I’m currently suffering from my annual seasonal depression, so I haven’t posted much lately. (And yes, I realize that most seasonally depressed people get depressed in the winter, not the spring. However, spring to me is like being trapped in somebody’s gross basement – it’s damp and moldy and not that warm and you know what? I kind of hate it.)
In Connecticut, I could combat my depression with the opening of Captain Scott’s, new wine releases at JE, and my aquarium friends. However, in Michigan, the one and only thing that can (at least temporarily) snap me out of my spring funk is Cabin Weekend.
This year’s spring weekend was a little different – no Rikster, for one (horror of horrors!). On the bright side, we added Roz and Sandi and Kristen to the mix, meaning we had six instead of our usual four, and also added some great new experiences.
Diane and I actually took Friday off and headed up on Thursday night. We decided to low-brow it for dinner and stopped at Tony’s I-75 Restaurant in Birch Run, where Diane was served a pound of bacon with a club sandwich on the side.
Upon arriving at the cabin, we immediately changed into pajamas, opened a couple bottles of sparkling wine, and turned on a Golden Girls marathon. Relaxation at its finest.
I should add here that the cabin is the best place ever to get a good night’s sleep. Grandma put shutters on the windows of the bedrooms, so you can sleep in complete darkness and sleep in successfully (take that, morning sun!). In addition, all the beds have electric blankets. That’s right – you can crawl into your warm, dark burrito and sleep to your heart’s content. Even I can sleep well and sleep in at the cabin – and that’s saying something.
Fully refreshed on Friday morning, Diane and I headed off to Traverse City – we didn’t let a little snow and sleet deter us. At the recommendation of Andy from the Produce Station, we sought out Patisserie Amie, where we enjoyed amazing crepes and celebratory bellinis.
Our waiter, Luc (well, we’re pretty sure it was actually “Luke” but we were eating crepes in a “patisserie” so he became “Luc”) was fantastic. We also picked out an assortment of pastries from the case to share with the other girls by means of apology for enjoying this treat before their arrival.
Fueled by crepes, Diane and I headed up the Old Mission to our perennial favorite, 2 Lads Winery. I’ve enjoyed a well-documented relationship with 2 Lads and their wines since moving back to Michigan in 2010. This trip was extra-special, as I FINALLY got to meet Caryn, the 2 Lads marketing guru who does all their blogging and social media. Caryn and I have spoken so many times through channels such as Facebook and Twitter that I sometimes forgot that we’d never met in person. Diane and I spent a delightful hour or two with Caryn, trying the newly-bottled releases (oh man, that Cab Franc/Merlot is going to be AMAZING) and talking wine and food and Michigan in general. And even though the new releases weren’t yet available for purchase, we still left with a number of current faves:
Post-2 Lads, we still had time to kill before the other girls arrived. We headed back down the peninsula, popping into Brys Estate for their new release party, and then headed over to the Village at Grand Traverse Commons. The Village was known in its former life as the Traverse City State Hospital, and before THAT, the Northern Michigan Asylum.
That’s right – the former mental asylum has been transformed into upscale shops, condos, and restaurants. There’s a slight aura of creepiness when walking amongst the lower levels, but it’s quickly forgotten upon entering Trattoria Stella.
Stella was our destination for a mid-afternoon snack and cocktail before heading back toward Frederic. Nestled in the catacombs of the Village, Stella is dark and intimate and very, very cool. Diane and I sat at the bar and ordered cocktails to offset all the wine we’d been drinking. Mine, the Stella Five Year Itch, was crafted from rye, Campari, and caramelized orange oil. It smelled like citrus and tasted bitter, bitter, bitter. I loved it. Don’t be fooled by its deceptively pink appearance: like all Campari-based drinks, it is not for the faint of heart or the sweet of tastebuds.
For our snack, we ordered the Tavola, an assortment of ham, cheese, marinated veggies, crusty bread and greens served on a wooden board. Delish.
We arrived back at the cabin just in time for the arrival of Kristen – and our resident pitbull, Faygo. Several hours later, Melissa arrived with Roz and Sandi – and pizza and silly sticks from our northern favorite Spicy Bob’s – in tow. Like all good cabin girls, they put on their pajamas before doing anything else (even opening the pizza boxes). Once we were all properly attired and had pizza in hand, we inspected the goods the gals had hauled up – including a mystery bag from Roz’s husband, CJ, and a box from Sandi’s boyfriend, Rob.
Well. This was something new. Normally at cabin weekend, we have an abundance of savory snacks and next to no sweets – which was why Diane and I chose to purchase pastries for the group on our Friday outing. Rob and CJ had somehow sensed this lack of sugar and loaded us up with the most mammoth carrot cake cupcakes, an assortment of mini cannolis, eclairs and fruit tarts, chocolate of all varieties, and more. In addition, CJ had added several containers of guacamole, a variety of cheese, and other goodies.
We had a FEAST. We may have been more buzzed from sugar than wine – a definite first for cabin weekend.
On that note, we end night one. Stay tuned for Saturday’s Traverse City – and Dingman’s Bar! – adventures.