Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Governor Snyder Declares July “Michigan Camping & Recreational Vehicle Month”

For generations, Michigan has welcomed campers and RVers to its natural woodlands, freshwater shorelines and beaches, in two distinct peninsulas–nestled in the middle of the Great Lakes Region.

For the second year in a row, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has declared a “Michigan Camping & Recreation Vehicle Month,” to be held in July—following last year’s success in the month of August. Camping is a key contributor to the state’s $17 billion tourism industry. The declaration supports the economic and recreational contributions that the camping industry provides to Michigan’s overall tourism, as well as promoting camping as an inexpensive and family-friendly recreation option year-round in our state.

Both Michiganders and visitors alike take advantage of the 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 recreation–making it the ultimate Pure Michigan experience!

Michigan has more than 950 licensed, private, recreation vehicle parks and campgrounds, with more than 111,000 licensed campsites. The state has more than 160 county or government operated campgrounds with over 14,700 sites–from rustic to full-service. Michigan also boasts over 307,000 licensed recreational vehicles, including motorhomes and travel trailers. In Michigan, first quarter 2012 RV sales are up 18 percent from the first quarter of 2011, and sales are projected to increase throughout 2012.

Camping and RVing 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 outdoor parks and recreation areas.

Michigan is home to 102 state parks and recreation areas–as well as 134 state forest campgrounds–under the auspices of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and seven forests/parks/lakeshores in Michigan under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Forest Service. Collectively, Michigan offers 15,000 sites on state and federal lands designated for camping.

Michigan’s two non-profit camping organizations: MARVAC–the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles & Campgrounds and ARVC Michigan–the Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds of Michigan, equally promote and support private campgrounds and RV parks throughout the state.

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 by Travel Michigan and its award-winning Pure Michigan campaign.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

White Flame Brewing Co. Releases “Hooterville Wheat” as Part of Hops for Hope 2012

Drinking Michigan craft beer AND supporting a great cause? That’s exactly what Bill White at White Flame Brewing Co. in Hudsonville is doing this summer during Hops for Hope 2012.

Today, White Flame is releasing “Hooterville Wheat” – a hoppy American-style wheat beer which sells for $5 a pint – with $1 from every beer sold going directly to fund breast cancer research at the Van Andel Institute in Grand Rapids. The beer is only available in the taproom at 5234 36th Avenue in Hudsonville, through September 22.

“The cause is a good one that has touched many people's lives including ours,” says White Flame Owner/Brewer Bill White. “Both my wife Jenn and I have lost our maternal grandmothers to complications related to breast cancer so this cause is very dear to our hearts.”

White Flame Brewing is open five days a week: Tuesdays-Thursdays (4-10pm) and Friday-Saturday (4pm-Midnight).

Opened in January 2012, White Flame Brewing is one of some 100 craft breweries in the state of Michigan, which ranks #5 nationally and touts itself as “The Great Beer State”!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Arbor Brewing Company Becomes Michigan's First Solar Brewery

Ann Arbor’s first brewpub is poised to become Michigan’s first solar brewery when it goes online with a $95K solar-thermal and photovoltaic system on June 18, 2012. Arbor Brewing Company’s sustainable energy system will use the sun’s energy to generate electricity as well as the majority of the hot water needed for brewery and restaurant operations.

The system includes a 2.4 kW solar photovoltaic array, 300 solar thermal collector tubes and a high-efficiency tankless water heater system to supplement the heat from the collector tubes when necessary. When combined with other improvements like switching to CFL and LED lighting and installing low-flow sprayers and occupancy sensors, the system is expected to offset gas usage by up to 40% and electricity usage by up to 15%.

The project grew out of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority’s (A2 DDA) Energy Conservation Grant Program which provided free energy audits and 50% project rebates (up to $20,000) to downtown businesses that implemented audit recommendations to become more energy efficient. ABC owner Matt Greff worked with Ann Arbor DDA Energy Programs Director David Konkle as well as a consulting team from the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment led by Jarett Diamond. Together they were able to identify a number of financial resources and incentives to help offset the installation cost of the system including the $20,000 grant from the DDA, a $10,000 interest-free loan from the city, a 30% tax credit from the federal government, and various incentives from DTE.

Arbor Brewing Company’s Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti is also nearing completion on its own $250,000 Green Brewery Project which includes solar-thermal, photovoltaic, and geo-thermal technologies along with other improvements like new windows and awnings and energy-efficient chiller equipment. The system has with a total system rating of 18 kW electric, and 64.8 kW thermal and is expected to provide almost all of Corner Brewery’s hot water needs and up to 15% of its electricity. We believe this to be the largest-capacity solar installation of any craft brewery East of Colorado. It is set to go online later this summer.

According to Greff the project, which took over two years to complete, was worth every bit of effort that went into it. “It feels really good to know that we were able to make changes that are as good for the environment as they are for the bottom line. We couldn’t have done it without the expertise and assistance we received from our many partners and we hope to be able to assist other small businesses interested in improving their energy efficiency.”

Arbor Brewing Company will be hosting a ribbon-cutting reception to celebrate the launch of the new system on Wednesday, July 11 from 5-7pm at the brewpub at 114 E Washington St, Ann Arbor. Corner Brewery will be hosting its celebration on Wednesday, August 29 from 5-7 at 720 Norris St, Ypsilanti. Both events are free and open to the public.

114 E Washington St
Ann Arbor MI 48104

Historic Camp Tosebo Celebrates 100th Birthday with Community Party - Saturday, August 25

Former Campers, Family, Friends & General Public Invited

In 1912, Camp Tosebo opened as a private camp for boys – today, it is one of the most historic and treasured vacation retreats in Northern Michigan.

Former campers, history buffs and the general public are invited to celebrate at Camp Tosebo’s 100th Birthday Party on Saturday, August 25, starting at 1pm. The gathering will be held at the Tosebo Clubhouse at 7228 Miller Rd., Manistee. Ice cream, cake, and refreshments will be served as folks visit with old friends, play rounds of 'Tom Thumb' miniature golf, tour the historic Camp buildings, stroll the Tosebo forest trails, or take a walk down to the Boathouse to celebrate 100 years of this very special place.

Located in historic Red Park on the southern shore of pristine Portage Lake in Manistee County, Camp Tosebo was established in 1912 as a private summer camp for the Todd Seminary for Boys located in Woodstock, Illinois. During its years as a summer camp, Tosebo attracted boys from all over the country, and even though the Todd School was closed in 1953, the summer camp carried on with its eight-week summer program for another twenty-four years. Since the camp closed in 1977, the property has been used as a family retreat, a bed & breakfast and since 2004 as a very popular vacation rental retreat.

Please visit and for information, history, pictures, and rental information. Please feel free to call 616.644.8239 or email for more information regarding Camp Tosebo.

For more about the history of Camp Tosebo, read “Renting a Piece of Vacation History” by Dianna Stampfler.

Food Dance Kicks off Summer with Social Charity Circle Gathering to Benefit Fair Food Matters

Celebrate the summer solstice and enjoy a cool beverage with Fair Food Matters and the Social Charity Circle of Kalamazoo, on Wednesday, June 20 from 6-9 p.m. at Food Dance.

A $10 donation at the door gets you into this summer social event, including a complimentary drink and entry into a raffle drawing for a fabulous prize basket. Extra raffle tickets available with additional drinks or appetizers purchases. Proceeds will benefit Fair Food Matters.

Fair Food Matters works to help improve the Kalamazoo area’s community health, empower women, support small businesses, fight obesity and diabetes, prevent hunger, foster youth development and increase academic achievement through education about local food and through growing local foods.

Social Charity Circle of Kalamazoo is the community’s first and unique social organization to organize events that benefit local charities and businesses. The Social Charity Circle is proud to present the newest and most exciting reason for socially-conscious members of the community to enjoy a fun evening out on the town.

Food Dance is a locally-owned company committed to growing profitability through positive relationships between suppliers, staff and guests. As one of the original West Michigan farm-to-fork restaurants dedicated to using locally-produced food, the culinary team at Food Dance works to provide a positive environmental impact and educates its staff and guests on the importance that this mindset has to the culture and community in which we live. Food Dance also supports the belief that we are all mutually-accountable to obtain excellence, by providing opportunities that create community engagement through great food and great service.

Official Facebook Event


401 E. Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo MI 49007

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Grand Traverse Distillery Opens Frankenmuth Tasting Room - Expands Locations to Four

Grand Traverse Distillery has announced the opening of its fourth tasting room – the third in less than a year – at the River Place Shops in downtown Frankenmuth, 925 S Main St, B 6, .

“The Frankenmuth store is in an excellent location to accommodate our customers who live in Southeastern Michigan,” says owner Kent Rabish. “We are very excited to be finally opening this tasting room and introduce our award-winning products to a whole new marketplace!”

Visitors to the Frankenmuth tasting room will find GTD’s Wheat Vodka, True North Vodka and Cherry Flavored Vodka – as well as a variety of whiskey products like Ole George 100% Straight Rye Whiskey, Bourbon, a 2nd Straight Rye Whiskey, and a 100% Corn Whiskey. More varieties of whiskey are in the works.

“We will also be offering a whiskey blending service, where we can custom blend any whiskey to order for a customer, which they then take home along with a mini charred oak aging barrel to begin aging their own whiskey at home,” Kent says. “We offer this in Traverse City, but now we have a location convenient for people in Southeastern Michigan.”

Last summer, owner Rabish opened a location in Leland on the Leelanau Peninsula, not far from historic Fishtown and is also sharing a tasting room with Black Star Farms in The Village at Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City. The original distillery and tasting room is located in Traverse City.

Michigan has established itself for its first-class wineries and breweries, and the craft distilling industry is now garnering attention. When you purchase these Michigan beverages, you not only support the local businesses but Michigan agriculture as well.

“We have choices now that were not available just a few years ago and we can choose to consume delicacies produced by our neighbors,” says Landis Rabish, President at GTD. “This is a revolution that has only just begun. It is gratifying to see that Michigan has not languished in the backwaters of this change, but instead is leading the way. Why buy produce from afar and ship it around the globe when we can grow it ourselves. Supporting products that are produced locally just makes sense for so many reasons.”

As a Michigan distiller, using locally-grown grains is a top priority. As such, Grand Traverse Distillery is proud to support Michigan agriculture. The company has purchased more than 750,000 pounds of rye, wheat and corn from local farmers since it began distilling its hand-crafted spirits in 2007.

“What people are discovering is that supporting local does not have to come at the expense of quality,” Landis says. “Crafting local spirits is not a new idea. Before prohibition, America had hundreds of distilleries around the country, all using local grains to produce mainly whiskey. It seems what is old is new again.”

Hand-crafted in small batches, more than 4000 cases of True North Vodka, Cherry Vodka and Wheat Vodka have sold per year. The vodkas can be found in over 900 retail outlets and 400 restaurants/bars in Michigan and is distributed in Michigan by Great Lakes Wine & Spirits.

GTD has earned multiple “Gold Medal” honors in the International Review of Spirits (2007 and 2009) and A “Gold Medal” in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition (2008). In the 2009 and 2010, Wine Enthusiast Magazine selected True North Vodka as one of the six best vodkas in the world.

For more information about Grand Traverse Distiller, log onto or find them on Facebook:

Monday, June 11, 2012

Salt of the Earth Concludes Michigan Series with Wyncroft Wines Summer Solstice Dinner

Salt of the Earth – Fennville’s rustic American eatery – will conclude its 2012 Michigan Beer & Wine Series on the longest day of the year Wednesday, June 20 with a “Summer Solstice Wine Dinner” featuring James Lester’s Wyncroft Wines. Guest Chef Jeffrey Johnston of Copper Rock Steakhouse inside New Buffalo’s Four Winds Casino will join Chef Matthew Pietsch for this exclusive culinary affair.

“Chef Matt’s motto of ‘cooking in the moment’ will be in full force as we welcome Chef Jeffrey to our first ever summer wine event,” says SotE proprietor Mark Schrock. “Fresh seasonal ingredients in dishes with French influences, paired with Jim’s amazing Bordeaux style wines will make for a summer evening to remember.”

The five-course dinner starts at 7:09pm. Space is limited to 36 guests, at a cost of $85 per person (plus tax/gratuity). For reservations: 269-561-SALT (7258).

The Summer Solstice Wyncroft Wine Dinner menu includes:

First Course – 2011 Avonlea Dry Riesling
radish – garlic cream – prosciutto - watercress

Second Course – 2007 Chardonnay
crispy chicken liver – trumpet royal mushroom

Third Course – 2010 Pinot Noir
Gunthorp farms duck breast – Parisian gnocchi

Fourth Course – 2010 Shou
lamb – flageolet beans – lamb demi glace – mint

Fifth Course- December Late Harvest
fresh berries – rhubarb – pate brisee


Wyncroft Wine makes artisanal, super-premium quality wines from estate-grown grapes in the Lake Michigan Shore appellation. These single-vineyard bottlings contain the finest grape varieties that thrive in our Michigan soil and microclimate, emphasizing those that consistently allow us to craft wines that meet our standard of quality.

Salt of the Earth is tucked away in a historic building in quaint downtown Fennville – in the heart of the Southwest Michigan’s thriving agricultural region. Under the direction of Chef Matthew Pietsch (protégé of ‘Iron Chef’ Michael Symon), this full service restaurant offers a seasonal menu of made-from-scratch entrees, shared plates, wood-fired oven pizzas, pastas, sandwiches and creative desserts – using fresh ingredients, sourced locally whenever possible. You’ll also find a bar stocked with an impressive selection of Michigan wines, craft beers, and spirit, alongside other domestic and international selections. Artisan bread is baked in house and served with dinner, and is available for purchase at the restaurant and several local retail outlets. Salt of the Earth is also a popular venue for local and regional musical artists, with live house concerts held weekly. Summer Hours: open for dinner every evening at 5pm.

Salt of the Earth
114 East Main Street
Fennville MI 49408
269.561.SALT (7258)

Official FB Event

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mission Table opens The Tasting Room on Old Mission Peninsula

The Tasting Room showcases their artisan-crafted Civilized Spirits, Bonafide Wines, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales and North Peak Beers.
The Tasting Room is the latest addition to this historic Old Mission Peninsula landmark, which is home to Mission Table Restaurant, The Peninsula Room, and Jolly Pumpkin Restaurant & Brewery. The new Tasting Room is the only location on the peninsula to pour distilled spirits, handcrafted beers and locally produced wines.

“It is so exciting for us to be able to offer tastings of our Civilized Spirits, Jolly Pumpkin and North Peak beers, and Bonafide Wines in this beautiful new space,” says Chef Paul Olson, Managing Partner. “Alongside our restaurants, The Tasting Room really gives us the opportunity to showcase our dedication to small batch artisan distilling and brewing. Equally important to showing off the end result of that small batch craft is our commitment to using as many local ingredients in all our products and menus whenever they are available.”

The 2300-square-foot space encompasses the Mission Table bar and two smaller dining rooms off the bar. The Tasting Room decor reflects the rustic overtones of their artisan beverages, with whiskey barrels, cherry lugs, wine staves and a fantastic view of West Bay. A community table doubles as a tasting space and a private Chef’s table for dining. All spirits, beers and wines are available for retail purchase by the bottle or case, along with logo’d apparel, glassware, clothing and locally produced jams and salsas. For anyone touring the area, The Tasting Room is a wonderful addition for those seeking to discover the many wonders of Old Mission Peninsula.

Spirit, Beer and Wine Tasting: Open Daily 11am - 9 pm
A $5 tasting fee includes: five samples in any combination of spirits, beers or wines. The tasting fee can then be used as a credit toward the retail purchase of spirits, beers and wines. As Mission Table opens for dinner at 5:00, The Tasting Room becomes a great space to lounge or to enjoy a private dinner at the Chef’s table.

The company's philosophy focuses on a dedication to conservation, inspiration and locally sustainable practices. Their products are available in stores, restaurants and bars all throughout Michigan.

The Tasting Room at Mission Table:
231.223.4222 •
13512 Peninsula Drive (Old Mission Peninsula)
Traverse City, Michigan 49686

About Mission Table, Jolly Pumpkin and The Peninsula Room: Formerly known as Bowers Harbor Inn
Fulfilling a long-lasting heritage dating back to the late 1800s, the Bowers estate is dedicated to the preservation of the land and the sustainable use of local products in the creation of their food and beverages.

After years as one of the Midwest’s most respected fine dining destinations, Bowers Harbor Inn was purchased in 2006 by Jon Carlson and Greg Lobdell, two natives of Old Mission Peninsula. From the outset, their intention was to protect the Inn, and after years of hard work, the estate is now preserved in perpetuity. The Carlson and Lobdell families worked closely with the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy and the Michigan Historic Preservation Network to donate the development rights on the property and placed a conservation easement that protects its historic, scenic and shoreline characteristics.