After our stay in South Haven, we headed north to the lovely city of Petoskey, Michigan. I know I visited here as a child, but the details are hazy. I do remember the Petoskey stones, the unique fossil rocks collected by my grandmother and displayed in our backyard garden. We booked a month here, to enjoy the cool, clear Michigan air.
This area of Michigan is scenically beautiful — with long rolling emerald green hills, forests, and quaint lakeside towns. We’ve already taken several motorcycle rides, exploring the nearby towns of Charlevoix and Harbor Springs. Earlier this week, we saddled up and headed down to Traverse City, home to the National Cherry Festival, fortuitously happening during our stay.
I didn’t realize that so many cherries are grown here, but apparently Michigan is the largest producer of tart cherries in the US, to the tune of 227 million pounds per year! That’s a lot of cherry pie! Cool and rainy spring weather this year delayed the cherry onset by 2 to 3 weeks, but there were still plenty of cherries to be had at the festival.
Traverse City is a typical Michigan lakeside town, with a medium-sized downtown wrapped around a harbor. By South Florida standards the Festival wasn’t very large …. just a square of vendor tents and a “fair” area with carnival rides and food. But the air was cool, the sun was warm, and lots of free samples of cherry products were to be had. After browsing the fair and downtown, we found cherry salsa, cherry balsamic vinaigrette and cherryaki sauce in our possession. I also had to have a piece of fair-booth cherry pie because, well, you know. Jeff indulged in a root beer float instead. Sacrilege.
Leaving Traverse City, we headed up a small peninsula to Brys Winery. This area is located just above the 45th parallel, a latitude that is famous for being just right for vineyards. Lately, our winery visits have offered primarily fruity wines, which are not our favorites. But this winery stocked a surprisingly delicious 2016 estate Merlot – every bit as nice as some of the California wines we’ve enjoyed. A bottle that found its way into our now-laden motorcycle.
Cherry sauces and wine on board, we cruised back to our home base in Petoskey. Just another day on the road!