Ring in the New Year in Traverse City

New Years Eve Traverse City photo

What will you do on New Year’s Eve?

If you’re like me New Year’s Eve sneaks up on you after a long holiday of feasts, friends and family. Sometimes we have a plan, and sometimes we’re making it up as we go along. So for all you last minute planners out there here are a few ways to enjoy New Year’s Eve up north.

The CherryT Ball Drop

If you’ve ever dreamed of making it to Times Square on New Year’s Eve to be a part of huge crowds chanting a countdown to ring in the new year, then this option is for you (in a much smaller scale of course). Downtown Traverse City is bustling on New Year’s Eve during the CherryT Ball Drop. No that’s not a spelling error. The CherryT stands for Chartity ball, as the event is a fundraiser by design. The entrance fee is a $3 cash donation or 3 canned goods, with proceeds benefiting the Goodwill Food Pantry.

For all the details about this year’s CherryT Ball Drop visit their website.

Family Fun

Looking for a family-friendly way to count down to 2014? How about glow bowling, music, pizza and enough arcade games to keep the kids busy for hours. You’ll find it all at Lucky Jacks from 5:30pm – 8:30pm on New Year’s Eve. If whipping your friends at laser tag or on the pool table sounds better than freezing outside, why let the kids have all the fun? Show up later for the adult party. It lasts from 9pm – 1am.

Hoping to celebrate outdoors, but not interested in the big ball drop crowds? How about donning your skis for a torchlit parade followed by fireworks? That’s what’s in store at Crystal Mountain Resort this year. There’s an ultimate family pirate party the kids will enjoy, or join the Slopeside party for dinner and dancing along with a champagne toast. Party cover varies. Lift ticket or season pass required to participate in the torchlit parade.

Nightclubs

Shimmers on the Bay inside the West Bay Beach Holiday Inn Resort has two times the fun this year. They’ve got two bands: Soul Celebration & Twice Shy, along with DJ Shawny D as the host. Rock in the New Year with party favors, an old-fashioned balloon drop, champagne toast and lots of dancing fun. $15 cover

If you’re a fan of Billy Strings & Don Julin you’ll want to be at InsideOut Gallery for the Swingin’ Stringin’ New Year’s Eve. For a $10 admission you can enjoy the sounds of the True Falsettos and legendary aforementioned duo who will take you clappin’ and toe tappin’ into 2014. There’s a full bar available at the Outre Lounge, or step out for a craft beer and a bite next door at the Workshop Brewing Company.

Michigan Sparking Wine photo

Have a bubbly New Year!

Bring on the Bubbly

It wouldn’t be New Year’s Eve if there weren’t some corks a poppin’. As always our glasses will be be full of Michigan selections. So we thought we’d share a few local recommendations.

You can’t go wrong with L. Mawby this time of year. They specialize in sparkling wines from dry to sweet. My picks shy away from brut, which is why I opt for Detroit or Wet.

One of my personal favorites is only available seasonally from Black Star Farms. The Bubbly Nouveau tends toward the sweet and pink, which makes it a great choice when going to a party. If you’re lucky to find any left on the shelves by New Year’s Eve pick up a bottle or two. Otherwise log that idea away for next year.

Left Foot Charley is bringing out something special for the holiday. Stop by on New Year’s Eve for a glass of their 2010 Gitali, a brut bubbly. Available by the glass (for a limited time) or by the bottle.

Celebrate by Chateau Chantal is another great sparkling wine option from the Old Mission peninsula. It also makes a nice hostess gift if you’re attending a New Year’s party with friends.

 

New Years appetizer photoTasty Treats

My favorite way to spend New Year’s Eve is at a house party with friends. But you can’t show up empty handed. So I’m going to share a handy holiday recipe that’s sure to please.

Cranberry Brie Bites

You’ll need:

Washed whole fresh cranberries
maple syrup
granulated sugar
cherry preserves (I like Old Mission Traders or Benjamin Twiggs)
brie, rind removed and sliced in 1/4″ thick slices
water table crackers
fresh mint leaves (optional)

Directions: Soak the cranberries in maple syrup overnight. Drain and roll cranberries in granulated sugar. Assemble the crackers with a slice of brie, top with small amount of cherry preserves and 2 or 3 sugared cranberries. Add a mint leaf as an edible garnish.

They’re beautiful, and they taste great!

You’ve got your bubbly, a great appetizer, and lots of options for how to spend your New Year’s Eve. So get out there and party like it’s 1999. It may not the be the turn of the century, but I’m looking forward to the turn of the calendar page just the same.

Happy New Year everyone!

By |2018-09-12T13:20:14+00:00December 31st, 2013|Events, Family Fun|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

Interlochen 2010 Summer Arts Festival Line-up

Interlochen Arts Festival Mealtickets cardDo You Have Your Ticket to Summer Entertainment Fun Yet?

 

Hot off the presses, and in Mealtickets displays this week, are the new cards for the Interlochen Summer Arts Festival. You’ve probably already seen their large program, but you can’t beat the convenience of our little cards. They’re a perfect pocket-sized schedule of Interlochen’s concert lineup.

Pick up an Interlochen card today at area hotels other display locations. And order your tickets to one of the Traverse area’s oldest and most creative arts institutions. Order tickets online at www.tickets.interlochen.org

 

2010 Summer Arts Festival

  • June 14:    Sheryl Crow w/Colbie Caillat
  • June 26:    The Moody Blues
  • June 30:    Béla Fleck, Zakir Hussain & Edgar Meyer
  • July 1-4:    Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”
  • July 3:    The Capitol Steps
  • July 4:    World Youth Symphony Orchestra
  • July 8-11:    Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”
  • July 8:    Taj Mahal w/Shemekia Copeland
  • July 9:    Playhouse Disney’s Choo-Choo Soul
  • July 11:    WYSO w/David Shifrin
  • July 13:    Interlochen “Collage”
  • July 14:    POST Comedy Theater
  • July 17:    Punch Brothers w/Loudon Wainwright III
  • July 18:    JoAnn Falletta conducts WYSO
  • July 21:    Peter & Paul: A Tribute to Mary & 50 Years of Music & Friendship
  • July 22:    The Oak Ridge Boys
  • July 23:    Paul Taylor Dance Company
  • July 24:    Leanne Morgan, comedienne
  • July 25:    WYSO w/Philippe Quint
  • July 26:    Parker String Quartet
  • July 27:    Cloud Cult
  • Aug 1:    Erik Nielsen conducts WYSO
  • Aug 5- 8:    “Aida”
  • Aug 9:    Lyle Lovett
  • Aug 10:    Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home
  • Companion
  • Aug 13:    David Sanborn
  • Aug 16, 18 & 21:  Enso String Quartet
  • Aug 19:    Foreigner
  • Aug 20:    Josh Turner
  • Aug 24:     Brandi Carlile
  • Aug 26-28:      Interlochen Guitar Festival

Interlochen Presents: "A Christmas Carol" 12/11 – 12/13

Interlochen Christmas Carol image"A CHRISTMAS CAROL: THE MUSICAL"
December 11-13, Corson Auditorium
Friday & Saturday, 7:30pm; Saturday & Sunday, 2pm

Charles Dickens’ timeless tale of redemption and kindness comes alive in a spectacular musical production. Called by The New York Times "a tonic for adults, and for children a transfixing journey," this enchanting holiday classic features a beautiful score by composer Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid) and lyricist Lynn Ahrens (Ragtime, Seussical: The Musical). Order tickets online at tickets.interlochen.org

By |2009-12-07T14:01:40+00:00December 7th, 2009|Entertainment, Traverse City|0 Comments

Welcome Turtle Creek Casino

Turtle Creek Casino graphicTraverse City Casino Joins Mealtickets Family

The Turtle Creek Casino, located on M-72 just east of Traverse City, is the newest advertiser to join our little card display. Their new state-of-the-art casino features all the gaming you could wish for, along with fabulous dining and entertainment options.

Bourbon 72 offers a casual dining experience with first class treatment. Dishes from Marinated Beef to Seafood are highlighted with Bourbons of all sorts. Reservations are not required, but if you have a large group they are recommended.

Turtle Creek is also home to the area’s newest nightclub, Level 3 Lounge. Dance the night away every weekend from 8pm – 2am. And when the weather’s warm check out their outdoor party deck.

 

For more information on Turtle Creek Casino and a map to their location check out our Attractions page.

Top 5 Ways to Spend a Rainy Day in Traverse City

 A Little Rain Won’t Dampen Your Fun in Traverse City

I know the last thing you want to see on vacation is rain. But before you reach for the TV remote take a few moments to consider the great opportunities waiting indoors at some of Traverse City’s best destinations. Here’s a guide to some of my favorite rain or shine day trips.

Lightpaintings exhibit at Dennos Museum Center1. Visit Local Museums

Traverse City has a thriving culture of artists, musicians, and the patrons who support them. Whether you’ve always wanted to know more about Inuit Art, or have wondered what ever happened the original "model city", our local museums can show you.

The Dennos Museum Center on the campus of Northwestern Michigan College invites you to "Come Alive Inside!" They have several gallery exhibitions featuring fine art, science and the performing arts. Kids will love the Discovery Gallery with it’s hands-on exhibits. You’ll also find one of the largest and most historically complete collections of Inuit art.

For the lovers of history and music, you must check out one of Traverse City’s most unique museums. The Music House Museum, located just outside Traverse City on US 31 North in Acme, is a one-of-a-kind collection of music making machines from 1870 – 1930. To see an antique Nickelodeon or a phonograph is a treat, but to experience the music of these historical pieces is a memorable visit indeed. On the one-hour musical tour you’ll see the 1924 Wurlitzer Theatre Organ, rescued from the Cinderella Theater in Detroit, and the impressive 1922 Mortier Dance Organ from Belgium.

If you have young children to entertain I’d recommend the Great Lake Children’s Musuem. Their new location across from West Bay on M-22 has wonderful interactive exhibits for the young and curious. The museum teaches children about the Great Lakes through hands-on activities and water-themed play areas. Their giftshop is also a great place to pick-up learning based toys and books.

 

2. Tour the Wineries

Black Star Farms winery on Old Mission peninsulaTraverse City, and the peninsulas which surround it, are making a name for themselves in the wine industry. We share the same latitude as several famous wine-making regions in Europe. The bays that surround us help cultivate some of the best grape growing regions in our country. But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself how wonderful Traverse City wines can be.

The Old Mission peninsula is home to seven distinct wineries and counting. From small tasting rooms to expansive estates, there are many tasty stops along the wine trail. The first of which is Black Star Farms Old Mission tasting room. Some of you may know of their expansive agriculinary destination near Suttons Bay, but Black Star Farms is making fabulous wines from Old Mission vineyards as well. Their tasting room, on McKinley Rd, is the only place you’ll be able to taste some of their vintages, including 2007 Arcturos Pinot Noir Rose as it can only be sold on Old Mission Peninsula.

Just up the road you’ll find Peninsula Cellars in the little red schoolhouse along M-37. This tiny tasting room has refined big flavors into some award-winning wines including the region’s only white cherry wine. Peninsula Cellars is owned and operated by the Kroupa family, who also grow much of the fruit used in their production.

There are several other wineries on Old Mission peninsula well worth your attention including our well known Chateau Grand Traverse, and the estates of Chateau Chantal. However I’d be remiss if I didn’t send you back into the heart of the city to Left Foot Charley. Located in The Village, Traverse City’s own Central Park. The former Northern Michigan Asylum is home to a bevy of food artisans, shops and businesses including the area’s only urban winery. If you’re lucky you might catch wine-maker Brian Ulbrich behind the bar where he’s likely to serve a little wit along with his latest vintage.

 

3.  Play Ball!

golf simulator at the Traverse City Golf CenterIf you’re stuck in with a rain delay at the Traverse City Beach Bums baseball game don’t despair. I have some great ideas for the sports fans too. Whether you’re a bowler, a golfer, or prefer your sports with a comfy seat and a refreshing beverage, you can satisfy your athletic nature in Traverse City no matter the weather.

Just a few miles from the Beach Bums stadium, on the other side of Chums Corners you’ll find one of the the area’s newest and most entertaining venues. Wilderness Crossings sits back from the road just off US-31. This is family entertainment at it’s finest. The kids will love the arcade games, laser tag and cosmic golf course. Mom and dad, you can kick back in the sports bar or enjoy a meal in the Wild Pony Saloon. When you’re all back together don’t forget to slip on some bowling shoes for a game or two. And the best part is, the entire 34,000 sq. ft. facility is smoke free.

Golfers, if a downpour on the course sent you back to the clubhouse, I’ve got just the place for you. The Traverse City Golf Center on Secor road, near Boones Long Lake Inn, has everything you need keep your head in the game. From their extensive indoor pro shop with PING fitting center, to the indoor chipping stations and putting green, there’s more here than meets the eye. Ever wanted to play with the pros at Pebble Beach? Well step up to their golf simulator and you’ll get the chance. If the weather improves, be sure to step outside to test your shot on the driving range or improve your skills in their sand trap.

 

A barrel of popcorn at the Cherry Bowl Drive-In4.  Celebrate Movie Magic

There’s been much ado about the movie industry coming to Traverse City, and rightfully so. We have so much to offer movie fans and movie makers alike. From art films in an historic theater to classic family entertainment, a movie is a great way to save a rainy day.

The renovation of downtown Traverse City’s State Theatre brought our community together in support a common goal. Michael Moore helped establish the area’s first Film Festival which put Traverse City on the map for cinephile’s everywhere. Become a Friend of the Festival and get a sneak peak at the upcoming films, as well as first shot at tickets. But you don’t have to wait for the Film Festival to enjoy a movie at the State. The marquee lights up every night with their feature presentation.

If casual family fun is more your style then you don’t want to miss stepping back in time at the Cherry Bowl Drive-In Theatre. Rain or shine dusk is the time. That’s their motto. I admit, it’s great fun to bring your chairs, pop the tailgate and enjoy the movie magic pouring from the original post-mounted speakers. But don’t let a little rain stop you. Tune your car stereo to their FM channel and enjoy the movie with windows closed, fresh barrel of popcorn in your lap and the big screen just outside. What better way to enjoy some classic americana.

 

The Radish restaurant in Olde Town Traverse City5.  Focus on Food

If you need an excuse to get out and sample the flavors of Traverse City I suppose a rainy day is as good an excuse as any. Personally I don’t need much encouragement. In all honesty I couldn’t possibly highlight all our great food options in one short list. Instead I hope to send you on a foodie excursion, where you just might pick up a few new favorites to share.

If you’re in Olde Town Traverse City there’s a new twist on fast food you’re going to enjoy. In fact, it’s fast food with no guilt, no grease, and no regrets. The Radish focuses on fresh ingredients with a 60+ item salad bar. No more, "hold the onion," or, "dressing on the side," you make just the way you like it. You can’t argue with that logic. 

Downtown Traverse City is a great destination it’s own rite, with countless restaurants, eateries, brew pubs to explore. But let’s not forget the retail outlets that offer fantastic edibles as well. A couple of my favorites include Fustini’s, where you taste and enjoy olive oils and balsamic vinegars. The Cherry Stop is the only place to go for anything cherry. And if time allows I have to endulge in some gelato at American Spoon Foods.

My tour du jour wouldn’t be complete without mentioning some off-the-beaten path restaurants that spring to mind when family and friends come to town. For a fabulous view of West Grand Traverse Bay you can’t beat Scott’s Harbor Grill. Even in the rain you can enjoy the boats in the harbor from a window-side table. Everyone loves a good italian restaurant and my family is taken with Chef Mickey Cannon at the Tuscan Bistro. But if your trip takes you along the Old Mission peninsula I’d recommend the Old Mission Tavern. Don’t let the name fool you, it’s a top-notch white-tablecloth restaurant with a beautiful gallery to browse while you wait.

 

So next time you find yourself pulling out the umbrella with a sigh, just remember Traverse City is full of great ways to keep the whole family happy on a rainy day, or anytime for that matter.