Two years ago when we summered and workamped in northern Michigan, we put hundreds of miles on our Jeep as we explored and experienced the area to the maximum. This included day trips as well as overnights to various locations such as Mackinaw Island and Beaver Island.
This year, on our two days off a week, we still explore and experience both new locations as well as return to places that warrant a second visit. In a more relaxed mode, we are truly “coddiwompling,” defined as “to travel purposefully toward an as-of-yet-unknown destination.” Last week, we did just that!
Our Wednesday began with a planned round of golf at Pinecroft Golf Course – not the best round but certainly not the worst. When frustrated, all a golfer has to do is pause and take in the magnificent views of Crystal Lake, Sleeping Bear Dunes and Lake Michigan. Finishing up around 4p.m., we decided to attempt to find St. Ambrose Cellars, where wine, beer and mead are produced and shared. What is mead you ask? Well, think back to the Viking days…it’s an alcoholic drink – “the ancient drink of royalty” – produced from fermented honey and other natural flavorings. It can be “still” with no carbonation or on “draft” which adds those little bubbles! And how convenient that Sleeping Bear Farms, the largest honey producer in Michigan, is the sister company to St. Ambrose Cellars and is located right next door!
Not being a fan of mead – even after trying it, I sampled their Merlot, which is excellent. In the tasting room, you can mix and match your tastes between mead, beer, and wine, or purchase a very generous flight of 5 – again mixing it up to your liking. St. Ambrose Cellars is located on a huge piece of land in Beulah, Michigan and boasts not only a great tasting room, but also outdoor seating on the porch or in a field, including a bocce court and various other outdoor games. Complementing the “Hive” as they call the tasting room, is a beautiful red barn and a food truck offering burgers, fish tacos, and pizza made in a very unique mosaic brick oven. We tried the spicy sausage pizza which was delicious.
(As a post script…two days following our discovery, a fellow workamper couple asked if we would be up for a “mystery” trip. They were just going to pick us up and take us somewhere. We were game – Bill a tad more hesitant than I – and you’ll never guess where we ended up. You guessed it, St. Ambrose Cellars! The company was great, the wine and other beverages tasty; the Friday night music by Wonky Tonk – a musician from Kentucky described as “an artist, a cowgirl and a visionary” was enjoyable, but the pizza was not quite as good. We always say with pizza it depends on who is making it! Regardless, it was a great night spent with friends!)
Our Thursday began with the gym for me and a bike ride for Bill, after which we jumped in the car and took a ride north through Charlevoix and Petoskey – two great towns – and we ended up in Harbor Springs. Bill need his Harbor Springs “fix” if you will, as he repeatedly says that when he wins the lottery he is purchasing a home here. The homes are absolutely gorgeous, boasting owners with last names like Bissell and Wrigley, and the downtown stores are amazing. We strolled down the dock to see a 164-foot yacht called “Seaquest” flying a Cayman Island flag and under a 24-hour guard. Guess who’s ship it is? It was interesting to discover that the yacht belongs to our own Betsy Devos, the U.S. Secretary of Education! I’ll leave it at that as many of you could continue the narrative, especially my educator friends!
On our return trip, we looped around Torch Lake, touted as one of the most beautiful lakes anywhere, and also the longest inland lake in Michigan. We explored the little town of Alden before heading back to Indigo Bluffs! We made one last stop at Rove Estate – again a multiple-return trip – and enjoyed a glass of wine and one of their delicious cheese boards. Some places never get old!
As our stay here in Michigan is quickly coming to a close, we continue to find amazement as we “coddiwomple!”
Stay Calm and Travel On…