Three Michigan Marauders Who Ruled the Great Lakes

Ahoy! Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day to all you landlubbers out there! You didn’t know it was Talk Like a Pirate Day?  Yarr, you might be walking the plank yet, matey!

Photo by Dave Nowak - Nordmeer Shipwreck Lake Huron

Photo by Dave Nowak – Nordmeer Shipwreck Lake Huron

The Great Lakes were home to some of the most fearsome and burly pirates of any waters on the map.  These swashbucklers ruled the high fresh-water seas and made their living sailing and searching for treasure not known to Jack Sparrow – lumber, illegal alcohol and wild-game meat. Known as Timber Pirates by some, these buccaneers would ship up to the Upper Peninsula to cut down wide areas of timber to sell to industrializing cities east of the state. Alcohol runners would even steal alcohol to sell in Detroit or Chicago, or trade for guns and loot.

Below are some of the most recognized pirates of the Great Lakes. Check them out – if you dare!

Calico Jack

John Rackham – John Rackahm, or Calico Jack as he was often known, is remembered as a small-time pirate from the 1700’s. He would steal anything from cashboxes to entire ships. Calico Jack would wait until a fisherman or woodcutter was away from their ship and sail off with it in the night. This pesky pirate was notorious for his stealthy crimes.

In October 1720, Rackham cruised near Jamaica, capturing numerous small fishing vessels, and terrorizing fishermen along the northern coastline. He came across a small vessel filled with eleven English pirates. Soon after, Rackham’s ship was attacked by an armed sloop and was captured. Rackham and his crew were brought to Jamaica, where he and nearly all of his crew members were sentenced to be hanged.

220px-James_Strang_daguerreotype_(1856)James Jesse Strang – In 1855, a religious gang on Beaver Island burned sawmills and stole $1,600 worth of goods from a local store, under the leadership of “King” James Jesse Strang.

Strang, a self-proclaimed religious leader and king, quickly made foes among his own people, too. One of these, Thomas Bedford, had been flogged for adultery on Strang’s orders, and felt considerable resentment toward the “king.” Another, Dr. H.D. McCulloch, had been excommunicated for drunkenness and other alleged misdeeds, after previously enjoying Strang’s favor and several high offices in local government.

In June of 1856, Strang was waylaid around 7:00 PM on the dock at the harbor of St. James, chief city of Beaver Island, by Wentworth and Bedford, who shot him in the back. Not one person on board the ship made any effort to warn or to aid the intended victim.

Dan SeaveyDan Seavey – The most notorious Great Lakes pirate may be none other than Roaring Dan Seavey, who started as a regular sailor in the U.S. Navy. After leaving the military he found himself a poor man with only his ship, Wanderer, to his name and took up a life of plundering.

Seavey was a thief who had eyes for large shipments of venison and alcohol, to then later sell at a higher price. Anyone who tried to stop him faced the cannon he held on board. Seavey’s most famous escapade was his takeover of a schooner docked named the Nellie Johnson. The clever seaman invited the Johnson’s crew to drink with him, staying mostly sober himself. He then threw the drunken sailors off their ship and sailed it to Chicago, where he sold the Nellie Johnson’s cargo.

Seavey retired sometime in the late 1920s, and settled in the town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin. He died in a Peshtigo nursing home on 14 February 1949 at the age of 84.

Want to know more about these Michigan marauders? Strap on your peg leg and set sail towards one of these maritime attractions to get your fill of pirate personas!

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum 
Grand Rapids Public Museum’s Real Pirates exhibit 
Alpena Shipwreck Tours

Are you celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day? 

Explore Pure Michigan with these October 2016 Events

Fall is coming incredibly soon! The beautiful colorful foliage combined with all of the autumn festivities, the month of October great time to explore our beautiful state. From UPtoberfest to spooky walks, there are a ton of fun and exciting events happening around Pure Michigan.

Below is a roundup of October events to help you plan the upcoming month. Visit our events page to see everything going on all month long.

October 1-9 

8th Annual Skitoberfest
October 1, Boyne Falls

Come to the eighth annual Skitoberfest, a fall extravaganza and homecoming taking place in the Boyne Mountain Village and surrounding area. Skitoberfest celebrates the best of fall’s family offerings in an Oktoberfest-style setting and the coming winter season with a Snowsports Expo hosted by Olympian Cary Adgate and special guest speaker. Skitoberfest highlights include gourmet foods from northern Michigan restaurants, markets and farms, Michigan beers, wines and spirits for tasting, plus music and endless family entertainment. It’s art, it’s drama, it’s entertainment plus food, beer, wine and fun for everyone! Admission is free, and tickets for food, brews and some activities are available.

Sleeping Bear Marathonsleeping bear mrathon
October 1, Empire

This scenic marathon starts in Empire and runs through the iconic Sleeping Bear Dune Climb, Little Glen Lake and Glen Arbor, all with gorgeous views of the Manitou Islands and the Sleeping Bear Dunes at the peak of the fall color season.

Big Lebowski Beer Tour
October 1, Kalamazoo

“But sometimes there’s a man. And I’m talking about The Dude here. Sometimes there’s a man, well, he’s the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. And that’s The Dude.” We’re proud to announce the return of the Big Lebowski Beer Tour. This is a celebration of Michigan beer, bowling and the most quotable movie of all-time.

Tawas Point Haunted Lighthouse Weekend
October 7-8, East Tawas

Come to the Historic Tawas Point Lighthouse and visit with the ghosts and ghouls. On Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. get a rare opportunity to climb the tower at night. On Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., participate in a Halloween dance, hay rides, campsite decorating, games for all ages, pumpkin painting, lighthouse tours, concessions and corn husk doll making. In addition, registered campers can enjoy trick or treating through the campground from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and a monster dance will take place in the day-use pavillion from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Lake Huron Discovery Tour
October 7-10, Standish

If you’re looking for a unique event on Pure Michigan’s sunrise coast, look no further than the Lake Huron Discovery Tour in Standish. Here you can chart your own course for 200 miles of events, cities, villages, rivers, streams, and lakes from Standish to Mackinaw along Lake Huron on Columbus Day Weekend. Cycling, kayak/paddle tours, running events, dark sky events, exploration of Native American history, writers retreat and Octoberfest celebrations will also be taking place.

UPtoberfest
uptoberfestOctober 8, Escanaba

UPtoberfest is the U.P.’s largest wine and beer festival, held on the beautiful lakefront in downtown Escanaba, MI. 2016 marks the 11th year of the festival! This is the eighth year that the festival is being organized by Escanaba’s homebrew club, the Bay de Noc Brewers. They are bringing a wealth of knowledge about beer, homebrewing and festivals to the event as well as volunteering all of their time and efforts. This year the focus of UPtoberfest is to keep it local! All beer and wine will be from Michigan, with the majority of it being from the U.P. and northern Lower Peninsula. All proceeds from UPtoberfest benefit The United Way of Delta Count

October 10-16

Fresh Coast Film Fest & Adventure Summit
October 13-16, Marquette

The Fresh Coast Film Festival is the first of its kind: a documentary film festival celebrating the outdoor lifestyle, water-rich environment and resilient spirit of the Great Lakes and Upper Midwest. The festival will gather the best in adventure cinema from around the world while creating a venue for, and building a culture of, Great Lakes storytelling.

A key component of Fresh Coast will be guided outdoor activities to introduce visitors to the outdoor playground of the Marquette area. Rock climbing, fly fishing, sea kayaking, waterfall hikes fall color tours and mountain bike rides will all be offered as part of the Fresh Coast weekend.

Fall Fest at the Holland Farmers Marketholland farms market
October 14-15, Holland

Come to Fall Fest at the Holland Farmers Market and in downtown Holland! On Friday, professional pumpkin carvers will carve jack-o-lanterns like you’ve never seen before, right on 8th Street. That evening, everyone is invited to take a stroll once the sun sets to see the pumpkins glowing to perfection.

On Saturday, the carvers will return to sculpt masterpieces at the Holland Farmers Market and in Downtown Holland. The entire family can enjoy a variety of fun fall-themed activities including pumpkin painting, a candy in the haystack hunt, pumpkin toss contest and much more! Take a hayride from Downtown Holland to the Holland Farmers Market (and back again) for more fall fun!

Apple Fest
October 14-16, Charlevoix

Fall is in the air and northern Michigan orchards are busy harvesting bushels of fresh, ripe apples in preparation for the 38th Annual Apple Festival taking place downtown Charlevoix. Apples are Michigan’s largest and most valuable fruit crop and our area apple trees are full to overflowing. More than 30 types of apples will be available as well as other fall harvest items including pumpkins, mums, squash, jam, maple syrup, pies, cider and so much more. Local non-profit organizations will be onsite to tempt you with hot food items such as chili, hot dogs, apple flappens, soup, and kielbasa. Pick up your fresh bagels, mustard, crepes, honey, meat, baked goods, granola, and fall veggies – all locally grown and produced.

Family Haunted Village and Spook Walk
October 15, Port Sanilac

Meet the unexpected residents of our creaky old buildings! See what’s in the Halloweeny Woods! Warm your cold Tootsies at the Bonfire and sample goodies at the Food Boooooth! Meet the “Wicked

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Witch and Snow White”, Dr. Loop, the Mad Hatter and others! Find the “Grim Reaper” and walk through the Cemetery in the woods.

Autumn Color Tour Cruises
October 15-16, Bay City

As the leaves begin to change and the temperature starts to cool, the Appledore IV changes course and we begin our popular two-hour Autumn Color Tour. Cruising upriver on the Saginaw, passengers will enjoy a warm lunch while keeping a sharp eye out for fall foliage and wildlife!

October 17-23

Fish with the Prosfish with the pros
October 14-17, Traverse City

Want to fish in the Traverse City area, but don’t have a boat, gear or knowledge of where to find the best spots? Participate in fall 2016′s Fish with the Pros. Fish with a pro for two full days, using their boat and gear! Both individual and team tournaments on Saturday and Sunday. Registration includes amazing food from Friday night through Monday breakfast.

Accommodations at the beautiful Spider Lake Retreat – Traverse City, MI. Double occupancy, private rooms feature patios or a balcony and private bath in each room.

Scarecrow Fest
October 15-23, Frankenmuth

Head to Frankenmuth for the Scarecrow Festival. Enjoy entertainment on stage, costume parade and Trick-or-Treating, view pumpkins with personality, pumpkin catapult, pumpkin bowling, pumpkin painting, face painting, children’s inflatables, rock & roll K-9′s, vote for your favorite scarecrow and more!

Conservation Cafe Great Lakes to Great Lakesconservation cafe
October 21, Grand Rapids

Join Dr. Patrick Doran from The Nature Conservancy for a lunch and lecture as he discusses Great Lakes conservation strategies shared on his travels to Lake Tanganyika in Tanzania, Africa. Patrick will discuss how a whole system approach to conservation in the Great Lakes of Michigan and Africa can maximize results for both people and nature. Take a virtual tour of Mahale and the Serengeti as he shares beautiful photography and inspiring lessons learned.

Mackinac Island Great Turtle Trail Run
October 22, Mackinac Island

This year marks the 21st running of one of the most scenic trail events in the state. We have a capacity of 3,500 participants running and walking the inside trails of Mackinac Island during the last open weekend of the season. All who register will enjoy special race features commemorative medals, a race apparel in Great Turtle fashion, special Halloween events for adults and kids, great end-of-season sales plus the beauty of late fall on the island

Zoo Boo!Zoo Boo!
October 22-23, Saginaw

It’s time to put on your costumes and head to the Children’s Zoo for the annual Halloween bash!

Make your way through the merry-not-so-scary Zoo, exploring all of our spooktacular decorations! Meet some of our creepy, crawly animal friends, then take a ride on the Pirate Train. Even the Carousel horses get into costume! Stop by the many activity stations for a treat, a craft or a game. Take pictures next to the hauntingly adorable photo ops! Watch mad scientist Dr. Slime put on a mysterious, scientific show!

October 24-31

Feast & Fear Dinner
October 28, Grand Junction

Feast on a delicious appetizer, entree and dessert served by your favorite ghosts and goblins from Shadow Hollow Haunt! Sample locally crafted wine and beer from McIntosh Winery & Round Bar Winery during dinner. After dinner, if you dare, climb aboard wagons for a chilling end to your evening! They’ll take you through Shadow Hollow Haunt… a one-of-a-kind, live action haunted wagon ride! If you make it back alive, enjoy a free donut and apple cider!

The dinner menu for the haunted evening will be crafted using our in-season produce, meats from a local butcher shop and cheese from Evergreen Creamery in Fennville. The menu will be subject to change based on what foods are available locally. Reservations and payment required ahead of time.

Glow in the Park PartyGlow in the Park Party
October 28, Douglas

Glow in the Park is an annual, all-inclusive kick-off party for the Halloween weekend. In response to growing Halloween tourism and overall community enthusiasm, Glow in the Park is a family friendly event where “anything that glows goes.” There will be music, food and drink along with plenty of fun glow-in the-dark activities for the kids. Come in full glowing costume or get your glow on when you get there with face painting, black light areas and a merchandise booth selling glow sticks, necklaces, bracelets and our official T-shirts! Proceeds support the Douglas Halloween events.

The amazing face painter uses UV reactive face paint to turn you into a human glow stick under the black lights.

Halloween Bash
October 29, Gaylord

Head to Treetops for the annual Halloween Bash Saturday, October 29th! The party festivities will be from 8pm Midnight with a DJ, cash bar, light hors d’ oeuvres and a costume contest! Prizes for “Best Dressed” and “Best Couple”! Cash only event.

Shanghai NightsShanghai Nights
October 29, Clinton Township

Shanghai Acrobats of the People’s Republic of China present a magnificent blend of athleticism and theatrical expression with high-flying trapeze, aerial balance, flowing theatrical dance, juggling and mime-character comedy, showcasing an artistic world full of history and wonder. These amazing, multi-award-winning artists, direct from Beijing, give us a deeply aesthetic night of breathtaking beauty and physical daring, thrilling young and old alike.

Step Back In Time To the Life of a Fur Trapper
October 30, Monroe

River Raisin National Battlefield Park, welcomes you to a National Park Service Centennial Event: “Step Back in Time to the Life of a Fur Trapper” on Sunday, October 30 from 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Join Norbert DeWilde to learn all about the fur trade and the life of a fur trapper. Have fun exploring furs in this hands-on fun filled educational activity. This is open for all ages. The activity will be held outdoors with weather permitting.

Did we miss your favorite October event? Name it below!

4 Ways to Celebrate a Bountiful Harvest at Michigan Wineries

Fall is a magical season in Michigan. Our autumnal activities are so beloved that they often become tradition as we return to the same sights and sounds that fill us with joy each year. Are you ready to embark on your next fall tradition? Michigan wineries across the state provide a number of ways to celebrate harvest.

Read more on four ways to enjoy the fall season at Michigan wineries courtesy of guest blogger Jenelle Jagmin of the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council.

Grape Stomping

Yes, grape stomping is still part of wine making! If you are in northern Michigan, check out Harvest Festival taking place at Chateau Chantal on October 1. In addition to grape stompin’, the festival also offers a Slurpin’ Seminar as well as a Distillation Seminar.  Marie-Chantal Dalese describes it like this, “Our annual harvest fest is a terrific way to experience the grape harvest and fall colors on Old Mission Peninsula.  We open our cellar doors and let guests see how we make wine while providing some fun and free experiences for visitors.”

Harvest season on Old Mission Peninsula

Photo Courtesy of Chateau Chantal

Do you want to show off your stomping skills in southwest Michigan? Check out Pappy’s Harvest Festival at Vineyard 2121 in Benton Harbor. In addition to grape stomping, the festival features wine slushies, hayrides, live music and a hog roast. Guests under 21 are free with an adult. The Festival takes place on September 17 & 18.

Take a 'step' back in time as you stomp grape similar to the old days

Photo Courtesy of Vineyard 2121

 Harvesting Grapes

Have you ever wondered what it is like to actually harvest the grapes from the vines? Sandhill Crane Vineyards in Jackson offers you the opportunity to do just that. Since the exact time of harvest is unpredictable, it is best to contact the winery to provide your contact information. They will reach out to you with the harvest date with a few days’ notice. If interested, contact Carolanne at 517-764-0679.

Volunteers harvest grapes at Sandhill Crane Vineyards

Photo Courtesy of Sandhill Crane Vineyards

Race Through Vines

Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail will host The Harvest Stompede on September 10 & 11, which gives participants the opportunity to run, walk or watch the race in beautiful Leelanau wine country. The race is paired with a self-guided wine tour and includes a souvenir glass.

“The Harvest Stompede is such a fun and festive way to kick-off the fall harvest season.  And if they don’t want to run or walk, they can just come for the tasting tour,” said Lorri Hathaway, executive director of the wine trail.

Runners love the Harvest Stompede

Photo Courtesy of Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail

Find a Winery Near You

From the far reaches of the U.P. to the southern border counties of Michigan, wineries dapple our gorgeous fall landscape. Each one celebrates the harvest in its unique way! Find your local wineries at michiganwines.com  & check out more events taking place around the state.

Harvest Festival at Lemon Creek Winery

Photo Courtesy of the Lemon Creek Winery

When you step into the vineyard this fall, you may notice an increased burst of elation. That is because Michigan is enjoying an abundant harvest – following two devastating seasons of crop loss. Support your local winery and join in the celebration!

Jenelle Jagmin is promotion specialist for the Michigan Grape and Wine Industry Council. Founded in 1985, the council was established within the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development. For more information, and plan your trip to Michigan wine country, visit michiganwines.com.

Follow Michigan Wines on Instagram: @michiganwines