The Must-Try Local Flavors of Traverse City

Traverse City, located in the Northwest Region of the Lower Peninsula, is famous for pristine beaches, friendly community and of course, cherries. But besides the delectable fruits (honored with their own annual festival) this city is a mecca for local and fresh fair available year-round.

Read more on the bountiful food scene in Traverse City, courtesy of guest blogger Tricia Phelps from Taste the Local Difference.

Fresh, Northern Michigan Fruits and Vegetables 

Plan your day on either the Leelanau or Old Mission Peninsula to take in the sights and attractions, including the u-pick farms and community farmers markets. Late-summer into fall is the most abundant growing season in Northern Michigan, and there’s always a delicious variety of farm-fresh produce at your fingertips! Have fun with the kids and fill a bucket of blueberries, add some fresh apples to your picnic basket, or enjoy flavorful heirloom tomatoes fresh off the vine.

Enjoy delectable local fare with Traverse City's many u-pick farms and eatery options

Photo Courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

 

See where your favorite brews start - right from the vine!

Photo Courtesy of Gary Howe

Northern Michigan is becoming well known not only for its breweries but for the number of quality producing hop farms that line our county roads. Drive by the 200+ acre hop farm at MI Local Hops in Williamsburg, or cruise through Leelanau County to catch sight of various farms constructed by Empire Hops. And up in Omena you’ll find the home of New Mission Organics and the Michigan Hop Alliance. It’s the perfect time to see local hops growing tall, so be sure to include a drive out to one of these northern Michigan hop farms before you visit the Traverse City breweries. Then keep your eye out for the locally grown hops on the ingredient list, or ask the bartenders to help you pick the best one!

Goodwill’s Farm to Freezer Products

Goodwill Industries of Northern Michigan started their Farm to Freezer program in 2013. The program empowers community members through hands-on workforce development training, while simultaneously supporting local Michigan farms and creating a flash-frozen local product that can be enjoyed year-round. Get a taste of their frozen fruit line in a delicious smoothie at the Daily Blend, one of nine independently owned food trucks parked at The Little Fleet in Traverse City. Daily Blend specializes in fast, healthy food and uses local whenever possible.

 

Enjoy the many wineries in and around Traverse City

Photo Courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Locally Grown & Milled Flour

Have you tried the croissants from 9 Bean Rows, or how about the fresh-baked bread from Blue Heron 2? One bite and you’ll know these delicious baked goods are made with only the highest quality ingredients, including locally grown and milled flour from Bill Koucky of Grand Traverse Culinary. Head to the Sara Hardy Farmers Market to grab a bag of flour for home and a 9 Bean Rows treat, or stop into Blue Heron 2 and grab lunch before hitting the scenic route up M-22.

Local Wine & Cheese

One of my favorite pairings is wine and cheese. With over 50 different wineries in Northern Michigan there are hundreds of local wines to choose from — and it’s easy to put together a delicious cheese plate to accompany them! Look for a selection of unique cheeses at The Cheese Lady in Downtown Traverse City. Locally-made recommendations include Boss Mouse artisan cheeses made by hand with local Moomer’s milk, or the French-style Leelanau Cheese made in Suttons Bay and of course Idyll Farms Cheese, the mostly soft, spreadable cheeses made from goats milk.

Guest blogger Tricia Phelps enjoying some time in downtown Traverse City

Photo Courtesy of Gary Howe

Tricia Phelps is a local food & farming advocate in northwest Michigan. She is the Operations Director for Taste the Local Difference® — a company specializing in the marketing and promotion of local food. Visit their website at www.localdifference.org for more information.

Experience Restaurant Week in Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids may be known as Beer City, USA, but the city is also a mecca for fine dining and local fare! Every year, Grand Rapids hosts Restaurant Week downtown to highlight the many diverse food options and eateries across the city. If you’re a looking for a delicious meal at a fair price, this is the event for you!

Read more on what you can expect at this year’s Restaurant Week courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids.

From August 10th through the 21st, “Taste the City” of Grand Rapids during the city’s annual Restaurant Week 2016.

Delectable dishes are available all throughout Grand Rapids during Restaurant Week

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

What is it?  Every August, at the peak of Michigan harvest season, Grand Rapids recognizes the creativity of local chefs and the bounty of local farmers.  Restaurant Week 2016 has over sixty participating locations, which means locals and visitors could eat out three meals a day for the full eleven days and STILL not exhaust their culinary options around town.  Chefs are asked to create a three course menu that showcases both creativity and Michigan farm-fresh food.  These offerings are not on the general menu, so even if it is a restaurant you’ve tried before, you can taste something new.

How much?  Restaurants around town take two approaches to the three course menu.  Some cost $28 per person for the three course offering, and others offer $28 per couple for three courses.  Many chefs offer options for each course to accommodate dietary restrictions or preference.  Ask your server to suggest a beer, wine, or cocktail pairing that might compliment your exclusive meal.

Restaurant Week allows you to explore the many fantastic eateries in GR

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

 

Enjoy a Michigan wine pairing with your steak

Photo Courtesy of Experience Grand Rapids

Why offer Restaurant Week?  There are many reasons that Restaurant Week GR is beneficial to the food economy of Grand Rapids, but one awesome benefit is that $1 of every three-course meal sold is given in scholarship to the Grand Rapids Community College Secchia Institute for Culinary Education.  Experience Grand Rapids has raised over $100,000 for the endowed scholarship and is excited to add to that at the end of RWGR 2016.  This support in the culinary arts educational community is raising the next generation of talented Grand Rapids chefs who will exercise their own creativity during future Restaurant Weeks!

When is it, again?  Try Restaurant Week is happening now through August 21st. A list of all participating restaurants and their three-course offerings is available here: peruse and choose, but be sure the restaurant you pick is open when you’re ready to feast!  Will you choose the coffee crusted pork chop with sour cream whipped potatoes, fried kale, cherry & cabernet from Cork Wine and Grille? Or perhaps you’d prefer to start off with summer corn soup, barbecued shrimp, charred spring onion and corn salad from Olives Restaurant and Bar in Gaslight Village?    Document your edible experience on social media using #RWGR, and happy eating!

Where is your favorite place to grab a bite in Grand Rapids? Share with us by commenting below!

End the Summer with a Splash at Shanty Creek Resorts

As the dog days of summer blend seamlessly into fall’s color season, the promises of Pure Michigan are abundant in Antrim County, home of Shanty Creek Resorts in Bellaire. And like all good getaways, a trip to Northern Michigan is balanced nicely when relaxation and recreation co-exist. Here you can accomplish that with boating, biking, and golf, which are plentiful and world-class. 

Read more on three ideal ways to end the summer when visiting Shanty Creek Resorts.

1. Make a splash in the lake

Famous for northern Michigan’s chain of lakes, Antrim County exemplifies Pure Michigan’s #LakeEffect with a seemingly endless set of inland lakes connected by rivers and waterways including Torch Lake, Elk Lake, Lake Bellaire, Intermediate Lake, and more. Here, a long day on the water means boating, fishing, water skiing, or simply splashing on the sandbar—so a little family fun in the sun is equally easy, always nearby, and camera-ready beautiful.

Explore the many waterways near Shanty Creek via boat or kayak

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek Resorts

2. Bicyclists, rejoice!

The roads of Antrim County provide long, rolling climbs and descents while the single tracks within Glacial Hills Pathways offer 32+ miles of exquisitely designed trails. Racers can test their mettle on August 21 as FunPromotions brings its race series to town with the Glacial Hills Challenge. And for those intimidated by the terrain of Antrim County, SCR has a fleet of e-bikes available for rent (electric motor-assisted pedaling!) that make riding a bike even easier.

Take a ride on the Glacial Hills Pathway for an exhilarating biking adventure

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek Resorts

3. Fore!

The four golf courses of Shanty Creek provide options for bucket list golfers and beginners alike. For aficionados, choose from the highly touted Tom Weiskopf masterpiece, Cedar River GC, or The Legend by Arnold Palmer; for beginners and families, play The Summit with its PGA 2.0 initiatives designed to Grow the Game–par three tees and big cups on every hole, plus FootGolf on the back nine. And for those looking for a little something extra, ditch the cart and play the Schuss Mtn course on a GolfBoard.

The golf scene is immaculate at Shanty Creek

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek Resorts

August in Bellaire is not without its share of traditions: the 29th annual Rubber Ducky Festival takes place on Saturday, Aug 20. Then one week later, Aug 26-28, a newer tradition takes flight as Balloons Over Bellaire showcases hot air balloons taking off throughout the weekend from atop Summit Mountain, one of Shanty’s two ski areas.

Check out Balloons over Bellaire for a colorful sight

Photo Courtesy of Shanty Creek Resorts

There’s still plenty to see and do before the kids head back to school. But if you can’t fit a quick trip in now, don’t forget our majestic fall colors will be in-bloom soon.

What is your favorite thing to do when visiting Shanty Creek Resorts? Share with us by commenting below!