Coming back home after a long relaxing weekend is so bittersweet. While it is nice to be back home……I miss the freedom of not being on any schedule and indulging a little (you can’t blame me! The food scene in northern MI is phenomenal). This past spring my mom found a cottage in Lake Ann and we have been spending most of our summer weekends up there enjoying the lake, hiking, golfing, and the fun of traverse city. This weekend was special because my brother came to visit the cottage for the first time. He lives in Wisconsin, so we don’t get to see him as often (and his birthday is this week so we turned it into a weekend birthday celebration). So I wanted to share a taste of our weekend up north since it was probably one of the last weekends of summer (80 degree weather and sun all weekend…in September).
The weekend started with picking my brother up on Thursday from the traverse city airport. We were pleasantly surprised to find out flights from Wisconsin to Traverse City Michigan were relatively reasonable. His round trip ticket ended up costing him less then $200….and the connivence of landing in Traverse City right made it so easy to pick him up and start the weekend. I arrived Friday morning early and we all went to Dilbert’s for breakfast. Dilbert’s is definitely one of those must go to, popular with the locals, best kept secrets kind of restaurants. If you aren’t looking for it you will blow right past it when you are driving down US Highway 31….and you will be disappointed if you do! They serve hearty and delicious portions of breakfast, lunch, and even dinner. I ordered their small oatmeal one time and I could’t even finish it the portion was so huge. Don’t forget to take a look at the large chalkboard where they advertise the awesome specials for the day. Dilbert’s is not a very large restaurant….and they are first come first serve….. so going with a smaller group will be more fun (a group of 5 at the max). When you walk in you will be greeted by a waitress flying by you to pour more coffee for one of the breakfast patrons. Usually there are only one or two waitresses serving all the tables in Dilbert’s…..so practice patience and enjoy your coffee. The food is usually out 10-15 minutes after you order and the tables turn over quick. Don’t miss out on the gem in Interlochen, MI.
After breakfast we went back to the cottage and spent the day on the boat. We packed drinks (white claws for me…..my favorite summer drink) and snacks and laid out on the boat in the gorgeous sun ☀️ and swam all afternoon. My brother even brought his new drone along to take pictures of the lake! My mom’s Boston Terrier, Lola, was loving the boat life.
When we finally came back in from the boat we were all pretty fried and ready for dinner. We decided to take a detour on the way to our dinner location and stopped at one of our favorite wineries, The Rove Estate Vineyard and Winery Not only is their wine selection wonderful…..but the tasting room itself and the view from it is enough to make the trip worth it. They also offer an awesome snack menu (the Rove charcuterie board is my favorite) to pair with their wines.
We ended our Friday night with dinner at probably one of the coolest breweries I have ever been to (and it’s in Michigan!). The Hop Lot is located in Suttons Bay and has the coolest outdoor seating layout. There are chopped firewood walls set up to separate the outdoor seating area from the rest of the outside dining area. The staff will use the firewood from these walls to feed the two large fire pits in the middle of the patio (they even have a s’more kit you can purchase to make your own s’mores over these fires). The food was just as laid back and as casual as the outside seating. They had sand-which options, tacos, and more. They also had an area for cornhole and even live music! This was my first time at the Hop Lot and I can’t wait to go back.
Saturday we stuck around the cottage for breakfast and then took off to do a quick hike in Sleeping Bear Dunes Park. We went and hiked the Empire Bluff Trail which was a 1.5 mile round trip hike. It was very hilly but the stellar views of Lake Michigan made the hills worth it (I mean just check out the view of the lake in the picture of the three of us at the top of the blog!). Which was followed by yet again another beautiful day on the lake (again I could not get over how perfect the weather was). Since my brother’s birthday was coming up we decided to celebrate his birthday in downtown Traverse city. We decided to go to the Franklin and this is a must go to the next time you are in Traverse City. The Franklin is located on the corner of Cass and Front St. It is a beautiful brick building with the coolest atmosphere and an open air patio upstairs that provides a view looking over downtown Traverse.
The food was just as awesome as the atmosphere. I ordered the Stellar Old Fashioned for a cocktail. I am usually not a huge bourbon fan, but this drink may have changed my mind. I have tried to drink many bourbon and whisky cocktails in the past (much to the annoyance of my husband) and have never found one that was as good as the one I had at The Franklin. My mom and I split the 16oz ribeye and we all shared the green beens and ribbon carrots from the a lacarte portion of the menu. The portions were huge and splitting our meal saved us quite a bit of money and we were not left hungry.
To wrap up our Saturday we stopped at a local favorite for a birthday treat for Jon. We took him to his first trip ever to Moomer’s Handmade Ice Cream. We waited in the long, twisty line outside of the store (I said it was a local favorite). The line moves very quickly because the staff is has a super efficient ordering system. Once we got our favorite scoops (butter pecan for me, mint chip for my brother and mom, and coconut chocolate almond chunk for my grandpa) we went outside to watch the dairy cows, that supply the milk for the ice cream, feed off of large hay bails. We enjoyed our ice cream as the sun set on another wonderful day.
We ended the weekend by going back to Dilbert’s for breakfast (when you find something good why go somewhere else), spending another long day swimming and lounging on the boat, and going to one of my favorite up north restaurants Boone’s on Long Lake . We were a little disappointed because all summer we had been going there and sitting outside on their awesome deck…..and they informed us when we were heading to the back to go sit outside that the deck closed Labor Day Weekend. This did not damper our experience though! The staff was super friendly and as usual the portions were more then enough. I was sad to return to the cottage to pack up myself and Roxy (my black lab) in the car. It is always a bummer when the weekend ends and you have to say goodbye. But after we all hugged said our farewells and I loaded up my podcast I’m obsessed with now (Dr. Death), I took in all of the beautiful northern views on my drive home and remembered that even though this wonderful weekend had come to a close……we now have next time to look forward to.