Peninsula Cellars is a beautiful 1896 school house on the Old Mission Peninsula. This winery is family owned and operated. They have been making wine since 1994 and the school house has been open since 1999. The people are super friendly and make the experience fun and inviting. They are mostly known for their white wines. My wine recommendations are the Old School House White and the Manigold Gewürztraminer.
Mission Table is one of our absolute favorite places to eat! Their staff is super knowledgeable about their menu (which I appreciate, since I tend to ask a lot of questions) and the ambiance is gorgeous. The Mission Table is located on the bay with a breath taking view of the water. The restaurant is housed in a 1880s sprawling estate that formerly belonged to Chicago lumber baron, J.W. Stickney (as a summer house). The Mission Table shares the space with their sister restaurant the Jolly Pumpkin. I personally have never eaten at the Jolly Pumpkin, but have heard wonderful things. Mission Table carries a lot of local wines, but also features some of their own wines and distilled spirits (my husband loves their gin). My food recommendations are the trout, seared scallops, and the flash fried cauliflower. In addition to having yummy food, there is also a little ghost story behind the property.
Bowers Harbor is AMAZING! Their wine is fantastic, but more importantly the staff there treats you like family. I have never felt so welcomed in my entire life. There are lots of wineries on the Old Mission Peninsula, but none that compare when it comes to hospitality. Bowers Harbor also offers a wonderful wine club that is super affordable. We signed up for the Cellar Starter Club and received a huge discount on the six bottles we purchased in the store (check their website for details and discounts). They have over 25 wines including reds, whites, and rose. My wine recommendations are the White Cepages, Claret (red), Langley (red), and the Block II Riesling. In addition to wine, they make their own hard cider and it is tasty! They offer a variety of flavors, but if they have the blueberry and peach ask for the Bleach (mix of both). The Bleach is heavenly. This place is an absolute must!
Brys Estate is the red wine capital of Traverse City. This winery is also located on the Old Mission Peninsula. They have a beautiful deck that is perfect to enjoy the Northern Michigan views with a glass of vino. Brys has a small menu of snacks to munch on, perfect for an appetizer round prior to dinner. My wine recommendations are the Pinot Noir Riesling, Pinot Noir, and their Reserve Signature Red.
The Towne Plaza ended up being a foodie find, but I’m going to be honest…this one almost didn’t make the list. The server never double back to check on us and my lunch was supposed to come with a poached egg. I was not happy, but even without the poached egg the food was so delicious! Brian’s lunch was also amazing! And in the end the server removed my lunch from the bill and apologized to make up for his mistake. We are all human, it's how you make up for it that counts! In his defense, they were slammed and prior to his disappearing act he was super friendly and knowledgeable. Brian ordered the Pork Belly that was served with a fried disc of goat cheese, fried green tomato, a creamy Tabasco vinaigrette, and micro greens. I ordered the Grilled Romaine with the poached egg (let’s not dwell), lemon juice, olive oil, hollandaise (minus this on mine due to my pesky dairy allergy), pancetta, and potato. Both dishes were excellent. I believe in second chances and with food like theirs it was well deserved!
Well that's my top five from this trip! Traverse City is a great place to get away and enjoy the pleausrues of a Northern Michigan beach town. Even if you are not a Michigan resident, this trip is worth making into an out of state vacation.