"People don't notice if it's winter or summer when they're happy." -Anton Chekhov
I've recently decided to make this my new life motto. Living in Michigan all my life, I've experienced my fair share of winters and trust me, they can be brutal. I used to spend my days counting down until the summer sun was back again but there really is so much beauty (and fun) to be had in the snowy season!
I had the opportunity to pack my bags and hit the road to head north to one of my favorite Michigan towns, Petoskey, for an ultimate winter weekend getaway. We spent three days packed full of good food, wine, adventure, and even some fresh snow.
Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Petoskey Area Visitor's Bureau. The itinerary was created by me based on personal research and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Where to Stay
When we arrived in town our first stop was checking in to our room at Stafford's Perry Hotel located in the Gaslight District in downtown Petoskey. Built in 1899, the Perry Hotel is full of historic charm and each of the rooms has its own unique flare. The hotel is perched high on the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan which meant waking up to gorgeous snowy views from our private balcony each morning. You don't have to travel far to enjoy delicious food either. The Noggin Room Pub is located on the lower level of the hotel and offers a casual dining atmosphere, live music, and a great selection of local brews. It was the perfect stop after a long day of exploring and we loved being able to walk back up to our room after the night was over. We also enjoyed a delicious breakfast overlooking the lake in the Rose Room before we hit the slopes.
Aside from the amenities and world-class hospitality, the part of our stay I enjoyed most was the hotel's location which was within walking distance to all the main attractions downtown. It was great being able to park our car for free and not have to worry about finding a spot on the streets or paying for meters. And the night that we received a lot of snow we walked out to our car the next morning to find it had already been cleaned off by the hotel staff.
One of our first activities during our stay was a culinary tour throughout downtown Petoskey. In addition to the boutiques and restaurants you'll find in most downtown areas, the Gaslight District is also home to some truly unique shops to satisfy your taste buds. Most were within walking distance of each another so it was easy to spend a few hours hopping from one to the next. Pick up a map of downtown Petoskey from the visitor's bureau to help you plan out your stops, or simply follow our tour below:
Dinner in an Igloo (and other Brewery Stops)
Petoskey Brewery - Does it get any more winter-esque than eating dinner in an igloo? After finishing up our culinary tour we headed to Petoskey Brewery to grab a bite to eat. During the winter months they have two igloos available on their outdoor patio for 4 to 8 guests. Reservations are required and they book up fast on the weekends so be sure to call ahead (4 guest minimum). Try a flight if you want to a few beers from their extensive list, or order pint of your favorite. Start your meal with the pretzel sticks served with three different dipping sauces including a unique peanut butter and jelly concoction. The brewery is also known for their signature smash burgers which come highly reviewed!
Beards Brewery - This was our first stop for lunch when getting into town and was within walking distance from the hotel. Beards came highly recommended by others prior to our trip and I can see why. Their handcrafted pizzas make the perfect pairing with a beard-shaped flight and they also have a stage for live music if you go in the evenings.
Burnt Marshmallow Brewery - We stumbled upon Burnt Marshmallow during our wine tour on day two (see below). The brewery is located within the same building as Rudbeckia Winery if you have someone in your group who prefers wine over beer. Be sure to try the s’more porter which is their most popular beer and tastes like a blazing camp fire, garnished with a flaming marshmallow. They also offer guests access to snowshoes and up to three miles of trails around the grounds.
Tunnel Vision Brewery - Located within Pond Hill Farm (see below) offering craft brews with Michigan grown ingredients and incorporating the farm's produce. Flights of four 5oz tastes available.
Pond Hill Farm
Pond Hill offers fun for all ages year round. Located in Harbor Springs, the farm includes a brewery, winery, farm-to-table cafe and miles of outdoor trails. You can bring your own cross country skis or snowshoes or rent them on your way through town. One of the highlights of our trip was completing their gnome hunt. Pick up a map in the market and follow the Farm Trail which includes 12 different stops, each with a gnome hut hidden in the woods. Collect all 12 letters to solve the puzzle and get a gnome sticker. After completing the trail, we warmed up with lunch in the cafe and a flight of their estate grown wines.
Horse Drawn Sleigh Ride
When we got back home and people were asking us what I enjoyed most about our trip - THIS was it! Black Barn Farms in Harbor Springs partners with Highland Roots Clydesdales to offer guests horse drawn sleigh rides through the woods of historic Cross Village. Cozy up under a wool blanket with your loved ones, listen to the sound of sleigh bells ring as the horses guide you through the trails, and feed them candy canes when the ride is over. A truly unforgettable experience! It had just snowed the night before which made our ride even more special. Reservations are required and they only offer the rides on Saturdays in December through mid-January.
The farm specializes in naturally grown vegetables, flowers, herbs, pasture raised eggs as well as a variety of homemade pastas and pesto. However, during the winter months most aspects are the farm aren't open so I would recommend making the sleigh ride part of your day in Harbor Springs to make the drive worth it.
If you still want to experience the magic of a sleigh ride during the 2020 winter season, make a reservation for the Aonoch Mor Moonlight Dinner at Boyne Highlands. Start your evening being transported by sleigh to the North Peak Lodge where you’ll enjoy a crackling bonfire, non-alcoholic beverages and a delicious meal. Boyne Highlands and Mountain resort also offer horseback riding which is a great way to experience the majestic creatures and beauty of the outdoors.
Grapes may be out of season in the winter months, but the wine still tastes just as good! When planning our winter weekend I had to include some time to explore the Petoskey Wine Region with its snow covered vineyards and less crowded tasting rooms. With 12 different wineries spread across the region, I would suggest choosing two or three to visit in the one day so you can really enjoy your time at each.
We started our afternoon at Pond Hill Farm (see above) with a wine flight paired with our farm to table lunch. Our second stop was at Petoskey Farms Vineyard which offers stunning views and a wine tree flight perfect for splitting with two people. Next, we traveled to Resort Pike Cidery and Winery and enjoyed some truly unique cider flavors including pineapple habanero, sea salt and lime, and caramel apple. Stop number three was at Rudbeckia Winery which is located in the same space as Burnt Marshmallow Brewery (see above) and is a great place to sip a glass of wine outside on the patio next to a campfire. Other great wine stops within a few miles of Rudbeckia are Mackinaw Trail Winery and Brewery and Walloon Lake Winery.
No winter weekend is complete without hitting the slopes as least once. We went skiing for the first time last year at Nub’s Nob and fell in love. Since then we’ve bought our own gear and try to go as often as possible. Petoskey area is truly a skier’s paradise offering access to three great resorts - Boyne Highlands, Boyne Mountain and Nub’s Nob.
After fueling up with a delicious breakfast at Stafford’s Perry Hotel on Sunday morning, we drove down to Boyne Mountain for a full day of skiing with lots of fresh pow. We had a blast on the slopes with some of the biggest runs we’ve conquered to date. When we were ready for a break in the afternoon we grabbed lunch at Happy’s Taco Truck, located near the lodge, and celebrated apres ski with the a sweet treat from the Waffle Cabin. We were having too much fun on the slopes and ran out of time but don't miss the chance to enjoy a beer with a spectacular view at the Eagle’s Nest, nestled at the top of the mountain.
If you’re not into skiing but still looking for some outdoor adventure, Boyne Highlands and Mountain resorts also offer zip lining, horseback riding, fat tire bike riding, and tubing.
After dinner Friday night we stopped at Odawa Casino to test our luck with 1,000 slot machines and dozens of table games. This is a great indoor activity with dining and live entertainment options available.
Breakfast at Roast and Toast
Roast and Toast is a great place to grab a bite to eat before a full day of exploring. You won’t be able to miss it as the storefront is adorned with colorful cups and plates. The cafe features house-roasted coffee and house-made foodie creations in a cozy atmosphere. In addition to breakfast, warm up with a speciality coffee or hot chocolate. My favorite was the Golden Eye - ghirardelli white hot with chocolate caramel, irish creme, and whipped cream.
Shopping Gaslight District
After eating breakfast at Roast and Toast, we strolled through the Gaslight District and shopped at some of the unique boutiques. In downtown Petoskey you’ll find everything from clothes, to home goods, to speciality gifts. A few of my favorite stops were Grandpa Shorter’s, Katydid, and Shorter and Son Mercantile. The best part about visiting during the winter season is all the fresh greens adorning the shop windows and street lamps. Be sure to stop in the town square to see the adorable gazebo and lighted Christmas tree.
More Winter Fun
Still looking for more snowy season fun during your visit to Petoskey? You may also enjoy these activities:
I love creating detailed travel guides to ensure you get the most out of your time. On this blog I'll be sharing some of my past trips in hopes that it helps you plan your next adventure. Pack your suitcase you never know where I'll be heading next!
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