Have an Eye for Pure Michigan Moments? Enter Our 2014 Photo Contest!

PureMI_PhotoContest3rd_FB_470x470Last year, our fans submitted some absolutely breathtaking photos for the 2nd annual Pure Michigan Memories Photo Contest. Since we had such a great turn out, we’re excited to once again invite fans to share their favorite “Pure Michigan Moment” as part of the 3rd Annual Pure Michigan Moments photo contest!

The winning photo and the photographer’s name will be published in a 2015 Pure Michigan Travel Guide and featured as Pure Michigan’s Facebook cover photo for one week. The photo submission period of the contest kicks off today (October 30, 2014) and will run through November 7, 2014.

After entries are submitted, anyone can vote for their favorite photo on michigan.org from November 8, 2014 – November 14, 2014.

Participants can submit photos directly to the Pure Michigan Moments gallery on michigan.org, or through Twitter and Instagram using the hashtags #PureMichigan #PMContest2014. All submissions will be displayed on the gallery on michigan.org, where visitors will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite photos.

Carla-White-Photo-300x300The winner will be chosen from the top 10 photos, as voted on by fans, based on which photo best represents the quality and character of Pure Michigan. The winning photo will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people in a 2015 Pure Michigan Travel Guide.

For inspiration, here is last year’s winning photo of Lake Superior near Christmas, MI  by Carla White. For more, visit our Pure Michigan Facebook page, Instagram, or Flickr channels.

Head over to michigan.org to learn more and start submitting your photos today!

Thirteen Reasons to Run Away to Hell (Michigan, That Is!)

Hell is a place in Pure Michigan, not a swear word. So, there is no need to refer to Hell as H-E double hockey sticks. And since there is a real dam in Hell, you are not committing any sins by taking your photo in front of the falling water. Today, Barbara Braden from Livingston County Convention & Visitors Bureau shares 13 reasons to run away to Hell…Michigan, that is.  

Greetings From Hell1) Check the weather
There is an official US weather observation station here. Is it hotter than Hell, is it colder than Hell? Has Hell frozen over? More print and broadcast meteorologists have written and talked about Hell on severe weather days than any other town in Michigan and beyond. Tony Perkins (the then weather-man for Good Morning America) went to Hell and back to give his weather report. Check the guest book to see the numerous other celebrities that visited.

2) Indulge in the Crematory
Take the Grave Digger ice cream challenge at the cream-a-tory. Many brave souls have tried to finish the tempting pound of ice cream served in a miniature coffin. Oddly, winners of this challenge get a death certificate and join the ranks of the few that have lived to tell the story. To avoid the ice cream headache from Hell, try the make your own sundaes. Dip scary-named toppings like butter-snot, ectoplasm, and scare-a-mel out of an authentic coffin. 

"The Grave Digger" - Photo courtesy of Livingston County CVB

“The Grave Digger” – Photo courtesy of Livingston County CVB

3) Get Elected
Someone once said, Politicians in Hell… well it’s a good start. You can join the unofficial politicians from Hates by opting to be Mayor of Hell for a day. “His (or Her) Honor the Mayor” takes on a whole new meaning when your constituents (or is it minions) are from Hell. Politics aside, if you are the Mayor of Hell, you don’t have to keep any campaign promises.

4) Matriculate
Tired of boring scholarly types bragging about their prestigious degrees? Join the many proud alumni from Damnation University and you can laude your own credentials. You will definitely set yourself apart from the masses when you arrive in your Dam U collegiate sweatshirt. And when they raise their learned eyebrows, you can say… the devil made me do it.

5) Play Miniature Golf
Do you have friends that are continually using their “foot wedge” or claim to have an endless supply of mulligans? Well Hell is the place for those that think the rules don’t apply to them. The whimsical characters along the aptly named holes are sure to prompt a few chuckles.

6) Reach out to Friends or Enemies
Send a scorched postcard card from official US Post Office to an arch enemy and write… “Wish you were here”. Why not mail a gift to a loved one and say you went thru Hell to get it for them. Each April 15th, hundreds of procrastinators descend upon the tiny town to mail their tax returns from Hell. Can you say… audit? All mail from Hell is scorched with real fire because it’s hot down there.

Cookies From Hell

Photo courtesy of Livingston Country CVB

7) Canoe & Kayak
Explore the chain of lakes where your trip can be as short as 2 hours or as long as a full day. Sightings of Blue Herons, turtles basking in the sun, beaver, deer, eagles, and other native wild life are common as you glide alongside serene vistas. There is no need to bring your own canoe or kayak, rentals are available.

8) Dine in Hell’s Kitchen
If you are expecting HOT cuisine you won’t be disappointed by the hottest wings in Hell. Hell’s ovens bake sinfully delicious bread daily and pride themselves in locally sourced ingredients from farmers markets. Take home Smitty’s Hot Sauce from Hell to rekindle memories of your decadent dining.

9) Invest in Real Estate
Yes “Hell’s-Half-Acre” is for sale, by the square inch. You can purchase the official dirt from Hell in a small bottle that comes with a certificate of ownership. It makes a great gift, if you want to give someone a little Hell.

Photo courtesy of Livingston County CVB

Photo courtesy of Livingston County CVB

10) Get Married
On a cold day in Hell… many couples have “tied the knot” in the Wedding Chapel. Hell’s Facebook page has a gallery of wedding photos featuring the festive nuptials. Mayor Odum Plenty will perform the nuptials and even help with the arrangements. Like the Mayor says, a marriage made in Hell has nowhere to go but up.

11) Photo Opportunities
Who wouldn’t want a true “selfie” from Hell? Or there are always the commemorative departure photos under the Welcome to Hell sign. Even Flat Stanley posed with a friend in Hell. Photo buffs that like light-hearted shots will enjoy the cartoon style cut-outs that frame your face.

Hell Froze Over_00112) It’s a Punster’s Paradise
Weather it is puns or a play on words that you enjoy, Hell is an irreverent inspiration no matter where you turn. And no-one enjoys hearing your “spin” on Hell more that the friendly hellions that work there.

13) You meet the nicest people in Hell
It seems counter intuitive that you would meet nice people in Hell, doesn’t it? But it is true. I love to share the many photos of Hell’s guests because they all look like they are having a wonderful time. I have met people from all over the globe in Hell, and I hope someday I will “See YOU in Hell”.

Barb BardenBarbara Barden is the executive director of the Livingston County Convention & Visitors Bureau. Livingston County is home to Hell Michigan, which means Barden gets paid to tell people to “Go to Hell”. But she always is quick to add… she means it in the nicest way. Barden is a graduate of Damnation University and holds a Master’s degree in Procrastination.

Wash Away the Norm at Zehnder’s New and Improved Splash Village Waterpark

Today, Christie Bierlein from Frankenmuth Convention and Visitors Bureau tells us how to make a splash with a Frankenmuth family getaway designed for all ages.

Photo courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Photo courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Anyone who has had teenagers could likely agree that they can be difficult travelers to please.  What is “cool” to teenagers?  Everything is “boring”.  One would think that they themselves would have the perfect answer to a cool getaway since they often think they have all the answers…and in today’s world they just might since in their lifetime there’s never been a question they couldn’t just Google to find the answer.  So before you go through the exhausted list of “been there, done that” for your next family vacation, consider something that was built with them in mind!

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Photo courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark just opened a new expanded atrium waterpark in Frankenmuth, which is the only waterpark in Michigan to offer two distinctly different family waterparks.  While Splash Village continues to be a destination for families of all ages, the new waterpark expansion offers two six-story rides for the more adventurous traveler; perfect for those teenagers.

In just 6.9 seconds, you will drop 40 feet and travel down the 273’ long Super Loop, complete with a 360 degree loop! Or gather your friends and family to take on the 4 person family raft ride called the Tantrum Twist! The expansion also features a 20 person hot tub, Action River and the best part, private Cabanas for up to 10 people; they all have mini refrigerators, safes, flat screen TV’s and personalized food and beverage service. Now we are talking vacation!

Photo courtesy of Zehnder's

Photo courtesy of Zehnder’s

Did we mention that the over 50,000 square feet of aquatic adventure is also highlighted by Michigan’s only waterpark with a retractable roof?  That’s right.  If it’s raining they close the roof. If it’s sunny and warm, the roof may be open.  The addition includes 32 new guest rooms, 22 of which offer panoramic views of the waterpark.

For those that have enjoyed the original waterpark that opened in 2005 and geared towards that younger age group still features a lazy river, whirlpool, hot tub, 400-gallon dumping bucket, water geysers and sprayers, a four-story tube slide and the Elf Hollow Café.  The expansion also doubled the number of locker rooms, expanded the arcade and concession options.  Waterpark-only day passes are available by making advanced reservations. Zehnder’s Chairman and CEO Al Zehnder says, “Our overall goal is to offer a four-season family vacation destination – from our waterparks to our 1,500-seat Zehnder’s Restaurant, Z-Bakery and Gift Shop and the 18-hole Fortress golf course.”

Photo courtesy of Zehnder's

Photo courtesy of Zehnder’s

So now that you have the kids hooked (or maybe it’s you that can’t wait to try the Super Loop), don’t forget about all the other great reasons to enjoy Frankenmuth with your family.  It’s the perfect time of year for a stop at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland to get in the spirit of the season; and conveniently located right next to Splash Village.  And nothing brings a family together more than time around the table, so carve out some time to enjoy a meal together at one of the World Famous Chicken Dinner restaurants.

Remember, whatever it is you enjoy doing while you are in Frankenmuth, it is always better to do it while eating something sweet!  So, consider a visit to your old favorites or check out the Explore Frankenmuth App for new ideas.  Either way, get to Frankenmuth soon; it’s where memories are made and traditions begin!

So, which do you choose – Super Loop, Lazy River, World Famous Chicken Dinner? What’s your favorite part of a Frankenmuth getaway?