Thursday, September 3, 2015

Michigan voters remain steadfast in support of post-Labor Day school start

Once again, Michigan voters have overwhelmingly spoken in favor of starting the school year after the Labor Day holiday, according to a statewide survey of 1,075 likely 2016 voters conducted by Mitchell Research & Communications August 8-10, 2015.

The survey of Michigan voters found that nearly three-fourths support the law requiring all public school districts to start after Labor Day. Support remains strong at 64% even when Labor Day falls late in the calendar year as is the case this year. The poll also found that August was the most favorite month for Michigan family vacations, by a seven point margin over July.

"Michiganders overwhelmingly want to keep all of their summer vacation, especially in the month of August," said Dave Clouse, chairman of the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association (MLTA) and general manager of the Quality Inn Forward Conference Center in West Branch. "A post Labor Day School start means more time to make family memories that last a lifetime."

Support for the post-Labor Day school start crosses all age, race, gender, political, and geographic segments. "Michigan voters continue to embrace starting school after Labor Day," said Steve Yencich, President and CEO of the Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association. "Summer is by far our industry's biggest season and July and August are the most predictably warm months. Voter opinion and plain old common sense tell us starting school after Labor Day is as good for Michigan families as it is for our state's economic future." said Yencich.

In addition to valuable family time, a later school start grows tourism, Michigan's third largest industry. In 2014, tourism generated $19.5 billion in economic activity, 214,000 jobs and over $1 billion in state tax revenue. The vast majority of these impacts are generated during the summer, especially in July and August.

CLICK HERE for actual survey results and cross tabs.

Formed in 1905, MLTA represents markets and educates lodging property and tourism business owners around the state.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Kent Harvest Trails Offers Fresh Local Foods & Family Farm Fun in Pure Michigan

Nearly 20 farms in the Greater Grand Rapids area are participating in the 2015 Kent Harvest Trails, providing families the opportunity to enjoy loads of country fun. Activities and tours begin mid-September and run through the end of October (although farms may actually open sooner and extend their season into early November, weather permitting).

Families can take tractor- or horse-drawn wagon rides through the orchards or to the pumpkin patch, visit with animals in the petting zoo, wander the corn maze and make a scarecrow to take home. Enjoy a fresh baked donut and watch as apples are pressed into sweet cider. Visit the farm markets for local produce or head out to pick your own fruit. Then, shop for baked goods, fall plants, home decorations and seasonal gifts. Admission for many farms is free, although there may be charges for certain activities.

Participating farms this year include At the Barn, Blok Orchards, Bos Greenhouse and Farm, Ed Dunneback & Girls Farm, Frozen Creek Floral & Farm, Fruit Ridge Hayrides, H & W Farms, Heidi’s Farm Stand, Honey Creek Farm, Klackle Orchards, Koetsier’s Greenhouse, Orchard Hill Farm, Paulson’s Pumpkin Patch, Post Family Farm, Red Barn Market, Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery, Schwallier’s Country Basket, Sietsema Orchards & Cider Mill and Steffens Orchards & Market.

An updated map of participating farms, including directions and dates/hours of operation, is available online at Printed brochures will also be available for free at area Family Fare Supermarket or D&W Fresh Market locations beginning in early September.
Kent Harvest Trails YouTube Video

Please support these proud sponsors of Kent Harvest Trails:

Red Barn Market
Valorous Circle
Heffron Farms
HSB Bookstore
Kent County Farm Bureau
D&W Fresh Market
Family Fare
WOOD Radio

Savor the Autumn Season with these Limited Edition Fall Flavors from Hudsonville Ice Cream

As colors begin to show on the trees around the Great Lakes Region, thoughts turn to the harvest of the season—of cider, donuts and apples. To celebrate these comforting flavors, Holland-based Hudsonville Ice Cream has released two fruit-inspired flavors centered around Michigan’s largest and most valuable fruit crop. Both Cider Mill Donut and Pure Michigan Salted Caramel Apple feature pieces of locally-sourced apples.

“Cider Mill Donut starts off with apple cider flavored ice cream, with a spiced-apple swirl throughout and real donut pieces,” says Ray Sierengowski, director of product development for Hudsonville Ice Cream. “All the flavors of your local cider mill are delivered to you in one delicious scoop. You’ll FALL for this tried-and-true combination.”

Ever since it was introduced as the 2012 winner of the “Pure Michigan” online flavor contest, Pure Michigan Salted Caramel Apple has been a mouth-watering fall favorite. With its combination of fresh Michigan apples folded into a special caramel-infused ice cream, it tastes just like caramel apples on a stick.

According to the Michigan Apple Committee, Michigan is the third-largest apple producing state in the country (behind California and New York). In 2014, Michigan harvested about 24 million bushels of apples from 9.2 million apple trees in commercial production, covering 36,500 acres on 850 family farms. Michigan’s apple industry is valued at about $250 million, annually (contributing significantly to state’s overall $102 billion agricultural industry).

Cider Mill Donut can be found in retail stores now; Pure Michigan Salted Caramel Apple will hit freezers in October.

Other fall flavors to be released this season include:

Fried Ice Cream — The weather may be turning cooler, but this flavor will warm your heart. Re-creating the fried ice cream experience from your favorite restaurants, this seasonal flavor takes cinnamon ice cream and mixes in pieces of cinnamon tostada crunch, with a honey caramel swirl. This flavor is in stores now!

Pumpkin Pie — Michigan ranks #2 in the country for the number of pumpkins harvested each year, and this rich and creamy flavor pays tribute to its place in the state’s overall agricultural industry. Served alone or as the a la mode to your favorite pie, this flavor returns to the freezer case just in time for holiday celebrations. With its traditional pumpkin pie flavors and now with actual pieces of pie crust, it makes a wonderful compliment to your holiday dessert table. Look for this flavor in early October.

Look for these “Limited Edition” flavors—distinguished by the red packaging—in grocery stores throughout Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Illinois from through early November (while supplies last).

Started in 1895 as a farmers’ cooperative, the Holland-based Hudsonville Creamery & Ice Cream is the largest manufacturer of branded ice cream in Michigan. For more than 80 years, this Midwest company has been producing its creamy, delicious ice cream – using many of its original flavors, while at the same time creating refreshing new recipes inspired by the Great Lakes.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales Invites You to Celebrate #SourBeerDay on Saturday, Sept. 12

SOUR BEER is beer which has an intentionally acidic, tart or sour taste. The most common sour beer styles are Belgian: lambics, gueuze and Flanders red ale. At one time, all beers were sour to some degree. As pure yeast cultures were not available, the starter used from one batch to another usually contained some wild yeast and bacteria. Unlike modern brewing, which is done in a sterile environment to guard against the intrusion of wild yeast, sour beers are made by intentionally allowing wild yeast strains or bacteria into the brew. Traditionally, Belgian brewers allowed wild yeast to enter the brew naturally through the barrels or during the cooling of the wort in a coolship open to the outside air, an unpredictable process that many modern brewers avoid. The most common agents used to intentionally sour beer are Lactobacillus, Brettanomyces and Pediococcus. Another method for achieving a tart flavor is adding fruit during the aging process to spur a secondary fermentation or contribute microbes present on the fruit's skin. Because of the uncertainty involved in using wild yeast, the sour beer brewing process is extremely unpredictable. The beer takes months to ferment and can take years to mature. (Source: Wikipedia)

SOUR BEER DAY was first held in 2013 and is held annually, the 2nd Saturday of September.

The Michigan-based JOLLY PUMPKIN is regarded as the nation’s first and premier all-sour brewery. Under the watchful guidance of master brewer, RON JEFFRIES. Today, Jolly Pumpkin beers are distributed throughout Michigan and 34 other states.

Jeffries began studying and experimenting with brewing in the early 1990s, always with an eye towards opening his own brewery. With a special interest in rustic country ales, he launched his professional brewing career in 1995, and quickly became known as an innovative and respected member of Michigan’s emerging craft beer scene.

Jeffries realized his dream in the summer of 2004 when he and his wife, Laurie, launched Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales in Dexter, Mich., the first brewery focused on and offering an exclusive selection of oak-aged, wild and sour beers in the United States. Together Ron and Laurie Jeffries, with the help of their son Daemon, have grown Jolly Pumpkin into a boutique brand with widespread distribution and global recognition.

"When I first said I'd brew as much sour beer as people would like to drink, I had no idea what I was in for," Jeffries said.

Over the years, Jeffries’ vocation has evolved from brewer, craftsman and artist to most recently, philosopher and visionary of all things beer. His outstanding dedication to the art of brewing has led to international attention and accolades.

An advocate for the simpler life, Jeffries believes in decelerating the hectic tempo of modern life and returning to a slower, more livable pace. He runs the brewery on what he calls “Hawaiian time,” allowing Jolly Pumpkin to maintain traditional small scale production while protecting both the outstanding complexity and simplicity of the beverage.

Jolly Pumpkin is part of NORTHERN UNITED BREWING Co., which also encompasses the Grizzly Peak and North Peak Beer Co. craft beer brands, as well as Nomad Ciders, Civilized Spirits and Bonafide Wines. NUBC’s philosophy focuses on a dedication to conservation, inspiration and locally-sustainable practices. Jolly Pumpkin tasting rooms can be found in Dexter, Ann Arbor, Traverse City and Midtown Detroit.

To request an interview with Ron Jeffries, please contact:

Dianna Stampfler, Publicist: 269-330-4228 |

#SourBeerDay #SourBeer #JollyPumpkin


Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
2319 Bishop Circle East — Dexter, MI 48130 — (734) 426-4962

Experience the Changing of the Seasons on Beaver Island - Pure Michigan's Emerald Isle

When it comes to natural offerings, from woods and water to flora and fauna, no place delivers the wealth of ecological resources like Beaver Island—the most remote, inhabited island in the continental United States.

Approximately 35% of the island, located about 30 miles northwest of Charlevoix in Lake Michigan, is state forest land. With over 100 miles of scenic roads, old two-track trails and beaches, it is ideal for all kinds of nature-based eco-tourism activities.

For those wishing to bring their own bikes, kayaks and other outdoor gear, the Beaver Island Boat Company offers an easy and affordable way to transport such things to the island for day trips, weekend get-aways and extended seasonal stays.

BIRD & WILDLIFE VIEWING: The newly developed Beaver Island Birding Trail (BIBT) encompasses more than 12,000 acres of state and township lands, as well as four Little Traverse Conservancy preserves (including the 28-acre Little Sandy Bay, 230-acre Miller’s Marsh, 28-acre George & Althea Petritz Preserve and the 112-acre Barney’s Lake). A vast diversity of habitats can be found around the island, and in all nearly three dozen birding sites have been identified to provide ideal viewing conditions.

Coming up September 26-27, the Beaver Island Pelagic Birding Tour with Brian Allen and Darrel Lawson provides a great potential for viewing fall migrants and perhaps even a western rarity or two. September is also an excellent time for pelagic birds (gulls, cormorants and other waterfowl) on the Great Lakes. This tour provides ample opportunities to view pelagic birds on Lake Michigan and fall migrants on the island. Participation in the tour is limited to 30 people, and reservations are required by Sept. 12 by contacting the BIBT directly at the website above.

While on the island, be on the lookout for countless butterflies, as well as reptiles and amphibians. During the fall, autumn-colored Monarch Butterflies begin their fall migration south from Canada and the Upper Peninsula, with sightings common in the early part of the season. For details on these, and other species found around the island, click here.

Beaver Island’s 56-square-miles encompass almost every type of habitat found on the mainland – forests, bogs, marshes and beaches. A federally-endangered species with a limited distribution on Beaver Island is the Michigan monkey-flower. This plant grows only on the wet banks and in the water of muddy or sandy free-flowing streams. For more on the island’s unique botany from biology professors Dr. Edward Leuck and Dr. Beth Leuck, click here.

Beaver Island is also home to the Central Michigan University Biological Field Station, offering academic classes in biology and other sciences. Faculty and students utilize the woods and waters surround the Beaver Island archipelago as their outdoor classroom for field trips, research and lectures.

BIKING: The island has several miles of paved roads and a one-mile paved non-motorized path. There are many miles of “logging” forest clay and gravel roads that are ideal for enjoying nature on an off-road type bike. The Happy Paddle offers bike rentals for those who wish to explore the nearly 20 trails that wind and crisscross around the island.

PADDLING: Kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding are increasingly popular activities in Paradise Bay, or along the shoreline and coves of Beaver Island. Happy Paddle offers rentals and tours for those looking to get out ON the water.

FISHING: Beaver Island’s four inland lakes provide options to catch pan fish, perch, pike and largemouth bass. The Beaver Island Wildlife Club has been working for several years to develop Lake Geneserath as a walleye fishery. Salmon fishing varies from year to year. Fishing for the long-lived slow-growing lake trout continues to improve. The area west and south of Beaver Island is a lake trout sanctuary. Smallmouth bass fishing around Garden and Hog Islands has improved in recent years, but in order to continue the positive trend, anglers are asked to practice artificial-bait catch-and-release only when fishing for smallmouth bass in the archipelago. Resident and non-resident fishing licenses can be purchased on the island, at McDonough’s Market.

HUNTING: Beaver Island is an ideal locale for hunting, specifically whitetail deer and wild turkey. Small game populations vary from year to year, but grouse and rabbit hunting are active on the island.

In 1992, now-retired DNR wildlife biologist Doug Whitcomb, with the cooperation of the Beaver Island Wildlife Club, introduced two small groups of Eastern wild turkeys to the island. Today, the burgeoning flock now consists of nearly 600 very healthy birds that reside in the island’s hardwoods and open fields. Michigan hosts two turkey hunting seasons, one in the spring (mid-April through the end of May) and one in the fall (mid-September through mid-November).

Thanks to a successful Quality Deer Management (QDM) program on Beaver Island, the population of whitetail deer continues to increase. In 2011, “three legal points on one side” antler restrictions became the law. QDM principals have created a more balanced herd, with a much improved opportunity to harvest a mature buck. The number of “doe tags” varies each year, but there are usually plenty to satisfy demand. Many land owners have also been planting food plots for years and the island offers lots of state land that is open to hunting.

Hunting licenses can be purchased on the island, at McDonough’s Market.

CAMPING: Visitors will find two established campgrounds on Beaver Island, both owned and operated by the Island Townships and open until the end of November. There are no reservations at either campground, with the primitive sites are available on a first-come, first serve basis. Both campgrounds provide pit toilets and hand pumps; there are no showers at either facility.

Saint James Township Campground is located on the north end of the Island, off Donegal Bay Road one mile outside the St. James Harbor. The campground and its 12 sites overlook Lake Michigan and Garden Island, with views of Squaw and Whiskey Islands. ($5 per night, per campsite).

Bill Wagner Peaine Township Campground is located on the east side of the Island, seven miles south of the harbor and accessible via the East Side Road. This 22-site campground is on the shore of Lake Michigan with a view of the west coast of mainland Michigan. ($10 per night, per campsite).

STAR GAZING: Given its remote locale and limited light pollution, Beaver Island offers countless spots for viewing the constellations, Northern Lights, meteor showers and other astronomical wonders. Make your way to sites in the center of the island for the best viewing. Plan around the September 28 Full Moon (with its Lunar Eclipse) or the October 27 Full Moon.

PHOTOGRAPHY: Of course, no matter the outdoor activity you take part in, there is an opportunity for capturing the experience in pictures. From sunrises and sunsets, plants, wildlife, beaches, lighthouses, historic sites, scenic trails and even the night skies, the subject matter for images are available 24/7/365.

For a complete ferry schedule and rates, call 888-446-4095, or log onto

For information on Beaver Island, including lodging properties, visit

Check out these new Beaver Island videos!

Beaver Island Boat Company (:30)
Beaver Island Boat Company (2:10)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Beaver Island Birding Trail Hosts Fall Pelagic Tour — September 26-27

Fall is an ideal time for viewing migratory and pelagic (water) birds on Beaver Island—the most remote, inhabited island in the continental United States. During the Beaver Island Pelagic Birding Tour with Brian Allen and Darrel Lawson, Sept. 26-27, visitors to the island will have the opportunity to explore the newly developed Beaver Island Birding Trail (BIBT) while in search of Ring-billed and Herring Gulls, cormorants, pelicans and Caspian Terns.

The BIBT encompasses more than 12,000 acres of state and township lands, as well as four Little Traverse Conservancy preserves (including the 28-acre Little Sandy Bay, 230-acre Miller’s Marsh, 28-acre George & Althea Petritz Preserve and the 112-acre Barney’s Lake). A vast diversity of habitats can be found around the island, and in all nearly three dozen birding sites have been identified to provide ideal viewing conditions.

The tour begins Saturday morning in Charlevoix as visitors board The Emerald Isle for the 2.5-hour trip to Beaver Island. As the boat travels out through the Pine River and into Lake Michigan, birdwatchers should be able to view their first birds along the sandy shoreline.

Once on the island, visitors will have an afternoon and evening to explore the island’s natural sites including Little Sand Bay, Keebler’s Trail and Barney’s Lake. Or, by taking a self-guided tour using the Beaver Island Birding Trail map. Early Sunday morning, the group will head out to Gull Harbor for viewing before heading back to the mainland.

Participation in the Beaver Island Pelagic Birding Tour is limited to 30 people, and reservations are required by Sept. 12 by contacting the Beaver Island Birding Trail at the link above.

While there is no charge for the tour activities, each person is responsible for their own round-trip transportation (cost and reservations) aboard the Beaver Island Boat Company, and for lodging and meals while on the island. For a complete ferry schedule and rates, call 888-446-4095, or log onto For information on Beaver Island, including lodging properties, visit

Photo Credit:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Traverse Tall Ship Company Offers Multi-Day Autumn Excursions Aboard the Schooner Manitou

Leave your busy schedules and the daily grind in the wind as you head out on the freshwaters of Grand Traverse Bay aboard the Schooner Manitou. The Traverse Tall Ship Company is once again offering a series of educational and entertaining multi-day cruises throughout the fall color tour months of September and October. During these trips, guests enjoy a relaxing, stress-free get-away, while visiting quaint coastal villages and soaking up the panoramic views of the northern Michigan shoreline. This is definitely a Pure Michigan experience.

Excursions with remaining availability for this fall include:

• 6-Day Explorer Cruise (September 9-15, 2015)
Cost: $704 per person

Join us on a longer cruise and fully embrace the rhythm of wind, wave, and shipboard life. This one books quickly!

• 4-Day Star Gazer Cruise (September 17-21, 2015)
Cost: $577 per person

We’re excited to be joined by Mary Stewart Adams, director of the Headlands International Dark Sky Park, who will guide us through a journey of the night sky. Mary is a star lore historian, storyteller and author who has been immersed in the history of star knowledge for nearly 30 years. She led the initiative that resulted in International Dark Sky Park designation for the Headlands property in Emmet County, MI, which later resulted in the State of Michigan passing legislation to protect the night sky over an additional 23,000 acres of state park and forest land.

Mary writes and speaks extensively to local, national and international audiences on our relationship to the night sky and its cultural consequences, and has received numerous honors for her work. In addition, she is a member of the International Dark Sky Places Committee of the International Dark Sky Association, protecting and designating dark sky sites around the world. Mary’s weekly radio program “The Storyteller’s Guide to the Night Sky” airs during Morning Edition on Interlochen Public Radio every Monday. Mary makes her home under the starry skies of Harbor Springs, MI.

• 4-Day Michigan Craft Beer Cruise (September 24-28, 2015)
Cost: $577 per person

In recent years, Michigan has made a name for itself as one of the premier craft brew states in the country. What better way to partake of these fine beverages than from the deck of a beautiful vessel resting in a peaceful harbor! Chef and craft beer aficionado Amy Sherman will serve as host and guide as we enjoy tastings with hors d’oeuvres, followed by specifically designed food pairings with dinner. After graduating from Aquinas College, Amy Sherman found her true calling in the kitchen.

A 20 year restaurant veteran, she’s held every job possible, from ravioli runner, prep chef, book keeper, waitress, to manager, sous chef and pastry chef. She has taught cooking classes throughout West Michigan, runs a catering company called Two Chicks and an Oven, and with her husband runs the local food company, Farmlink. As the host of the Great American Brew Trail, she drank her way across Michigan, one pint at a time. She currently hosts a podcast called “Behind the Mitten” with MLive’s John Gonzalez, and leads culinary adventures here in the states and Europe. Her main job, however, is being mom to three ruffians in Grand Rapids.

As one of the largest sailing ships on the Great Lakes, the Manitou is a replica of an 1800s “coasting” cargo schooner. A traditional two-masted, gaff rigged, topsail schooner, Manitou measures 114 feet in length with more than 3000 square feet of sail.

There is plenty of space for sitting and moving around the decks while under sail. While aboard the Manitou, passengers are free to leave the sailing to the experienced crew or lend a hand and learn the arts of the sailor. An excursion aboard the Manitou allows you to remove yourself from the trappings of modern life: no TV, phone (cell phones are discouraged), internet, email and definitely, no itinerary.

Trips are limited to 22 individuals, with accommodations provided in 11 double-bunk cabins. Fare includes lodging, all meals and sailing activities.

To make reservations for any of the 2015 Manitou sailing adventures, call toll free 800-678-0383, ext. 2 or order tickets online. Gift certificates are also available. For additional information about the Manitou, including its corporate charters, visit

Traverse Tall Ship Company is located at 13258 S.W. Bay Shore Drive (M22) in Traverse City and shares a dock with the fleet from the Maritime Heritage Alliance, creating a unique nautical experience for the area.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Downtown Manistee Features Beer & Boats During 4th Annual Hops & Props, September 18-20

Downtown Manistee will be brewing as the 4th Annual Hops & Props Craft Beer and Classic Boat Show returns to the riverfront, Sept. 18-20. Tickets for all festival events are on sale now online here.

“Craft Beer and Classic Boats—what’s not to love?” says Patrick Kay, director of the Manistee Main Street Downtown Development Authority. “This is the only event of its kind and what better place to do this than on the shores of Lake Michigan with Craft Beer exclusively from Michigan; the primary home and headquarters of the Century Boat Company for 60 years.”

The festival weekend kicks off on Friday with a 5-course Beer and Food Pairing at Bluefish Kitchen + Bar for $25 per person. Space is limited to 100 and reservations are required by contacting the restaurant directly at 231-887-4188.

Saturday’s festivities run throughout the day and include a Boat Show 10am-7pm along the Riverwalk. As many as 40 classic and wooden boats are expected to line the riverfront, both in and out of the water—including many Century Classic Boats, which were made for 60 years in Manistee. This year, a “Best in Show People’s Choice” award will be presented based on votes from the public.

Saturday also features Art Fair from 10am-7pm directly beside the main event space and live music from 2-7pm in front of the Marina.

The Michigan Craft Beer Tasting takes place from 2-8pm along the downtown streets. Tickets are $20 per person ($25 at the gate) and includes admission, a tasting glass and 6 tickets. Additional tickets are for purchase, at 3 for $5. Some 25 Michigan breweries are expected to participate. Several downtown restaurants will also be featuring “Michigan Beer Tap Take Over” offerings, from 6pm until Midnight.

The weekend concludes with Sunday Brunch, including a buffet, mimosa or Bloody Mary and coffee, from 9-11am at Bluefish Kitchen + Bar. Tickets are $15 per person and advanced reservations are strongly recommended.

For more information on Hops & Props, including the list of participating breweries, log onto and click on the “Events & Festivals” tab. You’re also invited to Like the Hops & Props Facebook Page.

Downtown Manistee is home to nearly 150 businesses and community resources, many overlooking the Manistee River Channel and the Riverwalk, with a Central Business District listed on the “National Register of Historic Places.”

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) of the City of Manistee is an independent, special taxing district created in 1982. The DDA encourages redevelopment and revitalization and is an active participant in economic development, marketing and the stimulation of private investment.

Keweenaw Excursions Offers 3-Day Fall Color Tour Through the St. Mary’s River and Beyond

There’s no better way to soak up the fall colors of Pure Michigan than from the water. Keweenaw Excursions is offering a 3-day excursion that will take passengers up the St. Mary’s River, through the Soo Locks and into Lake Superior, aboard its 110-foot Keweenaw Star. The trip runs Monday, September 28* through Wednesday, September 30.

The trip begins Saturday morning at the State Docks in the village of DeTour, in the eastern Upper Peninsula. From there, the Star will travel north to explore the hundreds of tree-filled islands of Potagannissing Bay, through the North Channel of Georgian Bay and over to the Canadian town of Bruce Mines, to view the lighthouse at McKay Point. From there, its west past Sister Rock lighthouse and through the narrows of the Wilson Channel, then over to the north side of St. Joseph Island, which should be ablaze in fall colors. Just past the Shoal Island Lighthouse, the Star enters the St. Mary’s River in the Middle Neebish Channel and heads north toward Sault Ste Marie. The evening concludes with a trip through the Soo Locks and out into Lake Superior, before returning to Sault Ste Marie for the night.

Sunday offers options for passengers. The first is to board a bus for trip to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museumc at Whitefish Point in the town of Paradise, including a stop at Tahquamenon Falls State Park.+

Or, those wishing to stay and explore Sault Ste Marie can take in attractions such as the Museum Ship Valley Camp, Tower of History and the viewing platform for the Soo Locks, for up-closing viewing of the transiting freighters.

On Monday, the Star begins her voyage south down the St. Mary’s River, with passage through the famed Rock Cut and back to the dock in DeTour.

Cost for the excursion is $475 per person, based on double occupancy ($550 per person, single occupancy) and includes transportation, two night’s accommodations at the Kewadin Casino in Sault Ste Marie as well as a gaming package, and most meals. Space is limited and reservations are required by calling 231-237-9365.

The Keweenaw Star offers a full cash bar with snacks, as well as a climate-controlled main cabin, full dining room, walk-around main deck and open-air top deck.

Operating since 2000 Keweenaw Excursions is owned and operated by brothers Jason and Kraig Funkey. The company originated in Houghton, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and moved to Charlevoix in 2009. With a capacity of 130 passengers, the Keweenaw Star offers a range of cruises from mid-May through mid-October, including sunset tours, sightseeing trips and multi-day lighthouse and ship-watching cruises. The boat is also available for private charters, for events such as corporate outings, weddings, rehearsal dinners and reunions.

*A block of rooms has been set up at the Cedarville Lodge in the town of Cedarville, just 20 minutes from the State Dock in Detour, for $79 for Friday and Monday evenings, for those needing additional accommodations. Be sure to ask for the Keweenaw Excursion block when making reservations.

+The bus tour option is an added $62 per person and includes transportation, admission to the museum and state park, as well as lunch. Space is limited to the first 57 passengers.

Crooked Tree Art Center Hosts 3rd Annual Summer Super Swirl (Wednesday, August 19)

The season may be winding down, but the fun summer vibes are still going strong at Crooked Tree Arts Center. Wednesday, August 19, marks the 3rd Annual Summer Super Swirl – the big summer send-off put on with the help and generosity of D & W Fresh Market. The event runs from 5:30-8pm. Tickets for this 21+ age event are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the event.

Mingle within the three summer exhibitions, The Hours, Wind & Sail, and The CTAC Kitchen Painters: A Passion for Painting, while enjoying fine wines, craft beers, savory appetizers, and sweet treats. Watch live art demonstrations, take part in art activities, and walk CTAC’s indoor and outdoor spaces. Several artists will be on hand providing demonstrations including members of the CTAC Kitchen Painters, and ceramic artists, Jim Beckering and Stephen Stuchell.

The line-up for musical entertainment is long and provides a variety of genres. Performing artists will include, Alex Vance, Jim Owen Duo, Charlevoix Sax Quartet, Jeff Pagel, the CTAC Jazz Ensemble featuring CTAC’s Music Education Assistant Director, Kevin Richardson, and strolling minstrel, Robert Dudd, CTAC Music Education Director. A new addition to the performance docket will be musician Michelle Chenard and artist Martina Hahn in their new collaborating configuration, Music meets Canvas.

The popular raffle of 6x6 “Little Gems” by CTAC’s Kitchen Painters is back again. It’s a “your choice” raffle – purchase some tickets and drop them in the jar of your choosing in hopes of winning the piece that catches your eye. Whether you’re in the market for new art or not, don’t miss viewing these beautiful works of art created by local artists. Additional “your choice” raffle items include foodie baskets, courtesy of D & W Fresh Market.

The event covers all of the Arts Center’s square footage, encompassing the galleries, theater, lower level studios, Carnegie Building, Bidwell Plaza, and even the grassy space behind the Carnegie Building. Think of New Year’s Eve, but in the summer. The Summer Super Swirl’s capacity maxes out at 700 – CTAC will surely be bursting at the seams. This event is for those of 21 years and up.

For more information and to purchase tickets, contact the Crooked Tree Arts Center at 231-347-4337 or visit The Crooked Tree Arts Center is located at 461 E. Mitchell Street, downtown Petoskey.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Community Concert Planned for Thursday Night in Glen Arbor to Raise Funds for Storm Clean-Up Efforts

A Note to Glen Arbor Area Neighbors

Our community has gone through as difficult a time as any of us can imagine after Sunday’s storm that blew through the region. Rather than dwell on that it seemed to us that we needed to join together in some sort of community-wide pick-me-up.

By chance, BLACKTHORN, a wonderful band that plays Celtic music, was scheduled to play at the top of Bay Mountain Thursday night, August 6 at The Homestead. When we were without power, we thought we’d do a ticketed acoustic concert and invite emergency providers to be our guests. When we learned power was restored, we said: “Let’s do more.”

Let’s extend special invitations to the emergency providers and others who have taken the lead on safety and restoration to our community. Let’s include the sheriff’s department, fire departments, EMS providers, and the NPS rangers and the crews from Consumers Energy, the road commission and MDOT. Let’s invite everyone in the community so we can collectively recognize and thank those who have done such wonderful jobs.

Let’s not sell tickets. Rather let’s ask (and, without shame, ask again and again) for a free-will offering and donate 100% of proceeds to help families who are unable to replace or rebuild what was damaged by the storm.

Please join us on Thursday, August 6th as we celebrate all about our community that has been and will again be wonderful. Transportation will start at 6:00pm and the concert will run from 7-9:00pm.

Thank you.

The Homestead

P.S. We know we will not have enough parking or seating. We would, therefore, appreciate your making an extra effort to car pool with friends and neighbors and your bringing a blanket.

If you would like to volunteer to take donations and find needy families call our Group Sales Team at 231-334.5300.


Friday, July 31, 2015

Celebrate Tonight’s Full BLUE Moon with Hudsonville’s Blue Moon Ice Cream

The sky tonight will shine brightly with a Full Moon—a rare Blue Moon (the second full moon of the month of July, 2015). Holland, Michigan-based Hudsonville Ice Cream invites you to celebrate this celestial show with a scoop or two of its Blue Moon flavor.

Introduced in the mid 1950s, Blue Moon ice cream is a popular kids’ flavor because it makes their tongue and mouth turn a vibrant color, while adults like it because it evokes memories of their childhood.

“The Great Lakes Region seems to be the only place in the United States that serves Blue Moon,” says Larry Schipper of Hudsonville Ice Cream. “The flavor is actually called Blue Moon and most people equate it to an almond flavor, but I’ve had some people say they taste cinnamon or even pumpkin.”

The exact flavor profile is a deep, dark secret, and while Blue Moon is a beautiful mystery on your taste buds—matching the aura of the Great Lakes—its vibrant color and elusive flavor make it one of the most talked about ice cream flavors.

Find Hudsonville Ice Cream Blue Moon at Frosty Boy in Kalamazoo, Jersey Junction in East Grand Rapids, Ottawa Beach General Store in Holland Fantasy Twirl in Burnips, among many others. Of course, you can also purchase Blue Moon in 1.75qt containers at retail outlets around Michigan.

Started in 1895 as a farmers’ cooperative, the Holland-based Hudsonville Creamery & Ice Cream is the largest manufacturer of branded ice cream in Michigan. For more than 80 years, this Midwest company has been producing its creamy, delicious ice cream – using many of its original flavors, while at the same time creating refreshing new recipes inspired by the Great Lakes.