Michigan’s Oldest Irish Pub and Other Ways To Embrace the Emerald Isle

It’s time once again to put on your favorite green attire, cook up some corned beef and cabbage and embrace your inner Irish spirit! Our friends at the Awesome Mitten gathered up some ways that Michiganders are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day across the state. 

Though Michigan may be thousands of miles away from Ireland, the Mitten State knows how to embrace the spirit of the Emerald Isle. From parades and pub crawls, to beer-filled 5K’s, to visiting what is speculated as “Michigan’s Oldest Irish Pub,” there is a way to celebrate this lucky day in every region of the Great Lakes State.

Irish Pubs and Eateries

The Murphy – St. Clair
It is nearly impossible to say which Irish Pub in Michigan is the very oldest, but The Murphy is a strong contender. It was originally built to be a boarding house in 1836, however, is now a quaint inn with a sneaky, wild Irish Pub downstairs. There are seven guest rooms with private baths available; the perfect place to rest your head if festivities get out of hand downstairs. If you are in Southeast Michigan for the holiday, stop by The Murphy for a traditional Irish beverage and a historical tour of the inn. Staff swear that the dwelling is haunted, so be sure to ask for their best stories.

Photo via The Daily Meal.

Photo via The Daily Meal.

Fenian’s – Conklin
Fenian’s is widely considered the one of the best Irish pubs in Michigan, and for good reason. In fact, it was named to The Daily Meal’s list of 18 Most Authentic Irish Pubs in America.  After the town’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, everyone ends up here (free of charge) for live Celtic music, food, and of course, plenty of drink.

Metro Detroit
Detroit may not have a green river, but there are countless ways to fuel up at one of Metro Detroit’s Irish pubs and eateries. Here are just a few to get you started.

Old Shillelagh, Detroit
- Foran’s Grand Trunk Pub, Detroit
- The Blarney Stone Pub, Berkley
- Dick O’Dows Irish Pub, Birmingham
- Rosie O’Grady’s, Ferndale
- Sean O’Callaghan’s, Plymouth
- O’Connor’s Public House, Rochester
- O’Tooles, Royal Oak

Parades and Parties

Photo courtesy of Katy Batdorff Photography

Photo courtesy of Katy Batdorff Photography

Many places got the party started this past weekend with parades, festivals and other gatherings. But the fun doesn’t end on March 17th! There are events planned throughout the entire month of March. Check out michigan.org to see how other Michigan cities celebrate the day.

Irish on Ionia – Grand Rapids
This  event is for the hearty and the rowdy. Festivities got going on Ionia Street as early as 7am on Saturday, March 14th and continued deep into the night. 2015 marked the 5th annual event of Irish on Ionia. DJs and live music entertained the crowds all day, while many participating restaurants served up their favorite Irish concoctions.  Check out this photo gallery from the event to get you geared up for the holiday tomorrow!

Leapin’ Leprechaun 5K and Saint Patrick’s Day Parade – Traverse City
Runners rose early on Saturday, March 14th and donned their greenest running attire. The Leapin’ Leprechaun 5K mixed a morning workout with free beer, live entertainment and a smashing post-race party at the Inside Out Gallery.  The State Street Grill welcomed parade-goers before and after the annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade presented by the Ancient Order of the Hibernians.

St. Patrick’s Day Party – Bessemer
As Michiganders know, the snow we accumulate throughout the winter lingers far into March. St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect time to get some spring skiing in. Big Powderhorn Mountain in the Western Upper Peninsula is featuring a tremendous St. Patrick’s Day party at Caribou Lodge with live music being played all day. Leprechaun costumes are encouraged and the Irish beverages will be abundant.

Krazy Daze at Boyne Highlands

Krazy Daze at Boyne Highlands

Krazy Daze – Boyne Highlands
While Krazy Daze takes place after St. Patrick’s Day (March 20th-21st), it’s the perfect opportunity to keep the festivities going with green costumes and games galore. Whether you’re a face-painted kid taking a pass at the Silly Slalom, or a kid at heart warming up for the Ski Over the Pond competition at a tailgate party, you’ll find fun and laughter to keep you smiling all weekend long.

For Michiganders, St. Patrick’s Day is another sign that spring is near. So bundle up, raise your glass, celebrate the end of the bitter cold, and salute the hearty Irish at one of the hundreds of events Michigan has to offer.

How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? 

pmphotoJennifer Hamilton has lived in various cities around the great state of Michigan and presently resides in Traverse City. When not drinking, examining, and researching the great craft beers offered in this region, Jennifer can be found trying to balance her marathon training schedule, day job, MSW course load, and three rambunctious dogs

Four Pure Michigan Ways to Spoil Yourself For Singles Appreciation Day

Now’s your chance to spoil yourself! Our friends at The Awesome Mitten share four fun and delicious ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day’s counterpart –  Singles Appreciation Day.

Being single doesn’t mean you have to stay home on February 14th – Valentine’s Day can and should be celebrated by singles!

Photo courtesy of Aaron Murdick's Fudge

Photo courtesy of Aaron Murdick’s Fudge

Michigan provides many opportunities to enjoy single life. Of course, there are many Michigan winter outdoor activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling or ice fishing to occupy your time. If that’s your thing gather up your group of girlfriends or buddies, bundle yourself up and spend your day in the brisk Michigan winter. I am not what you would call “outdoorsy,” but I still can get a mad case of cabin fever and mid-February is often when that reaches its peak.  If you prefer the indoors, Michigan provides just as many opportunities to treat yourself.

Spoil Yourself with Michigan Chocolates
If you are going to stay in, invite your friends over and treat yourselves to some classic Valentine’s Day Michigan chocolates. My personal favorite is Jackson’s Gilbert’s Chocolates  (mmm I could really go for some chocolate covered potato chips right now.)

The Chocolate Garden is another Michigan favorite that beckons travelers along I-94. With billboards featuring accolades from the likes of the Food Network, I had to stop. When I tasted those delicious truffles, I was amazed at the quality of this seemingly roadside attraction (They sell online too!)

Another popular Valentine activity is to drown our single sorrows in some Mackinaw Island Fudge Ice Cream.  Make it a true Michigan sundae with a little Sander’s Hot Fudge on your Hudsonville Ice Cream.

Photo by Rebecca Calkins

Photo by Rebecca Calkins

Chocolate also pairs well with Michigan wine! Mindo Chocolate does wine pairing events including wine festivals which is where I first tasted these delicious dark specialties, including a few varieties with Michigan fruit. They do not have a storefront, but they are distributed in great little shops around Michigan. I know in my neighborhood they are available at Lone Oak Vineyard Estate.  Speaking of alcohol…

Go Out for a Drink…
Choose your favorite Michigan wine or beer, of course! A tour on a Michigan wine or beer trail is just what a group of single girls or guys needs to have a good time this Valentine’s Day.

I’ve taken several tours along the Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail both with friends and with family. Pro Tip: pack some bread and cheese or stop at your local farmers market on the way and snack between stops. It’s a great way to soak up some alcohol and make your trip a little more delicious. Weaving your way from Adrian in the south to Haslett in the North is at least a two day activity in order to hit them all, but my personal favorites are Sandhill Crane Vineyards and J. Trees Cellars.

I just went on a mini beer tour in Grand Rapids a few weeks ago with a stop at Brewery Vivant and Arcadia. Of course, Founders is usually a requisite stop for me. Near my home, I’ve also made a mini tour right along I-94 with Dark Horse, Grand River and Chelsea Alehouse.

Sandhill Crane - Photo courtesy of Experience Jackson

Sandhill Crane – Photo courtesy of Experience Jackson

Eat Your Way through Michigan
Although restaurants maybe booked up for dinner, that doesn’t mean a nice singles awareness lunch tour couldn’t satisfy a friends’ trip. Most of my favorites are around my hometown of Jackson, including a few award winning Jackson restaurants  including Michigan’s Best Barbeque at West Texas BBQ.

Work Off the Food with a Dance Party
Since I’m not the outdoorsy type, I have to find some way to work off all of that chocolate, beer, wine and food. There are many great Michigan nightlife hotspots to choose from all over the state. If shaking your booty on the dance floor isn’t your thing, there is always an evening at the casinos or another of my personal favorites, karaoke!

Whether single or taken, we love our fans! Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Headshot 1 originalRebecca Calkins is the Communications Director for Experience Jackson. She grew up in Jackson and returned after attending college at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. When not working, Rebecca enjoys cooking and traveling, always looking for the next culinary or cultural adventure.

Eight New Year’s Resolutions for the Avid Traveler (with a Pure Michigan Twist!)

The beginning of a new year opens the door to new travel possibilities. Today, guest blogger Aaron Cruz from The Awesome Mitten shares some New Year’s resolutions for the avid traveler looking to explore new horizons. 

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Photo courtesy of Aaron Cruz

Great Lakes resort town it up. Wherever you are in Michigan, you are within 85 miles of a Great Lake. Go for the day in the summer or a long winter weekend at a bed and breakfast in Lexington, on Lake Huron, or in Grand Haven, on Lake Michigan. Regardless of  what lake you are on, a beautiful sunrise and sunset is sure to await. The resort town possibilities seem to be endless.

Eat and drink local. Forget the chains: experience something not found around home. Go to the most popular spot in the town you are visiting or discover a hidden gem. If you are in Detroit, stop at Slows BBQ. Visiting Grand Rapids? Forget Starbucks in favor of checking out to Rowster or MadCap Coffee. Don’t go to a bar in Holland and grab a beer you can get anywhere; visit New Holland Brewery and experience some of Michigan’s finest craft beer. If grabbing snacks for the car, go Michigan with some Faygo Rock & Rye and Better Made potato chips.

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Photo courtesy of Aaron Cruz

Set out on a mural walk. You will find public artwork painted on the walls of buildings in Michigan’s biggest cities and smallest towns. It’s a great way to get outdoors, to explore off-the-beaten path areas and to learn some history. “The Water Cycle” mural in the Woodbridge neighborhood of Detroit and the Community House Mural in small-town Harbor Beach should be on your list to visit.

Go on a trip with no plans. Take a road trip with no Michigan destination in mind. That means no maps, no GPS and no idea on when you are going to stop. It will be just you and whatever randomly comes up. Live in the moment. Your best travel stories could come from this unplanned adventure.

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Photo courtesy of Aaron Cruz

Spend more time with nature by visiting a Michigan State Park.  Get away from it all at one of the 97 parks scattered through the state. Many are along one of the Great Lakes, while others are inland and in the country. You can even hang out on an island at Mackinac Island State Park. Bluffs, sand dunes, long hiking trails, forest, vast beaches and wildlife lie straight ahead.

Collect mementos from every place you visit. Purchase a postcard, magnet and other souvenirs.  Grab a free local magazine, flyer or business card and keep your receipts and event tickets. Put them all in a box at home. Later on, when you go through it, you will remember all the great Michigan and travel experiences you have enjoyed.

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Photo courtesy of Aaron Cruz

Head to a lighthouse. Michigan has more lighthouses than any state with over 115, each with its own history and unique design. Some of them contain museums where people used to live as well as stairs you can climb to see the light up close and get panoramic views. Tawas Point Lighthouse is a beautiful example. Where there is a lighthouse, a shoreline and beach to explore is usually waiting.

Putting many of the other resolutions together and a great way to checkout numerous lighthouses and points of interest at once is to experience a Great Lakes Circle Tour. Each route/tour circles a Great Lake, so water will always be nearby, with much of the route following Michigan roads. You’ll find plenty of signage to help you along as you bounce from town to town, country to forest and from the Lower to Upper Peninsula.

What are some of your New Year’s travel resolutions? 

Aaron Cruz

Aaron Cruz is a lover and long time resident of The Mitten. When he is not out on the open road, he’s probably drinking coffee in a random indie coffee shop. He loves taking  photos and road trips, along with checking out skylines, the seasons, shorelines and  hanging around water which makes Michigan the perfect place to live. You can find him  on Twitter Instagram and on his personal travel blog.