cake and confetti

My mom is from Michigan so we have been going up there during the summer as long as I can remember. It's one of my favorite trips and after we went last month I was amazed by how many people told me they were shocked how pretty it was there. Not a lot of Texans head there during the summer and personally I think it's one of the most underrated vacation spots! I've put together a list of some of my favorite spots to eat, drink and explore while you're there.


Places to Eat:
The Franklin: One of my favorite spots downtown. Delicious cocktails and bites. The roasted cauliflower is amazing.
Boathouse: Located on the Old Mission Peninsula and the perfect place to stop between wineries. Favorites on the menu: the crabcakes, burger and white fish påté.
Jolly Pumpkin: Another Old Mission Peninsula favorite! If you're more into beer than wine, you'll love this spot. The menu is huge and we shared a pizza and some apps when we went. The food and craft beer are great, you can't go wrong!
Moomers Creamery: It sounds silly but ice cream is no joke in Northern Michigan. There are so many amazing old school ice cream shops where everything is made fresh. If you're visiting for the first time, a trip to Moomers is in order! You can tour the creamery and try freshly churned ice cream. It doesn't get much better than that!
Murdick's Fudge: A Traverse City staple! Especially if you have a sweet tooth like me.

Places to Drink:
Bowers Harbor: If you're a cider fan, you should definitely stop here. We typically take home a growler to enjoy on the beach!
Brys Estate: This is my favorite winery and I could of happily spent all day there. They have the cutest patio overlooking the vineyard where you can sit with a glass of wine and cheese board or you can take your vino and snacks to the bocce ball court to the side of the tasting room. After you're done you can head to their Secret Garden (you'll have to drive even though it's on the property) but it's definitely a must see while you're there. You can grab a pair of shears, a basket and clip your own blueberries and lavender to take home. So dreamy, right?! We sat in the rocking chairs with a cup of their strawberry wine from the gift shop which led to singing Deana Carter's classic the whole way home. :)
Bonobo Winery: Definitely one of the nicest designed tasting rooms in the area. It's owned by actress Amy Smart and her husband Carter Oosterhouse (the cutie from HGTV Trading Spaces). The small plates menu was created by Mario Batali and probably my favorite thing about the winery. I'm dying to recreate the goat cheese peppadews at home - they were SO good!

Day trips:
Old Mission Peninsula: Most of the vineyards in the area are on the peninsula. You can spend the day driving up the coast, stopping at wineries on the way to the lighthouse on the point. 
Charlevoix: The cutest town about 45 minutes from Traverse City. You'll want to spend most the day walking around the town, exploring the shops and watching the boat pass through the waterway. 
Leland: Also know as Fish Town. The last couple times we've vacationed there we have gone fishing out of Leland. Since we stay at a lake house we typically eat in most evenings and the fish we caught fed the whole family for the week. A stop at The Cove for their famous, Chubby Mary, featured in Travel + Leisure Mag!