Spring has officially sprung! The cherry blossoms are blooming, the water is getting warm, and everyone is suddenly out of hibernation. I’ve been (mentally) developing a huge travel guide for Traverse City; there are so many little gems in this town, and as a native, I know the city pretty well. But even so, I feel like I’ve always taken this town for granted. When I was younger I couldn’t wait to move to a big, bustling city. I was always going to move, but it was always too difficult. I have such an emotional attachment to the lakes, and it’s so hard to say no to their beauty.
So as a summer resolution, we have decided to re-explore our beautiful town, and we are taking you with us! Introducing Old Mission Peninsula, the winery filled chunk of land in the middle of West and East Bay. One of the best things about Old Mission: it changes. Right now, it’s all about the cherry blossoms, but depending on what time of year you visit, there will always be a different attraction to see (Fall colors, hint, hint).
Bonobo Winery: While driving up Center Road, you will want to pull over, snap some pictures, and just take a minute to admire the view. Instead of stopping on the side of the road, swing into Bonobo, and take a moment to pause, walk around the grounds, and just take it all in. And while you’re there, head to the tasting room to sample some wines.
Jeremiah’s Must Try: Cabernet Franc
Sarah’s Must Try: Pinot Blanc
Brys Estate Vineyard + Winery: We discovered Brys a couple years back, when we went wine tasting for a friend’s birthday. Since then, it has been a staple for trips on the peninsula. You will go for the wine, but stay for the Secret Garden (check that out in the activities section of this post).
Jeremiah’s Must Try: Cab/Merlot
Sarah’s Must Try: Frozen + Rose = Froze.
2 Lads Winery: Like Bonobo, 2 Lads has one of the most amazing views. You drive through vines and end up atop a hill, looking at East Bay. Grab a seat at the bar, and start sipping.
Jeremiah’s Must Try: Cabernet Franc
Sarah’s Must Try: Rose of Cabernet Franc
The Boathouse: Make a reservation, and request a table facing the water. If you’re there on a whim, we had an awesome time sitting at the bar!
Jeremiah’s Must Try: Crab Cakes
Sarah’s Must Try: Spring Vegetable Salad
Image Via Jolly Pumpkin
Jolly Pumpkin Restaurant + Brewery: Two words: Artisan Ales. If you are more of a beer drinker, this will be your favorite stop. Jolly Pumpkin’s drink selection is always unique, and rotates quit a bit. Plus, check out their Facebook page for their Beer Yoga schedule!
Jeremiah’s Must Try: Turkey Grinder + Foxtrot
Sarah’s Must Try: Rocket Arugula Salad + Losing our Ledges
Pelizzari Natural Area: If you are traveling with your pup, stop by Pelizzari Natural Area for a hike.
Secret Garden: This is a must stop on my list. Drive through the winery’s vines to find yourself in a lavender filled dream. The Garden has u-pick lavender and blueberries, as well as a gift shop. Just make sure you check their Facebook page for updates on when the plants are in bloom.
Mission Point Lighthouse + Old Mission Beach: This family friendly stop is a perfect way to make it to the top of the peninsula. Dip your toes in the water (or go for a swim), and tour the Lighthouse’s grounds.
Harbor View Lavender Farm: On the way back to Traverse City, stop by Harbor Lavender Farm and get your final lavender fix. You can walk around the barn, and smell all the lavender! Be sure to pick up some lavender products at their road side stand.
Blue Goat Wine + Provisions: Whether it be on the way up, or while you are heading back to TC, stop by Blue Goat and pick up some drinks.
Old Mission General Store: The General Store is a great stop to make if you are heading to Old Mission Beach. It reminds me of something you would see in an old Western, but with a Northern Michigan twist.