Food, Fashion, Travel, Lifestyle

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Hopping the Lake: Michigan

I've always loved to travel and see new places (and try new food, duh), so a couple weekends ago, my PIC and I took a day off work and headed across Lake Michigan for a little exploring. 

Our first stop was Ann Arbor. I had only been once before, but it was back in high school for a tennis tournament (fun fact: I was a fairly serious tennis player back in the day, but that's another story), so I didn't remember much. This time around I wanted to have time to explore downtown and see what the city had to offer. While no college town will ever beat Madison, my alma mater, Ann Arbor was awesome and the perfect place to kick off the weekend. 

Downtown was full of breweries, shops and lots of restaurants, all within walking distance of the University of Michigan's campus. We also explored Kerrytown, a district within Ann Arbor that's home to the Kerrytown Market & Shops, a marketplace with restaurants and food vendors that make up the first floor and shops on the upper level. Our first meal was at an all vegan restaurant in the marketplace called The Lunch Room. I love discovering places like this and seeing others support tasty and cruelty free businesses. After lunch, we checked out the shops and I was taken by one shop in particular, Found. It was a home goods store with a mix of locally made goods, furniture, accessories, and art. I could have easily blown through a paycheck at that store, but refrained and left only with an art print. From there, we hit up Literati, an independent bookstore with two floors of books and a coffee shop upstairs (check out their site, they have a cool story). After walking around campus and exploring State Street, we sipped on some beer at Jolly Pumpkin and the classic Ann Arbor Brewing Co. For dinner, we drove to the other side of town and ate at Bigalora Cucina, a wood fired pizza place with dough that takes 72 hours to ferment and only 90 seconds to cook in a 900° oven. 

Day two took us to the lake, hitting St. Joseph and New Buffalo. St. Joseph was less than special, so we quickly moved on to New Buffalo, but made a pit stop in Sawyer to check out Greenbush Brewing. Beyond Greenbush and a couple restaurants and shops, Sawyer's downtown was contained to a single block. After trying a couple beers, we finished our trek to New Buffalo, a cute little town that seems to be developing and growing. During my many tennis tournament trips to Michigan with my dad, we would sometimes stop at The Stray Dog to grab food. It was a good half way point to many of our destinations, so I was excited to go back and see what else made up the small town. While in New Buffalo, we tried the locals brews at Beerchurch, a newer brewery housed in a renovated church. Currently, Beerchurch only has a capacity of 33, but they have plans to expand into the rest of the building and serve food as well. We spent the rest of the day wandering around, playing on the beach, and eating ice cream at Oinks after dinner at The Stray Dog. 

On our drive back to MKE, we decided to make a quick stop at Mars Cheese Castle, a staple highway view on the drive from Milwaukee to Chicago. I've gone by it my entire life and had never been. I didn't expect much and it didn't exceed my expectations, but I'm glad I went and checked it off my to-do list. I was hoping for floor to ceiling cheese. I mean, it's called Mars Cheese Castle. Unfortunately, there was a corner of cheese and that was about it. Now, to be fair, they were doing renovations, but for Mars Cheese Castle to be in a state known for cheese, they need to step up their game. 

Cheers to you, Michigan! Next stop? Hopping across the big pond. Stay tuned!

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