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.

Fall Foliage, Football and Fun in Michigan’s Capital City

Whether you’re cheering the Spartans on to victory or paddling down the Grand River, the best way to view the beauty of autumn is to be a part of it. Lori Lanspeary from the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau shares her favorite ways to experience fall in Michigan’s capital region.

The only colors necessary for a Greater Lansing Fall Getaway are Green…and White. Whether you’re a die-hard Spartan fan who BLEEDS GREEN or a fan of some other color combination that when mixed together actually MAKES GREEN, a weekend in Michigan’s capital region should be on your bucket list before that WHITE stuff starts to fall.

It’s always a beautiful day for football when Michigan State University takes the field at Spartan Stadium. Tailgating is an East Lansing tradition as is exploring the expansive campus with the leaves crunching underfoot, visiting MSU attractions and cheering the Spartans on to victory.

Photo courtesty of the Greater Lansing CVB

Photo courtesty of the Greater Lansing CVB

We’ve got great fall leaf peeping here in mid-Michigan and you can actually get out of your car and take part in the experience. Visit our great u-pick farms such as, Uncle John’s Cider Mill in St. Johns or The Country Mill in Charlotte. Go ahead and find the best pumpkins in the patch or pick a peck of your favorite apples. And don’t forget to stop in to buy a gallon or three of the freshest apple cider, a dozen or so pumpkin donuts and a few delicious pies.

Photo courtesty of the Greater Lansing CVB

Photo courtesty of the Greater Lansing CVB

Still ready to see more color? Greater Lansing has so many different ways for you to enjoy the season. How about a River Town Adventure kayak or canoe ride along the Grand River or a beautiful trail ride at Sundance Riding Stables? It’s like seeing mid-Michigan’s majesty in a whole new way. Then hop aboard the Michigan Princess for a paddleboat ride complete with a delicious lunch, a sweet cruise on the Grand River and some pretty fall scenery. Sounds delightful, am I right? Another option may be to explore the Greater Lansing Makers & Shakers Trail and take a tasting tour of some of the small-batch, locally-sourced craft beers, spirits and wine.

Photo courtesty of the Greater Lansing CVB

Photo courtesty of the Greater Lansing CVB

Make it a Greater Lansing Fall Getaway and see your color tour in a whole new way. We promise you can return to your regular way of viewing fall color from your car seat on the way to and from Michigan’s Capital City.Lori

About the author: Lori Lanspeary is the leisure marketing manager at the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau. For over 15 years now she has been a #lovelansing advocate both personally and professionally. You can follow her weekly blogs.

Thirteen Ways to Celebrate Michigan Wine this Summer

Do you love to explore all of the wineries Michigan has to offer? Guest Blogger Dianna Stampfler, president of Promote Michigan shares a handful of wine festivals you don’t want to miss.

Between Michigan Wine Month in April and the fall harvest season, there are countless opportunities to sample award-wining locally-produced wines. There’s no better way to savor these vinos than on the beach, next to the Great Lakes waters or under towering canopies of trees during the peak of summer.

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

The Leland Wine & Food Fest, June 13, is one of Michigan’s original wine celebrations and this year marks its 30th anniversary. Over the years, it’s grown to include more than two dozen northern wineries in the historic Fishtown District, nestled along the shores of Lake Michigan along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Visitors will also find a handful of eateries serving local fare as well as live entertainment. Hours are 1-8pm, with tickets $15 online in advance and $20 at the gate.

Toast the Coast from Weko Beach in Bridgeman, during the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival, June 20. Sample the region’s award-winning wines, paired with local cuisine and live music from 1-10pm, just as the sun sets over the horizon. Tickets are $10 in advance and $20 at the gate.

The historic park-like grounds of The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is the setting for the Traverse City Art & Wine Festival, June 20, featuring wineries of both Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas. Now in its 7th year, this event offers a true taste of northern Michigan with more than 200 local wines, eight restaurants, 40 fine artists and seven musical performances. Hours are 2 – 9 p.m , and tickets are $40 for general admission or $125 for the VIP Lounge area.

Head over to the Lake Huron shoreline for the Sunrise Side Wine & Food Festival, July 18 in Harrisville. Local wineries, craft breweries and food artisans gather at the Harrisville Harbor in this annual gathering hosted by the Harrisville Arts Council. Hours are 12 – 6 p.m. 

The 5th Annual Grapes on the River, July 25, is presented by the Manistee Area Chamber of Commerce to recognize local and regional wines and foods. Set along the scenic backdrop of the Manistee River, booths line the Riverwalk and the newly-renovated municipal marina for an afternoon of fun and festivities. Hours are 2-6pm, with tickets priced at $10 which include wine and craft beer sampling, food tastings, art and music.

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

End the summer at the Hopps of Fun Beer & Wine Festival, Sept. 11-12, in Mackinaw City. Hosted at the Mackinaw Crossings complex, this unique event features samplings of more than 40 wines from Michigan’s four federally-recognized viticultural regions and dozens of award-winning Michigan craft beers, as well as food and entertainment. Hours are 5 – 10 p.m. on Friday and 1 – 10 p.m. on Saturday, with $5 general admission (and $1 tasting tokens).

Michigan’s largest and longest-running wine festival—The Wine & Harvest Festival—returns to Paw Paw, Sept. 4 – 6 p.m. In addition to all the family-friendly activities, winery tours and tastings are held in tents throughout the festival area—adjacent to St. Julian Winery (the state’s oldest winery).

Other Michigan wine events this summer include:

Art, Beer & Wine Festival
June 6 (12 – 6 p.m.)
Ella Sharp Museum, Jackson

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

Photo Courtesy of Promote Michigan.

Waterfront Wine Festival
June 27 (4 – 7 p.m.)
Harbor Springs

Wine on the Waterfront Festival
July 18 (1 – 7 p.m.)
Suttons Bay

City of Riesling
July 26 – 27
Traverse City

Tawas Uncork’d & Untap’d Wine & Food Festival
August 1 (12 – 6:30 p.m.)
Harbor Park, East Tawas

Northport Wine Festival
August 8 (1 – 7 p.m.)
Northport Harbor

For a list of other Michigan wine events, information and a list of more than 115 wineries, visit MichiganWines.com.

Dianna Stampfler is the president of Promote Michigan and is a dedicated fan of Michigan wine, especially Riesling!

What is your favorite Michigan wine?