Four Ideas for a Post-Valentine’s Day Romantic Michigan Getaway

Valentine’s Day may have passed, but romance is forever. To show appreciation for those you love, flowers and chocolate top the list of popular gift ideas.  This year, consider the gift of travel.   Many hotels, spas, restaurants and attractions offer specials or packages for those looking to treat their significant other, or even themselves.

Here are four ideas to experience some romance in Pure Michigan for those looking for a romantic getaway anytime of the year.

Relax at a Bed and Breakfast 

Michigan has more than 400 bed and breakfasts around the state. Whether it’s a historic house steps away from the shore or a log cabin nestled in the woods, staying at a bed and breakfast is a great way to relax and unwind with your significant other.

What makes a stay at a B&B so special is that all of them are unique in their own way. Innkeepers provide special touches like desserts, unique furnishings and soft, comfortable beds that will make any stay memorable.

The Huron House Bed and Breakfast is right on the shores of Lake Huron in Oscoda, and is a couples-only retreat.  Rooms offer stunning views of the shoreline and many rooms come with a private outdoor hot tub.

Cocoa Cottage Bed and Breakfast in Whitehall is a 1912 Arts and Crafts bungalow that has been restored into a charming bed and breakfast just minutes away from Lake Michigan, with a sweet twist.  Guest rooms are named after well-known chocolate delicacies and every breakfast is started with chocolate.

Many historic homes in Ludington have been converted to beautiful inns.  The Cartier Mansion was the former home of Ludington lumber baron Warren Cartier.  Many of the rooms still have the original woodwork, fixtures and flooring.

Photo Courtesy of John Hill Photography

Photo Courtesy of John Hill Photography

Gaze at the stars  

The Headlands Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City is one of only ten International Dark Sky Parks in the world, which offers some of the best star gazing in the state.

The 600-acre park sits on more than two miles of undeveloped Lake Michigan shoreline in Emmet County. Here you will find the darkest of skies, undiluted by light pollution.

The Headlands is open 24 hours a day, every day, at no charge. There is no camping allowed, but visitors are welcomed to stay out through the night for dark-sky viewing opportunities.  You can bring blankets, sleeping bags, chairs, food and beverages.

Grab some warm and cozy gear and snuggle up by the stars for a date to remember.

Wine (Or Brew) and Dine

Kick your culinary experience up a notch with a beer or wine tour or experiencing some of Michigan’s best culinary destinations.

With more than 100 wineries nestled among 15,000 acres of scenic vineyards, Michigan truly is wine country with wine trails all around the state including Traverse City, Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail and the Thumbs Up Wine Trail.

If beer is more your thing, Michigan’s beer trails will quench your thirst. Head over to Grand Rapids for an extensive tour of some of the best breweries in West Michigan. It’s no wonder the city was voted Beer City USA in 2012 and 2013!

Michigan brewery tours are a great way to try a variety of craft beers right in the microbreweries that brew them! From Right Brain Brewery in Traverse City to Detroit Beer Company in Detroit, you’re sure to find that perfect pint. Check out this breweries map for an extensive list of places to visit!

Immerse spa

IMMERSE Spa, Photo Courtesy of MGM Grand

A Day at the Spa

What’s more relaxing than a day, or weekend, at the spa?  Fortunately, Michigan has several award-winning spas to choose from to pamper your loved one.

Boyne Mountain and Crystal Mountain might be known for ski slopes and winter sports, but the resorts’ spas are worth the trip alone.

Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville has a 18,500-square-foot, LEED-Certified oasis with private transition rooms with heated floors, steam rooms and infrared saunas, and an outdoor Mosaic Garden with hot tub.  The Crystal Spa offers a Winter Spa Menu, as well as specials for Valentine’s Day.

Boyne Mountain in Boyne Falls is home to Solace Spa, with spectacular views of the mountain and amenities such as cedar saunas, steam rooms, whirlpools, relaxation and treatment rooms.   Solace Spa offers unique winter seasonal treatments, couples massages and a Petoskey Hot Stone massage.

MGM Grand’s IMMERSE Spa, in the heart of Detroit, has a menu of remineralizing seawater and marine extracts, exotic botanical, and meticulously customized aromatherapy-based treatments and rituals.

What are some other Pure Michigan romantic getaways? Comment below!

Fall in Love with Ann Arbor this Valentine’s Day

We love Valentine’s Day here in the Ann Arbor area. Whether you’re single, in a relationship, married or anywhere in-between, there’s a surplus of unique and fun things to do in mid-February.

Single and ready to mingle? Join the party at Necto’s second annual University of Michigan Top DJ Competition on Feb. 11, and vote for your favorite guest DJ, or head out for a show at The Ark. On Feb. 11 The Ark will host My Folky Valentine, a collaboration of sweethearts making lovely music together and on Feb. 12, Christine Lavin and Don White will be there to entertain you. On Valentine’s Day itself, Caravan of Thieves will play the Ark and perform their new release, “Kiss Kiss.” Perhaps you’re more interested in a pampering experience? Treat yourself to a relaxing treatment at Jessica’s Apothecary or Balance Massage Therapy. And, you can always celebrate your true love for Michigan sports by cheering on the Wolverine Men’s Basketball Team at the Crisler Center when they take on Purdue on Saturday, Feb. 13!

The Ark in Downtown Ann Arbor

Photo Courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Looking for a unique experience for you and your sweetie? Take him or her out for an evening of opera and spectacular food on Feb. 12 at Gratzi! The Bellini Opera Theatre will be there to perform selections from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, and Gratzi’s Chef John Fischer will create a beautiful three-course dinner. The Kempf House Museum will host “Victorian Valentine Teas” on both Feb.13 and 14, featuring beautiful music played on Ann Arbor’s first concert grand piano and scrumptious sweets, savories and teas, all in an intimate and historic setting. If choral music is your thing, you should definitely mark your calendar for Feb. 14 to see the UMS Choral Union, as they present Love is Strong as Death at the iconic Hill Auditorium (and use promo code PUREMI to get $10 off on tickets!).

Photo Courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

For a more traditional dinner-and-a-movie date night, consider Romeo+Juliet (yes, the 1996 Baz Lurhmann classic!) at the Michigan Theater following a delectable dinner at one of the Ann Arbor area’s fine dining establishments. You can’t beat Terry B’s in Dexter, the Common Grill in Chelsea, or Aventura in Ann Arbor (among many others)! Finish off the evening with a kiss under the Engineering Arch (legend has it that imminent nuptials will ensue!), a sweet baked treat at the Cupcake Station, and/or drinks and dessert in a romantic setting at La Dolce Vita. If you really want to go the extra mile, you can hire The Huron Valley Harmonizers to serenade your sweetie with love songs.

Photo Courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

What are your favorite Valentine’s Day traditions in the Ann Arbor area? Are there romantic upcoming events in mid-February that get your heart racing?  GuestBloggersMargaret Wyzlic is the Communications Manager at the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and enjoys telling the world about the Ann Arbor area and all of the exciting things happening in our beautiful city. Recently married, she and her husband enjoy all that Ann Arbor has to offer when it comes to romantic restaurants and attractions, and hopes that you’ll come to visit our area as well to ‘”feel the love.”

Four Pure Michigan Ways to Spoil Yourself For Singles Appreciation Day

Now’s your chance to spoil yourself! Our friends at The Awesome Mitten share four fun and delicious ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day’s counterpart –  Singles Appreciation Day.

Being single doesn’t mean you have to stay home on February 14th – Valentine’s Day can and should be celebrated by singles!

Photo courtesy of Aaron Murdick's Fudge

Photo courtesy of Aaron Murdick’s Fudge

Michigan provides many opportunities to enjoy single life. Of course, there are many Michigan winter outdoor activities such as skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling or ice fishing to occupy your time. If that’s your thing gather up your group of girlfriends or buddies, bundle yourself up and spend your day in the brisk Michigan winter. I am not what you would call “outdoorsy,” but I still can get a mad case of cabin fever and mid-February is often when that reaches its peak.  If you prefer the indoors, Michigan provides just as many opportunities to treat yourself.

Spoil Yourself with Michigan Chocolates
If you are going to stay in, invite your friends over and treat yourselves to some classic Valentine’s Day Michigan chocolates. My personal favorite is Jackson’s Gilbert’s Chocolates  (mmm I could really go for some chocolate covered potato chips right now.)

The Chocolate Garden is another Michigan favorite that beckons travelers along I-94. With billboards featuring accolades from the likes of the Food Network, I had to stop. When I tasted those delicious truffles, I was amazed at the quality of this seemingly roadside attraction (They sell online too!)

Another popular Valentine activity is to drown our single sorrows in some Mackinac Island Fudge Ice Cream.  Make it a true Michigan sundae with a little Sander’s Hot Fudge on your Hudsonville Ice Cream.

Photo by Rebecca Calkins

Photo by Rebecca Calkins

Chocolate also pairs well with Michigan wine! Mindo Chocolate does wine pairing events including wine festivals which is where I first tasted these delicious dark specialties, including a few varieties with Michigan fruit. They do not have a storefront, but they are distributed in great little shops around Michigan. I know in my neighborhood they are available at Lone Oak Vineyard Estate.  Speaking of alcohol…

Go Out for a Drink…
Choose your favorite Michigan wine or beer, of course! A tour on a Michigan wine or beer trail is just what a group of single girls or guys needs to have a good time this Valentine’s Day.

I’ve taken several tours along the Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail both with friends and with family. Pro Tip: pack some bread and cheese or stop at your local farmers market on the way and snack between stops. It’s a great way to soak up some alcohol and make your trip a little more delicious. Weaving your way from Adrian in the south to Haslett in the North is at least a two day activity in order to hit them all, but my personal favorites are Sandhill Crane Vineyards and J. Trees Cellars.

I just went on a mini beer tour in Grand Rapids a few weeks ago with a stop at Brewery Vivant and Arcadia. Of course, Founders is usually a requisite stop for me. Near my home, I’ve also made a mini tour right along I-94 with Dark Horse, Grand River and Chelsea Alehouse.

Sandhill Crane - Photo courtesy of Experience Jackson

Sandhill Crane – Photo courtesy of Experience Jackson

Eat Your Way through Michigan
Although restaurants maybe booked up for dinner, that doesn’t mean a nice singles awareness lunch tour couldn’t satisfy a friends’ trip. Most of my favorites are around my hometown of Jackson, including a few award winning Jackson restaurants  including Michigan’s Best Barbeque at West Texas BBQ.

Work Off the Food with a Dance Party
Since I’m not the outdoorsy type, I have to find some way to work off all of that chocolate, beer, wine and food. There are many great Michigan nightlife hotspots to choose from all over the state. If shaking your booty on the dance floor isn’t your thing, there is always an evening at the casinos or another of my personal favorites, karaoke!

Whether single or taken, we love our fans! Have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Headshot 1 originalRebecca Calkins is the Communications Director for Experience Jackson. She grew up in Jackson and returned after attending college at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. When not working, Rebecca enjoys cooking and traveling, always looking for the next culinary or cultural adventure.