Seven Ways to Spend New Year’s Eve Pure Michigan Style

It seems like just yesterday we were ringing in 2016 and looking forward to another great year in Pure Michigan. But don’t get nostalgic just yet – this year’s fun is far from over! If you’re looking for a great New Year’s Eve event to attend in Michigan, check out these seven events happening around the state.

Marquette Ball Drop

New Year’s Eve Ball Drop, Marquette
Every New Year’s Eve, the intersection of Washington Street and Front Street becomes the location where locals and visitors come together in a large crowd to welcome in the New Year. On the 12th strike, an illuminated ball is lowered from the historic Savings Bank Building. This year will mark the 26th anniversary of ringing in the New Year Marquette style!

New Year’s Eve Family Party, Gaylord
Start the night out with a wonderful meal on the last day of 2016 at Hunter’s Grille, with a spectacular New Year’s Menu. Choose from The Family Party with dancing, Photo Booth, late night Hors d’oeuvre, non-alcoholic beverages, cash bar for adults! Fireworks at midnight! Or the New Year’s Bash for anyone 21 & older with live music and dancing, late-night munchies, Party Favors, Cash Bar, Champagne Toast & Fireworks at midnight!

Midnight-on-Main_Countdown-300x168New Year’s Eve with Laith Al-Saadi, Lexington
In 2016, Laith Al-Saadi won America’s hearts and a spot in the finale of NBC’s “The Voice.” Now he’s poised to bring his authentic blend of blues, soul and classic rock to audiences around the nation and the world. New Year’s Eve at the Lexington Village Theatre is presented by Babisz Insurance.

Cherry Ball Drop, Traverse City
Ring in the New Year in beautiful downtown Traverse City and watch a giant cherry drop as 2016 begins! The event will also feature Magic 4 Humans at Traverse City Opera House) and Magic at Midnight at Top of the Park (both are ticketed events). If you’re looking for a New Year’s Eve celebration in Northern Michigan, the annual Cherry Ball Drop is the event for you!

Torchlight Parade, Harbor Springs
There’s no ticket required to watch the New Year’s Eve fun at Nub’s Nob! This event at Nub’s Nob takes place at 6pm so even the younger kids can get in on the fun as the Nub’s Nob Ski Patrol and the Winter Sports School Skiers make a couple of runs down Smokey creating a pretty light display. Free of charge!

The Ballroom Bashes, Grand Rapids
Celebrate the past as we look to the future – and have the most epic New Year’s Eve experience the area has to offer at The Ballroom Bashes in Downtown Grand Rapids! Spanning from the Amway Grand Plaza to the JW Marriott Grand Rapids to the Downtown Courtyard by Marriott (all connected via skywalk) you can party in four glamorous hotel ballrooms, each with a distinct theme and energy, along with a dozen restaurants and bars. Find the bash that suits you best and party all night long or hop from one to the next to keep your night moving.

PC: Charlevoix Bridge Drop

Charlevoix Bridge Drop, Charlevoix
Celebrate New Year’s Eve with a bang! Charlevoix’s third annual Bridge Drop will ring in 2016 with a downtown party full of festivities and fun. Daytime family friendly activities include a winter petting zoo, camel rides, snowman building, food trucks, s’mores and bonfires. The evening’s events of live music and activities throughout Charlevoix’s restaurants, bars and shops will culminate with the “bridge drop” and firework display at midnight. Fun for all, and all for fun!

 For a complete list of events happening on New Year’s Eve, visit michigan.org/events. How are you planning to celebrate the new year near you? 

10 Michigan Destinations to Visit This Veterans Day

This Nov. 11, veterans, families and friends will come together in Michigan, and across the nation, to honor those who served and remember those who lost their lives in ceremonies as part of Veterans Day.

In anticipation of this annual day of remembrance, we put together a list of 10 veterans monuments and events in Michigan.

1. Grand Traverse Area Veterans Memorial – Traverse City

Located at Eleventh Street and Elmwood Avenue in Traverse City, the Grand Traverse Area Veterans Memorial was dedicated Sept. 18, 2011. It’s overseen by the Grand Traverse Area Veteran Coalition. Come visit the space to pay your respects to our veterans.

Photo Courtesy of the Grand Traverse Area Veterans Memorial

Photo Courtesy of the Grand Traverse Area Veterans Memorial

2. Fort Custer National Cemetery – Augusta

One of two national shrines in Michigan, the Fort Custer National Cemetery is located on Dickman Road in Augusta and open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Originally Camp Custer, it was named after Michigan native Gen. George Armstrong Custer in 1917 for soldiers in World War I. It was designated as a national cemetery in 1981. This year, there will be a ceremony starting at 11 a.m. For more information, call (269) 731-4164.

3. Veterans Memorial Park – Grand Rapids

Dedicated in 1926, the park includes several pillars that were erected in honor of those who served in multiple conflicts. The memorial is located at 101 E. Fulton in Grand Rapids. For more information, contact Grand Rapids City Hall at (616) 456-3000.

4. Plainwell Veterans Memorial

Located in Sherwood Park in Plainwell, the memorial was dedicated on Veterans Day in 2009. The murmur of the Kalamazoo River in the background provides the ideal backdrop for quiet reflection and respect. For more information, call Plainwell City Hall at (269) 685-6821.

5. Veteran’s Memorial Park – Muskegon

Located on the M. Causeway of M-120 in Muskegon, Veteran’s Memorial Park is located on the Muskegon River. The memorial includes a walkway for visitors to observe memorials and plaques in honor of area veterans. For more information, contact Muskegon City Hall at (231) 724-6724.

6. Brighton Veterans Memorial

Including a plaque honoring veterans that was installed in Brighton in the 1950s, the memorial has been redesigned in recent years. It is located on Main Street in Brighton. There will be a Veterans Day Parade on Nov. 12, starting at 10 a.m. For more information, go to www.brightonveteransmemorial.info.

Photo Courtesy of the Brighton Veterans Memorial

Photo Courtesy of the Brighton Veterans Memorial

7. Great Lakes National Cemetery – Holly

Veterans, families and the general public are invited to attend a Veterans Day ceremony at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly. The cemetery is home to one of two national shrines in Michigan. The Veterans Day ceremony starts at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11. The cemetery is located at 4200 Belford Road in Holly.

8. Escanaba Park – Grand Haven

Owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and leased to Grand Haven, the park is home to a memorial for the U.S. Coast Guard. The park was originally known as Kelly Park, but was renamed in 1949 to Escanaba Memorial Park in commemoration of the loss of the USCGC Escanaba and 101 men when the ship sank in 1943.

9. Korean Memorial and Vietnam Memorial at Island Park – Mt. Pleasant

Mt. Pleasant, like many other communities, is home to many veterans. Of particular note is the Vietnam Memorial at Island Park, which was the first in the state to honor those who fought in Vietnam. These two memorials are a great way to honor veterans when visiting Mid-Michigan.

10. Withington Park – Jackson

Featuring the sculpture Defense of the Flag, Withington Park in Jackson is named after Gen. William H. Withington. The sculpture honors the 3,282 men of the Michigan Volunteer Infantry regiments who he commanded. The sculpture is also known as Jackson County Soldiers or Sailors Monument.

Many other Michigan communities pay tribute to our nation’s veterans and fallen soldiers. Consider a visit to the veteran’s park in Charlevoix, veterans statue in Port Huron, unknown soldier sculpture in Alpena, Air Zoo in Kalamazoo, Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Ypsilanti or one of the numerous monuments on the State Capitol lawn in Lansing.

Which of these destinations will you visit this Veterans Day? 

Castles in Michigan? Seven Attractions Fit for a King!

Hear ye, hear ye! You are now in the court of Pure Michigan’s kingdom. Surprising to some, Michigan is home to a handful of castles that would draw envy from some of the mightiest medieval rulers. From visiting the tall tower at Curwood castle or sitting down for a chicken dinner fit for a king in Frankenmuth, these Michigan mansions are sure to pique your royal interests.

Castle Rock

Steer your cavalry toward St. Ignace to see some of the most spectacular views of the Straits of Mackinac and Mackinac Island around. This ancient lookout of the Ojibwa Indians, referred to as Pontiac’s outlook, is 195.8 feet above ground level. If you’re an adventurous traveler, climb the 170 steps all the way to the top.  Castle Rock also features a gift barn full of majestic mementos so you’ll never forget your visit.

Photo Courtesy of the City of St. Ignace

Photo Courtesy of the City of St. Ignace

The Curwood Castle

Curwood Castle, located in Curwood Castle Park, hails on the banks of the Shiawassee River. It served as the writing studio of James Oliver Curwood, one of America’s foremost authors of adventure novels and an early advocate of environmental conservation. Set in Owosso, among one of the richest collections of historic homes and buildings in the Midwest, this replica of a Norman chateau was completed in 1923. The beautiful castle was used by Curwood until his death in 1927. It is now a museum and open to the public.

 Curwood castle

Castle Farms

Built in 1918, this nationally acclaimed French Renaissance Castle offers old world charm and modern day amenities with its soaring stone towers, cobblestone courtyards and magnificent sweeping gardens. Open year round in Charlevoix, Castle Farms welcomes weddings, historical tours, private parties, festivals and more! Feed the fish, play giant chess, tour the royal collections, 1918 museum, Garden Railway, Enchanted Forest and whatever else your honorable heart desires.

historic castle farms

Castle Museum of Saginaw County History

The Castle Museum in Saginaw stands tall and welcomes all to explore its long and rich history! Designed as a French castle to honor the French heritage of Saginaw, this stronghold is now home to the historical museum, featuring voyageurs, archaeology and exhibits on Saginaw County and state history. Once a federal building, this castle open’s its gate to all curious nobles.

castle museum

Bavarian Inn Castle Shops

Put the Bavarian Inn Castle Shops on your map to be transported to a German-style castle. Located in the lower level of the world-famous Bavarian Inn Restaurant in Frankenmuth, these shops are worth your voyage. From souvenirs to some of the finest wine and cheeses around, there is something for everyone in this royal bazaar. Don’t forget to try a sample of Frankenmuth’s famous fudge!

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Photo Courtesy of Frankenmuth CVB

Henderson Castle Bed & Breakfast

When your noble feet are weary, make your way to the Henderson Castle Bed & Breakfast. Whether you hail from near or far, you’ll be treated like a king or queen minutes away from vibrant Kalamazoo. Situated in the historic West Main Hill neighborhood, you’re minutes away from the theaters, shopping and vibrant night life of downtown Kalamazoo, but secluded enough to enjoy a quiet night free from the noise of the city. Get a massage, facial or manicure in our day spa. Soak in the rooftop hot tub while taking in the best view of downtown Kalamazoo that’s available. If you’re hungry, stay for dinner and indulge in some of the finest French food southwest Michigan has to offer.

Henderson castle

Miners Castle at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Miners Castle, arguably the most famous formation of the Pictured Rocks, is accessible by vehicle and short trails. A paved footpath winds to the stunning overlook of Lake Superior and Grand Island. Take the stairs and trail (carefully!) to the lower overlook and snap a picture at one of Northern Michigan’s most photographed spots.

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer (at)Oni_One_

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer (at)Oni_One_

Whether you’re a king, queen, prince or jester, you’re sure to find an imperial Michigan castle for the whole family to enjoy! 

Have you visited a castle in Michigan? Do you know of any others to add to the list?