Rivero Gonzalez Wine Tasting

During our weekend road trip to Parras del la Fuente one of the wineries we visited was Rivero Gonzalez. This winery is kind of in the middle of nowhere. We got lost and drove in circles through some small side streets around Parras before we finally found it. We had a reservation for our tour so we we talked to the gate attendant who let us onto the property and showed us where to park. We were still a few minutes early even with getting lost. When we walked back to the winery we could not find anyone who looked like they were planning to give a tour. The only people we saw were a few guys cleaning some farm equipment in a back building. We wandered all over the property without anyone questioning us or offering to direct us to where we needed to be. We decided to go back towards the first building we had seen which was a store where you can buy their wine and other products. We figured that would be most likely where our tour guide would be. After waiting a few more minutes our tour guide arrived and everything went well. So all that being said- remember that the rest of the world doesn’t operate on a American schedule/time table where being a few minutes early is normal and somewhat expected. Also since this isn’t a huge area for wine tourism you may be the only tour the winery has that day or week. Our guide was truly surprised he was showing two American’s around without any locals. I think we wondered how we even found this place!
We had a private tour (in English) through the vineyard and winery before sitting down for our tasting. Our guide was very helpful and willing to answer whatever questions we had. He was nervous about his English but we felt he did a wonderful job and by this point in our trip we were so happy to find anyone who spoke any English! We sat outside for our tasting with great views of the vineyard. Along with our wine we had some chocolate covered pecans, bread, goat cheeses and jams all made onsite by the winery. The winery had pecan trees all along the property. The chocolate covered pecans were awesome and you can buy a bag of them before you leave! We also tried some pecan and whiskey cream liquors at a small street market in Parras which we would also recommend trying if you are in the area.
We were given plenty of time to relax and enjoy our wine and snacks during the tasting.  We really enjoyed all the wines we tasted here. We would recommend their Scieno Reserve line as we felt that was the best value. These wines are their middle line of wine (they have a cheaper line and a more expensive/premium line you can also purchase) We purchased the R2 Scieno Reserve Cab Sauvignon and the R3 Scieno Reserve Syrah. We also really enjoyed their Naranja which was an interesting experimental wine they had. It is a Palomino and Riesling blend that is aged in oak barrels which gave it more body and a light orange color. It was very unique with the distinct Riesling characteristics. We found this wine to be really refreshing and we always enjoy when wineries are doing something different so we can expand our wine tasting pallet!
Here are the links to our other Parras de la Fuente and wine tasting posts from this region of Mexico.

The Oldest Winery in North America

The oldest winery in North America surprisingly is in Mexico. Casa Madero was founded in 1597. It is located near the small town of Parras de la Fuente of the South side of the Coahuila desert. The winery does offer tours but do be aware they are in Spanish only. You do not need a reservation ahead of time but it may be helpful to secure your spot. They day we went we ended up joining what we think was a large family who had reserved their tour and tasting ahead of time. It worked out okay but we were the only two not from this group of people on the tour. We are not entirely sure the winery staff knew we weren’t part of that group when they sold us our tickets.
The tour doesn’t take you through the vineyards but focuses on the wine making process in the winery. You see where fermentation happens, where they make Brandy, and where they store the barrels. You also get to see some of the very old equipment still on the property. Our Spanish was not very good when we did this tour so we missed a lot of the smaller details. It was still cool to walk through and see everything. If you don’t know a lot of Spanish you can definitely still enjoy this tour.
The tasting is separate from the tour itself, meaning there is a separate fee. We had our tasting with our tour group immediately following our tour. We tasted several of their wines, again the tasting is in Spanish. One of the staff members pouring the wine did know some English to help us out but the details given about each wine we did not fully understand. We really enjoyed the 3V which is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Tempranillo as well as the Shiraz Reserva.
Overall this tour is more established that the other wineries in the area. Not that you are not getting a good experience but you will likely be on a bigger tour with lots of other people. They are more prepared for tourists than the other wineries in the area as well which can be helpful to you when trying to communicate your needs if you are not a fluent Spanish speaker. Being the oldest winery in North America seems to bring them more tourism. While it was not the greatest winery tour and tasting we have ever done we would still recommend visiting if you are in the area.


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The town of Parras is not well set up for tourism. It is a very small town with few hotel options. There are other wineries in the area so if you are looking to a day or two of wine tasting that is possible.  Mexico does not have a strong wine drinking culture so wine tourism hasn’t taken off here as it has in other parts of the world. It was interesting because we were told that they are trying to establish higher end wine in Mexico and a lot of the tours we took focused on that education that leads to a greater appreciation for wine in general. We really enjoyed the wine at all the wineries we visited. We also visited Rivero Gonzalez and Don Leo winery. Check our our other posts for more details on both of those wineries:
We visited Parras de la Fuente as a weekend trip from Arteaga and felt that was a good amount of time. We found some great family run restaurants in town and enjoyed walking around the small streets.  For any wino this is a great off the beaten path place to do some tasting.

Kentucky: Bourbon Trail and Churchill Downs

We love bourbon! So we decided a trip to Kentucky to explore the bourbon trail was a must do! We chose to stay in-between Louisville and Lexington because we planned to go to several distilleries and the ones we were most interested in where not all condensed to one small area.  There are several distilleries in the Louisville area and Lexington area so you do not have to drive around nearly as much as we did. There is also an Urban Bourbon Trail in downtown Louisville if you wanted to stay within the city.  The driving between Louisville and Lexington is beautiful, you will drive through rural farm lands with rolling hills and will see lots of horses.  From where we live in Michigan, it was only a six hour drive down to this area so it made sense to do this as a long weekend road trip.

We drove down Friday night and stopped in Louisville at the restaurant called Game for dinner. This a burger restaurant which specializes in serving different game meats. You can get venison, elk and even kangaroo. The place is pretty small and was busy but it was worth the wait. The burgers were great and we always enjoy getting to try something we’ve never had before. A burger is a nice way to introduce game meet if you are not familiar with it or hesitant about it.

Saturday we started our Bourbon tour. We started with Maker’s Mark since they were the furthest away from the others. From there we headed to 4 Roses, then to Woodford where we had a reservation ahead of time. Finally we went to Buffalo Trace, where we didn’t have a reservation and didn’t get a tour, just a tasting. From there we did dinner and then headed back to our Air B & B for the night.

Maker’s Mark: This was definitely the best tour that we went on. They are well organized and well set up for tours. We did not have a reservation ahead of time which was another reason why we chose to go there first thing and try to get on the first tour of the day since it does get busy.  You can book your tour ahead of time on their website to ensure your spot. The general tour lasts about one hour and ends with a tasting. Tours start at 9:30 AM Monday-Saturday, the last tour of the day is at 3:30 PM Sunday they open at 11:30 AM. Here is their website for more information https://www.makersmark.com/tours  The tour takes you through the distillery and all the buildings where the barrels are stored. They even let us taste the mash that was fermenting.  You end with a tasting and from there are brought to the store. All the bottles in the store do not have the red wax on the top. Any bottle you chose to buy you can dip yourself with instruction from the workers which is a fun experience. The buildings themselves are beautiful as are the grounds that surround the distillery. We would highly recommend visiting if you are in the area!


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4 Roses: Our next stop was 4 Roses which has a different type of architecture from the other distilleries in the area. Their buildings are in a more Spanish style. When we arrived the next tour which was going to start in the next few minutes was full. But there was a tasting also about to start. We chose to just do the tasting vs waiting for the next tour. You can make a reservation here as well to reserve your spot ahead of time. Tours start on the hour, every hour with the last tour leaving at 3PM. Check out their website for more details https://fourrosesbourbon.com/ The tasting we did was set up outside under a large gazebo. We got a brief overview of the distilleries history followed by a sampling of three of their bourbons. All of them were very good. We ended up buying the small batch which we thought was very good for the price.
Woodford: Our third stop was Woodford where we did purchase tickets ahead of time and would strongly recommend this as they do get really busy.  Tours are offered Monday-Saturday 10 AM-3 PM, Sundays they open at 1 PM. Check out their website for more details https://www.woodfordreserve.com/distillery/tours/
The drive into this distillery is beautiful! This is one of the oldest distilleries in the area. You drive through several ranches with fields on either side of the road full of horses grazing. When we arrived to the distillery it was very crowded. When you enter there is a large waiting room full of couches and a fire place. There is also a small café where you can purchase sandwiches and snacks while you are waiting for your tour to begin. The tour again goes through the entire distillery, barrel aging buildings and ends with a tasting. You get to sample the standard Woodford Reserve and then you try the double oak. They also give you chocolates with your tasting. We loved the double oak and ended up leaving with a bottle. It is definitely one of our favorites!

Buffalo Trace: When we arrived all the tours for the day were full so we did just a tasting. Tours are available Monday-Saturday 9:30 AM- 4 PM and Sundays 12-3 PM. The standard tour you don’t need a reservation for but they do tend to fill up so we would recommend getting there early. They do offer other tours as well which you can reserve online at their website. https://www.buffalotracedistillery.com/visit-us/our-tours We did get to walk around the grounds of the distillery while waiting for our tasting. We just didn’t get to go inside all the buildings since we were not on an actual tour. The biggest complaint we had about the tasting here is that we have had all of the bourbons that were included in the tasting. We were hoping to try some of the bottles they make which are not readily found at any grocery or liquor store. We did get to try their white mash and their vodka which we hadn’t had before. The Bourbons we tasted were the standard Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare. We don’t really care for vodka so for us we were really hoping to try some new bourbons. The grounds of the distillery are really pretty, there are some old buildings nearby that are not part of the distillery. If you are there for a tasting or tour take some time to walk around the area as well before you leave.


After our Bourbon tours we headed to the Old Bourbon Kitchen (OBC) near Lexington for dinner. This place was awesome! They had an extensive bourbon list to chose from. They offered flights so you can try multiple Bourbons. We really enjoyed their Barreled Old Oashioned. We had an ahi tuna appetizer then we enjoyed shrimp and grits and fried chicken for our main courses. All of the dishes were great.

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Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby Museum: Sunday we decided to see some horse racing at Churchill downs. Tickets for a covered seat were extremely affordable, $10 a ticket as it wasn’t the Derby or another important race. Races started at 1pm and went all afternoon with races starting every 30 minutes. We arrived early so we could walk around and see the museum. A separate entrance fee is required to see the museum. We paid for the museum entrance and a tour of the grounds. On the tour we saw the paddock- the area where the horses line up in preparation for the race. We also got to hear some additional history and facts about the derby and got to watch the first race from right at the gate without any other visitors blocking our view. The museum is very well done and definitely worth a visit. You can get through the museum in about 45 minutes to an hour and the tour is about 30 minutes long.  After the museum and tour we spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the races. It was not very busy the day we were there so we could move around to different seats to get a better view of the races. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon in Kentucky. We decided not to do any actual betting but instead spent our money on lunch and Mint Juleps.

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After our afternoon at Churchill downs we went back to downtown Louisville for some appetizers and drinks. We would recommend The Bristol for a drink and their green chili wantons appetizer. We also really enjoyed Proof on Main which was right down the street. We got a Bourbon flight here to try even more Bourbons. There is a lot of cool art throughout the restaurant to take a look at while you’re enjoying your drinks and some food. We shared a few more appetizers here before heading back to relax at our Air B & B. We stayed at a farm house in-between Louisville and Lexington and it was one of the best Air B & B experiences we have had! Air B & B has a lot of great options in both Louisville and Lexington and the surrounding areas. Whether you plan to focus your time in one of these two cities or drive around like we did you will not be disappointed! If you are anything like us you will also leave with an even greater love of all things Bourbon!

Committing to a Daily Yoga Practice

2019 is year 5 of us committing to a daily yoga practice. We are part of a 365 program through our Yoga studio, AM Yoga in Grand Rapids Michigan. We are fortunate enough to have truly amazing teachers who practice everyday and have created this program to help make a daily practice accessible for others. Our teachers have found (and so have we) that a daily practice changed their lives. So now they work to share that knowledge with others. It seems like a very daunting task when you first think about it. But when you actually put that aside and decide to practice everyday you begin to realize how much time you do actually have each day. If you have time to look through your Facebook or Instagram you have time to practice, even if it is just 5 minutes. This post has some helpful tips that we have put into our daily routine to help support our practice at home, and when traveling.
One thing we love about the 365 program we are a part of is that it isn’t about getting people to the yoga studio everyday. It is just about practicing everyday. That could be a full 60 to 90 minutes at the studio, it could be a 20-30 minute podcast or free flow or it could be 5-10 minutes of stretching and breathing. For us, as for most people a studio practice is more powerful and usually longer than a home practice. You are surrounded by a community of other people who also practice a lot and are on the same path. That fact alone can help carry you through your practice and make you feel stronger. It is great to have a studio to help support your regular practice. Getting to the studio everyday for us is not realistic with our busy schedules. We average 3-4 days a week at the studio and the other days we practice at home.
The first year we signed up for the 365 program we decided we needed to dedicated space in our house to practice. This is something we find helpful so that when we set up to practice at home we can better focus on being present for our practice vs thinking about all the other things we could be doing at home. We happen to have a spare bedroom which we solely use as our home yoga studio. We repainted and decorated to give the room more of a “yoga studio” feel. If you don’t have a spare room at least a small space where you consistently go each time you practice at home would be beneficial.
Another adjustment is getting used to the fact that your home practice will look different than your studio practice and that is okay. For example we have two cats who love our yoga room, they are in there with us every time we practice at home. They roll around on our mats, paw at us for attention and even jump onto our backs during downdog or other poses where they think they can find a place to jump. Yes this is a distraction but it is just something we embrace as a part of our practice and keep going. Our home practice is typically shorter as well, we tend to do more 20-30 minute podcast practices on our home practice days. But the longer we keep up with our daily practice the easier it is to do more longer practices at home. It also gets easier to feel like we are still getting a powerful practice at home when not surrounded by an entire class.
Another tip is to have a partner, we both do this practice so we have each other. The 365 program we are part of does offer to set people up with an accountability buddy to text or email once you have gotten your practice in or to practice together at the studio or home. Having a community of people doing this with you is a powerful thing. As a whole 365 group we do monthly meetings together where we flow and then have a potluck and just hang out. The program we are a part of does offer an out of town membership as well. As a member you get access to podcasts and a 365 website with additional education about the practice.
With all of our traveling we have had to get creative with making sure we still get our practice in. Usually this means a lot of hotel yoga. We have had to do yoga in the airport which is not ideal. The Dallas airport actually has a “yoga studio space”. It is not a room but it is towards the end of a less crowded hallway with privacy screens to block the area off. Most airports don’t have a yoga space, in  the London airport we found a quiet room meant for napping/resting after long flights. We found an unoccupied corner in that room to put our mats down and do a short practice. If all else fails roll out your mat anywhere you can find the space. We find that as a general rule once you arrive at your destination getting up and practicing right away helps make sure you have time for your practice before you are out exploring the area. A travel mat is not necessary but we find it helpful to have a thin travel mat so we aren’t directly on the floor wherever we are. We use the Manduka Eko superlite travel mat which you can order on Amazon- Manduka travel mat
This travel mat it is thin enough to fold up into a backpack or suitcase. When we first got these mats our hands were slipping in some poses which can be very frustrating. We left them out in the sun for several hours to help break them in faster. That worked well and we have no slipping issues with these mats. We have also heard scrubbing them with salt water can help with breaking them in quickly if you don’t have the option of laying them in the sun but we haven’t tried that method ourselves.
Why we 365
Obviously we love this practice and find it beneficial since we keep signing up for 365. Here are some of our thoughts on why we 365:
The biggest thing the practice has done for us is helped us realize how much time we really have in day. It sounds counterintuitive that setting aside time this practice each day (adding another thing into your day) can make you feel like you have more time. But the practice brings you back to yourself and takes you out of your thoughts- thoughts like I am too busy, too tired, I have to take care of my family, the list of excuses and things we tell ourselves is never ending. The truth is when you take care of yourself you a better able to take care of everything and everyone else around you. We both work full time and certainly we can still feel stressed and overwhelmed. But after we practice we always feel better. Our first year in 365 one of our teachers said something along the lines of this “you take a shower everyday to clean your physical body, this practice is like a shower for your self (for your mind)” that made a lot of sense to us and is something we try to remember on the days we really don’t want to practice.
 Since practicing everyday we have started doing a lot more outside of our yoga practice. Again he practice really forces you to take a look at what you are doing with your time. We both work full time, practice everyday, cook dinner together everyday, take care of the house, our two cats and our three chickens. On top of that we enjoy multiple hobbies including wine making, making kombucha, cooking and trying new foods, boating in the summer, hiking, travel, learning Spanish, writing this travel blog and we have recently decided to take up snowshoeing to get outside and enjoy winter a little more. We truly believe that for something to change your life you have to don it consistently.  We both feel that having this practice to ground us each day is the reason we can make everything else we do work.
Here is the link to our yoga studios website  if you want more information on what they offer. http://amyoga111.com 
365 enrollment usually happens in December for the upcoming calendar year. We practice a power vinyasa style yoga, similar to Baptiste. Of course there are other styles of yoga and maybe other studios out there that offer this type of program. Find the yoga that works for you and put a consistent practice into your daily routine. We promise you will be grateful that you did!
Here are some props and other tools we have found helpful for our practice
Yoga Straps- infinity strap
Non-slip hand towel- Microfiber hand towels
Yoga mat strap for carrying your mat- Manduka yoga strap
Yoga shorts for men-mens yoga shorts
For more knowledge about the practice- Journey Into Power book
Our favorite mat for your studio practice- lululemon yoga mat

South Haven: West Michigan Summer Getaway

South Haven may be our second favorite beach town in Michigan to enjoy in the summer. The Black River flows through South Haven and out into Lake Michigan. Most of the restaurants and bars are on the south side of the river and so is the main beach. The municipal marina is also on the South side within walking distance of downtown. There is a nice pathway from downtown all the way out to the beach as well so you can walk along the river watching to boats go in and out.
The beach is the big draw to this area in the summer so that is where you will likely be spending the majority of your time. While your at the beach or at sunset would be a great time to walk along the pier and take in the views of the lake. If you want to do some fishing there are charter boats that leave from the municipal marina. There is also a sunset cruise boat that does tours. That boat also leaves from the municipal marina area. Another boating option is to see the tall ships (replicas of older ships) in the area. They are anchored at the Michigan Maritime Museum when they are not out on the water. We have not been to the museum or on the tall ships ourselves. They do offer tours so you can go out onto the lake on these ships. We have seen them out on the water, they are cool to see and watch as they sail along. You can visit their website for more information on specific events and tours http://www.michiganmaritimemuseum.org/
There are several good food/drink options in town to enjoy. Here are a few of our recommendations:
Bunde’s Bakery- This place is on the north side of the river so it is a bit further away. It is still within walking distance if you are staying near downtown on the South side of the river, just be prepared for a bit longer of a walk. You will walk through a park on the North side and some residential streets with beautiful old houses. You can sit and enjoy coffee and baked goods there or get something to go. We were told the scones were very good so that is what we ordered and they were definitely worth the walk! They are more like a cookie than a true breakfast scone.
Clementine’s– Like most of the restaurants right downtown South of the river be prepared for a bit of a wait if you are looking for dinner on Friday or Saturday night. The restaurant is very large so wait times were not as long for us as some of the other restaurants. This place has a good variety of food on the menu. We had Salmon and Walleye and both dishes good but a bit overpriced in our opinion. You should definitely get the onion rings though!
Phoenix Street Café- We ate here for brunch on a Sunday morning. We really enjoyed the eggs benedict. They had a good variety of items on the menu.
Taste- This is a popular tapas restaurant right downtown. Do be prepared to wait if you haven’t called ahead for a reservation. They have a variety of small plates or tapas as well as larger more traditional dinner sized portions if that is what you are looking for. They also have soups, salads and sandwiches. The beef sandwich came highly recommended to us by some friends and we agree it is a must try while you are there!
South Haven Brewpub- We stumbled upon this place while wandering around downtown on a Saturday afternoon. They have outdoor seating as well as indoor seating and they are fairly close to the waterfront. They have your standard pub food and several beer options. The food wasn’t the best we had in South  Haven but if you are looking to try some different beers it is worth a stop to sit outside and enjoy a drink.
Wine Tasting
Several of the wineries from the Lake Michigan Shore wine trail have small shops/outposts in downtown South Haven. If you are up for some wine tasting you can walk downtown to 12 corners tasting room, Warner winery tasting room or the Channel wine bar. This is also a nice option if there is a long wait for whatever restaurant you are going to for dinner. If you want to head out of town for even more wine tasting you can find the whole list of wineries on the Lake Michigan Shore wine trail here https://www.miwinetrail.com/winery-map/
 There are also a lot of bars and restaurants right on the waterfront in South Haven that offer great views of the river. So even if you aren’t a boater you can still be right on the water. South Haven has something for everyone! We are looking forward to more summer adventures here and finding more great things to do!

Grand Haven- Our Favorite Michigan Beach Town

We happen to live about 20-30 minutes from Lake Michigan and we try our best to take full advantage of this beautiful lakeshore area! We spend most of our summer time with our boat renting slips at municipal marinas exploring up and down the cost. But you don’t have to be a boater to enjoy the wonderful beach towns of Lake Michigan. These aren’t tropical beach locations but the beaches are lined with soft sand and sand dunes to climb or hike if you are feeling up for it. The water of Lake Michigan is very clear and you could easily think your on the ocean except that the water is fresh not salt!
Grand Haven is our favorite beach town along the Lake Michigan cost. There is a lot to do and a lot of great places to eat after spending a day at the beach or on the water if you happen to be a boater. The set up in Grand Haven is really nice and allows you to make the most of your time in the area. The downtown area is within walking distance of the water front area where the channel leading from the Grand River to Lake Michigan is located. Downtown is also within walking distance to the Lake Michigan beach area. The municipal marina is located along the waterfront area. This is also where all the charter boats leave from if you are looking to do some Lake Michigan fishing. The waterfront is lined with small shops were you can get snacks, ice cream, rent kayaks, stand up paddle boards, surf boards and other beach/water equipment. There is a nice walkway all the way down past the channel and out to the big lake. They have also recently renovated the pier so there is now a nice, wide walkway all the way out to the lighthouse along the south pier.
If you want to do some fishing there are several charter boats you can book with. We haven’t done this ourselves but we frequently see the charters come back in and hang all their fish on the hooks so guests can take photos before they clean the fish. If you have a boat or a friend with boat, the fish cleaning station at the Chinook pier is available to you if needed. The charters seem to do quite well here. Depending on the time of spring/summer you go you can catch lake trout, coho, king salmon and steelhead. We are still working on perfecting our fishing skills so we’ve only caught a few so far!
In the evenings/night all summer there are events along the waterfront you can enjoy. There are fireworks on the 4th of July which go off over the water. People will line the lawn and sidewalks all along the waterfront starting early in the morning the day of these fireworks so if you do plan to attend 4th of July here we would recommend securing your spot failry early in the day.
The Grand Haven musical fountain is located right on the waterfront near the channel. There is a fairly large viewing area with bleacher seats available, you can’t miss it if you are walking around the area. In the summer Months there are nightly shows after dusk. Show times are based on when sunset is so that you can get a good view of the lights and the fountain during the show. The shows run about 20-30 minutes long. There is a variety of music featured in the shows. For more details on the start time and the music selection for each night you can check the website https://ghfountain.com/showtimes/
Coast Guard festival runs around the last week of July/the first week of August each summer and brings a ton of people to Grand Haven. During this time there are some nights were there is live music playing on the waterfront in the musical fountain viewing area. If you are a boater you can book a slip at the municipal marina the first weekend of coast guard fest before all the big activities have really kicked off. The second weekend is the final weekend of the festival is when all the big events happen. To book a slip at the marina that weekend you have to enter a lottery and be physically present when they do the drawing in early spring. If you are not a boater and just going to Grand Haven for the coast guard festival we would recommend booking hotels well in advance as well. For a detailed list of events happening at the festival check out their website https://www.coastguardfest.org/
Food is of course the most important part! There are a lot of great options, here are some of our favorites
Paisley Pig- This place is not right downtown but it is only 5 minute drive from downtown. Everything we have tried there is really good and the portions are quite large. We end up ordering too much food every time we go. The nachos are definitely worth a try but if you do order them you probably don’t need much else, they are huge!
Odd side ales- This brewery is right down town. they make all different types of beers. They do not have a kitchen but you can order sandwiches and snacks from a sandwich shop down the street (Electric Hero) and they will deliver it right to your table. The brewery has plenty of tables both inside and outside and has dart boards you can play as well.
Mr Kozac- This place is great for fast take out or eating there. Their gyros are amazing and the portions are huge!. There is typically a line but it is worth the wait!
Pronto pup- This is a must while in Grand Haven but fair warning the line is typically quite long on a summer weekend. Pronto pup is a small shack along the water right next to Snug harbor. They serve only corn dogs and drinks (water, pop, non-alcoholic drinks). The corn dogs come on a stick for eating on the go. You can get them plain or ask them to put ketchup and/or mustard on it for you. They fry these up all day long right next to the order window so you can watch as they make them. Even if you are not a huge corn dog fan these are delicious. The batter frys up really crisp and is thin not super thick like on some corn dogs. Definitely a stable that you must try!
Snug Harbor- This restaurant is right on the water at the channel so you can sit outside on the patio and watch the boats come in and out from Lake Michigan. There is often a wait if you are going for dinner around sunset so that is something to be aware of. The food is good and they definitely have the best view of any restaurant in town. Prices are moderately high so don’t expect to have a cheap meal here but it is worth it for the view.
The Kriby House- This is a huge building right downtown. There are several restaurants inside so it can be kind of confusing- bear with us as we try to explain. On the main level of the building they have their Kirby house menu which is burgers, sandwiches, salads, pasta (a general variety of dishes). To the left of the hostess’s stand if you are facing it there is their more upscale restaurant which offers steaks, seafood (more expensive dishes). Upstairs inside is a pizza place with wood fired oven pizzas. There is also a patio outside on the upstairs and we believe they also serve a different menu.  What makes this even more confusing is when you arrive and go up to the main hostess stand they will ask you which menu you want to eat from, if you want to go anywhere other than their main dining area they direct you to a different hostess stand where that host or hostess will then seat you. There can be a bit of a wait on a weekend night but it typically goes petty quickly since they are such a large restaurant. They do also do take out if you call ahead and want to pick up food and take it to go to enjoy outside by the water. Even with all the confusion it is still a place we would recommend for dinner. We have eaten in their main dining area off their Kirby House menu and we have eaten upstairs at the pizza place. Both menus are good and their bars have an extensive drink selection. They make a great old fashioned if you are a bourbon drinker! Their website can offer more information on each of their menus- https://www.thegilmorecollection.com/kirbyhouse/
Another great food spot is the farmer’s market at the Chinook Pier. This market is full of venders selling fresh fruits and veggies, homemade bread and other pastries. You can also find coffee, kombucha, salsa, honey and a few other goods at this farmer’s market. It is open every Wednesday and Saturday beginning at 8AM.
Summer is obviously the best time to enjoy Grand Haven. Do be aware it takes a bit for Lake Michigan to warm up so in spring and early summer you could still have quite cold water temps at the beach. July, August and early September are the best times to go. The lake shore is also beautiful in the fall you just won’t be taking advantage of the water as much that time of year.
We love Grand Haven and can’t wait for more summer adventures!

Exploring The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a great summer destination in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We have only visited in the summer but it would definitely be beautiful in the early fall as well when the leaves are changing. Late spring would also be a good time once the weather has warmed up but we have heard it is more buggy earlier in the summer. When we went in August the mosquitos were not bad at all during out hike or at night while we were camping. Lake Superior is cold even in the middle of the summer  so don’t expect warm water for swimming. But summer is definitely the best time to enjoy the lake, the beach, the hiking and some kayaking or other boat tour.
Munising is likely where you’ll want to stay to be closest to the hiking and the waterfront. This is a very small town, don’t expect 5 star hotels and restaurants. There are a couple hotels and a couple restaurants but that is about it. We camped during our trip so cannot recommend any specific hotel. There are a lot of camp grounds in the area. You can go very rustic and camp within the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. You will need a permit so planning in advance is necessary to stay within the park itself.
We camped at a nearby camp ground. You can find campgrounds ranging from ones with a bathroom, shower, grills , electric plug ins and picnic tables on site to more minimal vaulted toilets available or no toilets/showers available just depending on what you are comfortable with. We would recommend booking in advance as this is a popular destination in the summer and camp grounds do tend to fill up.
In order to see the rocks from land you do need to hike/walk through the National Forest to the lakeshore. There are several different options for where to start your hike and how far you want to go. We parked at the parking lot on Chapel road and started the trail from there. We went past Chapel falls, Chapel lake and Chapel rock before heading all the way to Spray falls. Spay falls is a waterfall that comes jetting out of the rocks and then down into the lake. This was our favorite waterfall we saw on this trip. There is an open area on the rocks where you can sit and enjoy the view before starting your hike back or continuing on further. We packed a lunch which we enjoyed at this location, taking in the view of the waterfall and the lake. The hiking is not strenuous with any huge hills to climb. The paths are fairly well marked as you go through and chances are you won’t be the only people hiking so expect to run into other hikers as you go. We did past one or two vaulted toilets in the park during our hike but they were not super clean so that is something to be aware of. We took a different path back going by Mosquito falls. We were not in any huge hurry and we stopped multiple times to take photos. The whole like took us 4-5 hours. We would recommend starting your hike in the morning so that if it does take longer than you expect you are not stuck in the park after dark if you aren’t camping there.
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One of the best ways to see the Pictured Rocks is from the water. We did a kayak tour when we were there. We were bummed the morning of our tour because it was cloudy and rainy. Our tour guides assured us it is actually the best time to see the rocks because when they are wet from the rain it actually brings out the different colors much better. It sprinkled the first half of our kayaking but then the rain stopped and the sun actually did come out towards the end- so don’t let rain or clouds deter you. One other note on weather is that pending weather/water conditions they may take you to another location to kayak. You are dealing with Lake Superior so you don’t want to be stuck out there on a kayak in bad waves. There are several tour companies that offer kayak tours at various different lengths. We went through Paddling Michigan- https://www.paddlingmichigan.com/kayaking-tours/
You can do anywhere from a day long tour to a couple hours. You can also rent kayaks in the area and head out on your own. We did a tour that was a couple hours long and we felt it took us a good distance down the shoreline and back. It was nice to have a guide so we know what areas to stay further back from the rocks in case anything fell into the water and they told us when we were in areas where it was safe to get right up close to the rocks. Our tour group was about 8-10 people and most of us were in tandem kayaks. We had two guides with us to help keep the group together.
We would highly recommend kayaking while you are there, it was the highlight of our trip despite the rain! if you have a go pro definitely bring it with you. We got some great photos and videos while kayaking. The water is also super clear so you can see the bottom as you kayak along and get some great shots from in the water as well.
There is also a boat tour you can take which will drive along the shoreline offering views of the rocks. We did not take this tour so we cannot recommend a specific company but know that it is an option if you are not up for kayaking.

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Waterfalls in and around Munising:
There are several waterfalls you can see very close to Munising. We had a car since we drove from the lower peninsula. We would recommend having a car for this trip. Because there is no major city there aren’t taxi services in the area and we aren’t sure if you can get uber or lift rides from Munising. On the rainy morning before heading out for our kayak tour we drove to some of the waterfalls close by. We visited , Munising falls, Alger falls, Miner’s falls and Scott’s falls. These 4 are all very close to each other, only a few minutes drive in-between each one so you can easily see them all in a short amount of time. All of these also have only a very short walk from the parking lot to the falls so there is really no hiking involved. Horseshoe and Wagner’s falls are also within the Munising area.

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The pictured rocks is a great destination for anyone wanting to be outside and enjoy the beautiful Lake Superior lakeshore. It is a great place for an active summer vacation! A must see for anyone coming to Michigan.