Six Ways to Beat the Winter Blues in St. Ignace

When you think of winter, do you think about golf or a bike race? In the town of St. Ignace, located in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, a little snow never stops the fun. In fact, Yoopers know there’s only one thing to do with the annual 60 plus inches of snow and that’s enjoy it. Guest blogger Mindy Rutger shares six ways to beat the winter blues in St. Ignace.

1.  Take a Swing at Ice Golf

Photo Courtesy of Dave Kunze

Photo Courtesy of Dave Kunze

The U.P. Ice Golf Scramble and Glow Ball Challenge (March 4 – 5) features a rather unconventional version of hitting the links. Carts are replaced with sleds and colored balls look like a Technicolor rainbow on frozen Lake Huron, which serves as the course. It’s a two-person, best-ball scramble with no handicaps, no pros, just lots of laughs and bragging rights to those who golf on 12-plus inches of ice. Friday night’s Glow Ball Challenge involves glow-in-the-dark balls, live music and beer tasting.

2. Hold Tight and Take Flight

You’ll feel like you’re flying when you sail down the hills of Silver Mountain Ski Area and Tubing Hill, grasping your inflated tube with a good case of the giggles. Thanks to tubing runs and snowboard hills, there are plenty of ways to catch some air in St. Ignace and a tow rope is never too far away to return you to your status as king or queen of the hill.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Kunze

Photo Courtesy of Dave Kunze

St. Ignace has elevated the sport of pond hockey to a whole new level, hosting the more than 200 teams who will compete in four-on-four action in a variety of age divisions from Feb 11-14.  More than 16 acres of ice will be cleared by Zamboni and divided into 30 rinks for the tournament The event has become a UP jamboree with food, a beverage tent, outdoor ice bowling, a snow cab and live entertainment.

4. Serene, Snowy and Silent.

For those who prefer the more serene nature of silent sports, there are a variety of scenic cross-country ski trails throughout the region and plenty of snowy woods to explore via snowshoes. Quietly make your way through the woods of Hiawatha National Forest for a chance to glimpse area wildlife and the sparkling, crystal trees of an Upper Peninsula winter.

Photo Courtesy of the St. Ignace Visitors Bureau

Photo Courtesy of the St. Ignace Visitors Bureau

 

When snow blankets the area, snowmobiles take to the region’s trails that provide access to the entire Upper Peninsula. More than 100 groomed miles of trails can be found in the St. Ignace area, woven beautifully through frosty forests. Get a glimpse of wildlife or simply make tracks for the quaint towns that gives the U.P. a distinctive personality.

6. Bicycle Ride Anyone?

There’s a new twist on playing in the snow when St. Ignace hosts its first Fat Tire Bike Race on Feb. 26. With a 16-mile and 32-mile course to choose from, racers will trek along the Lake Huron shoreline on bikes equipped for snow and ice conditions. A special beer tasting event will be held the evening before the race and the soup luncheon following the event is sure to warm everyone. The after-race party will conclude with an awards ceremony for competitors.

Find out what Yoopers know about winter fun and choose St. Ignace as your next winter vacation destination.

Mindy Rutgers is an Upper Peninsula native and the executive director of the St. Ignace Visitors Bureau. She has worked in Michigan’s tourism and hospitality industry since 1996. Find out more about Mindy and the visitors bureau at StIgnace.com or at facebook.com/stignaceVB.

Cyber Monday Sales can Mean Savings for Pure Michigan Adventures

December is nearly here! The turkey leftovers from Thanksgiving have become sandwiches and shoppers everywhere will soon embark on some holiday shopping via the web. So while you’re ordering that wool sweater, why not take a few moments to gift yourself, or someone you love, with one of the great Michigan travel packages that are available this Cyber Monday and beyond. Here are some locales you may want to visit for a Pure Michigan experience:

Mackinac Island:

Mackinac island

Do you like rugged outdoor activities, beautiful coastal views and an experience from a more innocent time? If so, Mackinac Island is for you.

A favorite summer and fall destination, Mackinac Island offers great water sports, fine dining, luxurious lodging, historical sites and memories that will last a lifetime. Be sure to check out the “monthly specials page” for great rates for the iconic Pure Michigan island.

St. Ignace area:

downtown st ignace

With its breathtaking views and area museums and historic sites, the St. Ignace area is great way to start off an adventure in the Upper Peninsula.

Located just beyond the Mackinac Bridge, St. Ignace and surrounding communities offer signature Michigan experiences like the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum and Whitefish Point Lighthouse in Paradise.

Grand Traverse Bay area:

Traverse city skiing

The Grand Traverse Bay area is a favorite spot for day trippers and those looking for more extended stays.

During the winter, you can enjoy the more than 200 miles of some of the finest and most diverse ski and snowmobiling trails in the nation. In the summer, visitors can work on their tan while stretched out on beautiful beach sand or go for a dip in the crisp blue waters of Lake Michigan.

The area is also home to resorts and spas, as well as beautiful parks, museums and entertainment venues for a wide array of activities and attractions.

Great Lakes Bay region:

frankenmuth

The Great Lakes Bay region in Michigan is home to several communities with diverse experiences that the entire family can enjoy during and after the holiday season.

From Bay City’s antique shops and views of the Saginaw River to beautiful and picturesque Dow Gardens in Midland, there is no shortage of sites to see and activities to do.

The Frankenmuth area is a particular favorite during the holiday season. Go shopping at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland or get splashed at Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel & Indoor Water Park, a 30,000 square foot indoor waterpark.

For more ideas or information about travel packages and deals in Michigan, click here.

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 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.

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer (at)Oni_One_

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer (at)Oni_One_

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.

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?