/Tag: Frankfort

New Award Added to Frankfort48 Film Contest

Frankfort48 Film Contest logo

We are excited sponsor the Traverse Traveler Choice Award at the Frankfort48 Film Contest. The 2nd annual event will take place June 21-23, 2018 at the Garden Theater in Frankfort. This unique contest offers teams of all ages and experience levels a chance to share a story of their creation using the power and beauty of film. We’re proud to showcase this region in film on our Traverse Traveler Visitors Channel everyday. That’s why we jumped at the chance to get involved in the Frankfort48. If you love movies, love making videos, or just love Frankfort, you’ll want to read on.

Here’s How the Frankfort48 Film Contest Works

Participants have 48 hours to create a 3-5 minute film celebrating the beauty of northern Michigan. The Frankfort48 Film Contest is open to teams of any size or age, amateur or professional. Registered teams will be given three required elements that must appear on screen: a character, a prop and a line of dialog. They will have from 9am on June 21st to 9am on June 23rd to develop a concept, scout locations, film, edit and submit their film via Vimeo. That’s 48 hours of frantic fun in Frankfort!

The contest awards will be determined by an experienced panel of celebrity judges including Michael Bofshever, Jamie Donnelly and Stephen H. Foreman. Members of the Visitors Media team will participate in the judging to select the winner of the Traverse Traveler Choice Award.

What’s at Stake

The Frankfort48 Film Contest cash prizes include:

1st Place: $500 plus 2 VIP passes to the 2018 Frankfort Film Festival

2nd Place: $250

3rd Place: $100

Traverse Traveler Choice Award

The Traverse Traveler Choice Award winning film will be featured in a promotional ad for next year’s Frankfort48 Film Contest. The ad will air on our Traverse Traveler Visitors Channel, playing in over 3000 hotel rooms in the greater Traverse City area. We’ll put together a special prize package for the winning team along with the opportunity to take part in the ad creation.

2017 Frankfort48 Film Contest photo

2017 Frankfort48 Film Contest Participants

Join us for the Public Screening

On Saturday June 23, 2018 at the Frankfort Garden Theatre the contest entries will make their debut on the big screen. We want to encourage the public to join us at the screening. Check out the amazing short films these teams can pull together in just 48 hours. It’s a testament to the power of film, the dedication of creative minds, and the beauty of northern Michigan… a place we’re lucky to call home.

How to Enter

To secure your entry visit the Frankfort48 website. To download the entry form with all the details click here. It’s only $25 per team to participate in the Frankfort48 Film Contest. If you’ve got the crew, the stamina and the creativity to pull it off, we can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Here’s a look at last year’s first place film, When it Rains:

By |2018-12-12T08:49:16+00:00June 8th, 2018|Arts & Culture, Community Spotlight|0 Comments

59 Ways to Love Summer in Traverse City

Summer, Traverse City, Cherry

An Up North summer begins and ends on a holiday. That’s 59 days to soak up the sun. So I put together a list of 59 ways to squeeze in every last drop of Pure Michigan fun. This year, let’s all Be a Traveler in Traverse City. On your mark… get set… go!

  1. Hunt for petoskey stones. Point Betsie is a good stony beach with miles of shoreline for walking. Not sure what you’re looking for? Pick up a rock hunting guide from Korner Gem. Kevin’s an expert!
  2. Watch a movie under the stars. Get a bucket of popcorn with real butter and experience a time warp at the Cherry Bowl Drive-in in Honor. Or check out the Bike-in TC movies in F&M park, and the week-long Traverse City Film Festival with free flicks at the Open Space in August.
  3. Sip a cold drink under the warm sun. I love to look out over the marina from the deck at Harbor 22, or better yet… cocktails on a boat, in the harbor will do just fine.
  4. Read a paperback on the beach. Ok, so this one makes my list every summer for nothing more than pure selfish relaxation. I’m usually giggling at Stephanie Plum in the latest Janet Evanovich book, but if you’re looking for a new read I’d suggest a stop by Brilliant Books in Traverse City.
  5. Buy a flight at a local brewery. Our little town is one of the beeriest cities in the U.S. You’ll find a dozen craft breweries in Traverse City and new ones popping up in small towns, like Stormcloud in Frankfort. So grab a flight and drink local.
  6. Bike the T.A.R.T. trail or Benzie trail. Follow this stretch of the T.A.R.T. that runs along Boardman Lake behind the Traverse Area District Library and look for the planetary signs. It’s great fun for the kids.
  7. Celebrate our independence with fireworks. We park and walk for miles to Lake Michigan beach in Frankfort with a bag of licorice, glow necklaces and dig our pit in the sand to watch a spectacular show every July 4th.
  8. Reel in a king salmon. Forget the worm, up North, the early bird gets the fish! The best bite is at dawn and dusk, but the thrill of the catch is worth it. On a good day you’ll bring home dinner. On a bad day it was a still a nice boat ride that followed the colors of the sun.
  9. Fill a basket with fresh picked fruit straight from the orchard. Stop at a U-Pick farm for a hands-on experience or pull up to a roadside stand and select from nature’s best.
  10. Count satellites and ponder the stars. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore holds ‘Star Parties’ several times each summer where you can explore the night sky through powerful telescopes. Or kick back next to a campfire and watch for meteors.
  11. Try a new restaurant. Our region is blessed with fantastic local eateries. Try one that’s new —or at least new to you— this summer. On my list: The Franklin on Front and Cass in downtown Traverse City and Tucker’s in Northport.
  12. Walk barefoot along our freshwater coast. Take some time to feel the sand between your toes on a beach walk. You’ll find busy beaches along the shores of West Bay, Frankfort and Empire, or seek solitude at the end of a quiet road in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
  13. People watch at a festival. From the National Cherry Festival to the Northwestern Michigan Fair to the Traverse City Film Festival there’s entertainment to be found in the crowd. You may catch a glimpse of celebrity locals including Michael Moore, Carter Oosterhouse and Mario Batali.
  14. Buy art from a local artist. Local art makes a unique souvenir from your trip up north. Check out Michigan Artists Gallery in Suttons Bay, Gallery 50 at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, and Art and Soul in downtown TC.
  15. Drink the fruits of our land. The wineries are one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Grand Traverse region. But as a local, I’m proud to say I love them too. Take a trip on Old Mission or Leelanau county and enjoy the fruits of their labor. Before you go, check out my tips for wine-tasting in Northern Michigan.
  16. Jump off a dock. Swing from a rope, dive in a pool, take flight over a body of water and land with a splash. That’s summer lovin’ at its watery best.
  17. Marvel at a Museum. From unexpected treasures at the Music House Museum, to fine art at the Dennos to hands-on fun at the Great Lakes Children’s Museum, there’s indoor fun to be had in Traverse City too.
  18. Run down the dunes. The Sleeping Bear Dunes is a must-visit every summer. From the dune climb that overlooks Big and Little Glen, to the quieter spots in the National Park, find your spot to run with the wind in your hair and legs out of control.
  19. Eat dessert from a cone. Is there a more perfect summer food than ice cream? We make regular trips to Moomer’s for homemade deliciousness complete with farm views. But if you want to feel like a local order the Cosmo cone from the Dairy Lodge.
  20. Roast s’mores over an open flame. My secret for a perfect s’more:  buy the giant marshmellos, roast until gooey, remove skewer and slip two squares of chocolate inside the marshmello. Squeeze between two grahams and enjoy. This will be the most delicious mess you eat all summer.
  21. Float down the Platte. Whether you like to bob on a tube, cruise in a kayak or navigate with a canoe, a trip down the Platte from Riverside Canoes is the best way to enjoy the river. Plan to spend some time at the mouth swimming in the warm current as it empties into Lake Michigan.
  22. Dinner at the Manitou. After spending my high school and college years as a waitress here I can’t let a summer go by without a trip to the Manitou Restaurant on M-22 near Crystal Lake. No skimping either. Start with the skinny dippers and finish with blueberry raspberry pie.
  23. Climb a lighthouse tower. Nothing beats the view from the top of a lighthouse in Michigan. We’re lucky to have several you can climb including the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum. Did you know you can see four islands from their tower?
  24. Ride the new Heritage Trail. Bikers will want to check out the brand new Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail that runs from the Dune Climb south to Empire. It’s a beautiful new addition to the park.
  25. Dine al fresco. I do a lot of grab-n-go dining as I’m on the road. But in the summer I try to slow down for a meal al fresco. Check out the seating at Morsels along the Boardman River for a coffee or snack. Or grab a bite from the food trucks that park at The Little Fleet.
  26. Buy fresh fruit from a roadside stand. Cruise up M-37 on Old Mission Peninsula and you’ll find lovely roadside stands all summer selling cherries, peaches, apricots and flowers. Some are washed and ready to eat.
  27. Play golf. This region is surrounded by world class golf courses so grab a tee time. My favorite course has waterfalls, pirates and a zipline that traverses over the go-carts. Yep, I’ll be working on my hole-in-one at Pirates Cove.
  28. Take the boat to South Manitou Island. If you want to experience true north, the way it was before settlements took hold, then take the Manitou Transit from Leland and visit South Manitou Island. Climb the lighthouse, walk the beach and look for shipwrecks off the coast.
  29. Shop around M-22. Some of my favorite summer shops are scattered among coastal towns along M-22. I always sneek up to Suttons Bay to visit The Happy Woman, and At Home, Haystacks has my favorite skirts, and check Wildflowers in Glen Arbor for great garden gifts and fun jewelry.
  30. Photograph a sunset at Point Betsie Lighthouse. The most photographed lighthouse in the state, Point Betsie is an iconic subject for so many reasons. Catch the light at sunset, with waves crashing along the sandy shore… it’s a moment worth capturing on film.
  31. Pick blueberries. It could be strawberries, or cherries, but every year I say I’m going to pick blueberries from one of the farms on Old Mission or in Benzie County but I never make it! This is going to be the year.
  32. Visit the Crystal Lake Alpaca farm. Along Grace Rd between Benzonia and Frankfort you’ll find the Crystal Lake Alpaca farm. Bring the kids to pet the animals, and bring your wallet to buy some of the amazing clothing and gifts they make on-site.
  33. Drink from Mineral Springs. I don’t know if this makes you a tourist or a traveler. But every year my family drinks from the Mineral Springs in downtown Frankfort. Drink for tradition, drink for good health, but hold your nose. I still don’t like the smell.
  34. Learn about our legends and lore. Our native American heritage fills this region with legends, artifacts and traditions. Spend a day at the History Center, or Eyaawing museum near Suttons Bay to learn about our native cultures, and the people who built these communities.
  35. Find a secluded beach. Most days I’m happy if I can squeeze my towel in between beach goers from all different states, and watch families enjoying the shoreline. But somedays I seek a quiet place to walk and think. Find a happy stretch along the shore and relax.
  36. Set sail on Grand Traverse Bay. Kids will love to help hoist the sails aboard the Traverse Tall Ship Manitou that cruises daily on the bay. Looking for dancing and cocktails? Check out the Nauti-cat. And if a romantic sunset is what you seek, set sail aboard Scout.
  37. Take a behind-the-scenes tour. Whether you’re a foodie, a history lover or wine geek there’s a tour to be had if you ask. Sign-up online for a tour at the Grand Traverse Distillery or take an historic tour of the old state hospital grounds at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons.
  38. Listen to a concert at Interlochen Center for the Arts. We are so blessed to have a world renowned school for the arts in our woodland backyard. Once you’ve listened to an Interlochen concert at Kresge with the summer breeze on your shoulders and music in the air, you’ll make sure this is on your list every year.
  39. Catch up with old friends. From backyard BBQs to campfires to a night on the town summertime is my favorite time to schedule time with old friends. Each year I meet my college roommates for at least one weekend of out-of-town fun.
  40. Make new friends. When you sit down at the bar for a cup of coffee, or are waiting in line at a popular restaurant, strike up a conversation with the person next you. More often than not I’m amazed by our connections and what a small world this really is.
  41. Tour a local art fair. From craft fairs to fine art juried shows, there’s an artfair somewhere nearly every weekend in the summer. I never miss the Frankfort art fair in August, but not just for the art. I’m in love with the chicken dinners they cook in the park. Best Chicken EVER!
  42. Boat party at the sandbar. The party crowd heads to Torch Lake where the sandbar is legendary. But the locals? We hang at Power Island when the beaches get crowded. Don’t have a boat? No problem. Hitch a ride from Bowers Harbor over to Power Island on the new transit and you’ll find pop-up parties all summer long.
  43. Get soaked to the skin in the warm summer rain. Surprise your kids, and perhaps yourself, when you throw logic and reason out the window and dance in the rain. No umbrella, no shoes, just pure spontaneous fun. I promise this will bring a smile to your face on a rainy day.
  44. Pick a bouquet of wildflowers. Baby’s Breath, Queen Anne’s Lace, wild Thistle, there are dozens of lovely wildflowers growing along the roadside. Pick up a field guide to help identify flowers, rocks and animals found in northern Michigan. Just be sure you don’t pick anything protected.
  45. Watch a ball game. Traverse City has the Beach Bums to quench our thirst for America’s pastime. Their beautiful stadium just outside downtown Traverse City is fun for the whole family. And every game finishes with fireworks.
  46. Visit Fishtown. Browse the quaint shops that line the century-old fishing wharf, pick up some smoked whitefish from Carlson’s, have a Chubby Mary overlooking the falls or grab a pretzel bread sandwich from the Village Cheese Shanty. A day in Leland’s fishtown is a summer must-do.
  47. Tell stories around a campfire. Beach bonfires, campground fires surrounded by tents, patio hearths with potbelly stoves, pick your poison and enjoy one of summer’s iconic experiences. I like mine on the shores of a lake telling stories of summers past.
  48. Shop the farmers market. We are blessed to live in an agricultural paradise. And that’s never more apparent than on a trip to the farmer’s market. Every town has them.
  49. Eat cherries everyday! Well, maybe not that often. But when you live in cherry country why not enjoy it? Benjamin Twiggs has everything Cherry so you can shop to your heart’s content. And if you just want a sweet cherry treat: stop by Reflect Bistro inside the Cambria Suites for a cherry bread pudding that’s to die for!
  50. Party in the street. Wrap up the week with an evening at Friday Night Live in downtown Traverse City. Buy a balloon, enjoy live music, have your face painted. A perfect place to be a kid again…or bring one.
  51. Savor a simple homebaked snack. The smell of warm bread or cookies coming out of the oven is delicious any time of year. If I walk into Pleasanton Bakery I’m walking out with their Parmesan Olive bread and one of the fudgiest brownies I’ve ever tasted. So much yum!
  52. Get out on the water. Hop on a boat or a jet ski and ride out to where the deep water lives, clear and blue green as far as the eyes can see…and dive in! That is pure Michigan bliss.
  53. Eat your fill of fresh sweet corn. Nobody beats Hall’s farm on North Long Lake Road in Traverse City. For a fabulous summer salad try this corn and blueberry salad. It’s great served like a salsa with tortilla chips too. My secret potluck party weapon.
  54. Photograph the everyday moments. It’s not the parties and holidays that spark nostalgia but the details of summer memories past. Capture the special places, people and things in your life. You’ll thank me later.
  55. Play a sport on the lawn. Badmitten, croquet, bocce or new favorites like ring toss and bean bag games make fun family competitions a must-do for summer. For an entertaining contest try shooting ping-pong balls off of golf tees with rubber bands.
  56. Spend a hot day at a cool pool. My kids love the outdoor pool at Waters Edge at Crystal Mountain and can’t wait to try their new ropes course that lies above. Or you could stay and play at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, an indoor waterpark resort.
  57. Explore The Village. Wander the old state hospital grounds inside the Grand Traverse Commons, also known as The Village. Sip wine or cider at Left Foot Charley, pick up some Michigan gear at High Five Threads, or walk the trails that wind all around Traverse City’s version of Central Park.
  58. Watch a movie at an historic theater. Our community is lucky to have several renovated theaters back in action. The State Theatre in Traverse City,  The Garden in Frankfort and the Bijou by the Bay (formerly the Con Foster Museum). Restored classic theatres where the movies are great, and so are the prices.
  59. Eat, drink and shop local. Summer is the absolute best time to enjoy the bounty of northern Michigan and support the businesses that thrive on the extra traffic. So eat at a local hotspot, drink our wines and beers, and buy something that will forever remind you of this summer. The summer you spent enjoying EVERY DAY in this beautiful land of ours.
I’m Brandy from Traverse Traveler, and this is my list. I hope you’ll find something on it to add yours. If you have a favorite that I’ve forgotten, please add it in the comments. I love to discover new ways to enjoy this community. Happy Summer everyone!

Let's Go Surfin'…Now?

It’s November, with an average air temperature hovering near freezing. Most years we’ve had snow by now. But instead of waxing the cross-country skis area sportsmen are bringing out the boards and wetsuits to surf Lake Michigan.

Traditionally November is one of the stormiest months of the year. We think of gale force winds and images of fallen trees and power lines come to mind. After all it was with 52 knot winds and 10 foot waves on November 10, 1975 that the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald went down in Lake Superior.

 

But the brisk winds of near winter are not all bad. For the local surf enthusiats it’s the weather they’ve been waiting all year for. This year, we caught a glimpse of these dedicated few at the mouth of the Platte River near Frankfort. It was 41 degrees and we’d tried our best to enjoy the fall festival in Frankfort, but were driven away by the bitter cold wind and snow flakes that had begun to appear. I dragged the family out to see the pumpkin-chucking downtown, but we quickly returned to our car to escape the unfortunate weather. Unfortunate for us. But exactly what the kite-boarders and surfers were looking for. We heard they were practicing down at Platte so we took a chance and caught some of the action from the car.

Here are a few photos taken from the heated comfort of our sedan.

kiteboarding Lake Michigansurfing Lake Michigan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nearly one month later they were at it again, but with much better weather. On November 13th these adverturous surfers were in Frankfort catching waves right off the pier. Check out this video from MyNorth.com. They get a first hand report as to why Frankfort, Michigan in November is a great time of year for surfing.

 

By |2009-11-22T19:06:57+00:00November 22nd, 2009|Benzie, Check This Out|0 Comments

Benzie Fall Festival Celebrates the Season

Fall maple treeJump into Fall this Weekend with the Benzie Fall Festival

For the next two weekends Benzie County will celebrate the fall harvest with fun for all ages. There’s so much to enjoy we’ve ranked it #4 on our 22 Reasons for a Fall M-22 Roadtrip. Events scattered across Beulah, Frankfort and the surrounding area begin on Saturday October 3rd. From fall soup contests, pumpkin decorating to pumpkin chuckin’ there’s much fun in store in beautiful Benzie county.

 

October 3rd & 4th

Gather in Beulah park, along the east end of Crystal Lake, and participate in the Fall Soup Contest. The kids can enter the Sidewalk Art Contest or try their skills in the Free Throw competition. Take a tour of Point Betsie Lighthouse before the end of the season rolls in with the cold winds of fall.  Crystal Mountian is offering scenic chairlift rides as well. It’s a great way to get a view of the amazing fall colors.

 

October 10th & 11th

Crowds gather in Frankfort alongside the Betsie Bay for the traditional Pumpkin Chuckin’ contest. This one you’ve got to see to believe. Homemade trebuchets launch giant pumpkins far into the air landing with a splash in Betsie Bay. And one oversized gourd is hoisted and dropped atop a carefully chosen clunker for the grand finale. Renouned pumpkin carver Ed Moody will be nearby exhibiting his amazing skills and preparing for his annual carve-a-thon which ends on Halloween.

 

There’s so much to do, and see, at the Benzie Fall Festival we barely scratched the surface. Check out their online brochure here for all the details. And make a point to venture over to Benzie for a part of the action. If we’re lucky the leaves will be turning in time to enjoy the view as well.

By |2009-10-01T13:54:37+00:00October 1st, 2009|Benzie, Check This Out, Day Trips|0 Comments

22 Reasons for a Fall M-22 Roadtrip

M-22 highway fall color tourTake a Roadtrip this Fall along the M-22 Scenic Drive

 

Living in the heart of the M-22 corridor I’ve seen it through all seasons. Each has something amazing to offer, but none more varied and beautiful than autumn in Northern Michigan.

In case you’ve never planned an M-22 Roadtrip I’ve put together a list of some of the fun, food and activities to experience along the scenic drive. Named one of the top five greatest driving tours in America by Rand McNally, M-22 has something to offer everyone. But don’t take my word for it. Check it out for yourself. Here’s my list of 22 Reasons for a Fall M-22 Roadtrip.

 

platte river weir image1. Canoe the Platte. Fall is one of the best times to take a canoe or kayak down the Platte River. The calm cool waters reflect mother nature’s painted canvas, but they also reveal a seasonal secret. The salmon run upstream in autumn to spawn and the Platte River is the perfect place to witness this natural wonder. The weir is closed this time of year which means you’ll portage around it. But on the other side the water boils with jumping fish. You couldn’t get a better view anywhere else. Riverside Canoes is located on M-22 and open until the second weekend in October for canoe and kayak rental, or fishing tackle if you’re feeling adventurous.

 

Ed Moody's pumpkin carving2. Check out the giant pumpkins by master carver Ed Moody. On a small city street in Frankfort you’ll find giant pumpkins that miraculously change overnight into fantastic jack-o-lanterns. Only here the miracle is performed by Ed Moody. They do change overnight though since it’s the only time he can work. During the day you’ll find him greeting the guests who come to visit his creations that line the sidewalk in front of his home. To catch a demonstration check out the Fall Festival mid-October in Frankfort.

 

3. Hike Old Indian Trail. Just on the outskirts of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on M-22 between Crystal Lake and the Platte River there’s a wilderness trail known as Old Indian Trail. There are 2 loops available, both about a 2.5 mile hike through evergreens and colorful hardwoods. But if you make it to the end you’ll be rewarded with beautiful views of Lake Michigan, expanses of sandy beaches and dunes. It’s a great trip to take with your four-legged friends.

 

4. Benzie Fall Festival. There is so much to do at the fall festival we couldn’t list it all here. But you won’t want to miss the pumpkin chucking contest. Here you’ll see trebuchets, similar to a catapult, built by local high school students challenged to see whose construction will go the distance. Once loaded the trebuchets launch giant pumpkins into the air over Betsie Bay in Frankfort. Cheers and bragging rights go to the winning team.

 

5. Dinner at The Manitou. Nestled among the changing leaves along M-22 a few miles north of Crystal Lake, The Manitou Restaurant is a great place to stop and enjoy a fall meal. If you hear someone ask about Skinny Dippers they’re not suggesting a cold jump in the lake. They’re actually ordering a crispy appetizer basket of potato skins. All the soups and pies are made-from-scratch so save some room for their famous blueberry raspberry pie a la mode.

 

Kilcherman's Christmas Cove6. Visit Kilcherman’s Christmas Cove. Do you like apples? Then you’re going to love these apples. Kilcherman’s Christmas Cove grows over 280 varieties of antique apples. Great for eating and baking, some dating back to the time of Christ. This is not your typical orchard. And if that’s not reason enough to make the drive, how about the worlds largest bottle collection? Over 10,000 different glass bottles line the walls of their barn, more than the Guinness World Record!

 

7. Take in Breathtaking Views. The scenic drive through Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park is an absolute must on any visit to Northern Michigan. The park has over a dozen picture perfect Scenic Overlooks which explain why so many of us come back year after year. No matter the season this drive is worthwhile, but the colors of autumn bring out the beauty of this hardwood forest in shining contrast to the crystal blue waters and miles of sand dunes.

 

Point Betsie lighthouse8. Explore a 150 year old Lighthouse. Point Betsie Lighthouse celebrated it’s sesquicentennial in 2008. It’s the second most photographed lighthouse in the nation. In the fall don’t be surprised to find windsurfers and kiteboarders donning their wetsuits to catch huge air off the crashing waves along the sandy shore. It’s one of the best spots to surf, Yes surf, in Northern Michigan. The lighthouse is open on the weekends through mid October for tours.

 

9. Visit Fishtown, the historic fishing village in Leland. Wooden shanties line the boardwalk of this century-old fisherman’s haven. Today charter fishing boats bring in fresh salmon to be smoked at Carlsons, and the Manitou Transit waits to take visitors on the short journey to the Manitou Islands. From unusual cheeses to locally-made clothing, these rustic shanties hold a vast array of treasures.

 

10. Tour Art Galleries. For the art lover there are dozens of unique galleries all along the M-22 corridor. Stop in Glen Arbor to discover the distinct style of Sticks painted furniture at the Ruth Conklin Gallery. Becky Thacher’s exquisite jewelry is a must-see along the road to the beach. And on the other side of the peninsula you don’t want to miss Michigan Artist’s Gallery in Sutton’s Bay, where art can be fun, fresh, stylish and affordable.

 

pinot noir grapes on the vine11. Hop on the Wine Trail. The Leelanau peninsula is home to more than 18 wineries. Many of them are off-the-beaten-path, but well worth the diversion. Taking a wine tour has become one of the most popular activities for Northern Michigan visitors. From the tiny tasting room of Chateau Fontaine in Lake Leelanau to the large and impressive Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay, the wineries are as diverse and interesting as the wines they produce.

 

12. Dine along the water’s edge. When the warm summer’s breeze becomes a brisk autumn wind, find a room with a view and enjoy the scenery from the cozy warmth of the restaurant. Check out The Bluebird in Leland, where tables line the windows along the Leland River. Or visit Knot Just A Bar in Omena where you gaze over Grand Traverse Bay or sneak next door for a sip of wine from Leelanau Cellars tasting room.

 

Platte River State Fish Hatchery13. One Fish, Two Fish, They Fish or You Fish. All along the Platte and Betsie Rivers you’ll find fishermen casting their lines for salmon and trout as they head up stream. If you like to fish, bring your wadders as the water’s getting colder. For a learning adventure take a quick detour over to the Platte River State Fish Hatchery on US31 and 669 just past Honor. This is Michigan’s primary salmon hatchery, where eggs are harvested for coho and Chinook salmon to be raised and restocked in Michigan’s lakes.

 

14. Feeling Lucky? Visit the Casino. The Leelanau Peninsula is home to the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, and their original Northern Michigan casino, Leelanau Sands. From gaming, to dining to fantastic shows, they’re a little bit of Vegas in the tiny town of Peshawbestown just north of Suttons Bay. The tribe also opened a cultural museum, Eyaawing perched along grand traverse bay on M-22 near the Casino.

 

Betsie Valley Trail15. Bike or Hike the Betsie Valley Trail. One of the newest rail-to-trail programs, the Betsie Valley Trail is a 22 mile pathway from Frankfort, through Elberta and Beulah on to Thompsonville. Much of the trail is non-motorized and perfect for bikes and pedestrians. The entire trail is stunning this time of year. So pack your bikes, rollerblades and walking shoes for a great excursion through the land surrounding M-22.

 

16. Take a Beach Walk. The waters of fall are often too cold for swimming, but the beaches are still a great place to enjoy nature’s gift to Northern Michigan. Follow M-22 from Frankfort to Empire and explore some of the roads that lead to small beaches. Peterson Beach, Otter Creek and North Bar Lake are great places to hike the dunes, comb the shores for fossils and capture the picturesque views of Lake Michigan. Or join the park rangers for an evening beach patrol along Sleeping Bear Point in Glen Haven.

 

17. Shop ‘Til You Drop. The M-22 scenic drive takes you through a half dozen quaint towns defined by their unique locations and the collection of small businesses that make up these communities. Take time to browse through their stores, sample their homemade edibles and bring home something to remember your journey. Perhaps some M-22 logowear would be appropriate. The brand was created by local kiteboarders to symbolize the amazing experiences found on M-22.

 

Murdicks Fudge Shoppe mixing fudge18. Endulge Your Inner Foodie. From an agricultural perspective this region has become well known for cherries and grapes, but there’s much more to be discovered. Farms and orchards line the M-22 roadside. And the corridor is home to many amazing food producers. Grocer’s Daughter chocolates in Empire makes my favorite sweet; chocolate covered candied ginger. Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor started as a small t-shirt company and now produces cherry BBQ sauce, bottled sodas and so much more. You can watch fudge made on a marble slab at Murdick’s Fudge Shoppe in Suttons Bay. Or create a real memorable experience from Learn Great Foods fabulous culinary tours. Foodies beware, you’ll be in heaven here.

 

sleeping bear dunes boat cruise image19. Cruise the Dunes. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is one of this area’s most well-known features. It’s so large it can be seen from outer space! And now visitors can experience the lakeshore from a new perspective. Sleeping Bear Dunes Boat Cruise operates a boat tour of the National Lakeshore from Frankfort harbor. Their narrated tour entertains you and the breathtaking views are unforgetable. If you’ve never seen the lakeshore from the water, you can’t beat this trip. Sailing twice daily until mid-October.

 

45th parallel Suttons Bay image20. Stand on the 45th Parallel. M-22 wraps around the Leelanau Peninsula on both coasts and has the unique claim of crossing the 45th parallel, not once, but twice! So go ahead, get out of your car and take that photo next to the big green marker. You’ll find one alongside Lake Leelanau on your way north to Leland, and then cross it again just north of M-204 and Suttons Bay near the Vineyard Inn. Looking for other ways to experience the 45th? Check out Forty-Five North Vineyard & Winery near Lake Leelanau and 45th Parallel Cafe in downtown Suttons Bay.

 

A&W rootbeer image21. Drive back in Time at A & W. Feeling nostalgic? What better treat than enjoying an A & W rootbeer float, coney dog and fries served carside! At the corner of M-22 and M-115 in Frankfort this family-owned A & W restaurant is a great stop, especially if you’re traveling with kids. With a free jukebox, affordable all-american fare and the best rootbeer around, you just can’t beat it.

 

22. Stop, Look and Listen. The change of seasons brings much to enjoy if we take a moment to do so. Listen for the honk of Canadian geese overhead as they migrate in their tell-tale V-formation. Examine the forest floor and you’ll discover mosses and fungi of all sorts thriving on the moist soil. Bite into a honeycrisp apple and enjoy the syrup-sweet taste of Michigan’s fruitful harvest. Soak it up and savor this season.

 

Autumn in Northern Michigan has so much to offer. So to all you leaf-peepers, welcome! I hope you’ll enjoy these stops as much as I do. While you travel along M-22 through Benzie and Leelanau counties don’t hesitate to take a few detours of your own along the way. And whatever you do, don’t forget your cameras!

Sleeping Bear Dunes Boat Tours

Sleeping Bear Dunes CruisesSee the Dunes from a new perspective

The Sleeping Bear Dunes and the National Lakeshore are still the number one reason visitors flock to this area in the summer. Now there’s a whole new way to appreciate them; from the water.

 

The Sleeping Bear Dunes Cruise opened their doors this month in Frankfort to a warm welcome. After rumors of their arrival as early as last fall I was anxious to see this business arrive in town from their home in the Upper Peninsula. I stopped by their office this week to learn more about it.

The Miner’s Castle is docked on the Betsie Bay in the heart of Frankfort, MIchigan. Across the street, about a block from the docks in the old Firestone building, is the office where passengers check in.

 

The narrated tour of the coastline takes you from Betsie Bay in Frankfort, past the well known Point Betsie Lighthouse, the mouth of the Platte River and up to the Scenic Overlook in Empire. Along the 2 hour and 45 minute trip you’ll learn about the Legend of Sleeping Bear, and experience this unique geological area from a different point of view. The captain entertains the passengers with tales of shipwrecks and even murder in a small community by the shore. Meanwhile, panoramic views abound as you cruise a quarter mile from the ever changing shoreline.

 

Passengers travel in comfort on the Miner’s Castle, no matter the weather. Sit inside the enclosed cabin, or enjoy the breeze on the deck or second-tier seating above the cabin. Restrooms are available, as are snacks and sodas, but no alcohol is allowed. Right now they are not licensed to serve alcohol on board. You can however bring a lunch. In fact, Crescent Bakery, a local restaurant, has created a special menu for cruise passengers and will deliver right to the boat.

 

Frankfort lakeshore from Pier imageLooking for a new way to appreciate the Sleeping Bear Dunes? Then check out the Sleeping Bear Dunes Cruise in Frankfort. They sail daily from June through October. There is a 2pm sail, and a sunset sail starting at 7pm in July. Group rates and private charters are available for weddings, family reunions, corporate retreats and more. Call 231.352.8102 or 888.469.4696 or visit their website at www.sleepingbeardunescruise.com.

Traveling with your pets? Sleeping Bear Dunes Cruise will kennel them for FREE while you sail! No more worries about leaving them home or waiting in a hot vehicle.

 

By |2009-06-25T19:54:09+00:00June 25th, 2009|Attractions, Benzie, Check This Out|0 Comments

Benzie Fall Fest, Oct 4-5, 11-12

pumpkin weigh off at Benzie Fall FestivalBenzie County Celebrates Fall with Two Weekends of Family Fun

Whether you come up north for the fall color tour, the salmon fishing, or for an entertaining getaway with the family, the Benzie Fall Festival has something for everyone. For the first two weekends in October residents and businesses show off their talents and host fall events across the county. Witness everything pumpkin from pumpkin bowling, pumpkin hillbilly golf, to a pumpkin regatta and even a pumpkin lunch.

Special events include the Betsie Valley Run, and the now famous Pumpkin Chucking Contest!

 

Here’s an idea of what you’ll find in each town during the festival.

Beulah & Benzonia

  • Fall Soup Contest
  • Historical Museum & Tour
  • Sidewalk Art Contest
  • Petting Zoo & Face Painting
  • Care Show
  • Great Pumpkin Hunt

 

Frankfort

  • Jack-o-lanterns by Master Carver, Ed Moody
  • Fall Fest Parade
  • Historical Tours & Wagon Rides
  • Giant Pumpkin Weigh Off Contest
  • Bayside Haunting
  • Entertainment & Spirits
  • Kids Halloween Maze
  • Pumpkin Patch
  • Tours of Point Betsie Lighthouse

 

At Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville

  • Betsie Valley Run
  • Chairlift Rides
  • Haunted Forest

For more information on the Festival contact the Benzie Convention & Visitors Bureau, or visit their website, www.visitbenzie.com

By |2008-09-29T12:20:06+00:00September 29th, 2008|Attractions, Benzie, Check This Out, Events|0 Comments

Fun & Flotilla Party at Point Betsie Lighthouse

Celebrate the 150th Anniversary of Point Betsie Lighthouse on Monday August 4th

 

The founding settlers of Benzonia landed near Point Betsie and were greeted by the newly installed lighthouse keeper 150 years ago. To celebrate this anniversary there will be a beach party and evening show. Called the Fun & Flotilla Party because private boats will be welcomed to moor just off shore while all the rest of us landlubbers are invited to sit on the beach for a combined celebration of the extended Point Betsie community. The ceremony also features the U.S. Coast Guard, celebrating 218 years and the 20th anniversary of the Nature Conservancy’s Zetterberg Preserve at Point Betsie.

 

Guests are encouraged to come early, by land or water, and enjoy the beautiful beach. Pre-show begins The historic Mackinaw sailboat will be on display in the evening and a special Point Betsie art exhibit located in the Fog Signal Building will be open as well. Bring your blankets, enjoy some cake and punch, and settle in for the beachside presentation.

The program begins at 7:00pm and features the Coast Guard Zodiac off-shore. Set on a stage against the dunes with the Lighthouse as the backdrop, visitors will enjoy a reenactment of the settlers landing on the frankfort shores, music and songs and a reading from the Zetterberg family responsible for the donated land. With Mother Nature’s cooperation the evening will end with a beautiful sunset around 9:30pm.

 

Point Betsie Road will be closed to general traffic for the evening. Parking will be available at the Crystal Lake Yacht Club or in the empty Wynkoop property on the northwest corner of where Pt. Betsie road meets M-22. A shuttle will be available at no charge or you can walk to the beach. It is a bit of a hike, uphill on the way in, so keep that in mind if you choose to walk.

 

For more information about the Sesquicentennial events at Point Betsie Lighthouse contact the Friends of Point Betsie or visit their website. To learn about all the area lighthouses please visit our special Michigan Lighthouses page sponsored in part by Suzy Voltz of Century 21 Sleeping Bear Realty.

By |2008-08-01T13:41:09+00:00August 1st, 2008|Benzie, Check This Out, Events|0 Comments

USA TODAY Discovers Beautiful Benzie County

National Newspaper Shines the Spotlight on Frankfort and Crystal Mountain Area

If you happened to pick up the Friday edition of USA TODAY you might have noticed a great write-up on one of our Up North communities. The article by Larry Olmsted, Beachfront Beauty in the Midwest, describes our fabulous port town of Frankfort and the surrounding Crystal Lake area. With a beautiful photo of Frankfort’s waterfront along the Betsie Bay readers get a sense of why we live in this area. It highlights our year-round attractions including golf and skiing, as well as the natural beauty of our beaches, dunes and fresh water lakes.

Suzy Voltz, president of Century 21 Sleeping Bear Realty is quoted in the article, "We have so much to offer in such a concentrated region." The piece also featured Crystal Mountain Resort, Benzie County’s largest resort.

To view the complete article click here. For more information on Sleeping Bear Realty check out our Lighthouse page, sponsored by Sleeping Bear Realty.

By |2008-06-24T12:55:12+00:00June 24th, 2008|Benzie, Check This Out|0 Comments

Fusion Restaurant Grand Re-Opening

Our congratulations go out to Va Chong & Bobbisee Ku at the Fusion Restaurant in Frankfort as they re-open The Fusion at their new location in downtown Frankfort. While they didn’t move far, they’ve sure come a long way. They’ve transformed what used to be Rhonda’s Wharfside into classy, clean and welcoming environment for their asian fusion cuisine. Yesterday’s grand opening filled the restaurant with enthusiastic patrons anxious to be a part of the next chapter for The Fusion.

The main level has wonderful natural light thanks to a wall of windows that face the marina down below. Views of Betsie Bay and shores of Elberta are plentiful, and amazingly available to nearly every table in the restaurant thanks to elevated booth seating in the back. There’s a full bar upstairs for customers to enjoy a drink while they wait. Or wander downstairs for dessert and wine tasting.

The Fusion’s former location will soon host a new restaurant called Tali also run by the Ku family which will open in June. If you haven’t been to the port town of Frankfort in a while, The fabulous food at The Fusion is a great excuse to take a drive. 

By |2008-05-08T11:08:11+00:00May 8th, 2008|Benzie, Check This Out|0 Comments