Traverse City, MI. is a four season destination and while it may be a bit cold to enjoy the 180 miles of Lake Michigan, there’s plenty to do in the fall — not the least of which is enjoying the nip in the air and the leaves turning bright reds, oranges and yellows.
The area has a variety of restaurants, many of which are farm to fork, such as the Boathouse Restaurant, as well as outdoor dining by the lake or even food trucks. Accompanying the fantastic food is locally made wine and beer. There are 40 different wineries in the Traverse City region, all of which enjoy the natural insulation of Lake Michigan and long hours of sunlight for an extended growing season. The pandemic hasn’t stopped the wine tastings but there is a bit of a difference. Currently visitors must make tasting reservations. Of course, masks are required.
One of the wineries, Bowers Harbor Vineyards, teamed up with West Bay Beach, a Delamar Resort, to offer a wine experience package.
Located about 12 miles north of Traverse City on Old Mission Peninsula, the land was originally a horse farm but in 1991 it was turned into a vineyard with 20 acres of vinifera vines. The varietals grown include Riesling, Chardonnay, gewürztraminer, Pinot Grigio, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The owner, Linda Stegenga, and her son, Spencer, are the co-owners and live on the premises, along with Spencer’s wife, Erica, and sons, Spencer and Evan.
The vineyards are open all week for outdoor seating only, wines by the glass and wine flights as well as curbside service for bottle and growler sales.
The hotel wine experience includes double accommodations, breakfast for two, a bottle of Bowers Harbor Vineyards best selling wine, a 2019 Pinot Grigio and a private vineyard learning experience. The West Bay Beach is a 173-room hotel on Lake Michigan’s waterfront. Originally built in 1968, the resort is close to the downtown area with Traverse City’s art galleries, boutiques and antique stores. Rates start at $170.