Monday, August 3, 2015

Friday, July 31, 2015

Vacation Recap: Part 4

Today is the final recap of our vacation. You can see part 1, 2 and 3 here if you missed it. We did a lot which is a sure sign of a great vacation!

We got to the lake house Sunday around 3:00 and unpacked. We gave my parents a tour of the house. It was another gorgeous day in Northern Michigan so we sat on the pontoon for a while and talked. G and I floated in the water for a bit too.

At around 7:30 we grabbed a glass of wine, cheese and crackers and sat on the pontoon and enjoyed the sunset. This was my favorite! It was so beautiful. We heard a loon with its haunting call and saw an Eagle flying above us! We came in around 9:00 and started watching Friends and all started falling asleep so it was time to call it a night after a busy weekend!

We woke up to another gorgeous day on the lake. We drank coffee on the pontoon and talked. Then the boys kayaked and my mom and I paddle boated for a good few hours around the lake. It was very peaceful. We saw a loon and the Eagle flying above us again. So cool!!

We went into town for lunch at Gobbler's. It got really great reviews and everyone said to try the turkey noodle soup so I did and it was THE BEST. Seriously, so good. G and I shared the Turkey Cesar Sandwich and it was pretty delicious as well.

We came back to the lake after lunch. My mom and I kayaked and the boys tied their rafts to our kayaks and we pulled them around the lake. Relaxing for the boys. Hard work for the girls. On the way back from one side of the lake G had to unlatch because the wind was so strong I was paddling full force and not moving, ha! My arms were so sore. It was a pretty great workout.

Dragonfly! After that intense kayaking experience my dad went for a run and my mom, G and I relaxed on the boat and read. It was so peaceful!

After a couple hours this storm moved in and it started down pouring. We ran into the house while G quickly covered the pontoon. Then as quickly as it came the rain let up and the sun came back out. Phew!

My mom made vodka tonics with a splash of La Crouix Berry (we called the drink a VTL) and it was delicious. I'm not even much of a liquor drink but this was AMAZING.

The rents. It was relaxing just listening to music, having good conversation and sipping our drinks. Good times. 

Per our new routine, when the sun started to set we grabbed wine, cheese and crackers and headed to the pontoon for another sunset dinner. We also saw the eagle one more time and a MINK! I was telling my dad our coworker had seen a mink last time he was up at the cottage and my dad thought for sure he was mistaken and that he must have seen a muskrat. Well as we were eating dinner the mink ran under the dock, over the dock and to the neighbor's boat. We got a really good look at him and my dad was so psyched. He had never seen a mink in his life. So exciting! They are so cute! After the sun set we headed inside and played cards for a few hours before calling it a night. Another great day!!

Tuesday ended up being our last day. G had to work Wednesday and we just decided it would be nice to have Wednesday to catch up on yard work and unpack before my parents and I went back to work Thursday. We drank coffee on the pontoon one last time before packing, cleaning and heading out.

The cottage is only about 50 minutes from Traverse City and since it was only going to be 73 degrees (the coolest day of our whole time up north) on Tuesday we decided to take a day trip out there. We got into town just after noon and ate lunch at Apache Trout Grill. I was excited to finally get to eat here. The last few times we tried to eat here they were either only serving brunch or not open yet. It was definitely worth the wait! Check out that beautiful view!

The food was pretty amazing too. G and I split the shrimp and lobster bisque and it was the best I ever had. I would go back just for this!

My mom and I split the fish sandwich with homemade tartar sauce and it was delightful. The fish was so crisp and flavorful with the creamy tartar sauce. And that brioche bun just MADE IT.

After that amazing, filling lunch it was time to wine taste on Leelanau Peninsula

Our first stop was Shady Lane Cellars. They had a gorgeous outdoor set up so we could do our wine tasting outside. I was a fan! The wines were delish and they had a cute gift shop that was fun to browse.

Our next stop was Three Fires Wine. The chardonnay was good, but the french red with merlot cheese was my favorite. I love wine tasting! Especially when cheese is included!

We headed to Chateau de Leelanau after. The owner just started pouring us his favorites so that was fun. We even tried the Strawberry Hard Cider and it was so light and refreshing. 

We went to Willow and the views were breathtaking. The owner was pouring and he was friendly and it was the first of two times my dad was mistaken for someone famous. Ha! 

We went to Ciccone next. This is the winery Madonna's parents own. The wine was good and the grounds were so beautiful. I usually stick to whites since Michigan is known for their whites, but I was convinced to try one of the reds and it did not disappoint.

Next up was L. Mawby and they are known for their sparkling wines. I told you I can't resist doing something goofy at statues.

So here things are done a bit differently. You get two free tastings and then you can choose two tastings with crackers and your choice of cheese for $7. I had the sparkling rose and G had a dry sparkling with this most delicious cheese spread. We sat outside at one of the tables overlooking the vineyard. It was just perfect. So relaxing and peaceful. We enjoyed the chance to sit and relax and just chat.

So we went to Black Star Farms next and it was crowded. We were looking around for a place to taste when we head someone say "Can I help you?" and we turned around and it was Rob! Rob and Dani were on their mini moon doing tastings! What a small world! We chatted a few minutes and then tried to leave them be, but they insisted we do the tasting with them so we did. You only get five but our guy was super friendly and just kept pouring us wine while we chatted. It was so much fun! We probably hung out here for an hour just talking about the wedding and what their plans were for their mini moon. 

Next up we went to the Black Star Farms' liquor tasting. I'm not a fan of taking shots so I just kinda watched and maybe took a teeny tiny sip of the Cherry Vodka. Ick. Just not a fan of liquor straight up. It was nice inside and the Inn here was super cute. I would love to stay here one weekend!

Our final stop was Leelanau Wine Cellar and the view was spectacular. Can you believe that water is in Michigan and not the Caribbean?! This was a fun tasting. Our guy was super friendly and we learned fun things like you can only call Whiskey Bourbon if it came from Bourbon, KY. Interesting, right? We loved the Dry Riesling here so much we bought a bottle. The first tasting we actually bought a bottle! We had to pay for tastings which is a bummer, but it also is nice to not feel like you have to buy a bottle at every place. 

Our last stop of our trip was dinner at The Cove in Fish Town (my favorite town!). I've only ever eaten at the Village Cheese Shanty so it was fun to try a new place.

G and I shared the clam chowder because they are famous for it here. It definitely hit the spot. It was so good!!!

G and I shared the Fresh Water White Fish and fries. It was a little fishier than I expected, but super good. And you just couldn't beat the good company and the view of the river going into lake Michigan and the sun beginning to set. I'll miss the sunset dinners every night that's for sure!

After dinner we walked around the adorable town and G had to get a picture in front of this huge tree. Cool, right?

We stopped in and got coffee and then said our goodbyes and headed home. It was such a great vacation and I was so sad it was over. But all things must come to an end. We got home around midnight and crashed. 

Wednesday G went to work and I picked up Manny from the kennel. I took him for a long walk, did four loads of laundry and relaxed. It was a nice day off before going back to work. It was seriously the best vacation. So much good quality family day and memories I won't ever forget.

** Since I wanted to finish my vacation recaps I had to sacrifice Fit Friday, but I promise it will be back next Friday! I can tell you I weighed in last Sunday and gained one pound. Considering I was on vacation for eight days eating good food and enjoying drinks I'll take it! I have definitely done worse on vacation so this is not bad. I think I was able to only gain a pound because I was staying active (walking, kayaking, paddle boating), not snacking (and if I did I kept Skinny Pop around) and sharing meals out with my mom or G. I plan to get stricter and start seeing the scale continue to move down. Stay tuned next week! **

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Vacation Recap: Part 3

Saturday night was our family friend's wedding. So Rob got married. His mom and my mom grew up together and knew each other since seventh grade. Rob and my brother Eric grew up together, roomed together in college and still remained friends afterwards. Eric was the best man in the wedding. So we've known this family forever. It was so fun to be there on his special day. 

Dani was just the most gorgeous bride. Also, do you see me photobombing this picture? Everyone looks at the bride, but Jess and I looked at Dani and then immediately looked at Rob. He was grinning ear to ear and it was just the sweetest thing to witness.

The ceremony was really sweet. You could just see the love they have for each other. It was in the Knight's Courtyard (fun name, right?!) of Castle Farms in Charlevoix. It was an absolutely gorgeous setting.

Sorry for the picture overload. It's not everyday we are in such a beautiful setting. All together. Dressed up. Had to get some pictures!

Instead of a wedding cake they had Mackinaw Island fudge and it was delicious. I thought that was a fun ode to Northern Michigan.

The drink of the night was a vodka lime drink and it was delicious. 

My brother gave a really sweet and funny Best Man speech. He did a really great job! I was proud of him.

They had BBQ food. I'm not a huge fan of ribs, but I loved the mac and cheese. Roasted potatoes. Asparagus. And sour kraut and sausage. YUM! And we got tacos at 11:00! It was good eating at this wedding, that's for sure.

After dinner we spend the entire night dancing. They had a live band which was really cool. They were really good AND they sang some country music too which I loved. We got home a little after midnight and called it a night. Another super fun filled day in the books!

Sunday morning we woke up around 8:00 (I could NOT sleep in on this trip!) and got ready for brunch downstairs in the ballroom of our hotel. 

Elevator selfie.

Ella time!

Brunch was amazing. There was bacon, sausage, potatoes, cheesy eggs, pineapple, watermelon, raspberries and strawberries. So good! 

After brunch we packed up. Since G and I were the first all packed up we hung out with Ella while everyone else packed. Ella and I walked down the hotel hall and she waved to people. So cute! She almost fell asleep on G. 

We said our goodbyes, packed the car and headed to Deer Lake to spend some time on the beach. BUT it was so windy it was too cold to swim so we packed up and headed to the Beach House one more time for a Bellini. G got a grapefruit drink and he loved it. I love my Bellni. The views were amazing too!

After our drink we started to drive to our friend's lake house. My parents were going to join us for the second half of our vacation. We stopped in Gaylord at Alpine Tavern for lunch. I had a turkey club and it was good. I really lucked out this trip. All my food was amazing! But this is getting long so I'll share the final leg of our trip tomorrow. Stay tuned!