Today marks the first day of winter! In celebration of that, we asked fans on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ “what does winter in Pure Michigan mean to you?” Here’s a roundup of some of our favorite responses.
The Farmers’ Almanac is predicting that Michigan will be a snowy, winter wonderland this year, and we can’t wait to show everyone how much fun a Pure Michigan winter is. Michigan is home to more than 4,000 miles of snowmobile trails, 3,000 miles of cross country ski trails, beautiful terrain for snowshoeing and much more. We are the birthplace of snowboarding and organized skiing, ranking second in the nation for number of ski areas.
Today, we launched the Pure Michigan winter video series to showcase the variety of attractions and activities that make the winter months a great time to visit. From sweeping views of Michigan’s sparkling winter landscape to extreme sports in motion, the series will feature a total of 13 videos released over the course of the next two months.
Whether you are an outdoor enthusiast, a thrill seeker, looking for a family getaway or anywhere in between, check out the adventures a Michigan winter has to offer in our new Michigan winter adventure video series.
To help kick off our series, we asked Dave Lorenz, Manager of Public and Industry Relations for Travel Michigan and our go-to guy for Michigan destinations, to explain what he loves about the winter months in our state.
One of the great things about Michigan, as a travel destination and as a place to live, is that we get to enjoy four very distinctly different seasons. Sometimes it seems, all on the same day. Most people think of Michigan as the place to experience “America’s perfect summer”. For me, the best time to enjoy the splendor of this beautiful place is during the winter months.
When I admit this to others, most people start to cringe just a bit. But, it’s true. I’m that guy who can’t wait to pull out the snow shovel, stack the wood-pile high and unpack the ski gear. For me, winter in Michigan is a magical time, especially if you get out there and enjoy it. Here’s a short list of some of my favorite winter-time activities. If you haven’t tried them before, give them a try. You’ll be glad you did.
Skiing, downhill and cross country
I was 25 years old when I learned to ski. I had always thought that skiing was for “real athletes” so it was a real surprise to learn that skiing is just controlled falling, so to speak. Friends taught me to ski but if you want expert advice, several of our ski operators throughout the state offer lessons for people of all ages.
There are so many fantastic places to snowmobile in Michigan. We have hundreds of miles of groomed trails and several sled rental operators and guides. My favorite experience was when a guide showed me how to cross a section of Lake Superior ice to get to Grand Island, in Munising. I was joined by a travel writer from the south who had never even seen snow before. He later told me it was one of the best experiences of his life.
The UP is one of the best places in the world to ice climb. It’s the home of Michigan Ice Fest, a national ice climbing festival, and for good reason. There are several waterfalls in the Pictured Rocks region for example that freeze up and build walls of ice that are perfect for climbing. The folks at Downwind Sports in Marquette showed me that climbing ice is like climbing a ladder, although it proved to be about a thousand times more difficult. After you figure out the basic balance issues, most people will love this.
Some of my other favorite winter activities include snowshoeing, dog sledding and hiking our snow covered trails. But, one of the best things about it all, is that at the end of your winter adventure you can come back to a cozy cottage, world-class resort or great restaurant and take in the beautiful scenery from the indoors. A Michigan winter truly offers something for everyone to enjoy.
Cross your fingers for plenty of snow and we can’t wait to hear about your Michigan winter adventures.
David Lorenz is the Manager of Public and Industry Relations for Travel Michigan. He oversees Travel Michigan’s public relations activities. He also manages Travel Michigan’s efforts in the areas of international marketing, packaged travel, conventions and meetings, industry relations, golf and sports-event promotion.
Prior to coming to Travel Michigan in October 2002, Mr. Lorenz was the Manager, Partnerships and Promotions, for Meijer, Inc. where he was responsible for the facilitation of collaborative marketing programs with key consumer goods manufacturers.
David Lorenz attended Western Michigan University. He lives in Norton Shores with his wife, Roberta, and son, Tyler.
As winter comes to an end in Michigan, it’s the perfect time to enjoy wine tasting on one of the last cold days of the year. Today, Trisha Verma, co-founder of Drink Michigan, shares some tips on winter wine tasting.
Whether you’re exploring Old Mission peninsula or hanging out in southwest Michigan, wine tasting is a great way to spend a cold winter afternoon. The tasting rooms are less crowded, there are many labels to choose from, and you often get extra attention from the tasting room manager, allowing you to ask questions and learn more about the wine, winery, and the region.
There are a couple things to keep in mind when you’re winter wine tasting:
Make sure your designated driver can handle the snow – the hills and winding roads of Michigan’s wine trails are part of what makes the experience so beautiful. But in the winter, they can cause quite a headache as you’re trying to make your way from winery to winery. You know you need a designated driver when you wine taste, but be sure that driver is an experienced winter driver. Even if it isn’t snowing, the dirt roads can be slick, and getting up those hills (and controlling yourself going down them) can be tricky.
Dress appropriately – be sure to dress for the weather and the environment. Many wineries don’t have paved parking and sidewalks, so boots are a good idea. You also want to make sure to bring hats and gloves – you never know when that lake-effect snow machine is going to kick in!
One of the best parts of tasting in the winter is all the variety that’s often in stock. This is the time to be adventurous and expand your palate. Talk to the tasting room manager, and let them guide you in experimenting with new varietals. A lot of the wines we’ve discovered as our favorites over the last few years have been things we never would have tried if we had stuck to what we thought we liked.
Here are a few of our favorite winter wines:
Forty Five North Unwooded Chardonnay – clean, crisp white with great acidity
Black Star Farms Arcturos Cabernet Franc – a bold, full-bodied red wine that heats you up from the inside out.
Fenn Valley Capriccio – a softer red, but full of great flavor.
Peninsula Cellars Merlot Reserve – full-bodied, and will age well (if you can wait that long!)
With just a few weeks left before the masses storm the tasting rooms for spring releases, now is the perfect time to strap on your boots and go exploring on the Michigan wine trails. Be adventurous, and make sure you have a little extra money on you to buy a few bottles of your favorites. Many of the wineries don’t have state-wide distribution, so the tasting rooms are often the only place to get your hands on a bottle – don’t miss out on your chance to take some home!
Have any questions about wine tasting in the winter (or any other season), or want to share your favorite Michigan wines? Leave a comment, and let me know!
Trisha Verma is a passionate Michigander and the co-founder of Drink Michigan – a site dedicated to promoting and celebrating Michigan-made beer, wine, and spirits. Drink Michigan holds events to introduce others to Michigan products, travels across the state to try new and interesting offerings, and is always looking for new ways to incorporate Michigan beer, wine, and liquor into interesting recipes.