The weekend after I returned from New Orleans, it was finally time to celebrate the big 4-0. Since Brian also turned 40 a few weeks before me, we decided to just do a combo party so we could do something nicer than we would have otherwise. So we had a shindig at the Coopers Hawk winery, a place we have become big fans of.
Many friends and family came out for the celebration, which was so nice. We felt so loved and had such a memorable night. If every birthday were like this one, I’d turn 40 every year. 😉
A few weeks later, Cheryl and I headed east to Michigan to take advantage of a weekend stay at a B&B in Union Pier, Mich., that Brian and I won about a year and a half ago at a silent auction. The place is about 15 minutes from where I grew up and I haven’t been there in a long, long time. I was aware of a few wineries in the area and also heard there were several more I had never heard of so we figured it would be a perfect girls’ weekend get-a-way, and it was.
The gift certificate was for the Inn at Union Pier It was right on Lake Michigan and, it turns out, pretty much at the epicenter of the Michigan Wine Trail.
It was a little on the chilly side when we checked in, but we took a walk to the beach anyway. That’s when we decided it would be a great place to rent a house for a week in the summer.
The beach itself is beautiful like the beaches at the Indiana Dunes in Northwest Indiana, but you don’t have ugly steel mills littering the view. There were a ton a gorgeous homes on the lakefront, the majority of which had rental signs in the yard. We saw many of those homes the next two mornings when we went running.
We had two spectacular runs that — I know it sounds crazy, but — we’re almost as enjoyable as the wine tour we went on.
We had the lake on one side, beautiful homes on the other and tree-lined roads that had virtually no traffic. We did 5.5 miles on Saturday, 6 miles on Sunday. During both runs, we kept the pace at a comfortable level and just used the time to gawk at the beautiful homes and to chat and laugh. Did I mention it was spectacular?
The views included Shores of Lake Michigan, old school:
And, Shores of Lake Michigan, new money.
Back at the B&B we got a map of the wine trail. That’s when we discover the mighty trail that it is. There must be 20 wineries within a 20-mile radius. But there’s a concentration of them right outside Union Pier with several located just across the street or down the street from one another. We chose about seven to visit. Most had similar tasting packages that ran about $5 for six tastes. A couple included the tasting glass in the price.
Gravity, the first stop of the day, set the bar kind of high. They paired all of their wines with chocolates or cheeses. It was pretty neat to taste the way the respective pairings enhanced the flavors.
We would have happily blown our wine budgets bringing home several bottles from Gravity, but we exercised control since it was the first stop of the day and we didn’t know what was in store.
A few other stops included:
We had such a great time visiting each winery and were pleasantly surprised at how many of the wines we really liked. Different from most Midwestern wines we have tried in the past, these were not overly sweet. Some were every bit as good as something you’d find in Napa Valley.
The day was topped off with a cheeseburger from one of my old haunts, Redamak’s in New Buffalo, Mich.
A visit to Redamak’s was always a treat growing up and I wondered if it would still live up to the hype. It did not disappoint.
After dinner, we returned to the B&B to soak in the hot tub and partake in the bounty of wine we acquired throughout the day, although we were pretty wined out at that point.
Cheryl and I agreed it was the perfect girls’ weekend and one we would happily repeat. I was especially proud of us for making it a running weekend in addition to all of the fun. Hopefully sometime his summer or fall we can recreate the weekend.