Getaway from the Holidays

The Terrace Grille at the Bay Pointe Inn

Just 30 minutes from Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, the Bay Pointe Inn on Gun Lake is Dianna Stampfler’s perfect getaway from the frenzy of the holidays.

Trying to cram work, holiday get-togethers and last-minute shopping into the already hectic life of a single mom creates undue stress around what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of year. By the time I settle into a lakeside deluxe suite, I am ready to relax. The soft nautical blues and greens of the room are peaceful and calming, which sets the tone for my night away. Equipped with a stack of magazines, I draw a bath in the oversized whirlpool tub, light the fireplace and settle in for an afternoon of me-time.

Tempura Asparagus at the Terrace Grille

As it turns out, lounging makes you hungry. Luckily, I don’t have to go far—the Terrace Grille is downstairs. A glass of Michigan Riesling kicks off an amazing meal. The sweet baked Brie and crispy tempura asparagus are delicious. The entree, The Original Bay Pointe Beef Wellington, is a tribute to the former landmark restaurant. The property has welcomed travelers as a resort, summer home, campground and restaurant since the 1880s. The beef Wellington is a delicate blend of flakey pastry crust and a filet so tender that I barely need a knife.

Because I’m on a mini vacation, I don’t feel guilty about ordering dessert. I take the ultimate indulgence—chocolate lava cake—to my suite to enjoy. It seems almost a shame to call it a night so early, but the plush king-size bed lures me under the covers. I am thankful for the solitude and banish all thoughts of work, household chores, parental responsibilities and, yes, even sugarplums.

The sun filters into the room, and I wake eager to start the day. Refreshed and recharged, I want to make the most of the morning. I snag a yogurt and banana from the Continental breakfast buffet and drive about 15 minutes to Yankee Springs State Recreation area for a hike through the forest. One of six hiking trails, the 2-mile Hall Lake trail winds through the woods. I don’t encounter anyone else on the hike—I am alone with my thoughts.

Facing the New Year doesn’t seem all that daunting, having recharged mind, body and spirit without overcharging my budget.

Dianna Stampfler loves Michigan so much that she’s made a career out of it! Her marketing consultant company, Promote Michigan, is just one of the many ways this fourth-generation Michigan resident shows her appreciation for the Great Lakes State.

How Did Michigan Cities Get Their Names? Part 3

Photo credit - Michigan Travel IdeasIn parts one and two of our series explaining how Michigan cities were named, we shared unique stories and history of various areas of our state. This week, check out how the five cities below got their names.

Kalamazoo:
Kalamazoo, the largest city in Southwest Michigan, was originally known as “Bronson,” after founder Titus Bronson. In the 1830s, the name was changed to the Native American word “Kalamazoo,” but there are several theories to its exact origin. Some say it means “the mirage of reflecting river,” while others say it means bubbling or boiling water. Another legend is that the image of “boiling water” referred to fog on the river as seen from the hills above the current downtown.

Grosse Pointe:
Grosse Pointe, sometimes called “the Pointes,” refers to a comprised area of five individual communities outside of Metro Detroit. The name “Grosse Pointe” derives from the size of the area and its projection into Lake St. Clair.

Frankenmuth:
Frankenmuth, often referred to as “Michigan’s Little Bavaria,” was settled and named in 1845 by immigrants from Franconia (now part of Bavaria) in Germany. The German word “franken” represents the Province of Franconia in the Kingdom of Bavaria, and the German word “mut” means courage, which makes the city name of Frankenmuth stand for “courage of the Franconians.” Families flock to Frankenmuth to enjoy Christmas celebrations yearlong, in addition to a number of other activities.

Albion:
The city of Albion was almost named “Peabodyville,” after Tenney Peabody, the first European-American settler to arrive in the area in 1833. The area remained nameless until 1835, when a man named Jesse Crowell formed a residence and land development company called the Albion Company. Peabody’s wife was then asked to name the settlement and while she considered using her husband’s name, she ultimately selected “Albion.” The name was appropriate, since “Albion” is an old and poetic name for England, and many of the early settlers were of English decent.

Muskegon:
Like many other cities in Michigan, Native American tribes inhabited what’s known as Muskegon during historic times. The word “Muskegon” is derived the Ottawa Native American term “Masquigon,” meaning “marshy river or swamp.” The “Masquigon” river was identifed on French maps dating back to the late 17th century, suggesting that French explorers had reached Michigan’s western coast by that time. Today, people enjoy the water and sand dunes in Muskegon every summer.