|What’s Up North…News and Information from Traverse City, Michigan
Sailing on West Grand Traverse Bay
Cherry Capital Airport Sees Increase in Airline Seats
Traverse City’s Cherry Capital Airport, now the fourth most-traveled airport in Michigan, is expected to see a 6.3% increase in the number of available seats this year. Delta Air Lines has announced returning summer service to Atlanta, New York LaGuardia, and Minneapolis along with its daily service to Detroit, while United Airlines and American Airlines will add flights weekly to their Chicago service schedule, and United has resumed its summer direct service to Denver.
Shanty Creek Stresses its Hometown Roots
Located 30 minutes northeast of Traverse City, Shanty Creek Resorts has begun to emphasize the unique charms of its local community, the village of Bellaire. In its recent promotional materials, Shanty Creek is praising Bellaire as part of “the good life Up North,” with its bustling downtown – home to Short’s Brewing, gourmet coffee from Moka and the ice cream at Ruthie’s Dairy Twist. The resort is even promoting such off-property recreational attractions as Torch Lake and the 30-mile Glacial Hills Pathway.
Former Sands Motel reopens as Brio Beach Inn
The Former Sands Motel in Traverse City’s East Bay resort district has been purchased, completely renovated and reopened this month as the Brio Beach Inn. Located near the Traverse City State Park, the Sands was known for its low prices and pleasant beach amenities, but had been showing its age. The new owner/management team, which also runs the Sleep Inn in Acme, brought the 22-room property up to date with new pillow-top beds, 23-inch flat screen TVs, refrigerators, microwaves, in-room coffee, wireless Internet and a free continental breakfast, with summer rates from $125 to $290.
North Shore Outfitters, which rents bicycles, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards and sells such beach-oriented items as apparel, sunglasses and books, has opened near the public marina in Northport. Owner Will Harper, who worked for several years in the wholesale branch of Traverse City’s M22 store, started the new business in the spring.
Haystacks, the popular Leland clothing and accessories shop, has opened a second Traverse City store on Union Street in the city’s Old Town district. (Its downtown store on Front Street will stay open, too.) Founded 15 years ago, the company operates shops in Elk Rapids, Suttons Bay, Essex, CT and Delray Beach, FL.
The Michigan Artists Gallery, a fixture in Suttons Bay for 19 years, is moving to downtown Traverse City and will reopen on the 300 block of East Front Street. Another new downtown tenant is the relocated Boutique a la Vie women’s clothing shop, which had been in The Mercato at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons. Now rechristened Eleven, it will open at 156 E. Front St. Next door, the Traverse City Cherry Republic has reopened after completing a major renovation that tripled its size, with a redesigned entrance, more retail space, a larger tasting room and an on-premises bakery and cafe.
A new store, Natural Life, has opened in the Gallery of Shops at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa in Acme. Natural Life sells women’s casual clothing, accessories, home items and gifts.
Food Truck News
Most of the new restaurants in Traverse City this summer are on wheels! Seven food trucks are part of the 2015 lineup at The Little Fleet, Front Street’s original food truck park. They incude two new entries: The Daily Blend, a custom truck made to look like an old VW camper, serving hot bowls, salads, dips, smoothies and cold brew coffee, and White on Rice, serving sushi and other Japanese food. A second food truck area is opening on Garland Street, just across from the Traverse City Visitor Center, where a half-dozen trucks are expected to be up and running by midsummer.
Expansions and Improvements
The Park Place Hotel, Traverse City’s iconic downtown lodging property, has announced plans for a $50 million, four-phase development that would include replacing the landmark Park Place Dome with a small 80-90-seat conference center, constructing a 180-space parking garage and 30 “row-house” workforce apartments along Washington Street on the site of the hotel’s existing parking lot and creating two mixed-use developments on nearby properties that would include both residential and commercial units. The project would be a joint public-private partnership.
The Chateau Chantal Winery & Inn has installed a new 148.5 kW solar array that is expected to offset approximately 40% of their energy needs, the largest solar installation at a Michigan winery.
With help from private donors including Traverse City Tourism, The City of Traverse City has installed new water fountains and water-bottle filling stations in a number of locations around the city, including the Jay Smith Walkway, the corner of Union and State streets, the corner of Grandview Parkway and Union Street, Open Space Park, F&M Park, Veterans Memorial Park and the beachfront volleyball courts.
Shanty Creek Resorts has unveiled a fleet of electric-bikes — the first of their kind in northern Michigan – to help cyclists navigate the rolling hills of the 4,500-acre resort property. The e-bike is a seven-speed traditional bicycle with a battery-powered 4-speed motor that assists with each crank of the pedals, and is available for rent in the Summit Village Fitness Center.
Awards and Recognitions
Michigan Meetings + Events Magazine has named Traverse City Tourism the best Convention and Visitors Bureau in the state of Michigan. Each year the magazine’s readership of more than 20,000 convention and meetings industry professionals vote on their favorites in 21 different categories.
“Traverse City has emerged as a tourism powerhouse in recent years, and much of the region’s success is a credit to Traverse City Tourism,” wrote magazine editor Alexa Stanard. “The bureau staff tirelessly promotes the area’s natural beauty, outdoor activities and booming food and wine scene.”
Also named best in their categories were seven other Traverse City entities: the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa (Best Hotel with Meeting Space/Over 200 Rooms, Best Golf Resort), Sarah Brown Photography as Best Photographer, Short’s Brewing Company (Best Craft Brewery/Brewpub), Chateau Chantal Winery (Best Winery), Catering by Kelly’s (Best Caterer), and Events North (Best Meeting Planning Company).
In addition, Rachel Jarosz, senior meetings and event manager at Events North was elected to the magazine’s 2015 Hall of Fame as Best Up-and-Coming Event Planner.
Charlie Johnson, longtime customer service and maître d’ at Shanty Creek Resorts, was honored in June for his 50 years of service to the resort. “While Charlie’s passion for Shanty Creek is infectious, it is his longevity that is a rarity in any business,” said the message praising him. “If you ever run into him and ask how he’s doing, you’re likely to hear, “Incredible!” and he is, truly incredible.”
Two Traverse City area lodging properties, the Lake ‘N Pines Lodge of Interlochen and the Traverse City AmericInn were named to TripAdvisor’s 2015 Hall of Fame, for achieving five years of “excellent” scores from guests.
The American Hotel and Lodging Educational Institute has named AmericInn general manager Nick Trahair a Certified Hotel Administrator (CHA) — the most prestigious certification available to a hospitality executive. Since 2006, Trahair has also been designated a Certified Lodging Manager (CLM) by the same organization. He has been the general manager of the AmericInn Traverse City since May 2001.
Fernando Belmar, tennis professional at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, won the Spanish National Championship’s 50-55 division (also known as +50 held in his hometown of Alicante this summer. The national title guarantees him entry to play with the Spanish National Team in the World Cup Team Tournament to be held in Helsinki next June.
Hello, Great Lakes Equestrian Festival
An all-new hunter and jumper horse event, the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival, will take over the four-week summer slot at Flintfields Horse Park that had been filled by the popular Horse Shows by the Bay Equestrian Festival. The new festival will open July 1 and continue until July 26. Plans are underway for additional improvements to Flintfields, located in Williamsburg, about ten miles east of Traverse City.
Founded in 2004, Horse Shows by the Bay was the first major equestrian event held in Traverse City, attracting thousands of the nation’s best horses and riders.
2015 National Cherry festival to be held July 4-11
Traverse City celebrates its heritage as America’s Cherry Capital during the first full week of July with an eight-day party featuring over 150 family activities: air shows, fireworks, parades (including the nation’s largest all-children parade) games, races, midway rides, demonstrations, nightly outdoor concerts and lots of chances to taste delicious cherry products.
This year’s festival kicks off with the return of the US Air Force Thunderbirds air team for the first time in 25 years. The Festival air show is free and will get under way at 1:45 p.m. Saturday July 4 and Sunday, July 5. Other highlights include more than 50 musical acts, including Weird Al Yankovic, the Charlie Daniels Band, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and Foghat.
The Cherry Festival is Traverse City’s signature event, drawing as many as 500,000 attendees from around the country. Everything is located conveniently within walking distance, and since almost all the events are free, it offers more than a week of affordable family fun.
Other Upcoming Events:
July 2-5 —Cedar Polka Fest
This Polish-American Leelanau Peninsula community kicks up its heels at a four-day party with hearty food, drink and continuous polka music and dancing. Call for admission prices for adults. Ages 12 and under are free when accompanied by parent. Flag raising ceremony is on Thursday, parade on Saturday at noon and Polish mass on Sunday morning at 11 am.
July 18 –Leelanau Peninsula Wine on the Water Festival
The festival will feature tastes from local wineries, distilleries, and breweries, delicious food from Leelanau Peninsula’s restaurants, art by talented area vendors, and live music from some of Michigan’s top entertainment. https://www.facebook.com/WineOnTheWaterFestival
July 25 — Traverse Bay Outdoor Art Fair
This is an impressive juried event, showcasing more than 120 artists from across the country. Featuring jewelry, sculpture, photography, glass, wood, fiber and more. Fairgoers can also enjoy live music, concessions, artist demonstrations and children’s activities.
July 28- Aug. 2 Traverse City Film Festival
An outstanding selection of independent, foreign, and documentary films, as well as premieres, parties, panel discussions and lectures. There are also many free festival opportunities, including the family movies shown each night at an outdoor screen at Open Space Park. www.traversecityfilmfest.org
Aug. 1 — Boats on the Boardwalk
A judged show along the Boardman River boardwalk in Traverse City, featuring 50 boats, circa 1900 through current wooden classics, from high-powered mahogany runabouts to hydroplanes, outboards, powered launches, wooden canoes, and rowboats. http://www.wwcacbs.com/
Aug. 1-2 — Suttons Bay Annual Community Art Festival
One of the most competitive art shows in Michigan, this festival at Suttons Bay’s Marina Park features some of the area’s best artists and crafters, as well as artisans from other parts of the country.http://www.suttonsbayarea.com/
Aug. 3-6 — Elk Rapids Harbor Days
Elk Rapids Harbor Days is a big city festival with a small town feel and truly is a celebration of community! Traverse Magazine’s Red Hot Best Awards named Elk Rapids Harbor Days for the 2nd year in a row, the #1 Small Town Festival in Northern Michigan. http://elkrapidsharbordays.org/
Aug. 6 — Traverse City Triathlon
A swim in the calm waters of Bowers Harbor on West Grand Traverse Bay followed by a brisk cycling race past orchards and vineyards of Old Mission Peninsula and a run on Neahtawanta Road along Bowers Harbor.http://www.enduranceevolution.com/traverse-city-triathlon/
Aug. 7-8 — Port Oneida Fair
Take a step back in time at the Port Oneida settlement in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and experience life as it was in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The fair is held at six historic farms, each with a variety of artists, crafts, food, and activities. http://www.nps.gov/slbe/index.htm
Aug. 9-15 — Northwestern Michigan Fair
An annual fair that includes exhibits, a barn dance, 4-H livestock shows, a carnival, Grand Stand shows, a tough truck competition,and great food. Midway open 10 am-11 pm. http://www.northwesternmichiganfair.net/
Aug. 13-16 — Buckley Old Engine Show
This event has over 700 antique gas and steam tractors, cars and trucks — and a working 1923 steam locomotive that carries passengers around a mile of track. http://www.buckleyoldengineshow.org/
Aug. 15 — Bellaire Rubber Ducky Festival
The Village of Bellaire’s “12 Days of Summer” observance culminates with a parade, a foot race, an arts & crafts show on the Courthouse Lawn, and Rubber Ducky Race in which 2,000 rubber ducks are dumped into the Intermediate River. http://www.bellairechamber.com
Aug. 15 — Downtown Art Fair
Fine art fills the streets on this weekend in downtown Traverse City. This annual juried art fair features over 90 Midwestern and national artists. Open to the public free of charge. http://www.downtowntc.com/
Aug. 21-22 — Traverse City Summer Microbrew & Music Festival
Sample craft brews, wines, cider, mead, and non-alcoholic beverages from more than 40 national and international breweries, 200 varieties of microbrews, wines, meads and ciders, while listening to music from a wide variety of performing artists. http://www.tcbeerfest.com/
Sept. 11 Downtown Art Walk
A local favorite that showcases art exhibits throughout downtown Traverse City. The public is invited to enjoy an evening of art, refreshments, food and music on a self-guided tour throughout Downtown Traverse City. http://www.downtowntc.com/
Sept. 11-15 — NHL Prospects Tournament
This marks the 17th season that Traverse City hosts this annual National Hockey League tournament, boasting nearly 500 players who have skated in at least one NHL game. Players are divided into two four-team divisions, ending with a championship match the last day. http://www.centreice.org/
Sept.12-13 — Harvest Stompede
Special wine pours and food pairings are offered at each of 23 participating wineries along the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail. To highlight the region’s culinary excellence, each partners with farmers and restaurants to feature local ingredients in their food pairings. http://www.lpwines.com/harvest/winery
Sept. 13 45 Barrel Roll-Dirt Circuit Race
A criterium-style dirt-cycle race on a three mile course at the 45 North Winery, with a 45-minute and 90-minute circuit. IMBA certified trail, all skill levels welcome. There’ll be music, BBQ, and vendors at the barrel roll party to follow the race. https://www.bikereg.com/forty-five-barrel-roll
Sept. 18-19 –Paddle Antrim
A non-competitive kayaking event to celebrate the waterways of Northern Michigan, especially the Chain of Lakes region of Antrim County. Paddlers can register for either one or both days, which will take them from the head of the lakes to their outlet at Elk Rapids. http://www.paddleantrim.com/
Sept. 26 — Acme Fall Festival
Join in the Fall Fun! The Festival features a farmers market, bake sale, craft show, silent auction, kids activities (including pony rides!), Michigan children’s authors, a Car, Truck and Tractor Show, a food tent and MORE! This is a full day of fall fun – great for every age! http://www.discoveracme.com/
Sept 25-26 — Harvest Festival & Scarecrow Extravaganza
Celebrate fall at this annual festival that features a 5k run/walk followed by a day of family friendly activities.http://www.bellairechamber.com/harvest-festival–scarecrow-extravaganza-58/