Saturday, June 27, 2009

Something New: June 2009

Two "something new" posts for June -- it's been a busy month.

On June 26, I was part of a group participating in the "Dining on the Fly" program on the Boardman River, just south of Traverse City. A partnership between McCool Outdoor, The Boathouse Restaurant and Bowers Harbor Vineyard, this is a true Northern Michigan outdoor experience. We spent the afternoon on the river for a world-class fly fishing excursion, followed by a gourmet meal served under a white canopy along the banks of the trout stream, paired with a hand-chosen selection of award-winning wines.

The one-of-a-kind day played out like this…

The fly fishing:
Arrive at the fishing site and warm up with some champagne, while you meet your instructor, get fitted for your equipment and practice your cast. Certified Casting Instructor and Master Angler David McCool starts you off with some basic instruction – casting techniques, applied physics of a tight loop and entomology.

David has taught hundreds of aspiring anglers the art and science behind the popular sport of fly fishing. You’ll enjoy a friendly, laid back experience with one of Northern Michigan’s best known and accomplished fly fishing instructors. Your outing includes the fundamentals of fly casting and fishing in a blue ribbon trout stream.

Your instructors will work with you individually on your cast before putting you in the river to apply the skills you have learned. Walk against the current, mend your line, tease up a trout or two. After some time in the water, David will even coordinate some friendly competition casting games – with the winning team taking home a bottle of wine from Bowers Harbor Vineyards.

The wining and dining:
After a perfect afternoon on the water, your blue ribbon adventure continues with an unparalleled dining experience prepared by Executive Chef Eric Nittolo of the Boathouse Restaurant on Old Mission Peninsula. Chef Eric will prepare a five-course gourmet meal along the shores of a breathtakingly beautiful trout stream. Chef Eric will contribute to the culinary experience by preparing the meal right in front of you, explaining and describing each component of the individual dishes. You will not only be eating great food, but you will also be able to watch and understand how each dish is prepared and how ingredients go together to create a rich upscale dining experience.

Chef Eric’s cuisine is refined and contemporary with some classic French flare. His ability to pair food with one another with the use of ancient grains and modern gastronomy is truly what this experience is all about. The marriage of Chef Eric’s creative recipes and the finest fresh local ingredients is a grand culinary experience, raised to the level of art.

Your dining experience is further enhanced by director of winemakng and proprietor of Bowers Harbor Vineyards, Spencer Stegenga. Spencer will teach you the viticulture of Old Mission Peninsula and explain each of his award-winning wines that will be paired with each of the five courses of your culinary experience.

This 43-acre boutique estate winery’s proximity to the waters of Grand Traverse Bay creates ideal conditions for growing Vinifera grapes. Bowers Harbor Vineyards specializes in award-winning and estate Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir and Meritage blends. Situated on the 45th parallel in one of Michigan’s four federally-recognized viticultural regions, this second-generation cool climate vineyard produces dynamically expressive varietal wines.

It doesn’t get much better than this…

To reserve your Dining on the Fly date, call The Boathouse Restaurant at 231-223-4030 or for more information, log onto

Friday, June 5, 2009

Something New...June 2009

A bittersweet something new this first my grandmother's estate.

After her passing in November (just days after her 90th birthday), the grandkids were asked to make a list of those items that held personal meaning and depending on value, those items were given to us. Among my treasures were a black cat salt/pepper shaker set, a deck of cards, a six-sided pie tin and several coffee cans full of rocks of all shapes, sizes and colors (which now line the patio of my new sidewalk in my backyard).

On June 4, the items that held more actual value were auctioned off on the lawn outside my grandma's Otsego home. I had my eyes on a few things...most notably, an old typewriter -- which I snagged for $22. I also picked up a rustic table, which now graces my three-season porch; a pair of green shutters, which I turned into a barback type table for my patio; a pair of bamboo-like window blinds, which are now hanging in my garage; and a handful of other trinkets which bring back memories of my childhood at grandma's. Even my kids got involved, picking out items that they were attached to. I guess it was a form of closure. And now, I have all these pieces to remind me of what a great woman my grandmother was.