Monday, June 29, 2009

Michigan Camping is a Star-Spangled Family Experience

Campsites still available at private facilities throughout Michigan

Some three dozen private campgrounds around the state of Michigan are reporting site availability to accommodate those looking affordable outdoor vacation options to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday weekend. The Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) – Michigan has compiled a list of those campgrounds with availability; the list is posted online at

The Travel Industry Association reports that camping is the number one outdoor activity in America, with one third of U.S. adults saying they have gone camping in the past five years. People who go camping also tend to attend local events as well as enjoy hiking, biking, canoeing/kayaking and other outdoor adventure activities.

Whether attending a specific holiday weekend event or enjoying the woods and waters that the Great Lakes State is known for, Michigan campers will find a variety of site options – from rustic to luxury full service set-ups – throughout the state.

According to AAA Michigan, an estimated one million Michiganians are expected to hit the roads during the upcoming 78-hour Independence Day holiday weekend – which begins at 6pm on Thursday, July 2 and ends at 11:59pm on Sunday, July 5. The Top 10 destinations on AAA’s list include Mackinaw City / Mackinac Island, Traverse City, Frankenmuth / Birch Run, Boyne Area, Dearborn, Munising, Sault St. Marie, Dundee, Saugatuck / Douglas and Lansing. For a list of Fourth of July events throughout the state, visit Travel Michigan’s website at

ARVC represents 225 member campgrounds with more than 32,000 sites available throughout the state. Whether pitching a tent, parking an RV or reserving a rustic or modern cabin, Michigan campgrounds offer a great way to disconnect from busy lives and reconnect with families. Campers in Michigan enjoy the great outdoors while fishing or canoeing on the countless lakes, rivers and streams or hiking, biking and riding on the miles of trails that wind throughout the state. There’s definitely no shortage of activities, no matter where the campground is located.

The 2009 Michigan Campground Directory, published by ARVC – Michigan, is available at various locations statewide, including all Welcome Centers. A PDF version is also available for viewing online at The directory not only lists campgrounds by region, but also includes helpful information on the type of sites available, various amenities such as restroom, laundry and dumping station facilities; recreational offerings such as pools and golf courses; and seasons of operation. Campgrounds that now offer wireless internet access onsite are also identified.

Epicurean Classic Announces 2009 Featured Guest Artisans

Organizers of the Great Lakes’ premiere food and wine event – The Epicurean Classic – have announced the 2009 guest list of chefs and culinary artisans for the annual gathering to be held in St. Joseph on the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, August 28-30. Some of this year’s featured artisans include, Curtis Stone, Jean Joho, Gale Gand, Takashi Yagihashi, Tom Valenti, Anna Thomas, Jennifer McLagan, Giuliano Hazan, Brian Polcyn, Eve Aronoff and Mary Sue Milliken.

“We continue to infuse our recipe for assembling a talented roster of chefs and culinary artisans who highlight fresh trends in food and wine. And our new partnership with KitchenAid further bolsters our enviable reputation among the nation’s finest food and wine events,” notes Mark Dressler, event co-founder. “Our goal is to provide an accessible and motivating experience and to reinforce the KitchenAid brand, whose valuable tools enrich the processes of cooking and baking in kitchens all over the world.”

Over the three day event, The Epicurean Classic attendees can choose from over 45 cooking demonstrations, 16 cheese/wine/beer tasting seminars, six Guest Chef Dinners, the opening Great Lakes Great Wines BBQ Reception, the Grand Reception and the daily Tasting Pavilion.

Featured ’09 Epicurean Classic guest artisans and chefs, to date, include:

Eve Aranoff
Eve Aronoff, chef/owner of Eve the Restaurant in Kerrytown (Ann Arbor), is author of eve: Contemporary Cuisine - Methode Traditionelle. Last year, she was asked by The James Beard Foundation to prepare a five-course summer meal at The James Beard House in Greenwich Village. The invitation is considered a coup in the culinary arts world.

Caleb Barber & Deirdre Heekin
Deirdre Heekin and Caleb Barber are the proprietors and, respectively, wine director and head chef of Osteria Pane e Salute, a boutique restaurant and wine bar in Woodstock, Vermont, recently acclaimed in Bon Appétit, The Boston Globe, Travel and Leisure, and Attaché.

Rose Levy Beranbaum
James Beard and IACP award winner, Rose has been called the “Diva of Desserts" and “the most meticulous cook who ever lived." And add this recent accolade — “If ever there was a cookbook author who could place her hands on top of yours, putting you through the proper motions, helping you arrive at just the right touch, Beranbaum is the one."

Gale Gand
Gand is the executive pastry chef and partner of the renowned four-star Mobil, five-diamond AAA, Relais & Chateaux Relais-Gourmand restaurant Tru, with Rich Melman and culinary partner Rick Tramonto. Gand was recognized in 2001 as Outstanding Pastry Chef by The James Beard Foundation and Pastry Chef of the Year by Bon Appetite magazine, and in 1994 as one of Food & Wine's Top Ten Best New Chefs.

Giuliano Hazan
Giuliano Hazan is the son of famed Italian cookbook writer Marcella Hazan. He runs a cooking school in Verona with his wife and won the IACP award for Cooking Teacher of the Year in 2007. He is a contributor to Cooking Light magazine and author of many cookbooks including GIULIANO HAZAN'S THIRTY MINUTE PASTA, providing Hazan’s repertoire—hearty pasta soups, fresh-from-the-greenmarket vegetarian dishes, and meat and seafood sauces that take their cue from the classics of Italian cuisine—will let you bring healthful, hunger-satisfying pasta back to your family’s weeknight-supper table.

Jean Joho
One of the world's great culinary talents, Chicago's Chef Joho has been showered with accolades for his accomplishments with Everest, Brasserie JO and Eiffel Tower Restaurant. Joho was named Best American Chef: Midwest and nominated for Best Outstanding Restaurant by the James Beard Foundation and was Bon Appetit's Chef of the Year.

Mary KarlinKarlin has passed down the knowledge of wood-fired cooking for nine years as an instructor at the Ramekins school in Sonoma, Calif. In WOOD FIRED COOKING, Karlin's enticing recipes explore the diverse flavor characteristics of hardwoods and live-fire cooking methods, from Plank-Roasted Porterhouse or Indian Cilantro-Mint Naan to a hearth-baked Milanese Risotto Tart or Warm Chocolate-Chipotle Cakes.

David Leite
David Leite takes you right to the heart of the good stuff, scrupulously (and appetizingly) exploring and explaining an egregiously overlooked and unappreciated range of flavors and ingredients. Portugal once ruled the known world, and the recipes in his book are–in many ways–the history of the world–on your plate.” — Anthony Bourdain

Jennifer McLagan
Jennifer McLagan, author of the 2009 James Beard Cookbook of the Year; FAT. Jennifer is also the author of the multi-award winning cookbook, BONES. Jennifer will delight Classic attendees with equal parts passion, scholarship, and appetite to win us back to a healthy relationship with animal fats - fundamental to the flavor of our food.

Mary Sue Milliken
Along with Susan Feniger, Mary Sue is the co-owner of both Border Grill and Ciudad in greater Los Angeles. The duo authored five cookbooks and hosted nearly 400 episodes of their wildly popular Too Hot Tamales and Tamales World Tour series on the Food Network.

Andy Pforzheimer
The former Food Editor of Martha Stewart Living magazine, opened the Barcelona Wine and Tapas Bar for fun. Today, his flagship is one of six locations, making Barcelona the largest Spanish tapas group in the U.S. In THE BARCELONA COOKBOOK, Pforzheimer introduces you to a style of eating and cooking that might not be familiar but that will invigorate your palate with bold, exciting, and satisfying flavors and textures.

Brian Polcyn
The author of Charcuterie and Chef/Proprietor of the acclaimed Five Lakes Grill, Polcyn has been featured in local and national publications, including The New York Times, The Detroit News, Atlantic Monthly, Gourmet, Bon Appetite, Playboy, Detroit Hour Magazine, The Detroit Free Press and Wine Spectator.

Andy Schloss
Andy Schloss and Dave Joachim have created the new standard textbook of grilling with their MASTERING THE GRILL: THE OWNER’S MANUAL FOR OUTDOOR COOKING, which was named to the New York Times bestseller list. As a well-known teacher, writer and food industry consultant, Andy has authored 10 cookbooks and countless articles. He is also past president of the International Association of Culinary Professionals.

Karen Solomon
The DIY movement has been taking over the country one hand-knitted scarf at a time. It was inevitable that a compendium of recipes for enterprising home cooks would follow. Enter Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It... Tasting Table

Curtis Stone
Aussie Curtis Stone, host of TLC’s Take Home Chef, is best known for his laid-back approach to cooking. Though he’s worked as head chef in several Michelin-starred London restaurants, some of his most memorable meals are the ones he’s shared with friends at home. Now, in his new cookbook, RELAXED COOKING WITH CURTIS STONE, Curtis shows you how to have as much fun in the kitchen as your guests are sure to have over a comfortable, unforgettable meal.

Anna Thomas
LOVE SOUP provides delicious recipes for vegetarian soups from the author of “the most influential cookbooks in the history of modern vegetarian cuisine” (Chicago Sun-Times). Anna Thomas’s Vegetarian Epicure cookbooks have sold millions of copies and inspired generations. Now she describes her love affair with the ultimate comfort food. “From my kitchen to yours,” Thomas says, “here are the best soups I’ve ever made.”

Scott Uehlein
For nearly three decades, Canyon Ranch has been the world’s premier health and wellness destination, celebrated for its integrative treatments, incredible facilities, and signature gourmet food. For the past decade, executive chef Scott Uehlein, has directed the spa's highly-praised culinary philosophy. Uehlein's CANYON RANCH: NOURISH includes the spa's mouthwatering dishes for the at-home chef, sure to entice the most sophisticated palate.

Tom Valenti
Tom Valenti is the chef-owner of New York's acclaimed restaurant, Ouest – long considered a beacon for fine dining on New York City's Upper West Side. Quest is listed as one of New York's top restaurants by New York Magazine and Zagats. The "Flavor King of New York" was diagnosed with diabetes over ten years ago, and after undergoing various stages of denial, anger, and resignation, created a diabetic cuisine that doesn't skimp on flavor. YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A DIABETIC TO LOVE THIS COOKBOOK, is the book food lovers with diabetes have been waiting for: Real flavors, real food, and finally, real pleasure, for America's 23.6 million diabetics.

Bruce Weinstein & Mark Scarbrough
Long known as masters of technique, Weinstein and Scarbrough take it up a few notches in their latest effort, COOKING KNOW-HOW - one of NPR's 10 Best Summer Cookbooks of 2009.

Takashi Yagihashi
Yagihashi gained his following at Ambria and Tribute (in Farmington Hills, Michigan), and was a James Beard and Food & Wine Best New Chef recipient. A member of Macy's Culinary Council, Yagihashi is now dazzling Windy City diners at Takashi and Noodles.

Day Passes for The Epicurean Classic are $119 (Friday or Saturday), $89 (Sunday) and $339 for a three-day “Gourmand Pass” which also includes admission to the coveted Saturday evening Grand Reception. Individual tickets to the opening Great Lakes Great Wines BBQ Reception, Grand Reception and Tasting Seminars are sold separately and advanced registration is suggested. Complete event and program details, as well as online registration, are found at


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Dining on the Fly Experience Makes Perfect “Pure Michigan” Father’s Day Gift

Looking for the perfect gift for that special man on your Father’s Day list? A partnership among three Traverse City area businesses – The Boathouse Restaurant, Bowers Harbor Vineyard and McCool Outdoor – provides a unique and memorable gift that any man is sure to love. A true Northern Michigan experience can now easily be found as you head out to the river for a world-class fly fishing excursion, followed by a gourmet meal prepared and served under a white canopy along the banks of the trout stream, paired with a hand-chosen selection of award-winning Michigan wines.

Your one-of-a-kind day plays 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…

An afternoon of fly fishing, followed by a five-course gourmet meal paired with the finest award-winning regional wines awaits you and your group with Dining on the Fly. Groups range in size from 4 to 25. Those with a group of six or fewer can also join other adventure enthusiasts for this great Northern Michigan experience, June 26, July 13 or July 20.

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

Global Wine Pavilion Attracts Prestigious Wine Importers to National Cherry Festival

The National Cherry Festival will offer wine lovers of all levels an unsurpassed wine experience on the beautiful, tree-studded former Clinch Park Zoo property in downtown Traverse City. The three night event, Thursday, July 9; Friday, July 10; and Saturday, July 11 will feature a superb collection of over 90 wines selected by Master Sommelier Ron Edwards of Charlevoix, Michigan.

The Pavilion will showcase award-winning local, domestic, and international wines covering all major grape varieties and price ranges. In addition, 15 acclaimed craft-brewed international beers will appeal to the hops lover.

“This bay side Festival venue will offer the opportunity for wine, beer, and food enthusiasts to enjoy and learn about many award winning wines including several that are produced right here in northern Michigan”, noted Tim Hinkley, National Cherry Festival Executive Director.

Edwards will scour through thousands of wines available through many of the world’s most prestigious importers including J et R Selections, Small Vineyards Imports, Broadbent Selections, Classical Wines of Spain, Vine Connections, Select Fine Wines, Terra Andina, Peerless Imports, Grape Moments, Midwest Wine Exchange, and others, all of which specialize in small family-run wineries in emerging regions, leading to a select portfolio of 96 labels chosen for their uniqueness, varietal character, value, and overall quality.

To further enhance this exciting event, guests will receive a crystal wine glass manufactured by Stolzle, recognized as Europe’s leading designer of “pulled stem” glassware. The nominal $10 entrance fee will also include a free pour of the night’s featured wine. Fifteen select craft-brewed beers, both European and domestic, imported by Merchant du Vin and Euro Brews will also be available onsite, in addition to Michigan’s Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, recently named by Beer Advocate magazine as the 9th best brewery in the United States.

Complementing the collection of wines, the ‘Global Wine Pavilion’ will feature several tables of appetizers, artisanal cheeses, cured meats, and other alfresco-style foods hand-prepared by chefs from The Cook’s House, Red Ginger, Trattoria Stella, and Amical, Traverse City’s most high profile and respected restaurants.

The Pavilion will be trimmed with white linen, lanterns, softly lit trees, and energizing music – all the elements needed to create an hip, sophisticated courtyard setting, just two minutes walking distance from the bustle of the National Cherry Festival’s Open Space attractions.

The ‘Global Wine Pavilion’ is produced by Matt Sutherland, co-founder of the Epicurean Classic, one of the nation’s premier food, wine, and cookbook events drawing thousands of food lovers annually. A long-time resident of northern Michigan, Sutherland currently writes on food, wine, restaurants, and cookbooks for three regional and national magazines, in addition to his show management responsibilities.

Tickets for the ‘Global Wine Pavilion’ maybe purchased in advance by visiting or by calling (231) 947-4230. The $10 tickets will also be available at the event.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Beaver Island: Michigan’s Pure Eco-Tourism Destination

While on Beaver Island, the most remote inhabited island the Great Lakes, visitors can expect to discover a wealth of natural resources including nature preserves and state land available of walking and exploring. Approximately 35% of the Island – located about 30 miles north of Charlevoix in Lake in Northern Lake Michigan – is state forest land.

Most people come to Beaver Island for its abundant nature and solitude and much of what the island offers is free. With over 100 miles of scenic roads, old two-track trails and beaches, it is ideal for hiking, biking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing. Pristine woods welcome nature lovers for bird watching and photography, as well as sportsmen looking or hunting and fishing opportunities.

Among the extensive natural activities on Beaver Island, one can find:

**Beaver Island Ecotours: Offering a wide variety of tours for outdoor enthusiasts, such as driving and walking tours, inland lake tours, biking tours and hiking and camping trips. Visit sandy beaches, bogs and inland lakes, marshes, cedar swamps and hardwood forests in search of loons, osprey, turtles, salamanders, deer and a variety of flora and fauna for family enjoyment.

**Bonadeo’s Beaver Island Boat Charters: Explore the outer islands of the archipelago such as High Island, Hog Island and Squaw Island, on half-day or full-day excursions ideal for singles, couples, families and groups. Learn the history of the island lighthouses and former residents as you play a modern day explorer in Northern Lake Michigan.

**Indigo Guide Service: Guided fly fishing and casting trips for smallmouth bass, carp and other species on Beaver Island and its surround islands make for some of the best flats-style fishing in the Midwest.

**Inland Seas School of Kayaking: Paddle the clear-blue waters of the Beaver Island archipelago where a variety of outdoor experiences are offered for all ages, including sea kayak trips in the St. James Harbor and on Lake Michigan or naturalist-led kayak eco-tours on the inland lakes. Be on the lookout for loons, eagles, osprey and beaver lodges during the morning or afternoon excursions or take part in a full-moon paddle and learn lunar lore while listening to the nighttime sounds of Northern Michigan.

**Lakesports & Paradise Bay Gifts: This is the place to pick up a fishing pole, bait or tackle as well as rent canoes, kayaks, boats with motors, pedal boats, bikes and camp gear. Also offering hourly moped rentals.

**Paradise Bay Dive Shop: Located on Beaver Island’s Paradise Bay – one of the finest harbors in the Great Lakes. The water surrounding the island contains shipwrecks and other underwater scenery just waiting to be explored. Sign up for Scuba instruction, snorkeling, diving classes, cruises aboard The Resolute or out-island adventures.

Visitors will find two established campgrounds on Beaver Island, both owned and operated by the Island Townships and open from April 1 to the end of November. There are no reservations at either campground and 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)

Beaver Island is also home to the Central Michigan University biological field station, offering academic classes in biology, other sciences, and the arts. Faculty and students utilize the woods and waters surround the Beaver Archipelago as their outdoor classroom for field trips and lectures.

After a day, or more, of exploring the rustic nooks and crannies of Beaver Island, visitors can find luxurious packages at the East Wind Day Spa & Hair Salon, where facials, massages, manicures and pedicures are offered to help relax both the mind and body. A variety of dining options can be found on the island, with Nina’s Restaurant at the Beaver Island Lodge offering a fine dining menu and extensive wine list.

Situated adjacent to Lake Michigan, Beaver Island Lodge has been a host to visitors since the 1950s and is one of many lodging properties on the island. Other noteworthy accommodations include The Brothers Place – a rustic Northwoods lodge originally built on a 20-acre parcel in 1928 as a retreat house by the Christian Brothers religious order and Shanoule B&B – a rustic three-suite bed-and-breakfast tucked away on a 40 acre secluded wooded lot.

Getting to Beaver Island is easy. The Beaver Island Boat Company ( runs from early April through December, with limited runs in the early and late season. The 32-mile ride takes approximately two hours.

Fresh Air Aviation ( and Island Airways ( both provide plane service to the island. All three services operate out of Charlevoix.

Those searching for a truly removed up-north destination will find it on Beaver Island, one of the purist four-season vacation destinations in Michigan. When it comes to natural escapes, nothing compares to America’s Emerald Isle – Beaver Island.

Beaver Island Chamber

Monday, June 8, 2009

Trattoria Stella Celebrates 5 Years with Father's Day Picnic to Benefit the Michigan Land Use Institute

To celebrate its 5th Anniversary, Trattoria Stella of Traverse City will hold a picnic from 12-4pm on Father’s Day – Sunday, June 21 on the Great Lawn at Building 50 at the Grand Traverse Commons. All the food offered at this “Stellar Picnic” will be from local farms. Pork, buffalo, potatoes, strawberries, cream, and more will be served. There will be music and children's games to make this a family event for Father's Day. Tickets can be purchased through Stella and are $10/person or $25/family. In keeping with their commitment to the area, proceeds will benefit the Michigan Land Use Institute.

Paul and Amanda Danielson, owners of Trattoria Stella, had a vision for a restaurant that would "Find the best sources for food, seek out the finest wines in the world, . . . and put quality ahead of the bottom line."

“Nearly five years ago, we opened up fueled by vigor, positive attitude and a whole lot of hope,” proprietor Paul Danielson reflects. “Since then, we have successfully surrounded ourselves with a staff that understands our goal and wants to be a part of it. We have found that much of the best food we can find is grown within twenty miles of our kitchen door. We happily learned that while we can put together a wine list to compare with the best in the country, much of ours comes from our own region.”

Stella has had a strong impact on the local community, with almost 60 employees and strong relationships with area farms and businesses. Chef Myles Anton works directly with over 45 area farms, many of whom have increased their plantings to supply the 165-seat restaurant, saying he doesn't mind the extra effort required to procure local produce.

“Our guests are provided with a fresher, more nutritious product while the dollars generated stay within the community,” Chef Myles Anton proudly states. “Our area farmers have willingly worked harder to increase their planted acreage; it is a symbiotic relationship where we feed each other.”

Stella’s commitment to high quality products from the area extends to their extensive wine list which boasts 25 local wines by the glass.

“We are very proud to offer the most comprehensive local wine list in the state of Michigan,” Amanda Danielson, proprietor and sommelier says. “We extend our sincerest appreciation to the winemakers for producing these truly world-class wines.”

Five years is worth celebrating in the restaurant industry where, according to Cornell Hotel & Restaurant Administration Quarterly (August, 2005), 25% of restaurants close or change ownership within year one, and that number jumps to 60% within the first three years.

Contact: Paul and Amanda Danielson, proprietors
Tel: 231.929.8989
email: |

Additional contacts:
· Chef Myles Anton, Trattoria Stella, 231-632-0712, 231-929-8989
· Michigan Land Use Institute, 231-941-6584,

Farmers who may be contacted about Trattoria Stella's impact on their farms:
· Jennifer Bramer, Agrivine, 231-883-8337
· Dick and Gaye Zenner, Zenner Farms, 231-263-5339
· Craig Schaaf, Golden Rule Farm, 231-510-7273
· Dave and Jo Edmundson, Edmundson Farms & The Cherry Connection, 231-223-7130
· Buchans Blueberry Hill, 231-223-4846

Wineries that may be contacted about Trattoria Stella's impact on their wineries:
· Bryan Ulbrich, Left Foot Charley, 231-995-0500, 231-645-1644
· Spencer Stegenga, Bowers Harbor Vineyards, 231-223-7615

Trattoria Stella
1200 West 11th Street
Traverse City, MI 49686

Tuesday's House Tourism Committee hearing on HB 5017-18 has been cancelled!

Tuesday's House Tourism Committee hearing on HB 5017-18 has been cancelled! The Speaker's office has asked the Chairman of the committee to delay consideration for a week or two. Please forward this email to all industry friends and supporters to help avoid anyone making an unneeded trip to Lansing.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Tourism Leaders Invited to Funding Hearing at 10:30am on Tuesday, June 9

Timing is everything in life, and now is the time to get behind this new legislation aimed to provide funding for Travel Michigan and its award-winning “Pure Michigan” campaign. Every business in Michigan with an interest in tourism is asked to support this initiative by attending the hearing on House Bills 5017 and 5018 at 10:30 am in the House Tourism Committee this Tuesday, June 9th in room 521 of the House Office Building. We need a large presence with representatives from across the tourism industry to show the legislature the importance of funding tourism promotion in Michigan. This year’s advertising campaign is being seen across the nation on a many cable networks, producing great interest in visiting our great State! This is important and we may only have this one time to make a powerful impression on our legislators. All the information you’ll need about these bills is below. Feel free to forward this to anyone in your community who may be interested.


Introduction of “Pure Michigan” Funding Package Hailed by Tourism Industry

Legislation would boost tax revenues - create jobs for Michigan

Lansing, MI – Legislation introduced to provide ongoing funding for the “Pure Michigan” campaign is being applauded by all segments of Michigan’s tourism industry; this state’s third largest industry. The package of bills is considered crucial as the current one-time placement of $30 million in funding is scheduled to drop over 80% to just $5.7 million on October 1st.

The legislative package consisting of two House bills and two Senate bills includes a temporary car rental assessment to be imposed largely on out-of-state visitors (HB 5017) and the creation of a segregated fund (HB 5018) to hold all revenues generated by HB 5017 and the Senate bills.

The Senate bills are designed to set aside sales and use tax revenues from tourism-specific businesses for reinvestment into the “Pure Michigan” campaign. Past studies have shown the State receives an average of $2.86 in new sales tax revenues for every dollar invested into the award-winning promotion campaign. Hearings on the two House bills are scheduled before the House Tourism, Outdoor Recreation and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday, June 9.

“As Lansing looks to stimulate and grow its economy, Michigan’s tourism industry is our best, and perhaps, only option,” said Steve Yencich, president of the Michigan Lodging & Tourism Association which is spearheading the campaign. “These bills will create new tax revenues and jobs that are simply not feasible in other industries such as manufacturing. That makes passage of the Pure Michigan funding package an important key to Michigan’s economic future. We applaud the House’s leadership on this issue, and hope the Senate will take prompt action as well.”

Here's a brief description, along with a link to each of the actual bills.

HB 5017 - (Representative Woodrow Stanley, D-Flint, et all)

Places a $2.50 per day assessment on car rentals, primarily near airports, train deports, bus stations, etc. Michigan insurance consumers are exempt from the assessment, which is largely paid by travelers coming from outside of Michigan. Assessment revenues will provide short-term funding for Pure Michigan (75% tourism promotion) and Upper Hand (25% business promotion)campaigns. The assessment sunsets after a defined period of time, making this a temporary car rental assessment.

HB 5018 (Representative David Nathan, D-Detroit, et al)

Creates a special fund within the State's General Fund to receive revenues raised by HB 5017, SB 619, and SB 620 to be used to fund tourism and business promotion, (Pure Michigan 75% and Upper Hand 25%).

SB 619 (Allen, R-Traverse City)
Captures use tax revenue from tourism-specific businesses to provide long-term funding of the Pure Michigan and Upper Hand campaigns.

SB 620 (Jason Allen, R-Traverse City)

Captures sales tax revenue from tourism-specific businesses to provide long-term funding of the Pure Michigan and Upper Hand campaigns.

HB 5018 and HB 5019 will be up for hearings at 10:30 am in the House Tourism Committee on this Tuesday, June 9th in room 521 of the House Office Building.

If you support the Pure Michigan Funding Package - make plans to attend!

Please direct any questions to:

Steve Yencich, CAE
Michigan Lodging and Tourism Association
3815 W. St. Joseph Hwy. Suite A200
Lansing, MI 48917
(517) 267-8989
(517) 267-8990 (fax)
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Serving Michigan's Lodging & Tourism Industries