Well hey everyone.






Yeah, I know. The blog has been a bit of a vast wasteland lately. But get ready you folks because there are about to be a barrage of posts coming your way.

First up, we have this post here that you are reading right now (so meta), which is kicking off the chronicling of our recent family reunion trip to Traverse City and Sutton’s Bay, Michigan. And coming up in a couple weeks, we are heading back to Walt Disney World, y’all!

Yah, it’s all an exciting hullabaloo.

Right? Did I use hullabaloo correctly?

But whoa boy, huh? Lots of stuff coming up. You guys are legit the luckiest.

But ok – let’s focus on this situation here.

So Michigan. What brought us to Michigan, you ask?

Welp, it was all due to my brother, Scott, and sister-in-law, Carrie. They both moved to Traverse City from Chicago a little bit ago with their girls, Gwen and Matilda and invited our whole family – not just me, Nickie, Myles, and Owen but our WHOLE family – to come out for a big Goodreau family reunion.

They then, after that, bought another house in Sutton’s Bay. So they currently own two very nice houses like a half hour away from one another and they can totez jaunt between the two at will. Which is a lot like the time I put a box of chocolate M&M’s and a box of peanut M&M’s on the same table like two feet away from each other and then alternated bites from each box.

It’s like that. But richer.

And less shameful.

Now while everyone was invited, not everyone could make it unfortunately and they were for sure missed. But I should give a quick run-down of who did come. So yah…

There was:

  • Scott, the aforementioned Michigan brother, second oldest in our family
  • Carrie, the aforementioned Michigan sister-in-law
  • Gwen, the aforementioned Michigan child
  • Matilda, the aforementioned Michigan child also
  • Me, of course. I mean, I am writing this thing.
  • Nickie, my wife
  • Myles, oldest son
  • Owen, youngest son
  • Joanne, my mom
  • Chris, oldest brother
  • Paulette, Chris’s wife and also my sister-in-law, obvs
  • Jeff, the brother between me and Scott
  • Shannon, my niece, and Jeff’s daughter
  • Stephanie, also niece, Chris’s oldest daughter
  • Mikey, Stephanie’s husband
  • Sophia, Stephanie’s and Mikey’s daughter
  • Scarlett, Stephanie’s and Mikey’s daughter. As well.
  • Holly, niece, Chris’s youngest daughter
  • Brad, Holly’s husband
  • Teddy, Holly’s and Brad’s son
  • Gertie, dog

Yeah man, lots of us. 20 people to be exact. And 1 dog. That’s a lot of Goodreau. Is it too much? Well, you’ll have to read on to find out. Or don’t. Whatever, pal. Your choice.

It’s pretty special stuff though, us all getting together. Hasn’t happened in a long time and it’s due in very large part to the generosity of the Michigan Goodys, opening their homes to us.

But let’s get on with it, aye? I am going to see if I can get through more than one day in a post since we DO have a Walt Disney World trip coming up in just a couple weeks and I need to free myself up for that. But eh, best laid plans, right?

We will see how it goes.

Day 1 – From Boston, Ma to Traverse City, MI. Also? There’s Whiskey.

Day 1 was a Saturday and we had a 12:30 direct flight out of Boston to Traverse City. So the plan was for my mom to meet us at our house and hop in an Uber with us to the airport where we would meet the rest of the crew minus Jeff and Shannon, who were going to Traverse City from Florida.

Nickie and I woke up early to get the house ready for our friends Renee and John who were so awesomely watching our house and, more importantly, our doggos while we were gone. And then my mom arrived at our house around 9:30 AM. We ordered up the Uber and I brought our luggage out to the curb.

Oh, and of course we had to say our goodbyes to Lilo…

…and Stitch.

The Uber arrived soon after and we all headed out. But Stitch decided to make our hearts melt a tiny bit more and gave us one final goodbye.

What a jerk.

When we got to the airport, we were all checked in and through security by 10:30. Our gate was immediately to the left of security so we were immediately greeted by Holly, Brad, and Teddy. We walked over, gave our hugs and what not and Steph, Mikey, Sophia, and Scarlett soon joined us. 5-10 minutes later, Chris and Paulette were there.

By 10:45, we were already 14 deep. Watch the F out, Michigan.

We still had some time before our flight, so Myles and I went to scout out some food options. On our way, we saw a leprechaun.

Ha, you. No. Not that one. You stupid idiot.

Yah, that one.

We found a few places within walking distance of our gate and reported back. Some people decided to grab something quick and bring it back to the gate but a few of us – me, Nickie, Steph, Myles, Owen, and Sophia – made our way to the Samuel Adams Brewhouse on account of Dunkin Donuts doesn’t have these.

Which was a lovely bloody, actually. Pretty standard, but rather tasty. Especially for an airport bloody mary. Steph also opted for a bloody and Nickie ordered a beer.

The boys went over to Dunkin Donuts to grab some breakfast sandwiches to bring back to the restaurant. And when they got there, Brad snuck in and bought them breakfast. Well, he tried to use a gift card but for some reason, they didn’t accept them. So he just bought them breakfast. On account of he’s a nice guy.

Now, like I said, the boys ordered breakfast sandwiches. But then they opened their bag, the found two plain bagels. No egg. No cheese. No meat. No nothing. Two plain bagels.

Oh Dunkin Donuts. I know as a Bostonian I am supposed to be pre-wired to love you. But why do you disappoint me so?

They did thankfully get Sophia’s donut correct.

And Myles brought the bagels back and they did rectify the situation. And they did let them keep the bagels while also giving them breakfast sandwiches. So like, free bagels are great and all. But still. It’s the principalities of it.

Nickie and I split a chicken sandwich and fries, which was very good.

And we also split a pretzel with cheese sauce, which like…no one told me I couldn’t dip my fries in.

After lunch was finished, we found our way back to our gate but we still had a little bit of time before we had to board so Nickie and I ducked into the Lucca right near our gate for a couple drinks.

Surprisingly and disappointingly, this place was based neither on the adorable 2021 Pixar film nor was it based on the Suzanne Vega song from 1987.

I ordered a Tito’s and soda and Nickie got a Captain and Diet Coke.

And I mean, of course they were good. But oof, were they strong. That Tito’s and soda was like a TITO’S!!!!!! and soda.

As I mentioned, our flight was at 12:30ish so we finished our drinks and met the rest of the crew back at the gate. And look, there it is…

As plane as day.


No. OK, moving on.

The kids were obvs interested.

Time to plane it up, mofos.

So right, I am sure you are wondering how the seating on the plane worked with all of us. Right? RIGHT??

Whatevz. I’m telling you anyways.

So the plane itself was one of those small jobbers. Two seats on the left, two seats on the right. And Nickie and I were row 19.

Myles and Owen were across the aisle from us.

Behind us were Steph and Sophia.

And across the aisle from them were Mikey and Scarlett.

Holly, Brad, and Teddy were in the row in front of us.

And Chris, Paulette, and my mom were in rows closer to the front but thankfully right near each other.

I should also note that at this time, Jeff and Shannon were in the middle of waiting for their connecting flight.

So look at all of us, ready to converge on Traverse City. And make it wish it never met us.

Lets’ah go.

There were no TVs on the plane so I had to pretend I was like some sort of pioneer and read a book.

And eat gummy bears. Also, totez pioneer behavior.

Oh and I should mention, for legal purposes that Diet Coke DID NOT HAVE a nip of Maker’s Mark in it.

For legal purposes.


Wait no. Scratch that wink. Everything was perfectly on the up and up.


Stop it.

We were also kept quite entertained by Teddy, who kept peeking back to make sure I wasn’t putting nips in my soda.

Such a narc.

Holly and Brad distracted him with an airplane-provided cookie, thankfully. But he remained vigilant.

At one point in the flight, Scarlett came up to hang with us for a bit…

Seriously, all the kids were SO good on this flight. It was Teddy’s, Sophia’s, and Scarlett’s first and all of them were awesomepantz.

We started our descent…

…and were on the ground by 2:30.

We exited the plane and made our way towards the exit. The Traverse City airport is a small one, which made everything go pretty quickly. In fact, one might say it was..

Wait for it.

Quick to traverse?


As we were walking, we heard over the loud speaker, “Would the owner of the blue Tesla please move your vehicle or it will be towed.” And at that point, Nickie turned to me and said, “that HAS to be Scott.”

Now, I know there are a lot of blue Teslas in the world. But yeah, I was pretty sure it was Scott as well.

And when we finally got through the exit and saw only the insanely cute Gwen and Matilda sans the also cute Scott, that kind of confirmed our suspicions.

Scott was in fact out making sure his car wasn’t getting towed. As we were saying our hellos to Gwen and Matilda, though, he did make it back and I mean, of course hugs were had. We’re Goodreaus after all.

We all walked off towards the rental cars and baggage claim.

So, um. Everyone could get their baggage and rental cars.

Keep up.

The Pittmans (Steph, Mikey, Sophia, and Scarlett) and the Marshalls (Holly, Brad, and Teddy) were the two families renting cars. The rest of us were bumming rides off the Michigan Goodreaus.

So once all of us leeches had all our bags, we headed out front and found Scott’s not-towed Tesla and Carrie waiting in their Audi. Me, Nickie, Myles, and Owen hopped in the Audi with Carrie, Gwen, and Matilda while Chris, Paulette, and my mom got in the Tesla with Scott. The Audi was heading directly to the Sutton’s Bay house and the Tesla made its way to the Traverse City house first. The families renting cars were also heading straight to Sutton’s Bay. Scott was also going to be picking up the Florida Goodreaus a little later as well.

Yeah, I know. It’s confusing. Very Very Brady Christmas.

When we arrived at Sutton’s Bay, Carrie brought out these pretty amazing MKP Turkey sandwiches from Mary’s Kitchen Port, which you can see positioned behind Owen here…

Being the amazing blogger I am, that is the only picture I have of these sandwiches. But they were lovely, made with roast turkey breast, cheddar cheese, romaine, and Hellmann’s mayonnaise on our freshly baked focaccia. Nickie and I split one, which was more than enough. Especially since we paired our sandwiches with some yummy-in-my-tum-tum champagne that Carrie opened for us.

Of which I also did not take a picture. Yeah, I bet you’re glad you came. Wait until dinner. I also have no pictures of that either.

I was obviously just getting my “blogger legs.”

But hey, look at this really cute picture of Gwen and Scarlett.

Even though Scott and Carrie totally loaded the house with everything we would need, Mikey and I still made a quick run to Hansen Foods to grab some other necessities – whiskey, more beer, fruit pouches for the kids, iced animal cookies, Lebron’s Flamin’ Hot Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles.

You know, the needs.

But quick aside? Those Lebron chips are awesome stuff. Good amount of heat cut slightly by the cheddar/sour cream situation. And it pains me to say how good they are because I’m a Celtics fan and all that, but the Lebron chips? Better than the Jayson Tatum chips.

There. I said it. I’m not proud.

When we got back, not only were my mom, Chris, and Paulette at the house but also, magically, Jeff and Shannon had already been picked up and brought to the house as well. So we were all finally ALL TOGETHER!!

The plan for the night was pretty chill. Or “chillaxed” as Myles and the Mouse would say.

Before dinner, we just kind of spent some time hanging out, taking in the all-kinds-of-breathtaking views of the bay, and enjoying the fact that we were all together.

The kids let off some steam on the beach and running around on the grass…

Onto dinner. Like I said, I don’t have any pictures of the actual dinner because I am teh suck. But we got pizza from Roman Wheel and it was very good. I mean, was it Boston or New York pizza? Is anything?

But it was still very good. The BLT pizza was purty nice. And the cheesy bread was on point. Plus, it was super generous of Scott and Carrie to buy it for all of us. You guys are the best.

Oh and after dinner, I opened up the bottle of Traverse City Whiskey Co. whiskey I bought earlier.

Which was…

Whiskey. It was whiskey.

And while I did not have any pictures of the entrée for the night, I did manage to snap a picture of dessert. Before I show you guys what we had, I should back up. Now, for those that don’t know, Traverse City is known as the Cherry Capital of the World. So like buckle up. Because we are legit going to be drowning in cherries this trip.

Sooooooez. For dessert, they brought out some cherry pie and Moomer’s ( ice cream. For ice cream, we had our choice of Vanilla or, of course, Cherries Moobiliee (black cherry flavored ice cream with chunks of black sweet cherries, chocolate fudge swirl, and chunks of brownies.)

Choice schmoice though. I went for both.

So, like, I feel like I never eat cherry pie. I am usually going for blueberry, or strawberry rhubarb, or something like that. But you know what? I really like cherry pie. The ice cream was also yummers. My official review? Eh, I’ll let Warrant tell you.

So yeah, tonight was a chill night. But we can’t have a night devoid of ANY competition. So Nickie and I had put together a Goody trivia game for everyone to play. The game was full of questions focused specifically on Goodreau family history and made up of 35 questions total.

Nickie and I were the hosts…

Chris, Scott, and Jeff were the team captains and they were in charge of picking their own teams. Which, as expected, went very well.

Wait, did I say it went well? I mean it went terribly and a lot of feelings were hurt. I won’t go into details, but I will say Scott picked neither his wife nor his daughters first and this avalanched into a whole thing.

But – they did eventually learn to ignore the feelings of other and swallow all that empathy. And they came up with some teams. Their first job was to come up with a team name. So allow me to introduce…

…Team “Victory” (Chris, Paulette, Steph, Owen, and Matilda)…

…Team “The Best” (Mikey, Shannon, Gwen, Jeff, Shannon, and Holly)…

…and Team “Nana Joanne’s Disciples” (Scott, my mom, Brad, Myles, and Carrie).

The game worked a lot like your standard bar trivia. I would read the questions out loud and then give the teams some time to write down the answers before moving onto the next question. After all 35 questions were read, we would gather up the answer sheets and tally the scores to determine a winner.

I would like to mention that while Nickie did put all the questions together before the trip, we forgot them at home so all the questions in this game were written up on my phone on the flight out.

I only mention that to note that I am some sort of hero. And should be regarded as such.

Now, I won’t bore you with ALL the questions but there were a few Disney-related questions up in there. So I’ll pop those in here as a sampler:

Q: In what year did the Goodreaus take their first trip to Walt Disney World?
A: 1980

Q: Which family member names their pets after characters from the Suite Life of Zack and Cody?
A: Shannon

Q: Which two 1 year-olds list Encanto as their favorite movie?
A: Teddy and Lily (Lily couldn’t make it to this trip, unforch)

Q: Whose first crush was Minnie Mouse?
A: Embarrassingly, me.

Yeah, I put myself out there with that last one. And yes, everyone unfortunately got that one right. That last one is also 100% true. As evidenced by this photo here from said 1980 Walt Disney World trip.

And yes, I am in fact showing Minnie my Minnie Mouse stuffed animal. I guess I was always a furry

…an of Disney. A fan of Disney. Yes, that is what I meant to say.

Whatever you guys. I don’t need your judgement.

When the game ended, Nickie and I gathered all the answer sheets and tallied the scores. And it was a close game. Nannie’s Disciples took the game with a total of 32 points. They were followed by The Best, with 31 points. And Team Victory came in third with 28 points.

But no worries – we had a prize bag that had enough prizes for everyone. The winning team got to pick from the bag first, followed by the second place team, and then the third placers. Nickie and I then got to pick prizes as well. For literally doing nothing!

And surprisingly, the giant candy necklace I had my eye on almost made it to me. But Matilda took it before it came my way. I think I ended up with a scented puzzle. Which is obviously NOT a candy necklace.

I should mention though – Matilda ended up coming up to me the next day and told me I could have her candy necklace if I wanted it. Which was insanely sweet. And I completely took her up on it.

Like taking candy from a baby.

Pfft. No. Kidding. Of course I didn’t take it. I may be a candy monster but I’m not a real-life monster.

Chris, Paulette, and my mom all chose to stay at the house in Traverse City so after the game ended, the three of them headed out. But no worries you guys…we will see them nice and early tomorrow.

A good chunk of the rest of the night was spent right here, around the island in the kitchen.

While there, Nickie and Shannon finished my scented puzzle and Scott brought out some more puzzles for them to do, including one unopened one we saw to be 55 dollars. These Michigan Goodreaus obviously have a lot of their money tied up in puzzles.

I should also note that, when he drinks, Scott becomes somewhat of a serial-eater. So back out came the pizza and I have heard reports that at one point he dipped a slice in some tomato sauce that was on the counter. Not, like, in a container on the counter. Legit sauce on the counter. Dude knows how to live.

At some point around 11PM, someone somewhere mentioned Jenga. And Scott’s eyes immediately lit up and he disappeared into some secret room and returned with…THIS.

Yeah, this Jenga was legit. But, it was definitely loud, so we retreated to the screen porch.

We finished up at around midnight or so and decided to call it a night. Jeff and I had an early-morning situation going on and it was already looking like it was gonna be a tough one given the time.

And the whiskey.

I do have to mention, though, that there WAS talk of a midnight boat ride. Captained by Scott. Who, as noted before, was dipping his pizza in sauce that had spilled onto the counter. Mercifully, this was all said in jest. Which is a good thing. I don’t think we would have made it back.

So yeah, that was Day 1. Pretty cool, chill day and it was just so cool being able to all be together in one place, especially after the past couple years.

Onto Day 2!

Day 2 – Runs, Wine Tastings, AND Sandwiches? This Day Had it All.

Like I said above, Day 2 got off to an early start. Well, technically, for me, it got off to an even earlier start than planned as I woke up at like 5AM with a wicked headache. I popped some Advil and got back into bed for my actual-planned early start.

Nickie was up at 7AM but I waited another half hour or so before deciding to give life a try.

Oh wait, I should mention where we were sleeping to provide some sense of place. So at this house, the lake house in Sutton’s Bay (also called Moon Dancer)…

…there was a main house with a bunch of bedrooms. Nearly everyone that was staying in Sutton’s Bay, including the boys, were staying in the main house. The boys were on air mattresses down in the basement. Nickie and I, though, were in the carriage house above the garage. And this was a really neat space, kind of like its own little apartment.

OK, back to Day 2.

So I woke up at 7:30 and my headache was nearly gone. Not completely, but enough. I got dressed and headed down to the main house. When I got there, I was surprised to see most people were already up. Including Myles and Teddy, who apparently had been banished to the bushes. For breakfast. ‘B’ must have been the letter of the day.

When I got to the kitchen, I had a quick cup of coffee but skipped breakfast for now. Because Jeff and I had some business to attend to.

As I mentioned, it was Jeff and Shannon joining us on this trip. But unfortunately, Jeff’s wife, Sheila, could not make it. On account of she was finishing up her last round of radiation treatment. We 100% missed her on the trip but she is ob-v a rockstar and we are all so glad the treatments are over with and she tolerated them so well. She’s amazing is what I am saying to you now. We love you, Sheila!

So prior to the trip, Jeff and Sheila let me know of this Stand Up to Cancer virtual 5K I could sign up for through I Run 4 Movement so Jeff and I both signed up for it and we decided to run it together while we were both in Michigan. Carrie informed us that a right turn out of the driveway would give us a pretty flat run for a while so the plan was to just do half out, half back. We both started runs on our devices, me on my watch and Jeff on his phone, and off we went.

The run was super flat and the weather was actually pretty perfect for running. And it was definitely nice to have the company. The run was so relaxed I was actually able to keep up a conversation. Which is very unlike me. Typically, I am unable to. On account of the fact that, while I do run pretty regularly, I still can’t help but sound like a more high-pitched Darth Vader when someone tries to talk to me.

Like today, it was:

Jeff: This has been a really fun trip so far.

Me: Yeah, totally. It’s beautiful here and it’s been awesome seeing everyone.

Whereas usually, it would be like:

Jeff: This has been a really fun trip so far.

Me: HUFF – yeah, tota – UNGH – totally. It’s beaut – OOF – It’s b – CCCHHHH – It’s – PHEWWWW – nice.

And sometimes pushing yourself to get that morning hangover run in is worth it because by the end of the run, I really felt like I got all those toxins out. Into the world. Where they could be free.

But we did it. And look, we even got medals that we paid for.

We are the champions, my friend.

Seriously though, look how nice it was on Day 2.

Mikey was also not feeling…great. Translation: hungover. So he decided to try and jump in Lake Michigan to try and expel the demons that possessed him last night.

Which is a bananas move as that water? It’s not warm. At all. So dude was obviously VERY hungover.

Also, while we were on our run, Myles and Brad took the kayaks out.

Back in the house, Jeff and I grabbed some of the breakfast that was out on the counter. Some quiche, some more coffee. Good stuff. Breakfasty.

While we were eating, there was talk again of a boat ride. Brad and Myles had already been out for a little while and were beyond our view. So Scott was talking about taking Nickie out to see if they could find them. Both Jeff and I said we would be interested in a ride after getting a shower in.

And then we both went to shower.

Wait no. Not together.


Jeff finished his shower earlier than me and as he walked into the kitchen area, he saw Scott, Chris, Nickie, and Shannon getting on the boat so he walked down towards the dock to join them. But, according to Jeff’s account of the situation, just as he was about to reach the boat, they pulled away.

I have no actual pictures of Jeff at this heartbreaking moment, but I kind of picture him like this as he was walking towards the boat.

So sad.

But hey, at least the cool kids were having fun on the boat.

Whatever you guys. We had Gertie to keep us company. Look at this little smush.

They did eventually find the kayakers and told them to come back in and after pulling in to the dock, then out again, and in one more time, they tied up the boat and we all got ready for the rest of the day. Which, guys? It’s a busy day we have ahead of us.

Seeing as I had breakfast over a half hour ago, I was FAMISHED. So fortunately, it was lunch time.

And lunch today was in Fishtown. Which made me and Myles imagine a town full of fish walking around in suits and what not, riding bicycles, reading poetry, officiating weddings. You know. That sort of thing.

Like this guy.

To my dismay, this was not the case. But still, it was a pretty area.

The initial plan was to walk around a little bit so when the first lot of us arrived, we went over to Madcap Coffee to fuel up.

I won’t belabor you guys with everyone’s order on account of I don’t remember it all (because as we all know, I would totally belabor you otherwise. I love to belabor), but I will say the boys both got a pretty dang delicious hot chocolate.

Nickie got an iced decaf French Vanilla. And I got a very very good Cortado.

Steph also got some kind of iced coffee with seltzer water in it? Which sounded, um, not great. But hey, it turned out to taste…well, it turned out to taste not great as well.

Now, like I said, the plan was for us to walk around a little bit before lunch but two things worked against us there. For one, the coffee took…

But it wasn’t really the shop’s fault. I mean we rolled in there hard and there were only two people working the counter.

Secondly, everyone that was in Scott’s car was actually taken in the opposite direction by the GPS. Which is surprising since Scott drives a Tesla. I thought that thing could read your mind.

But it was all fine since by the time they got there, we were just pretty much getting out of the coffee shop anyways.

Lunch was just around the corner at the Village Cheese Shanty.

Guys, these sandwiches. Legit.

We put in our orders and we all grabbed some picnic tables on the dock out back while we waited for our little buzzy things to buzz.

It was a real picturesque-like scene.

In fact, it was so picturesque that we all decided it was time for a photoshoot.

So please – go on and put on RuPaul’s “Supermodel” while you look through this photo dump.

Work. Work it girl.

Do your thing.

On the runway.

You better work, girl.

Soon enough, though? SANDWICHES!!!!!!!

I went for the North Shore (Turkey, Bacon, Swiss, Lettuce, Tomato, Cucumber and Herb-Mayo) but instead of the intended pretzel bread it normally comes with, I opted for the baguette based on Scott’s recommendation.

And it was a very good sandwich, but super messy. I love a good baguette but sometimes you take those bites and like squeeze the meat out the other side, know what I mean? Well that kept happening so I had to continually push the herb-mayo’ed meat back into the sandwich.

It was a constant struggle. Sandwich against man. And the sandwich was angry that day, my friends. I tell you, this sandwich was ten stories high if it was a foot. In the end? I emerged victorious. But that sandwich was a worthy foe. I tip my cap to you, sir.

Oh and I also paired my sandwich with a Campin’ Beer Blonde Ale by Brew Detroit.

A really good lunch overall. And I should know. Because sandwiches are my favorite food.

After lunch we took a stroll through the [CENSORED] candy store.

But the store was pretty crowded and all the candy was all pick n mix, which like…

I mean, if there were some Sour Patch Kids or Skittles or Starburst Minis or something I could just grab-and-go, I would have been all over it. But we got things to do, man.

So back to the Sutton’s Bay house we went. Scott and Carrie had orchestrated some local wine tastings for us and I mean, wine you guys. Wine.

Chris, Paulette, and my mom volunteered to stay behind with the kids. Which was awesome of them. Though we did tell Myles and Owen they were more than welcome to come. It wouldn’t be the first wine tasting they’ve joined us on.  

On account of we are Parents of the Year.

But they wanted to hang back.

The rest of us piled into the bus Scott and Carrie rented for us…

Let’s pause for a second. I am just gonna start off this whole wine tasting thing by saying thanks to Scott and Carrie for putting this whole wine tasting experience together, including the bus. I wanted to get it out of the way now because I will probably be too drunk by the end of it to remember. So thanks guys!

Right, so the bus.

Pretty schwank. Nickie and I were first on and introduced to Bill, our driver. And this was by no means an accident. Because Bill informed me how to connect to the Bluetooth to become DJ for the day.

And you guys?

Oof, you can tell I haven’t blogged in a while. I am extremely gif-happy.

Soon enough, everyone joined us on the magic bus.

That was 100% NOT a pre-planned photo bomb.

Our first winery we were visiting was Black Star Farms.

We checked in and our host led us back to their Barrel Room.

Waiting there for us was a nice charcuterie…

And of course, glasses and a tasting sheet at every seat.

I loved their glasses, btw.

Our host was great. The wine was a mixed bag. The whites were a bit underwhelming. I am not a Riesling fan anyways so I found that too sweet. They were out of Sauvignon Blanc so they replaced it with a white Pinot Noir. Which was something I had never tried before. It was the best of the whites for sure, but it still was just ok. And the Chardonnay we finished with was a Chardonnay.


The reds were a step up for sure. As you can see by the smiles on Scott’s and Carrie’s faces.

The Pinot Noir and Terrace Red were both fine, if not a tad too fruity for my tastes. But the Merlot Cab Franc was the best of the bunch. There were a good amount of flavors mixing around in there. It was still a tad too fruit-forward for me, but I wouldn’t say no to another glass.

As I said, though, our host was great. At the start of the tasting he asked if anyone preferred sweeter wine (I think both Shannon and Holly raised their hands to that) and catered to them with a different tasting than ours.

And at the end of the tasting, he asked if for our last drink we would prefer some of their Ice Wine or a glass of Apple Brandy. Most, I think, went for the Ice Wine but a few chose the brandy, including me. The Apple Brandy was actually quite good. And the Ice Wine? Oof, not for me. It was like drinking straight syrup.

So yeah, I made the right choice.

After our tasting, our host said he could get us a table outside if we wanted to have another drink before heading off to our next destination. We had a bit of time and I mean, a drink? Outside? Another? We were in.

As we walked out, I snapped a few more pics inside.

To the outside!

Some opted for wine, but cocktails seemed to be the more popular choice out there. I went for a Cherry Lemonade situation thing made with the brandy we tried inside.

And man, was it nice out there. We sat and enjoyed the incredible weather, tasty libations, and unbeatable company. I am pretty sure Scott said, “this is nice” like 4 or 5 times. So that’s when you know. Life was good.

Back at the house, it seemed like everyone was having a lot of fun as well. Well, I think my boys may have been sleeping pretty much the whole time. But everyone else…

After we finished our drinks at Black Star, we hopped back in the party bus and sang our way to our next stop – Mawby Vineyards and Winery.

When we got there, you could just kind of feel this place was a vibe. I mean, the place focuses specifically on bubbles. You knew it would be fun. I feel like earlier in the day at Black Star, I made a comment like, “I don’t love bubbles.” Which, like, I don’t know where that came from. Because I actually like them. A lot.

Whoa, my V was deep that day.

We were seated on an outside patio overlooking the vineyard.

And we were started off with a complimentary glass of Sandpiper, their house bubbly.

They also brought out some bags of local potato chips to start us off.

This place worked a little differently than a standard wine tasting. It was more like a standard-type menu where you could order flights of wine, as well as obviously full glasses, and food.

We ordered up some dips (smoked whitefish, cherry jalapeno, and herbed goat cheese) and crackers.

All the dips, btw, were delicious. If I had to choose, though. Like, gun to my head? I think I’d go with that whitefish gloriousness.

OK so I (and I think Scott and Jeff as well) ordered the following four wines.

From left to right, you got Circa 2014 (Brut), Talis (Brut), Sex (Brut Rose), and Redd (Semi Dry). And check it out. They set it up so you can see the name of the wine through the bottom of the glass.

Circa 2014 was 100% the winner of the bunch. Like, I would definitely buy another bottle of this stuff. Super traditional Brut but that is by no means a complaint. Had a nice acidity to it and a very crisp, clean taste. I’d be hard-pressed to not put Talis next as it was also a more traditional Brut but I think since Circa hit so hard on that, I was most into Sex next. Pfft, of course I was.

I am pretty sure Sex is Mawby’s biggest seller, due in large part obvs to the name. But it was a really nice tasting wine. Had more sweetness to it obviously than Circa but I didn’t find it overly sweet. Redd was fine. My least favorite of the four but I still enjoyed drinking it.

I’d give the flight a 4-for-4 though.

As we were enjoying our wines and snacks, the co-owner of the vineyard came over and told us a little bit about Mawby and its sister vineyard across the way, Little Big Wines. He was a great guy and ended up bringing over a bottle of Little Big Wines’ Sauvignon Blanc. Of which we happily partook.

This was honestly a pretty magical experience. I mean, everything just kind of was hitting right. Lots of wine, lots of snacks, lots of laughs.

Oh, wine tastings. I love you so.

After Mawby was over and done with, it was back on the bus and back to the Sutton’s Bay house to pick up the rest of the crew for dinner.

Which we did!

And you guys? The bus jamz were ON. We sang some Miley, some Olivia Rodrigo, some Whitney Houston. Again, it’s hard to not use the word “magical” again. But it was magical just being surrounded by so many people I loved, everyone singing at the top of their lungs. It felt like one of those core memory moments. Ugh, I wanna go back to that specific moment again.

Hold on. Let me wipe these joy-tears away.


So dinner.

Dinner tonight was at Hop Lot Brewing Company. Which was a pretty super-duper-cool place.

It was this big outdoor space filled with picnic tables and surrounded by woods. And there were cornhole tables set up, a fire pit. All kinds of rustic-cool.

Being that we are so vain and we probably think this blog is about us, we obvs squad took pictures of ourselves.

Right though. Enough of all those snacks. Onto the food. The way Hop Lot works is you order your meal through your phone and they bring your drinks to your table pretty much immediately. Once your meal is ready, they text you and you pick it up at the window.

I weirdly didn’t get a picture of my beer but I do know I got the Overlook 9 Hazy IPA and really liked it. Nice and hoppy. So you should get that. If you know what’s good for you.

For food, we ordered some soft pretzels to share (Three warm soft pretzel sticks, served with house-made jalapeño cheddar dip and honey mustard.)

Which were very good. The pretzels were warm and soft and the jalapeno cheddar dip was a nice accompaniment. Tiny bit of spice to it but definitely tolerable, even for those that don’t love heat.

For our mains, Owen and I both got the Smoked Brisket Sandwich.

I mean, of course we did. The menu said it was smoked for 14 hours. If a place is gonna go through that much trouble to smoke their meat, least I can do is eat it. The sandwich was served with Kettle Chips and their house-made barbecue sauce on the side. Which definitely had a little bit of heat to it. Real good.

Myles got the Pit Burger – a burger topped with Hop Lot’s pulled pork.

Myles legitimately will ALWAYS get pulled pork if its on the menu. Like no matter where we go, if its on the menu, its on his plate.

We call Myles “PP” for short. But for completely different reasons than those stated above.

Heh, PP.

Nickie got the Smoked Pulled Chicken Sandwich, which she loved. She said it was a tad spicy for her taste but not too bad.

After dinner, we sang our way back on the bus to Suttons Bay and enjoyed some time outside in the yard.

Playing cornhole.

Throwing football.


Sitting on porch.

Holding dog on porch.

Standing on balcony above holding dog on porch.

But man can’t survive on yard alone so at some point, we decided to make our way out on the dock. Well, before we did actually, I should note that Scott made us a couple vodka martinis.

Remember this. Martinis will make another appearance in our story later.

Goodreaus on the dock. But the party don’t stop, no.

Oh-whoa-whoa-oh. Oh-whoa-whoa-oh.

DJ, blow my speakers up tonight.

We had a great time out there, hanging out, listening to music. But eventually, some people started walking back, leaving only a few of us still out there, including Gwen.

Now, as I mentioned, the water was EXTREMELY cold. But as we were out there, we started offering Gwen money to climb down into the water. Started at $5, $10, and it got all the way up to I think a total of $30 before she agreed to do it.

Yup, she did it.

After she got out of the water, she immediately walked back to the house to get into some dry clothes. And then, oddly, Matilda came walking up the dock, acting innocently but with an air of curiosity. So, Jeff and I offered her some money to go into the water as well.

Man, this was an expensive trip out on the dock.

Matilda walked triumphantly back to the house, money in hand and held high in the air.

So right. The martinis.

As mentioned, we were enjoying our martinis out on the dock when all of a sudden, I heard something sounding like glass breaking. Coming from Scott’s direction.

He had dropped his martini. And while he was able to retrieve the body of the glass, the stem had fallen into the water. We searched and searched from the dock and we saw some occasional glints we thought were the stem but just could not find it.

Scott pretended to be bummed out but we could tell he was pretty pumped to be able to wear his waders. I mean, look how happy he is.

Carrie seemed into it as well.

I mean, to be fair, he was wearing the crap out of those things.

You go in the waders

Waders go in the water.

You go in the water

Glass is in the water, our glass.

I wish we could say we found our rogue stem, but unfortunately it was nowhere to be found. The current was pretty strong that day so I think it probably floated away pretty quickly.

Plastic. Only plastic on the dock.

After that fiasco, we left the dock and headed back to the mainland. But don’t worry, there are more dock shots coming.

It was at this point that Chris, Paulette, and my mom headed back to the Traverse City house. But don’t be too sad for them. Because there’s a hot tub there.

So Michigan. I know those that live full-time on time zone cusps are probably gonna be like, “whatever n00b” to this but it is so odd being out at 9:30PM and it still being THIS light out.

I mean, the sun was obviously going down at this point but still. It’s like pitch black in Boston at this point.

Time zones.


So purty.

It was so pretty in fact that Nickie, Shannon, Carrie, Steph, Gwen, and Matilda walked back out on the dock to take some more pictures.

Clouds in my coffee. Clouds in my coffee.

Game 6 of the Stanley Cup was on tonight so a bunch of us ended up on the couch for the remainder of the night, watching the game. A pretty chill night.

Wait. Did I say “chill?”

Yup, there was a fireplace. And we had it going. And it was hot you guys. But when there is a fireplace, you use it. Unwritten rule.

Well I mean. I just wrote it down. So.

But yeah my dudes. That was Day 2. A pretty packed day for sure. But an awesome one, no?

We still have more fun to come but I should probably end things here. On account of this has probably already crossed into novella territory.

But hey, I got two days in one post. Not bad. It only took 25 pages in Microsoft Word. I seriously can’t believe you stuck around this long.

See on Day 3!

Next post – Days 3 and 4


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