A downtown Traverse City beach in summer
What’s Up North…
News and Information from Traverse City, Michigan
April – June 2013
A free news tip service from the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau
1-800-TRAVERSE or www.TraverseCity.com
Fodor’s Names Traverse City One of America’s 10 Best Small Towns
Fodor’s Travel has named Traverse City one of America’s 10 Best Small Towns.
“For years, this town of 14,894 on the shores of Grand Traverse Bay has tempted visitors with its natural wonders, which include freshwater beaches, skiing areas, forests, and the stunning Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore,” said writer Sandra Ramani. “More recently, though, it’s the food scene that’s creating a buzz, thanks to kudos from magazines like Bon Appétit and chefs like Mario Batali, who makes his home here in the summer.”
The list included such destinations as Healdsburg, Calif., Bozeman, Mont., Sedona, Ariz., St. Augustine, Fla., Provincetown, Mass., Brattleboro, Vt., Door County, Wis., Galena, Ill. and Walla Walla, Wash.
All 10 were chosen, explained the respected travel site, because they “are attracting visitors with an often unexpected — and surprisingly sophisticated — array of independent and locally minded cultural, outdoor and culinary offerings, all minus the urban price tags.”
“It’s just continuing the string of great accolades we’ve had over the last several years,” said Brad Van Dommelen, president of the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau. ““It continues to keep Traverse City in a very great limelight that really helps create interest and awareness across the nation.”
In the past year, National Geographic has named Traverse City one of its Top 10 Summer Trips for 2012, while the Travel Channel ranked it among the Top Seven Beer Destinations in North America, Budget Travel called it one of the 11 “Coolest Winter Places in America,” and Money Magazine ranked it among the Top 25 Best Cities to Retire. In January the online travel site Away.com named Traverse City to its list of ten “Best Four-Day Vacation Spots” for 2013.
CVB Presents 2013 Spring “TC Escape Packages”
The Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau is offering a Spring “Traverse City Escape” package – good until May 16 – that combines special rates at more than 17 participating hotels and resorts with a wide range of discounts on recreation, shopping, dining and entertainment.
Traverse City Gets Direct Summer Air Service to Newark, Cleveland
This summer United Airlines will offer seasonal service between Traverse City’s Cherry Capital Airport and the cities of Newark and Cleveland. Weekend service to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport starts June 9 and service to Newark’s Liberty International Airport begins July 5.
Traverse City already has summer service to New York via American and Delta, but Newark is United’s New York area hub, and the new service will expand travelers’ options from other East Coast and international destinations.
Openings, improvements, expansions, etc.
On June 30, the Days Inn & Suites at 420 Munson Ave. will become a Country Inn & Suites by Carlson following a $1.5 million renovation. Guests will find more amenities at the 33-year-old hotel, including a new state-of-the-art fitness center, a new breakfast area serving two meals a day, updated guestrooms, vanities and corridors, and new artwork.
The Country Inns brand operates 483 hotels worldwide and plans to add another 250 hotels by 2015.
Incredible Mo’s, a new family-oriented fun center, is now open on US 31 between Traverse City and Interlochen. Owners Chris and Sandra Mohrhardt, have revamped a 34,000 square-foot building that now includes indoor bocce and cornhole courts, 10 bowling lanes, a laser tag area, and a Kid Zone designed for toddlers. Its 80-seat restaurant specializes in artisan pizzas, burgers, salads and “lots of appetizers.” Sporting events will be broadcast on several big-screen TVs.
Traverse City’s unique Greek-Polish fusion restaurant, Opa! Coney & Grill, is moving closer to downtown. In April, they’ll be opening a new restaurant on Front Street, across from the Holiday Inn West Bay and the Bayview Resort. (The original Opa! will remain at its home in the Cherryland Center.)
Speaking of fusion restaurants: Georgina’s, an Asian and Latin taquería, has opened at 439 E. Front St. – the original home of The Cook’s House and later of 9 Bean Rows Café. Chef Gregory Anthony Craig was born in Bluefields, Nicaragua to a Cuban father and a mom who was Chinese/Nicaraguan.
Lehto’s Pasties, the legendary Upper Peninsula purveyors of traditional Cornish pasties, have opened a store in at 720 W. Front, the former home of the Latte-Dah café. Lehto’s, in St. Ignace since 1947, was purchased last year by Bill and Laurie Walker, who operated their own truck-based pasty stand here for several years.
Construction has begun on Osteria, a 40-seat Italian-style restaurant, in The Mercato at the Grand Traverse Commons. Owners Giorgio Lo Greco and Monica Cucoreanu plan to open in April.
In July, brewer Pete Kirkwood hopes to open The Workshop Brewery Company in the space vacated last year by Right Brain Brewery and Salon Saloon in Traverse City’s Warehouse District. The brewery plans to have seven “journeyman beers” regularly on tap, as well as seasonal and specialty brews.
The new Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Heritage Trail will be extended this summer by nearly five miles, thanks to a $100,000 federal grant. The new section will connect the village of Glen Arbor north to the Port Oneida Rural Historic District. When completed, the trail will be just over 14 miles long.
Grand Traverse Resort and Spa has installed two pool lifts to bring its pool area into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The attached photo shows one of the lifts. And Shanty Creek Resorts have installed a new elevator at the Lakeview Hotel & Conference Center at Summit Village to provide increased accessibility for guests, particularly those with disabilities. Shanty Creek has made a number of other improvements for guests with disabilities including pool lifts on its six indoor and outdoor pools and hot tubs, wheelchair-accessible showers in several of guest rooms, and new safety features in several rooms designed for hearing-impaired guests.
The Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau has added three new professionals to its sales and marketing team.
John Stocki is the Bureau’s new social media and digital marketing operations specialist. Stocki worked in public relations and marketing in the United Arab Emirates and Australia, and was most recently marketing and eCommerce manager at the Kempinski Hotel in Dalian, China. Bureau President Brad Van Dommelen said Stocki’s expertise will help the CVB’s efforts to strengthen the Traverse City brand and engage a wider audience in “critical online conversation” about the community’s advantages as a vacation and meeting destination.
Leslee L. Fritz is the Bureau’s new corporate account executive. For the past eight years she was Marketing Opportunities Account Manager for the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce; prior to that, she spent four years with the Grand Rapids Convention & Visitors Bureau in the national sales market. She will be responsible for corporate group sales in the metro Detroit and Grand Rapids areas.
Judy James has joined the Bureau’s accounting department , and will also provide research and special projects assistance to the TCCVB sales team.
Awards and Honors
For the third consecutive year, the Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival has been named to the North American Riders Group’s highly coveted list of the Top 25 Shows in North America. The 2012 Horse Shows by the Bay series received glowing reports from NARG evaluators.
Cherry Festival Picks an Early Start Date: June 29
The 87th National Cherry Festival will kick off on Saturday, June 29 — a week earlier than usual – with a Festival Air Show, Bay Side entertainment, and lots of tasty cherry treats. The change was made so that Independence Day festivities could be included, since many residents and visitors have come to expect to celebrate the two observances at the same time.
The eight-day festival offers over 130 events and attractions, including free air shows, concerts, two parades, daily kids events, the Festival of Races, and (of course) Cherry Pie Eating and Pit Spitting competitions for every age.
“Sugar Man” Sixto Rodriguez to Headline TC Wine & Arts Festival in June
Folk musician Sixto Diaz Rodriguez, whose life story was told in the Oscar-winning documentary “Searching for Sugar Man,” will be the star performer at the 2013 Traverse City Wine & Arts Festival on June 22.
Now in its fifth year, the popular celebration of “wine, culture & cuisine” features tastings & full glass pours from 30 of the region’s best wineries, paired with food created by local chefs, artworks by local painters, potters, weavers and other artists, and a diverse slate of musical performers.
Over 4,000 people attended the 2012 festival, which takes place at one of Traverse City’s most scenic venues: the wide tree-shaded lawn of the Village at Grand Traverse Commons – a former mental asylum whose tawny castle-like buildings have become a hub of Traverse City’s bustling culinary scene.
OTHER COMING EVENTS:
April 12-13 –Traverse City Trail Running Festival
Runners of all abilities will hit the trails of the Pere Marquette State Forest for this inaugural event, which starts and finishes at Timber Ridge Resort. Races include a two-person 10K relay race on Friday evening and individual 11K, 25K and 50K races on Saturday. www.enduranceevolution.com (231)715.1406
May 3 — Downtown Art Walk
Art, wine, food and music in downtown Traverse City. Eeverything from sculpture and oil paintings to glass and watercolor. Prize Drawings at participating stores. Walking maps are available at each participating gallery and the Downtown Traverse City office. www.downtowntc.com (231) 922-2050
May 4-5 –Spring Sip & Savor
An opportunity to taste, at each of the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail wineries, a wine and food pairing selected especially by the winemaker. Each winemaker will be present in the winery tasting room during the event to talk about the wine, and the food pairing, or answer questions you have. www.lpwines.com
May 5 — Traverse City Chocolate Festival
Taste samples and enjoy what Traverse City’s chocolatiers have to offer in confections, pastries, beverages and savories. Demonstrations and mini‐lectures included. Held at the
City Opera House. www.cityoperahouse.org (231) 941‐8082
May 10-12 — Mesick Mushroom Festival
Each spring the village of Mesick celebrates the tasty but elusive morel mushroom with a parade, carnival rides, games, 5K, softball tourney – and a contest to see who can find the biggest mushroom in the woods.www.mesick-mushroomfest.org (231) 885-2679
May 18-19 — Empire Asparagus Festival
The lakeshore village of Empire greets the arrival of asparagus season with games, dinners and – of all things – an annual oral poetry contest for the best “Ode to Asparagus.” www.empirechamber.com (231) 326-6081
May 18-19 — Old Mission Blossom Days
A Celebration of Blossoms, Beauty and Bounty on Old Mission Peninsula. Old Mission winemakers invite you to their tasting rooms to give you a sample of unreleased wines! Barrel and Reserve wines are showcased in addition to each winery’s standard tasting list. www.wineriesofoldmission.com (231) 223-4110
May 25 — Bayshore Marathon
An annual spring run up the Old Mission Peninsula – one of the world’s most beautiful marathon settings – that attracts more than 7,000 runners. Half-marathon and 10k runs are also offered. www.bayshoremarathon.org
May 25 –Antrim County Petoskey Stone Festival
Celebrate Michigan’s state stone with a day of stone-hunting, stone-skipping, demonstrations, prizes, and other fun at Barnes Park near Eastport.
www.petoskeystonefestival.com (231) 533-6265
May 29 – June 2 — Leelanau Peninsula Birding Festival
The Leelanau Peninsula has more than 75,000 acres of accessible birding habitat open to the public. The annual Leelanau Peninsula Birding Festival is a three-day cornucopia of field trips, talks and socializing designed with birders in mind. www.mibirdfest.com
June 8 — Leland Wine & Food Festival
Michigan’s oldest wine festival takes place at the Leland Harbor. Everyone has a chance to go to see 17 wineries of the Leelanau & Old Mission Peninsulas on Saturday, enjoy great food and music and kick off the summer festival season in style! www.lpwines.com (231) 271-9895
June 9 — Traverse Colantha Walker Dairy Festival
A free, family-friendly festival in honor of Traverse City’s most famous cow! Pancake breakfast, music, kids’ activities, food & drinks, a parade to Colantha’s headstone, the Great Grilled Cheese Grill-off, and MORE!www.thevillagetc.com/colantha.html (231) 941-1900 ext. 30
June 14 – 16 — Cherry Roubaix Bike Race
The Michigan State Road Race Championship delivers three days of activities and events on scenic Old Mission peninsula, Leelanau County and downtown Traverse City for cyclists of every kind: families, road racers, leisure cyclists, vacationers and avid athletes.
June 15 — LPVA Small Plates
The Wineries of the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association have designed this “high-class food offering” for culinary aficionados — also a perfect date-night for Father’s Day Weekend. Each winery presents a full glass of wine with a well-paired and substantial tapas dish in their tasting room. Advance tickets required.www.lpwines.com
June 21 –Divas Uncorked!
Visit the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula on this evening devoted to women, wine and food. Each winery will offer a wine selection paired with an appetizer prepared by one of Traverse City’s best restaurant chefs.www.wineriesofoldmission.com (231) 223-7615
June 23 — Old Town Arts & Crafts Fair
Fine arts and crafts will fill the streets in this annual juried art fair, which features over 90 artists and craftsmen displaying their work. Open to the public free of charge. Adjacent Lay Park will be featuring live entertainment throughout the day. www.downtowntc.com (231) 922-2050