American Nomad Blog
About this blog
American Nomad covers the best of U.S. travel—from vacation deals to festivals, weekend getaways, travel tips, and more. A seasoned traveler and Moon author, Laura is the perfect guide to help discover new gems when traveling domestically.
- A Southern Girl's Wintertime Adventure in Yellowstone
- One Novelist's Odyssey Across America
- Gearing up for a Family Camping Trip
- Mint Juleps and More at Oak Alley Plantation
- Avoiding Identity Theft While on Vacation
- Money-Saving Travel Tips from Nomadic Matt
- Fashion, Fun, and Convenience for the Modern Traveler
- In Search of Irish Museums Across America
- The Inspiring Journey of a Solo Kayaker
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 2
- Getting Fit for Treks in Yosemite and Elsewhere, Part 1
- Experiencing Yosemite with YExplore
- Two Travel Contests Worth Mentioning
- A Word About the TSA's No-No List
- A Reader's Advice About Airport Security
The Fruits of Summer
Autumn has always been my favorite season. As a frequent traveler, I have so many wonderful memories of this transitional time of year – from watching the leaves change color in New England to experiencing wild Halloween parties in Los Angeles. But as much as I adore the cooler temperatures, kaleidoscopic displays, and festive events of autumn, one sacrifice is hard to accept: the availability of certain summertime fruits at their peak.
True, when my husband and I were living in southern California year-round, we found it easy to purchase a plethora of fresh fruit and vegetables at the weekly farmers markets throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area. Although their pickings were slimmer in the colder months, there were still plenty of delicious items available – especially if you like squash as much as we do. But still, our favorite summertime treats – like peaches, cherries, strawberries, and watermelon – were either less than sweet or virtually non-existent.
If you, too, find yourself missing the fruits of summer, take heart that places like American Spoon (411 E. Lake St., Petoskey, 231/347-1739, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun.) – situated in picturesque Petoskey, Michigan – exist. Founded in 1982, American Spoon has earned acclaim for its locally made salsas, fruit preserves, grilling sauces, and other condiments.
Today, American Spoon has six stores in northern Michigan, plus a café and gelateria, which opened beside the original store in 2001. Open daily, the American Spoon Café is a delightful eatery that features some of northern Michigan’s finest local ingredients as well as American Spoon’s most favored products. Although the service tends to be slow – perhaps due to its overwhelming popularity – the food is often quite tasty, and the menu changes frequently, so there’s always something new to try.
On our last visit, Dan had a smoked turkey panini, and I tried something a little different. Besides some refreshing tart cherry lemonade and a cup of tomato-parmesan bisque – both of which I’ve had before – I ordered a grilled cheese duo, which included a sourdough sandwich with smoked mozzarella, red onion, and American Spoon Red Spoon Peppers, plus a bruschetta with blue cheese and American Spoon Roast Apple & Onion Relish. Normally, I don’t like mixing sweet and salty ingredients, but I’m glad I took a chance on this dish – truly a winning combination.
Although we passed on gelato, plenty of families were crowded around the glass display case, choosing from two dozen awesome flavors – some of which Dan and I have tried before. After the scrumptious meal, we headed next door to the American Spoon store, where we taste-tested all manner of condiments, from Black & Blue-berry Spoon Fruit to Ginger Plum Grilling Sauce. Everything we sampled – including the relatively new apricot and cherry jammys – was fabulous.
So, if you ever find yourself in Petoskey, Michigan – a lovely resort town beside Little Traverse Bay – I highly recommend stopping by American Spoon, a terrific place to enjoy yummy treats made from locally grown produce. If it’s cold when you visit and summertime fruits are still a season or two away, you can even take a little summer home with you.
While you’re in town, take some time to stroll amid the quaint shops of the Gaslight District, where nearly every store sells jewelry fashioned from Petoskey stones (Michigan’s state stone, a lovely grayish-brown fossilized coral with a distinct honeycombed pattern). In Petoskey, you can also gaze at the sailboats in Bayfront Park Marina, tour the historic homes of nearby Bay View, and, if you’re so inclined, venture into the mushroom-shaped Odawa Casino.
I’ll be leaving Michigan, my summertime home base, tomorrow for the warmer climate of southern Louisiana, but I’ll be taking the memory of Michigan’s seasonal bounty with me. And, if that doesn’t sustain me until next summer, I can always order a box of cherry jammys to tide me over.
As always, I’m open to ideas for future posts. If you have any suggestions, burning questions, or destinations that you’d like me to explore in greater detail, please comment below or contact me at laura [at] wanderingsoles [dot] com.