Featured in Pure Michigan 2013 Spring/Summer Issue, beginning on page 59.
You gab about getting together with the girls, but where? Problem solved. We found four citiesTraverse City, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Detroit each as diverse as your personalities. With so many options, you'll need to start planning the reunion.
More Things to Do Traverse City
Clinch Park Beach
Traverse City's most popular beach lies a couple blocks from downtown. Relax in the sand as tall ships sail by and children splash in the waves.
Gallager's Farm Market and Bakery
A big red barn marks the site of this popular farmers market. Walk away with fresh cherries or some of the goods made in Gallager's kitchen like dark chocolate covered dried cherries, cherry pepper jelly, and cherry salsa.
Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trail
Travel the 10.5 mile TART Trail on bike or foot to see both the West and East Grand Traverse Bays. The trail winds through Traverse City neighborhoods and Clinch Park. www.traversetrails.org
Traverse Tall Ship Company
Take a two-hour tour of the Grand Traverse Bay aboard a replica 1800s schooner. Passengers choose, relax and enjoy the ride or learn to help crew members sail the Tall Ship Manitou.
Two Lads Winery on Mission Peninsula
Wine at Two Lads goes though a non-traditional process called gravity flow to produce a smoother, gentler and more flavorful drink. Enjoy a glass of award-winning wine while taking in Lake Michigan coastline views.
More Places to Eat Traverse City
The Cooks' House
The Cooks' House aims to promote sustainable eating with ingredients found in Northern Michigan. The menu changes with the seasons but features items like walleye with fennel-sweet onion puree and ratatouille and roasted sunburst kabocha squash with spiced pear soup.
Grand Traverse Pie Company
The first of now 15 locations across the state, the Grand Traverse Pie Company sits within a short walk from downtown. Not only does the cafe serve fresh, home-style pies, they also have lunch items including quiche, sandwiches, and salads.
Opa! Coney and Grill
This restaurant fuses Greek and Polish fare with American food for a unique menu. Options include traditional dishes such as gyros and pierogies or try a combination of flavors like a burger with yogurt-based tzatziki sauce. (231/947-6721)
The Pasty Wagon
The bright yellow roadside trailer exclusively serves pasties. The common Michigan eat consists of a crisp, half moon, crust filled with meat, potato and rutabaga–a must-have (231/313-0100).
Right Brain Brewery
Locals buy a mug and hang it alongside the hundreds of numbered ones by the bar. The brewery experiments to create unique brews such as Fuzz Face Peach Ale and Blue Magic Lavender Wheat.
The wrap-around porch on the little yellow house fills at the lunch hour. Slabtown, known for its burgers, add fresh-cut fries and local sodas–exhibits a nostalgic theme. Bite into a burger in shop, or brown bag it and head to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Patrons visit Soul Hole for good Southern comfort food like hush puppies, fried chicken, and waffles and drunken peach cobbler. The small restaurant fills with the sounds of jazz to complete the Southern feel (231/929-7238).
The Underground Cheesecake Company
The Underground Cheesecake Company bakes decadent cheesecakes in flavors such as cherry swirl and chocolate hazelnut truffle. Try the bit-size cheesecakes to taste each flavor or get the cheesecake-on-a-stick, a frozen, chocolate-covered treat.
Arabic for delicious, Zakey serves traditional fare including shish kabobs, fattoush and rice pudding in a small, open-air restaurant. View the chef cooking each meal and on Saturday watch an Arabic belly dance performance. (231/421-5472)
More Places to Stay Traverse City
Sprouted up near the airport in 2009, Cambria Suites feels brand new. Each two-story room is fitted with two big screen TVs and downstairs, the living room holds computers and a large stone fireplace.
Great Wolf Lodge
This hotel packs in plenty of entertainment with an indoor water park, mini golf course and a restaurant with poolside dining. Catch up with the girls at the Elements Spa Salon over facials, mani/pedis or a massage.
Holiday Inn West Bay
Along the Grand Traverse Bay, just a walk from downtown, the floor to ceiling windows in each room present gorgeous water views. Take advantage of the heated indoor and outdoor pools at this beachfront inn.
More Things to Do Detroit
Campus Martius Park
Campus Martius Park occupies the land downtown where the JL Hudson department store once stood. Take a break with a picnic at the 1.6 acres of green space in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city, and in the winter enjoy a round of ice-skating. www.campusmartiuspark.org
Dequindre Cut GreenWay
Once a Grand Trunk Railroad line, this path now welcomes pedestrians and cyclists. The 1.35-mile trek connects the Riverfront to the Eastern Market for a day full of activity. (313/566-8200)
Detroit Opera House
A staple to Detroits entertainment district, the Opera House is located downtown. Catch one of the rotating performances, common themes include music, dance, theater and comedy shows.
In hopes to improve an eastside neighborhood, artist Tyree Guyton brightens the area with urban art by painting abandoned homes. Guyton also uses discarded shoes, toys and other objects to turn two blocks into pieces of art. (313/974-6894)
Tour the studios at Pewabic Pottery for a first-hand look at how the arts and crafts style dinnerware, vases, and tiles are made. The company has tiled iconic landmarks such as Comerica Park in Detroit, the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, and Herald Square in New York.
Underground Railroad Memorial and River Walk
A 12-foot-high monument to the history of slavery overlooks the Detroit River, the final stretch to freedom for many slaves escaping to Canada. The depiction of a slave family looking toward, Windsor marks an iconic stop on the Detroit River Walk.
More Places to Eat Detroit
Angelina Italian Bistro
Take in the views of downtown Detroit in the dining room surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows while enjoying traditional Italian food. The menu includes a variety of pizza, pasta–like the sweat potato gnocchi, sandwiches and house-smoked, organic meats such as artisan salami.
Atlas Global Bistro
The menu at Atlas Global Bistro takes current food trends and applies an ethnic twist, like the char-grilled lamb kofta, served with minty feta. Pair one of the inventive entrees with a wine from the upstanding list.
Soak in views of the city from the 71st floor of the GM Global Renaissance Center while enjoying elegant eats such as herb crusted rack of lamb and grilled Atlantic salmon. Top off the meal with a wine from the extensive selection.
Joe Muer Seafood
After this legendary restaurant shut its doors in 1998, it reopened in a new riverfront location in the Renaissance Center. Among the Great Lakes standard dishes like broiled whitefish and sauteed perch, Joe Muer Seafood now includes a sushi bar.
Bite into the thin, light pizza crust at Supino in the Eastern Market. Choose a traditional pizza with sauce, like the Supino topped with roasted garlic, olives, chili oil, mozzarella and ricotta, or a sauce-less pizza, like the Red, White and Green topped with spinach, roasted red peppers, mozzarella and ricotta.
More Places to Stay Detroit
Courtyard Downtown Detroit
Downtown, this hotel is just a walk away from attractions and dining. Each room includes access to the pool overlooking the city.
Towering 73-floors in the GM Renaissance Center, the Detroit Marriott is the tallest hotel in the country. Enjoy the river views or head out to any of the downtown attractions within a short walk downtown.
MGM Grand Detroit
A spa, restaurants, casino and indoor pool featuring wicker cabanas compliment the luxurious rooms at the MGM Grand. Another bonus: the hotel is downtown among other attractions such as the Cultural Center and Detroits entertainment district.www.mgmgranddetroit.com
More Things to Do Ann Arbor
Fustini's Oils and Vinegars
Stainless steel containers, fustinis, of flavor-infused olive oils and vinegars line the walls of this shop. Visit the tasting room to find the best flavors before taking home a bottle, or more.
Catch a glimpse of tile artwork being handcrafted on-site. Motawi's tiles make a great gift or can be installed in a kitchen, bathroom or on the floor.
A member of the Zingerman's family of establishments, the Bakehouse bakes the bread used in the deli each day. Beyond breads–like sourdough and pecan raisin– bagels, cookies and pastries roll out of the oven to be sold in store.
More Places to Eat Ann Arbor
Arbor Brewing Company Pub and Eatery
Crowds gather downtown for Arbor Brewing's in-house beers and tasty local and organic food. With at least nine brews on tap, Sacred Cow IPA ranks high as a favorite. Others include Tree Fort and Espresso Love Breakfast Stouta–beer steeped in coffee. www.arborbrewing.com
Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery
Pull up to the bar featuring an ice rail to keep Blue Tractor brews cold. The award-winning beers boast creative titles like Oak-Aged "Hands Off My Goat!" Oatmeal Stout and Rusty Tractor American.
Conor ONeills Traditional Irish Pub
Get the feel of Ireland while watching traditional Irish folk dancers sway to the Gaelic sounds of fiddlers playing tunes. The menu also resembles a bit of Ireland with traditional dishes such as shepherds pie, corned beef Reuben and Irish Boxty–all best eaten with a dark stout.
Named after railroad workers who appeared to be dancing while placing railroad track, it is fitting that this restaurant occupies the restored Michigan Central Depot. The menu offers a wide variety of entrees using shrimp, crab, lobster, scallops, mussels and fresh fish. The non-seafood lover can enjoy options such as steak, lamb and chicken.
Jolly Pumpkin Cafe and Brewery
Wooden floors and a long polished bar contribute to the old-fashioned feel of this brewpub. Order an in-house beer like the Bam Bier and Bam Noir, which pair well with the standard pub fare such as nachos, burgers, chicken sandwiches or vegetarian paninis.
Mediterrano has one goal: fuse the flavors of the Mediterranean with healthy, low-fat options. Menu items include spicy lamb meatballs with pasta, spiced shrimp cakes and herb and mustard roasted rack of lamb.
Paesano Restaurant and Wine Bar
A glass of wine from an extensive selection pairs well with the eclectic Italian entrees. Different from the traditional lasagna, Paesano serves pastas such as pappardelle with lamb ragu and meat entrees such as slow-cooked beef short rib with cipollini onions and soft polenta.
Silvio's Organic Pizza
Fresh, organic ingredients come together on a thin, wood-fired crust. Silvio's claims to be the best pizza in Ann Arbor and also offers stuffed pizza, calzones, gluten-free pizza, sandwiches, pastas, soups and salads. (734/214-6666)
More Places to Stay Ann Arbor
Bell Tower Hotel
In the center of the University of Michigan's campus, this hotel is a great place for those planning to travel around town on foot. The warm and inviting hotel appears European with English decor.
Dahlmann Campus Inn
On the University of Michigan campus, Dalhmann Campus Inn resides just a walk from downtown. The recently refurbished rooms feature pillow-top mattresses and marble bathrooms.
Inn at the League
Eat with University of Michigan students when you stay on campus at Inn at the League, in the administrative building. The clean and comfortable rooms are affordable and within walking distance of downtown.
More Things to Do Grand Rapids
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
This downtown museum is dedicated to the 38th president of the United States, a Grand Rapids native. Experience key moments in Gerald R. Fords life and presidency through permanent and temporary exhibits.
Grand Rapids Original Swing Society
Join couples who swing dance downtown. The Swing Society, one of the nations largest, holds lessons and dancing once a week during the summer–sometimes incorporating a theme like pirate and dress to the nines. (616/617-4842)
Heritage Hill Association
See 1,300 homes in 60 different architectural styles on a walking tour through the Heritage Hill Historic District. Walk through the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Meyer May House on Tuesday and Thursday between 10am-2pm or Sundays from 1pm-5pm.
More Places to Eat Grand Rapids
Founders Brewing Co.
Join the locals at this casual brewery where patrons throw peanut shells on the floor. The in-house brews like Centennial IPA and Dirty Bastard Scotch Ale compliment the menu, which includes sandwiches, such as the Mug Clubber (a chicken club), and French bread pizzas.
The East Hills cafe specializes in vegetarian and vegan breakfast and lunch. Options include omelets, pancakes, house-made granola and for lunch sandwiches, risotto and the Mean Green Burritto.
Relying almost entirely on sustainable farms in West Michigan, Grove offers fine dining entrees such as vegetable gnocchi, lamb bourguignon and duck breast. The dessert list features creative dishes like pecan green tea ice cream and salted dark chocolate fudge. www.groverestaurant.com
One Stop Coney Shop
Hot dogs and fries steal the show at this eatery. Choose from a list of geographical dogs like the Detroit, smothered in chili, onions and mustard, or the Chicago, sweet relish, dill pickle, tomato, sport peppers, mustard and celery salt on a poppy seed bun. (616/233-9700)
Six.One.Six fuses local ingredients into worldly Asian, French and American cuisine. Entrees include great lakes walleye and Maple Leaf Farms duck.
The Electric Cheetah & Uncle Cheetahs Soup Shop
Names of a dozen soups made from scratch fill the restaurants chalkboard among them, the vegetable cream cheese wins the popularity contest. Dont forget dessert Uncle Cheetahs makes sundaes with from-scratch soft serve ice cream.
More Places to Stay Grand Rapids
Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
This AAA Four-Diamond hotel offers impeccable customer service and is equipped with a spa, shopping plaza and restaurants. The Amway overlooks the Grand River in downtown, making it a walk away from main attractions.
JW Marriott Grand Rapids
The friendly staff and bold artwork make this hotel a welcome stay. Each room comes with amenities including a pillow-laden bed, Wi-Fi, a kitchenette and flat-screen TV. www.ilovethejw.com