‘Tis the season for the Christian observance of Lent! It’s the time of the year that, if you’re a Christian, you’re giving something up or proclaim that you’re going to be a better person in some way. I always find Lent entertaining because you’re always trying to one-up the other Christian in the group (to be God’s favorite of course). This year I gave up drinking. My sister gave up reading celebrity gossip. I honestly don’t know who won this battle ’cause it sure seems like we both lost!
I thought this Lent was going to be somewhat easy until I realized that I have two weddings to attend before Easter! The first wedding was in Plymouth, Michigan so three of us girls packed into a car and make the 4hr journey to celebrate with our close friend. What I didn’t realize was there was a number of wineries, a brewery and a distillery on the way to/from the wedding. Although I’m sober for Lent, I just HAD to make the numerous stops with my friends so they could taste all the yummy drinks!
The first stop on this epic road trip was Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, MI! We stopped here for a lunch on the way to the wedding and ate a delicious meal at the Eccentric Cafe. After requesting water at the bar, the bartender proclaimed that she gave up Lent for Lent. Genius. I may consider this for next year!
After lunch, we walked next door to the Bell’s General Store and stocked up on our favorite beer! I love stouts and porters so I took a chance that I would love Bell’s selection and grabbed a custom 6-pack. My friends did the same and then we hopped in the car and drove the rest of the way to the wedding. My 6-pack is currently sitting in my refrigerator, ready to be opened on Easter!
Wedding time!! Lots of eating, dancing and no drinking for me, but the party went all night and we had an amazing time at the Inn at St. Johns! Congrats to Lara and Jason!
We woke up early the next morning to get a jump start on the 4hr drive back to Chicago. About 3hrs in, we stopped at St. Julian Winery, one of the original wineries in Michigan. The girls filled out their tasting sheets as I roamed around the festive store (it was St. Patrick’s Day and they had made a wine tree for the holiday). Michigan is known for making fruit wine and St. Julian’s selection didn’t disappoint. They also make a unique Vodka distilled from 100% grape spirits! Of course I had to pick up a few things to save for my own after-Easter festivities!
Travel Tip: Don’t forget your wine skins! A cheap purchase to save your precious wine during transport!
Right next door to St. Julian is Round Barn Winery (it’s also a Brewery and Distillery) so obviously, we had to stop there too! The girls filled out their tasting sheets, gathered their tokens and enjoyed a variety of yummy drinks! During the visit, we were told about another local distillery, Journeyman Distillery. Did we have time for one more stop?? Yep!!
About 10 minutes later, we found a somewhat hidden building with a small logo indicating we had arrived at Journeyman Distillery (Journeyman story video). The outside of the building is intriguing and once you step inside, it’s incredibly enchanting. From the wood flooring to the iron seating, this place instantly makes you want to kick back and enjoy a fine whiskey, rum or gin. Although the whiskey flight was only $4, the girls were a bit tired, so we purchased a few items from the gift shop and promised to return on another adventure (aka, my birthday in August!). I really can’t express enough how much I was kicking myself for making such a ridiculous Lent resolution!! This place is truly amazing and it’s a must-see if you’re in the area!
Our last stop of the trip was to grab a must needed bite to eat! My friend Ali had recommended a fantastic place called The Stray Dog. She had been there on a previous trip and had a whole list of great things to say about it. We walked in and immediately fell in love! There was dog stuff everywhere! Dog pictures on the wall, dog push pin artwork, dog coat hooks, dog glasses and dog napkin holders! I was in puppy heaven! We grabbed a table and ordered food for a family of 12 that consisted of chips & guac, veggie tacos and two pizzas (’cause we couldn’t decide on just one). Food was delicious and a perfect meal before we had to hit the road again for the last hour of our trip.
Unexpected road trips are the best!! What unexpected road trips have you been on?