The Indian Summer lives on! I just got back from a beautiful weekend in Northern Michigan. My friend Stephanie and I trekked up to Petoskey for the weekend, where we toured wineries, ate locally and watched a few of those famous Michigan sunsets. Although we left Thursday night, we spent most of the day Friday working–me for my job at FCA and her on her law school apps. So the majority of our day was spent inside of Northern Perk, a local coffee shop. They had great music and drinks though! Including a chai latte that was as delicious as apple pie (and tasted a bit like it too!). Here are a few highlights from our trip:
Petoskey Farms Vineyard and Winery
A beautiful, secluded winery located at the top of a hill, Petoskey Farms Vineyard and Winery provided stunning views along with delicious wine. The back porch provided a partial shelter from the wind and cold of that evening, yet it was clear covered so we still got the same views. The wine was pretty good, with the red Romance being our favorite by far. Although the cheese and crackers could’ve been better (I would definitely pass on this order in the future), it was reasonably priced. Overall, the vineyard was worth the visit and as an added bonus, the owners are from my hometown of Rochester Hills!
City Park Grill
YOU NEED TO STOP HERE! I loved the City Park Grill. Everything from the decor to the menu to the waiter handing out hot biscuits was decadent. Plus, it used to be one of Hemingway’s haunts, according to “legend”. I got a bowl of french onion soup, while Stephanie got jambalaya, which we both accompanied with chicken pretzel bites and steak on a stick, all of which was exceptional. I will definitely be back! We also ended the night with a sunset along the jetty in Petoskey that leads to the lighthouse. Absolutely gorgeous views!
The Bistro & Parks Place Cafe
I’m going to pair these two restaurants together since they were so similar. Both were quaint, simple diners that provided for simple and cheap breakfast options. The Bistro is located in Petoskey, while the Parks Place Cafe is located just up the road in Conway. They’re a very “no frills” type place with basic menu items. It’s a great quick stop to get your breakfast fix in on a busy morning, which we did both Friday and Sunday mornings.
Sam’s Graces Cafe & Bakery
Sadly, we missed breakfast at Sam’s Graces by just a few minutes. They strictly stop their breakfast items at 11am, so get there early! And although we didn’t get our morning breakfast favorites in, we had a delicious thin crusted pizza. The food wasn’t even the highlight though–the decor was. This place looks like something out of a Pinterst board, with its checkered flooring, string lights and driftwood signs. It was beautiful and provided for lots of great pictures!
Tom’s Moms Cookies & Harbor Springs Pier
Did you even go to Harbor Springs if you didn’t go to Tom’s Moms? The correct answer is NO. So of course, we stopped at this Michigan favorite to pick up a few cookies (Chocolate Chip & Molasses–my favorites!) and then headed to the pier to watch the beautiful sailboats drift by and eat our cookies. Besides the aggressive ducks that attacked each other over the crumbs of cookies Stephanie fed them and loads of goose poop we stepped in, we enjoyed our walk very much!
Hops ‘n Highlands at Boyne Highlands Resort
Stephanie and I happened to stumble upon this beer festival in Boyne Highlands–and we are thankful we did! The Hops ‘n Highlands Microbrew Festival had scores of local Michigan brewers and a $10 ticket bought you three very generous samples. The ticket also included a scenic chairlift ride, which we didn’t have time for, but were told was very fun.
Pond Hill Farm / Harbor Springs Vineyard & Winery
Both the Pond Hill Farm and Harbor Springs Vineyard & Winery are located in the same place. The farm has loads of children’s activities, including pig races, pumpkin rolling, a petting zoo and hayride. Stephanie and I, instead, headed straight for the winery. The set-up is very interactive and you are able to learn a lot about each wine you drink, as the pourers are well-versed in the wines. I decided to do a five flight wine tasting that included a tasting glass (an oversized shot glass if you ask me…). My favorites were surprisingly the Northern Lights Peach Sparkler and 2015 Pinot Gris, since I’m usually a dry white wine kind of person. But both were smooth and very impressive. Best part is they had crackers and chocolates for free!
Since we were short on time and due for the sunset, Stephanie and I hopped on over to Stafford’s but ate in the pub section. I grabbed a quick lobster roll (in preparation for the many I’m going to have next week in New England!) and Stephanie got some soup. The pub is a great place to grab food if you want a quick bite but still are looking for a quality restaurant experience. It’s very cozy and even has a fireplace!
Throne Swift Nature Preserve
This place was NOT easy to find but well worth the search. Thorne Swift Nature Preserve is a small nature preserve located on the shores of Lake Michigan and only about 10 minutes from Harbor Springs. To get here, you need to take a sharp left onto Lower Shore Drive from 119 and keep driving north until you hit the Nature Preserve. The directions are tricky because there are a few side roads that presumably are public access but are actually privately owned. So don’t turn on any of these and just keep going north until you see a sign for the nature preserve! After parking and taking a quick quarter mile walk down to the shoreline, we had just enough time to find a rock to sit on and watch the sunset. The water glowed with that Indian summer sun–it was the best way to end our weekend getaway!
Petoskey State Park
Last but not least, we took a quick walk around the Petoskey State Park before heading back to metro-Detroit. The weather hovered around 60 and was perfect for a quick walk around the dunes and beach to search for those world famous Petoskey Stones. Some people even hopped in the water for a swim (10/10 would not recommend in the beginning of October). Just note that you do need a state park pass or will need to pay for one upon arrival. It’s just $11 for a year-long pass to explore endless Michigan wilderness parks!
And I can’t end without mentioning our amazing Airbnb host, Renee, who welcomed us into her home in Petoskey! We stayed in the blue room, which had a large king bed and HUGE bathroom, and was VERY affordable. She was very helpful on giving us local tips for restaurants and hikes. Check her place out here: Petoskey Blue Room