I am working with several destinations around Michigan in scheduling FAM trips for media…in most cases, these will be individual trips set up based on each person’s schedule. Here’s what we’ve got:
• Harbor Country (www.visitharborcountry.org)
Welcome to Harbor Country®, where five star dinners go with flip flops and the day's agenda can change on a whim. Where the fast pace of life slows down and yields to the lazy luxuries of sunsets over Lake Michigan, plankwood sidewalks and dockside cafes. Of art and antiques and long afternoons whiled away in the tasting rooms of world-class wineries. 90 minutes from Chicago is Harbor Country®, a treasure of 8 lakeside towns, shabby-chic shops, countryside communities, heavenly beaches and the most spectacular sunsets in the state. Rich in culture with galleries, antiques, theaters and shops, as well as culinary treasures such as eateries, wineries, farm markets and an historically designated meat market. Often referred to as the Hamptons of the Midwest. Boasting miles of Lake Michigan shoreline beach, navigable rivers, biking trails and natural wonders. In Harbor Country, you can learn to surf and stand-up board on rivers and lakes, or you can try your luck at the area’s distinguished casino.
• Beaver Island (www.beaverisland.org)
Accessible via the Emerald Isle out of Charlevoix, Michigan’s most inhabited island awaits – just 6 hours from Chicago and 5 hours from Detroit. This remote inhabited island in Northern Lake Michigan boasts a year-round population of 600 - a large percentage of Irish descent. Time slows down here, offering a serene, relaxed way of life. You are invited to discover Beaver Island for yourself to see its many natural and cultural treasures. Beaver Island is rich in eco-friendly offerings. Tour the Island by bicycle, or bring your car over on the Ferry or rent a car on Beaver Island to circle the Island in an afternoon. Find a wealth of natural resources, including nature preserves and abundant state land for walking, exploring, or just relaxing. Summer means beach walking, enjoying a sunset, exploring the trails, walking the docks and watching the boats sail in. Protar's house, the Marine Museum or the Old Mormon Print Shop museum are an open door into the island’s rich history. Home to two lighthouses: the St. James Harbor Light on the north end of the island on Paradise Bay and the fully restored Beaver Head Light Station on the south end of the island (where visitors can climb the tower and view a Fresnel lens for free), Beaver Island is the access point to boat and plane tours to nearly a dozen remote lights such as Squaw Island, St. Helena Island and the Fox Islands.
• Sleeping Bear Dunes & The Homestead Resort (www.sleepingbeardunes.com)
A good five hours drive and a million miles or so from the Motor City lies another Michigan, one that time happily forgot - a peninsula of small hamlets (and one bona fide town) that ends in the hushed splendor of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The Leelanau Peninsula, which juts out into the hypnotic inland seas known as Lake Michigan is a paradise of outdoor activities - swimming, hiking, fishing and canoeing - give it a 9 on our Activities scale. But it is the dunes at Sleeping Bear, which range in color from pale champagne to burnt sienna and which roll and spike to 400 feet in height that earned a perfect 10 in our Splendor category. Here, you can picnic as if you were the last family on earth - and actually feel that way even at the most crowded time of year. The area’s premier resort – The Homestead – serves as your home base. The Homestead is Northern Michigan’s largest waterfront resort community, located in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – a unit of the National Park Service. Along with its unmatched natural setting and miles of frontage on Lake Michigan and the Crystal River, the resort offers guest pools, tennis and golf in the summer; downhill and cross country skiing in the winter; and shops, restaurants, meeting centers and the luxurious new Spa Amira throughout all four seasons. Offering a variety of programs aimed at enriching lives, surrounded by the scenic natural beauty of the Leelanau Peninsula, visitors will find the dave Pelz Scorign Game School, Orvis Michigan Fly Fishing School, Watercolor Painting Workshop and Great Lakes Photo Tour.
• Michigan. The Great Beer State (www.michiganbrewersguild.org)
Craft brewing is on the rise in Michigan – with some 70 microbreweries found throughout the state (in both the Upper & Lower Peninsulas). Ann Arbor, Metro Detroit, Grand Rapids and Traverse City are among the areas boasting multiple breweries and a rich culture focused on the local. Some of the world’s premier craft breweries call Michigan home, including Bell’s, Founders, New Holland, Jolly Pumpkin, Short’s, Arcadia and Arbor Brewing, among MANY others. The Michigan Brewers Guild hosts 4 festivals each year open to members of the media – the next being the Michigan Summer Beer Festival, July 23-24 at Depot Town’s Riverside Park in Ypsilanti. July is also Michigan Craft Beer Month. Other upcoming festivals include September 11 in Marquette (UP), October 23 at Detroit’s Eastern Market and February 26 at 5/3 Ballpark in Grand Rapids. Michigan’s thriving brewing industry contributes over $24 million in wages with a total economic contribution of more than $133 million. In terms of overall number breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs, Michigan ranks #6 in the nation – thus supporting its claim as “The Great Beer State.”
• Camp Michigan…Getting Back to Nature (www.michcampgrounds.com)
Travelers looking for destinations and activities that will stretch their minds and imaginations, without stretching their wallets, are invited to give Michigan camping a try this summer season. Camping is ranked the #1 outdoor vacation activity in the United States by the Travel Industry Association of America. ARVC-Michigan represents 200+ 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. Campers enjoy geocaching, photography, nature viewing, wine & craft beer tasting, agri-touring and so much more. There’s definitely no shortage of activities, no matter where the campground is located. NOTE: It is expected that August, 2010 will be declared Michigan Camping & RV Month.
• Set Sail…Aboard the Tall Ship Manitou (www.tallshipsailing.com)
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. With a 62 passenger sailing capacity (24 overnight capacity), 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), beeper, email and definitely no itinerary. Three excursions are offered daily (Noon, midday, evening) with weekly special-themed cruises offered on select days throughout the summer. Themed cruises include Moomers Ice Cream Sails (Monday and Friday afternoons thru Sept 3), Wine Tasting Cruises (Tuesday and Thursday nights thru Sept 2), Entertainment Nights (Wednesday evenings thru Aug 25) and Microbrew & Pizza Nights (Sunday evenings thru Sept 5). In addition to the day sails and specialty cruises, the Manitou offers a “Floating B&B” experience which includes the evening sail (Tuesday through Saturday), accommodations in bunk-style cabins and breakfast the next morning. Multi-day fall windjammers are for those with a more adventurous side. The 2010 schedule includes the NEW Women’s Wellness Cruise (September 10-13, 2010), Wine Tasting Cruise (September 17-20, 2010), Music Cruise (September 24-27, 2010), Astronomy Cruise (October 1-4, 2010).
If any of these destinations or themes sounds good, please contact me to set up your personal tour. Please be sure to include a brief bio (including a link to your website/blog) and a list of publications/sources currently featuring your work.
269.330.4228 - mobile
269.204.6232 - fax