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Explore Traverse City Food Gems & Nearby Towns


Explore Traverse City Food Gems & Nearby Towns

Riverside Inn - Leland

The sweet little town of Leland has always held a special place in my heart. As a child, we always visited to walk the docks of Fishtown (and do some fishing!). Just a few years ago, my husband and I celebrated with friends along the water after getting engaged on North Manitou Island. And I can't let a summer pass without a north shore sandwich from The Cheese Shanty. 

A few blocks from fishtown sits the best restaurant in Leland, The Riverside Inn. Aptly named for it's gorgeous location along the banks of the Leland river.  With a local focus and impeccable execution, this is the perfect place for a special night out, a drink at the bar or a meal on the porch overlooking the river. 


Rockwich - Traverse City

There is always a new place to eat in Traverse City, and Rockwich is one of this year's stand-out new joints. Their seriously local, organic sandwiches are creative, flavorful and keep you wanting to return over and over again. Rockwich takes their hard rock vibe seriously, but the sweet family who runs this food truck will instantly put a smile on your face. Their sandwich-filled school bus is the place to be! 


Julianne Tomatoes - Petoskey

I grew up in Petoskey and firmly believe that no trip to northern Michigan is complete without a stop in this sweet town. It is truly a magical place (even Ann Patchett agrees!). When I was a kid, we regularly walked the creaking floors of what is now Julianne Tomatoes. At the time, the local food coop was located there. All those memories fill this space with a special feeling for me, but what they have to offer is so much more than my nostalgic dreams! 

Amazing breakfasts, sandwiches, soups and salads make this place a must-stop for breakfast or lunch in Petoskey. Check the board to see what local products are featured in the menu of the day, and don't forget to order dessert! 


Grocer's Daughter - Empire

If you've been following me lately, you probably already know about my love affair with Grocer's Daughter Chocolate in Empire. I wanted to include them here because they're so much more than the chocolate I love to bake with. A stop in Grocer's Daughter (preferable after a trip to the Sleeping Bear Dunes!) should always involve a hearty serving of truffles and a few treats for the road. 


Good Harbor Grill - Glen Arbor

Head north from Empire, past some of the Sleeping Bear Dune's most popular attractions, and you'll soon reach the little town of Glen Arbor. The town sits with the national lakeshore continuing along the coast both north and south of town, making it the perfect place to stop for lunch during a trip to the dunes. 

My go-to in this little town is always Good Harbor Grill for breakfast or lunch. Warm up with a cup of soup after a chilly dip in the lake, and make sure to take in the sweet exterior of this seriously charming restaurant. 



September in Michigan


September in Michigan

September in northern Michigan will always hold a special place in my heart for the magical combination of summer and fall it brings to those beautiful days. Early in the month, the water is sun-kissed and warm, the days are generally sunny, and the tourists have packed up leaving the beaches calm and peaceful. As the month slowly progresses, the evenings grow chilly and the trees start to offer new vibrant hues. The final harvests of summer produce ripen - tomatoes, raspberries, and more - while fall's bounty begins to arrive. This is the moment I love most in my sweet mitten state. 

I was lucky enough to spend the entire month of September in northern Michigan this year, marrying my lovely new husband and spending a few weeks photographing the farms and food businesses of the area for Taste the Local Difference. After editing hundreds of images, I couldn't help but share some of my favorite farm moments with you. 

Needless to say, it was a gorgeous month :  )

Bear Creek Organic Farm - Petoskey


Boss Mouse Cheese 

While most of my farm visits last no more than an hour, more than three hours seemingly disappeared while I spent a morning with Sue at Boss Mouse Cheese. Keep an eye out for a post dedicated solely to this special spot in the world next month! 

Farmers Markets - Petoskey, Charlevoix, & Traverse City

Providence Organic Farm

Second Spring Farm

Shetler Family Dairy

Spirit of Walloon 

UnderToe Farm


Photo Post: Orcas Island


Photo Post: Orcas Island

Last week, my sweet man and I spent a dreamy five days getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Instead, we took on the slow paced culture of island life that I've come to know and love over the course of my life in places like Beaver Island, the Dominican Republic, North Manitou Island, and more. When there is only so far you can get without boarding a boat or a place, everyone seems to look at life just a little bit differently. And that paints the picture for a perfect setting to relax, let go, and not be burdened by knowing what time it is. 

Orcas Island, one of the larger of the San Juan Islands, was our destination. 

We stayed in a particularly magical spot, at Doe Bay Resort. A few days camping out in the woods, and a few days settled into this heavenly campsite known as Sea Sparkles for the sparkling of the sun reflecting on the water seen from this spot. If you're ever in the area, I couldn't recommend staying in this place enough - just the right amount of amenities to inspire perfect relaxation (like soaking tubs and a sauna overlooking the ocean!), without taking over the magic of the natural surroundings. 

I have to admit, I'm not a fan of oysters... as a food writer and generally adventurous eater, I always feel like it's something I should be in love with like so many others. But for me, there is something about the texture that I just can't get over. My babes, on the other hand, can't get enough and living in the Pacific Northwest means we have ample access to fresh oysters! 

Buck Bay Shellfish Farm proved to be a regular stop, as we had to drive past it to get most places from out little spot on the island. A folding sign out by the road states "wanna shuck" and a cheerful staff happily lets customers choose their own oysters from bins full and sets you up with a shucking tool and a few accompaniments. It doesn't get much fresher than this. 

I wasn't left out of the fun though - fresh clams from their bay were enjoyed in a decadent soba soup we made for dinner one night! 

Much of the rest of our vacation was spent hiking to stunning views of the islands and the ocean, and relaxing in our hammock or the soaking tubs. 

With picture perfect views from our oceanside campsite, we cooked quite a few meals over our trusty backpacking stove as we so love to do. The shot below is of a dinner of shakshuka - a classic Jewish dish of spiced tomatoes and peppers with eggs. We of course tossed in a variety of farmers market veggies we had brought along! 

I'll leave you with this - a view from the top of Mt. Constitution, the highest point in the San Juan Islands.