Announcing Pure Michigan’s “A Love So Grand” Love Letter Contest


Pure Michigan's "A Love So Grand" Love Letter ContestWe’re excited to announce the launch of Pure Michigan’s “A Love So Grand” love letter contest! The contest kicks off today and runs through April 30, 2014.
 

Before there were telephones, emails, or texting, people wrote letters to express their love. You’re invited to bring back the love letter for an opportunity to win a trip for two to Mackinac Island, well known for being a romantic getaway destination.

The prize package includes accommodations at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island for two nights, full breakfast and five-course dinner daily and 18 holes of golf on The Jewel. Airfare and/or transportation to Grand Hotel is not included.

Whether it’s Michigan’s sandy beaches, scenic golf courses, or the unspoiled nature, write a love letter in 1,000 characters or less (including spaces) on what you love about the great state of Michigan or why you would like to visit.

From April 14, 2014 – April 23, 2014,  submit your Pure Michigan love letter through the entry form on michigan.org, Pure Michigan Facebook contest tab, or Grand Hotel Facebook contest tab. Entries are limited to one unique entry per participant.

You must be a fan of Pure Michigan (when entering via the Pure Michigan Facebook contest tab) or Grand Hotel (when entering via the Grand Hotel Facebook contest tab) on Facebook to submit an entry. Participants submitting an entry via michigan.org do not need to become a fan of Pure Michigan or Grand Hotel on Facebook to enter.

Vote for your favorite entry from April 24, 2014 – April 30, 2014 on michigan.org, the Pure Michigan Facebook contest tab or Grand Hotel Facebook contest tab. You must be a fan of Pure Michigan (when voting via the Pure Michigan Facebook contest tab) or Grand Hotel (when voting via the Grand Hotel Facebook contest tab) on Facebook to view and vote on the entries. Voting is limited to once per day.

The winner will be chosen from the top 10 entries, as voted by fans, based on which letter or poem best reflects a passion and appreciation for the beauty of Pure Michigan or desire to experience it. The winner will be announced during the week of May 5.

View the official rules and regulations here.

What do you love about our great state of Michigan? 

Visit the entry form on michigan.org or the custom tabs on the Pure Michigan Facebook page and Grand Hotel Facebook page to tell us about your Pure Michigan “Love So Grand” today!

Be A Tourist in Your Own Town: Explore the Art Scene in Ann Arbor, Lansing and Grand Rapids

Vacations are not only fun, but they are good for you.  Studies suggest that taking a vacation is good for your health and helps to boost happiness.  While weeklong getaways to far-away destinations are popular, you can often find a great getaway by being a tourist in your own town.

Weekends are a great time to plan a “staycation” and in our new series, Be a Tourist in Your Own Town, we’ll be highlighting some of the great things to do, when you want to get away without going far.  

Exploring the arts and culture scene is not only enjoyable, it can help you learn things you didn’t know. Try visiting a museum or an art exhibit that you haven’t been to, or find a place where you can create artwork of your own. We’ve put together some suggestions for exploring the art scene in Ann Arbor, Lansing and Grand Rapids. You may even discover a favorite gem that was hiding in plain sight. After all, there’s no place like home.

Ann Arbor

Take a tour of Motawi Tileworks in Ann Arbor

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Photo courtesy of Motawi Tileworks

Motawi Tileworks is an art tile manufacturer on the west side of Ann Arbor. This locally owned, nationally known art studio creates unique handmade tile reflecting the classic styles and craftsmanship of 20th Century American design. The company’s team of talented artisans uses locally produced clay and glazes hand-mixed to their own recipes to make Motawi tiles. The tiles are created for distinctive installations and as art pieces. Fun and educational guided tours are free every Thursday at 11am, no reservations required. Private tours are available by appointment for a minimum fee of $50, which includes up to ten people. $5 per person after ten people.

Ann Arbor Art Center

This unique gallery shop offers original, one of a kind artwork, fiber, jewelry, ceramics and paintings from local and regional artists. The exhibition gallery showcases the talents of different Michigan artists each month in individual and group exhibits and themed competitions. ArtVentures, an art activity studio, invites children and adults to drop in and learn about art around the world through fun, educational, hands-on projects! Group bookings are available.

If you’ve worked up an appetite after your tour, Ann Arbor is also a great culinary destination with restaurants that will satisfy any palate.

Lansing

Take an afternoon to explore the Eli and Edyth Broad Museum in East Lansing

 The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum is a venue featuring international contemporary art. It serves as a hub for the cultural life of Michigan State University, the local and regional community, as well as international visitors. The unique building, designed by the world-renowned, Pritzker Prize winning architect, Zaha Hadid opened to the public in the Fall of 2012. Open Tuesday – Sunday. Admission is free except for some special events.

Visit Lansing’s Saper Galleries

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Photo courtesy of Saper Galleries

Saper Galleries is an award-winning gallery which features high-quality works of art of all media. Since 1978 Saper Galleries has been a leader in making available works of art by noted artists such as Picasso, Rembrandt, Peter Max, Pissarro, Alvar, Norman Rockwell and many other superb artists who are not yet as well known.

After a leisurely stroll through the gallery, try out a unique farm-to-table dining experience at Red Haven.

Grand Rapids

Explore the exhibits at the Grand Rapids Art Museum

The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) collection spans Renaissance to Modern art, focusing in on European and American 19th and 20th century painting and sculpture including The Works on Paper Study which features more than 3,500 prints, drawings and photographs. The Grand Rapids Art Museum also serves as a unique gathering place in the heart of downtown with exhibitions, programming, and special events designed to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds.

Photo courtesy of Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park

Photo courtesy of Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park

Hop on the Tram at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is a botanical garden and sculpture park that serves more than a half-million visitors annually. The 132-acre grounds feature Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory; one of the largest children’s gardens in the country; arid and Victorian gardens with bronze sculptures by Degas and Rodin; a carnivorous plant house; outdoor gardens; and a 1900-seat outdoor amphitheater, featuring an eclectic mix of world-renowned musicians every summer. Indoor galleries host changing sculpture exhibitions with recent exhibitions by Picasso, Degas, di Suvero, Borofsky, Calder and Chadwick.

Wander through Grand Rapids Public Museum

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Photo courtesy of Grand Rapids Public Museum

This education and entertainment center offers exhibits that display community treasures and explore the regions natural environment. It includes an operating 1928 carousel and the Chaffee planetarium that is equipped with the latest technology, a digital sound system and multiple video players, with numerous special effects.

Take a Walking Tour of Downtown Grand Rapids.

Be sure to check out the Grand Rapids Downtown Market on your way.

Downtown Market features 25,000 square feet of market space, a restaurant, a brewery, a farmer’s market, retail shops, a commercial kitchen, a rooftop greenhouse and the country’s first hands-on kitchen for kids. Visit the outdoor market where you’ll discover (and devour) the best in Michigan produce. And while you shop, why not have a seat and enjoy the talents of local entertainers. The Market Hall hosts a culinary collective of butchers, bakers, fishmongers and more. Stay awhile and enjoy all 138,000 square feet of our food lover’s heaven. Check the website for hours

Grand Rapids is also home to a number of great local breweries to quench your thirst after a long day of exploration. Brewery Vivant, Founders Brewing Co. and Grand Rapids Brewing Co. are just a few that helped shape Grand Rapids into Beer City USA 2013.

These are just a few suggestions to get you started. For more information, visit michigan.org.

 Have you taken a “staycation” in your neighborhood? Let us know about some of your local favorites.

Four Types of Detroit Tours You’ll Want to Experience

Today, guest blogger Dan Fuoco of Visit Detroit gives us some tips for exploring the city with these four types of Detroit tours

Photo courtesy of Instagram user @phillyd1834 | Detroit Tours

Photo courtesy of Instagram user @phillyd1834

Detroit tours are not cookie-cutter or identical – they are custom, one-of-a-kind, jam-packed journeys that will transform your notion of Detroit and leave your thirsting for more knowledge and curious enough to explore on your own.

The right tour can be found based on these four types of Detroit tour experiences:

Historical Tours

The American Revolution. The Underground Railroad. Birthplace of the automobile. The Civil Rights movement. If you didn’t already realize it, these Detroit tours are a goldmine for history geeks.

Historians adore The Henry Ford Museum mainly because of its popular artifacts which include Abraham Lincoln’s rocking chair (from the night of his assassination) and the bus where Detroiter Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white passenger, sparking the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Historical Society | Detroit Tours

Photo courtesy of the Detroit Historical Society

Also a must-stop location on your Detroit tour itinerary, the Detroit Historical Museum is one of the oldest and largest museums dedicated to metropolitan history in the U.S., encompassing more than three centuries of metro Detroit history. A self-guided Detroit tour is the best way to soak up just the right amount of history without a factual overload.

Musical Tours

Every Detroit tour must include a visit to Motown Museum where you will literally walk the hallways once frequented by Motown legends Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross, The Temptations and The Supremes, to name a few. Enter Studio A and relive the humming, snapping, and foot-tapping that swept the nation.

FREE Tours

Detroit Riverfront and GM Renaissance Center | Detroit Tours

Detroit Riverfront and GM Renaissance Center

Did You Know? The “Mo” in Motown was derived from “Motor City” which pays homage to the ultra-obvious notion that Detroit is the car capital of the world! Detroit and its metro area are world headquarters to all three major US automakers: Ford, Chrysler, and GM. Every tour of Detroit should stop at the world headquarters and the iconic building in Detroit’s skyline, the General Motors Renaissance Center. Free tours of the GM Renaissance Center take visitors through the automaker’s showroom, highlighting vintage, new and concept vehicles. The grand finale is a glass elevator ride to the 72nd floor of the Detroit Marriott Hotel and tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere.

Outdoor Tours

Detroit has been called the Paris of the Midwest because of its attention to fine architecture; it is one of the only cities in the country so faithfully emblematic of this architectural style. A Detroit tour focused on architecture should include visiting works from Albert Kahn, George D. Mason and Wirt C. Rowland. Minoru Yamasaki, who later designed the World Trade Center, also got his start in Detroit, where he designed buildings including One Woodward Avenue.

Must-sees should include the historic Westin Book Cadillac Detroit hotel, built in the 1900s; the Chicago style-influenced Penobscot Building, designed by Rowland and Detroit sculptor Corrado Parducci; the art deco Guardian Building; and the Fisher and General Motors Building (Cadillac Place), both designed by Kahn and located in Detroit’s New Center area.

Have you gotten the opportunity to tour Detroit? Let us know what you saw during your visit!

Dan Fuoco_2014_portraitDan Fuoco is the Interactive Marketing Manager for the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau (VisitDetroit) and is responsible for building and engaging with VisitDetroit’s social media and blog communities.  You can find him geeking out over: social media infographics, muscle cars and Detroit. Follow him on TwitterInstagram and periodically on Pinterest.

Take a Look Inside DeZwaan Windmill in Holland, Michigan

The Tulip Time Festival returns to Holland, MI May 3-10, 2014! To get us excited for the event, guest blogger Ann Van Heest from Discover Holland gives us a look inside of one of Holland’s iconic sights – DeZwaan Windmill. 

Photo courtesy of Discover Holland

Photo courtesy of Discover Holland

Windmill Island Gardens is one of Holland’s true gems.  A visit to this 36-acre park adjacent to Holland’s downtown area is like stepping two centuries back in time, as you’ll find authentic Dutch architecture framing a view of the Island’s crown jewel: DeZwaan Windmill. Today we’ll tour five stories of this remarkable windmill, learning its story and how our Dutch-certified miller grinds wheat into flour using centuries-old technology.

DeZwaan (The Swan) Windmill was brought to Holland, Mich. from the Netherlands in 1964. It opened to the public in 1965 and enjoys the unique status of being the United States’ only authentic, working, Dutch windmill, as well as the last windmill to leave the Netherlands.

Photo courtesy of Discover Holland

Photo courtesy of Discover Holland

We’ll begin on the ground floor of the mill, where we see that we’re surrounded by thick brick walls. These bricks were laid in the traditional Dutch style, sloping downward to drain water from the building. The two sets of double doors on the ground floor allowed farmers to drive their horse and wagon full of bagged wheat right into the mill. The flour is ground on the fifth story of the mill, so farmers would have to use the “elevator” to convey the bags up to the grinding floor. The elevator is a wind-powered pulley that hoists bags of wheat through an open elevator shaft. The shaft is also where the miller’s wooden-shoe telephone is found.  Traditionally, millers spent most of their days in the upper floors of the mill and visiting farmers would send their messages to the miller via a wooden shoe attached to a rope! They could slip a note or payment into the shoe and the miller would pull up the rope when he had a chance.

Photo courtesy of Discover Holland

Photo courtesy of Discover Holland

The tour continues through packaging and storage floors, where we might see the miller and her assistants bagging DeZwaan-ground flour that is sold at the gift shop or distributed to local restaurants for use in their baked goods and pizza crusts.

Take a look at some of the original pieces and parts of the mill, mounted on the wall for us to touch and examine. Your guide will share the story of some of these pieces and how they were made, and she will also tell you how the blades of the mill were used to convey information for communities and also used as signals during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands in World War II.

On the fourth floor of the mill, we’ll look around and see that there are no longer surrounded by brick, but by the mill’s original wood timbers. The Dutch imported Norwegian fir beams to construct the mill in 1761, and you can see how they were hand-planed. Look for the Roman numerals carved in the sides of the beams, which helped the millwrights who originally assembled the mill know how the beams fit together. They also guided the modern millwrights who re-assembled the mill in Holland, Michigan! This floor is known as the “milling floor,” and is where the milling process is fine-tuned – the miller can regulate the grinding process by raising or lowering the top millstone.

Out on the gallery deck, we can see how truly immense the blades are! This is my favorite part, as we can get a great view of the tulip fields planted adjacent to the mill, but also get up close and personal with the blades, which are 80 feet long and six feet wide. From this gallery deck, the miller can rotate the cap of the mill so the blades are facing into the wind, and she can also engage the brake and stop the blades from turning.

Photo courtesy of Discover Holland

Photo courtesy of Discover Holland

We will climb up to the fifth floor of the mill, which is noticeably tight quarters as the mill narrows towards the top and the two massive sets of grindstones take up most of the floor space. There are three gears on this floor, which the miller must engage in order to operate the elevator pulley we first learned about on the ground floor, or to begin the grinding process. When the miller releases the brakes and allows the blades to turn, the massive gear in the middle of this room begins to turn. Despite the many tons of gears now turning, the sound is just a whisper, as the wooden gears are lubricated with beeswax and turn very quietly. When the grinding gears are engaged, the noise is still much quieter than you’d expect!

Photo courtesy of Discover Holland

Photo courtesy of Discover Holland

Thanks for joining us on a tour of our graceful DeZwaan. We hope you will come and experience it with us! During the Tulip Time festival (May 3-May 10), visitors will be able to experience the more than 100,000 tulips blooming at Windmill Island Gardens, guided tours of the mill, the authentic Dutch street organ and a short film screened every thirty minutes in the post house building. Take time to tour the antique tropical green house, the “Little Netherlands” historic display, and visit the gift shop which also sells homemade fudge. There is plenty of parking, and Windmill Island Gardens is open daily from 9am-7pm during the festival, and 9:15-5 during the summer months.

Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 11.56.07 AMAnn Van Heest is the information coordinator at the Holland Visitors Bureau. Her first job was selling fudge at Windmill Island Gardens. Follow her @DiscoverHolland on Twitter and Instagram.