Traverse City is such a great area with tons of wineries, breweries, and of course, the lake! Unfortunately, it rained the entire first week we were here and we were super busy with work, so we didn’t get to explore nearly as much as we wanted to. Our final week in Michigan, we were originally supposed to be going to the upper peninsula, but our campground canceled our reservation and so we decided to head back towards Indiana and stay near Muskegon.
Where we stayed
We stayed at a very chill and relaxed campground called the Northwestern Michigan Fair Campground near the fairgrounds about 20 minutes outside of Traverse City. This was exactly the type of campground we needed to be at for our first trip after our RV renovations. To get our full insight on this campground, check out our full review here.
The final week that we were in Michigan, we were out in the middle of Manistee National Forest and completely disconnected from cell service at our campground. Since we work full-time during the week, this obviously presented us with some unique issues to overcome. To find out how we did that and to learn more about the beautiful campground we stayed at, you can read our entire review of Oak Knoll Family Campground.
Where we ate
We only had a chance to check out two different restaurants while we were in Traverse City and one of them completely blew our mind, while the other left us disappointed. The first place we got to check out was Red Mesa Grill which touts their vegan menu and has prominent signage advertising it. To find out what we ate and hear about our experience, read our in-depth post here. The second restaurant we tried was the Taproot Cider House. Since we aren’t big cider drinkers, we decided to give this place a whirl and you can find out what we thought in our full review.
While we didn’t eat anything in Muskegon, we did head into Grand Rapids and checked out Maru Sushi on the recommendation of our friends. We had some incredible sushi and put everything into a full review that you can read more about in our Vegan Eats section.
What we did
A huge part of the reason that we came up to this area was to experience the beauty that is Torch Lake. The pristine waters are so clear that you can see the sand below you and would have been a perfect chance to try out a drone which is on our wishlist of things to pick up. Torch Lake has a defined sandbar line where all of the boats congregate and everyone hangs out and drinks beer, and people were even grilling as they floated by. Just beyond the sandbar, the water abruptly switches color from the pristine aqua to a deep blue signifying a massive change in depth.
We put all 3 kayaks in the lake with Aryanna in the blow-up kayak hooked up behind Aaron’s. We immediately headed out to the sandbar so that we could take a look at what was going on. The water was a bit colder than what we expected so we didn’t get in, plus we had Lulu with us in Hayden’s kayak. Lulu, unlike our time in Arkansas, did not enjoy being on the water and got sick several times due to the choppiness of the waves and so we had to cut our time on the lake short.
Bowers Harbor Vineyards
It would be almost criminal for us to come up to this area and not to hit up some wineries. Our first stop was the Bowers Harbor Vineyards and we were not disappointed. Hayden found a new rose pinot noir that she was a big fan of even though she’s never been big on rose. Aaron’s favorite wine of the day was the Henry, which is named after a veteran rescue dog in part of the Colorado Avalanche team and part of the proceeds from each bottle goes toward helping train new dogs.
Our second winery we stopped at was the Bonobo Winery and it was even better than the first. Hayden found a new chardonnay that she has said is her favorite chardonnay she’s ever had! It had delicious caramel undertones, so she bought a bottle to save for a special occasion. Even Aaron liked it and he is not a fan of white wines. Aaron’s favorite of the trip was the Bonobo Red which had a nice peppery taste to it that complemented the dryness of the wine. Overall, there was only one wine that we didn’t care for so if you’re looking for a great tasting experience, check this place out!
Right Brain Brewery
It’s pretty rare that Aaron can order an entire flight of beer and only dislike one of them, but that happened at Right Brain Brewery. Hayden found that she likes the cream ales and brought home a six-pack of the Cakewalk Cream Ale. The rest of the beers were ambers, ESBs, browns, and even a dark coconut beer. After all of the tastings, Aaron even brought home 3 of their 22 oz beers which were equally as good. We ended up trying their black bean burger as well which was good, but kind of heavy overall. The fries were great and had an amazing seasoning and completely eclipsed the burger itself.
While we didn’t get a chance to do a lot, we enjoyed every aspect of what we did get to experience. We have already decided that we plan on coming back and really hitting all of the different wineries in this area because there really is a ton.