Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Inhale, Exhale, Repeat

This weekend I breathed. Deep cleansing breaths.

I inhaled. I exhaled. I breathed. I relaxed.

We live in the Mitten state. And while I generally think it a nice place to live, I rarely think of it as beautiful. But, the Mitten is one of the top tourist destinations in the USA. This weekend I was reminded why.

This weekend I was reminded of its beauty. The fields of corn and wheat. The endless forests of White Pines lined up in neat rows like soldiers. The sandy beaches studded with beach grass. The open, clear blue skies.

The Mitten is a glorious state.

Mr. Hippie and I spent a bit over 48 hours exploring the upper regions of our lower peninsula. We crammed a lot of doing into that time plus a lot of not doing. We also crammed a lot of eating and drinking into that time.

On Friday we headed up to Traverse City. Cherry Capitol. We ate at a restaurant that we enjoyed 8 years ago on our 5th anniversary. We meandered along the bay-until we ran out of quarters. There was plenty of parking downtown-it was just all metered and required change. Who carries change? We filled our meter with every available piece of change we had and then we explored every available minute of our time.

One thing that Mr. Hippie really wanted to do was to taste some of the area's famous wines. The vineyards in the Leelanau Peninsula region produce a ton of wine every year. We enjoy wine (we have a wine of the month membership) so we decided to look up some of the area wineries.

That was a lot of fun. Cheap fun. We got to taste 13 (I lost count, but I guess Mr. Hippie was keeping a tally or something) different wines. At 4 different places. My favorite wine possibly was a cherry wine. But, my favorite wine tasting experience was a a hole in the wall shop that housed two different brands of wine, Skipping Stones and Three Fires, owned by a husband and wife. We had a ton of fun there! The husband is an unofficial sommelier. (som-lee-aye) He has an extensive repertoire of wine and grape knowledge. He poured each wine and talked about it. We learned so much. He was also a great salesman. We walked out with (not quite) a case of wine. If you are ever in the Sutton's Bay neighborhood, you should make their shop a stop on your itinerary. You won't regret it.

We left the Leelanau Peninsula to check into our B&B, Applesauce Inn. This B&B is located about 45 minutes from Charlevoix, Petoskey and Traverse City. It is housed in the tiny burg of Bellaire. Bellaire is famous for one thing-Shorts Brewery. If you are a microbrew aficionado in Michigan, you have probably heard of some of their brews. As I am far less into beer than into wine (read: I can't stand beer) I'd never heard of them. Mr. Hippie was thrilled though. He enjoyed a custom taster flight with his dinner on Saturday. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Applesauce Inn is an old farmhouse that has been renovated and decorated in a rather Victorian style. Lots of knick-knacks and vintage wall paper. The hosts, Jamie and Gary are friendly and amazing. Jamie cooks delicious, unique, farm fresh breakfasts. Gary is an artist. The walls feature some of his very nice oil paintings. We loved sitting on their porch eating dessert and drinking wine in the evening and sipping coffee in the morning. I loved hearing their rooster crow. I enjoyed the welcoming feel of the B&B, without feeling the pressure of being guests, and adjusting our schedule for our hosts. Does that make sense? It is the cozy feel of a home while still preserving your independence. The price was reasonable, and the location was perfect. The bed was comfortable. The room and ensuite bathroom were roomy. It was perfect.

Saturday (after a delightful breakfast shared with other guests) we decided to head north. We had brought our bicycles with us, because it is fun to explore new places that way. We read about the Little Traverse Wheelway that runs from Charlevoix to Harbor Springs. It is a paved pedestrian/cycle trail that runs along the Little Traverse Bay. There are many amazing vistas, and a lot of the trail is shaded-which is a plus, trust me. We only went to Petoskey-which is a little more than halfway. Round trip, the trail is over 50 miles. We went 32. We enjoyed a picnic overlooking the bay in Petoskey, and then biked back along the trail, stopping in at a very high brow set of shops and restaurants along the way. I had gellato with M&Ms. Because I am classy like that. I also added a nice lobster hue layer to my biker girl tan.

As we were biking along, we noticed miles painted on the trail. The majority of the Charlevoix Marathon runs along this trail. As previously noted-the route is fairly flat and shaded. When/if we ever run a marathon-we decided this is the one that we are going to do.

We camped out at a state park beach west of Charlevoix for a couple hours. I read (and got redder) and Mr. Hippie did an open water swim in his wetsuit. It was very relaxing. I managed to read another whole book this weekend. One Plus One by Jojo Moyes.

So, we had a great balance of activity and relaxation. And I feel blessed. And ready to face my week. Which included preparing for a new product launch next week, preparing to start school next week, and canning 2 bushels of peaches over the course of the next few days.

If I don't get as much writing in as I'd like, you can picture me standing at my kitchen sink, peeling peaches and dreaming of beaches.

I know. I'm good.=)