TRAVERSE CITY, MI — Although the pandemic has temporarily kept people away from guided trips and group events, it hasn’t changed people’s need to get out and play. On the contrary, people are looking for more places to have fun outdoors than ever before. Even this winter, and especially in northern Michigan.

Bike tours on the Grande Traverse has created a new winter range to respond to this trend. It offers 5 new micro-adventures. They offer everything from biking on tires on one of the best bike trails in the North, to snowshoeing or hiking through the area’s scenic vineyards. These mini-trips come with perks like hot lunches, outdoor igloo reservations, and options to purchase craft beer or wine.

Given their popularity, these micro-adventures are a trend that’s likely to last, said Nick Wierzba, owner of four-season Grand Traverse Bike Tours.

“It’s kind of a new tour format. I think we will adopt this idea in the future,” he said.

Last year, the early days of the pandemic forced the Suttons Bay-based company to abandon its popular tours and events that put groups from different households in close proximity. “So we started to get creative,” Wierzba said of his team.

They knew people always wanted to get out and do fun things and needed rental equipment for those activities. Pairing them with all the ways restaurants, breweries and wineries in the area found to accommodate guests was a win for everyone.

“People still want to get out and enjoy the fresh air in Northern Michigan,” he said. “So we do little self-guided tours. Small activities in the afternoon. You can even combine a few. You’re not out all day. It’s the perfect combination of things.

Packing outdoor adventures with a hot lunch of soup and bread in some cases, or an igloo reservation at one of the warmest winter spots in Northern Michigan, takes the juggling with planning a fun day. “We take care of all those details for you,” he said of his team.

Pro tip from Wierzba: If you’re a high-speed biker, book the night trip if you can. “Fat biking at night is fun,” he said. Their rental bikes are equipped with bright lights, almost like a small car headlight. Dusk can be a beautiful, hushed time on the Leelanau Trail Corridor, and this trip helps people make the most of their time in the North.

Here is a breakdown of the 5 micro-adventures, with descriptions provided by Grand Traverse Bike Tours:

The fat bike – and the night bike with lights – are part of Grand Traverse Bike Tours’ line of micro-adventures.

Bikes, beers and igloos

Strong points: Winter biking along the iconic Leelanau Trail. The trip ends with a personal igloo reservation at Hop Lot Brewery. Want to upgrade your trip? Choose the Evening Lights package and enjoy a beautiful winter evening ride on the trail.

Details: “Go on a fat bike adventure the iconic Leelanau Trail. Ride along the single-track groomed trail that winds through the beautiful winter landscape. Ride as long as you want, with up to 6 miles of groomed singletrack in winter. Afterwards, warm up with a hot meal and a pint of your favorite Hop Lot beer or cider in your personal, heated igloo. (Food/drinks not included). At the end of the day, check-out is child’s play. Simply attach your bikes to the bike racks in our store with one of the included locks.

Price per person (maximum 6 people per group): $55

This rental includes:

  • Norco Fat Bike Rental
  • Helmet
  • Personal Igloo Reservation
  • Souvenir water bottle
  • Leelanau trail map
  • UPGRADE: $6 – Evening Light Package
Bike tours on the Grande Traverse

Several vineyards are on the program for micro-adventures this winter.

Vines to Views, a snowshoe micro-adventure

Strong points: Perfect for beginners as well as seasoned snowshoers. Ride along a private valley trail through vineyards, exclusive to Grand Traverse Bike Tour guests. To visit Suttons Bay Ciders & Ciccone Cellar.

Details: “Join us for this truly unique winter wine country experience. You and your group of 4-6 friends go on a snowshoe adventure through the vineyards while taking in the views and magical scenes of a winter wonderland! Snowshoe along a well-marked trail, stopping at our favorite wineries along the way. The private vineyard trail connects Suttons Bay Ciders, Ciccone Vineyards. Warm up with a chili or soup for lunch while overlooking Grand Traverse Bay. Enjoy the breathtaking views of Suttons Bay Ciders while lounging by the fire.

This visit includes:

  • Self-guided snowshoe tour on a private trail through the vineyard and orchards between vineyards
  • Round trip is approximately 3 miles over hilly terrain with many stops
  • Atlas snowshoes and poles rental
  • Includes stops at 1 winery and 1 cider house
  • Hot catered lunch (vegetarian and gluten-free options available)
  • Water bottle and souvenir water
  • Van assistance (picking up wine purchases!)

Price per person (Groups of 4-6): $45

Arrival between noon and 2 p.m., end around 4 p.m.

Bike tours on the Grande Traverse

Hop Lot Brewing Company igloos and chairs alongside solo fire pits are just a few of the resting places for these micro-adventures.

45 North Vineyards and Winery Snowshoe Tour

Strong points: Take a leisurely hike or snowshoe walk on the well-marked 45 North Snowshoe Trail through their woods and vineyards. Then pause for a glass of your favorite Michigan wine from 45 North Vineyardor buy a bottle or two to share later.

Details: “Join us for this truly unique winter wine country experience. You and your group of up to 6 people collect your equipment from our store and set off on an adventure on snowshoes through the surrounding vineyards and forests. Warm up with lunch in the tasting room at 45 North Winery while getting closer to the fire. Market MI will provide hot soup, fresh bread and sparkling water to fill your belly after all your hard work! Complete your excursion with a tasting showcasing their award-winning wines, ciders and spirits. The trails at 45 North Winery 3 miles round trip over hilly terrain. Go at your own pace, maps are included and the trails are well marked and easy to follow.”

Want more snowshoes? Combine this tour with our AURORA CELLARS MICRO-ADVENTURE at no additional cost by selecting the Aurora Snowshoe Adventure Supplement when booking.

Price per person (6 people per rental group maximum): $39

Flexible start time: anytime after 11:00 a.m. and ends around 5:00 p.m.

This rental package includes:

  • Atlas snowshoes and poles rental
  • Map of the 45 snowshoe trails in the North
  • Solo stove fire outside the cave to warm up after your hike
  • Reservation igloo or heated terrace at 45 North for your lunch and wine tasting
  • Hot soup basket (hot soup, fresh bread, fruit, sparkling water and chocolate)

Not included with snowshoe rental but available for purchase directly from 45 Nord:

  • Wine by the glass
  • Wine is available to purchase by the bottle to share later
Bike tours on the Grande Traverse

Four well-marked trails wind through the vineyards of Black Star Farms, one of the micro-adventures on this winter’s list.

Black Star Farms, a snowshoe micro-adventure

Strong points: Take a leisurely hike through Black Star Farm Snowshoe Trails through the vines. Stop at the winery to buy a bottle or two to share this wine experience with your friends.

This rental includes:

  • Atlas snowshoes and poles rental
  • Trail map
  • 4 well-marked snowshoe trails on the iconic Black Star Farms estate
  • Available daily until March. Reservations are encouraged.

Price per person (6 people per rental group maximum): $25

Rental details:

  • Please dress in warm layers (wool base layers, windproof/waterproof outer layers) and wear warm winter boots, gloves and hats.
  • Our snowshoes are suitable for most types of boots, but make sure they are waterproof.
  • If you are snowshoeing on all 4 trails, plan a hike of approx. 1.5 hours.
  • Bottle sales are available at the winery.

Aurora Cellars, a snowshoe micro-adventure

Strong points: Take a leisurely hike on the Aurora Cellars snowshoe trails through the vineyards.

Details: “Join us for winter fun in the vineyard. Pass by our shop on your way to Aurora Cellars and we will equip you with your equipment for your snowshoe adventure through the vineyards. Aurora Cellars is a few miles from the store. Go on their three different wine trail loops around the iconic Aurora Cellars estate. Warm up with lunch in Aurora Cellars’ tasting room while warming up by the fireplace. Market MI will provide hot soup, fresh bread and sparkling water to recharge after all your hard work! End your excursion with a tasting showcasing their award-winning wines. The various trail loops around Aurora Cellars range of estates form 0.5 to 1 mile over rolling terrain. Go at your own pace, maps are included and the trails are well marked and easy to follow.”

Price per person (6 people per rental group maximum): $39

Tour packages start at 11 a.m. and end around 4:30 p.m.

Want more snowshoes? Combine this tour with our 45 NORTH MICRO-ADVENTURE at no additional cost by selecting the 45 North Snowshoe Adventure Add-on when booking.

The self-guided tour package includes:

  • Atlas snowshoes and poles rental
  • Aurora Cellars heated patio reservation reservations for lunch and tasting
  • Hot catered lunch
  • Trail map

Not included with snowshoe rental but available for purchase directly from Aurora Cellars:

  • Wine tastings
  • Wine is available to purchase by the bottle to share later

READ MORE

Northern Michigan winery offers unique tastings in the Barrel Room

This charming northern Michigan winery is perched atop the highest point on the Leelanau Peninsula

12 fun things to do in Traverse City this winter

About The Author

Related Posts