Adventure and History
While Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay has long been known as a four-season recreational destination, its booming food scene is also something to celebrate—Bon Appetit named it one of its top five foodie towns in America! The Grand Traverse Bay area of Michigan brings the best of Lake Michigan’s bounty to our table. Traverse City, a charming Lake Michigan beach community, is a four-season outdoor recreation hub known for its freshwater sugar sand beaches and thriving wine, food, and craft-brewing scene. The unique growing seasons and fresh water lake breezes support the best farms, orchards, wineries, and fishing in the Midwest. A vibrant community of chefs, artisanal food producers, farmers, and distillers has joined forces to build and sustain one of the most interesting and robust food hubs in the country. Join us as we explore and understand the bounty and beauty of the True North.
The trip is designed for adult travelers of all ages, ready for a moderate to energetic activity level, including lots of walking and discovery across fields, in barns, and in production areas. We'll keep the group to 16 guests maximum, traveling with two hosts from Zingerman’s.
The 3-day trip includes:
Behind-the-scenes access to many of the areas favorite spots
Visits to our favorite wineries to talk with the producers
Family-style farm spreads at local hot spots
A true farm-to-table experience at one of Traverse City’s most beautiful farms
Plus, we have two amazing experts to guide this rare experience! Kieron and Joanie Hales are Zingerman’s very own husband and wife duo. They both have a passion for the Grand Traverse area and are excited to share their insider knowledge of this behind-the-scenes excursion.
Kieron Hales is a world-class chef and British expat whose culinary career has included cooking for the British Royal family, three U.S. Presidents, and Michelin star kitchens across Europe. He is now the owner and Executive Chef of Zingerman’s Cornman Farms, an award winning event venue and working farm.
What’s not included?
Airfare and Travel expenses to and from Traverse City
Alcoholic beverages that are not specifically included in the itinerary
Personal spending money
What about accommodations?
We will be staying at Hotel Indigo in the heart of downtown Traverse City, allowing us to walk to many of our favorite places.
Meet at Hotel Indigo in Traverse City for a welcome with all our travelers and then we head to lunch at Little Fleet, Traverse City’s Food Truck Lot. Gary Jonas, founder of the Little Fleet, will share his “fun-no-fear” approach to building an ecosystem for community, connection, and food through food trucks. Lunch will be from your Food Truck of choice.
Then we visit The Great Lakes Potato Chip Co. and hear the story of how, through passion, a potato goes from field to bag from owner Chris Girrbach.
We’ll head to The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, one of the largest, historic preservation and adaptive reuse redevelopments in the country. The Village is the unique renovation of dozens of historic buildings formerly known as the Traverse City State Hospital, and previously, the Northern Michigan Asylum.
We’ll make a stop at Left Foot Charley Urban Winery and meet in the barrel room to to learn about their unique partnership with small local growers and taste their wines. During our tour at Left Foot Charley we will have a conversation with the Minirvini’s, the family of developers who are renovating The Village at Grand Traverse Commons.
After a little time shopping in The Village, we will board the bus to head back to Hotel Indigo for a little downtime before we head to dinner.
Dinner will be downtown Traverse City, a place we can walk to and then stroll back to Hotel Indigo, our bellies full.
We begin the day at Food for Thought’s newly renovated space where founder Timothy Young gives us a tour and shares his passion for creating and raising awareness around sustainable food. We’ll taste Food for Thought preserves and have a chance to buy our favorites.
Lunch will be at one of Traverse City’s top food destinations and “one of the Midwest’s cultiest eateries”, The Cooks’ House. Chef-owners Eric Patterson and Jen Blakeslee will prepare a lunch with a comfortable come-as-you-are approach to enlightened local eating.
After lunch the bus will drop guests off in either downtown Traverse City or at Hotel Indigo for mid-afternoon free time.
We will visit Mawby Winery’s production facility and hear from founder Larry Mawby. He’ll taking time away from the grape harvest for stories and tasting of a few favorite sparkling wines.
Dinner will be at one of the most-talked about new restaurants in the area, Wren. Chef Adam McMarlin, formerly of Wren the Butcher and The Cook’s House, is changing the local food scene in Sutton’s Bay and we will feast on a family-style meal of his favorite local foods of the fall.
Sunday morning begins with a tour and small breakfast at Cherry Capital Foods, who for 10 years has focused on local and Michigan sources to encourage the growth of regional foodsheds. Their Vice President of Operations, Lee Michaels, will guide us through the warehouse and talk about the impact we as consumers have on our local food movements.
Lunch will be at 9 Bean Rows with owners Nic and Jen Welty. 9 Bean Rows is a gathering place with a warm, communal atmosphere, good food, and good drinks. Much of the menu comes directly from their own farm and will feature seasonal dishes perfect for Fall.
We’ll swing down the road for a stop at a local favorite, Tandem Ciders. Owner Dan Young shares his love for cider and we’ll learn how the name Tandem Ciders came to be.
Our tour concludes with a visit and dinner under the stars at Loma Farm for an unforgettable experiential dining experience. Owners Nic and Sara, along with their team, will take us into the fields and we’ll get our hands a little dirty in the soil before we settle in for dinner in the fields. Wines from the region’s top wineries will add to the finely-crafted menu.
After dinner we head back to Hotel Indigo for our final night’s stay as we bid a fond farewell to our each other!