This last weekend we took time to wander up Old Mission Peninsula with Corey and Shelley Mason of Clyde Oak and White Whale. We wanted to make sure they got a peak into both peninsulas at the same time, before they headed back to North Carolina.
Both Leelanau and Old Mission are similar, but also very different. The landscape is similar, but there is a different experience each one has to offer and neither should be missed. Some people ask which one we like better and I can never tell you the answer to that because I love them each for different reasons. We spend far more time out on Leelanau because that is where our boat is docked but some of our favorite restaurants and many of our friends live on Old Mission. So our only answer is both.
As we left Traverse City on our adventure we stopped for a small walk through a cherry orchard that recently had been shaken. It may be surprising, but the trees always have leftovers on them even after being shaken for harvesting. So even this late in the season the fruit still hangs on the trees and is picked over by birds and other wildlife, like us. It still is just as pretty as it was before harvest so of course we had to get a closer look than from inside the car.
No trip up Old Mission is complete with some good wine tasting and since we only had time to visit one vineyard we thought it best to stop at 2 Lads Winery. It is one of the only all estate grown vineyard and has a very unique modern building with one of the best views. Though many of the local wineries each offer an awesome view, I am a real sucker for big modern spaces with huge windows…it’s just my thing.
Our region is on the 45th parallel, same as northern Italy, meaning we can grow almost any variety of grapes here but traditionally the sweeter white wines do the best. BUT there have been some killer reds coming out recently. All that to say, all the wine at 2 Lads are amazing. They have a wonderful sparkling wine as well as a few great reds all grown right here in Northern Michigan. Most of all they have one of the best customer service systems set up so you are not fighting for your tasting like most wineries. They will also waive your tasting fee if you buy a bottle. Not a bad deal, huh?
After our tasting we tried to hit up Haserot Beach on the east side of the peninsula but it was crazy crowded so we decided to head north toward the lighthouse and find a quieter place to take some naps in the sun, eat a few snacks and explore an island.
We pulled off the road and took the path down to a rocky, but quiet beach just south of the lighthouse. The water was shallow for over 100 yards out to an uninhabited island so Corey, Mike, and I thought it would be awesome to wander out there barefoot. Part of me wanted to take my camera, but I think sometimes we need to go somewhere with nothing in hand and just experience. This time I am glad we did. We hopped from rock to rock around the perimeter of the island. Along the way we found wild mint growing as well as a huge amount of grape vines with grapes on them. When we came back I fell asleep on the beach to the sound of the waves lightly lapping on the shore.
There is nothing like Summer in northern Michigan. Nothing like it and right when I think I have soaked it all up I just end up wanting more. When you are away from this it does not matter it still is in your soul and it leaves you begging for more.
If you haven’t listened to Lord Huron I suggest changing that as it reminds me of so many of the things I love about this land.