Tag Archives: Good Harbor Vineyards

How to Camp Like a Locavore

Fresh eggs from Good Harbor Farm

When I go camping at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore with my friend Sandy, we often have a theme that drives our meal decisions as well as the activities we do. This year we decided to wing it, bringing few staples from home and relying on the local food choices we could find in Leelanau County, Michigan.

Okay, so I’m not a purely authentic locavore. That would mean I would only eat food that is locally produced, excluding olive oil, coffee, chocolate, and lemons, to name a few of my favorite ingredients. But I try my best to eat in season as much as possible and support our local economy here in Michigan. So what are staples for Sandy and me on a camping trip? Popcorn, olive oil, and coffee.

The first step to camping like a locavore is heading to the local winery (or grocery store) to get some sparkling wine. One of our favorites is Moonstruck from Good Harbor Vineyards. After picking up some provisions, such as eggs and asparagus at Good Harbor Farm, we headed back to our campsite to pitch the tent. But first we popped the cork on the Moonstruck.

Moonstruck sparkling wine from Good Harbor Winery

Then we had some cherry pie that we picked up at The Cherry Hut in Beulah, Michigan, on our way to the campground.

Moonstruck and cherry pie

Then we put the tarp down.

Camping step two: Put down tarp

And finally, the tent went up.

Camping step three: Put up tent

The first night we went out for dinner at Good Harbor Grill, which is not our normal practice. But the Cherry Pecan Whitefish on the menu was enticing. (What’s with all the Good Harbor this and Good Harbor that? D.H. Day Campground, a rustic campground within Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, resides along Good Harbor Bay, one of the most beautiful harbors in Lake Michigan—with no marinas. It’s a nature lover’s paradise.) After dinner we made popcorn over the campfire.

The next day, we headed to the beach at—you guessed it—Good Harbor Bay to make breakfast, which was an Asparagus Frittata and pressed coffee (and leftover Moonstruck).

Frittata ingredients

Red onion and fresh asparagus for frittata

Asparagus frittata and Moonstruck at Good Harbor Bay

Moonstruck sparkling wine from Good Harbor Winery

Good Harbor Bay, Leelanau County, Michigan

After relaxing at the beach, we toured some wineries, including one of our favorites (L. Mawby), where we shared a flight of sparkling wine with whitefish pate.

Sparkling wine flight at L. Mawby

Then we headed back to camp for some R&R. I had brought a few ingredients from home to make Lavash Pizza Over a Fire. The base for the pizza was Stinging Nettles Pesto that I had made a few weeks earlier and froze. The tomatoes for one pizza were from the Holland Farmers Market and the goat cheese came from Dancing Goat Creamery. We put Manchego sheep’s cheese and parsley from my garden on the other.

Lavash Pizza Over a Fire

And in the morning? Fried egg sandwich paninis with Stinging Nettles Pesto!

Fried egg and pesto panini

The challenge is always to find ways to use up the ingredients that you find locally and bring from home. The only leftovers we had were pieces of cherry pie. But that was easy. They were nicely accompanied by cups of coffee from Gemma’s Coffee House at the beach in Empire, Michigan, on the way home.


What Wine to Buy? Go Taste It!

One of my favorite ways to spend a vacation is wine tasting, so I have made a point to visit three major wine producing areas of the U.S.: Sonoma, California; the Finger Lakes of Upstate New York; and Northern Lower Michigan (both Leelanau Peninsula and Old Mission Peninsula). No matter what region I buy wine from, I tend to gravitate toward the wines I know because I’ve tasted them.

Living in Michigan, it’s easy to buy Michigan wines. I love supporting our local producers and Michigan’s economy. Some of my favorites from Leelanau are Good Harbor Red and L. Mawby Blanc de Blancs. Our closest vineyard, Fenn Valley, makes a Capriccio that serves as one of our favorite red table wines. During my birthday weekend in Traverse City last fall, Bill and I enjoyed a yummy bottle of Pinot Noir that really suited our palates from Brys Estate on Old Mission Peninsula.

When I stand in the Michigan Wines section of our local wine retailers I find I’m always grabbing the same bottles, when there are many more to choose from. That’s partly because I had never been to the wineries in Southwest Michigan, along the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail. Bill and I finally had the chance to go this weekend.

We started at Contessa Wine Cellars because it was close to the Chocolate Garden, a truffle shop I had heard about for years. (It reminds me of growing up in New Jersey and never going to the Statue of Liberty until I moved to Michigan—so close, yet so far.) I really enjoyed both the Tre Tenores and Lago Rosso. The latter was also an ingredient in the truffles I bought at the Chocolate Garden. And, the winery has a spacious deck with a beautiful view of the vineyard.

Contessa Wine Cellars

The Chocolate Garden

From there we zipped down to Tabor Hill, since the winery also has a restaurant on the premises and we were already hungry for lunch.

Tabor Hill Winery

Tabor Hill Winery

We each started off our meal with a glass of Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine. Blanc de Blanc at Tabor Hill

After a light lunch overlooking the vineyards, we tasted several reds and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the Syrah, since it’s not one of my usual varietals.

Next on the itinerary was Round Barn Winery, which I knew I just had to see because it’s in a round barn. Not only did we love the wines there, but they also distill spirits and brew beer. Bill and I found another Pinot Noir that we really enjoyed, plus a Nouveau Noir—made in steel barrels. It was also surprisingly tasty. Round Barn is hip and fun, and a unique setting. I hope to go back for some winery events this summer.

Round Barn Winery

The next closest stop was Domaine Berrien Cellars. Don’t let their modest tasting room fool you. We really enjoyed their Cabernet Franc as well as the Vignoles, a sweet white that is pretty tasty in summertime weather.

Domaine Berrien Cellars

There are 14 wineries on the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail and we only made it to four in one day. That means I’ll need to plan another outing soon to try the others, but at least now I’ve expanded my list of Michigan wines to know what to buy from local retailers.

Oh, and if you’re a beer drinker, you must visit our state. Grand Rapids was chosen as this year’s Beer City USA. Craft breweries abound in Michigan!