the sweeter wines. I was hopeful that MAWBY had a sparkling wine for me.
We had ordered a spread of their goat cheeses with crackers, and their frozen mimosa. Their frozen mimosa is layered with 2.5 ounces of M. Lawrence, 2.5 ounces of orange juice, and then topped with 2.5 ounces of M. Lawrence Rosso. Both of the wines adds multiple layers to the experience of trying two of MAWBY’s sparkling wines at once. Find more of MAWBY’s recipes here.
MAWBY ferments their sparkling wines and ciders twice, and none of their bottled products are carbonated. MAWBY produces a range of sparkling wines with tastes to suit most any palate, each uniquely fitting for everyone.
Next, we ventured out to Grand Traverse Commons. This historic 1884 Traverse City State Hospital has been remodeled into a thriving village consisting of multiple storefronts, restaurants, and local thrift stores. Don’t let the beauty of this foundation fool you. The hospital used to act an asylum and still offers Twilight tours in the evenings to tourists that are interested in learning more about the hospital’s haunting past.
Just outside of the Grand Traverse City Commons is a coffee shop, Mexican restaurant, and a winery, called Left Foot Charley. Every time I am in Traverse City, I make sure to visit this winery/cidery. Left Foot has a committed focus on red and white wine varietals, hard cider, and sparkling wine. Due to Lake Michigan’s effect and soil composition, wineries like Left Food Charley have partnered with local appellations to bring the best tasting fruits to your wine glass.
For $7, you can sample multiple wines and ciders. My top three ciders that I recommend trying are the Cinnamon Girl, Antrim Hard Cider, and Henry’s Pippin Hard Cider. Today, my palate is more on the dryer, bolder side. If you’re like me, then I would recommend their Blaufrankisch, Murmur, and Pinot Blanc.
After a day of exploring new wineries, it was time to grab dinner. We decided on a restaurant called Poppycocks, located in Downtown Traverse City on Front Street. Since 1989, Poppycocks has been serving eclectic dishes that rotate every season, to capture the most freshest ingredients on every plate. Everything that Poppycocks is homemade and made fresh. After dinner, make sure to save some room for dessert or a dessert cocktail. Pictured is their Tiramisu.
The Little Fleet is also a cool outdoor location during the summer season. Several food trucks line up in the parking lot to feed hungry patrons. An outside bar serves up some of the freshest margaritas and summer themed drinks. Can’t get a drink outside? Their inside bar is filled with all different kinds of liquors and locally sourced craft beers. Local artists can be found playing their hearts out to everyone laughing, and enjoying their food.
Craving dessert? I highly recommend Peace, Love, and Little Donuts offer the cutest tiny donuts that are bursting with flavor. Serving over 45 different mixes of toppings, there is no doubt that this donut shop will feed your inner hippie. Donut worry. Be happy!
This is part one in the Traverse City series, as I have traveled to Traverse City more than a handful of times. Be on the lookout for Exploring Wine Country Part 2 as we explore more wineries, craft breweries, amazing food locations, and fun activities to do during the summer/winter months in Traverse City and in Petoskey. Cheers!