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Sunday, June 30, 2013

2 Lads Winery on Old Mission Peninsula

We stumbled upon a Michigan winery that we'd never heard of called 2 Lads on Old Mission Peninsula.  We were very very impressed with the quality of the wines and the beautiful views. If you are short on time they have a tasting room, but for the full effect, catch a tour where you can experience the vineyard, the cellar and partake of a food and wine pairing. The two lads who own the property are Chris Baldyga from Traverse City area and Cornell Oliver from South Africa. They make a superb team.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Warwick Hills and the Buick Open

The Buick Open golf tournament began in 1958 at the Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club. Located in Grand Blanc, 50,000 fans came to see Billy Casper win the $52.000 purse. In 2009, the last year it was played here, the purse was over five million dollars. You will recognize so many winners from the Buick Open Champions Circle: Julius Boros, Tom Weiskopf, Hale Irwin, Lanny Wadkins, Ben Crenshaw, Fred Couples, Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods are just a few. The grounds of this private golf course are beautifully maintained.

Friday, June 28, 2013

St Stan's Festival in Bay City

It was a lot of fun running the 5k (or walking it) last night in Bay City to kick off their St Stan's Festival which is the largest Polish festival in Michigan! Everyone who finished the race got a medal, a free beer and a bright orange t-shirt with the Polish eagle on it. There were hundreds of people who competed. Cool rains drenched everyone before it was over. The 64th annual festival runs through Sunday June 30 with carnival rides, lots of polish food, polkas, country music and fun.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Island House: Elk Rapids District Library

Take a lovely mid-1800's home built on a four acre island with a gorgeous view of Grand Traverse Bay and transform it into a library--now that is what we call class. We particularly love this side room of the Elk Rapids District Library with inviting chess games already set up and comfy rocking chairs. You have to be at least five years old to get a library card. The Lego Club meets every Saturday morning to build and create.  This Island House transformed into glorious library is open seven days a week except for holidays with free wifi. Bless you, library board and staff.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dockside in Bellaire

We were blessed with the perfect weather yesterday at Dockside in Bellaire and there isn't a better setting for al fresco dining.  It's been the place to hang out on Torch Lake where the Clam River runs into it for over a century. Come by car or by boat. We recommend the fish tacos with aioli sauce--simply outstanding.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mission Point Lighthouse in Traverse City

Traverse City is a treasure trove of little discoveries one of which is the Mission Point Lighthouse situated 17 miles north of the city on Old Mission Point. Built in 1870, it is still possible to climb the skinny little steps to the top and be rewarded with a delightful view.  Decommissioned in 1933, the township purchased it and it has been maintained by caretakers and volunteers. Painted white with black trim, this iconic symbol is surrounded by Lighthouse Park with its many hiking trails.

Monday, June 24, 2013

GM Plaza and Promenade on Detroit's Riverwalk

The headquarters for General Motors is in the Renaissance Towers on Jefferson downtown adjacent to the Detroit River. The beautiful GM Plaza and Promenade are part of Detroit's Riverwalk and were donated by GM. The fountains are cool and refreshing and irresistible for children on a day like today! There is a free walking tour of the Riverfront sponsored by the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and meets every Monday at 1pm at the GM Plaza. You will learn about the buildings, architecture and public art as well as Detroit's History and how Cadillac landed here in 1701.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Ray Township's Faith Baptist Church

Ray Township is home to a lovely quaint church that dates back to 1895. Today it is called Faith Baptist, but back in the 19th century, it was the First Methodist Episcopal Church of the village of Davis.  It stands on Romeo Plank and 27 Mile Road. The spindles and gingerbread give it a victorian look.  Inside, there is a growing congregation that fills the pews.  The young'uns enjoy ringing the bell by pulling on the cord for the 10:30am Sunday church service.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

50th Anniversary Freedom Walk

Today's Freedom Walk down Woodward marks the 50th anniversary of Dr Martin Luther King Jr's "I have a dream" speech. His words were first spoken in Detroit, before he gave the famous delivery in Washington DC. You can get your t-shirts at the NAACP Headquarters on Second Street at Seward. The Detroit office of the NAACP --the largest branch in the nation--celebrated their 100th year in 2012. The walk begins at 9am at Woodward and Forest ending with a rally in Hart Plaza.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Murdick's Fudge in Petoskey

For the longest day of the year, we had to pick Murdick's Fudge in Petoskey which has been serving happy customers for an unbelievable 126 years. Voted best of the northwest not too long ago, Murdick's not only has outstanding fudge, but their ice cream and caramel corn as well as their turtles, bear claws and taffy are top sellers. Located in Petoskey's historic gaslight district, no visit to the area is complete without indulging in something at this store. For those short on time, they are on-line and will send their goodies to you direct.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Roaring Brook Nature Preserve

Hiking boardwalk paths exist like this in Michigan for the enjoyment of all thanks to the foresight of nature lovers and conservancy groups. The Roaring Brook Nature Preserve in Harbor Springs is maintained by the Little Traverse Conservancy. It radiates beauty in every season, but this spring it's lush greenery is almost intoxicating.  LTC has a smart phone app that allows you to discover all their little hiking gems. Look for LTC Explorer.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Marshall Fredericks Museum in Saginaw

Don't you trek by Saginaw all the time on your journeys up north?  We suggest you make time to stretch your legs at Saginaw Valley State University to check out the compact Marshall Fredericks Sculpture Museum. You know this Michigan artist.  He has done the Spirit of Detroit, the pterodactylus at the Detroit Zoo, Mother and bear cub at the Sterling Heights Public Library, this famous lion and the mouse pictured here at Eastland Mall and about 2000 others. Don't forget to wander around the sculpture garden as well. This unique gallery is part of the Arbury Fine Arts Center which opened in 1988.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Racing to the Sunset

It is difficult not to find a beautiful sunset in Michigan. Here we are racing down a road in Kingsley. The hills were rolling the and clouds were moving quickly in the sky.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Bay Harbor In-Water Boat Show

We'd never experienced an "In-Water" boat show before, so this one in Bay Harbor last weekend was so delightful! We were able to climb aboard some very beautiful and unique boats, running the gamut from fishing trawlers to high end yachts. Of course, we want one now!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

St Helen's Firehouse Restaurant

Happy Father's Day from the Firehouse Restaurant in St Helen, a very manly hangout with lots of fireman gear and paraphernalia all about. Even the bar is done with what appears to be the siding of a firetruck.  The first row of parking is reserved for those who courageously fight the blazes. A four alarm pizza is available for the lovers of spice and peppers.  We opted for the whitefish sandwich which was outstanding.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Bay Harbor Resort in Petoskey

A wonderful venue for a wedding is the Bay Harbor Resort on Lake Michigan, just south of Petoskey. Back in the 1800's, this huge area used to be a lime stone quarry. Somebody had a great vision 20 years ago.  This became the largest reclamation project of North America and today Bay Harbor has 1200 acres of homes, a hotel, a marina, boutique shops, a banquet center, golf courses and restaurants. Many of the hotel suites come with golf carts to scoot around the complex.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Northern Lights Recreation in Harbor Springs

We had fun bowling in Harbor Springs this weekend under glow lights and with electronic scoring boards at Northern Lights Recreation. How nice that we could watch the Tigers game too Friday night as they pulled off a cool victory over Minnesota.  Along with bowling, they have pool tables, mini golf and arcade as well as their full service Sassy Loon restaurant specializing in burgers, pizza and fish.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Freedom Hill in Sterling Heights

It was a joyous night at Freedom Hill with a sold out crowd of 7000+ for Lady Antebellum. The hill, which originally opened in 1979, had been dark for four years due to budget cuts and red tape. This venue --spread over 100 acres-- is gorgeous. The weather was perfect, the acoustics and projection screens were great and everybody was singing along.  Lots of people were tailgating prior to the concert. Upcoming events include Cake, Foreigner, Randy Travis, REO Speedwagon, Travis Tritt, the Steve Miller Band, the Beach Boys and Weird Al Yankovic and way more. Get your party gear on.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Whole Foods Opens in Detroit

There was a lot of hype about the opening of the first Whole Foods store in Detroit and rightfully so. Located on Woodward and Mack, there is free parking for customers. Inside, everything is bright and airy, clean and beautiful. They are committed to local growers and producers. Smiles and friendly attitudes abound. Shopping here is a great experience.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Chateau Chantal on Old Mission Peninsula

One of Michigan's most beautiful vineyards is Chateau Chantal. Perched on a hill overlooking water on both sides of the Old Mission Peninsula north of Traverse City, they have been producing wine for 20 years now. Their B&B consists of eleven lovely suites that are pretty much filled between Mother's Day and Halloween. They offer cooking classes and jazz evenings. Their huge open air terrace is perfect for gatherings and weddings of which they do a lot! We were there on a weekday and the tasting room was filled with wine lovers. Pretty cool.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ashby's Sterling Ice Cream

Open seven days a week, Ashby's Sterling ice cream in Shelby township on Van Dyke offers 44 different flavors of the premium stuff. Owner, John, was most happy to serve and talk about his family-owned parlor. Ashby ice cream was created by the Tom Davis family almost 30 years ago and they continue to make it in Ludington. Winners of numerous awards, this delicious frozen anytime treat can be found all over the US.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Old Mission General Store

You're in for a shocking treat when you enter the Old Mission General Store on Old Mission Point north of Traverse City. The business has been there since 1850 and things sure haven't changed much. Swarms of people were hanging out everywhere you turned in this part antiques, part deli, part grocery store. Open every day at 8am to 9pm with the same old post office, too.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Orion Festival on Belle Isle

With beautiful weather, the Orion Festival on Belle Isle is going to be a smashing success.  At least 40 bands are scheduled with the Red Hot Chili Peppers culminating on Saturday night and Metallica on Sunday. Thanks for the photo, Pat Martin.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Kalkaska's Cherry Street Market

At the intersection of Highway 131 and M66 lies the bustling Cherry Street Market. It's location at the crossroads in Kalkaska and its attractive displays guarantee a steady crowd.  Since we can no longer grow impatiens, they were helpful with suggestions like lobelia, browallia, or wax begonias. Their fruit and vegetable offerings are very tempting, too, but once inside, though, you will capitulate when you smell their baked goods.  No wonder so many people stop here.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Grosse Pointe Yacht Club

The Grosse Pointe Yacht Club was founded in 1914 and is joyously celebrating its 100th year. Located in Grosse Pointe Shores, the prominent bell tower is easily visible on Lake St Clair. It was voted the number one yacht club in America. They offer several restaurants, bowling, sailing, tennis, picnic grounds, a marina and a beautiful place to hold weddings and receptions.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Crooked Tree Yarn in Cross Village

For knitting aficionados, Crooked Tree Yarns are spun in East Jordan, Michigan. They have such lucsious colors like lupine, rain, tiger lily, poppy and sweet pea. They are sold in Cross Village at Three Pines Studio which is a hangout for working artists and where they also provide workshops for All Things Fiber as well as Knitting Circle Workshops. Their gallery showcases only northern Michigan artists. We found these beautiful hand dyed yarns today at the Harbor Springs market.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sturgeon River Pottery in Petoskey

Karen and Steve Andrews have been running Sturgeon River Pottery for 30 years in the Petoskey area. Karen make dishes and bowls in her studio on the grounds. You can tell they have a passion for what they do. They also love nature and the great outdoors and offer lots of unique bird feeders and garden décor. The SRP motto is "May you always have a petoskey stone in your pocket and sand in your shoes."

Monday, June 3, 2013

Turkey Café & Pizzeria in Harbor Springs

Hobnobbing up north this month, we discovered the Turkey Café and Pizzeria in Harbor Springs with their nice outdoor eating area and darling décor. Just look for the large pink building on Main Street with the year 1881 at the top.  Why such an unusual name? The former sports playing owner had sprained both ankles and was so nicknamed by the way he walked. Turkey stuck. Turkey is not a menu entrée.  They sell a lot of pizzas, but we opted for the olive burger and homemade coleslaw. Delicious! They're open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, too.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Quilt Barn Trail on Old Mission Peninsula

Today, we propose a lovely Sunday drive to you. The Old Mission Peninsula looks deceivingly small, but it's 18 miles in length can take a few days to explore well. One of the outstanding features is the Quilt Barn Trail of which there are ten on this skinny finger north of Traverse City.  We loved this one--belonging to Dean and Laura Johnson. Doesn't Laura's North Star look gorgeous on this 1909 barn?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Plumber's Helper Fishing Charters

If you are interested in catching salmon or steelhead, lake trout or walleye, Jim Musselman is the man to see on the Great Lakes.  He owns and runs Plumber's Helper, a fishing charter service on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. Besides captain and crew, he can take up to six people out on his 33 foot Bertram fly bridge cruiser. A master plumber, Captain Musselman has been plying our Michigan waters for more than a quarter century with an unblemished safety record. He knows where the fishies hide.