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Pure Michigan Tourism Conference Summary

Pure Michigan Conference Dave Lorenz

Dave Lorenz presents at the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism in Traverse City

The Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism was held in Traverse City last week. Representatives from convention and visitor bureaus and hospitality professionals from across Michigan gathered to learn about the state of our tourism state.

We had a legislative report from a panel of lobbyists in Lansing. Our keynote speaker addressed the State of the American Traveler. And Dave Lorenz provided an update from Travel Michigan including plans for this year’s Pure Michigan campaign.

Since I know many of our clients missed out on attending I thought I’d share a recap of the event. Here are some of the hot topics, statistics and strategic plans discussed at the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism that caught my attention.

Pure Michigan Legislative Report

Panelists: Michael Krombeen, Partner, Midwest Strategy Group; Matt Sowash, lobbyist, Michigan Legislative Consultants; Justin Winslow, President & CEO, Michigan Restaurant & Lodging Association; Evelyn Zois Sweeney, Legislative Consultant, Muchmore Harrington Smalley & Associates. The panelists discussed topics of legislative interest to the hospitality industry and weighed in on the current climate in Lansing.

Pure Michigan Funding

Governor Whitmer’s proposed budget includes cuts to funding for Pure Michigan. Panelists agreed this is too early in the budget talks to be certain of funding dollars for this year. Lobbyists from Michigan Legislative Consultants agreed they are going to educate and push for as much Pure Michigan funding as they can.

Post-Labor Day Start

This is not only an issue of economic importance, but a workforce issue as well. Currently over 165 districts have waivers for pre-Labor Day start. Legislative discussions are exploring alternative schedules. These include allowing Tues-Thurs classes in August, as well as options for year-round classes.

Snow Days

Legislation has been proposed to allow schools options to deal with the increasing number of snow days. Possibilities include tacking on additional hours to the school day, and snow day forgiveness for Governor-declared emergency days.

Short Term Rentals

Panelists discussed addressing short term rentals in terms of regulation. The primary goals are to ensure everyone is paying into the same taxes & assessments. They are also seeking some form of registration, possibly by directly licensing platforms  such as AirBnB.

Auto No Fault

This is becoming a hot button issue for the hospitality industry as employees struggle to afford insurance. Panelists discussed the likelihood of making significant changes this year, with mixed opinions.

State of the American Traveler

Keynote speaker; Erin Francis-Cummings, Destination Analysts

Erin’s presentation, “The State of the Global Traveler – Drawing Wanderlust to Michigan,” presented statistics and trends to watch in 2019 among travelers. Here research reflected the mindset of global travelers, indicated some key demographics to focus on, and gave insight into the changes we’re seeing. Here are few take-aways that illustrate the current state of the industry.

  • The bad news:  Leisure trips are down from 4.2 trips annually to 3.8 trips, and budgets are down 5.6%. Personal finances, work and the cost of travel are the primary reasons for the decrease.
  • The good news:  Travel is still listed as the second most important leisure activity, just under spending time with friends and family. For younger travelers, however, travel competes with a lot more activities.
  • 4 primary traveler types: Generation Z, the National Park Traveler, Family Travelers and Aspiring Michigan Travelers.

Generation Z

The youngest travelers are that of Generation Z—ages 15-24. To reach this audience you’ll need video. You can find them on Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat. Believe it or not they already make up 13.9% of the travel market.

National Park Travelers

This audience tends to be young and travels with their children. They use all types of planning resources. Primary interests include culture and food. They make up 31% of American travelers.

Family Travelers

Representing 47% of American travelers, this is clearly a popular target audience. This group is largely made up of women who frequently travel outside the U.S. This is a very social audience with 50% using Facebook to post both before and after their trips. They like AirBnB and are drawn to cultural and culinary experiences.

Aspiring Michigan Travelers

This is an ethnically diverse audience, largely made up of millennials and Generation X. They like to research travel destinations through travel apps, social media and tourism bureaus. Online video is important and influential.

Only 16% of American travelers aspire to visit Michigan. So how can we compete with other states and attract more travelers to Michigan? (Can you believe we fall behind Ohio!) The number one reason a destination remains top of mind to visitors is because they’ve been there before. The influence of friends and family impacts 65% of travelers. To grow our Michigan brand we need to gain loyalty. We need our visitors to continue to share their love of this region with friends and family—especially if they’ll share it on their social channels.

Michigan Cares for Tourism

This 501c3 non-profit is made up of volunteers from the tourism industry who want to give back to projects across the state of Michigan. They tackle small projects throughout the year and host an annual multi-day volunteer event in a select location. This year’s project is in our own backyard.

Michigan Cares for Tourism is seeking volunteers for the 2019 event at the Grand Traverse Lighthouse in Leelanau State Park, September 16-17, 2019. There are enough projects for 325 volunteers! To register visit michigancaresfortourism.org. C’mon Traverse City, let’s send some volunteers to help our neighbors. It’s a good excuse to hang out in a park on a Monday and Tuesday in the fall.

To kick off the conference, MC4T held an event at Munson Manor where volunteers donated toiletries, cooked food and tackled painting projects. Check In Michigan, the organization behind the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism, donated $10,000 to MC4T, with donations made on behalf of the conference speakers.

Pure Michigan Campaign Update

Dave Lorenz, Vice President of Travel Michigan made his annual trip to the stage to provide an update on the state of our tourism state. He delivered a report on the investment and returns on the 2018 Pure Michigan campaign. Next he shared a few highlights and top performing projects which earned significant results. And we wrapped up by hearing about some focus points for 2019. Here are a few of the take-aways.

Measurable Results from the $16.5 Million Advertising Investment in Pure Michigan in 2018

  • Influenced 6.4M person-trips
  • $2.5B in visitor spending
  • $153M generated in state taxes
  • $9.28 return on investment

Want to check out all the details? Here’s a link to the Pure Michigan Advertising Effectiveness Study. You can find more about what Travel Michigan is doing for you on Michigan.org. At the bottom of the page click Travel Industry and then look for Research.

Social Media Summary

Nick Nerbonne, MEDC Digital Media Director responsible for Pure Michigan social media accounts provided some additional insight during one of the social media sessions. Facebook engagement is down, however user base is still growing. Instagram engagement is up by 75%, due in part to the popularity and use of Instagram stories.

Pure Michigan has been exploring some longer-format feature videos to provide in-depth experiences. They include interviews that explore why people are passionate about these activities.

Two hugely popular social media campaigns were hashtag projects that drove user-generated content. The #FallFilter invited fans to share fall photos. Pure Michigan selected 5 photos each Friday and reposted. Another campaign debuted on billboards in Chicago seeking images at #LongLiveSummer. The digital billboard published user photos from that hashtag, sharing them on billboards for all to see.

Top social media post subjects in 2018 from Pure Michigan included images of the Mackinac Bridge, fall foliage, wildlife, ice waterfalls, Vernors lighthouse cans and blue ice on the Straits of Mackinac. Favorite fan subjects to share were sunsets, fall colors and Michigan lakes.

Pure Michigan Ad Campaigns and Projects

Pure Michigan partnered with influencers and publications last year to grow their brand awareness. Ginger Zee, meteorologist on Good Morning America and a Michigan native, was part of a social media promotion. They also teamed up with Outside Magazine for an engaging online experience that involved video creation, a landing page and interactive trail map.

Other notable projects included the Pure Michigan 18 – featuring 18 signature golf holes across the state in a season-long invitation to share your experience playing that hole. And an Urban DNA video series with Jason Hall was created to boost the state’s appeal for travelers seeking a world-class city experience.

We wrapped up with some sneak peeks into plans for 2019. Pure Michigan intends to focus more on digital platforms, targeting millennials, promoting the Upper Peninsula and highlighting our Dark Sky Parks.

Accessibility Takes Center Stage

One other significant take-away which made me very proud is our state’s focus on accessibility. If there was one buzz-word of this year’s conference that would be it. All three winners of the Stars of the Industry award for tourism innovations were programs and organizations supporting accessibility. Pure Michigan is embracing the opportunity to make our state more friendly to people with disabilities. And I for one couldn’t be happier to see it.

With three days of meetings, events and networking there was a lot to take in at the Pure Michigan Governor’s Conference on Tourism. It was great to see the new conference center at the Park Place Hotel, and the remodeled Governors’ Hall at the Grand Traverse Resort & Casino. Traverse City Tourism played host to a bustling crowd of tourism professionals from across the state. And I even had a chance to meet a few people who mentioned they tuned in to our channel and saw me on TV!

Now it’s time for us all to return to the business we live everyday: celebrating the reasons we choose to call Pure Michigan our home.

By |2019-03-12T22:26:39-04:00March 12th, 2019|Check This Out, Events, Lodging, Traverse City|0 Comments

Star Parties Begin May 11 at Sleeping Bear Dunes

Sleeping Bear Dunes Star Parties

Explore the Night Sky at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore will be offering a series of monthly astronomy programs this year.  Join Park Rangers and the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society for a guided exploration of our night sky and one daytime event.  The next Star Party is May 11 with a viewing of the closest star — the sun.  Each special event takes place at a different location throughout the National Lakeshore to take advantage of strategic viewing opportunities.  Come for star gazing, meteor showers, sun viewing, and storytelling.  Kids of all ages can participate in the Night Sky Junior Ranger program.

Starry night skies and natural darkness are important components of the special places the National Park Service protects.  National parks hold some of the last remaining harbors of darkness and provide an excellent opportunity to experience this endangered resource.  So visit the National Lakeshore and enjoy park skies by attending the following Star Parties:

May 11 (12:00-2:00 p.m.), Visitor Center Parking Lot in Empire
This is a daytime Star Party to view our closest star – the sun.  View the sun using a solar telescope and solar shades.  See solar activity, including flares and prominences.


June 8 (9:00-11:00 p.m.), Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive #3 Overlook
View Saturn, the Milky Way, and various constellations.  Meet at the Dune Overlook #3, Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.  Please park at Picnic Mountain; the next right after the #2 stop.


July 13 (9:00-11:00 p.m.), Platte River Point
View the moon, Saturn, and various constellations.


August 10 (9:00-11:00 p.m.), Thoreson Farm in Port Oneida
The Port Oneida Fair celebration continues into the night.  View Saturn and the Perseid meteors.


September 7 (9:00-11:00 p.m.), Dune Climb Parking Lot
View the summer Milky Way and many Deep Sky Objects.


October 21 (8:00-10:00 p.m.), Dune Climb Parking Lot
Celebrate the 43rd anniversary of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore with a starry event.

For all astronomy events, bring a flashlight for the walk back to your car and bug spray, if needed.  Park Rangers and GTAS staff will be wearing red glow bracelets at the events.

The monthly Star Parties will be cancelled during inclement weather.  The decision is usually made three hours in advance.  Please call Park Rangers at 231-326-5135, ext. 331, for a voicemail message with the decision.

All programs are free.  Participants need only purchase the Park Entrance Pass or have an Annual Pass displayed in their vehicle to join in the fun.


By |2019-12-19T13:46:50-05:00May 3rd, 2013|Check This Out, Events, Leelanau, Scenic|0 Comments

Cherry Stop Re-Opens as Old Mission Traders

Old Mission Traders Traverse Traveler cardAfter a month long transition, and a move next-door, the owners of the Cherry Stop have re-opened their business as Old Mission Traders.

The Cherry Stop first moved downtown in 2002 and operated as the only cherry-centric store in Downtown Traverse City. Owners Nick & Jamie Roster purchased the business in 2005 and began updating, remodling and adding new features. They expanded their product lines to include a large selection of local Michigan wines, which prompted the addition of UnCorked, an all-Michigan wine bar.

Over the last few years the Rosters brought much of the production in-house and began to produce homemade fudge, bakery items and experiment with new lines for The Cherry Stop. They added barbeque sauce, mustards and developed natural low-sugar versions of their popular jam. But they were always limited to Cherries.

Traverse City has grown as a foodie town. The Rosters realized there were so many companies they already carried that offered wonderful products beyond cherries. From nut butters to viniagrettes they wanted to do more. And the concept for Old Mission Traders was born.

After the closure of the Uncorked wine bar they had more elbow room than they needed. The opportunity to swap spaces with Momentum arose and it seemed like a perfect fit. Despite the proximity of the move, there was a lot of work to be done to make the new space suit their needs. Floors were refinished, displays were built, and a kitchen had to go in downstairs for all their homemade products.


Old Mission Traders Opening

Today Old Mission Traders officially opens their doors to the public, just in time for the Winter Comedy Arts Festival in downtown Traverse City. Inside you’ll find the same friendly staff, and all the products you knew and loved from The Cherry Stop. Soon there will be new products under the Old Mission Traders name including a maple viniagrette and a pear vanilla bean dessert sauce.

Old Mission Traders interiorOld Mission Traders interior

So while you’re laughing it up at the Comedy Fest this weekend stop in and say hi to our friends at Old Mission Traders at 215 E. Front Street, downtown Traverse City. You can also continue to shop online at TheCherryStop.com until the Old Mission Traders website is up and running.

Stay tuned for a grand opening soon when some of the Old Mission Traders products are bottled and ready to be unveiled.

By |2019-12-19T13:52:11-05:00February 15th, 2013|Attractions, Check This Out, Foodie, Traverse City|0 Comments

Lakeland Boating Magazine Features A Taste of Traverse City

Lakeland Boating Traverse City article

Pick up the August Issue of Lakeland Boating Magazine, on newsstands now, and you’ll find a feature article on Traverse City, Michigan written by Brandy Wheeler, owner of Mealtickets & Unusual Ideas and the Traverse Traveler app.


Traverse City is the featured Port of Call in this month’s issue of a popular Great Lakes boating magazine. Each month Lakeland Boating, sister publication to Great Lakes Angler, includes an article highlighting destinations that Great Lakes boaters are interested in discovering.


The 7-page article introduces readers to many aspects of the Traverse City area, offering a glimpse into the history of the ciy between the bays, our agricultural heritage from orchards to vines, and the development of a vibrant downtown community. There are feature sidebars on wine tasting, The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, where to stay and information about the Traverse Traveler app. The article is sprinkled with dozens of specific recommendations for businesses in the area that visitors will enjoy.


“It was a fun challenge to write a feature-length article on the region I love so much,” said Brandy Wheeler. Brandy’s photographs accompany the narritive, as well as images from the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau, Mark Lindsey, Kathy Partin and local businesses and organizations represented in the story. “I hope the article will encourage Great Lakes boaters and their families to plan a trip to Traverse.”


Lakeland Boating Magazine August coverThe August issue of Lakeland Boating is available on newsstands now. In Traverse City, look for a copy at Horizon Books. Visit the Lakeland Boating website to read full archived issues in PDF format online. The July issue includes a feature article on Manistee and information about the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The August issue will be available online on August 1st.





Brandy Wheeler profile pictureBrandy Wheeler is the owner of Mealtickets & Unusual Ideas®, a 10-year old marketing service for Traverse City area visitors. She launched the Traverse Traveler app, a free handy mobile guide featuring information on restaurants, wineries, lodging, attractions, events and more. She lives in Lake Ann, Michigan with her husband and two children. Brandy’s writing has been featured in Grand Traverse Woman Magazine, as a guest blogger on Pure Michigan, and most recently as a contributing author to Media Magnetism: How to Attract the Favorable Publicity You Want and Deserve. Email Brandy at info@mealtickets.com or follow her on Twitter @TraverseTravelr

From Unemployed to Entrepreneur — Mealtickets Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary

Mealtickets Celebrates 10 Years

10 Miles Down the Road Less Traveled

11-1-11 is the anniversary of the day I let go of the the 8-5, steady paycheck life and slapped on a new name tag:  Entrepreneur.
I had just lost my graphic design job, after 9/11 collapsed the travel industry, taking with it our ad agency’s biggest client. So there I stood in my Robert Frost moment, facing two roads diverged. I took the road less traveled by. It lead to the start of a little card company called Mealtickets & Unusual Ideas.
Now here we are, 10 years later. Still alive, still creating, and still working to promote the Traverse Area to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who travel to northern Michigan each year.
In honor of this milestone I decided to throw a party to thank my clients and friends in the hospitality industry, without whom my little business wouldn’t have grown.
On November 1, 2011 we’ll mark that moment in time when faced with two roads I took the one less traveled by…and that has made all the difference.


Mealtickets 10 Year Anniversary Celebration
Date:  11-1-11  from 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Food & Wine Pairings | Giveaways | Door-prizes | Drink Specials

We’re hosting a Happy Hour reception for our clients and guests to celebrate, with fabulous door prizes, Traverse Traveler swag and a throw-back to old fashioned social networking: face to face!
Want to join us?
Rate our app on iTunes and you’ll be entered to win a special Traverse Traveler prize pack including a guest invitation to our party!

Here’s how to enter:
1. Rate the app on iTunes
2. Email Brandy at info@mealtickets.com with a copy of your review!


We will draw names from the emails we receive and announce the winners on Friday, October 29th!


This event is by invitation only, so rate the app Today!

Sleeping Bear Dunes Voted America’s Most Beautiful Place

Sleeping Bear Dunes image

Today Good Morning America announced the winner of the Most Beautiful Place in America. Tens of thousands cast their vote to determine the winner:  Sleeping Bear Dunes!

Sleeping Bear Dunes views

As a native Michigander I can certainly see why Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore would be placed in the top 10. But it’s truly a testament to the passion of area residents and visitors who voted for this midwest treasure over some other fantastic locales.

Sleeping Bear Dunes image

The Sleeping Bear Dunes hold many treasures, and memories that go back as far as I can remember. Trips to the dune climb when I was a child, when they used to offer dune buggy rides. Endless runs up and down those hills left us scraping sand from our scalp days later. But one of my favorite places in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is South Manitou Island.

Manitou Island image

We’ve made a tradition of taking the kids out to South Manitou by boat and spending the day exploring the beach, climbing the lighthouse and crusing past the wreck of the Morazan. Looking out over the Manitou passage, and across to Glen Arbor and the face of the Sleeping Bear is a stunningly beautiful vista. And the reason so many of us are passionate about Michigan. The colors of the water may look like the Carribean, but the spirit is Pure Michigan.

Sleeping Bear Dunes Morazon image

I’m thrilled that our region is once again getting the national attention it deserves. We are so lucky to live in this amazing place. What more can I say:

I Love Michigan image

If you’d like to see a few more photographic reasons, check out our Sleeping Bear Dunes Photo Gallery.

By |2019-12-26T14:08:46-05:00August 17th, 2011|Check This Out, Leelanau|0 Comments

Traverse Traveler Giveaway during TCFF

Traverse Traveler Giveaway image

Spot Traverse Traveler in the Lip Dub and You Could Win


In honor of the premiere of the Traverse City Lip Dub during the Traverse City Film Festival we are announcing a giveaway for a lucky Traverse Traveler fan.


Did you know, Traverse Traveler had the opportunity to take part in the Traverse City Lip Dub? Brandy Wheeler, owner of Mealtickets & Unusual Ideas —the Traverse Traveler — was one of the singers in the community production created by FishSoup Films and the Traverse City Film Festival?

In honor of the premiere of the Lip Dub on Tuesday July 26th at the open space, Traverse Traveler is holding a contest to giveaway one of the T-shirts specially created for the Traverse Traveler crew.


To enter to win “Like” our Traverse Traveler Facebook page, then send us a message with the lines Brandy sings on the Traverse City Lip Dub.

Not on Facebook? Email us here with the lines Brandy sings and you’ll be entered to win. Contest ends at the end of the TCFF on July 31st.

By |2019-12-26T15:20:16-05:00July 25th, 2011|Check This Out, Mealtickets News|0 Comments

Traverse City, a Pure Michigan Destination

Pure Michigan debuts the new Traverse City “True North” ad today.




I’m excited to see my hometown featured on the Pure Michigan campaign, where millions of viewers can admire our beautiful community from a comfy cushion in their living room as Tim Allen’s voice lulls them into a state of utopia. With any luck they’ll be convinced that Traverse City is where they want to spend their next vacation.


And since planning the vacation is part of the fun, I hope the next step they take is to reach for their iPhone and download our handy mobile guide, the Traverse Traveler app. It’s a great resource for designing that trip to Traverse —whether you’re at home, abroad, at an airport or lying in bed watching TV.


Click here to download the app on your iPhone!

Traverse Traveler iPhone app

By |2019-12-26T15:50:28-05:00June 14th, 2011|Check This Out, Traverse City|0 Comments

Plan Your Trip to Traverse with New iPhone App from Mealtickets

Traverse Traveler iPhone app screen imageMealtickets & Unusual Ideas is proud to present a brand new iPhone app called Traverse Traveler.

The Traverse Traveler iPhone app is a handy mobile guide for the Traverse area visitor designed to promote local restaurants, wineries, attractions, shopping, events, services and more. And best of all…it’s a FREE download for iPhone and iTouch users.

Whether you’re planning a trip to northwest Michigan, or are lucky enough to live here, this app makes it much easier to find local businesses.

Today’s smart phone user is accustomed to finding everything they need right there in the app store. And now they can find information about Traverse City there too.


Want to plan a wine tour that includes a nearby restaurant stop for lunch? Our app can do that.


Need to find the quickest route from your hotel to the ski lodge to meet friends? Our app can do that.


You just arrived in town and wondered if there are any events to check out? Our app can show you that too.


Can’t wait? Download the Traverse Traveler iPhone app here


Traverse Traveler app iconWhat makes Traverse Traveler unique?

There are thousands of apps out there, many of which promote restaurants, movie theaters or general information about an area. So what makes Traverse Traveler unique?

  • Listings are ordered by proximity to the iPhone user. So if you’re hanging out Benzie county, the listings nearest to you come up first. This is helpful for finding a hotel or the closest bar.
  • Maps & directions make it easy to navigate from one location to the next. Great for planning a wine tour or discovering that off-the-beaten-path restaurant.
  • Social sharing from the app means you can post to Facebook or Twitter, or email info to your friends without leaving the app.
  • Events by date let you know what’s going on while you’re in town.
  • Near Me feature pinpoints the 25 listings closest to you, from within all categories. See exactly how close your hotel is ski lodge to plan your drive time.

Free for All

Not only is Traverse Traveler a FREE download, it’s also free for local businesses to get a listing.

The Traverse Traveler app offers three types of listings to accommodate any business that’s interested in joining:

  • Basic Listings
  • Enhanced Listings
  • Event Listings

Submit information to us and you can receive a FREE basic listing in the Traverse Traveler app. Basic listings are free, and we’re glad to give them. The enhanced listings will give you a lot more interactive options and visual presence in the app—if you’re into that kind of thing. You can link to your website and email, add photos to your listing, promote events and specials, and utilize social media. So if you have an active online presence, you might want to consider this valuable addition. And we’re selling them for only $99/year, so why not?

Visit the all new Traverse Traveler website to learn more about the app. List Your Business today!


Why develop an iPhone app for Mealtickets?

The Mealtickets & Unusual Ideas mission has always been to provide Traverse area visitors with useful information and directions to local restaurants and attractions, in a colorful, convenient and portable way. The number one reason our little cards are so popular among visitors is their size. Travelers love them because they fit in their pocket or purse. Right next to their phone.

An iPhone app is a perfect expansion of the services we provide as it fits our mission to a tee. We work hard to keep up with technology, and the needs of our customers. The app is a great way to do just that. We hope you’ll agree.


Mealtickets & Unusual Ideas also believes in keeping it local. Our card displays feature only distinctive, locally-owned restaurants and attractions because that’s what makes our area unique. And our Mealtickets advertisers benefit most of all. Card advertisers receive a fully-enhanced listing in the Traverse Traveler iPhone app as part of the service, at no additional cost. Now is the best time to become a Mealtickets advertiser and take advantage of this great new feature.

To advertise with Mealtickets & Unusual Ideas contact us at info@mealtickets.com.

To list your business on the Traverse Traveler app, click here for our easy online forms.

To download the Traverse Traveler iPhone app, click here.


By |2019-12-26T16:20:34-05:00December 17th, 2010|Check This Out, Mealtickets News, Traverse City|0 Comments

Race to Nowhere Film

Race to Nowhere film imageRace To Nowhere: The Dark Side of America’s Achievement Culture

On December 15th at 4:45PM & 7:15PM The State Theatre in downtown Traverse City will feature a special showing of the film Race to Nowhere.

A concerned mother turned filmmaker aims her camera at the high-stakes, high-pressure culture that has invaded our schools and our children’s lives. Race to Nowhere points to the silent epidemic in our schools: cheating has become commonplace; students are disengaged; stress-related illness and depression are rampant; and many young people arrive at college and the workplace unprepared and uninspired.

Race to Nowhere is a call to action for families, educators, and policy makers to challenge current assumptions on how to best prepare the youth of America to become healthy, bright, contributing and leading citizens.
Tickets: $10 in advance or $15 at the door.  Proceeds benefit Learn and Serve projects throughout the TBAISD.

For each General Admission ticket purchased, you will receive one complimentary student ticket.

Visit www.tcaps.net/racetonowhere for more tickets and details

Director Q&A to follow both screenings

“Another inconvenient truth” -George Lucas Educational Foundation
“Must-see documentary” -Patrick Bassett, President, National Association of Independent Schools

For information about the film visit www.RaceToNowhere.com

By |2019-12-26T16:26:27-05:00December 3rd, 2010|Check This Out, Events, Traverse City|0 Comments

Wellington Inn at Christmastime

Wellington Inn at ChristmastimeEnjoy an Old-Fashioned Christmas at the Wellington Inn in Traverse City

Step back in time for a turn-of-the-century glimpse into Christmas past at the Wellington Inn this Holiday season. Experience an old fashioned Christmas at this beautifully restored 1905 neoclassical mansion in Traverse City’s historic Boardman neighborhood.


New this year, holiday tours will be held on the three Sunday afternoons preceding Christmas: December 5th, 12th & 19th.  Hours will be 2:00pm – 6:00pm.

Local designers have ‘decked the halls’ with a spectacular display of holiday designs and decorations. Following your tour of the entire mansion, enjoy complimentary holiday sweets and hot mulled cider in the third floor ballroom.

Tickets are $10 at the door.

For more information call 231-922-9900 or visit www.WellingtonInn.com

By |2019-12-26T16:29:47-05:00November 23rd, 2010|Check This Out, Lodging, Traverse City|0 Comments

Mealtickets October Newsletter

October enews graphic imageAre you receiving the Mealtickets email newsletter?

If not, you can click this link to view the October 2010 email newsletter online now.

Newsletter Highlights


Sign up to receive our free monthly newsletters featuring design and marketing tips, Did You Know facts and updates on local businesses and events in the Traverse Area.  Register today!

By |2019-12-26T16:40:21-05:00October 13th, 2010|Check This Out, Mealtickets News|0 Comments

Welcome, Scott’s Harbor Grill

Scott's Harbor Grill mealtickets cardThe latest member of the Mealtickets family of advertisers is Scott’s Harbor Grill.


I’m pleased to welcome Scott’s Harbor Grill, one of my favorite restaurants in Traverse City. Scott’s sit’s a top a beautiful West bay harbor in Traverse City, just off-the-beaten-path on M-22. Located at the light at Cherry Bend Road it’s not far from town, but you feel miles away from a stressful day when you can gaze out over the water and enjoy a meal.

If you’re looking for a great place for seafood and margaritas, Scott’s should be on your list. In the warm months you can dine outside on the patio overlooking the sailboats tucked in slips. It’s a great place for families too, as their children’s menu has healthy kid-friendly options.

Planning a meeting or need to find a place for that group birthday party or family reunion dinner? Scott’s has a dining room that can be reserved for groups, with the same great menu and service.


So next time you’re in Traverse City, and you’re debating where to eat or grab a happy hour drink, think of Scott’s. And tell them we said hi! For more info about Scott’s, and a map to their location, check out their card on our Dining & Wineries page.

By |2019-12-26T16:42:47-05:00October 7th, 2010|Check This Out, Restaurants, Traverse City|0 Comments

Olde Town Parking Deck Opens Early

Downtown Traverse City mealtickets card imageDowntown Traverse City Opens the Olde Town Parking Deck in Time for Film Festival


The City broke ground for the Old Town Deck on October 20, 2009 and planned on it being substantially completed in mid September. They are happy to report that the Old Town Parking Deck will now open just in time for a busy August in Downtown Traverse City. The contractor, Colasanti Construction has come close to completion, approximately seven weeks ahead of schedule, and due to some extraordinary efforts, the first floor is set to open for the 6th Annual Traverse City Film Festival.

“We are pleased to at least have the first floor open for the Traverse City Film Festival. With the Old Town Playhouse and Lars Hockstad Auditorium in close proximity, the Old Town Deck will help take some parking pressure off neighborhood streets,” says Rob Bacigalupi, DDA Deputy Director.

CWS Architects are the local Architect and LEED consultant for the project and are pursuing Gold LEED certification. The four level parking deck features a solar panel array on the roof, which will provide all electricity needs for the facility on sunny days. Green roofs are located on the two stair towers and will reduce the volume of storm water entering the sewer system. “We expect that the Old Town Deck will be 40% more energy efficient than a conventional parking deck and are proud of the work that has taken place in the Old Town District,” says Ray Kendra, CWS Architects. The Old Town Deck will also include five car-charging stations and will be able to accommodate up to 20 electrical cars at once. These stations are state-of-the-art and can provide a full charge in two hours.

Planning for the Old Town Deck included parking options for the bike enthusiast. The northwest corner of the building will include eight bike storage lockers and five bikeracks will be located near the southeast corner. Long term or short term rental for the storage lockers are available and will be handled through the Parking Services Department located in the Hardy Parking Deck.


Full occupancy is expected by early August on the 522 space parking deck. Transient (hourly) parking will be provided on all levels. Vehicular entrances can be accessed from Lake and Eight Streets.

For more information, please call the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority at (231) 922-2050 or visit the Downtown website at www.downtowntc.com.

By |2019-12-30T10:04:09-05:00July 26th, 2010|Check This Out, Traverse City|0 Comments

Downtown TC Art Walk 5-7

Amy Kerr Hardin imageGet Your Art Fix at the Traverse City Art Walk


The Downtown Traverse City Association will host the spring Downtown Art Walk, sponsored by ABC 29&8 and WTCM on Friday, May 7, from 5 – 9 pm. The public is invited to enjoy an evening of art, refreshments, food and music. Artists from the Traverse City region and beyond will feature their works at exhibits throughout Downtown Traverse City. Visit participating locations and check out the amazing art scene from oil paintings and photography to glass bead making and fine wood furniture along Front St., Cass and the Warehouse District. New participant this year includes the artist co-op, Artisan Design Network where approximately 30 local artists have their work on display.

The DTCA will again offer an opportunity to create public art at the Downtown Art Walk. The public art project will be hosted by the Traverse City ArtCenter and feature small tiles to be painted by the public. The tiles will then create a large mural that will be installed on the side of Ace Hardware on W. Front St.

Refreshments will be offered at various locations throughout the evening.  Purchase a commemorative wine glass and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Downtown Public Art projects. Participating galleries will also be offering prize drawings throughout the evening.  Walking maps will be available at each participating gallery and the Downtown Traverse City office.  For more information call 231.922.2050 or visit www.downtowntc.com.


Artwork shown here is “Franklinia” by Amy Kerr Hardin. You can find her work on display during the Art Walk at Gallery Fifty in Downtown Traverse City.

TC North Stars Compete for Hockey Title April 16-17

Traverse City North Stars graphicCheer on the North Stars and Help Father Fred Foundation


The Traverse City North Stars will compete this weekend for the NAHL North Division Finals at Centre Ice Arena in a two-game match-up against the Motor City Metal Jackets.


Game 1: Friday April 16th at 7pm

Bring a canned food item to help the Father Fred Foundation and get $2 off adult or $1 off a student ticket. OR pay full price and the team will pay $2/$1 to the Father Fred food pantry.

Game 2:  Saturday April 17th at 7pm


For more information or tickets call 231.941.9200 or visit their website at www.traversecitynorthstars.com

By |2019-12-30T11:07:44-05:00April 16th, 2010|Attractions, Check This Out, Traverse City|0 Comments

Local Chefs in the Running for James Beard Award

scallops at Blu in Glen Arbor, MichiganConsidered “The Oscars of the food world,” by Time Magazine, the James Beard Foundation Award is one of the highest honors a chef can receive. And three Traverse Area chefs are on the cusp of receiving this very honor.

Semi-finalists in the category Best Chef: Great Lakes 2010 are chef Miles Anton of Trattoria Stella, chef Randy Chamberlain of Blu, and chef Guillaume Hazaël-Massieux of La Bécasse.


The semi-finalists were chosen from thousands of on-line entries in over a dozen categories. Finalists will be announced by the Foundation on Monday, March 22nd. Winners will be revealed on May 3, 2010 at the James Beard Foundation Awards Ceremony and Gala Reception in New York City.

Congratuations to our local chefs, and best of luck in the competition.


By |2019-12-30T11:22:03-05:00February 25th, 2010|Check This Out, Leelanau, Restaurants, Traverse City|0 Comments

Virtual Wine Tasting with Black Star Farms

Tweet and Taste Michigan graphicTweet & Taste Michigan brings wine lovers together on Twitter for a virtual wine tasting


Have you ever wanted to taste wines with the winemaker and compare notes? What if you could sip and savor at home, in your jammies if you like, while discussing Michigan wine with other fans from across the country? On March 8, 2010 you can do just that. Thanks to the folks at Michigan By the Bottle all you need for this fun event are a few bottles of Black Star Farms wines, a computer and a Twitter account.

Black Star Farms Winery is participating in a virtual wine tasting with Tweet & Taste Michigan. Created by Shannon Casey the event brings wine bloggers, winemakers, master sommeliers and wine lovers together to learn and share wine notes online in real time.


The event on March 8th starts at 8pm and will feature three Black Star Farms wines:

  • 2008 Black Star Farms Arcturos Dry Riesling
  • 2007 Black Star Farms Arcturos Pinot Noir
  • 2007 Black Star Farms Arcturos Barrel Aged Chardonnay


Interested participants can search twitter using the hashtag #ttmi to find all relevant info on Tweet and Taste Michigan. To RSVP for the event find them on Facebook here.


By |2019-12-30T11:25:06-05:00February 21st, 2010|Check This Out, Events, Leelanau, Traverse City, Wineries|0 Comments

Great Indoor Folk Festival in The Village 2/13

The 2nd Annual Great Indoor Folk Festival

Saturday, February 13th from 12pm – 5pm
The Village at Grand Traverse Commons

The all-folk, all-acoustic festival aims to be bigger and better this year, expanding down another hallway at the southern end of the Mercato and also establishing a new stage at Left Foot Charley. As with last year’s event, there will be a band stage, a duo stage, children’s stage and solo stage, as well as an open mic at Cuppa Joe. Family friendly and free admission…fun for all!


While you’re at the Commons, stop by Left Foot Charley for their H’arts and Arts for All fundraiser

NM3, RedHot Marketing and Left Foot Charley are sponsoring a special event for VSA (Very Special Arts of Grand Traverse County.) $50 Ticket includes a Silent Auction, Music, Wine & Food. Proceeds to benefit VSA.

For more information contact Left Foot Charley at 231.995.0500.