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.

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, 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 or call 231.334.5100. “Like” The Homestead on Facebook: 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

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.

401 E. Michigan Avenue
Kalamazoo MI 49007

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*


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
(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

For information on Beaver Island: