The Votes Are In, Upper Peninsula Crowned America’s Most Flannel City (Plus a Giveaway!)

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The Upper Peninsula has been crowned America’s Most Flannel City in Duluth Trading Co.’s Flannel City Face-Off! Today, Duluth Trading shares some reasons why the U.P. took the title. Plus, see how you can win a $100 dollar gift card from Duluth Trading Co. below.

Congratulations, Yoopers! Flannel fanatics from around the country recently voted Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as America’s Most Flannel City in Duluth Trading’s Flannel City Face-Off. We know the U.P. isn’t a city, but how could we keep it off the list when residents dedicate a couple of weeks to Deer Camp to reconnect with old buddies and favorite flannels

The U.P. was a natural contender in our 16-city bracket, given all the recreational opportunities, hardworking citizens and rich lumberjack lore in the region. An outpouring of regional pride (or maybe it was all the pasties) fortified voters to win round after round when faced with opponents such as Detroit, Portland, Anchorage and Duluth. The final championship round was an epic Lake Superior brawl with voters overwhelmingly favoring the U.P. over Duluth with 13,200 votes to 4,214.

flannel_Logo_pocket_FINAL-650Throughout the Flannel City Face-Off Yoopers were quick to boast that flannel is worn year ‘round and appropriate attire for any occasion, including weddings. Fan Joseph W. takes it a step further instructing proper plaid procedures, “Yah, we already knew we were flannel champions. Red and black from late October ‘til snow is done. Then any colors but red and black.”

Our “Flannual Report” found that 40% of customers describe themselves as being “more attractive” in flannel so it’s not a leap to conclude that residents of the Most Flannel City are the nation’s most attractive of the bunch. (According to our survey, flannel-wearing Yoopers are also more inclined to eat roadkill, use an outhouse and own an axe.)

DTC Logo Black No Tag 72dpi[2]As fan Ken J. so aptly sums it up, “the Yoop is a state of mind as much as a place.” So whether you live in the U.P. or are just hankering for a visit, now would be the perfect time to grab your favorite flannel shirt and represent!

Flannel Photo Giveaway

To celebrate this special recognition, we’re rewarding our flannel-aficionado fans with the chance to win prizes from Duluth Trading Co.

Post a photo of yourself wearing your favorite flannel on Facebook and tag the Pure Michigan Facebook Page in your photo by Thursday, November 20th. We’ll randomly select 10 photo submissions to win a $100 gift card from Duluth Trading Company.

What Happens When Six Photographers Meet Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

There’s no question that fall in Pure Michigan is a dream come true for a shutterbug. Today, guest blogger and landscape photographer Aubrieta V. Hope shares the story of six photographers who set off for the Upper Peninsula in search of scenic fall vistas.

Once upon a time, six shooters ventured north to the Tripod Forest, a fabled land of brilliant fall color in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  All were packing:  most brought Nikon’s, but two carried Canons.  They loaded up minivans, SUV’s and 4×4′s, bringing filters and flashlights, bug spray, raingear, ice scrapers, and backpacks.   About half of them planned to find a campsite someplace and the others made hotel reservations.  Some had never met, but were destined to.  A few of them hoped to cross paths up there somewhere.

It was late September and their only plan was to find and follow the color.  Frost was in the forecast.  The time was now.  The 2014 Michigan Fall Foliage Convention had begun!

Their program?  It all depended on the trees, sun, wind, and cloud cover.  Some headed for the western U.P. first, others tracked to central inland areas.  In this rugged and beautiful land, photo opportunities crop up everywhere.  Cell coverage, however, can be scarce, especially in the most remote areas.  So, happenstance and coincidence tend to be the best, if not the only, methods of connection.  That certainly proved to be true for the shooters in our tale:  Neil Weaver, Craig Sterken, John McCormick, Phil Stagg, Ken Keifer, and Aubrieta Hope.

Over the next couple of weeks, with surprising frequency and with almost no planning, these six shooters ran into each other on rocky outcrops, at the end of nearly impassable two-tracks, in parking lots, and other likely and unlikely places.  They shared location tips, stories of shots taken and shots missed, and bucket lists of dreams on the front burner. There was no conference schedule.  Everyone had their own agenda. But there was plenty of camaraderie and inspiration. And, there were rescues, for example when Aubrieta fractured her ankle on a trail and was glad to be shooting with others at the time.

Outdoor photography is an unpredictable pursuit.  It’s nice to have friends in the vicinity!  So, maybe this was more of a round-up than a convention, all these creative mavericks meeting on the beaches and overlooks, sharing tripod space and good light, and bagging some great shots.

Here’s a glimpse of some of their adventures:

Craig Sterken at Paradise Point, Christmas, Michigan. Photo by Neil Weaver Photography.

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Sunset, Miners Beach, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore by Phil Stagg (Michigan Waterfalls)

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Aubrieta Hope at Cloud Peak, Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Photo by Michigan Nut Photography.

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Mouth of the Hurricane River at Sunset by Michigan Nut Photography

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Misty Morning at Manido Falls – Porcupine Wilderness State Park by Craig Sterken Photography

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Carp River at Dusk by Neil Weaver Photography

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Photographers at Miners Beach, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore by Phil Stagg (Michigan Waterfalls)

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Stormy Afternoon at Paradise Point, Christmas, Michigan by Aubrieta V. Hope/Michigan Scenery

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Storming the Castle, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore by Kenneth Keifer

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Where is your favorite place in Michigan to snap a few photos? 

MI14-0606-0758 Aubrieta V HopeAubrieta V. Hope is a landscape photographer with a special interest in Northwest and Upper Michigan; check out her website. She also highly recommends the following websites for beautiful Michigan/Great Lakes photography:  Neil Weaver Photography, Michigan Nut Photography (featuring John McCormick’s Photography), Craig Sterken Photography, MI Falls (featuring Phil Stagg’s photography) and Kenneth Keifer Photography.    

 

Cross These Seven Traverse City Activities Off Your Snow Day Bucket List

Winter is on its way, and Traverse City is ready for snow! Today, guest blogger Mike Norton from Traverse City Tourism shares some suggestions for your next Traverse City snow day. 

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

I know there are people who aren’t big fans of winter. But personally, I can’t wait to see those first fat flakes of snow come spiraling out of the sky.

Maybe it’s because I live in a place where there’s so much to do in the wintertime – especially in the Great Outdoors. I like to be outside as much as possible, and Traverse City is full of opportunities for outdoor winter fun. Each winter, this region’s gently sculpted landscape (carved 15,000 years ago by the last retreating glaciers of the Ice Age) becomes a playground for skiers, snowmobilers and snowshoe hikers. Like me, they consider it one of the country’s most beautiful winter destinations.

Skiing, Snowboarding and “Silent Snow Sports”

For skiers and snowboarders, our premiere winter destination is undoubtedly Shanty Creek Resorts, a 4,500-acre recreational complex in the beautiful Chain of Lakes region, about 30 miles northeast of town. Shanty’s two ski areas, Schuss Mountain and Summit Mountain, provide 53 downhill slopes, six terrain parks, 30km of cross country Nordic trails, and a multi-lane alpine tubing park. (Ski Magazine rated it the Midwest’s number-one destination in value, dining, lodging, weather and après ski activities.)

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

But lots of other skiers and snowboarders have discovered the fun of staying closer to town, taking advantage of low lodging rates and a broad choice of shopping, dining and entertainment options while skiing at TC’s two day ski areas, Mt. Holiday and Hickory Hills.

Still, for me (and for many others) this area is loved mostly for the quality of its winter “silent sports” — snowshoeing and cross-country skiing — thanks to its vast acreage of forest and parkland. Just one example – and one of my favorites: the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore has eight marked trails, some leading up to panoramic overlooks high above Lake Michigan.

And there are so many other marked trail systems that you couldn’t explore them all if you stayed here all winter. There’s the Lost Lake Pathway near Interlochen and the Vasa Pathway, one of the finest cross-country ski trails in the nation. Within the city, the 300-acre Grand Traverse Commons features superb snowshoeing among century-old, castle-style buildings and stands of old-growth pines.

Snowmobiling

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Snowmobilers tend to head south and east of town to more than 200 miles of the country’s finest and most diverse snowmobiling. The Boardman Valley Trail, just minutes from downtown, is an 81-mile trail system in the Pere Marquette State Forest, where sightings of turkeys, eagles, deer and other wildlife are commonplace. The Jordan Valley Trail, about a half-hour to the northeast, is a network featuring over 130 miles of spectacular trails not far from Shanty Creek and the picturesque village of Bellaire.

Snow Biking and Snow Tubing

Traverse City is also becoming a hub for one of the newest winter sports: fat biking. Fat bikes are specially-adapted mountain bikes with large tires that can actually allow you to ride over the snow, and over the past two years they’ve become part of the local winter landscape. We’ve always been a favorite year-round destination for all kinds of outdoor sports enthusiasts; given the opportunity to add cycling to their repertoire of winter sports, they’ve wasted no time embracing the Fat Bike phenomenon.

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Photo courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

But you don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy winter recreation in Traverse City. Lots of us have discovered that there are plenty of thrills to be had in snow-tubing. Tubing has all the thrilling speed of a toboggan or sled – but you get to sit in the middle of a big soft inner tube and ride down a groomed hill where there are people keeping an eye on you. And when you get to the bottom, there’s a towline waiting to take you back to the top so you can do it all over again.

As it happens, the largest tubing hill in Michigan is at TimberLee Hills, a former ski resort in the hills just northwest of town. (On clear days, it has breathtaking views of Grand Traverse Bay and Lake Leelanau.) Lots of local ski resorts also have tubing hills; Shanty Creek Resorts, for instance, has a sophisticated tubing park just above their Cedar River lodge. Mt. Holiday Ski Area also has a dedicated tubing park. All three have mechanical lifts, which helps you make the most of your allotted time. These things are popular, especially on weekends and school snow days, so they can get busy!

Winter Ziplining

Mt. Holiday has yet another winter activity available for winter fun: a new zipline system that lets you soar through the air above the ski slopes. Its “Green Zipper” is a two-station zipline (the first leg is 288 feet and then second is 306 feet) and its new 10-station zipline has a total of over 4,000 feet of cable. You have to make advance reservations for both of them, and you need to be part of a group of at least four people.

Sound like fun? Of course it does!

Mike on SbnowshoesMike Norton spent 25 years as newspaper writer and columnist before starting a second career as media relations manager at Traverse City Tourism. An avid cyclist, kayaker and snowshoer, he lives in the village of Old Mission.