How to Create an Unforgettable Pure Michigan Holiday Gathering

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care… Surely it’s the little details that add up to unforgettable gatherings, is it not? And as we’re entering the season of St. Nicholas, we’re also prepping for holiday gatherings where the magic and merriment happen! From family sit-downs to seasonal soirees, read on for our #GoGreat tips to give your holiday gatherings that something special this year.

Prost Dinner Setting with wine glasses

Prost! Wine Bar & Charcuterie, Photo Courtesy of Go Great Lakes Bay

Discover priceless know-how toward memorable dishes, tips and ideas for unique hosting gifts and even wine pairing considerations. Go Great Lakes Bay this season, and enjoy discovering “how-to” create unforgettable holiday gatherings!

Warm and Cozy

Board of Artigiano Cheeses

Cheeses from Artigiano, Photo Courtesy of Go Great Lakes Bay

Nestled together around a warm pot of melty fondue, friends and family won’t soon forget how cozy your gathering felt. Nor will they ever forget the pleasure of dipping into the fondue you served: melted Gruyère, aged in the natural Kaltbach caves from the canton of Lucerne in Switzerland, and that hearty charcuterie platter…

Have this evening this season, and learn “how-to” at Artigiano, Bay City’s artisan cheese shoppe. Artigiano (ar-TEE-giano) offers not only small batch, handmade cheeses (and artisan crackers, premium extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars), but also free, drop-in events including fondue demonstrations and “Cheese 101″.

The Talk of the Town

Zehnder's, Photo Courtesy of Go Great Lakes Bay

Zehnder’s, Photo Courtesy of Go Great Lakes Bay

When you serve authentic Lebkuchen Cookies or luscious German Chocolate Coffeecake around your Giant Santa Cupcake Cake centerpiece, guests will ooh and ahh-and ask where you learned how! The truth: at Zehnder’s Holiday How To’s.

• November 8 – 10, 2016, times and prices vary.

• Choose from 10 enjoyable classes, including “Hosting a Holiday Party” (think wine, hors d’oeuvres, hands-on fun and a special discount coupon for Zehnder’s Retail Marketplace) and “Decorating Holiday Cookies”.

• Call to reserve your place, and don’t delay. Some classes are SOLD OUT already!

Wine Makes Everything Fine

Charcuterie board of cheeses, meats and olives

Charcuterie Board from Prost! Wine Bar, Photo Courtesy of Go Great Lakes Bay

Looking to serve a perfectly-paired wine this holiday? (Good thinking.) But red or white, and what complements the menu? Or perhaps you’re gifting wine? (Good thinking, too.) Visit Go Great Lakes Bay restaurants and wineries for tasty research, and learn “how-to” pair wines perfectly with holiday flavors.

Whine Bar, Inc.: Walk in anytime for a flight (a sampling of three wines; price depends on selection), or on Whine Wednesdays to purchase select labels at $15 per bottle.

Prost! Wine Bar & Charcuterie: Study over 60 wine selections with Prost’s exceptionally trained staff, and sample wine served on tap for a fresh perspective; daily specials.

• Eastman Party Store: Stop into the Eastman Party Store anytime for expert pairing advice and a massive selection of fine wines, beers, spirits, cheeses, fresh breads, olive oils, and vinegars. Or head into Ideal Party Store in Bay City, featuring over 3,000 wines, 700 beers and a large liquor selection, too!

Crews & Brews

Inside of Frankenmuth Brewery

Frankenmuth Brewery, Photo Courtesy of Go Great Lakes Bay

Gathered together with your closest friends, frosty mugs in-hand, good times and holiday memories are in the making. Before deciding on the selections you’ll offer, try flights, flavors and talk micro-brew “how-to”.

• Time-honored Flavors: Offer guests frothy goodness from the oldest brewery in the state of Michigan: Frankenmuth Brewery. The Christmas Town Ale is seasonal-don’t miss out! And, should wee celebrators be in attendance, don’t forget to nab some Frankie’s Root Bier!

Oppermann’s Cork ‘N’ Ale (locations in Saginaw and Midland): Touting over 600 beers, 4,000 wines and 2,000 liquors to choose from, consider New Belgium Brewing Co.’s “Pumpkick” ale for the holidays, with hints of pumpkin spice and cranberry.

Make it Matter

Want to know “how-to” truly create unforgettable holiday gatherings?  Have fun! Decorate your home joyfully, and give gifts with sentiment whether as host or guest. Pick up priceless “how-to” (and where-at) toward decorating, gifting and creating heartfelt holiday gatherings this season.

Decorative Gourd Workshop: Enjoy the surroundings of Chippewa Nature Center, and the know-how to create beautiful containers from gourds (think seriously cool and unique gifts) on November 19, 9 a.m. – noon (must register by November 15).

• Get to Creative 360 Stage, Studios & Gallery from 2 – 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 3 to discover Candy Making for Christmas! Who doesn’t love a sweet treat? Not to mention that the perfect gift is also a lot of fun in the making! Pre-registration is required; don’t delay.

One last “how-to”: Handmade gifts take time to create … but shopping on Saturday, December 3 at Chippewa Nature Center’s Nature Art Show & Sale and Creative 360′s Second Hand Picasso Art & Collectible Sale, December 3 – 19th, will result in quick, easy and absolutely unique gifts.

Cheers! To holiday how-to’s and to getting help with your unforgettable holiday gatherings when you Go Great Lakes Bay!

Meet the Blogger

Guest Blogger - Jen W. O'Deay

Jen W. O’Deay is a freelance writer in Bridgeport, Mich.  She specializes in writing that connects, delivered through feature articles, branded content and marketing copy.  You can find Jen reading, always, camping with her family, or at: www.feelthesewords.com

Indoor Water Park Fun in Pure Michigan

Is your family looking for a wet and wild adventure this winter? With a number of exciting indoor water parks right here in our state, there’s no need to travel far for some fun. Whether it’s a day trip or a full weekend getaway, nothing brings families closer together than a Pure Michigan water park adventure.

Here are a few indoor water parks to check out around the state. For more ideas, visit michigan.org.

Great Wolf Lodge

The Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City features a 38,000 square-foot indoor water park with 8 waterslides, 5 pools, 2 whirlpools and a 4-story/12-level interactive Tree House Water Fort. The state-of-the-art facility utilizes nearly 200,000 gallons of water that is splashed, sprayed, waved and played in by both kids and parents alike.

Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark

Experience the ultimate family adventure at Michigan’s largest indoor water park, Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark in Boyne Falls. This 88,000 square foot aquatic playground offers a complete sensory experience for all ages, and features expansive series of falls, tubes, waves and pools.

Surfari Joe’s Indoor Wilderness Water Park

Michigan’s newest indoor water park, Surfari Joe’s Indoor Wilderness Water Park in Watervliet offers a great escape from the everyday hustle and bustle. With two premier water slides, a kiddie water playground with tipping bucket, lazy river and activity pool and hot tub with waterfall, there’s something to please people of all ages. Whether it’s to host your child’s birthday party or just get away with the family for a day, Surfari Joe’s has plenty of options to meet your needs.

Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark

Treat your family to an unforgettable weekend at Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark in Frankenmuth. Enjoy over 30,000 sq. ft. of aquatic fun with Splash landing play area, dumping bucket, giggling gorge and Perilous plunge.  Mellow out by relaxing in the whimsical whirl hot tub or just float along the Crooked Brook Creek lazy river. After splashing around, experience some of Frankenmuth’s many other offerings – including Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, located just next door to Zehnder’s.

Gold Rush Waterpark

Gold Rush Waterpark at the Double JJ Resort in Rothbury is home to 60,000 square feet of indoor water park excitement – including Western Michigan’s tallest indoor waterslide. More thrill slides, a lazy/crazy river, wave pool, water fort, toddler pool, water basketball, and hot tubs offer tons of fun 365 days a year.

From our Community: What’s your Favorite Place in Michigan to get Comfort Food?

As temperatures drop, it’s the perfect time of year to cozy up with friends and family and enjoy your favorite comfort foods. From the mac and cheese at the Clarkston Union Bar & Kitchen to the chicken at Zehnder’s or Bavarian Inn in Frankenmuth, there are plenty of places to indulge in your favorite comfort dishes across the state – including a few hidden gems.

We got some great responses over the weekend when we asked fans on our Facebook page: “What’s your favorite place in Michigan to get comfort food?” Here are some comments we wanted to share. Thanks to everyone who responded!

xochimilcos in Mexican town in Detroit.” – Alex Gurne

“Chicken Jalapeno soup at Art’s in Glen Arbor!” – Aline Levanen Gauss

“The best breakfast comfort food is at Suomi’s, in Houghton, way up in da UP. Traditional Finnish breakfast and regular breakfast foods. All. SO. GOOD.” – Olivia Zajac

RUB BBQ across from Comerica park has the best Mac n Cheese hands down.” – Jesse Cahill

Clarkston Union has awesome (gourmet) mac n cheese.” – Patrick Fetterman

“Mac and cheese from Blue Tractor in Traverse City. ♥ it!!” – Chelsea Lyn

Grand Rapids: Hopcat – Killer Mac n Cheese. Tip: add bacon and jalapenos, mmmm!” – Kevin Littlepage

“The Hilltop in L’anse. Cinnamon rolls the size of your head.” – Robert Bruce Brevitz

Central City Tap House in downtown Kalamazoo serves mac & cheese with pork belly. Can’t think of a more perfect combination! Plus vast scotch whisky menu and craft beers.” – Karel Juhl

Slow’s BBQ in Corktown, and the Mac ‘n Cheese at Zingermans Deli in A2 (Ann Arbor) can’t be beat. It’s divine!” – Colleen Smith Adkins

“Besides my own kitchen, DeLuca’s in Lansing.” – Lucy Dionise Platte

Fieldstone Grille in Portage…they have the best pot roast sandwhich!” – Jennifer Zindler

“At home; my husbands meatloaf. It must be why God made cows! And Zehnder’s in Frankenmuth for CHICKEN !!! YAY!!!” – Sarahlynn E Kelly