Enjoy a Pint and a Lift: West Michigan’s Brewery Hop Transportation Options

Fall flavors are on tap at West Michigan breweries! Today, Experience Grand Rapids shares five ways to enjoy your favorite breweries worry-free with convenient and reliable transportation options. 

Photo courtesy of Brewery Vivant and Experience GR

Photo courtesy of Brewery Vivant and Experience GR

As the temperatures drop and the days get shorter, the allure of warm breweries and seasonal craft beer grows. Local tap lists have been updated to feature fall flavors like apple, cinnamon, bourbon, and everyone’s fave: pumpkin. Grab a sweater and a pint of autumn-inspired beer, and leave the car keys behind for a fun and responsible experience. We’ve got you covered in Grand Rapids both with a slew of breweries and safe transportation options to get to and fro.

Brian Haik combines his love for beer and history to create a special experience for thirsty locals and visitors alike. GR Beer Tours – the top activity in Grand Rapids according to TripAdvisor – offers a well-rounded beer-focused outing. On the half day tour, Brian shares information about beer styles, tasting approaches, and local beer lore. Go behind the scenes at a brewery to learn about the process and meet brewers, enjoy 12-16 samples of beer, and get chauffeured in a comfortable 15-passenger van.

GR Beer Tours Owner Bryan Haik[1]GR Beer Tours offers a handful of tour options exploring different segments of the West Michigan beer scene, plus walking tours in the heart of downtown GR. Private tours are also popular and an excellent way to celebrate birthdays, bachelors, or business events. Join Brian to head straight to the source, immersed in the history and craft beer flavor of Michigan.

Tickets and Info: www.grbeertours.com | 4-6 Hour Tour incl. beer starts at $50/person

Beer City Runner: Your Ticket to Beer City USA

When I first saw the Beer City Runner (it’s hard to miss) cruising around town a couple weeks ago, I wondered where it had been all my life. For the same cost of garage parking downtown, you can hop on and off this bus all night long cruising between breweries. Beer City Runner circles Grand Rapids every Friday from 5pm to midnight and Saturday from noon to midnight.

Beer City RunnerBeer City Runner has hourly departures from the following popular breweries: Founders, Mitten Brewing Co., Elk Brewing Co., Harmony, Brewery Vivant, and HopCat/GRBC. View the route and timetable online, where you can also grab tickets. Then, grab a pint of autumnal brew and toast your transportation-savvy. I recommend Brewery Vivant’s Pumpkin Tart. It’s not actually tart, but well balanced with the aroma of warming spices and pumpkin. Cheers!

Tickets and Info: www.beercityrunner.com | $8 Hop on, hop off one day fare

Uber: Welcome to the Taxi Future

Uber Grand Rapids ScreenshotUber just landed in Grand Rapids and residents were thrilled. Uber is a convenient, mobile phone based transportation service. Once you’ve downloaded the app and created an account, you simply input your destination and are alerted when your driver will arrive (a matter of minutes in Grand Rapids proper) and the approximate fare. The app stores your credit card information and handles payment, so you can hop out at your destination without fumbling with cash or plastic. This streamlined service is an excellent way to get to and from breweries, leaving your car in park.

Public Transportation

The Rapid bus system is an excellent way to get around town on the cheap. Use the convenient Trip Planner at ridetherapid.org to get directions. The brand new Silver Line Bus transports folks from the suburbs to downtown with ease. We wrote all about it last month here. Ride on!

The Good Ole’ DD

Don’t forget about the age-old strategy for avoiding driving while intoxicated: the DD. Breweries around town are known for more than just great beer. Harmony and Mitten Brewing Co. both have terrific pizza. Vivant has a killer burger and housemade desserts. Founders has terrific live music and peanuts for days. There’s something for everyone, even if it isn’t an Ichabod Pumpkin Ale or refreshing Vandermill Totally Roasted hard cider.

These days deciding how to safely brewery hop is easier than making a selection from each spot’s seasonal tap list. Cheers to that!

Castles in Michigan? Six 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 peak your royal interests.

Castle Rock
CastleRock
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.

Learn more about Castle Rock in this video from Under the Radar Michigan.

The Curwood Castle

CurwoodCastleCurwood 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.

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, 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.

Castle Museum of Saginaw County HistorySaginawCastle

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.

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!

Henderson Castle Bed & Breakfast

HendersonCastle

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 theatres, 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.

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? 

Three Reasons to Trick-or-Treat at Binder Park Zoo

Halloween is just around the corner! There are many ways to celebrate around the state – including a trip to the zoo! Today, Becca Freybler from Calhoun County Visitors Bureau shares her memories of ZooBoo at Binder Park Zoo and gives us three sweet reasons to trick-or-treat with the animals. 

Photo courtesy of Binder Park Zoo

Photo courtesy of Binder Park Zoo

This year, Binder Park Zoo’s ZooBoo celebrates 28 years of Halloween fun! Growing up in Battle Creek, I have great memories from my childhood going to trick-or-treating through the zoo during ZooBoo.  I especially remember how much fun it was to put on my costume, get into the minivan and then drive through the zoo entrance and see all the decorations.

Since its start, ZooBoo has grown and now includes so much more than just the trick-or-treating trail.  ZooBoo is an amazing Halloween festival in the zoo, it is creating happy and fun memories for so many kids. Here are some reasons why Binder Park Zoo’s ZooBoo is so special.

Photo courtesy of Calhoun County CVB

Photo courtesy of Calhoun County Visitors Bureau

Community Pumpkin Carve
Every year before ZooBoo starts, Binder Park Zoo holds a pumpkin carve. Anyone can come and help carve the hundreds pumpkins that will be displayed throughout the zoo. Kids are so excited to come back and find where their pumpkin is placed.  It gives visitors a sense that they contributed to making this event happen. This year’s carve is on October 14 from 4-7pm.   It’s so much fun that our whole CVB staff will be there to help carve this year.

It’s in a Zoo
Everyone loves the zoo.  Coming to the zoo when it is all decked out in Halloween and fall décor makes it seem magical.  It’s worth a visit to see the zoo at night during such a fun, festive event.  All the decorations in the main zoo are “merry-not-scary” decorations so this event is great for all ages.

Photo courtesy of Calhoun County Visitors Bureau

Photo courtesy of Calhoun County Visitors Bureau

More than just Trick-or-Treating
Yes, the main attraction is the trick-or-treating for the kids but there is so much more to do! There are animal presentations, the fall classic straw maze, black light mini-golf, a carnival, carousel rides, and even a Haunted Hayride through Wild Africa. Yes, you heard me right. Binder Park has an Africa that makes you feel like you went on an African safari. The Haunted Hayride is for those that want a little more adventure!

ZooBoo is a great event for families and your kids will want to go back every year. You will too! Even as an adult, I still love ZooBoo and want to go back because I love the Halloween spirit that the zoo gives off this time of year. The memories it creates are timeless.

ZooBoo runs from October 15-30.
Wednesday – Friday: 5-8pm
Saturday – Sunday: 3-8pm
Haunted Africa is on Friday & Saturday ONLY from 6-8pm

Screen-Shot-2014-05-31-at-8.55.38-PM-250x194Becca Freybler is the Digital Media Marketing Manager for the Calhoun County Visitors Bureau, handling all of their digital platforms.  She has worked for the CVB since 2010. Becca is a Michigan State University graduate and a lifelong Battle Creek resident. Outside of work she enjoys sports, cooking, being outdoors, and owns a Collie named Simba.