Every year for the past six years my husband and I have taken a fall trip to Northern Michigan. We’ve gone more than six times, but it’s been an official streak for the past six years. Our home base for this getaway? Traverse City. Delightful restaurants, wineries nearby to tour, a short drive from Sleeping Bear Dunes… Traverse City is our favorite vacation spot.
This year we’re not going.
It’s my fault – I wanted to earn my Coast-to-Coast Medal from Run Disney – you get that when you run a half marathon or longer race in Disney Land and Disney World in the same year. So we’re heading to Disney World in a few weeks so I can run a half marathon. And since that money tree in the backyard has yet to bear fruit, we can’t afford our traditional excursion to Northern Michigan.
I’m excited for my Disney half marathon and I thought that excitement would lessen the sting of not heading to Michigan. I was wrong. For the past two weeks my heart has been yearning to head North.
I want to go to North Peak Brewing Company and have a pumpkin ale and a bowl of Cheddar Ale Soup with mustard pretzel croutons.
I want to walk along Traverse Bay at night and peek out of my hotel window to see it as the sun rises.
I want to visit The Wineries of Old Mission and pet the dogs at Bowers Harbor, take pictures of the view from Chateau Chantal, sip the Cab Franc at Brys Estate, sample some wines in an old school house at Peninsula Cellars and finish with one of my favorites, Two Lads at the tip of the peninsula.
I want to stop by the Old Mission light house and remark at how far the water has receded since we were here last year. And if the timing is right, I want to stop at the Jolly Pumpkin – a restaurant that was made for lingering and enjoying good food and drink.
I want to hike at Sleeping Bear Dunes even though it makes my husband testy when I underestimate the distance of our hike.
I want to go to breakfast at The Omelette Shoppe and grab one of their enormous muffins to go when we leave. Because when you hike or hit wineries all day, that muffin is an excellent afternoon snack.
I want to spend a day wandering around the Leelenau Peninsula touring its wineries and soaking in its views. I want to have Charlie from Bel Lago show me the grapes that he harvested that morning. I want to laugh with the staff at L. Mawby – because those people are always having a good time. I want to sit on the chairs just outside the door of Willow Vineyard and sigh at the amazing view that caused the owners to change their careers and buy the winery. I want to stop at Good Harbor to buy a case of wine that I like to think of as my house wine for the year.
I want to use the coupons from my Fab Fall Package that the Traverse City Visitor’s Center puts together each year and go shopping. I want to find my children’s Christmas books at Horizon Books on Front Street. And then I want to take my $10 in casino money to the Turtle Creek Casino and try to win big.
I want to soak in the hills and lakes and trails and foods and drinks and everything that makes Traverse City my heart home.
I am so sad that we’re breaking our streak.