July 11, 2014

Day 299 - July 10, 2014: Wine tasting on the Leelanau Peninsula

Today we rendezvoused with Win, my college roommate, and his wife Susan at Suttons Bay. They are boaters out of Harbor Springs, and we have cruised with them before, so we were anxious to spend some time with them while here in Grand Traverse Bay. Suttons Bay lies midway up the Leelanau Peninsula on the West Arm, and we cruised there this morning in sun and glassy water.

This peninsula is long and narrow and lined with rolling sandy hills covered with trees and some lakes. It has turned out to be ideal for growing cherries and grapes. The shoreline reveals small tourist towns, hillside cottages, year round homes and vineyards.

Leelanau Peninsula
We took our bikes up into town and took a bus a few miles to a cluster of wineries to do some wine tasting. The bus was designed for bike and ride, meaning the rear seating of the bus had been removed and replaced with 8 bike racks. So we loaded them on and got off at the first winery which was south along the coast road. From there we rode up some very steep inclines, stopping to walk as necessary, to three other wineries. Today was warm, still, and sunny, and the views from up top were spectacular. It reminded Anne and me of areas we have seen in Tuscany.

Anne and Susan high up on the Leelanau Peninsula

Vineyards overlooking the bay
We enjoyed sitting on the patios of the wineries, tasting various wines and catching up. Michigan wines are no match for California wines, but are getting better each year. The dry whites are the best in my opinion, with only a few reds of interest. The harsh winter is reported to have caused some setbacks for this year's production, and time will tell. Then we rode over to the Leelanau Bike Trail which is on an old railway roadbed and followed it back to Suttons Bay. Fortunately, it was a gentle slope down all the way. Today was relaxing and fun.

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