Fall Foliage, Football and Fun in Michigan’s Capital City

Whether you’re cheering the Spartans on to victory or paddling down the Grand River, the best way to view the beauty of autumn is to be a part of it. Lori Lanspeary from the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau shares her favorite ways to experience fall in Michigan’s capital region.

The only colors necessary for a Greater Lansing Fall Getaway are Green…and White. Whether you’re a die-hard Spartan fan who BLEEDS GREEN or a fan of some other color combination that when mixed together actually MAKES GREEN, a weekend in Michigan’s capital region should be on your bucket list before that WHITE stuff starts to fall.

It’s always a beautiful day for football when Michigan State University takes the field at Spartan Stadium. Tailgating is an East Lansing tradition as is exploring the expansive campus with the leaves crunching underfoot, visiting MSU attractions and cheering the Spartans on to victory.

Photo courtesty of the Greater Lansing CVB

Photo courtesty of the Greater Lansing CVB

We’ve got great fall leaf peeping here in mid-Michigan and you can actually get out of your car and take part in the experience. Visit our great u-pick farms such as, Uncle John’s Cider Mill in St. Johns or The Country Mill in Charlotte. Go ahead and find the best pumpkins in the patch or pick a peck of your favorite apples. And don’t forget to stop in to buy a gallon or three of the freshest apple cider, a dozen or so pumpkin donuts and a few delicious pies.

Photo courtesty of the Greater Lansing CVB

Photo courtesty of the Greater Lansing CVB

Still ready to see more color? Greater Lansing has so many different ways for you to enjoy the season. How about a River Town Adventure kayak or canoe ride along the Grand River or a beautiful trail ride at Sundance Riding Stables? It’s like seeing mid-Michigan’s majesty in a whole new way. Then hop aboard the Michigan Princess for a paddleboat ride complete with a delicious lunch, a sweet cruise on the Grand River and some pretty fall scenery. Sounds delightful, am I right? Another option may be to explore the Greater Lansing Makers & Shakers Trail and take a tasting tour of some of the small-batch, locally-sourced craft beers, spirits and wine.

Photo courtesty of the Greater Lansing CVB

Photo courtesty of the Greater Lansing CVB

Make it a Greater Lansing Fall Getaway and see your color tour in a whole new way. We promise you can return to your regular way of viewing fall color from your car seat on the way to and from Michigan’s Capital City.Lori

About the author: Lori Lanspeary is the leisure marketing manager at the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau. For over 15 years now she has been a #lovelansing advocate both personally and professionally. You can follow her weekly blogs.

Thirteen Ways to Celebrate Michigan Wine this Summer

Do you love to explore all of the wineries Michigan has to offer? Guest Blogger Dianna Stampfler, president of Promote Michigan shares a handful of wine festivals you don’t want to miss.

Between Michigan Wine Month in April and the fall harvest season, there are countless opportunities to sample award-wining locally-produced wines. There’s no better way to savor these vinos than on the beach, next to the Great Lakes waters or under towering canopies of trees during the peak of summer.

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

The Leland Wine & Food Fest, June 13, is one of Michigan’s original wine celebrations and this year marks its 30th anniversary. Over the years, it’s grown to include more than two dozen northern wineries in the historic Fishtown District, nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Visitors will also find a handful of eateries serving local fare as well as live entertainment. Hours are 1-8pm, with tickets $15 online in advance and $20 at the gate.

Toast the Coast from Weko Beach in Bridgeman, during the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival, June 20. Sample the region’s award-winning wines, paired with local cuisine and live music from 1-10pm, just as the sun sets over the horizon. Tickets are $10 in advance and $20 at the gate.

The historic park-like grounds of The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is the setting for the Traverse City Art & Wine Festival, June 20, featuring wineries of both Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas. Now in its 7th year, this event offers a true taste of northern Michigan with more than 200 local wines, eight restaurants, 40 fine artists and seven musical performances. Hours are 2 – 9 p.m , and tickets are $40 for general admission or $125 for the VIP Lounge area.

Head over to the Lake Huron shoreline for the Sunrise Side Wine & Food Festival, July 18 in Harrisville. Local wineries, craft breweries and food artisans gather at the Harrisville Harbor in this annual gathering hosted by the Harrisville Arts Council. Hours are 12 – 6 p.m. 

The 5th Annual Grapes on the River, July 25, is presented by the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce to recognize local and regional wines and foods. Set along the scenic backdrop of the Manistee River, booths line the Riverwalk and the newly-renovated municipal marina for an afternoon of fun and festivities. Hours are 2-6pm, with tickets priced at $10 which include wine and craft beer sampling, food tastings, art and music.

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

End the summer at the Hopps of Fun Beer & Wine Festival, Sept. 11-12, in Mackinaw City. Hosted at the Mackinaw Crossings complex, this unique event features samplings of more than 40 wines from Michigan’s four federally-recognized viticultural regions and dozens of award-winning Michigan craft beers, as well as food and entertainment. Hours are 5 – 10 p.m. on Friday and 1 – 10 p.m. on Saturday, with $5 general admission (and $1 tasting tokens).

Michigan’s largest and longest-running wine festival—The Wine & Harvest Festival—returns to Paw Paw, Sept. 4 – 6 p.m. In addition to all the family-friendly activities, winery tours and tastings are held in tents throughout the festival area—adjacent to St. Julian Winery (the state’s oldest winery).

Other Michigan wine events this summer include:

Art, Beer & Wine Festival
June 6 (12 – 6 p.m.)
Ella Sharp Museum, Jackson

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

Waterfront Wine Festival
June 27 (4 – 7 p.m.)
Harbor Springs

Wine on the Waterfront Festival
July 18 (1 – 7 p.m.)
Suttons Bay

City of Riesling
July 26 – 27
Traverse City

Tawas Uncork’d & Untap’d Wine & Food Festival
August 1 (12 – 6:30 p.m.)
Harbor Park, East Tawas

Northport Wine Festival
August 8 (1 – 7 p.m.)
Northport Harbor

For a list of other Michigan wine events, information and a list of more than 115 wineries, visit MichiganWines.com.

Dianna Stampfler is the president of Promote Michigan and is a dedicated fan of Michigan wine, especially Riesling!

What is your favorite Michigan wine?

Spring Wine Pairings from the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula

In celebration of April as Michigan Wine Month, and the long awaited spring season, we asked the folks at the eight distinct Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula to share some wine tips along with suggested wine and food pairings to celebrate the season.

Wine Glasses

Photo Courtesy of Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula

Pairing food and wine can sometimes seem difficult or complicated. Just remember, dry white wines go very well with delicate or simple foods. A great rule of thumb is – if you would squeeze lemon on any particular dish, a dry white wine would be a very suitable match. Keeping this in mind, Chateau Grand Traverse 2014 Dry Riesling offers a classic steely-dry style, mineral qualities with fruit forward flavors, bold acidity and fresh aroma. This wine pairs well with Great Lakes grilled whitefish, most seafood or shellfish. In addition, Caesar salad or rich cheeses and assorted fruit also work well with this wine. Dry wines may taste tart to some, however, when paired with foods the delicate flavors shine through.

Spring is a great time to break out the bubbly. Chateau Chantal suggests their Tonight Blanc de Blanc. A dry Riesling-Chardonnay blend bubbly is delightfully easy to drink and will make tonight, or any night, special.

The dry nature and good acidity of this sparkling wine cleanse the palate after bites of rich and creamy cheeses, fried appetizers, cream-based seafood pastas and other dishes. Serve well chilled for the perfect pairing with this recipe:

Caramelized Onion Tarts with Apples, paired with Chateau Chantal’s Tonight

Makes 2 tarts


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 2 red apples (such as Braeburn or Gala), cut into small pieces
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry (from a 17.3-ounce package), thawed
  • ½ cup crème fraiche or sour cream


Heat the oven to 400°. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the apples, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook until just tender, 2 minutes.

Place each sheet of pastry on a parchment-lined baking sheet and prick all over with a fork. Spread with the crème fraîche, leaving a ½-inch border. Top with the onion mixture and bake until the pastry is crisp and browned, 30 to 35 minutes. Cut into pieces before serving.

In the kitchen at Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery they are wrapping up a fresh way to present chicken, combined with bright spring flavors of asparagus, lemon and thyme, paired with the Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery 2013 Pinot Grigio. The Pinot Grigio is a clean and fresh wine, with well-balanced fruit flavors of lemon, orange peel and tangerine and compliments this light, healthy and refreshing springtime dish.

Watch Patrick Brys create Spring Chicken in Parchment here!

Spring also means the start of grilling season, and the folks at 2 Lads Winery have a suggestion on something to throw on the grill as well as what to enjoy drinking with it.

The marbling and intense flavor of ribeye steaks stands up to the more powerful bold red wines, like the newly released 2013 Cabernet Franc. The spices, herbs and bright fruit expressed in this wine match the fresh herbs and black pepper of a grilled ribeye. 2 Lads Wine Club Member, Jennifer Lawson, shared this winning recipe:

2 Lads Ribeye Steak with 2 Lads’ Cabernet Franc


  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 Tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 10 oz ribeye steak
  • 2 bunches of spring onions


Lay onions and steak in a large baking dish. Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl and pour over onions and steak, turning ingredients to coat.

Let marinade anywhere from 1 hour to as long as overnight.

Heat grill to high (450° to 550°). Grill steak, covered, turning once and moving it from flame as needed to prevent charring until done the way you like, about 8 minutes for medium-rare. In the last few minutes, add onions to grill, laying them perpendicular to the grates. Cook, turning as needed, until the onions start to soften and grill marks appear.

In celebration of the arrival of the spring season, Peninsula Cellars recommends one of the most celebrated and sought after wines of the Old Mission region, with their 2013 SemiDry Riesling. This perfectly balanced wine, wrapped in a delicious sweetness, pairs beautifully with grilled chicken and fish, or bold flavored cheeses such as blue cheese or brie.


Photo Courtesy of Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula

At Black Star Farms the winemaking team and culinary staff are continuously looking for the perfect union between wine and farmstead cuisine. A favorite at the winery is the 2013 Arcturos Gerwurztraminer with a Carrot Ginger Bisque with Coconut Milk and Candied Walnuts.

The 2013 Arcturos Gerwurztraminer compliments this dish perfectly. This vintage is dry, fruit forward and shows the classic floral and spice components found in this varietal. The aromatic quality of this wine, along with its ripe citrus flavors makes for a perfect pairing with the Carrot Ginger Bisque. The dish is a perfect balance of spice, from the ginger, and sweetness from the carrots. The coconut milk adds a nice creaminess, without making it too rich, and the candied walnuts finish it off by adding a nice texture.

 Carrot Ginger Bisque with Coconut Milk and Candied Walnuts with Black Star Farms’ Arcturos Gerwurztraminer


  • 12 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
  • 1 Tbs sesame oil
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tsp minced peeled fresh ginger
  • 8 chopped carrots
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • ½ tsp white pepper

Cook broth in a large saucepan, reducing it by half to concentrate flavors. Heat oil in a medium sauté pan, add onion and garlic and sauté 3 to 5 minutes. Add ginger and carrot, cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add coconut milk, cover and cook 5 more minutes. Add reduced broth to vegetable mixture and season with white pepper. Cover and cook until all carrots are tender. In a food processor, puree soup until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Candied walnuts

  • 1 cup walnut halves/pieces
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs butter

In a pan over medium heat, add 1 cup walnuts, ¼ cup granulated sugar and 1 Tbs butter. Cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently. When the sugar mixture starts melting, stir constantly until all sugar is melted and nuts are coated. Transfer to a sheet pan with parchment paper and separate the nuts from one another. Leave at room temperature to dry. Crumble if desired for garnish.

Block II Vineyard is the oldest and most recognized Riesling Block at Bowers Harbor Vineyard. Year after year, the Riesling grapes from Block II continue to exceed expectations by producing globally recognized, award-winning wine including the 2012 Riesling, Block II. This dry wine emanates lychee and anise aromas, followed by bright apple flavors with a thread of floral spice, and finishes clean. This wine pairs well with many flavors of the spring season including scallops, sushi and Cajun grilled shrimp.

The lighter more aromatic wines are perfect for the spring season. Another must-try spring wine is Hawthorne Vineyard’s 2012 Pinot Grigio. With hints of mandarin orange and peach, this wine is a  complement for pastas with cream or lemon sauces, delicate fish, and even hummus.

Pasta with Lemon Cream and Prosciutto with Hawthorn Vineyard’s Pinot Grigio


  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 3 large shallots, minced
  • ¾ cup low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 1 tsp grated orange peel
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups frozen green peas, thawed
  • 2 Tbs thinly sliced fresh mint leaves
  • 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 12 thin slices prosciutto
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add broth. Simmer over medium-high heat until mixture is reduced to ¼ cup, about 2 minutes. Add cream, lemon peel, orange peel, and cayenne. Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 3 minutes. Add peas; simmer just until heated through, about 2 minutes. Stir in mint and lemon juice. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.


Photo Courtesy of Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula

Meanwhile, cook pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain; return pasta to pot. Toss pasta with sauce to coat. Divide pasta among plates or bowls. Drape prosciutto slices atop pasta and serve, passing Parmesan separately.

Spring also marks the beginning of wine festival season including the upcoming Blossom Day, May 16, featuring fresh spring fare paired with the season’s new releases, and Divas Uncorked, June 12, WOMP’s annual Girls’ Night Out. Event details can be found online.

What are some of your favorite food and wine pairings?