Sweet friends, it feels like I have been waiting for FOREVER to tell you guys all about the trip I took to Traverse City, Michigan a few weeks ago! You’ll have to forgive me – I’ve been working to go through all of my photos, edit them, and find the words to tell you just how fantastic this trip was. Not only did I get a chance to work with amazing brands, I had the chance to meet an incredible group of women who will no doubt change my life forever!
Here’s a quick rundown of getting there – I was contacted by the Private Selection label for Kroger about taking a trip to Traverse City, Michigan to tour the cherry orchards that the famous Michigan cherries came from for their Michigan Cherry Cobbler ice cream. What blogger could say no to that?!
I packed my little suitcase up with cute StitchFix clothes (an excuse to wear cute things!!!), set my alarm for 4:30am (eek!!!) and hit the road to the airport early early on a Tuesday morning. After a flight from Little Rock to Chicago, and then Chicago to Traverse City, I was finally there.
First of all, if you guys haven’t been to Traverse City I can’t recommend it enough. I had never really heard of it before this trip, but all I could think while I was there was, “Man, I wish Nate and Weston were here! They would LOVE this!” A statement that could not be more true. It’s a super charming and beautiful little town, painted in sweet faded whitewash with splashes of beautiful color everywhere. Set next to Lake Michigan, it feels like you’re looking out at an ocean and surrounded by sand and sun. I loved it immediately!
After a couple hours to recoup from the early mornings and cross-country travel (and for me to buy a hat that I am now obsessed with), the 10 of us bloggers had a chance to meet all together and get to know one another, along with our amazing hosts with Kroger. There really are not words to talk about how amazing these women are – genuine, authentic, caring, hilarious, and just true salt of the earth people.
We all hopped on a bus and headed off to Old Mission Fruit Company where we were given a beautiful tour by Bern and Cheryl Kroupa (the owners). To be honest I was too busy snapping photos and eating cherries to tell you what all of the cherries actual names are, but I have never eaten more fabulous cherries in my entire life. The passion with which they grow these amazing little fruits is so inspiring, and I loved getting to know more about the company and the Michigan lifestyle there.
After the tour we had the most wonderful cocktail hour, complete with Michigan tart cherry martinis, cherry lemonades, cherry Cokes and a great selection of local wines. We also had amazing Private Selection hors d’oeuvres alongside the drinks and as many cherries as we could possibly eat.
I think it’s also important to mention that the weather was so fantastic while we were there! Cloudy, yes, but cool and slightly breezy. Such a nice break from the summer heat!
After our little cocktail hour we were magically transported to what I can only say is one of the most beautiful dinner settings I could ever imagine. Smack dab in the middle of the cherry orchard was a long table complete with perfect place settings, incredible flowers, and some of the best food I’ve ever eaten in my life. Fresh salad with Michigan walleye, steak & lobster, asparagus risotto, apple pie, Michigan cherry pie ice cream, and macadamia nut cookies. Y’all, I ate pretty much everything and I didn’t even care – it was a feast!
I am still just blown away by the attention to detail, the love and care, and the authentic sweetness that I felt from our hosts. I felt taken care of and so comfortable there! And the dinner conversation was absolutely wonderful. I love, more than anything, the relationships that come from blogging and just felt instant connections with so many of these talented women!
After an amazing evening I fell asleep in my very own king size bed in a nest of pillows to make it feel smaller, watching Friends re-runs (some things never change). The next morning we were getting started early – see, I was also there to work a little too!
The State of Great Taste contest is what we were there for – a bunch of bloggers from different areas of the country to create regionally-inspired ice cream flavors that America gets to vote for! I feel so truly honored to be representing Arkansas and have come up with a flavor that I think will make my adoptive state very proud. It’s decadent and flavorful and honestly one of the best ice creams I think I’ve ever had. How’s that for a teaser? 😉
I can’t wait to reveal the flavor soon and more details about how YOU can get involved in this amazing contest to choose the next regionally-inspired flavor for the Private Selection label. Stay tuned!
(p.s. If you’re wondering, we stayed at the Grand Traverse Resort, which was top-notch. Be sure to stay there should you get a chance to visit!)