Winter weather might be lingering in parts of the state for now, but warmer months are near! From outdoor adventure to family fun, spring and summer months are the perfect time to visit Pure Michigan and discover our state’s natural beauty and diverse offerings. With summer in sight, we launched the Pure Michigan summer video series to showcase the variety of these attractions and activities.
The video series features six popular warm weather activities and attractions in Michigan including biking, golfing, fishing, wineries, lighthouses and sand dunes. Whether you’re looking for a thrilling adventure, a relaxing family getaway or anywhere in between, a Pure Michigan summer offers something for everyone.
With spring and summer approaching, the 2013 Pure Michigan national cable television advertising campaign begins airing today, Monday, March 18. The campaign, which will run through the end of June, also includes the launch of the Pure Michigan summer video series.
Pure Michigan television commercials will air nationally more than 5,000 times combined on these cable networks: A&E, ABC Family, Animal Planet, Bravo, CMT, CNN, the Cooking Channel, Destination America, E!, Food Network, Fox News, the Golf Channel, HGTV, Lifetime, Lifetime Movie Network, MSNBC, Nick at Nite, OWN, the Outdoor Channel, Oxygen, Soapnet, Style, The Learning Channel (TLC), the Travel Channel, USA, WE and the Weather Channel.
The Pure Michigan Winter Video series highlights various activities throughout the state for everyone, but it is especially useful for families and parents to get ideas for weekend getaways and things to do when kids enjoy vacation from school during the holidays.
We asked Elena Wollborg, local mom and writer behind MommyisinTimeout.com, to tell us some of her favorite things to do with her family during the winter months in Michigan and why it’s such a great place for families to visit.
See her answers below and find other fun ideas at michigan.org.
Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your family? A: My name is Elena Wollborg and I am the writer behind MommyisinTimeout.com, a mom blog chronicling my adventures, and often mishaps, in mommydom, coupledom and familydom. I’m a mom to two wildly hilarious boys, a wife to Charlie, who proves daily that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when it comes to our kids, a high school business teacher, the Social Media Butterfly at Curve Detroit and a production team member for TEDxDetroit.
Q: What are some of your favorite winter activities to do as a family? A: As a couple, we love to ski. When winter rolls around, we are always excited to hit the slopes. We haven’t introduced our kids to skiing yet, because we were waiting until they were a little bit older. We’re thinking this is going to be our first winter to take our oldest out. I’m sure he’ll be passing me up in no time, and I’ll be racing behind him, begging him to slow down. I can’t imagine it’s cool though to wait for your mom, even when you’re in pre-kindergarten.
Since my kids are both younger, we love to simply go outside, get down and play in the snow. The look on their face is priceless when they’re trying to catch flakes on their tongue, and we get pretty giddy as well. Whether we’re building a snowman, pulling them in their sled or making snow angels, whenever we have a snowy day, we always bundle up and head outdoors.
One thing we have yet to do – but it’s on my list for this winter – is to take a horse-drawn carriage ride somewhere up north through the woods. I think that’s my ideal Norman Rockwell winter time moment in Michigan.
Q: Do you have favorite places or recommendations for those activities? A: When it comes to skiing, some of our favorite spots in the past have been Crystal Mountain, Nubs Nob and Caberfae. I actually learned to ski at Nubs Nob years ago when I was in high school. Whenever I return there, it’s a quick trip down memory lane. I remember back to sliding down the runs, with my skis in snowplow position.
As a family, there are a lot of different places we love to hit in the winter. Heading up north there’s always something to do. You have several ski resorts to choose from, many of them recently adding on indoor waterparks, and a lot of different winter activities like snowshoeing and tubing.
Down state, we always try to make it to winter festivals like Detroit’s Winter Blast, Plymouth’s Ice Festival or Rochester’s Big Bright Light Show. Around Christmas time, we also love to take a ride on Lakeshore Drive in Grosse Pointe. Beautiful light displays on the homes along Lake St. Clair.
Q: What do you love about Michigan in the winter? A: Oddly enough, the chill that is in the air. There’s nothing like walking outside, on a crisp winter night and watching the snow fall. I could sit for hours and watch it come down. One of my favorite things to do when it’s snowing at night is to turn on every single outdoor flood light and curl up with a blanket to watch the snow. I’m sure my neighbors are very appreciative of this as well.
I also love driving down a road, right after a huge snow fall, before anyone has touched it. The pristine look of the snow on the road and trees is something you just can’t explain.
Q: What do your kids look forward to doing in the winter? A: My boys love to build a snowman, complete with a carrot for a nose and Oreo cookies for eyes. Whenever they wake up and it’s a snowy morning, the first thing they want to do is to get started on Frosty.
I think getting your kids outside during any season is important. People in the winter sometimes tend to go into hibernation. While sitting inside on a cold day is sometimes tempting, there’s no reason that you still can’t enjoy the outdoors, even when it’s cold. It just takes a little extra layering and a lot of hot chocolate when you’re back inside. My boys love to run through the snow, or even do something as simple as help shovel the driveway.
Q: What is the best thing about spending time with your family on a vacation?
A: Relaxing. Typically for a family vacation in Michigan, we’ll head up north. There’s just a feeling you get once you’re up there that gives you a bit of tranquility. Unwinding. Unplugging. Spending quality time with your family.
Q: Why should families consider coming to Michigan for a winter vacation? A: Michigan has so much to offer in the winter time. From skiing to sledding to ice skating, there’s always some outdoor activity for you – whether you’re down state and you lace up your skates and take a spin around the ice rink at Campus Martius or buckle up your boots and take a few runs down Crystal, you’ll always find something to do in Michigan during the winter. The beauty of this state in the snow is remarkable and it’s truly something that should be shared with others out of state.
With the Thanksgiving holiday coming up and winter break on the way, why not use Elena’s answers for inspiration in planning a day out with your family? Or, try something new like visiting a local indoor water park. Kids and kids at heart can all enjoy splashing the day away!
Jesse Land, founder of Things to do in the U.P., a website dedicated to helping people discover the best of the Upper Peninsula, fills us in on his recommendations for taking a fall color tour around the central U.P.
Check out Jesse’s last post for tips on taking a fall color tour around one of the U.P.’s most cherished areas – the Keweenaw Peninsula. Stay tuned for additional fall color tour ideas from Jesse later this season!
When most people think of a fall color tour in the Upper Peninsula, the central U.P. (the Iron Mountain – Menominee – Escanaba area) is not what they have in mind.
Well, I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s actually pretty cool if you know where to look!
Let’s start off with breakfast in Iron Mountain, shall we? The tourists eat at the Holiday Kitchen. I suggest you do like the locals do and pop into B’s County Café (629 S. Stephenson) for an authentic Upper Peninsula greasy spoon experience. The service is always friendly and the women bustling behind the retro countertop sure make a mean breakfast! Try the French toast on homemade bread. My stomach is growling just thinking about it.
The Morning Drive
Here’s where you leave the pack behind. Head east out of Iron Mountain on the ever popular U.S. 2, but make a right at the caution light in Vulcan (just past the Iron Mountain Iron Mine but before Northwood’s Adventures) and pick up county road 577. This smooth, curvy road is lined with hardwoods and birch and always makes for a beautiful fall drive.
Follow 577 all the way to Menominee, where I’d recommend exploring the historic downtown waterfront district for a while before heading north on M-35. This scenic route follows the coast of Lake Michigan’s Green Bay, and connects Menominee to Escanaba. There are plenty of beachside pit stop opportunities along M-35 and there’s sure to be plenty of color!
All of that sightseeing is bound to make a person hungry. If you’re in the mood for a sit down, quality (though somewhat pricey) meal, The Stonehouse is tough to beat. They’ve got consistently excellent food and terrific service. Ferdinand’s Mexican Restaurant is a great place for a casual lunch, and if you’re looking to keep on trucking, grab a couple sub sandwiches from D&M subs and hit the road.
If you feel like stretching your legs a little while in town, drive down Ludington Street until you reach Lake Michigan, then park and walk around. The Sand Point Lighthouse is probably the most popular landmark in Escanaba, but the House of Ludington is also fun to check out.
Now it gets Interesting
Kitch-iti-Kippi (say that three times fast) in Palms Brook Sate Park, also known as “Big Spring”, is a standout attraction of this general region. And from Escanaba, you’re about fifty two miles away. Follow U.S. 2 east to county road 442 and then follow the signs from there. You’ll enjoy gazing down at huge trout as you float over Michigan’s largest natural spring. The water is crystal clear and the sand “erupting” below as water bursts upward through the ground is really something to see!
In my opinion, the Garden Peninsula is one of the most overlooked parts of the Upper Peninsula, and that’s where you’re headed next.
From Kitch-iti-Kippi, backtrack a couple miles on U.S. 2 then head south on county road 183, the road that heads to Fayette State Park. You’ll pass both the Garden Bay Winery and Threefold Vine Winery (wine tour, anyone?), as well as a couple art galleries. Of course, the standout feature here is Fayette Historic State Park, but one could just as easily spend the rest of the day exploring the Garden Peninsula’s other gems and beautiful fall colors.
County road 183 is a wonderful drive and the colors in this area are gorgeous in the fall. But best of all, since this is an off the beaten path fall color tour, you’ll have it all to yourself!
Jesse Land is the founder of Things to do in the U.P., a website dedicated to helping people discover the best of the Upper Peninsula. To learn about the best things to do in the U.P., follow Jesse on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/thingstodointheup.