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+00:00March 12th, 2019|Check This Out, Events, Lodging, Traverse City|0 Comments

6 Tips to Prevent and Treat Swimmer's Itch

Swimmers Itch graphic

Summer has returned to Northern Michigan. The geese are swimming, the beaches are full, and unfortunately Swimmer’s itch is popping up on some of our favorite lakes.

 

We had our first dose of the pesky malady a few years ago, so now I’m prepared when it shows up. But for those who are new the area, Swimmer’s Itch can send you running for dry ground. Before you give up on swimming in our salt-free waters I thought I’d share some handy tips on how to prevent and treat Swimmer’s Itch.


What is Swimmer’s Itch?

If you’re squeemish you may want to gloss over this section as it’s not too pleasant to visualize the source of these scratchy bumps. Swimmer’s Itch is caused by a flatworm parasite. The larvae of the cercaria parasite travel between their water snail host and their intended water fowl host. When they come in contact with human skin they burrow in and immediately die as we are not hospitable. The raised itchy bump is an immune reaction to each site where a parasite has entered the epidermis. These parasites are a not harmful to humans beyond the discomfort of the bumps.

 

So what can you do to keep from ruining your vacation in northern Michigan with a case of the itch?

Swimmers Itch Guard

 

6 Tips to Prevent and Treat Swimmer’s Itch

 

1. Avoid Busy Beaches – Swimmer’s Itch is most common in highly populated beaches where ducks, especially the merganser duck, and snails are commonly found. Avoiding these swimming areas will decrease your chances of coming in contact with the parasite in the first place. Deeper water and moving water, such as rivers, are also less likely to carry the larvae in search of hosts.

 

2. Towel Off – Kids are most susceptible to swimmers itch as they tend to spend long amounts of time in shallow water and air dry. Try to towel off agressively after each swim.

 

3. Protect Your Skin – Creating a waterproof barrier seems to help prevent the parasites from burrowing into the skin. One way to do that is with Baby Oil. But you’re going to want sunblock to go under that. And kids are squirmy enough putting on one protective layer, much less two. We’ve discovered two brands of sunblock that do the job. Bullfrog gel sunblock works pretty well and is readily available in most stores. But we’ve had the best luck with a Wisconsin product called Swimmer’s Itch Guard. It’s made from natural ingredients, smells and feels a lot like vapor rub, but it works like a dream. This is the best prevention we’ve found. You can find it in a few Traverse City stores, and order it online here: swimmersitchguard.com It’s pricy, but if your kids plan to spend much time in the water it’s well worth it.

 

4. Don’t Panic – If you get the dreaded itch don’t panic and swear off swimming for the rest of the season. The bumps will itch for a day or two then they’ll just be red and ugly but not painful. The more sensitive your skin is the more susceptible you are to the parasites. I’ve swam with my kids and never got it when they’ve been covered. So it doesn’t affect everyone the same way. Unfortunately if you’ve had it once, you’re more likely to get it again.

 

5. Treatment – Applying an antihistamine creme on the spots to help with the itch, or swallowing a dose of Benadryl if it’s really bad, has always helped my family. The bumps will go away in about a week. (The worst part is the fearful look you get from strangers who think you have a raging case of measles.)

 

6. Don’t Feed the Ducks! – Waterfowl like merganser ducks, Canada geese, swans, and mallards are the hosts of these parasites. The eggs are returned to the water in the duck feces thereby repeating the life cycle. When the ducks are fed at beaches they congregate there thus making those sites especially susceptible to Swimmer’s Itch. On lakes where swimmer’s itch is common you can expect every common merganser duck is infected and capable of spreading the parasite.

 

Swimmer’s Itch is a pain, and unfortunately it seems to be growing in prevalence in Northern Michigan lakes, instead of receeding. But I hate to hear mothers swearing to keep their kids out of the lake for the summer because of an early case of the itch. Follow these steps and hopefully your summer will be filled with splashing and fun instead of itching and scratching.

 

For more information on Swimmer’s Itch visit this website from Hope College: http://www.swimmersitch.org

By |2013-07-02T14:27:26+00:00July 2nd, 2013|Traverse City|0 Comments

Sony Glasses Provide Access for All at TC's State Theatre

Sony Entertainment Glasses State Theatre TC

Traverse City’s State Theatre seeks to improve the movie-going experience for the visually and hearing impaired

 

This week I attended a special demonstration at the Traverse City State Theatre to learn about the Sony Entertainment Access Glasses. These devices provide closed-captioning for the hearing impaired, as well as audio assistive technology for the visually impaired. The State Theatre is considering a purchase and sought input from the public.

Nearly 50 people turned out to test the devices. Annie Campbell from the Disability Network helped organized the event which drew members of the community with a wide range of accessibility challenges, including a large group from the TC West ASL class along with a sign language instructor.

A representative from Sony brought a few devices for members of the audience to test. The glasses project captions 10 feet in front of the lenses, but are only visible to the wearer. The text can be adjusted for brightness and distance from the lens, and can be worn over other types of eyewear. Since the captions are projected on the lens instead of appearing on the screen, they fill follow when you move your head, and are not a distraction to other audience members.

"This is as close to open captions as you can get," explained Tyler, the Sony representative who came from California to demonstrate the devices.

An audio assistive part of the device is included in the glasses. The headsets aid the visually and hearing impaired with a description of what’s happening on screen in between the dialog. Imagine a narrator reading scene descriptions from a screenplan.

Sony Entertainment Glasses State Theatre Sony Entertainment Glasses State Theatre

Deb Lake from the State Theatre was in the house to get feedback from attendees. "We really want the theater to be accessible to everyone," she said. In fact some assisitive technology is already in place. An induction loop system is available to feed sound directly into cochlear implants in the form of a headset. The theatre previous pursued the MOPIX system and decided not to dedicate their fundraising dollars there after discovering they were somewhat cumbersome and distracting to other theater patrons. The good news nearly $7000 was raised to purchase MOPIX, which could be reallocated to the Sony glasses.

Based on feedback from the attendees the Sony glasses are a good solution. The State Theatre plans to negotiate a price with Sony, who previously had only sold these systems to major multiplexes in larger cities. Just another example of why our little community theatre deserves recogintion as the Best Theatre in America!

 

 

 

By |2013-06-07T08:29:48+00:00June 7th, 2013|Traverse City|0 Comments

Pirate's Cove Raises Money for Wounded Soldiers

“Putting for Patriots” Event at Pirates Cove Adventure Park in Traverse City

 

Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, in Traverse City, Michigan will host the 7th Annual “Putting for Patriots” fundraiser over Memorial Day weekend. This national event will occur simultaneously at 33 Pirate’s Cove, Pirate’s Island and Jungle Golf miniature golf courses throughout the United States. 

 

Fundraising efforts began earlier in May and will culminate on Memorial Day weekend to support three charities, which serve our wounded, their families and survivors of the fallen.  These organizations include: “Hope For The Warriors”, “Homes for Our Troops” and “TAPS—Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.”  Pirate’s Cove, Jungle Golf and Pirate’s Island will donate a percentage of their total sales on Saturday May 25th & Sunday, May 26th.  Since its inception, this event has raised over $128,000.

“Memorial Day was specifically founded to remember those who died serving our nation,”
notes Brad Graft, Pirate’s Cove Partner and Regional Director.  “The Pirate’s Cove / Pirate’s Island family thought it appropriate to establish an annual event to serve charities that assist our living veterans and the survivors of fallen military members. These are men and women who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.”

Pirate’s Cove and Pirate’s Island operate 33 miniature golf courses throughout the United States.  For more information, visit their Web sites at www.piratescove.com, www.piratesislandgolf.com, and www.junglegolfminigolf.com. Additional information on the above charities can be found by accessing their Web sites:  www.hopeforthewarriors.org, www.homesforourtroops.org and www.taps.org.

By |2013-05-24T07:09:43+00:00May 24th, 2013|Attractions, Events, Traverse City|0 Comments

"Light it up Blue" for Autism Awareness April 2 in Downtown Traverse City

 

Join us as we “Light It Up Blue” a World Autism Awareness Day, family-friendly event in downtown Traverse City on Tuesday, April 2.

Light It Up Blue begins at 6 p.m. April 2 at ECCO, 121 E. Front St., with food and fun activities with a blue theme. Glowing luminaries will be available for purchase for $5, with proceeds to benefit the Traverse City Area Public Schools iPads for Autism program.

Downtown merchants are encouraged to decorate their storefronts in blue in honor of the event. At 7:30 p.m. participants will carry the luminaries along Front Street to the Open Space. At the Open Space, participants will place the blue glowing lanterns in the shape of a puzzle piece, another symbol of autism. The event will be captured on video and an overhead photo with the community will be taken to show Traverse City’s participation in “Light it up Blue.”

Blue luminaries are available for purchase in advance at Old Mission Traders, 215 E. Front St.

If you live in the Traverse City area we encourage you to come down for this fun event. But even if you can’t we encourage everyone to Light it up Blue whereever you are. Here’s what you can do:

  • Wear blue clothing, nail polish even hair paint
  • Turn your porch light blue with a bulb from Home Depot. Special bulbs are for sale with proceeds to benefit Autism Speaks
  • Decorate your door, your yard or your desk in blue or with puzzle pieces, the symbol of Autism

 

World Autism Awareness Day logoLight It Up Blue is a worldwide event in which participants seek to light prominent landmarks blue to help raise awareness of autism, a developmental disorder now estimated to affect one in 50 children. In Michigan, the Mackinac Bridge will be lit blue on April 2. Other prominent buildings have included the Empire State Building in New York City and the CN Tower in Canada.

In Traverse City, Light It Up Blue is organized by the Scavenger Hunt for Autism, a fundraising event set for April 13 that will also benefit TCAPS’ iPads for Autism Program.

“We’re excited to add this prelude event this year to further increase autism awareness,” Scavenger Hunt founder Brandy Wheeler said. “Kids, parents, grandparents and community members of all ages in between are invited to help make the Open Space as blue as the bay.”

For more information on Light it up Blue or the Scavenger Hunt for Autism on April 13 visit www.traversetraveler.com/autism or find us on Facebook
 

By |2013-03-28T06:41:27+00:00March 28th, 2013|Events, Traverse City, Traverse Traveler|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 |2013-02-15T10:26:07+00:00February 15th, 2013|Traverse City|0 Comments

Traverse Traveler Holiday Gift Guide 2012

Traverse Traveler Holiday Gift Guide 2012

Writing a Holiday Gift Guide has become a tradition. I realize scouring the stores in search of the perfect gift isn’t for everyone. So I try to help out this time of year and do a little hunting on your behalf. Secretly I’m also trying to show some support for our local retailers who work so hard to find unique items that rival that of chain stores and online giants. Why buy big box, when you can buy local and boost the economy in our own backyard.

This year I’ve divided my shopping list into the following categories. I hope you’ll find something that’s just right for a friend or loved one.

Goodies for Foodies

All Geeked Out

Girlfriend Gifts

Wine About It

Hostess with the Mostest

For the Kiddos

 

Goodies for Foodies

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Sleeping Bear Raw HoneySleeping Bear Farms Raw Honey | MI Farm Market $12.99
One of my absolute favorite food discoveries this year is this raw honey from Sleeping Bear Farms in Beulah, Michigan. This is natural, uncooked, unfiltered honey. It’s a little cloudy and granular but all the better for it. And it’s full of health benefits from the enzymes, pollen and floral essences the bees leave behind. One of my secret weapons against a cold is a teaspoon of this honey the moment I feel a sore throat coming on. Honey has antibacterial qualities. And who doesn’t love an excuse to eat a spoonful of goodness!

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Cranberry Cherry SauceCranberry Cherry Sauce | The Cherry Stop $7.00
We love our cherry products in Northern Michigan. But sometimes it’s hard to find something new for the cherry lover in the family. Here’s one I discovered on a recent trip to the Cherry Stop. Instead of the traditional cranberry sauce with your turkey this year why not liven it up with cranberry cherry sauce. No need for a recipe, the folks at The Cherry Stop have mixed up a batch with just the right blend.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Fustinis MinisCookbook Samplers | Fustini’s $49.00
Anyone who has seen my kitchen counter knows how much I love Fustini’s. And I’ve given their oil & vinegar combinations as gifts in the past. So what’s new this year? They have a brand new cookbook, "How Fustini’s Do Fustini’s," a compilation of recipes from Fustini’s employees and customers. And for the holidays they’ve paired it with 4 mini bottles of oils & vinegars in flavor combos that work with the book. Choose from 4 sampler packages and try something new this season.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Gallery Fifty tongsHandmade Wooden Tongs | Gallery 50 $15.00 and $19.00
Why not have a little fine art in the kitchen? Stop by Gallery 50 in The Village Mercato and choose from a selection of handmade wooden tongs. Constructed from beautiful materials like zebrawood and rosewood, and available in large or small sizes, these handmade tongs are as stylish as they are functional. Great gift idea for men and women, for the chef or the casual cook.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Sleeping Bear Farms mustardSleeping Bear Farms Pepper Honey Mustard | MI Farm Market $4.99
Mustard is probably my favorite condiment, next to homemade salsa. So it’s nice to find a fun new alternative to the store bought standbys. This Pepper Honey Mustard has a great kick from real chili peppers. And of course it includes some Sleeping Bear Farms star thistle honey. Great for spreading on sandwiches, as a dip for pretzels or as a glaze on fish or meats headed for the grill.

 


All Geeked Out

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Rocker iPhone caseRocker iPhone Case | The Pod Drop $19.00
Cases for the iPhone 5 are somewhat hard to find since they’re still new on the market. But The Pod Drop has you covered. Stop by their location in Campus Plaza next to Jimmy Johns and check out the line of Rocker cases. The silicone skin pairs with a hard body case (sold separately), and comes in dozens of colors and patterns, which make these cases completely customizable. And at $8.99 for the skin, and $9.99 for the cover, they’re priced right for stocking stuffers too.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Nest knit glovesSmartphone Gloves | Nest $27.00
As you can imagine, I’m on my iPhone all the time, especially when I’m out and about town. Now that winter is here I’m constantly removing my gloves so I can answer a call, scroll through messages on Twitter or snap a photo on Instagram. I’ve tried other versions of smartphone gloves with little luck…and they weren’t very cute either. That’s why I love these knit gloves I found at Nest. Cute and functional.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 FRUITstand FRUITstand | CityMac $10.00
Here’s a cool local product for the tech geek. FRUITstand is a simple plastic-coated stand to hold a variety of eDevices, or iDevices if you prefer. It’s small, lightweight, and best of all it’s made by a Traverse City company, PDM Industries. I discovered the FRUITstand on a recent trip into CityMac. They’re available in a variety of fresh colors. Whether you’re looking for a landing spot for your Kindle, or a charging station for you iPhone or iPad, this little stand will do the trick. And at that price if you take it on vacation and forget it you won’t sweat the replacement cost. Now if you forget your device…that’s another story.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Paper RobotsPiperoid Paper Pipe Robots | Cool Stuff Express $15.95
For the kid, or the kid at heart, there’s a big trend in paper art and origami. These cool creations are made from printed and punched paper pipes that are folded into crazy robots. Does your cubicle need a little comic entertainment? If you thought origami was too girly, this might change your mind.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Q-Man magnetsMini Q-Man & Q-Ant Magnets | Cool Stuff Express $3.97 — $6.95
Trying to find something for that hard-to-buy-for teen in your family? Guys, gals and geeks will love these bendable, flexible, colorful magnet men and giant ants. The powerful magnets stick to each other or metal surfaces allowing for connectable, collectable fun. They’re also strong enough to support 14 sheets of paper! Hang ’em in a locker, file cabinet or on the fridge. Image courtesy of Cool Stuff Express

 


Girlfriend Gifts

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Becky Thatcher Designs necklaceStarry Night Necklace | Becky Thatcher Designs starting at $275.00
I love a classic necklace that can dress up an outfit, or be worn with a casual sweater and jeans. That’s what drew me to this beautiful jewelry from Becky Thatcher Designs in Traverse City. Made from black spinel and freshwater pearls in a variety of shades from white to gray this necklace would be a lovely addition to anyone’s jewelry collection. And the matching earrings start at $65. Perfect.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Return of Sexy eyeshadowReturn of Sexy Eyeshadow Collection | Venus $48.00
Ladies who love a little drama will be drawn to this wet/dry eyeshadow collection from Too Faced. There are three color collections, 15 shadows full of sparkle and dimension, a waterproof black liner and eyeshadow insurance (a primer for your eyelids). That’s bringin’ sexy back.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Book of the MonthSurprise Book of the Month | Brilliant Books $66.00 – $295.00
This is a brilliant idea from Brilliant Books. If you have a literary fan who is always searching for a new read, consider giving them a new title every month. Each subscription is unique because the book selections are based on the reader’s preferences in genre, author, likes and dislikes. You can give a year of hardcover books ($295) or paperback ($185) or choose 6-month or 4-month options for as little as $66. In the six years since they started the program they’ve only had three books come back for exchange — and two were because the recipient already read and loved the selection.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 felted hatsFelted Wool Hats by Hatty Matty | Lilies of the Alley $24.95 — $64.95
A handmade hat is a statement of style. And in northern Michigan it’s practically a necessity. I love these beautiful hats from Hatty Matty, aka Cindy Hardy the owner of Lilies of the Alley. These felted wool hats come in all sorts of styles and colors. And there are sizes for kids as well as adults with a range in prices for each. In case you’ve never been, Lilies of the Alley is tucked in the alley behind Brew and Brilliant Books in downtown Traverse City.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Butter lips and tipsLips & Tips | Venus $25.00
This cute combo comes from the folks at Butter, a London brand know for their fashion-forward colors. The nail polish and lip gloss from Butter is vegan-friendly, making this a great gift for the animal lover too. Venus carries a full line of Butter nail polish selections, but I especially loved some of their holiday line which is full of sparkle for the glam affect. Every girlfriend needs a little glitter, right?

 



Wine About It

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Gallery 50 corkscrew2-in-1 Corkscrew & Bottle Stopper | Gallery 50 $35.00
Need a classy gift for your boss? Are you going to a holiday party and looking for something for the hostess who has everything? Choose from a selection of hand-turned wooden bottle stoppers. Twist the handle and you’ll revel the corkscrew hidden inside. I’m loving the green ones, made from box elder wood.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 wine stackerStack wine bottle storage | Cool Stuff Express $9.95
This clever little black silicone wine bottle is the secret to storing your wine in a stack on the counter just like you’re supposed to… horizontally. Simply separate the bottle into two halves and position on either side of your wine bottles along a shelf or counter. The silicone grips to smooth surfaces and acts like bookends for your wine. Image courtesy of Cool Stuff Express

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 cork purseCork Purses | Gallery 50 $45.00 – $78.00
I am crazy for corks. In fact, I’ve created a whole Pinterest board dedicated to cork crafts. But I have yet to see another cork craft like this. Artist Jean Ackerman from Kingsley, Michigan is creating cork purses, many of which are decorated with corks from Michigan wineries. If you’re looking for a unique gift for a Michigan wine lover I think we’ve got you covered.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 wine canteensSport Wine Canteen | Black Star Farms $26.50
Backpackers and beach goers will love this new canteen available in Rouge (red) and Blanc (green). If you’ve ever wanted to bring a bottle of wine to the park, on the boat or on a picnic, but worried about the glass bottle this is the perfect solution. These eco-friendly metal containers will fit a full bottle of wine! Take your vino to go, and no one will know. Comes in a variety of colors. Available at TASTES of Black Star Farms in The Village.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Forty-Five North RoseRosé of Cabernet Franc | Forty-Five North Vineyard & Winery $26.00
With hundreds of Michigan wines to choose from, it’s tough to narrow it down to one. So this is one of many that make up my list of favorites. The Rosé of Cabernet Franc from Forty-Five North is a great choice for holiday gifting because it suits so many palattes. I drink mosty whites, and lean toward the sweet, but this wine I love. My husband loves a good red, and he too was drawn to this rosé. Notes from the winemaker alude to big aromas of cherry and raspberry, a creamy mouth feel and noticeable tannins. This wine is great to give as well as receive. Image courtesy of Forty-Five North

 



Hostess with the Mostest

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 soy votive candleSoy Votive Candles | Red Ostrich $6.95
Looking for the hot seller this season? Search no further than these little beauties from Red Ostrich. Forget the tequila, pick up a double shot of soy. Soy candles that is. They carry 25 scents including the popular orange vanilla, black pepper and holiday spice. These tiny 2 oz. candles are an eco-friendly gift that everyone can enjoy. They burn clean and smell wonderful and are Made in the USA. Image courtesy of Red Ostrich

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Paper Blanks journalsPaper Blanks | Premier Floral $17.00 – $29.00
It’s so much nicer to keep a journal when the process of holding and opening it are a pleasure. This collection of lined and unlined journals from Paper Blanks are really beautiful. I love the texture of the covers, and they have a lovely metal latch closure that harkens back to locked diaries and forbidden secrets. With traditional patterns these designs would also be suitable for man who loves to write or draw, or for use as a cottage guest book.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 turtle dove soapsTurtle Doves Soaps | Venus $32.00
Your friends will feel so special when presented with this pretty package dressed in silver moire. Open it up and discover two turtle doves made of silky soap scented with tulip and hyacinth, resting in a porcelain bowl. It’s elegant enough for your mother-in-law to put next to the towels in the guest bath or thoughtful enough for your dearest friend.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 dog pillowDog Pillows | Premier Floral $25.00
If your friend is a dog lover they’ll fall for these colorful and cozy pillows inspired by their four-legged friends. The moment I saw the Boston Tea Terrier I thought of my best friend who grew up with the bug-eyed little cuties. There are several designs to choose from including Eager Beagle and Black Lab Summer Cottages.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 twig pencilsTwig Pencils | Gallery 50 $7.50 or $9.50
If your host is a letter writer, or they love the lodge look, these pencils will be a handy addition to their desk. If not, they’ll look great in a cup next to the phone at the cottage. Either way, these fat twig pencils, available in traditional or colored varieties, make a great hostess gift or stocking stuffer for the kids. Need to get to the point? Simply carve with a knife to sharpen the tip.

 



For the Kiddos

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 magnetic boardMagnetic Boards | Sweet Pea $14.95 / $22.95
Room decor is tough when the kids interests change every year. So why not keep it flexible and give them a magnetic board that looks great and can be decorated with the recipient in mind. These scalloped-edged metal squares are available in 12" x 12" or 18" x 18" sizes in several colors. This company sells a huge variety of magnet designs to completely customize the board. From alphabet letters to animals to holidays and more.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Gamago PhoneyGamaGo Phoney | Cool Stuff Express $4.95
The latest trend coming from Japan are these cute little animals to decorate your tween’s phone. They plug into the headphone jack, which means they’ll fit nearly any style smartphone, tablet or MP3 player. "A friend for your phone," they say. Kids will love to collect these little plastic pets and customize their tech gadgets.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 kids booksChildren’s Books | Brilliant Books $15.99 – $16.99
I stopped in to Brilliant Books to get a few recommendations for new titles the kids might like. Extra Yarn, The Cloud Spinner and This is Not My Hat would be great books for children 4-9 years old. They have colorful illustrations and stories that help children appreciate the value of Things. For more recommendations visit Brilliant Books and ask for Heather or Jack.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 kids candyCrazy Candy | Cool Stuff Express prices vary
Kids always love what’s gooey, gross and flavored in unexpected ways. Cool Stuff Express on Union Street in Traverse City has a huge collection of all of the above. Some of this year’s most popular trends include anything with mustaches or bacon, tongue tattoos, flavored lipbalm and mints. And for the boys and girls who were less than cheery this holiday season: the classic gummy candy coal.

 

Traverse Traveler Gift Guide 2012 Elf on the ShelfElf on the Shelf | Toy Harbor $31.00
If you’re looking for a fun and engaging activity book to share with your children or grandchildren during the holiday season pick up an Elf on the Shelf. The book comes with an elf (boy or girl elf options now available) and a story book explaining how Santa sends scout elves out each Christmas to report on chilldren’s behavior. Once opened the children can name and register the elf at elfonashelf.com. Thanks to Christmas magic the elf travels each night to see Santa, and reappears in your home in a different location. My kids love finding out what our elf, Scuttle, has been up to while we were sleeping.

 

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my collection of Holiday shopping ideas. You can find all of these items in northern Michigan stores, and many are available on their respective websites as well. Please spend some of your time and money this season supporting our local economy. Your gifts will be more unique, and your money will stay in the community.

 

Happy Holidays from Traverse Traveler!

By |2012-12-05T14:12:52+00:00December 5th, 2012|Hometown Highlights, Traverse City|0 Comments

Clean Up and Green Up for Daylight Savings

Clean Up and Green Up graphic

 

Turn back your clocks…or just turn them in.

Daylight Savings Clean Up and Green Up, a free community-wide recycle, repurpose and reuse event put on by Michigan Green Consortium, will be held from 9am until 3pm on Sunday, November 4, 2012 on the grounds of American Waste’s facility at 280 Hughes Drive in Traverse City. The event encourages residents to use the hour gained from the time change to participate, personally, in helping to preserve the environment. Held twice each year the morning following the time change, this event encourages local area residents to bring difficult-to-recycle items, items that have salvageable components or materials, and items that can be repurposed or reused to one central location for collection.

 

The list of items that will be accepted is broad-ranged from plastics and paper to wine bottles and pumpkins; from bubble wrap to wrought iron; from lawn mower and edgers to Styrofoam and plastic grocery bags. More than a dozen businesses will be on-site accepting a variety of difficult-to-recycle items. For a comprehensive list of what is acceptable and the sponsor partner that will accept it, please consult our event website, www.cleanupgreenup.com.

 

In accordance with energy programs that are already in place, three area utility companies,  Consumers Energy, Cherryland Electric Cooperative and Traverse City Light & Power, will be offering their customers rebates or credits for bringing in various appliances that are now deemed inefficient.  Consumers Energy will offer a $50.00 rebate to their customers for refrigerators and freezers, sized 10 – 30 cubic feet, and a $15.00 rebate for air conditioners and dehumidifiers brought to the event. Cherryland Electric Cooperative customers are offered a one-day opportunity to receive $100.00 for each refrigerator or freezer manufactured prior to 2001, and $30.00 for each air conditioner and dehumidifier that are brought to the event.   Traverse City Light and Power customers can receive $60.00 for a full-size refrigerator or freezer and $15.00 for air conditioners and dehumidifiers that are turned in.  Appliances in these programs don’t have to work but they must power up in order to be eligible for the rebates.  Customers should bring copies of their bills to qualify.

This is truly a community-wide effort to reduce the amount of trash in landfills and reuse materials that can be given new life through recycling, artwork, and environmentally safe practices.
 

The Michigan Green Consortium has quickly achieved notoriety for its recycling efforts and was named Recycle Smart Business of the Year in 2011.  Established in 2008, Michigan Green Consortium is a 501c3 not for profit organization. Its mission is to foster the general knowledge of sustainable practices and to promote the application of sound environmental stewardship through educational workshops, seminars, monthly networking events, and community-wide events designed to lessen the burden on government.

To learn out more about Michigan Green Consortium and their Daylight Savings Clean Up and Green Up event, visit the event website at www.cleanupgreenup.com or Michigan Green Consortium’s website at www.mgconline.org, or call (231) 947-1688.

By |2012-10-30T20:51:18+00:00October 30th, 2012|Traverse City|0 Comments

How to Plan a Fall Color Wine Tour in Traverse City

Fall Color Wine Tour Traverse City image

Planning a fall color wine tour in Northern Michigan this year? We’ve gathered a few tips to make the most out of your next wine tasting trip from Traverse City to Leelanau or Old Mission Peninsula.

 

wine tour with Traverse Traveler app imageWhat to Bring

• Camera. The wineries are beautiful any time of year, but especially in the fall during harvest season. You’ll want a few pics to remember your trip.

 

• Money. Many of the wineries now have tasting fees. Bring cash to cover fees where you might not purchase a bottle of wine. Each winery’s policy is different.

 

• Bottled water. Here’s a tip from the Kathy at Bel Lago, "For a successful wine tour, drink as much water as you do in wine. And be sure to eat."

 

• Snacks. Cheese spreads, breads, crackers and fruit all pair well with wine and won’t spoil your palette for the wines you’ve yet to taste.

 

• Smartphone. The Traverse Traveler app was designed with the wine tourist in mind. This handy mobile guide will help you research, plan and navigate a wine tour in northern Michigan. And best of all, it’s a free download for iPhone and Android users.

 

 

Wine Tour imagesWhat to Leave at Home

"Don’t wear lipstick." This tip is from Caryn at 2 Lads Winery. It’s not just the marks on the glass that are left behind. Lipstick imparts flavors like petroleum and other chemicals when wine passes over your lips.

 

• No perfume. It ruins your tasting experience, and everyone elses. The scent of one person’s perfume can contaminate the air in a tasting room for hours.

 

• Cigarettes. Your sense of smell is a large part of the wine tasting experience. And smoke is a very stong scent. Like perfume it affects those around you. So please leave the smokes in your car.

 

• Gum. You can’t taste past it, especially mint. So stow the Altoids and TicTacs too.

 

• Dogs & Kids. A wine tour is meant for the 21+ crowd. While you may see a few wine dogs throughout your travels, several of the tasting rooms offer food pairings, which means it’s against their health code to have dogs in the winery. So as a general rule, take the kids and pets to the beach or the park, but not on a wine tour.

 

 

Wine Tour Planning imagePlanning Your Wine Tour

With nearly three dozen wineries in our tip of the mitten it can be a bit overwhelming to figure out where to start. Here are a few tips on planning a wine tasting route from Traverse City.

 

• You can’t see them all. Make a list of favorites, or recommended wineries you want to be sure to visit, and squeeze in others as time allows.

 

• Stick to one peninsula. There are two distinct AVAs in our region: Leelanau Peninsula and Old Mission. Stick to one or the other for a one-day trip. The wineries are scattered throughout each peninsula making it difficult to jump back and forth.

 

• There’s an app for that! Use the Wineries category on the Traverse Traveler app to choose which stops you want to make. The maps are great for navigating between wineries via backroads for a more scenic tour, or finding the fastest route.

 

• Map it. Pick up the large map from the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau. If you’re not a smartphone user this will be a hands-on resource for finding your way around both peninsulas.

 

• Beware of high traffic times. If you’re wine tasting during peak fall season your best days are mid week. If you must come on a weekend be prepared for crowds. Most of our wineries have small tasting rooms with even smaller tasting bars. On a busy weekend you may have to wait to get a turn at the bar.

 

• Go off the beaten path. Most tasting rooms in Leelanau and Old Mission are lucky to be located near the vineyard. But that vineyard isn’t necessarily on a major highway. Part of the fun is exploring and discovering new locations. Start at the top of the peninsula and work your way south. Or make a plan to stay inland and visit some of the smaller boutique wineries.

 

 

Wine Tour Groups imageGroup Travel

There are some special considerations to planning a wine tour when you’re traveling with a group. Here are some tips to maximize the fun and minimize the hassle when planning a group wine tour.

 

• Size matters. Wine tasting with friends can be a wonderful experience. But if your group is too large it can cause problems which detract from your enjoyment. In our experience a group of 10 or less is the ideal size. Larger groups will have additional limitations on where you can go, how quickly you will move from place to place, and tasting room fees.

 

• Carpool. Part of the fun of a group wine tasting is comparing notes about each winery with your companions as your travel. Pile into one person’s vehicle, rent a van, or book a wine tour. And if at all possible, assign a designated driver. Listen to Ellie at Traverse City Tours who warns, "Don’t come on vacation and leave on probation."

 

• Large groups call ahead. For wine tours larger than 10 you should call ahead to each winery. Some tasting rooms are so small they do not allow buses or tours at all, and others have per person tasting fees for the entire party. These are not things you want to discover after you’ve driven across the peninsula to visit.

 

• Label wine purchases. Hopefully your group will discover many wines they like and purchasing bottles at each location. Pick up a box from the first stop. Using a Sharpie marker label each wine purchased with your initials, or used color coded garage sale stickers. Add additional boxes as needed. When the tour is complete it will be easy to determine which wine was purchased by whom.

 

• Pack a picnic. It’s important to eat and drink water throughout your wine tour. For a fun experience pack a cooler with cheese, fruit, crackers and bite-sized appetizers or sandwiches. Many of the wineries have picnic tables or areas outside where you can stop and enjoy your snack along the route. There are also markets and farm stands scattered throughout the peninsulas to pick-up snacks along the way.

 

• Be patient. "Be respectful of other tasters and wait patiently if there’s a crowd," says Chaning at Forty-Five North Vineyard & Winery. When you’re traveling as a group this is especially important since you may have to break into smaller groups, or taste in shifts.

 

We’ve been on several group wine trips and completely agree with Kyle from Riverside Canoes who says, "My best wine tasting tip is to go tasting with your closest friends. The wine always tastes better!."

 

 

Wine Tour Tips imagesSip Tips from the Pros

Winemakers and tasting room staff are incredibly knowledgeable about their products and their craft. Here are a few of their tips for making the most of a northern Michigan wine tasting experience.

 

• It’s OK to spit. Ask Bel Lago winemaker Cristin Hosmer and she’ll tell you, "Spitting is OK. In fact it’s encouraged." It cuts down on your consumption of alcohol. So remember, "The dump bucket is your friend."

 

• Chew your sparkles. When tasting a sparkling wine, "You don’t want to drink bubbly like you kiss your grandmother." If you’ve been pursing your lips when you sip sparkling wine from a glass you’ve got it all wrong. Instead,"Chew, hold and slowly swallow," instructs Don at L. Mawby. By chewing the wine the bubbles explode in your mouth allowing the flavors to disperse. Try it. It’s a whole new experience.

 

• Eat mild not wild. "Don’t eat strong flavored foods  — onion, garlic and spicy dishes — before or during a wine tour," warns Coryn of Black Star Farms. While a bottle of wine may pair well with some of these dishes, the pungent flavors will linger throughout your wine tour affecting the rest of the wines you taste.

 

• Not a free drunk. Wine tasting is not a free ticket to inebriation. "Don’t treat a wine tour like happy hour at a bar," reminds Tom at Peninsula Cellars. Guests in a tasting room are there to learn about wine, and are offered tastes (sometimes free) to determine which wines they might like best. If you’re more interested in hanging out at a bar and chatting with your girlfriends, you’ve got the wrong kind of bar. Just be respectful of the staff’s time, and the product that they’re freely sharing so that you’ll discover something you’d like to buy.

 

 

A wine tour is a great way to explore Traverse City and the countryside in Northern Michigan. With these handy tips you’ll be sure to make the most of the adventure. For more fabulous day trips in northern Michigan this fall check out our post: 22 Reasons for a Fall M-22 Roadtrip.

By |2012-10-04T19:33:00+00:00October 4th, 2012|Day Trips, Traverse City, Traverse Traveler|0 Comments

Traverse Traveler Buys 13 iPads for Students with Autism

Scavenger Hunt for Autism LogoScavenger Hunt for Autism iPads

Brandy Wheeler, creator of the Traverse Traveler app and owner of Mealtickets & Unusual Ideas, purchased 13 iPads with the proceeds from the first-annual Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism. The iPads have been donated to Traverse City Area Public Schools for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

 

Last April, eighty-four teams took to the streets of downtown Traverse City for the inaugural Scavenger Hunt for Autism. Teams used the Traverse Traveler app and a QR code reader to discover downtown businesses, check-in and unlock a clue for an activity at each location. Volunteers stationed at every venue assisted with the on-site challenge, and handed out prize tickets. Participants encountered puzzles and games that challenged their brains, their sense of direction, and teamwork.

iPad image

The event was a fundraiser for the iPads for Autism program at Traverse City Area Public Schools, a pilot program started in 2011 which provided iPads for 9 students at TCAPS with Autism Spectrum Disorder. To grow this program and meet the needs of their 120 students with autism, Traverse Traveler joined TCAPS Partner in Education program.

 

The Scavenger Hunt drew participation from a diverse crowd of 337 participants including families, educators, children with autism and disabled adults as well as community members from as far as Petoskey.

 

The fundraiser generated donations from event sponsors, team registrations and private donors and raised over $14,700 for the iPads for Autism Program. More than $9000 was donated directly to TCAPS through the Partner in Education program. Over the summer TCAPS added 6 iPads and purchased app packages designed to meet the specific needs of students with Autism. The iPads will help grow a lending library to expedite student assessment, trial different applications and assign devices more quickly.

 

As part of the licensing agreement with retailers schools are required to purchase Apple products directly from Apple. But event founder Brandy Wheeler wanted to show support for the local businesses. “This event wouldn’t be possible without the support of our business community. I’m thrilled that we can purchase our iPads locally from CityMac and donate them to TCAPS to grow the iPads for Autism program.”

 

The positive response from event participants and venues, combined with the commitment from title sponsor Lucky Jack’s, has event organizers already planning for next year. For more information on the Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism and to find out how you can volunteer visit TraverseTraveler.com/Autism or find them on Facebook.

 

Photo:  Brandy Wheeler from Traverse Traveler and Jame McCall, Special Education Director at Traverse City Area Public Schools gathered today at CityMac for the iPad purchase. They were joined by members of the Scavenger Hunt for Autism committee including Jamie Roster, Kathy DiMercurio, Kate Daggett and Nick Nerbonne, and event sponsors Mike Mohrhardt of Lucky Jacks, Josh Russell of Jimmy Johns and Greg Nickerson from CityMac.

 

By |2012-09-27T13:39:11+00:00September 27th, 2012|Mealtickets News, Traverse City, Traverse Traveler|0 Comments

Becky Thatcher Designs Hosts Pearl Goddess Lecture

Becky Thatcher Designs Pearls imageBetty Sue King image

Becky Thatcher Designs welcomes Betty Sue King on Wednesday, September 5th at 2pm for a lecture on all things Pearl.

 

Pearls 101: Freshwater & Saltwater, Cultured & Natural

Betty Sue King, the Pearl Goddess, will be joining Becky Thatcher in her Traverse City jewelry store for a lecture on pearls. How are freshwater pearls different from akoya, South Sea and Tahitian? Gain in depth information and practical advice for a core understanding of pearls.  Betty Sue King, "The Pearl Goddess", has been buying overseas and selling her remarkable pearls for over 30 years.  She passionately weaves the technology and romance of pearls with humankind’s natural obsession for beauty. Betty Sue will energize you with visions of glorious pearls to inspire your dreams.

 

The lecture includes a powerpoint presentation, handouts and a hands-on experience.

 

If you share a passion for pearls, or would like to learn more, join the conversation. Stop by Becky Thatcher Designs in Traverse City on September 5th and enjoy! Visit www.beckythatcherdesigns.com for more information on her jewelry and store locations.

By |2012-08-30T09:59:58+00:00August 30th, 2012|Events, Traverse City|0 Comments

August Events in Traverse City

August is full of events in and around the Traverse City area. If you’re feeling like summer is passing you by, stop and smell the excitement and take part in the fun. I guarantee there is something for everyone in the family.

 

August Events in Traverse City

 

Paella in the ParkPaella in the Park
Friday August 3 | Clinch Park, Traverse City
The Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula pair up with 7 chefs to create 21 paellas for a great taste combination. Enjoy music from Spin Doctors and Grupo Aye and a beautiful views of the bay.
www.porterhouseproductions.com

 

 

 

State Theatre Traverse CityTraverse City Film Festival
July 31-August 5 | Downtown Traverse City
Hosted by filmmaker Michael Moore the non-profit festival is volunteer run and supports the State Theatre. The 2011 festival included over 150 screenings and 128,000 admissions. There are free movies each night at dusk, and a free shuttle service for the festival loop.
www.traversecityfilmfest.org

 

 

Northwestern Michigan FairNorthwestern Michigan Fair
August 4-11 | Fairgrounds, Traverse City
Goin’ to the Fair has been a local tradition since 1908. From livestock exhibits and 4H shows, to nightly grandstand events including horse pulls, motocross and tractor races, the fair is fun for the whole family. Arnold Amusements Midway is open Monday – Saturday. And don’t forget the classic fair foods from Gibby’s Fries to elephant ears and turkey legs. I can smell it now.
www.northwesternmichiganfair.net

 

Sheryl Crow at InterlochenInterlochen Center for the Arts
One of the nations premier performing arts schools is located just miles from Traverse City in Interlochen. The August concert and event schedule includes:
August 2-5 | Children of Eden, high school musical theater performance
August 11 | The Magic of Bill Blagg Live!
August 13 | Sheryl Crow performs at Kresge Auditorium
August 18 | The Dukes of September Rhythm Revue: Donald Fagen, Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs
tickets.interlochen.org

 

 

bicyclesCherry Roubaix Bike Race
August 10-12 | Traverse City
A series of competitive bicycle races through downtown Traverse City including a dedicated road race which will crown the 2012 Michigan State Champion. Fun to watch and compete.
www.cherry-roubaix.com

 

 


Brewed in Michigan T-shirtTraverse City Summer Microbrew and Music Festival

Friday & Saturday August 24-25th | The Village at Grand Traverse Commons
Featuring 200+ brews and live music with Friday night concert by Dierks Bentley.
www.porterhouseproductions.com

 

 

Don’t let the sands of summer slip between your fingers leaving only dust in their wake. Fill your summer with memories of a great time in Traverse City with family, friends, food and fun.

Cheers to August in Northern Michigan!

By |2012-08-02T08:26:45+00:00August 2nd, 2012|Events, 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

Remembering Rufenach: Center I.C.E. to Honor Fallen Prospect

Bryan Rufenach’s tragic death hit the hockey world hard. When news surfaced about his accidental death while traveling Europe, his teammates, friends and fans throughout the Red Wings organization offered help and support to his grieving family. The 23 year-old was selected by Detroit in 2007 and signed a contract last season with the Grand Rapids Griffins. Rufenach spent most of the season with Toledo of the ECHL where he notched 13 goals and 33 points in 54 games.

Prior to turning pro, the offensive defenseman spent four seasons with Clarkson University where he piled up 21 goals and 55 points over four seasons. Rufenach also attended the 2011 Detroit development camp in Traverse City, MI and also participated in the 2011 NHL prospects tournament and Red Wings training camp.

To honor the Lindsay, Ontario native’s memory, organizers of the development camp in conjunction with the Detroit Red Wings, Grand Rapids Griffins, and Toledo Walleye have designated July 10th as Bryan Rufenach day. The day’s events will kick off at 4 pm with food, beverages, and entertainment outside Centre I.C.E. Arena. The puck will drop on an intrasquad scrimmage at 7 pm at Centre I.C.E. A brief ceremony to honor Bryan’s memory will be held prior to the start of the scrimmage.

Tickets for the July 10th match-up will be available at the door for $5. A portion of all proceeds from ticket sales, merchandise and concessions will benefit the memorial fund set up to help fund the operation of the Bryan Rufenach Memorial Skills Camp. Additionally donation cans will be available throughout the arena for fans who would like to make direct contributions to the fund. For the complete schedule of development camp go to www.centreice.org, DRW Events in TC on Facebook and follow us on twitter @redwingscamps #drwdc
 

By |2012-07-10T13:39:23+00:00July 10th, 2012|Events, Traverse City|0 Comments

Sara Hardy Farm Market Continues During Cherry Festival

Sara Hardy Farmers Market imageSara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market Moves to Old Town Parking Deck July 7 & 14
 
The Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market is to take place at the Old Town Parking Deck on July 7 and 14. The market will be held on the ground floor from 8 am to Noon. Customers may enter convenient parking on the upper floors of Old Town Deck off of Eighth Street. The July 11 market has been canceled.  The DDA would also like to remind the public that the market will be held on the 4th of July. 
 
The DDA has been working with the USDA and the State of Michigan on programs to enhance opportunities for fresh food to be easily accessible and affordable for all. Bridge Cards are now accepted at the market through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Project Fresh, Senior Project Fresh and Double Up Food Bucks are also accepted at the market.
 
Following the National Cherry Festival, the market will continue on Wednesdays through September from 8 am to Noon and Saturdays through October from 7:30 am to Noon. The market takes place in Lot B, across from Clinch Park on the Grandview Parkway.
 
Over 100 vendors and tens of thousands of patrons each year make the market the largest in Northwest Michigan and the best place to find locally grown produce. Products available at the market include artisan bread, flowers, plants, fruits, vegetables, honey and eggs. The market also offers varieties of organic products.

For more information visit downtowntc.org

By |2012-06-29T08:39:07+00:00June 29th, 2012|Traverse City|0 Comments

Pirate's Cove Raises Money for Wounded Soldiers

“Putting for Patriots” Event at Pirates Cove Adventure Park in Traverse City

 

Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf, in Traverse City, Michigan will host the 6th Annual “Putting for Patriots” fundraiser from Saturday, May 26 through Monday, May 28.  This national event will occur simultaneously at 33 Pirate’s Cove, Pirate’s Island and Jungle Golf miniature golf courses throughout the United States. 

 

This May event will culminate on Memorial Day weekend and support three charities, which serve our wounded, their families and survivors of the fallen.  These organizations include: “Hope For The Warriors”, “Homes for Our Troops” and “TAPS—Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.”  Pirate’s Cove, Jungle Golf and Pirate’s Island will donate a percentage of their total sales on Saturday May 26th & Sunday, May 27th.  In addition, from May 11 through May 28, each golf course will accept donations to be turned over to the three charities.  Since its inception, this event has raised over $93,000.

“Memorial Day was specifically founded to remember those who died serving our nation,”
notes Brad Graft, Pirate’s Cove Partner and Regional Director.  “The Pirate’s Cove / Pirate’s Island family thought it appropriate to establish an annual event to serve charities that assist our living veterans and the survivors of fallen military members. These are men and women who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.”

Pirate’s Cove and Pirate’s Island operate 36 miniature golf courses throughout the United States.  For more information, visit their Web sites at www.piratescove.com, www.piratesislandgolf.com, and www.junglegolfminigolf.com. Additional information on the above charities can be found by accessing their Web sites:  www.hopeforthewarriors.org, www.homesforourtroops.org and www.taps.org.

By |2012-05-25T11:08:37+00:00May 25th, 2012|Events, Traverse City|0 Comments

Downtown TC Farmers Market Opens Saturday

Celebrate Spring with a Trip to the Farmers Market

 

The 2012 Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market season begins on Saturday, May 12. The market will run on Saturdays through October 27. The Wednesday market will begin on June 6 and run through September, with a short break during the National Cherry Festival. The Saturday market will now start at 7:30am to Noon, and Wednesdays starting at 8am. The Sara Hardy Farmer’s Market is located in the parking Lot B, across from Clinch Park on the Grandview Parkway in Downtown Traverse City.

 

The Sara Hardy Downtown Farmers Market continues to emphasize home grown products from the local area. Over 100 vendors and tens of thousands of patrons each year make the market the largest in Northwest Michigan and the best place to find locally-grown produce. Products available at the market include artisan bread, flowers, plants, fruits, vegetables, honey and eggs including some organic products.

 

For more information on events in Downtown Traverse City visit their website at DowntownTC.com or call 231.922.2050. For a map of the Downtown area visit our Attractions page.
 

By |2012-05-11T07:09:46+00:00May 11th, 2012|Events, Traverse City|0 Comments

Why I Celebrate Autism Awareness Month

April 2nd is World Autism Awarenss Day. It’s a day to recognize, celebrate and show your support for the Autism community. I’ve been celebrating for the last 5 years by sharing information about autism on my personal blog, through social media, and by donating to Autism Speaks. This year I decided it was time to do something bigger. I have a mission to support the autism community in Traverse City, Michigan by putting iPads in the hands of every TCAPS student with Autism.

Today, I hope to Light it up Blue by sharing my story, and my goals.

— Brandy Wheeler

This article was first published by the wonderful ladies at Grand Traverse Woman. You can pick up their March/April 2012 print edition on newstands now.

 

Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism

Autism is a puzzle. We can’t figure out what causes it. There is no "cure" because it’s not a disease. And it’s affecting an alarming number of children and adults. New studies report 1 in 88 children will be diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. So what can we do about it?
 
I ask myself that question everyday. I am a mom. My 9-year-old son has Autism. That diagnosis filled me with heart-breaking fears of what his life, and ours, was going to be like now that the A-bomb had been dropped upon us.
 
He was three when we had him evaluated by the school district and the results were clear. Autism. He didn’t make a lot of eye contact, was nowhere near ready to potty train, and had never once said, "I love you, mom." But he was smart. So smart. He memorized jingles on TV and would sing them as we drove past the business. From the backseat I’d hear, "Ba-da, ba-ba-ba, I’m lovin’ it!" as we cruised by McDonalds, followed by, "Higher standards, lower prices," when Meijer came into view. He taught himself to read at the age of three, but still doesn’t know how to tie his shoes. In kindergarten he made a map of the United States out of Play-Doh from memory and could answer Presidential trivia faster than a Jeopardy champion. But if I buy the wrong kind of macaroni and cheese, he won’t eat it. The slightest changes in classroom routine could bring him to tears. Simply understanding that when a friend says, "hello" in the hallway you should look up and say hello in response, doesn’t even occur to him.
 
So how do we, as parents, and community members, reach out and try to connect with these children that are silently struggling to navigate in this world that is so foreign to them? We play to their strengths, and accept their weaknesses.
 
One of my goals, from the time my son was diagnosed, has been to increase autism awareness. It’s challenging, because Autism is a spectrum disorder, which means there are extreme variations in behaviors and capabilities of children with this diagnosis. Some are unable to communicate verbally, some have sensitivities to light and sound and touch. Some children have learning disabilities and may be prone to violence, while others appear typical and perform off-the-charts on achievement. But there are similarities as well. The characteristic that draws my attention is their fascination with technology.
 
Autistic Student with iPadChildren with Autism are drawn to technology like flies to a picnic. Television, video games, computers, smartphones and now the iPad offer endless fascination and attraction. While we’ve all heard the warnings about the dangers of too much screen time, I don’t think we’ve given enough credit to the benefits for children with certain disabilities. Here technology can be a conduit through which we can communicate like never before. And it’s working.
 
Autism app on iPadSchools across the Country are beginning to use iPads as a tool for communication and learning for their students with Autism. Each iPad is assigned to a specific student, and loaded with apps that cater to their individual needs. There are communication apps like Proloque2go which help non-verbal students form sentences on the screen with a drag-and-drop motion then turn text-to-speech. There are visual schedules which allow teachers to replace bulky velcro picture boards that took up the full backside of a classroom door and give the independence and privacy back to the students. There are apps for building social skills by practicing conversations, offer iRewards, help students make decisions, and even handle frustration. My new favorite, Sosh, lets you type negative thoughts on the screen then throw them in the shredder and watch as they’re chopped to bits. Technology isn’t just cool for these kids, it’s life-changing. But it does come with a price tag.
 
In 2011 Traverse City Area Public Schools (TCAPS) decided to create a pilot program to test the use of iPads for students with Autism. They purchased 9 iPads, loaded with autism apps and distributed them throughout the district to those with the greatest needs. The trouble is, there are approximately 120 students in TCAPS with Autism. So how do we meet that need when budgets are shrinking and the want list is a mile long? That’s the call I hope to answer.
 
I launched a new development of my own last year, the Traverse Traveler iPhone app. It’s a handy mobile guide to the Traverse Area featuring restaurants, wineries, lodging, shopping, events and more. As with most new technology it takes some time and some tinkering to realize all that it can do. When I heard about the TCAPS iPads for Autism program I realized we had an opportunity to create a unique fundraising event: social media for social good. It’s technology supporting technology, for a cause that’s close to my heart.

Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism
 
The Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism will take place from 1pm -3pm on Saturday April 14, 2012 in downtown Traverse City, Michigan. In this one-day event participants will use the Traverse Traveler smartphone app (FREE to download) to conduct a scavenger hunt throughout downtown Traverse City. Teams of up to 5 people will navigate from place to place, use the app to check-in at each location, complete tasks and collect raffle tickets along the way. Instructions for each activity and clues to the next location are supplied by the app.
 
Lucky Jack's logoI wanted to create a unique fundraising event that’s fun for families and raises money based on participation. Our presenting sponsor, Lucky Jack’s bought into our fundraising concept to Pay-Per-Check-in, whereby increasing the monies raised with every person, and every stop. All proceeds from the event will be donated to TCAPS to purchase iPads and apps for students with Autism.
 
Here’s how you can help:

Register your team for only $20 and participate in the event

Donate a used iPad2 to TCAPS. Drop off your used iPads at CityMac and TCAPS will mail you a receipt for your tax deductible donation.

Make a cash Donation to the iPads for Autism program. $500 will purchase an iPad. $150 will purchase a suite of apps. Every dollar helps!

By |2012-04-01T21:21:19+00:00April 1st, 2012|Traverse City, Traverse Traveler|0 Comments

7 Ways to Enjoy a Spring Break Staycation in Traverse City

Spring Break Staycation in Traverse City

No travel plans for Spring Break this year? Chin up. Northern Michigan has plenty of family fun to keep everyone entertained on Spring Break. In fact, we’ve compiled 7 ways for 7 days of fun in Traverse City.

 

Elberta park image1. Take it Outside

In a typical winter I’d suggest a day of spring skiing. But this is no typical winter. With summer-like temps there’s no reason the kids can’t get outside and burn off some steam. The TART trails cover miles of terrain perfect for walking, biking, and inline skating. If you want a short trip stop at the Civic Center. Their paved track is great for runners and the children will be begging to play on the enormous structures at Kids Kove. If your backseat is full of little ones try taking them park hopping. Traverse City is has dozens of parks with play structures. Ask the kids to pick their favorite features of each one and draw an ideal playscape when they get home.

 

Dennos Museum image2. Explore an Exhibit

When is the last time you took a trip to a local musuem? This is the last week to enjoy the Regional Artists exhibit at the Dennos Museum Center. Museums are a great place to introduce your children to other cultures, so don’t be afraid to take them along. But if they really need to burn off some steam, The Great Lakes Children’s Museum is a perfect option. Or check out the Lego display at The History Center (formerly Grand Traverse Heritage Center) in Traverse City.

 

Cherry Stop image3. Take a Foodie Tour

Wander the streets of Downtown Traverse City and create your own Tasting Tour. Plan your route to include shops that offer flavorful but healthy treats. You’ll find great snacks and all things cherry at The Cherry Stop. Pop into Popkies and try ketchup flavored popcorn, or peanut butter and jelly! One of my favorite stops is Fustini’s Oils & Vinegars where you an create your own flavor combinations from their huge selection of balsamic vinegars and flavor infused olive oils. Challenge the kids to create an unusual combination. Their involvement in making decisions for your dinner table may intice them to try new foods. Our area is rich with locally made products. Find a new favorite and spread the word.

 

Lucky Jacks image4. Play Away a Rainy Day

On every vacation a little rain must fall. But don’t let that discourage you from having a fun with the family. One of the best places I know to keep kids happy is Lucky Jacks. They have bowling, lasertag, arcade games, and Northern Michigan’s only spy-like laser maze. I’ve been to several birthday parties at Lucky Jacks and can attest to the fact that their pizza is fabulous. And while the kids are busy challenging their friends at air hockey, mom and dad can relax in the billiards lounge.

 

Brengman Brothers image5. Wine Not Try Something New

Spring break isn’t just for the kids. Parents and teachers should get a chance to enjoy this time too. You don’t need to travel to California or Italy for a fabulous vacation in wine country. Our own backyard is bursting with wineries producing award winning products. Relatively new on the scene is Brengman Brothers on the Leelanau peninsula, but just a few miles north of Traverse City. This time of year is a great time to catch the winemaker’s on site. They’re in between the harvest season, and the growing season, so they’re often available to chat or provide a tour. Might I recommend using our Traverse Traveler app to take a wine tour with your iphone as the guide. It’s free!

 

TC State Theatre image6. Entertain Me

Goin’ to the movies is a classic staycation activity. And no one does movies in Traverse City better than The State Theatre. In fact, they’re geared up for Spring Break with a Free Movie Marathon everyday. Check out the full schedule here. If live entertainment is more your style, the Old Town Playhouse has weekend showings of Dr. Doolittle. Or head on over to the Dennos Museum where they’ll light up the stage with a fun performance from Honky Tonk Angels.

 

 Power Hour image7. Start a Spring Project

We’ve got a week home with the kids, why not start early on some of those spring projects. Here’s a few starters from my to-do list:

  • Clear out the clutter in the basement and donate items to Goodwill or the Women’s Resource Center. Or, consider donating to one of TC newest endeavors: TC Scraps. They’re a non-profit determined to repurpose, reuse and upcycle what would have ended up in landfills but could now be turned into art. Check out their brand new location in the Garfield Plaza (near Agave Mexican Grill).
  • Take my advice and discover your Power Hour. Use one hour every day to accomplish tasks that are otherwise left undone. Clean out the junk drawer, back-up your hard-drive, vaccuum the curtains. You’d be amazing what you can accomplish with a week of power hours.
  • Put away the last of the winter decorations (yes, I’m talking about the Christmas lights that still hang on your porch or the snowman next to the front door) and haul out the spring branches and Easter decorations.
  • Start sowing seeds for a summer herb garden. Get inspiration and shop early with a trip to Garden Goods or Northwoods Hardware in Glen Arbor. You’ll love their personalize service.

 

Well there you have it. My 7 Ways for 7 Days. Now get out there and enjoy the beauty in our own backyard on your spring break staycation. And if you’ve got some great staycation ideas to share, let us know.

 

Post your suggestions on our Facebook page. Or send us a tweet at @TraverseTravelr.

 

By |2012-03-22T10:02:21+00:00March 22nd, 2012|Traverse City|0 Comments

Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism Announced

Traverse Traveler to Host Scavenger Hunt to Benefit TCAPS Students with Autism

Scavenger Hunt for Autism Logo

The first annual Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism will take place in Traverse City, Michigan on Saturday, April 14, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. In this one-day event participants will use the Traverse Traveler smartphone app to conduct a scavenger hunt throughout downtown Traverse City. Utilizing an innovative approach to fundraising, the event will raise money to purchase iPads for Traverse City Area Public Schools students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

 

Traverse Traveler appHere’s How The Scavenger Hunt Works:

 

  • Participants register as teams for one of two event tracks: the Family Track featuring kid-friendly activities and less walking, and the Challenge Track geared toward adults and teens. All courses are family-friendly, walkable and fun.
     
  • Teams of up to 5 people will navigate from business to business, use the Traverse Traveler smartphone app (available for FREE in the iPhone App Store) to ‘check in’ at each location, complete tasks and collect prize tickets along the way.
     
  • Instructions for each activity and clues to the next location are supplied by the app.
     
  • At the end of the scavenger hunt, all teams will cross the finish line at the City Opera House to celebrate their accomplishments, enjoy refreshments and win prizes.
     
  • Corporate and individual donors commit to ‘Pledge Per Check-in,’ whereby increasing the fundraising efforts with every person, and every stop.

 

Brandy Wheeler, creator of the Traverse Traveler app, a handy mobile guide to the Traverse City region, designed this unique event to increase community awareness about Autism, a disorder that affects 1 in 110 children — including her 9-year-old son.

There are approximately 120 students in TCAPS with Autism. It’s a neurological disorder that can impair an individual’s ability to communicate and develop social skills. The severity of the disorder and the symptoms vary dramatically. Some children are unable to develop speech, some experience sensory issues, and others, diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, are highly intelligent but lack basic social skills most people take for granted.
 
In early 2011 Wheeler discovered a pilot program launched by TCAPS to place iPads with 9 students within the district who receive special education services for autism. Each device was loaded with a set of apps chosen to meet the specific needs of that child. Autism apps range from touch-screen visual schedules, to social skills practice, to full-scale communication aids.
 
iPads for Autism - Digi-MotoJame McCall, Executive Director of Special Education & Early Childhood Programs for TCAPS explains, "Our goal with using the iPads— or any other assistive technology— is to remove the barriers to education. To be able to put a device in the hands of a child that’s socially acceptable, and is something they are able to use and maneuver easily, that aids in communication, will help them in their learning."
 
Traverse Traveler approached TCAPS last fall about designing a fundraiser to help grow the iPads for Autism program at TCAPS. "I was thrilled that Brandy contacted me and told me about her plans to do a scavenger hunt and her thoughts about raising money for TCAPS students to put more iPads in the hands of our children that needed them. TCAPS is proud to be a partner with the Traverse Traveler."
 
iPads for Autism Digi-MotoBrandy Wheeler reached out to business owners, community members, educators and parents to bring this event to life. "Children with autism are magnetically drawn to technology," she said, " With this event we can combine the power of mobile and social media to create positive social change. It’s technology for technology."
 
All proceeds from the event will be donated to purchase iPads and apps for TCAPS students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Aspergers Syndrome. In addition to monies raised by the event, Traverse Traveler will donate $10 for every new business listing on the app between now and April 30, 2012.
 

Here’s how you can help!

The Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism is currently seeking event sponsors and Downtown Traverse City businesses who would like to participate in this event. For more information and to register a team, visit the Traverse Traveler website at: http://TraverseTraveler.com/Autism. TCAPS is also accepting tax-deductible cash donations for the iPads for Autism program at http://www.tcaps.net/autism.

 

Become a fan of the event on Facebook, and follow @TraverseTravelr on Twitter to keep up with event news as it happens.

By |2012-02-15T09:02:53+00:00February 15th, 2012|Events, Traverse City, Traverse Traveler|0 Comments