Thursday, June 30, 2011

The River – Traverse City introduces TART-Boardman “Pedal & Paddle” Loop

There are so many ways to get off the beaten path in the Traverse City area. The River, a kayak/tube livery and bike rental company operating along Grand Traverse Bay in Clinch Park, invites you to explore the trails this summer – whether that’s the biking trails or the waterway trails.

The TART-Boardman Pedal & Paddle Loop is a three-hour adventure, beginning and ending at Clinch Park. Of course, the tour could also begin at Logan’s Landing, with a paddle to Clinch Park where you can enjoy lunch, shopping, and beachcombing, before heading back to Logan’s on a rental bike.

Outfitted with a modern 15-speed McClain’s bicycle, you’ll head out on the former railroad bed-turned-TART trail, along the waterfront and through downtown Traverse City’s shopping district. The 2-mile wooded Boardman Lake Trail is paved on the north mile, while the south mile is crushed limestone – stretching along the quiet, tree-lined eastern shore of Boardman Lake.

Captain Boardman of Naperville, IL purchased land in the mid 1800s and built a saw mill at the mouth of the Boardman River, which flows through Boardman Lake to the west arm of Grand Traverse Bay. This was the beginning of what became Traverse City. In recognition of his contributions to the area’s history, the river and lake now proudly bear his name.

Within 20-30 minutes on the trail, you’ll arrive at the kayak livery at Logan’s Landing and the Medalie Park Bird Sanctuary, also recognized as an exceptional nature-viewing area. A variety of waterfowl are present on the lake during the warm-weather months. During periods of migration, there have been some unusual sightings of waterfowl, gulls and sometimes shorebirds.

For the Boardman backstretch, launch a sleek Jackson kayak and begin your paddle back to Clinch Park along the picturesque Boardman River system – including Boardman Lake, which is alive with swans, ducks, coots and loons, as well as native brown trout, bass, pike and even walleye. Those interested in wetting a line during their paddle should request a Jackson Coosa fishing kayak.

At any time during your trip, feel free to stop and shop at Cherry Republic, Kilwins, Backcountry Outfitters or the countless other hip retail stores throughout Traverse City’s vibrant downtown area. Enjoy a quick Randy Rice Burger, brat or hot dog from a “fourth generation Benzie County cattle farmer” at Clinch Park or savor a pint of award-wining beer at Right Brain Brewery, situated on the banks of the Boardman in TC’s warehouse district.

Your day on the trails awaits!

The River operates a kayak/tube livery and bike rental operation at Clinch Park (behind Con Foster Museum), along the Boardman River and Grand Traverse Bay, in downtown Traverse City.

In addition to its Traverse City operation, The River operates a kayak/canoe/tube livery and miniature golf course along the sparkling shores of the Crystal River at 5959 S. Oak Street in Glen Arbor, just a block off famed M22. To make reservations for any of these activities, call 231-883-7890. For more information, log onto


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Homestead Introduces Sounds of Sleeping Bear Outdoor Mountain-Top Concert Series

Without question, the most scenic locale for an outdoor summer concert is the top of Bay Mountain at The Homestead – a resort in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The 2011 Sounds of Sleeping Bear Series features three nights of unique entertainment set against the backdrop of Lake Michigan, Sleeping Bear Bay and the Manitou Islands to the west and Glen Lake to the east. A special July 28 concert with the Blackthorn Celtic Quartet will also be held in conjunction with the Glen Arbor Art Association’s, Manitou Music festival.

Enjoy a chair lift (or golf cart) ride to the top of the mountain for these spectacular shows:

Friday, July 8 - String Cheese
String Cheese is the electrifying combination of fiddler, Diana Lodio, and cellist, Alison Lynn. With their feel-good melodies, and foot-stomping, rock-influenced rhythms, these girls have put a fresh, enticing spin on Celtic and Americana music. Though rooted in tradition, the two perform on state-of-the-art electric instruments, and offer listeners the unique opportunity to experience two of the world's best-known instruments and oldest genres through a young, progressive lens. The girls put on a fun, polished and family-friendly show that leaves audiences smiling almost as much as the two performers. String Cheese' captivating sounds and ability to connect to all audiences has made it one of Michigan's most promising instrumental acts.

Thursday, July 21 - Will Ready
R&B/Soul singer, Will Ready, has performed in North America, Europe, Japan and The Caribbean and has opened for Chaka Khan, The Temptations, The Whispers and Al Jarreau. He attributes his silky, seductive style to his love for "old school" R&B, Soul, Jazz and hit makers like Smokey Robinson, Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Baby Face and Keith Sweat. Will describes his new music as "romantic music with a groove-its food for the soul." Will's live performances invariably turn into dance parties. His infectious energy, joy and deep groove laid down by his excellent band, RMG, make it all but impossible to stay in your seat. When Will Ready plays a club date, his audience quickly becomes part of the act. Ready lives in Atlanta, Georgia in the winter and Traverse City, Michigan in the summer. Ready's new music video, "Seduction" was filmed in the restored village sloop on beautiful Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City, Michigan.

Sunday, August 14 - Who Hit John?
Performing, jamming, and busking since 2006, Who Hit John? has tenaciously evolved from their beginnings as an old-time string band playing on the street corner for tips. Incorporating Gypsy Jazz, Swing and European flavors into an already eclectic collage of barnstorming old-time originals and traditionals, they blend old-world music with a vibrant breath of excellent and soul. Expect fanciful fiddle and trumpet melodies over a thick core of acoustic rhythm.

All shows are from 7-9pm, with the chair lift and golf cart rides starting at 6pm. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Beer, wine and soft drinks are available for purchase. In the event of rain, the concerts will be held in Mountain Flowers Lodge.


On Thursday, July 28, enjoy the sounds of the Blackthorn Celtic Quartet as part of the Manitou Music Festival on top of Bay Mountain. Based in Detroit, Blackthorn plays throughout the Great Lakes region since 1984. Blackthorn welcomes you to the rich tapestry of Celtic music. Each member of the band plays multiple instruments, which complement the lead vocals of Belfast native Richard McMullen, the band's tight blend of four-part harmony.

The Manitou Music Festival presents exciting and diverse concerts featuring national and regional performers of classical, jazz and fold music in idyllic outdoor and family-friendly locations. Founded in 1991 by members of the Glen Arbor Art Association, the Manitou Music Festival takes place in the pastoral splendor of Leelanau County.

Children are not free for this Glen Arbor Art Association benefit event. Tickets are $15 (Glen Arbor Art Association members receive $2 discount). For information on Manitou Music Festival and to reserve tickets, visit

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.

For more information, visit or call 231.334.5100.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Right Brain Brewery Taps into "Cherry Pie Whole Beer" -- Made with 50 pies from Grand Traverse Pie Company -- on Friday, July 1 (6pm)

Right Brain Brewery plans to debut their new right brained tap handles for a special tapping of the Cherry Pie Whole beer. The Cherry Pie Whole beer was recently brewed using fifty whole Cherry Crumb pies from the Grand Traverse Pie Company. The new tap handles will debut at the special tapping on Friday, July 1st at 6 p.m., just in time for the National Cherry Festival kick-off. New at this year’s National Cherry Festival beer tent, being served out of their new tap handles, will be Right Brain Brewery’s Will Power Pale Ale!

Right Brain Brewery (RBB) has been working on creating their new tap handles since the fall of 2010 after Russell Springsteen, owner and operator of RBB, was asked to speak at a U of M entrepreneurial conference. Other guest speakers representing Northern Michigan companies were, Mike and Denise Busley, co-founders of the Grand Traverse Pie Company, and Mike Steele, founder of the Tape Wrangler. During a lunch brainstorming conversation the idea of new tap handles and brewing a beer using whole pies from the Grand Traverse Pie Company (GTPC) sprouted.

It was this brainstorming conversation that led to the experimental brewing this past February of the original Pie Whole, which used seventy-five Carmel Apple pies from the Grand Traverse Pie Company. When asked, why another pie beer, Springsteen stated, “Why not? It makes sense and it was really fun the first time. Plus, Grand Traverse Pie Company has such a fantastic variety of flavors!” RBB chose to experiment with the Cherry Crumb pie for obvious regional and seasonal reasons; it’s the season for cherries, the influx of visitor to our region, and of course, the National Cherry Festival.

On Thursday, June 16th, Corey Wentworth, head brewer at RBB, brewed the Cherry Pie Whole using fifty whole GTPC Cherry Crumb pies. The Cherry Pie Whole will be a lighter ale than the original Pie Whole and has a lighter malt profile to highlight the natural cherry flavors.

When asked what’s next, Wentworth replied, “The Cherry Pie Whole is another right brained adventure in the world of pie beer; next stop Ding Dongs, Ho Hos, I don’t know what’s next, but watch out Little Debbie Zebra Cakes!”
The Cherry Pie Whole beer will be released at a special tapping on Friday, July 1st at 6 p.m. at Right Brain Brewery (221 Garland St., Traverse City). It will be served as a premium beer in a 12 oz. glass for $6.50. Along with the special tapping RBB will be debuting their new tap handles.

RBB’s new tap handles have been a nine-month design process. Springsteen first started to investigate options with Mike Steele, founder of the Tape Wrangler, a local Traverse City company, in hopes that RBB could keep this project within the local economy. They soon discovered that the tap handle design was extremely unique and unfortunately with the company’s lack of tap handle production, experience, and technique Springsteen would need to use a company that specializes in tap handle production. Taphandles Incorporated, a tap handle company based in Seattle, Washington, decided to take on the challenging and unique design. Nielson Design Group, based in Traverse City, designed the overall look and feel of the new tap handle.

The new tap handles are clear acrylic with many random objects, including but not limited to RBB sayings, safety pins, glitter, random beads, seashells, space shuttles, and more randomness floating in the handle. The new handles are adorned with a cube on the top that contains Right Brain’s branding. This is the first tap handle of this design and took approximately three months to design and six months to get the prototype correct.

“Overall it has been a fun experience. One of the most challenging aspects of this design project was finding the objects that appear to be floating in the tap handle. These objects needed to be certain sizes, couldn’t melt when put into the hot acrylic, and also needed to be whimsical, playful, and random.” stated Springsteen.

RBB will retire the original tap handles and officially change them to the new design during the special tapping of the Cherry Pie Whole beer on Friday, July 1st at 6 p.m.

Expect to see additional RBB tap handles in the seven counties that Right Brain currently distributes to, as RBB expands their distribution through Wicksall Distributors based in Traverse City. Springsteen plans to sell the limited edition original Right Brain taps for $75 each. Interested parties should contact Right Brain directly. There are less than fifty original taps available.

Right Brain Brewery, featuring rotating artwork and beer menu, is committed to brewing its handcrafted microbrews with the best available local ingredients. Right Brain Brewery is located in Traverse City’s Warehouse District and is open seven days a week. Right Brain Brewery is also proud to support our community by being involved in countless community events.

Grateful recipient of the 2010 and 2011 Local Hero Award received from Grand Traverse Edible.

Traverse – Northern Michigan’s Magazine Red Hot Best winner for Bar To Inspire Conversation.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Governor Snyder & Michigan Legislators Recognize August as “Michigan Camping & RV Month”

For generations, Michigan has welcomed campers to its woodlands, freshwater shoreline and along its inland lakes and streams, in two distinct peninsulas – nestled in the middle of the Great Lakes Region.

In honor of such tradition Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, along with Representative Frank Foster (R – Pellston) and Senator Goeff Hansen (R – Hart) will declare August as “Michigan Camping & Recreation Vehicle Month”. Resolutions will be introduced on Wednesday, June 22 (10:30am in the Senate; 1:30pm in the House with a news conference at Noon in rooms 402-403 of the Michigan State Capitol Building.

Michiganians and visitors alike take advantage of our great state’s array of sun, freshwater coastline, 19 million acres of woodlands, soft breezes and fresh air, where the temperate climate allows for great camping and outdoor recreations – making it the ultimate Pure Michigan experience!

The official resolution supports the economic and recreational contributions that the camping industry contributes to Michigan’s overall tourism package:

• Camping is a key contributor in the state’s overall $17+ billion Pure Michigan tourism industry.
• The State of Michigan has more than 950 licensed private recreation vehicle parks and campgrounds, with more than 111,000 licensed camp sites.
• More than 160 county or government operated campgrounds with over 14,700 sites – from rustic to full-service – around the state.
• The State of Michigan is home to 98 state parks and recreation areas – as well as 133 state forest campgrounds – under the auspices of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and 7 forests / parks / lakeshores in Michigan under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service, collectively offering 15,000 sites on state and federal lands designated for camping.
• Michigan has over 300,000 licensed recreational vehicles, including motorhomes and travel trailers. In 2010, Michigan ranked third in new recreation vehicle sales behind Texas and California.
• Camping encourages visitors and locals alike to partake in activities such as boating, fishing, hunting, snowmobiling, paddling, pedaling, golfing, geocaching, nature watching, photography, and other outdoor activities, which also highlight Michigan’s great outdoors.

Governor Snyder has been an outspoken advocate for the Pure Michigan campaign since before he was elected, making it a major point of discussion on his campaign trail. Representative Foster is the chair of the Natural Resources, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation Committee. Senator Hansen chairs the Outdoor Recreation & Tourism Committee.

Michigan boasts two non-profit organizations: ARVC Michigan – the Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds of Michigan and MARVAC – the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles & Campgrounds, which equally promote and support private campground and RV parks throughout the state particularly by the distribution of hundreds of thousands of free camping directories at RV and outdoor shows, at statewide chambers of commerce, libraries, lawmakers offices, RV sales businesses, campgrounds and the State of Michigan Travel Information Centers.

All state lands are managed by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, while the national parks and lakeshores are managed by the National Park Service and/or the U.S. Forest Service. All campgrounds – including the companion recreational activities – are among the tourism destinations promoted via Travel Michigan and its award-winning Pure Michigan campaign.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Movie Tidbits, Trivia & Events Along Michigan’s Lakeshore

With all the buzz about the upcoming Waterfront Film Festival and Michigan’s growing film industry, we thought we’d share some big screen tidbits, trivia and even some local movie event details with you from the Holland & Saugatuck Area Attractions Group.

Crane’s Pie Pantry
On Saturday, June 11, Crane’s Pie Pantry – located in Fennville (Goose City, USA) will be showing the 1996 “Fly Away Home” with Michigan’s own Jeff Daniels and Anna Paquin in what they’re calling Fennville’s own “One Night Film Festival.” This free family movie will be shown in the field own by the corn maze, behind the restaurant. The restaurant will be open until 8pm, so plan on a late dinner before the show begins. Bring your lawn chair or a blanket and snacks (although concessions will be sold as well) and settle in for an evening of family fun. Admission begins at 8pm with the movie starting around 8:30/9:00pm (weather permitting). |269-561-2297

Fenn ValleyGet your SIDEWAYS on right here at Fenn Valley Vineyards in Fennville. Winemaker cellar tours are offered at 3pm every Saturday (excluding 6/25) – providing a chance for you to taste from the barrels and tanks as you learn what makes Fenn Valley wines unique. Cost is $8 per person and includes a logo wine glass and $5 coupon. Reservations encouraged. Also, save the date for the Fenn Valley Wine Fest, June 25 (1-5pm), with great wines, tasty ethnic foods, a barrel aging demonstration and music by Natches Trace. Cost is $8 for adults. No reservations required. | 269-561-2396

Dutch Village
Did you know that Nelis’ Dutch Village operates The Bioscoop (a movie theater)? This should be your first stop in the village, where you can enjoy a “Souvenir of Holland” and get a general overview of the Netherlands. Other documentaries are shown throughout the day; the schedule is listed in the daily visitor’s guide.

Dutch Village has been the setting for a Dutch documentary for the VPRO TV network in the Netherlands and has also hosted the filming of three movies and documentaries in the past two years: “What’s Wrong with Virginia” in 2009 and “Return to the Hiding Place” in 2010 (which was also filmed at Windmill Island). Set in 1941, this poignant and riveting World War II film centers around Corrie Ten Boom’s teenage army who fight to save the lives of the innocent during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. It is due out yet this year.

Also of note, wooden shoes – made at Dutch Village – have even been featured in the movie, Elizabethtown and in the series Sex and the City (season 6). | 616-396-1475

New Holland Brewing
The summer seasonal Golden Cap Saison pays homage to the “flying monkeys” from the Wizard of Oz – written by L. Frank Baum who vacationed in nearby Castle Park! A modern interpretation of a traditional farmhouse ale, Golden Cap is a soft, pale beer that embodies the flavors and aromas of summer fields. New Holland’s Mad Hatter proudly displays an original illustration of the popular character from Alice in Wonderland.

Celebrate Mad Hatter’s Birthday – on Saturday, June 11 (5pm-1am) with a full day of activities and several variations on the “Hatter” theme including seven different Hatter beers and even a couple of spirits. Festivities include a Beer and Cheese Smackdown followed by a Mixology Class. The Bike n' Bar will be available for rides. Guests can also enjoy a Photobooth, complimentary Tea Party snacks, raffle prizes throughout the evening and a Mad Hatter birthday cake you will have to see to believe!!! The cake will be on display through the evening with a carving and toast at 10:06pm. Throughout the night, DJ Snax will be providing the music. There is no cover for this event; no minors allowed after 11pm. | 616-335-6422

Star of Saugatuck Boat Cruises
Embrace your inner Tom Sawyer with a leisurely float on the Kalamazoo River aboard an authentic sternwheel paddleboat. Bring your binoculars and camera to observe the birds, water fowl and other animals in their natural environment. The shoreline is peppered with color as the spring wildflowers make their appearance for the season. On Friday, June 24, make reservations for the extended cruise from 7-10pm with live music, a picnic lunch and cash bar. Seating is limited and reservations are required. | 269-857-4261

Saugatuck Dune Rides
As you head out for your exploration along the Lake Michigan shoreline with Saugatuck Dune Rides (celebrating its 30th anniversary this summer), be sure to check out the former Pine Crest Cabins Motor Court, sitting adjacent to the ticket office on Blue Star Highway. This run-down motor lodge – with its open garage stalls that housed guests’ Model Ts – was used as a set in the 1920s-era movie Road to Perdition. Starring Tom Hanks and Paul Newman, this 2001 movie featured a couple local scenes – including a cottage that was constructed (and later torn down) along the beach. | 269-857-2253

Windmill Island
The picturesque setting of Windmill Island & Gardens has been the backdrop for a couple films in recent years.

Holland-born and -raised Hopwood DePree (co-founder of Saugatuck’s Waterfront Film Festival, founder and CEO of TicTock Studios and appointee to the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council) wrote, directed and produced “The Last Big Attraction” which was filmed here in 1999. The film even received one nomination at the Hamptons international Film Festival and won three awards at the Newport International Film Festival. In the movie, Hopwood played Leed VanderWal – a young man poised to assume a key role in his family’s dynasty by inheriting the internationally-recognized tourist attraction – Windmill Island.

Most recently, in 2010, Windmill Island was a primary filming location for the movie, Return of the Hiding Place (which also filmed at Dutch Village). In several scenes in the movie, the authentic 250-year-old DeZwaan Windmill can be seen standing guard over the tulip farms that stretch out along the grassy lawn. The trailer for the movie can be seen online at; the film is due out in 2011. | 616-355-1030

Holland & Saugatuck Lakeshore Attractions Group

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Trattoria Stella Hosts 7th Anniversary Stellar Picnic

In celebration of its 7th Anniversary, Trattoria Stella restaurant is hosting a “Stellar Picnic” on Sunday, June 19 (Father’s Day) from Noon to 4pm on the Great Lawn of Building 50 in the Village at Grand Traverse Commons.

Bring the entire family for a day full of locally grown and raised foods from area farms, music and children’s activities. The event is held rain or shine and guests are invited to BYOB (Bring Your Own Blanket) as tables and chairs will not be available.

Admission is free with lunch priced at $10 for adults and $2 for children; profits benefit the Michigan Land Use Institute. Advance tickets are available now at Trattoria Stella.

Trattoria Stella opened in 2004 and is the anchor business in the quarter-mile-long Building 50 at the former Northern Michigan Asylum. Stella offers a daily changing menu featuring responsibly-sourced ingredients from local farms, including heritage breeds of pig, lamb and steer; year-round fresh produce; plus house-made pasta, bread and fresh cheeses; as well as a wine list of over 200 carefully curated selections. Stella is owned and operated by Paul and Amanda Danielson, along with the award-winning Chef Myles Anton.

Trattoria Stella
1200 West Eleventh Street
Traverse City, MI 49684

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Saugatuck Brewing Expands Distribution into Southeast Michigan

Saugatuck Brewing Company has announced a major distribution expansion into the Detroit Metro, Tri Cities, and mid-Michigan markets. Effective May 1, “SBC” has partnered with Powers Distributing, O & W Distributing, Eastown Distributors and John P. O’Sullivan Distributing.

Oval Beach Blonde, ESB Amber, Pier Cove Porter, and Singapore IPA are now available in select retail outlets, bars, restaurants, and pubs in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, Livingston, Monroe, Bay, Midland, Saginaw, Lapeer and Genesee counties.

SBC launched 6-pack and keg distribution of their four major brands in May 2010, covering the western and central Michigan markets with I.H.S. Distributing, Kent Beverage, and Nate Wines. This expansion now brings the total to 34 Michigan counties now carrying SBC beer.

Saugatuck Brewing Co. is a microbrewery with a traditional Irish style pub and German style bier hall that features hand crafted beer, wine, food, and service. Fifteen unique beer styles, all brewed in house, plus wine and hard cider are served daily in the Pub. “SBC” also distributes four styles in 6-packs throughout Michigan. The multi-purpose Bier Hall is a full-service banquet facility complete with bar, stage and multiple lighting options. Accommodating well over 200 seated guests, this venue is available for weddings, receptions, reunions, corporate events and concerts. The brewery also features the only active brew-on-premise facility in Michigan, utilizing five copper kettles and an array of natural ingredients and recipes, for the public to become “Brewmaster for a Day.”

Saugatuck Brewing Co. is a proud member of the Michigan Brewers Guild.

Saugatuck Brewing Company
2948 Blue Star Hwy. – Douglas, MI 49406
(269) 857-7222