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 KentHarvestTrails.org. Printed brochures will also be available for free at area Family Fare Supermarket or D&W Fresh Market locations beginning in early September.

www.facebook.com/KentHarvestTrails
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 | Dianna@PromoteMichigan.com


#SourBeerDay #SourBeer #JollyPumpkin

PHOTOS AND ARTWORK AVAILABLE UPON REQUEST

Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales
2319 Bishop Circle East — Dexter, MI 48130 — (734) 426-4962
www.JollyPumpkin.com
www.facebook.com/JollyPumpkin
www.twitter.com/JollyPumpkin

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 www.BIBCO.com.

For information on Beaver Island, including lodging properties, visit www.BeaverIsland.org.

www.facebook.com/beaverislandboatcompany
www.twitter.com/BIBCOFerry

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 www.BIBCO.com. For information on Beaver Island, including lodging properties, visit www.BeaverIsland.org.

Photo Credit: Audubon.org.

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 www.tallshipsailing.com.

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 VisitManistee.com 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.


www.facebook.com/KeweenawExcursions
www.twitter.com/keweenawstar

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 www.crookedtree.org. 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.

FOR MEDIA INTERVIEWS PLEASE CONTACT BOB KURAS: rkuras@thehomesteadresort.com | 231-620-8200

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.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Petoskey Celebrates Annual Festival on the Bay — Activities Planned August 14-15

Several new activities are planned for this year’s Festival on the Bay, August 14-15, in Petoskey—nestled along the shores of Little Traverse Bay. Activities are presented by the Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce.

BBQ on the Bay (Saturday | 3-5pm) is an amateur grilling competition open up to 10 area teams with a tasting event that is open to the public for just $5 per person.

The Paladin Paddle Regatta (Saturday | 5pm) is a cardboard boat race meant to instill fun and excitement on the bay. No matter how fast, slow, big, small, sensible or outrageous your boat is, the first rule is that everyone have fun!

Wine on the Water (Saturday | 5-8pm) this is your chance to sample wines from the 9 wineries of the Bay View Wine Trail. Taste tickets are just one dollar. Try award-winning wines in this special area.

Silent Disco (Friday & Saturday | 7pm to Midnight). It’s all the rage! Step on into the tent, put on a set of headphones and enjoy great dance hits all night…all in your own little world. Those looking in will just see random dancing, because each person in the tent is listening to their own music on their own headset…inside the tent is quiet (except for the singing and laughing of those inside). On Friday night, Hits 106 KHQ DJ Jimmy Hot Keys will be broadcasting live from 7-9pm.

Live entertainment continues to be a major draw for festival-goers. Friday night, The Jelly Roll Blues Band kicks things off at 5pm, followed by the Petoskey Steel Drum Band at 7pm, Billy Strings and Don Julin at 9pm and The Cookies at 10pm. On Saturday, entertainment gets under way at 4pm with Knuckle Fuss, followed by Stereo Artifacts at 5pm, The Drift at 6pm, Mike Logan Comedy at 7pm (and again at 9:30pm), Galactic Sherpas at 7:30pm; The Accidentals at 8:3pm and Detroit Soul Revue closing out the evening from 10pm until Midnight.

Kids’ activities include a large petting zoo, Petoskey stone hunting, face painting, arts and crafts, card games, a youth fishing derby, bouncy house and more. The Children's Area will be open on Friday from 1-7pm and Saturday from 10am to 5pm Entry Fee is $2 per child, per day (adults free). Teenagers aged 14-18 will enjoy the Friday Night Sunset Band Jam, with local bands perform from 9-11pm including Multiverse and Orion Brill. On Saturday night, it’s the Club Electro Sunset Dance Party from 9-11pm with music from DJ DomNom and DJ Krave of D313Gation. The entry fee is $5 per person, each night.

Other events throughout the weekend include The Big Art Show, Chalk and Chocolate Festival, Canoe & Kayak The Bay, YMCA Color Fun Run, Waterball Competition, Vendors on the Midway and more. Find the daily schedule of events here.

Festival on the Bay continues its efforts to “Go Green by the Blue” with a commitment to environmental and conservancy issues and recycling efforts. Glass and plastic bottles, paper and plastic cups, and aluminum cans are recyclable at Festival on the Bay through an on-going partnership with Emmet County Recycling. Look for the recycling stations around the festival site and do your part to keep the waterfront and this community clean and green!

For hotels and lodging packages in the Petoskey area, click here.

The Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce is a business advocacy organization which has been working for Northern Michigan since 1920. Currently more than 780 businesses are invested as members of the organization and those members are served by a full-time staff of 4. Member businesses benefit from chamber services in the areas of business promotion, networking, advocacy, economic development, tourism promotion and community enhancement.

www.facebook.com/petoskeyfestival

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Homestead Recognized by Frommer's as Pure Michigan's Top Wedding Destination

The Homestead was recently named as the #1 spot in Pure Michigan for a wedding, according to the internationally-recognized travel media outlet Frommer’s. The ranking, “Where to Get Married: The Best Weddings in All 50 States,” highlighted just one venue in each state.

“We've put together our dream list of wedding locales,” says writers Margaret Daly and Pauline Frommer. “Some are gorgeous, some are offbeat and some simply feel like the right spot for an unforgettable union.”

America's "Freshwater Resort," The Homestead in Glen Arbor is an all-American, destination-wedding venue on the shores of Lake Michigan. Before it was a resort, The Homestead was a camp for wholesome outdoor experiences founded by a young St. Louis couple convinced that they had found the most beautiful beach of the Great Lakes. Because of its stewardship programs, a wedding at The Homestead can still be a wholesome experience—supporting this resort means supporting environmental and community programs of the region.

Others on the list include Napa Valley, The Grand Canyon, Aspen, Maui and the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, North Carolina.

Frommer's, a travel guidebook series founded by Arthur Frommer in 1957, has expanded to include more than 350 guidebooks across 14 series. Other media, including the website Frommers.com, reaffirms Frommer's as the most trusted name in travel today.

About The Homestead
The Homestead is Northern Michigan’s largest waterfront resort community located in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the area voted by viewers of ABC’s Good Morning America as the “Most Beautiful Place in America”. 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 a luxurious spa and salon throughout all four seasons.

For more information, visit www.thehomesteadresort.com or call 231.334.5100. “Like” The Homestead on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thehomesteadmi and follow on Twitter at @TheHomesteadMi.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Celebrate Michigan Craft Beer Month (July) Aboard Traverse City's Tall Ship Manitou

Tap Into Weekly Microbrew Tasting Sails (thru Labor Day Weekend) and a 4-Day Michigan Craft Brew Cruise

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—aboard the Tall Ship Manitou in Traverse City.

On Sunday evenings, late June through Labor Day weekend, you’re invited to sample local beers paired with fresh, hot pizza during the Microbrew Tasting Cruise. Each Sunday will feature on a local brewery—including Short’s Brewing Company, Brewery Terra Firma, Rare Bird Brewery and Petoskey Brewing. Tickets: $57 per person. Space is limited to 58 and advanced reservations are recommended.

New this year is a 4-Day Michigan Craft Brew Cruise, September 24-28. Chef and craft beer aficionado Amy Sherman will serve as host and guide for enjoying tastes 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, Amy 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.

Tickets for the 4-Day Michigan Craft Brew Cruise are $577 per person and include all accommodations, meals and beverage samplings. Space is limited to 22 individuals in 11-double-bunk cabins.

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.

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.

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, log on to www.TallShipSailing.com.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Food Dance Celebrates 20 Years of Locally-Focused Culinary & Agricultural Experiences

You’re invited to a 20th Anniversary Farm to Street Party, August 30 at Food Dance in Kalamazoo.

In honor of this long-standing tradition, Food Dance is hosting two give-back events to recognize the farmers, producers, staff and community that have been essential to their success and growth. From Noon to 4pm, a “Flavor Festival” will celebrate all things local: food, drink, music and more. Then, starting at 6pm, a community “Long Table Dinner” featuring a four-course family-style meal, each with a Michigan wine pairing, space is limited. All proceeds from both events benefit Fair Food Matters – Growing Matters Garden program.

There are tiered ticket prices for each event. Choose between $20 and $30 eco-friendly ticket for the Flavor Festival. A $20 festival ticket provides admission and 4 small plates (or 4 tickets). A $30 festival ticket also includes a Food Dance 20th Anniversary Edition Camelbak® water bottle. Additional food and drink tickets will be available for purchase at the event.

Tickets for the Long Table Dinner range from $100 to $150 per person with a portion of each ticket including a direct donation to the Fair Food Matters – Growing Matters Garden Program at Woodward School. The $150 level also includes a limited edition commemorative Food Dance 20th Anniversary T-shirt featuring local artists.

Over the years, Food Dance has built a strong relationship with dozens of local and regional growers, producers and farmers who have helped craft a one-of-a-kind menu that is fresh, inventive and appeals to the senses. Through its commitment to building a thriving and sustainable local food system, Food Dance creates casual and inviting opportunities for people to come together and connect through the experience of food.

Food Dance is dedicated to relationships that support artisans who practice craft food processes that have been around for generations—growing, raising, preserving, curing, aging, pickling, butchering and more. This is evident not only in the daily menus, but in the special dining experiences and educational programs that are aimed to introduce guests to new elements of the culinary and agricultural worlds.

An on-site market also offers amazing ingredients sourced from a family of purveyors–from sustainable, humanely-raised meats, housemade sausages and artisan cheeses, to housemade bread, pastries and savory baked goods. The market also offers a selection of speciality sauces, pickled produce, pastas, wines, cooking accessories and cookbooks, making it a great place for stocking the pantry or refrigerator, and for personal & gift shopping.

“For me it's important to know the values and practices of the people we buy our food from,” says owner Julie Stanley. “Caring for the planet, my community and my health are decisions I consciously make. I try to eat well because I just feel better. Knowing where my food comes from matters to me.”

Long before it became a trend in our society to eat locally (for so many cultures this was and remains their only choice, lucky them) I found that shopping at the Farmers Markets made the food I was cooking taste much better. Here at Food Dance, we’ve found the same rings true. I know it makes it more challenging for our chefs to prep all this fresh food and our wait staff to remember all the seasonal changes that show up on our menus, but they taste the difference so they feel it is worth it. We hope you feel the same way.”

Food Dance creates opportunities for people to come together and connect through the experience of food. We passionately cook with the freshest locally produced ingredients and believe in giving great, caring service, and providing great experiences for everyone we come in contact with.

FOOD DANCE
401 E. Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo MI 49007

www.FoodDance.net
www.facebook.com/FoodDanceRestauran
www.twitter.com/Food_Dance

The Livery Presents: 10th Anniversary Celebration — August 21-23, 2015

The Livery in Benton Harbor will be hosting their 10th Anniversary Celebration, kicking off on Friday, August 21st and running through Sunday, August 23rd. Three days of specialty beer tappings, firkins, bottle releases and music!

The "10th Anniversary" tap list for the weekend will include (but not limited to):

The Liverator (Bourbon Barrel Aged Doppelbock)

Maillot Rouge (Oak Aged Sour Biere de Garde with Raspberries)
Bourbon Barrel Aged Trippel Weizenbock (Heaven Hill aged Weizenbock)
Bourbon Barrel Aged Steel Wheels with Coffee (Bourbon Barrel Aged Oatmeal Stout)
"Throwback McGilligans" (Michigan-hopped IPA)
Double Paw (The return of the Amarillo Double IPA!)
Citra SMaSH (Single malt, single hop Pale Ale)
McGilligans with Grapefruit (specialty firkin)
10th Anniversary Ale (Strong Belgian Golden Ale)

Bottle release (starting at 11:30am on Saturday, August 22nd):

Bourbon Barrel Aged Trippel Weizenbock (2014 & 2015 vintages)
Maillot Jaune (2014)
Old Man Mason (2014)
Verchuosity (2015)
Maillot Rouge (2015)
Slow Peach (2015)
Cherry Friek (2014)
Bourbon Barrel Aged Batch 600 (2015)
Bourbon Barrel Aged Liverator (2015)
Bourbon Barrel Aged Sojourner (2015)
Bourbon Barrel Aged Umami (2015)
10th Anniversary Ale (2015)

*bottle limits and pricing TBA*

Concerts:

Friday, August 21st:
Afterfunk - 8:30PM doors/9PM show - $7 in advance/$10 at the door - "After Funk has been causing a ruckus on the Ontario music scene with their unique sound and infectiously fun shows"

**The downstairs bar will open at 7pm and remain open during the show for those just wanting to hit the taps. Although, you are encouraged to join the dance party!**

Saturday, August 22nd:
DJ Danny Boy - Noon-4pm
The Sypian Family Band - 5pm-7pm
Slim Gypsy Baggage (2 sets!) - 9pm-Midnight

Bringing in the finest local entertainment, these artists have left their blood, sweat and tears on The Livery stage for many, many years!

All entertainment is FREE admission on Saturday!

Sunday, August 23rd:
The Andrew Fisher Quartet - 7pm - FREE! - "Sunday Night Jazz" has become a tradition at The Livery, featuring jazz classics, modern staples and unique interpretations! "Start your week off on the right vibe!"

About the brewery:
One hundred years ago, the building known as the Palace Livery provided a vital service making it a gathering place for residents of and travelers to Southwest Michigan. A decade ago, the former horse stable and carriage shop was been brought back to life as "The Livery" -- one of Michigan's most exciting and unique microbreweries.

The Livery features a diverse selection of beer styles and select Michigan wines, along with a Cafe offering locally sourced and thoughtfully prepared food. Music and other live entertainment are regularly featured in the unique, rustic brewpub. In addition, patrons enjoy pints and conversation in the Beer Garden open year around.

The Livery is a proud member of the Michigan Brewers Guild.

The Livery
190 5th Street
Benton Harbor,MI 49022
www.liverybrew.com
(269)925-8760
(269)925-8766 fax
The Livery Microbrewery (Official) Facebook
@liverybrew Twitter
@liverybrewery Instagram

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Uncover Natural Wonders & Historic Treasures during a Guided Tour of America’s Emerald Isle

Discover the beauty and rich history of Beaver Island, America's Emerald Isle by taking one of two guided vehicle tours around the island. The knowledgeable and well-seasoned tour drivers will guide you through Beaver Island's beautiful scenery and intriguing history, while giving you an idea of why island life is so unique. For those not aware, Beaver Island is the most remote, inhabited island in the Great Lakes!

Tours are available Memorial Day through the Labor Day holiday, with some dates requiring an overnight stay. If taking only a day trip, you must take the first Ferry at 8:30 am in order to arrive to the Island in time to take the tour. Please refer to the ferry schedule for specific dates.

“They offer two tours of the island, by A/C bus,” says Sue from Bay City. "We took the 3-hour tour. They point out all the historical and ecological areas of the island, and tell some humorous and true (and maybe not so true…) stories of island life. You get two stops on this tour. One is at Iron Ore Bay and it is a beautiful beach. Next, right up the road, is the Beaver Island Lighthouse, which you can tour and climb to the top (50 steps or so). A good idea is to take this tour, and then either drive your own car or rent one on the island and go back to some of the points that interest you, so you can spend more time there, if desired. This is what we did.”

The 1.5 hour Standard Tour is offered most days starting at 11am and focuses on the northern end of the island and the harbor area. Tour charming St. James village including its lighthouse on Whiskey Point, shops, museums and churches. The tour then proceeds to the west side of the island to see spectacular Donegal Bay with views of High, Whiskey, Trout and Garden Islands. Finally you will pass Protar's home and tomb, learning the intriguing history of this fascinating man.

(Cost: $24 children ages 5-12; $32 for those 13 years of age and older. Tour packages, offering roundtrip passage and the tour, are $50 for children and $75 for those 13+).

The 3-hour Extended Tour begins at 1pm and includes everything encompassed by the 1 ½ tour and then continues around the entire island. Your journey to the southern tip of Beaver Island will take you through its beautiful dunes and forests and alongside several of the island's pristine inland lakes, bays and beaches. Ultimately, the tour will pause first at Iron Ore Bay for time to Beachcomb and finally visit and climb one of the oldest lighthouses on the Great Lakes—Beaver Head Lighthouse.

(Cost: $34 children ages 5-12; $42 for those 13 years of age and older. Tour packages, offering roundtrip passage and the tour, are $60 for children and $85 for those 13+).

Reservations for the tours are not necessary, but are requested as space is limited. However, sometimes there are opportunities to get on a tour the day you arrive, so be sure to ask one of the crew or stop in the ferry office to inquire about availability. To guarantee your space, please call with your preferred date and the number of passengers, or you can reserve a space on line. No deposit is required. Group tours can also be arranged, with advanced notice.

Beaver Island Boat Company has been providing the most relaxing, affordable transportation for people, pets, vehicles and freight to Beaver Island since 1984.The distance from Charlevoix to historic Beaver Island is 32 miles across Lake Michigan and takes approximately two hours. Each year the company’s two vessels, The Emerald Isle and The Beaver Islander, collectively make approximately 375 round trips to the island, travel more than 24,000 miles, transport more than 40,000 passengers, carry around 6,500 vehicles and haul approximately 10,000 tons of freight.

The Emerald Isle was designed by Timothy Graul Marine Design in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin and was built in 1997 by Washburn & Doughty Associates, Inc. in East Boothbay, Maine. She is 130 feet in length, 39 feet wide, and draws 8.5 feet with a top speed of 14.5 knots and maximum capacity of 293 passengers, 14 -18 vehicles depending on the size of the vehicles and this can also include a large semi-truck and up to 95 tons of freight. She is equipped with a wheel chair lift, has in excess of 150 indoor/covered seats, five unisex restrooms, one handicap accessible restroom with a baby changing table, fixed stabilizers, power outlets, wifi and food/refreshment vending machines.

The Beaver Islander was built in 1962 by Sturgeon Bay Shipbuilding & Drydock Co. out of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin and was purchased new by the Beaver Island Boat Co. She is 95 feet in length, 27 feet wide and draws 8 feet with a top speed of 13.5 knots and maximum capacity of 172 passengers, 10 vehicles and 40 tons of freight. You can still ride the historic Beaver Islander on most weekends in the summer.

For a complete ferry schedule, rates and package tour details, call 888-446-4095 or log onto www.BIBCO.com.

For information on Beaver Island: www.BeaverIsland.org

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Lake Charlevoix Brewing Company Opens In Time for Summer Season


Downtown Charlevoix is adding to its ever growing craft beer scene with the opening June 1 of the Lake Charlevoix Brewing Company.

Located at 111 Bridge Park Drive (in the south end of the building which houses the Keweenaw Star and Beaver Island Boat Company), the 1200-square-foot pub overlooks Round Lake and offers 60 inside seats and an additional 50 in the outside Beer Garden.

Lake Charlevoix Brewing Company is owned by Rich Bergmann, Adam Engelman, Aaron Hagen and Phil Parr – collectively known as The Round Lake Group LLC and is a sister property of the Bridge Street Tap Room, which opened in the adjacent building last summer.

The brewery’s 5-barrel system, purchased from Psycho Brew in Greenville, was fabricated entirely in Michigan from all American stainless steel.

“It was extremely important for us to make our investment in a company that is rooted in Michigan and utilizes American made stainless steel,” says Bergmann. “Equipment of this caliber helps us to brew beer of the utmost quality.”

The brewing team of Hagen, Parr, Evan Keller and Tanner DePriest regularly craft a variety of beer styles currently including Michigan Beach Blondie (5.1% ABV | 15 IBU) – a light bodied, easy drinking blonde with slight malty taste and aspects of a lager on the end; and Up North Pale Ale (5.8% ABV | 60 IBUs) – an IPA with citrus notes on the nose with a sweet hoppy backing.

The team will also work closely with breweries around the state for a series of collaboration beers. The first, Lake Charlevoix Sunrise, is a Grapefruit Saison made in collaboration with Our Brewing in Holland.

“We feel that collaboration beers are a fantastic way to build relationships between ourselves and other breweries,” says Engelman. “It also allows our brewing team to learn from some of the best in the industry.”

DePriest, who received a degree from the University of Michigan in Environmental Studies, manages the brewery’s environmental sustainability practices.

“The brewing process is very water intensive and we aim to offset this hurdle by repurposing and recycling all of our greywater” says DePriest, “Being as sustainable as possible isn’t just our passion; we feel it is our responsibility.”

The brewery also donates their spent grain to local farmers for use as feed and compost.

In addition to beer, a selection of wine and spirits is also served. The pub food menu features everything from shrimp cocktail, grilled panini sandwiches, and wraps to the area’s best tacos, quesadillas, and the unique Liquor Store Nachos.

Live entertainment will be hosted on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, from 4 to 7pm in the Beer Garden and will feature some of the area’s top musicians.

“We couldn’t be happier to be opening our doors in such a beautiful community,” says Bergmann, “Much like our sister property, the Bridge Street Tap Room, we’re very proud to add another year round destination to downtown Charlevoix.”

www.facebook.com/LakeCharlevoixBrewing
www.twitter.com/LakeCvxBrewing

Friday, June 5, 2015

Award-Winning Michigan Authors M. Christine Byron & Thomas Wilson Release Vintage Views Along Scenic M-22 including Sleeping Bear Dunes


Since the early 1900s, tourism organizations and destinations have been promoting the scenic 116-mile, three-county M-22 highway for its year-round natural resources, quaint coastal towns and unparalleled vistas. The latest title from award-winning Michigan authors M. Christine Byron and Thomas Wilson, published by Vintage Views Press, is an impressive collection of the advertisements, brochures, postcards, maps and travel memorabilia used to market this treasured trail—many items of which are from the couple’s extensive personal collection.

The 248 page, hardcover coffee table book, Vintage Views Along Scenic M-22 including Sleeping Bear Dunes, will be publicly released on Wednesday, June 17. A presentation will begin at 7pm at the Grand Rapids Public Library main downtown branch. A Northern Michigan Book Launch is planned on Sunday, June 21 (1-3pm) at the Cottage Book Shop in Glen Arbor.

Vintage Views Along Scenic M-22 including Sleeping Bear Dunes follows a trail of vacationers and travelers along one of Michigan’s most scenic roads as it winds through northern Manistee County, along the western side of Benzie County and outlines the Leelanau Peninsula.

Vintage postcards, photographs, maps and advertisements illustrate a time when M-22 first beckoned motorists to come north to the land of beautiful beaches and sand dunes, lakes and rivers, forests and woodlands, farms and orchards. Featured are quaint towns and villages, old hotels and resorts, and attractions along the road.

Through the pages of Vintage Views Along Scenic M22, you’ll stop at lighthouses and lifesaving stations, take a trip in a dunesmobile, fish for Mackinaw trout and shop for souvenirs. You’ll also visit state parks and learn how Sleeping Bear Dunes became a National Lakeshore in the 1970s.

Christine and Tom share a love of Michigan and a fascination with its history, especially the development and growth of Michigan tourism. Their collection of antique postcards and tourist and travel ephemera has inspired a total of five books: Vintage Views Along Scenic M-22 including Sleeping Bear Dunes (2015); Vintage Views Along the West Michigan Pike (2011); Vintage Views of the Mackinac Straits Region (2007); Vintage Views of the Charlevoix – Petoskey Region (2005); and Vintage Views of Leelanau County (2002).

Three of these titles have won Michigan Notable Book awards from the Library of Michigan; the West Michigan Pike also won a 2012 State History Award from the Historical Society of Michigan.

Christine and Tom are active in many heritage and travel related causes and initiatives, including consulting and contributing artifacts for exhibits with the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing; contributing to the History Detectives program at the Grand Rapids Public Library; and this summer’s historical recognition of Pulitzer Prize winning author Carl Sandburg, who vacationed in the southwest Michigan community of Harbert, in an area known as Harbor Country.

Tom also operates Vintage Views Prints, which specializes in Michigan and Great Lakes travel prints adapted from travel guides, maps and brochures, dating from the 1800s to the 1960s.

Christine retired from her position as the Local Historical Collections librarian for the Grand Rapids Public Library in 2012; Tom is retired from Sears Roebuck and Company and serves on the board of the Grand Rapids Historical Commission. Christine and Tom are members of the Grand Rapids Historical Society, Historical Society of Michigan, Leelanau Historical Society, West Michigan Postcard Club and Society for Commercial Archaeology.

The couple lives in a 1912 Arts & Crafts bungalow in East Grand Rapids and they love spending as much time as possible touring Michigan’s scenic roads or vacationing at their cottage on Glen Lake on the Leelanau Peninsula. They are regular contributors to Michigan BLUE Magazine, penning a column called “Vintage Views” which highlights historic travel destinations around the Great Lakes State.


Vintage Views Along Scenic M-22 including Sleeping Bear Dunes
ISBN: 978-0-9962173-0-9 Michigan History ($40).


UPCOMING EVENTS
Vintage Views Along Scenic M-22 including Sleeping Bear Dunes

Wednesday, June 17 (7pm)
Book Launch – Grand Rapids Public Library (Main Downtown Branch)

Sunday, June 21 (1-3pm)
Northern Michigan Book Launch – Cottage Book Shop, Glen Arbor

Thursday, July 2 (1-4pm)
Leelanau Books, Leland

Thursday, July 16 (TBA)
Northport Historical Society

Saturday, July 18 (11am-1pm)
Leelanau Historical Museum, Leland

Thursday, July 30 (TBA)
Lansing Historical Society @ East Lansing Public Library

Friday, July 24 (2-4pm)
Happy Owl Bookshop, Manistee

Saturday, July 25 (1-3)
Black River Books, South Haven

Friday, July 31 (4-6pm)
Horizon Books, Traverse City

Sunday, August 2 (TBA)
Old Settlers Picnic Area, Burdickville

Saturday, August 8 (10am-4pm)
Port Oneida Days, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (Leelanau Peninsula)

Friday, August 21 (7pm)
Empire Area Heritage Group, Empire Town Hall

Thursday, Sept. 10 (4pm)
Benzie Area Historical Society @ The Mills Community House, Benzonia

**To book a program in your community, please contact Dianna Stampfler, publicist, at Dianna@PromoteMichigan.com.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Schuler’s Restaurant & Pub Enhances Outdoor Patio, Expanding Grill Night to Every Wednesday & Thursday Nights

It is outdoor dining season and you’re invited to gather with family and friends on the patio outside Winston’s Pub at Schuler’s Restaurant in historic Marshall.

“Last year our grill night was a hit and this year we decided to amp it up a bit,” says third-generation owner Hans Schuler. “Not only did we make improvements in the patio itself, but we’ve increased the grilling option from one to two nights to accommodate the requests from our guests.”

The 700-square-foot patio features a generous outdoor grilling space, along with 34 seats for guests stretching out along Eagle Street. Guests can order from the regular pub menu, seven days a week, with weekly grill specials from David Frame on Wednesday and Thursday nights. The patio will be open, weather permitting, through the early fall season.

Founded in 1909, the iconic Schuler’s Restaurant & Pub epitomizes hospitality excellence as a family owned and operated business. Located in downtown historic Marshall, Schuler’s is recognized as world-class Michigan destination focused on offering guests quality food and excellent service, in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

Friday, May 29, 2015

HELP WANTED: Jolly Pumpkin & North Peak Looking to Expand Team Presence Throughout Michigan, Ohio

Business is booming with the Michigan-based Northern United Brewing Company (NUBC)—producers of Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, North Peak Brewing Company, Grizzly Peak Brewing Company, Nomad Ciders and Civilized Spirits. The Dexter-based company is looking to add several jobs in its sales and operations departments.

“This is an exciting time for all areas of Northern United Brewing Company” says Tony Grant, co-owner for the company. “All our brands continue to grow at a rapid pace, both in terms of what we have available at our pubs but also in the retail marketplace. We’re looking for qualified, passionate and engaging team players who want to help us develop a stronger presence in Michigan and beyond.”

This year, Jolly Pumpkin celebrates its 11th year as the country’s first and premier all-sour brewery, with award-winning products such as La Roja, Bam Biere and Oro de Calabaza, artfully crafted by master brewer Ron Jeffries at a new state-of-the-art facility in Dexter. Jolly Pumpkin pubs also operate in Traverse City, Ann Arbor and the newly opened location downtown Detroit’s Midtown neighborhood.

North Peak was founded in Traverse City in 1997 (with production of bottled beer starting in 2009) and since then has launched more than a dozen unique products, each with ties to Michigan folklore and legend. Grizzly Peak is yet to be introduced into the market in a distributed format, but in 2014 North Peak Brewing Company released its “Grizzly Peak Series” in 12-ounce stubby bottles, and this year the Ann Arbor brew pub celebrates its 20th year.

The Nomad Cider line grew out of the North Peak brand to stand on its own in 2011. Civilized Spirits was formed in 2010 and currently produces a variety of craft liquors including whiskey, vodka, rum, gin and sakura. Both of these brands are crafted on the Old Mission Peninsula in Traverse City.

Complete descriptions for jobs with Northern United Brewing Company can be found online at JollyPumpkin.com.

NUBC encompasses the Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, North Peak and Grizzly Peak beer brands, Nomad Ciders, Civilized Spirits and Bonafide Wines, all dedicated to conservation, inspiration and locally sustainable practices.

Find NUBC products at stores, restaurants, and bars all throughout Michigan, including: Blue Tractor, North Peak Brewing Company, Mission Table and Jolly Pumpkin Brewery, all in Traverse City; Jolly Pumpkin and Grizzly Peak, in Ann Arbor; Jolly Pumpkin Pizzeria & Brewery in Detroit; and Null taproom in Dexter.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Valentine Distilling Named “Best American Gin Distillery” at Berlin Competition

Liberator Gin & Liberator Old Tom Gin Continue to Win Medals

Detroit-based Valentine Distilling was been named “Best American Gin Distillery” at the Berlin International Spirits Competition held in March in Germany.

Additionally, Valentine’s Liberator Gin and Liberator Old Tom Gin took medals at the competition, which drew close to 200 spirits from 20 countries. Fewer than 35% of the entries received awards. The competition was judged by a hand-selected panel of key trade-only judges—spirits buyers, retail storeowners, restaurant proprietors, spirit distributors and importers that have the unique ability to make a direct impact on sales.

Judges represented world-renowned cocktail establishments such as Schwarze TrMixology Bar (Berlin), Rex Bar & Grill (Sweden), Pollen Social Street (London and Becketts Kopf-Bar (Amsterdam) among others.

The judging took place in the Kempinski Berlin Hotel and awards were given by majority vote. The judges were instructed to grant no awards when, in their opinion, the spirits were not ones they would import, distribute, buy or sell in their business and within the price category.

Since first being introduced in 2013, Valentine Distilling’s gins have continued to garner awards from esteemed international competitions.

The Beverage Tasting Institute this year presented a Gold Medal (with an “Exceptional” rating of 93 points) for the Liberator Old Tom Gin and a Gold Medal (with an “Exceptional” rating of 91 points) for its Liberator Gin during the 2015 International Review of Spirits competition, held in Chicago in April.

The judges described the small-batch Old Tom Gin as possessing “bright amber colors, with bright, fruity, spicy aromas of carrot cake, cedar forest, sassafras, and mixed peppercorns.” The judges continued by attributing the handcraft spirit with producing “a satiny, vibrant, warming and complex finish of cinnamon roll, nutmeg, and cream, with a moderate amount of oak.”

“Old Tom Liberator Gin is an attractive hybrid of a fruity, spicy gin and an American whisky,” says Jerald O’Kennard, Director of Tastings.com “This Old Tom will be fun to experiment with.”

The clear Liberator Gin was found to possess “lively, spicy, fruity aromas of cinnamon carrot cake, orange custard, spiced apples, with floral herbs, and an elegant, white peppered, honeyed tea finish.”

“I am excited to be once again recognized by industry peers as top of the class in world spirit competition,” says founder/distiller Rifino Valentine. “It’s always a good feeling to be recognized by peers in your industry. But, what I am most proud of is that our distillery is able to continue in the tradition of quality Detroit manufacturing, and that we are able to export products that rival anything produced around the world. I’m thankful to have a very dedicated and talented staff who help make this happen.”

The Beverage Tasting Institute was established in 1981 as America’s premier independent alcoholic beverage review organization, and states that its mission was to create fair and reliable reviews of wine and spirits.

In 2014, Liberator Old Tom was named “World’s Best Cask Gin” by the World Gin Awards. This follows on the heels of the traditional Liberator Gin winning “Best in Class” and “Best in Category” – “Best American Gin” – by the American Distilling Institute in 2013.

Aged in American oak barrels for two years, Old Tom Liberator Gin has an aroma of juniper and pine, with hints of oak, woody spices and citrus peel. The initial bursts of juniper berries are mellow and tame, and are followed by touches of vanilla, citrus, cardamom and cinnamon.

“Our goal from the beginning has been to return to the times that America led the world in the manufacturing of quality products,” says Valentine. “What made our economy great was that the highest grade products in the world came from here in the United States. If we are going to make an impact on the US economy in today’s marketplace, we need products that not only compete on a state and national level, but ones that stand up internationally as well. Our philosophy has always been ‘don’t drink Valentine spirits just because they are local – drink them because they are better.’”

“Old Tom Gin” (or “Tom Gin” or “Old Tom”) is a gin recipe popular in 18-century England. In modern times, it became rare but has experienced a resurgence in the craft cocktail movement. It is slightly sweeter than London Dry, but slightly drier than Dutch Jenever, thus is sometimes called “the missing link.” Unlike many gins which are produced in a column still today, Old Tom Gin is provided in a pot still.

Liberator Gin is named in honor of the B-24 Liberator Bomber. Early in World War II, Ford Motor Company built the Willow Run plant near Detroit to produce the B-24 Liberator – cementing Detroit’s nickname as the “arsenal of democracy.” Carefully hand-crafted, this delightfully-unique gin salutes Rosie the Riveter and all the American workers who helped secure victory.

Valentine Distilling launched into the Michigan market in early 2009 and has since been ranked one of the top-rated craft distilleries in the country. Operating out of a 5000-square-foot facility in Ferndale, Valentine Distilling proudly produces its original spirits in two world-class Christian Carl Stills. Valentine Distilling products can currently be found in more than 3000 locations throughout Michigan, Illinois, Tennessee, New York, Maryland, Delaware and Washington DC as well as internationally in Italy, France and Belgium.

Keweenaw Excursions Offers Multi-Day Lighthouse Cruises through the Great Lakes

The Great Lakes are home to hundreds of lighthouses, dating back to the mid-1800s. You’re invited to view them from the Keweenaw Star on one of five multi-day cruises this season offered by the Charlevoix-based Keweenaw Excursions.

“We feature an open air top deck and a full walk around the lower deck to provide you with an optimal view for photographic purposes,” says Jason Funkey, who owns the company with his brother, Kraig.

All trips include the cruising experience as well as continental breakfast, hot lunch and afternoon appetizers on the boat, overnight accommodations and transportation from the boat to the hotel and back each day.

To book a charter, contact the Keweenaw Excursions office at 231-237-9365.

This year’s schedule includes:

“Explore The Door” (June 22-25)
$750 per person for double occupancy | $850 per person for single occupancy

The Keweenaw Star is setting sail to explore Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula and the waters of Green Bay. Our trip departs Charlevoix on Monday June 22nd and heads due west to our first lighthouse viewing at South Fox Island. From South Fox we continue west across Lake Michigan to Rock Island Passage where we view Pottawatomie Lighthouse. Turning north from here we slip past St Martin Island Lighthouse and Poverty Island Lighthouse for a close up view and pictures. After viewing Poverty Island we head to Escanaba and the Terrace Bay Inn and Suites for our first night’s stay.

On day 2 we head south out of Escanaba past the lighthouse at Minneapolis Shoal. From Minneapolis Shoal we make our way through the famed “Deaths Door” to view the lights at Plum Island and Pilot Island before coming back in to the Bay of Green Bay for a quick view of Chambers Island Lighthouse. From Chambers Island we make our way over to Port of Marinette and head up the Menominee River to the shipyard to view any new construction at Marinette Marine. From Marinette we make our way back across Green Bay passing Peshtigo Reef Lighthouse and Sherwood Point Lighthouse headed into Sturgeon Bay for our second night’s stay at the Stone Harbor Resort.

Day 3 is a free day in Sturgeon Bay. Explore Bay Ship and Palmer Johnson shipyards, Door County Maritime Museum, the “Best of Door County” trolley tours, or just relax by the pool as we will again stay at the Stone Harbor Resort for our 3rd night.

Day 4 takes us out of the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal past the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Lighthouse and Entrance Light before making our way back across Lake Michigan to the Manitou Passage. We make our way past South and North Manitou Lighthouses, and then close approach to Grand Traverse Point Lighthouse before heading back to Charlevoix.

“Sights Of The Sunrise Side” (July 13-16)
$750 per person for double occupancy | $850 per person for single occupancy

New for 2015 we have an exciting trip to explore the sunrise side of the state. Our journey will set sail from Charlevoix, Michigan headed to our first port of call on Drummond Island. Along the way we will pass under the Mackinac Bridge and past the lighthouses at Ile Aux Galets, Gray’s Reef, White Shoal, St Helena, Round Island, Martin Reef, and Detour Reef. Our accommodations and dinner will be at the Drummond Island Resort and Conference Center.

Day 2 of this trip will take us to the port of Alpena. We will start off traveling through the island filled Potagannissing Bay and into the North Channel. Once in the North Channel we will make our way east to Lake Huron via the Mississiagi Strait. Our route takes us past the Mississagi Strait lighthouse and out to the lighthouse on Great Duck Island where we will turn and make our way back across Lake Huron to our port of Alpena for the night. Our accommodations and dinner will be at the Sanctuary Inn.

Day 3 will start out with a tour of the NOAA Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. Upon completion of the tour we will board the boat and make our way up the coast to our next port of call in Cheboygan. Traveling up the coast we will pass the lights at Thunder Bay Island, Middle Island, Old Presque Isle, New Presque Isle, 40 mile point, Poe, Reef, and 14 foot Shoal. Our lodging for the evening will be at the Fleetwood Inn Hotel on the historic Cheboygan River.

Day 4 of this trip will bring us back under the Mackinac Bridge, past the lights at Mackinaw City and Waugoshance Point as we make our way back to our home port of Charlevoix. There should be plenty of opportunities for ship watchers as well as we will pass through some of the most congested waters for shipping on the Great Lakes. We also will be passing some of the busiest stone loading ports including Stoneport and Calcite as we make our way along the east coast of Michigan.

“Soo Grand Tour” (July 20-23)
$700 per person for double occupancy | $800 per person for single occupancy

Our voyage will begin in Charlevoix, Michigan on the 20th of July. We will travel north to get close up views of the lighthouses at Ile Aux Galets, Gray’s Reef, and White Shoal. Turning east we will make a close approach to St Helena Island Lighthouse before making our way under the Mackinac Bridge and down the South Channel to our port of Cheboygan for the night.

On the second day as we depart Cheboygan we will get close up views of the Cheboygan rear range light, 14 Foot Shoal, and Poe Reef lighthouses. Continuing northeast we will pass close to Spectacle Reef Lighthouse as we make our way over to the entrance of the St Mary’s River at Detour. From here we will travel through Potagannissing Bay and make our way over the north side of St Joseph’s Island. Along the way we will pass the lighthouses at Bruce Mines, West Sister Rock, Wilson Channel Ranges and Shoal Island before entering the St Mary’s River at the Middle Neebish Cut. Our day will end in Sault Ste. Marie with our lodging and dinner at the Kewadin Casino of Sault Ste Marie.

Day 3 will take us up through the locks at Sault Ste Marie to the head waters of the St Mary’s River at Ile Parisienne, where we will turn and make our way back to port at Sault Ste Marie for another night and dinner at the Kewadin Casino.

Day 4 takes us down the St Mary’s River through the famed Rock Cut and out to Lake Huron where we head west past Martin Reef Lighthouse and Waugoshance Reef Lighthouse on our way home to Charlevoix.

“3 Days 3 Great Lakes Cruises” (August 3-5; additional dates may be added)
$550 per person for double occupancy | $650 per person for single occupancy

Cruise the Northern Lake Michigan coast from Charlevoix to Sault Ste. Marie. Day One we depart Charlevoix and make our way north through Gray’s Reef passage then east through the Straits of Mackinac. Passing under the Mighty Mac, we continue east to Detour Reef Light where we will enter the St. Mary’s river. We will navigate the narrow channels and ranges to our destination of Sault Ste. Marie. With more cargo passing through the Soo Locks than the Panama and Suez canals combined there is an excellent chance we will see some of the largest ships in the world passing in close proximity to us. Upon arrival in Sault Ste. Marie, we will head for the Kewadin Casino and Hotel where we will enjoy a night of fun and entertainment.

Day 2 we board the boat after a breakfast buffet at the casino hotel. Our tour will take us up the St. Mary’s river passing through the Soo Locks where we will be raised 21 feet up to Lake Superior. Exiting the locks, we will travel north into Lake Superior to the head waters of the river at Ile Parisienne Lighthouse. At Ile Parisienne, we turn around and head back to our dock in Sault Ste. Marie where again we will stay at the casino for another night of fun and entertainment.

Day 3, the final day of our excursion, we will enjoy a breakfast buffet at the casino then board the boat for our return trip to Charlevoix. Along the way we will be passing through the famed “Rock Cut” in the St Mary’s river.

“Colors Of The St. Mary’s” (September 28-30)
$475 per person for double occupancy | $550 per person for single occupancy

Due to the unpredictability of Mother Nature’s wind this time of year we decided it would be best to depart from the protected waters of the St Mary’s River. There are several small motels along M-134 in the towns of Cedarville and Hessel which are close to Detour, or you can just spend the night in St Ignace, only 50 miles away, prior to departure.

From the State docks in Detour we will head north through the hundreds of tree filled islands of Potagannissing Bay. Colors should be spectacular as we make our way to the North Channel of Georgian Bay. Once in the North Channel we will make our way over to the Canadian town of Bruce Mines to view the lighthouse at McKay Point. From here we will head west past Sister Rock lighthouse and through the narrows of the Wilson Channel and proceed over the north side of St Joseph Island. Just past the Shoal Island lighthouse we will enter the St Mary’s river in the Middle Neebish Channel where we will proceed up bound to Sault Ste Marie. We will make our way through the locks and on to Lake Superior where we will turn and head back down the Canadian Lock and over to our dock for the evening.

Our second day will be an option day. Option 1 will be to board a bus for a color cruise to the Great Lakes Shipwreck nautical museum at Whitefish Point and Tahquamenon Falls State Park. Option 2 will be to stay and play or whatever you would like to. The casino operates a free shuttle which could bring you down to the Soo Historic Sites including the Museum Ship Valley Camp, Tower of History, or make your way over to the viewing platform at the Locks for close up views of transiting freighters. Our third day we will make our way back down the St Mary’s River with passage through the famed Rock Cut to our dock at Detour where we will disembark for home.

About the Keweenaw Star
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.