Let me start by telling you that I am not a tent camper. The idea of being without electricity, plumbing and room service freaks me out.
I do, however, own a tent. I've only used it with the kids in our back yard. (Yeah, that's really rustic. But backyard camping does give some fun memories for the kids! And, we're only 50 feet away from the house.)
When my girlfriend suggested that we go Wine Tasting up in Traverse City, I was all for it.
It's only about a 4 hour drive and there are a lot of wineries that I'd like to check out.
But, when she suggested that we also incorporate a true “tent camping experience“, my enthusiasm waned substantially.
Seriously – I just didn't think the idea of camping in a tent, in Northern Michigan, in the fall, was going to be a great idea.
Several weeks prior to our camping trip, I had discussed it with my grandmother, and you know what she did? She ordered a bunch of travel magazines from the Michigan Travel Bureau to be sure I had the information I'd need to have a great trip.
The Wednesday before our camping trip, I stopped by to visit my grandma and she handed me this huge stack of travel magazines! It was so sweet of her, and frankly – just like her. She was such a wonderful, thoughtful, amazing part of my life. (This was the last time I ever saw my grandmother alive.)
When she handed me these magazines, I opened up the Traverse City one, and began thumbing through it.
I gotta tell ya — my enthusiasm for this trip was renewed! In fact, the more I explored the magazine and read about some of our potential destinations (a.k.a. “Tons of wineries”), I started really getting excited about the trip.
And somehow, I no longer dreaded the idea of camping in a tent!
So, we did it. Against our better judgement and with absolutely no prior experience, we actually went tent camping in Northern Michigan in the fall. (Did I mention that the weather forecast for the weekend was “torrential downpours are 98% likely”? Yeah, we're brilliant.)
We ended up camping in the state park in Traverse City.
Apparently, normal people don't tent camp in Traverse City in the fall, because out of the 300 campsites available, there were about 30 of them occupied — by full-sized RV's. (You know, the kind with walls, a roof, a kitchen, beds, microwaves, refrigerators?)
There was only one other tent in the whole state park. (I think it was a fugitive hiding from the law. But that's another story.)
Fortunately, the weather held out for us while we set up the camp site and for a few hours each day while we went wine tasting and exploring. But all night, every night, the skies unleashed a massive amount of rain that flooded our campsite and turned our fire pit into a small pond.
..but we did it all for the wine tasting!
Remember the whole point of going to Traverse City in the first place? It was to go check out our Michigan wineries.
So, sure, the weather was horrible. We were cold and wet. Our shoes were a muddy mess and the floor in our tent was disgustingly filthy. We used storage bins to collect rain water that found its way into our tent.
…but we did it all for the wine tasting!
I'll tell you more specifics about the wine tasting part in an upcoming post. I really do have a lot of cool pictures and was really impressed by some of the wines we found while in Traverse City. (I even tasted Riesling! Yuck.)
The state park where we camped in Traverse City was only 5 minutes from the base of “Old Mission Peninsula“, a section of Traverse City that has a lot of wineries all along a single road that extends to the tip of the Peninsula. The drive up and down the peninsula was gorgeous. Had the clouds been less prevalent, the view of the lake and the vineyards along the rolling hills would have been even more amazing.
Even though the timing of our trip wasn't ideal for camping in a tent, the timing was perfect for the fall colors. Every tree was filled with leaves, all turning beautiful shades of red, orange, yellow, and purple. Seriously awesome.
So, that was our trip.
It was rainy and cold. It was muddy and gross. But, it was gorgeous and scenic. We had a great time together, and – we did it for the wine tasting!
Love wine? Take my advice here:
If you're looking for a chance to do some “at home” wine tasting, might I suggest you consider buying a membership to the Plonk Wine Club? You can cancel at any time, and Etty Lewensztain (the owner and sommelier) sends 4 bottles of really unique and super-high quality wines each month. You won't be disappointed. We have a special deal with Plonk, too – so click here to get it and have their delicious wines shipped right to your door!
Luckily, Plonk Wine Club ships wine to Michigan. If you are shopping for wine clubs and want to know if they'll ship to your state, then be sure to find which clubs ship to your state.