Lodging & Travel

2014 Traverse Microbrew & Music Festival

Feature via eatdrinkTC – Traverse City’s Culinary Almanac…

Microbrew Festival TixWhat would winter in northern Michigan be like without the Winter Microbrew & Music Festival? It’s an annual event that plays tribute to some of the things that make Northern Michigan special: real winters, the great outdoors, good spirited people, incredible musicians and of course craft microbrews created by artisans and entrepreneurs!

The Brew ShackThe festival takes place on Saturday, February 8, 2014 from 4-10 PM in Downtown Traverse City in the Farmers Market lots onthe Parkway. Attendees can enjoy 30-40 Michigan craft breweries & wineries along with a handful of carefully selected national brands pouring 150+ flavors of brews, wines, ciders and meads. There will also be some great live musical acts, marching bands, silent disco and local food vendors. Festivities are scheduled to take place from 4-10 p.m. New in 2014 features will be a curated selection of brews you won’t be able to find elsewhere including a few custom “Microbrew & Music Festival” brews from select brewers.

Tickets and festival details are available at www.microbrewandmusic.com.
Tickets always sell out, and they go on sale on Saturday (Dec 7) at noon. You can get them online or at Oryana and both of High Five Threads locations in Traverse City (downtown and Village at the Commons). Festival announcements, give-aways, and other information can be found on their Facebook.

Sunset on Mackinac

Stephanie of Stephanie Stevens Photography recently added a few timelapses from Mackinac Island to the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr. About her incredible timelapse of Mackinac Island harbor at sunset, she writes:

Hour & a halfish time lapse of Mackinac Island as the sun goes down, with ferries coming & going, horse carriages & bicycles on the streets, people in the park, & even some glowing Frisbees. :)

Watch it in HD and definitely check out Stephanie’s Flickr, her photography site and also a timelapse of stars at Arch Rock. More from Mackinac on Absolute Michigan.

Pure Michigan Statewide Sing-along premiers

Rob Bliss & Jeff Barrett, creators of the fantastic Grand Rapids lip dub video premiered their Pure Michigan Statewide Sing-along at halftime of the Lions game on Sunday. It was filmed in 50 Michigan cities in 7 days. It’s a pretty cool travelogue of the Great Lakes State in under 4 minutes.

Check out the finished video below and also don’t miss the behind the scenes blog from PureMichigan.org.

Leland Wine & Food Festival ~ Saturday, June 9, 2012

Today on The Daily Michigan we have a pair of tickets to the Leland Wine & Food Festival.

Leland Wine Festival by farlane
Leland Wine Festival by farlane

It’s Michigan’s oldest wine festival and held on the second Saturday in June (June 9, 2012) from noon-6 PM. This year will be the 27th annual of this fundraiser for the Leland Chamber of Commerce, and there’s few things better than a day in the Leland Harbor and historic Fishtown tasting wines from local wineries and enjoying delicious food prepared by local restaurants.

There’s also live music all day and (of course) the beautiful views of Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands. Absolute Michigan is happy to be offering a pair of passes to the festival – click here for all the details and a listing of wineries & restaurants and check out the video below!

Click here to sign up (and to learn how you can win)

June Michigan Event Calendar

Summer is just around the corner so take a look at our list of featured events and mark your calendars for some June fun! As usual we by no means have listed all the events happening around Michigan. Add ones we missed (with links) in the comments below!

Points of Light by StacyN
Points of Light by StacyN

June Quotes

“Summer is a promissory note signed in June, its long days spent and gone before you know it, and due to be repaid next January.” – Hal Borland

“There are moments, above all on June evenings, when the lakes that hold our moons are sucked into the earth, and nothing is left but wine and the touch of a hand.”- Charles Morgan

“June is bustin’ out all over.” – Oscar Hammerstein II, 1945

Petoskey Stone Festival on May 26 celebrates Michigan’s State Stone!

Petoskey Stone Polish Project by Odalaigh
Petoskey Stone Polish Project by Odalaigh

The 7th annual Antrim County  Petoskey Stone Festival takes place on May 28, 2011 in Barnes Park in Eastport. Admission to the festival will be FREE to one and all!

About Petoskey Stones

Petoskey stones are composed of fossilized skeletons of colony corals which lived their lifespan in the warm sea waters that at one time covered all of what is now the beautiful state of Michigan during ancient Devonian time, some 350 million years ago. Outcrops of these rocks are restricted to the Little Traverse Bay area near Petoskey, Michigan. Glaciers that covered Michigan about two million years ago plucked Petoskey stones as well as many other kinds of rocks and distributed them over Michigan and surrounding areas. Most of the Petoskey stones found along beaches and in gravels have already been rounded and smoothed by glacial and water action. Many of these are suitable for hand polishing and will often take a high polish. Occasionally a Petoskey stone will be found in “rough” form that has not been subjected to smoothing by glacial or wave action. The sample shown above is a fine example of a “rough” Petoskey. It was found in the limestone quarry at Charlevoix. In 1965, it was named the state stone of Michigan.

Petoskey Stone Resources from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The Petoskey Stone – Some history, lore and facts about the “Petoskey Stone” (very thorough document)

At the Quarry, The Petoskey Stone Tells Its Story

May Michigan Event Calendar

Our May calendar is packed full diverse events. It is a sign of much more to come for the Great Lakes State in 2012 and we like to think of May as a bridge to all that fun! By no means listed have we listed all the events happening around the state, so add ones we missed (with links) in the comments below!

Red Bridge by Alanna St. Laurent
Red Bridge by Alanna St. Laurent

“Spring – an experience in immortality.” – Henry D. Thoreau

“An optimist is the human personification of spring.” – Susan J. Bissonette

“Never yet was a springtime, when the buds forgot to bloom.” – Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

“If we were flowers, We would worship the sun” – Jon Anderson

Fast Factsfrom Wikipedia

  • May’s birthstone is the emerald which means love or success. Its birth flower is the Lily of the Valley and the Crataegus monogyna.
  • May is the fifth month of the year in the Gregorian Calendar and one of seven Gregorian months with the length of 31 days. It is also a month within the northern season of spring.
  • The month may have been named for the Greek goddess Maia, who was identified with the Roman era goddess of fertility, Bona Dea, whose festival was held in May.
  • In both common and leap years, no other month begins on the same day of the week as May. This month and June are the only two months that have this.

Check below for things to do and places to go and also see the Pure Michigan May Event Roundup.

May 1-5
Blossomtime Festival – Benton Harbor

The Blossomtime Festival began in 1906 and is an annual celebration of southwest Michigan’s agricultural heritage. This multi-community event spans 25 communities and is the oldest festival in the state. A highlight is the 2 hour Grand Floral Parade with floats of community queens and their courts, bands, clowns, costumed characters, antique cars and special units.

May 3-5
Jackson Storyfest – Jackson
Organized by volunteers and supported by generous foundations, businesses and individuals, Jackson Storyfest has offered a free weekend of storytelling for more than twenty years. Annually, over 5,000 students visit downtown Jackson to hear stories by national, regional and local tellers as they weave their magic at various downtown locations.

May 4-5
Green Street Fair – Plymouth
Green Street Fair was founded to help educate and inform people of all ages about the benefits of green, organic, and eco-friendly products and services. To promote global interest and personal well-being, the Green Street Fair blends companies, artisans, entertainers, workshops and speakers together in a friendly and family-oriented outdoor environment. In 2011, over 200 exhibitors and 30 sponsors were on-site showcasing, demonstrating and selling eco-friendly, organic, and green products.

May 5
Cinco de Mayo – Imlay City

The streets of Imlay City will be alive with Hispanic music, art, crafts, food and entertainment as they celebrate Cinco de Mayo. It’s a celebration of the victory of the Mexican militia over the French army at The Battle of Puebla in 1862.

May 5
La Fleche du Nord – Houghton

The toughest day of cycling this side of Belgium is a 76 mile point-to-point ride from Houghton to the top of Brockway Mountain with a post-ride fest in Copper Harbor.

May 5-6
Spring Sip & Savor Wine Tour – Leelanau Peninsula

Celebrate the return of spring to the vineyards with food & wine pairings at 19 wineries and the fabulous Sip ‘o de Mayo hat contest with tons of prizes. A great chance to learn about wine and have a lot of fun that helps benefit migrant education in northern Michigan.

May 5-12
Tulip Time Festival – Holland
The Tulip Time Festival is a celebration of Dutch heritage and culture, a multi-generational event that has a little bit of something for everyone including; 3 amazing parades, multiple Dutch Dance performances, concerts, theatre, Dutch attractions, Dutch food, children’s events, trolley tours and so much more!

May 6
Kalamazoo Marathon – Kalamazoo
The 26.2 mile race takes place on Mother’s Day, with other weekend races including the Borgess Half Marathon, Borgess 5K Run, Priority Health 5K Walk and Meijer Kids Fun Run on Friday, May 4.

May 11-13
Mushroom Festival – Mesick
Mesick is billed as the mushroom capital in the United States. Head over and enjoy their adventurous fun filled days, for people of all ages. Carnival rides for the thrill seekers, crafts and hobbies or flea market for treasure hunters, ball games for the players. Several contests for mushroom hunters, lucky duck race, horseshoe toss, horse pull.

May 13
Mother’s Day – All Over Michigan!
Celebrate your mother and mothers everywhere!

May 15th, 2012
Opening Day of Walleye Season


May 17-20
Morel Mushroom Festival – Boyne City
Each May for over 50 years, Boyne City fills with hundreds of mushroom lovers from around the country who come seeking that elusive delicacy-the marvelous morel. Includes the fabulous “Taste of Morels”, all kinds of entertainment and fun for all ages, guided hunts and much more.

May 18-20
Durand Railroad Days – Durand
Durand Railroad Days was established in 1975 to pay tribute to the rail industry that helped develop the nation and was responsible for the settlement of Durand late in the 1870s. What started as a small hometown celebration with a few rides for children, has grown into a celebration that covers the entire downtown area.

May 18-20
Empire Asparagus Festival – Empire

The lakeshore village of Empire greets the arrival of asparagus season with parade, good food, wine & beer, dancing and an annual poetry contest for the best “Ode to Asparagus.” For more information click on the web site link or call (231) 326-6081.

May 19
MIS Great Lakes Wine Fest – Brooklyn
Join wineries, meaderies, cideries & breweries from all over the state at the Michigan International Speedway for a chance to taste and enjoy the fruits of Michigan!

May 19
Annual Big Bay Relay – Marquette to Big Bay

This race has brought in 50+ teams comprised of elite runners to a team of friends that just like to get out and have an adventure together to run from Marquette to Big Bay. Divisions include: All female, all male and mixed team divisions, as well as a junior division. Race begins at River Sports Complex, Marquette, and ends at Perkins Park, Big Bay.

May 19
Romeo Victorian Festival – Romeo

On Saturday, May 19, from 9am to 6pm, the historic village of Romeo will host their Seventh Annual Victorian Festival. Events include ice cream making, Civil War reenactment camp, Victorian style children’s games and entertainment. For more information call (586) 752-4111, or click here.

May 22-23
Annual Flower Fair & Home & Garden Marketplace – Lake Orion
Get ready for warm weather with flats of flowers, buckets of perennials, yard ornaments and expert advice. Look to their Home and Garden Marketplace for the latest trends in updating and remodeling your house. Located in the heart of the downtown district in Lake Orion, special features include: Kids Activities – Entertainment – Easy Eats – Art Fair.

May 18-19
World Expo of Beer – Frankenmuth
The World Expo of Beer is a beer sampling extravaganza! If you love beer, you will love the World Expo of Beer, with nearly 300 brews to choose from. Includes live entertainment both nights, an expanded area to accommodate more beer enthusiasts, great local food, and all proceeds benefit charitable causes! Prost!

May 19-20
East Lansing Art Festival – East Lansing
Hundreds of artists from Michigan and beyond come to Downtown East Lansing to exhibit art of all kinds. Painting, Ceramics, Sculpture, Blown Glass, Wood, Metal, Photography and more fill the booths that line the downtown streets. The East Lansing Art Festival features a variety of activities, performances, and demonstrations for your enjoyment. The international food court features dozens of vendors with tastes from around the world!

May 25
Towel Day – The Galaxy
Towel Day is an annual celebration on the 25th of May, as a tribute to the late author Douglas Adams (1952-2001). On that day, fans around the universe proudly carry a towel in his honour.

May 25-27
Traditional Arts Weekend – Remus
Where else can you learn to play the fiddle, go to a day-long bluegrass school, learn songwriting tips, tie a fly for trout season, explore yeast dough baking, practice yogo, learn to Tango, Clog or Swing dance, stargaze with fellow astronomers, weave a black ash basket, make a pine needle rimmed gourd and paint a silk scarf ~ all in one weekend?……At the annual Traditional Arts Weekend held every year in Remus, Michigan over the Memorial Day Weekend. Over 80 workshops, dances, performances and hands-on activities for the entire family taught by over 60 instructors. This very popular Wheatland event is for those seeking more personal instruction in traditional dance, music, song, arts and crafts.

May 26
Petoskey Stone Festival – Eastport
Head to Eastport and help celebrate everything Petoskey, our much treasured state stone, at Antrim County’s Barnes Park. Petoskey stones are composed of fossilized skeletons of colony corals which lived their lifespan in the warm sea waters that at one time covered all of what is now the beautiful state of Michigan.

May 26
Annual Mackinaw Memorial Bridge Race – Mackinaw City
GEAR UP for an Active Summer with the Mackinac Bridge Memorial Weekend Race. One of only two times of year that runners are allowed to run the Mackinac Bridge! Must register in advance and be able to run a minimum of 12 minutes per mile pace.

May 26-27
Dog Bowl – Frankenmuth
Events include: Great Lakes Dock Dog Competition, Disc Dog Competition, Border Collie Sheep Herding Demonstration, Canine Cruise on the Cass River, Weiner Dog Races, Pet Parade, Silly Pet Tricks, Rockin’ Dog Look-Alike Contest, 100 Yard Doggie Dash, Dog Breeds of the World with Pet friendly dining and lodging available!

May 26-27
Alma Highland Festival and Games – Alma
The Alma Highland Festival and Games began in 1968. The festival is located on the Alma College campus in Alma, Michigan. Each year the festival brings visitors the very best of Scottish tradition. The festival combines great competition with Scottish hospitality.

May 26-28
Movement – Detroit’s Electronic Music Festival – Detroit
The Detroit Electronic Music Festival (DEMF) festival is now known as Movement. Detroit is widely considered to be the the birthplace of techno, and Movement remains true to those roots. On Memorial Day weekend 107 dance music stars will perform across five stages with headliners including Zeds Dead, SBTRK, Public Enemy, Claude Vonstroke and Major Lazer.

May 26-28
Ft. Michilimackinac Historical Re-Enactment Pageant – Mackinaw City
The Fort Michilimackinac Pageant Committee along with the re-enactors would like to cordially invite you to join them in their annual re-enactment at Fort Michilimackinac during Saturday, Sunday, and Monday of Memorial Day weekend. This unique performance of the area’s rich history is the longest running FREE attraction in the State of Michigan.

2012 Chef’s Challenge at Boyne Mountain via Instagram

Team one gets down to business by farlane
Team one gets down to business by farlane

Absolute Michigan was fortunate enough to be able to attend the 2012 Chef’s Challenge at Boyne Mountain last weekend. This annual event benefits Challenge Mountain, a nonprofit organization dedicated to enriching and improving lives for the mentally and physically challenged through outdoor recreation.

The team from The Art Institute of Michigan in Novi (who placed second last year) was named the 2012 winner, edging out the team from Odawa Casino & Resorts. Judges included Chef Angus Campbell of the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education, Chef Matthew Millar, Reserve Wine & Food in Grand Rapids; Chef Nathan Mileski of Northern Michigan University, Pastry Chef Rob Haney, retired pastry chef; Chef Robb White, Culinary Institute of Michigan and author Ruth Mossok Johnston. Chef Chris Kibit, professor at Northern Michigan University in Marquette once again served as liaison to the judges. Chef Michelle Bommarito served as emcee for the evening’s activities. The team from Marquette High School was named winner of the student competition on Friday night.

Check out our photos below and click the Facebook icon to the left to see more photos and video on the Challenge Mountain Facebook!

[slickr-flickr search="sets" set="72157629529824310" type="gallery"]

Five Things You Need to Know About Michigan Morel Mushrooms

5thingsMay is Morel Season in Michigan … usually that is. In 2012, however, morel season has arrived early (click for photo evidence). Michigan’s morels are out there, so here’s a classic feature on Michigan morels to help you get out and find the mighty morchella!!

The Elusive Black Morel by cedarkayak
The Elusive Black Morel
by cedarkayak

1 Morechella, true morels, are a honeycomb-like mushroom that  are prized by chefs the world over. The Great Morel Homepage can take you a lot deeper with links about the science of  these woodland delicacies. If you’re looking for information about hunting morels this feature on Leelanau.com has some great tips to help you hunt and to be a good citizen of Morel Nation. Ed Vielmetti in Ann Arbor has a bunch more thoughts on the hunt.  MichiganMorels.com has tons of information as well about where to look, saying: Black morel habitats includes Ash, Fruit and Aspen trees (also known as: Popple or Poplar) or even lawns and fields.White (yellow) morels especially like Elm, Fruit trees, and Maple. And in southern Michigan, the Tulip Poplar tree is a good host.

2 When you find morels, you’re going to want to cook them. The easiest tip is to soak them and rinse very well – they do have a lot of “grit” – and then fry them in butter. You can of course do a lot more with them. Check that Leelanau.com article and the recipes page at The Great Morel (one suggests a Michigan Dry Riesling pairing – we couldn’t agree more!). Even if you don’t find morels, you can buy them from Michigan-based Earthy Delights. On their recipes page they offer several ideas including Spring Wild Harvest Ragout With Fiddlehead Greens & Morels!

My favorite part of Spring by Apocaplops
My favorite part of Spring by Apocaplops

3 Michigan loves its morels and we have two great morel celebrations. The annual Mesick Morel Festival is slated for May 11-13, 2012. Follow their Schroomers Log for updates on who’s finding what and where. The second is the National Morel Mushroom Festival in Boyne City that takes place May 17-20, 2012. When you click that link you’ll hear the strains of the Mushroomers Waltz, and when you visit the festival, you’ll have a chance to taste an incredible array of morel dishes and enjoy an experience much like  Absolute Michigan did a few of years ago.

Although morels are early, Morelfest committee member Scott MacKenzie assures us that restaurants & chefs are storing up plenty for their featured Taste of Morels event. Scott says he’s starting to find black morels and adds “Who knows what Mother Nature has in store. The gal I was hunting with found one gray. If it stays cold, it may turn out just perfect. One thing is for sure: if you come up, I guarantee you’ll have a good time! Thornetta Davis is performing and there’s all kinds of fun to be found.”

4 Finding morels means knowing what they look like, and being able to distinguish them from poisonous false morels. You can see a whole bunch in the Michigan Morel Slideshow from the  Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr, including one from Sunday posted by the Honor Motel.  Michigan in Pictures has a bagful of photos and articles about morels as well. If you want to share YOUR photos with us, add them to the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr or post them to the Absolute Michigan Facebook!

5 There’s a bunch of great videos out there on morels including a sweet time lapse of a morel growing over 8 days by Ken Scott, a nice tour of the Michigan woods in morel season, one with Zachary Trost and morel expert Tom Nauman and a very nice primer to morel hunting from Country Living. I have to go with my buddy Tony Williams and the Boyne City Morel Fest – enjoy and good hunting!!

April is Michigan Wine Month

Ready for the Harvest by lpwines
Ready for the Harvest by lpwines

Following tradition, Governor Snyder has once again proclaimed April to be Michigan Wine Month. Our state’s wine industry continues to grow at a steady pace, and the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council added 11 new wineries to its roster over the last year, giving Michigan a total of 92.

The 2011 vintage is by all counts amazing. Black Star Farms winemaker Lee Lutes has tasted many wines with his fellow vintners and relates “I don’t think there’s a winemaker in Leelanau who is not as excited about the 2011 vintage as they’ve ever been about any vintage. We have exceptional quality across a broad range of white and red wines with an almost unprecedented volume. Our 2011 Pinot Noirs and Rieslings are some of the best we’ve ever seen, and I think that every winery on the Peninsula is feeling the same level of enthusiasm for this vintage.”

Our friends Shannon and Cortney Casey at Michigan By the Bottle have jumped into Wine Month with both feet. They are once again offering their Super Huge Michigan Wine Month Giveaway. It’s bigger and better than ever in 2012 and features 28+ daily giveaways of all kinds of prizes & tickets from Michigan wineries and wine trails.

If you can’t make it out to the tasting rooms please take time to explore Michigan wine through Absolute Michigan’s Michigan Wine section and the Michigan Wine & Grape Industry Council web site to learn about the excellent offerings that are produced right here in the Mitten!