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a weekend in

Michigan

Traverse City

the ultimate guide to 

Although I grew up in America's High-Five around the Great Lakes, There is one particular area up in Michigan's pinky tip that is so magical to me; Traverse City!  During my flight training days as a young Aviatrix, I would flight-plan to this city known as the Cherry Capitol of North America. Little did I know, as an older adult I would simply crave all the cherry wine that's produced here. 

Fall is my most favorite time of year, and what better of a place to see the colors, sport my favorite fall attire, sip all the mulled wine you could want and celebrate my most sacred friendships with the Blondetaurage! Here is how to pack in the top places to see (along with an aviators' bucket list item) in just a weekend in Traverse City Michigan!

my top 2 favorite wineries

Chateau  Chantal

Chateau Chantal is an old mission winery and a bed and breakfast. This amazing inn is engulfed by rolling hills of fall colors and backs up to the Grand Traverse Bay. While daintily bellying up to the bar for a wine flight of tasting, this charming place also offers some more hands-on experiences complete with winery tours, wine pairing dinners, live music and cooking classes. To catch a sunset here would be anything but magical for sure! 

Leelanau Cellars

This vivacious and historic winery has been family owned for over 40 years! They must be doing something right. Leelanau boasts over 30 wineries and distributes over 200,000 cases of wine annually. Clearly their wines are notorious and loved by all. I think the coolest experience this particular cellar has to offer is not your cliché pinkies-up,  indoor-voices “wine tasting” experience. They have what's called "Bubbly on the Bay". This one-of-a-kind, get wet, canned-wine tour is the ultimate Northern Michigan adventure. Have you ever drank wine while kayaking? Well now you can! Its a sight to see. 

If you prefer to stay dry, or if the air is just too chilly for your southern blood, grab some perfectly heated witches brew in your very own take-home mug. I grew up on mulled wine in my aunts back yard. Its the best way to warm your insides and put some natural blush on your cheeks around a camp fire. 

Horsing Around

Riding at  

 Ranch Rudolph

While what brought us to have a girls trip here was celebrating our sweet friends pre-Christmas wedding event, the hostess wanted to highlight her with us all partaking in the brides favorite hobby; riding horses! It was such a treat to breathe in the crisp fall air, gawk at the vibrant autumn colors, and get paired with some of the most enjoyable horses to ride in upper Michigan.

 

This quaint ranch has a motel, campground, and the bunkhouse.. There is a restaurant, horseback riding stable, canoe & kayak livery, and innertubing. The Ranch is in the hub of the snowmobile trails, close to cross country ski trails, and has fishing both in stocked ponds and also in the Boardman River. There is also hiking, hay rides and sleigh rides and many children’s horse camps. They also host private gatherings such as family reunions, weddings & receptions, corporate outings, holiday parties and birthday parties of all ages.

The best meal with a deep history

Trattoria Stella   

 in the Traverse City State Hospital

This restaurant has a grim history but boasts a current pleasure. Located in a former mental hospital this restaurant brightens the scene with outstanding service, a constantly changing menu that leans toward local produce , and a menu that just does not stop when it comes to interesting items. The wine list is extensive and fairly priced. My  filet was the best I have ever had and it featured an unbelievable sauce. The pasta we shared was melt in your mouth. The scallops were seared and just done so as to provide perfection. Again the sauce was outstanding.

WE enjoyed our meal so much that we returned the next morning to try out brunch next door and enjoy some trinket shopping in this, now ordained, multi-use hub. So many amazing shops with Michigan born and made items line the halls. Its definitely a perfect -brunch and buy- kind of place!

Bucket list item for the aviator

Weekend get away 

  & Seaplane Endorsement

Ever since before I could even fly, I learned from my cousin about a pilot named Tom Brady up in Travese City that has created the ultimate piloting experience. His company is Traverse Air and he invites you and your family to stay on his lake cottage just feet away from the very seaplane he trains you in! Its so affordable and looks to be a perfect experience for the whole family. While you train, your family can fish, or wine tour, or enjoy a book by the lake. I can't even begin to explain that this bucket list item of mine will happen soon! I just need personal time away! 

Seaplane rating for $1,195 in 2 days in beautiful, scenic northern Michigan. Learn the stick and rudder skills of seaplane flying while enjoying the beauty of the area. Bring your family with you for a great vacation while doing the most enjoyable rating you will ever get. The seaplane is located on an inland lake, 6 miles from Traverse City MI, in the middle of 3320 square miles of lakes and bays.



Accelerated Seaplane Rating Course:

 

  • 5 hours of instruction in a PA-12 Super Cruiser

  • individual ground school with instructor

  • Pre-post flight briefing

  • Seaplane for 1 hour check ride

  • All Seaplane course study material will be mailed to you prior to your arrival

Shop my Riding outfit!

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Meet this Trips Copilot

MEET MY BLONDE-LOVING BESTIE NATASHA! THIS AMAZING TRIP TO TRAVERSE CITY, MICHIGAN WAS TO CELEBRATE HER! THE GREATEST THING I HAVE LEARNED FROM THIS HORSE-CRAZED BEAUTY, IS HOW TO MINDFULLY MAINTAIN A LONG-DISTANCE FRIENDSHIP. SHE NEVER FORGETS A BIRTHDAY CARD, ALWAYS CALLS FOR BOTH HEAVY AND LIGHT CONVERSATION, SHARES THE LATEST BINGE-WORTHY SHOWS AND ALL AROUND MAKES ME FEEL LIKE WE HAVEN'T SKIPPED A BEAT...WEEKLY! CHECK OUT 8 WAYS TO MAINTAIN A LONG-DISTANCE FRIENDSHIP...

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EXPLORE

Bachelorette

destinations

All Girl  Destinations

SANTA ROSA BEACH FL.

TRAVERSE CITY MI.

NASHVILLE TN

DALLAS TX.

Sedona Az.

CHICAGO IL.

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