Monday, June 27, 2011

Old Mission Peninsula

A group of ladies asks me to take their picture

Once again we were blessed with beautiful weather this morning. After unhooking the trailer and securing it to a bike rack at the hotel, we mounted up and headed north to ride the Old Mission Peninsula. From the Cambria Suites to the lighthouse is only 19.4 miles, but there are a dozen or more local wineries along the way. Our first stop was at Peninsula Cellars where, after a tasting, we purchased 2 bottles of their medium-dry Riesling. Rieslings are our favorite wines and Michigan wineries tend to specialize in this sweet, white variety.

After Peninsula Cellars, we rode a couple of miles north to Grand Traverse Cellars and acquired a bottle of their late harvest Riesling. We visited a couple of additional wineries before proceeding to the end of the peninsula where we had the opportunity to check out the Old Mission Lighthouse. The local historical society happened to be hosting some exhibits during our visit, so there were historians and musicians on hand to explain the significance of the lighthouse. This apparently a popular destination as many people were occupying the beach and swimming in the lake. If you are riding in the Traverse City area, you should make the short ride up the peninsula.

Lunchtime was bearing down on us so we rode about 5 miles south of the lighthouse to The Peninsula Grill. The restaurant had been recommended to us by a Harley rider we met while getting gas in town. As it turns out, he lives on the peninsula, so we figured he should know. I ordered the BBQ ribs and Rickee had a Summer Salad. Both were very good. After lunch, we walked across the parking lot to the Peninsula Market to pick up a few snacks to enjoy with our wine later that evening. With the saddlebags bursting from the snacks and wine, we decided to ride back to the hotel, drop everything in the room, and get the wine chillin'.

This afternoon, after unloading the bike, we decided to ride to downtown Traverse City and have a look around. We found a good parking spot and walked up and down the downtown main street. The downtown area is packed with all kinds of interesting shops and restaurants. One shop specialized in everything 'cherry', one of the main products of the area. Everything from cherry BBQ sauce to cherry flavored beer. Our favorite shop was one specializing in olive oils and balsamic vinegars. They had dozens of different infused oils and balsamics. We will definitely be ordering from their online store.

Everywhere we go it seems that people are curious about our bright yellow hi-viz Olympia jackets. They are always a conversation starter. At least three people stopped us to ask us about the jackets and the conversation always turns to motorcycles and riding.

So far we are really enjoying our stay in Michigan. The scenery is amazing and Traverse City seems to be a good place to base out of.

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