Travel Guide: Northern Michigan

Many people may not know this, but Michigan has a bustling wine scene. Our natural climate allow for 148 wineries to operate. As avid wine drinkers and lovers of fall, Matt and I set out to the Leelanau Peninsula, for a long weekend. It was fruitful (ha) and a great way to relax.

The Great Outdoors

Our first stop was the Sleeping Bear Dunes State Park. There are a million different hikes and trails you can take – including up and down the dunes. We took the Alligator Hill Trail, which offers multiple of trail lines, all from novice to experienced. This 1.5 mile long hike to us to a view that will take your breath away. You can see the North and South Manitou Islands and Sleeping Bear Point. This spectacular view is surrounded by the calm Maple-Beech forest. Make sure you buy your park passes to experience this!



We stayed at a quaint (and budget friendly) motel called Sunrise Landing. The private beach offered a special place to enjoy wine and each other’s company. The sky didn’t disappoint as it was painted with bright orange during the sunrise/sunset hours. The best were wicked comfortable and there were kitties to greet the guests.

Picture of the room
Private Beach
Hotel View


Matt and I love a good meal – who doesn’t? Matt discovered Alliance in a Bon Appetit article, and it did not disappoint. If you don’t have plans to visit Traverse City – you need to make them now – to eat here. First and foremost – the service was beyond 5-star. This small, cozy restaurant is all about shared plates and they have their service down to a science. We didn’t have to wait long, everyone (I mean everyone) was attentive, and the environment was welcoming.

We started with cocktails that were perfectly crafted. Matt had a bourbon and I had a tequilla/grapefruit/rosemary magical drink. But… let’s move on to the incredible, out-of-this-world meal:

Kinilaw: local shrimp in this incredible coconut milk sauce. Honestly, if I was alone, I would have drank the sauce out of the bowl.

Beets: Matt hates beets and I love them. He was absolutely persuaded, and these tiny, melon-balled beets were topped with light ginger and deal. They were incredible.

Greens: Oh, the greens. I dream of the greens. I cannot express to you enough how magical it was. Served in a half of an acorn squash was a blended medley of onion, ginger, and squash. This was topped with a generously dressed salad with aged white cheddar. It was incredible.

Wagyu Hanger Steak: This steak was cooked properly and seasoned perfectly. It was served with a side of fried potatoes coated in harissa and feta.

This restaurant was inspired. Make sure you call for a reservation – you need to call between 12-5. Worth it.


In the month of October, local wineries are participating in The Hunt for the Reds of October. This program is only available on weekdays, and for $20 you get a signature glass, a brochure, and complimentary samples and different wineries in the area. Bonus – $5 goes to the Red Cross.

We tried a lot of different wines (some good, some not), but came home with a case of sparkling wine and a few bottles.


Unfortunately, our local news lied to us. We miss peak leaf color, but still had the opportunity to see a lot of beautiful scenery. There is something so magical about this time of year – as the saying goes – autumn reminds us that change can be beautiful.

Happy Travels

xo love kim


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