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MADE IN MICHIGAN 2018 Resorts.............................. 10

Grand Rapids................... 36

Flint................................... 14

Marquette......................... 40

Traverse City.................... 18 Mackinac Island............... 22

Restaurants...................... 46

Port Austin....................... 26

Echo Park Guitars............ 50

Cross Village.................... 30

Products............................ 54

On the cover: Illustration by Eric Millikin



Publisher - Chris Keating Associate Publisher - Jim Cohen Editor in Chief - Lee DeVito

Circulation Manager - Annie O’Brien

EDITORIAL Senior Editor - Michael Jackman Staff Writer - Violet Ikonomova Dining Editor - Tom Perkins Music and Listings Editor - Jerilyn Jordan Contributing Editor - Larry Gabriel Copy Editor - Sonia Khaleel Editorial Interns - Mallary Becker, Eleanor Catholico, Alexander Woodliff Contributors - Sean Bieri, Doug Coombe, Kahn Santori Davison, Mike Ferdinande, Cal Garrison, Curt Guyette, Mike Pfeiffer, Dontae Rockymore, Dan Savage, Sara Barron, Jane Slaughter

ADVERTISING Associate Publisher - Jim Cohen Regional Sales Director Danielle Smith-Elliott Senior Multimedia Account Executive - Jeff Nutter Multimedia Account Executive Jessica Frey, Molly Clark Account Manager, Classifieds Josh Cohen Marketing Assistant - Mallary Becker

BUSINESS/OPERATIONS Business Manager - Holly Rhodes Controller - Kristy Dotson


EUCLID MEDIA GROUP Chief Executive Officer Andrew Zelman Chief Operating Officers Chris Keating, Michael Wagner Creative Director - Tom Carlson Art Director - Eric Millikin VP of Digital Services - Stacy Volhein Digital Operations Coordinator Jaime Monzon National Advertising Voice Media Group 1-888-278-9866, Detroit Metro Times 30 E. Canfield St. Detroit, MI 48201 Editorial - 313-202-8011, Advertising - 313-961-4060 Circulation - 313-202-8049 The Detroit Metro Times is published every week by Euclid Media Group Verified Audit Member Detroit Distribution:The Detroit Metro Times is available free of charge, limited to one copy per reader.

Graphic Designers - Paul Martinez, Haimanti Germain

EUCLID MEDIA • Copyright - The entire contents of the Detroit Metro Times are copyright 2018 by Euclid Media Group LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission of the publisher is prohibited. Publisher does not assume any liability for unsolicited manuscripts, materials, or other content. Any submission must include a stamped, self-addressed envelope. All editorial, advertising, and business correspondence should be mailed to the address listed above. Prior written permission must be granted to Metro Times for additional copies. Metro Times may be distributed only by Metro Times’ authorized distributors and independent contractors. Subscriptions are available by mail inside the U.S. for six months at $80 and a yearly subscription for $150. Include check or money order payable to - Metro Times Subscriptions, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale, MI 48220-1427. (Please note - Third Class subscription copies are usually received 3-5 days after publication date in the Detroit area.) Most back issues obtainable for $5 at Metro Times offices or $7 prepaid by mail.

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If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you. Those are the words emblazoned, in Latin, on our state flag — and for this year’s Made in Michigan guide, we did just that. Since we cover the Motor City each week in Metro Times, we decided to set our sights on the rest of the state for this issue. What follows is our guide to some of our favorite Michigan road trips: Flint, Traverse City, Mackinac Island, Port Austin, Cross Village, Grand Rapids, and Marquette. We also met up with a guy who moved from Los Angeles to Detroit to make guitars, and rounded up some of our favorite Michigan-made products. Enjoy our pleasant peninsula.

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You can enjoy an exotic vacation right here in Michigan. When it comes to resorts that are quirky, charming, or luxurious, these are some of the state’s top spots.

Bavarian Inn Lodge

713 S. Main St., Frankenmuth; 855-652-7200; This lodge feels like you’ve traveled to a quaint German village, with Old World architecture, horse-drawn carriages, and German food and beers aplenty, including schnitzel, sauerbraten, and golden chicken, a favorite. The lodge also boasts an indoor waterpark, and there are more than 40 shops and boutiques as well.

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Boyne Mountain Resort

1 Boyne Mountain Rd., Boyne Falls; 855688-7024; In the winter, Noyne is one of Michigan’s best ski resorts. But there’s summer fun to be had, too, including horseback riding, ziplining, Michigan’s largest indoor water park, and two golf courses.

Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa

12500 Crystal Mountain Dr., Thompsonville; 855-995-5146; Amenities include the Park at Water’s Edge, an aquatic playground; a climbing wall; mountain biking; outdoor laser

tag; paintball; golf and disc golf. Lodging includes multi-bedroom cottages, condos, or bungalows.

Double JJ Resort

5900 S. Water Rd., Rothbury; 231-894-4444; When this property isn’t hosting the everpopular Electric Forest music festival in the summer, Double JJ Resort is known as a family-friendly four-seasons getaway where you can explore the woods on horseback, play a round of golf, enjoy the waterpark, snow tubing, cross country skiing, and horse-drawn sleigh rides. Lodging options include luxury suites, cabins, hotel rooms, and camping.

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RESORTS The El Moore

624 West Alexandrine St., Detroit; 313-924-4374; Located in the heart of Midtown, the El Moore offers “sustainable urban lodging” right in the Motor City. The 1898-era castle-like building originally housed upscale flats, but was reinvented as a residential apartment building with unique lodging with an eye for being green, including using solar power and reclaimed materials from Detroit.

Garland Lodge and Resort

4700 North Red Oak Rd., Lewiston; 877-442-7526; This resort offers rustic lodging, scenic environs, golf course, rainbow trout fishing, crosscountry skiing, and more. Lodging includes hotels, cottages, and villas with grills, decks, and fireplaces.

Grand Hotel

286 Grand Ave., Mackinac Island; 906-847-3331; This opulent hotel might be Michigan’s premiere lodging experience, with the world’s longest porch, afternoon tea, uniquely decorated rooms, a pool, a sauna, sprawling gardens, lawn games including croquet and bocce ball, and a top-notch dining hall. See why Dita Von Teese is a fan.

Grand Traverse Resort and Spa

100 Grand Traverse Village Blvd., Acme; 231-534-6000; Proximity to the wine country, beaches, and wooded trails make this one of Michigan’s top resorts. The resort also boasts three restaurants and two bars with killer views.

Greektown Casino 555 East Lafayette Blvd., Detroit; 313-223-2999;

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Expected to be rebranded as Jack Detroit Casino-Hotel, part of the rebranding of this hotel includes the new Monroe Market cafeteria-style food court, which features seven restaurants. The casino’s buffet and table games have earned kudos in recent Metro Times Best of Detroit reader polls.

The Inn at Bay Harbor

3600 Village Harbor Dr., Bay Harbor; 855-811-4402; Surrounded by Little Traverse Bay, the Inn at Bay Harbor offers amenties like Vintage Chophouse and Wine Bar, winery tours, golf, beaches, and more. Lodging includes hotel rooms, suites, and cottages.

Little Yellow Cottages

114 Union St., Port Austin; 989402-4813; This block a six small cottages are a great way to stay in Port Austin. The cottages have either one or two rooms and can accommodate up to six guests, located just a walk away from the beach. Each cottage has a screened-in porch, a living room, a TV, a full kitchen, and bathroom, a fire pit, outdoor grills, and a picnic table and chairs.

Mai Tiki Resort

3322 US-23, Au Sable Charter Twp.; 989-739-9971; Located just outside of Oscoda, these pastel-colored cottages offer private beaches, close proximity to Lake Huron and the Au Sable River, a volleyball court, and, as their name suggests, a tiki bar.

Marina Grand Resort 600 West Water St., New Buffalo; 877-945-8600; Every room in this resort has waterfront views. Nearby amenities include wine tasting tours, hiking at Warren Dunes

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State Park, lakeside dining, and a rooftop bar.

MGM Grand Detroit

MGM Grand Detroit, 1777 Third Ave., Detroit; 877-888-2121; MGM Grand Detroit has more than just gaming — there’s also great restaurants like TAP, a sexy nightclub called V, AXIS, a brand-new music venue that’s open to the gaming floor, a swanky hotel, and an even swankier luxury spa.

Mission Point Resort

One Lakeshore Dr., Mackinac Island; 231-331-3419; Treat yourself: The Lakeside Spa and Salon offers hot stone massages, facials, and steam rooms. The resort also has tennis and bocce ball courts, a pool and hot tub, and an 18-hole putting green.

MotorCity Casino Hotel

2901 Grand River Ave.; 866-7829622; MotorCity Casino Hotel is a safe bet for reasons practical (with its unique “retro future” architecture and flashing LED light show, you can’t miss it), convenient (the casino boasts a variety of gaming and dining options, and the hotel has a spa), and hip (catch the reference on Drake’s latest record, Scary Hours).

Rippling River Resort

4321 M-553, Marquette; 906273-2259;

Located off of the Carp River, this resort offer more than 37 acres of natural beauty, with camping sites, luxury log cabins, mountain biking, hiking trails, and more.

Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort

6800 Soaring Eagle Blvd., Mount Pleasant; 888-732-4537; Amenities include luxury suites with fireplaces and jacuzzis, an on-site spa for your appointment, a golf course, an indoor waterpark, climbing wall, water slides, and lazy river. The casino features table games, slots, bingo, and poker, and evenings provide entertainment including music and comedy.

Sojourn Lakeside Resort

2332 E Dixon Lake Rd., Gaylord; 989-370-7873; This wooded, lakeside resort located on the shore of Dixon Lake has more than 500 feet of lakefront, 32 acres of wooded grounds, a private beach, 20 guestrooms, and more.

The Townsend Hotel

100 Townsend St., Birmingham; 248-642-7900; Birmingham’s high-end dining, retail options, and walkability have helped make the Townsend a favorite for Michigan’s visiting actors, athletes, entertainers, and executives for more than 25 years.

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The Vehicle City often gets a bad rap,

but if you want to day-trip with your family or spend a night on the town, Flint has plenty to offer. After leaving, you can become one of the growing number of people who leave saying, “I had no idea what Flint was really like.” Here’s a breakdown of what you can do when you swing into town.


After years of sitting vacant, Flint’s historic Capitol Theatre is finally open again for business. One of its first shows since its renovation featured The Moth Radio Hour from National Public Radio, which sold out all 1,600 seats. The one-person storytelling show was the kind of event that Jarrett Haynes says is perfect for the Capitol’s stage — small and intimate. Haynes is the executive director of the Whiting, the other large venue in Flint, and he also oversees productions at the Capitol. With one entity managing both locations, Haynes says it’s an opportunity for the two theaters to complement each other, rather

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than compete. The Whiting seats a little more than 2,000 people and is perfectly suited for large Broadway productions, and is also home to the Flint Symphony Orchestra. More information is available at If you’re looking for something a little smaller, a little younger, and a little louder, you might try the Flint Local 432, Flint’s legendary all-ages music venue. Started in 1985 as a place for young people to hear and play their own music, the Local was reopened in 2012 and offers a wide variety of local and traveling musical acts in various genres, mostly rock and hip-hop.


Located in Flint’s Cultural Campus, the Flint Institute of Arts draws art enthusiasts from all over to see its incredible collections, which include American, African, Asian, and European art. It also has more than a dozen galleries, including a media arts gallery and one with renaissance art featuring tapestries once dubbed “Flint’s

Da Vinci Code” by the local paper. The FIA also hosts rotating exhibitions throughout the year. Current exhibitions include From Lens to Eye to Hand: Photorealism 1969 to Today, a collection of paintings so clear and sharp they appear to be photographs, and In Search of Lost Time, a collection of prints by master printmaker Peter Milton. Learn more at If you’re looking for something a bit cozier, check out Flint’s Buckham Gallery. Located less than a block off the main drag of Saginaw Street in Flint, Buckham is located up a flight of stairs and features traveling exhibits as well as local artists. On the second Friday of every month, downtown Flint is home to Art Walk, where sidewalks and businesses are full of art and performers. It’s a good excuse to wander around town and enjoy some food and a few drinks (more on that below).


Flint is the Vehicle City, and it’s proud of it. Every year Flint plays host to Back to the

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FLINT Bricks, a week of events that includes a free car show and draws historic automobiles and enthusiasts from across the country. The events kick off Aug. 14 with “Bricks Flicks” at the US 23 Drive-In theater, which will be packed with classic cars. The next two days will consist of the annual “Rolling Cruise,” with people lining Saginaw Street from downtown Flint to nearby Grand Blanc to watch as classic cars take over the road. The Rolling Cruise is followed Friday night with an outdoor concert, and the week concludes with the Saturday car show, where the red bricks of downtown Flint are packed with classic cars that come from across the country to park, pop their hoods, and show off. All events are free. For more see If you can’t make it to Back to the Bricks, the Sloan Museum has its own permanent historical auto collection, as well as an annual auto show in June.


One great thing about downtown Flint is that it’s compact enough that you can easily crawl from bar to restaurant without having to walk too far. There are plenty of great places to eat throughout the city, but if you want to see some of the newest and coolest spots to eat and drink, find a place to park downtown and just start wandering. You might start upscale, at downtown’s Cork on Saginaw. Cork, as the name suggests, is known for not only its wines but the sampling stations in the back, where, once you buy a card, you can buy sips, tastes, and full pours of whatever wines are being featured. If wine isn’t your thing, fear not, the bartenders there know what they’re doing. Better still, the food is always creative and outstanding. Walking north from Cork, as you cross Second Street, look to your right and you’ll see the outdoor diners of Table and Tap, downtown’s best spot for

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enjoying barbecue alongside a Michigan beer. If you’re looking for something a little more historical and just downright cozier, take a left on Second Street, and then a right into Buckham Alley, and on your left you’ll see the entrance to the Torch Bar & Grill, a Flint staple known for its burgers. Everyone from local politicians to blue-collar workers goes there for a beer. The people you can always count on seeing are the early generation of Torch regulars, their photographs lining the top of the wall all the way around the bar. Heading back to Saginaw Street, if you’re again looking for something a little more upscale, there’s 501 Bar & Grill (the name is also the address). If it’s lunchtime, you might head another block north to the Lunch Studio — where the food and the service can make you feel like family. This is also your chance to take a right and head east down First Street to Flint’s new farmers market. Named one of the top six great public spaces on the American Planning Association’s annual “Great Places in America” list, and ranked among the best farmers markets in the state, the Flint Farmers Market is also home to some of Flint’s best places to get lunch on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Steady Eddy’s has some of the fastest service in town. The market is also home to Chubby Duck sushi, Mexico at the Market, Beirut Restaurant and Grocery, and several other places to enjoy a quick nosh. You can enjoy the large atrium or take the food upstairs, order a beer at Market Tap, and sit on the enormous upstairs patio where you can look over almost all of downtown. If you’re still ready to hit another bar, head back to Saginaw Street, take a right and head north to stop into Churchill’s Food & Spirits. Long known as a place to get good bar

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food, Churchill’s has recently overhauled its menu. And if whiskey and bourbon are your thing, you won’t find a better selection. Finally, a little further north, over the bridge, is the Soggy Bottom Bar, a place where you can find, depending on the night, jazz, comedy, trivia — and solid cocktails and traditional bar fare. When manager Ken Laatz took over Soggy Bottom in 2014, he wanted the menu to feature what he calls “bar food plus,” and he has not disappointed. The nachos and burger options hit the mark.


Despite what you’ve heard about the Flint River, if you’re into kayaking, canoeing, or fishing, this is one of mid-Michigan’s most overlooked treasures. Slip in upstream in Davison near the gorgeous Stepping Stone Falls and paddle through Mott Lake, often populated with swans, as you come into downtown. You can also do right in town and head downstream, where you might just spot one of the two resident bald eagles who nest along the river there. Getting off the beaten path a bit, in nearby Burton, you might

take the kids (or yourself) to For-Mar Nature Preserve. Located at 2142 N. Genesee Rd. in Burton, For-Mar is home to acres of wooded areas to explore, an indoor activity and educational center, an enclosed butterfly garden, and a treehouse that was built on the hit show Treehouse Masters.


There’s no shortage of things for kids to do around Flint, especially if you take a short trip from downtown to the east end of Kearsley Street, where you’ll find the Sloan Museum, which just installed its new dinosaur exhibit. Near neighbors include Longway Planetarium, which regularly features shows and activities for kids, and Flint Youth Theatre, home to Flint’s budding thespians as well as seasoned actors who consistently put on fantastic shows for and featuring young people. There’s a phrase you might see on the occasional Flint T-shirt, or hear an emcee say at the end of a show: “Say nice things about Flint.” They say it because there are lots of nice things to say about Flint. But all it takes is a visit to find yourself doing it on your own.

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It’s time to head north.

About three hours north of Detroit, you hop off I-75 and, for another hour, you wind west through lush shady woods, over crystal lakes, past groves of fruit trees and pastures of sleepy cows toward the tip of the pinkie — Traverse City. Though the Pure Michigan commercial mainly shows fancy moms in Ann Taylor sweaters smiling at their shopping bags, and Teva-wearing dads wrangling their sticky kids, there are plenty of ways to take on Michigan’s Cherry Capital that fit your style.

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The Foodie

The local food movement is alive and well in Traverse City, and it has attracted the attention of renowned chefs from across the country. The surrounding 100 miles have enough boutique farms to stock a different farmers market every day of the week, provide for the local organic food co-op, and supply niche restaurants around town. There are more good places to eat in Traverse City than you can get to in a year, let alone a weekend, but there are a few can’t-miss spots for a memorable meal.

Little Fleet: Traverse City mixes up the food truck trend with vendors offering kimchi and fried avocado burritos, molten chocolate lava cakes, sushi, and superstacked nachos. Of course, it wouldn’t be a food truck fleet without a chic bar featuring craft cocktails and local beer and wine. Cross the street and you’re looking out over the Grand Traverse Bay, a perfect spot to watch the sunset. 448 E. Front St., Traverse City; 231943-1116; BLK MRKT: Easily the trendiest coffee spot in TC tucked inside the one-block


“warehouse district” on the west side of town. Beans are roasted in-house by a small staff of dedicated coffee connoisseurs. The minimal shop also features work by local artists and house-made sweet and savory pastries. 144 Hall St., Traverse City; 231- 714-5038; Frenchie’s Famous: House. Smoked. Pastrami. This place doesn’t mess around. Expect a wait — the cafe inside only seats 15, the covered patio outside is a hot spot in the summer, and people are desperate to get their hands on pastrami hash, green chile shakshuka, and Ethiopian breakfast dishes. If you ask, they will give you a to-go box of sliced pastrami to take to the beach. 619 Randolph St., Traverse City; 231-944-1228;

The Adventurer

Rent a kayak: The Boardman River snakes from Grand Traverse Bay through downtown Traverse and into Boardman Lake, about a 2-mile trip. You can get a single-person kayak dropped off to you for the day for just $49. There are a few places to dock your watercraft and head up to street level to enjoy a beer or a snack at one of the riverside restaurants or breweries. Summer bod maintenance included, free! Hike or ride the TART: Traverse has more than 10 miles of easy trails, from Williamsburg on the east side to Sutton’s Bay on the Leelanau Peninsula. Get the insider’s view of M-22 without straying too far off the beaten path. Get out of town: Traverse City is less than an hour from some of the purest of pure Michigan areas. You can head northeast on M-22 to hike the dunes in Sleeping Bear National Park, or the Houdeck and Whaleback Natural Areas in the Leelanau Peninsula. Go northeast for trails in Petoskey, or south for wooded trails in the Huron-Manistee National Forest.

The Partier

No city has anything on Detroit Techno City, but you can definitely get loose and have some fun. Wine Tours: Michigan wines get a bad rep — (We know, we know, just hear us out) but Michigan is located on the same latitude as fine wine regions in France and Germany, and is among the “cool climate” group of wine-producing regions that are known for food-friendly styles of wine, according to the Department of Agriculture. Go ahead, drink — plenty of companies will take you to the best wineries on the Leelanau and Old Mission peninsulas and safely back to town. Blissfest Music Festival: About an hour northeast of town in Petoskey, the small annual roots and folk festival celebrated its 39th year in July with musical performances, merch vendors, and food. If you’re looking to avoid fancy moms in Ann Taylor sweaters, this is definitely the spot to be. Wooded and field camping is available. 522 Liberty St., Petoskey;

The History Buff

Despite all the new business coming into the area, western Michigan has rich Great Lakes, fishing, and tourism history — the kind of stuff that will impress your mom. Fish Town: A row of weathered fishing shanties along the Leland River is the oldest commercial fishing village in Michigan. Some of the buildings have been repurposed as boutiques, art galleries, and specialty food shops. Plus there’s a cheese store next to a candy store — need we say more? 203 Cedar St., Leland The Village at Grand Traverse Commons: The former mental hospital was built in 1884 to provide state-of-the-art recovery and care to patients, featuring bright rooms and natural hiking paths, but in 1989, the building was vacated and left to rot. Five years later, the space was refurbished and repurposed with

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boutique shops, a naturopath, a rare books store, restaurants, and art galleries, along with winding hallways. There are also spooky twilight tours of the underground tunnels and unfinished wings of the hospital. 830 Cottageview Dr., #101, Traverse City; Mission Point Lighthouse and Hessler Log Cabin: In the late 1800s, a boat of mariners hit a shallow reef in the dangerous waters of the West Grand Traverse Bay and sank, killing the entire crew. Today a lighthouse sits in that spot, keeping mariners safe. Only a handful of full-time keepers have lived in

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the secluded lighthouse at the tip of Old Mission Peninsula. The grounds were also home to a couple of the first immigrant settlers. Every third Saturday in June, “pioneer” women cook a meal over open flame and demonstrate turn-of-the-last-century tools to celebrate the first people to legally own their land on the Mission Peninsula for Log Cabin Day. 20500 Center Rd., Traverse City;

The Artsy Friend

Traverse City Film Festival: Michael Moore hosts a twoweek film festival at the end of July that draws an international

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crowd, with films for all ages and interests, discussion panels with directors, educational workshops, and — of course — free outdoor movies. There’s other fun to be had, too: 2017’s event featured a bayside dance party to the Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense. If you plan on coming that weekend, book your lodging and buy your tickets early — they both go quick. City Opera House: This building, located on downtown’s main drag, is one of seven active Victorian playhouses built in Michigan in the late 19th century. Today you can

find a range of theater classes, lecture series, and nationally touring performances, such as The Lion King. 106 E. Front St., Traverse City; Michigan Legacy Art Park: More than 50 contemporary sculptures are on display in this 30-acre wooded park, with local and international artists interpreting the stories, history, and beauty that creates Michigan’s legacy. Visit the amphitheater for live performances and educational series throughout the summer. 7300 Mountainside Dr., Thompsonville;



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When was the last time

you visited Mackinac Island? If you’re like me, it may take you a moment to recall obligatory summer vacations with family, counting years since your petulant teenage years on your fingers, using failed relationships as primary markers of time. Revered as Michigan’s most beloved tourist trap and quaint resort town, Mackinac Island calls to mind nostalgic memories no matter when you last visited or with whom because, on the

surface, the place commonly referred to as “the jewel of the Great Lakes” is downright oldfashioned. It might have something to do with the fact that the use of cars or other motorized vehicles are prohibited — island visitors are asked to travel by foot, bike, or horse-drawn carriage, as they are the only permitted modes of transportation. Secondly, there’s fudge. If Mackinac Island is known for anything, it’s fudge. In

fact, there are 14 fudge shops (Ryba’s is arguably the best of the bunch), and more than 10,000 pounds of fudge leave the island every single day. We challenge you to visit fudge shops (or shoppes) across the country, and we bet that even homemade fudge follows what has been called the “Mackinac recipe” because, yeah — it’s that good. Oh, and tourists (of which there are up to 15,000 per day during peak season) are referred to as “fudgies” by the

residents of the island because, yeah, it’s that good. (Ryba’s Fudge Shop; 7245 Main St., Mackinac Island; 906-847-4065; Third, well, the whole damn island smells like a mixture of horse poop and fudge, and nothing makes me think of life before WiFi more than horse doo-doo and a Civil War-era confectionery treat. OK — the fragrance of the lush evergreen forests (spruce, cedar, paper birch, and balsam fir) is downright delight-

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ful. The 3.8-square-mile island, which once served as home to a Native American tribe, then a fur-trading hub, and also as a military post during the War of 1812, has a rare quality for a “resort town” — it is a luxury, a lesson, and a laid-back adventure all in one perfectly gift-wrapped commemorative shot glass and graphic tee that will be your spouse’s bedroom attire for years to come. So, where do you begin? Fudge? Horses? Nay. Grab a drink at one of the island’s most iconic taverns, because despite its family-friendliness, Mackinac is full of trouble if you choose to seek it out. The Pink Pony, situated inside the Chippewa Hotel (7221 Main St., Mackinac Island; 906- 847-3341;, offers a slew of memorable cocktails suited for anyone looking to

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enter maximum relaxation mode. After you sip upon their famous Island Rum Runner or a Lilac Lemonade (Grey Goose Vodka, Chambord, lemonade, and “a splash” of Champagne, because you deserve it), you can take in the splendor that is the grounds of the nearby Grand Hotel — home of the world’s longest porch (286 Grand Ave., Mackinac Island; 800-334-7263; Snagging a room in the 393-room historic property will run you about $209 (or more) a night during peak season, but the real magic is in the hidden gardens nestled in the forestry surrounding the hotel. Vape here. Once you are properly lubricated (or fumigated, whatever your poison may be), it may be time to rent a damn bike. Better yet, consider a tandem bike, so you can truly experience the struggle

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of 1887. Keep in mind there are many bike rental services (nearly 1,500 bikes available) and not all bikes are created equal, especially if you’re looking to lay waste to the nearly 70 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. After all, you’re going to need a sturdy set of wheels, because you’ll be competing with arm-in-arm gaggles of Vineyard Vines-wearing, out-of-town families who are definitely going to miss their ferry ride if Timmy doesn’t hurry the eff up. Pokémon Go is a scam, Timmy! Next up, the Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House and Insect World (6750 McGulpin St., Mackinac Island; 906-847-3972; is a must-see attraction. As one of the oldest museums of its kind (and the first in Michigan) you would be remiss to not pay a visit to the 500 chrysalis cases where

you can watch the emergence of butterflies from their chrysalis stage. This may be your best opportunity to ponder the meaning of life while on the island. Don’t vape here. To keep the trip extra trippy, brace yourself for a 200-step climb to see the legendary Arch Rock. Located on the east side of the island, the natural rock formation stands with a 50-foot span, with stunning views of Lake Huron. This is a breathtaking sight and a prime selfie spot or pop-the-question locale. Make out here. Though it is sure to be flush with tourists just like you, the views through this geological wonder are a breathtaking reminder as to why Mackinac is, above all else, a choose-your-own-adventure portal to a vacation you may never forget (or remember, for that matter).

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When people think of Port Austin, they likely conjure an image of a seemingly gravity-defying rock formation. Skinny at the bottom, wide at the top, and covered in trees — the massive rock is named for the vegetable it resembles: a turnip. And though the local chamber of commerce says some callers seem to think Port Austin may even be called Turnip Rock, the small beach town at the tip of Michigan’s thumb is much more than the glacial relic for 26 |


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which it’s known. Year-round, Port Austin is home to a tight-knit, laid-back, and extraordinarily friendly band of locals, who are ultimately responsible for the welcoming spirit that draws tens of thousands of visitors to the area each summer. “The people here are so supportive,” says Pam Gabriel-Roth, a longtime Port Austin restaurant owner who grew up in metro Detroit. “I’m so happy I moved here. It’s taught me a lot about how to be a good

person, you know, more thoughtful. Just simple things — like someone gives you a pie with a pan, and you return the pan to them with something else in it.” The local spirit shines through particularly in the off-season, when Port Austinites are left alone in the blistering cold. On a visit there last February, a pair of us city folk walked into the local watering hole, the Landing Tavern, as outsiders, and left with new friends. They told us about

life in the small town (there are about 600 full-time residents, and, yes, everyone knows each other), gave us recommendations of where to go during our short stay, and even invited us to eat some deer with them in neighboring Caseville. Mostly though, people were baffled as to why we were there with temperatures in the teens, and told us to come back in the summer. If you, like most people, elect to venture up to Port Austin in the summer, naturally the rock is a can’t-miss. Described as one of the “natural wonders of Michigan,” Turnip Rock is chief among the draws of Port Austin, with the area’s chamber of commerce reporting that

three-fourths of incoming calls are inquiries about it. To us, the rock looks more like an oyster half-shell than a turnip, but in order to see it up close and draw your own conclusion, you’ll have to rent a kayak or gain access to a boat, as Turnip Rock is not visible from shore (the area closest to it is private property). The kayak trip is a sportive one — the waters of Lake Huron are no joke, and pending the chop, the sevenmile round trip journey from a nearby kayak rental can take more than two hours. “It’s a bucket-list item for many people, and if they’re not over-exhausted when they get back they’re smiling and

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PORT AUSTIN extremely happy they went out there,” says Chris Boyle, owner of Port Austin Kayak. But the trip is worth it for more than just the one rock — there are additional rock formations to check out, including the also top-heavy Thumbnail Point, and a sea cave you can hop out of your kayak and explore. The clear waters of Alaska Bay and the ritzy, rural vacation community of Pointe aux Barques are also worth a look. Further off the coast of the thumb, there lies a diving experience unlike almost any other in the world. Shipwrecks dating back to the 1800s sit on the bottom lake floor, and are so well-preserved they’re said to look just like they did the day they went down. The wrecks are a big draw for deep sea divers from around the globe, and a new Michigan Diver outpost in town helps facilitate their journeys 200 feet underwater. “Seeing these shipwrecks is extremely rare and only possible because of the freshwater of the Great Lakes,” says Michigan Diver co-owner Michael Lynch. “If you had these same wrecks in the ocean, the salt water and the sea life would deteriorate them, so it’s one of the only places in the world that you see these — especially the old wooden schooners from the 1800s.” Once back on land, you can take a hike through the woodlands and sand dunes of Port Crescent State Park or relax on one of Port Austin’s several beaches. Port Crescent has three miles of sandy shoreline prime for a stroll; Bird Creek park is huge, with a wooden boardwalk and roofed picnic shelters overlooking the water; and Veteran’s Waterfront park, just off the city’s quaint downtown, has a small sandy beach, grassy areas for a picnic, and a long break wall to walk. The wall is worth a visit any time of year, really. In the winter, the frozen waves of Lake Huron

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cling to its concrete ledges, creating elegant ice formations. When you’ve had your fill of outdoor adventuring, you can enjoy some shopping or dining in the city’s small downtown. You can shop for trinkets or get ice cream at the Lake Street Emporium, enjoy a meal at The Bank 1884 restaurant, or sit down for a pizza at the equally popular Joe’s. And if you’re there on a weekend, Port Austin’s farmers market is a must-visit. The market spans several blocks, with vendors from across the state hawking everything from produce and jams to barn art and other handcrafts. For a quality dinnertime meal away from the action, consider the Farm. Situated on farmlands about five miles from downtown, the Farm is owned by Gabriel-Roth, who crafts her evolving menu based on highquality, locally sourced ingredients. The white fish is caught on a bay 45 minutes away and delivered to the restaurant four times a week. As of this printing, it was being prepared with a pretzel crust and a grainy mustard sauce — adding a little salt and crunch to the taste of the delicate fresh fish. Another popular dish is the farmer-style braised beef — a short rib drizzled in a red wine demi glaze with sides of carmelized sweet onion and carrots. The restaurant is homey and comfortable, with vintage mismatched table cloths and fresh flowers on each table. There are plenty of windows through which to take in the view, and in the chillier months they light a wood stove. Notable lodging options include the retro Beachcomber Motel, the adorable Little Yellow Cottages, and bed and breakfasts like the stately Garden Inn. If you’re hoping to visit at the height of tourist season, be sure to book in advance. The owner of the Little Yellow Cottages says she’s already getting bookings for next year.




Most metro Detroiters heading up to Mackinaw City would take that last leg of Interstate 75 from Indian River to Big Mac at high speed, shooting up those final 28 miles in 20 minutes or less, law and common sense be damned. People have always wanted “the blessing of hours of pleasure in God’s great open spaces” — but were probably never in such a damned, roadkill-mashing hurry to get there until Henry Ford came along. And yet if you find you have a few hours to putter the long way around, especially on a weekday, veer westward toward Emmet County. The county juts out into Lake Michigan from Mackinaw to Little Traverse Bay, and has more than its fair share of history as counties go, including savage and weird episodes at odds with such happy names as Pleasant View, Good Hart, and Bliss. Get off I-75 at Indian River and you’ll be treated to one of Michigan’s religious curiosities: The National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods. It’s a massive statue of Jesus hanging on the world’s largest crucifix. Not only can you snag a selfie with the Big J, and peruse the museum of nun dolls, Mass is celebrated 30 |


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daily. As Catholic shrines go, this one seems built to appeal to adherents of the church who take to the road, an unholy alliance of Christianity and car culture. For instance, you can drop in on Our Lady of the Highway, patroness of the estimated 300,000 pilgrims the Cross in the Woods attracts annually. Many motorists would then choose to proceed in a westerly direction to take in lovely Harbor Springs, a natural harbor facing Petoskey across Little Traverse Bay. It is worth a look-see, but due to more than a century’s worth of summer resort money — much of it from Chicago — the once-quaint harbor village has been distorted into something approaching Traverse City writ small. Visitors pay a pretty penny to stay in elegant hotels in Wequetonsing, near Roaring Brook’s nature preserves, the 18-hole Wequetonsing Golf Club, founded in 1896, and the year-round activities at Boyne Highlands — and still close enough to sneak into town for a meal at Stafford’s Pier Restaurant, where $37 will get you the 6-ounce filet in Bordelaise. For our money, though (which, admittedly, isn’t a lot), we’d skip it by heading up U.S.

31 past Alanson and Brutus to downtown Pellston, which could use your business. Lacking lakeside scenery, these outposts of civilization at rural crossroads have to work for their money, and get the job done with a little extra grace. You’ll find a restaurant called Small Town Grill, holder of the fabled five-star Yelp rating. Or you can fortify yourself with a visit to the Pellston General Store, the kind of overstocked gas station familiar to Michigan road dogs, and a good place to pick up some sandwich fixings, even some basic finger food, such as fried mushrooms. Head out of town west, and out on Robinson Road you’ll hit Jurek’s Meat Market, where you can get house-made jerky from an actual family business. About 10 miles to the west, you’ll hit Lake Michigan and the burgs of Good Hart and Middle Village, where you’ll gain access to the striking Tunnel of Trees Scenic Heritage Route. The lake will be a quarter-mile away, but seen only through the trees. Pro tip: The St. Ignatius Church, at 101 N. Lamkin Rd. in Middle Village, has a trail from its cemetery that leads to the beach. But most of the


lakefront, prime real estate in the “Land of the Million-Dollar Sunset,” is studded with the abodes of the wealthy and mostly private property. (By some estimates, one-third of the residential units in Emmet County aren’t primary residences.) It was in one of those lakefront “cottages” 50 years ago that the still-unsolved Good Hart murders took place. A well-todo suburban Detroit family was mass murdered while staying at their Lake Michigan vacation home on June 25, 1968. The victims were Richard Robison, his wife Shirley, and their four children. So secluded was their retreat that the bodies were not discovered until almost four weeks later that summer. True crime buffs may want to bring along a copy of Mardi Jo Link’s 2008 book When Evil Came to Good Hart, guaranteed to add a chill even in summer’s sunshine. The area was once the site of a sprawling Ottawa settlement. On a high bluff stood a towering but crooked pine. Visible for miles, it was a marker for native peoples canoeing around the bend. Even centuries ago, the ancient fir was regarded as a sacred being, called Wargunuk-

kezee, or “the bent tree.” It was even part of ancient mythology: According to Anishinaabe stories, the tree acquired its shape when trickster deity Nanabozho struck it in a fit of pique. French fur traders and missionaries called it L’Arbe Croche. About 200 years ago, it disappeared. If poet and local historian John C. Wright’s account is to be believed, another grew in its place only to be “cut down by a bad man” 50 years later. “The offender,” Wright wrote, “had a miserable existence after that and died suddenly. He was punished by the Great Spirit because the Crooked Tree was sacred to the Indians.” Given the area’s deep Native American history, it should come as no surprise that the Tunnel of Trees follows a trail — many of Michigan’s highways were built upon such trails. But this section of M-119 is a “Scenic Heritage Route” — which is to say it’s also a sort of throwback in time. The route twists and turns through heavy woods, lacking a center line when it narrows to less than two lanes. The road has no shoulders, and the majestic hardwood trees often stand right where the

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CROSS VILLAGE pavement ends. The only way to make a two-point turn is often to pull into the driveway of one of the route’s many Robisonian dream homes. It’s the only state highway of its kind, and the views attract pleasure cyclists and motorbike rallies. Which brings us to another point: As beautiful as it is to see from a bicycle or as the passenger in a car, it can be frustrating to any motorist in a hurry. The tortuous squiggles, curves, and turns often leave you blind to oncoming traffic, especially when you’d most like to pass a group of cyclists asserting their right to the road. Our advice is: Take it easy. Every other state road in Michigan is designed to make the motorist the king of the road, free to jam down on the accelerator and never have to wait longer than 10 minutes for the next designated passing zone. Driving north out of Good Hart, there are only seven miles of this one-of-a-kind roadway. There could be worse places to be slowed down a bit. Share what little road there is, and don’t make any risky passes that you’ll regret. But even if your nerves are a little jangled, you’ll start to feel better when you reach Cross Village. The forest opens up to reveal a small town, and right away you’ll notice that one building is more fanciful than all the others: Legs Inn. Faced with fieldstone and timbers, its first-floor roofline is graced with little stovepipe legs, the source of its unusual name. When it comes to dining, Legs is the best, and almost the only, game in town. The eatery’s menu of Polish food rivals Hamtramck’s in quality. The outdoor dining area is not only beautiful, but sits up on a high bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, a perch where cool breezes strengthen the appetite. But the real story is the outsider art inside, created in the 20th century by Stanley Smolak, a Polish immigrant who spent 40 years collecting driftwood,

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antlers, wood that looked like antlers, and giant pieces of tree trunks. He assembled it all into his one-of-a-kind inn, which has now been a family business for 90 years. The hand-carved furniture and artworks are testament to Smolak’s love of northern Michigan, and yet they retain a bit of Old World whimsy. Typical of Smolak’s work is a piece called “Struggle” that greets visitors to the lobby: a huge hunk of wood painted to resemble something like a ferocious bear. Unfortunately, the restaurant’s noteriety can mean that those legions of cyclists or motorbikers can and do rally their way through the Tunnel of Trees, only to end up at Legs Inn. You might find the whole place parked up with two-wheeled vehicles and the hostess quoting wait times that seem unreasonable. (Remember how we recommended a weekday visit?) Well, if you have to wait, there’s a good place to do it nearby. Heck, even if you do get to eat right away, afterward you might drive down where Waterfront Drive turns off onto Park Lane, where, 100 feet below Legs Inn, you can enjoy relaxing at Cross Village Beach. Lake Michigan is never warm, but on a gentle day in late summer, you might find the shoals extending out into the lake warmer than most spots. Beaches such as this one seldom have problems with contamination or bacteria, but you can always check ahead to find if there are any closures by looking at www.deq.state. Even if it were closed, though, it’s still a beautiful place to sunbathe. And on a clear day, you should just be able to make out the outline of Beaver Island, where King James Strang, leader of the Kingdom of God on Earth, ruled over his Mormon followers as “America’s only king” — at least until he was assassinated in 1856. See? It just gets weirder.




You might say that Grand Rapids is Detroit’s little brother. As the state’s second most-populous city, the two cities have something of a rivalry, and it’s likely plenty of people will argue “the west side is the best side.” Maybe they have a point. Here are some of the places to visit when you want to escape the fracas of the Motor City for another.


There’s a reason Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Floyd Mayweather have all shoved these hot dogs into their mouths. This place has a reputation for a reason, and it’s beyond nostalgia. OK, maybe it is just nostalgia: There’s something about the smell of boiled hot dog water that just says “comfort food.” Sure, you’re not going to get the standard “snap” of the beloved Koegel’s casing, but you’re not in Detroit. There are no fries here, but you can smash some Michigan-made Cheeze Kurls. Pro tip: Come here for a cheap date if you only have $5 to your name. 1505 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids; 616-336-0746;

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Founders Brewing Company

Yes, there is a Founders in Detroit now, but this is the OG. If there is any one reason Grand Rapids is named “Beer City, USA” it’s because of this place — there are plenty of breweries here, but this is the daddy of them all. Founders beer is brilliant, and the establishment itself is second to none, with a giant main floor, great sandwiches, a huge outdoor patio, and a live music stage. Be warned, it is always busy — so get ready for a crowd, and be sure to try a Red’s Rye IPA, which is not sold in stores. 235 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids; 616-776-1195;

Grand Rapids Art Museum

At the GRAM, they have specialized exhibits from both artists from Michigan and beyond. Admission is $10 for adults, although it is free on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (Thanks, Meijer donations.) 101 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids; 616831-1000;

Grand Central Market

Down the street from the GRAM you’ll find all of your deli and beverage needs — and you’ll probably need a snack after you get out and contemplate all the art you really didn’t understand but pretended you did in front of your date — where you can get a $12 sandwich and $3 craft soda. Nearby, they film our local WOOD-TV news front and center in the window. Feel free to walk back in front of the TV station and wave a dumb sign if you want. Hi, Mom! 57 Monroe St. NW, Grand Rapids; 616-454-5300;

Donkey Taqueria

Welcome to West Michigan’s answer to Detroit’s Cass Corridor — ironically, this neighborhood is also called Midtown, and what was once a barren wasteland of boarded-up buildings is now also filled with great restaurants and bars. Hooray, gentrification! If you’re in a Mexican street food mood, try Donkey Taqueria, which has the best queso and margaritas in town. 665 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids;

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GRAND RAPIDS The Winchester

Located across the street from Donkey Taqueria, the Winchester has a great Sunday Bloody Mary bar, complete with a ’90s hip-hop playlist. You build your own Bloody as far as all the spices and sauces go, and there’s also a plethora of skewer toppings (like bacon, pepperoni, cheddar cheese, shrimp, and blue cheesestuffed green olives) to shove in your glass as well. Be sure to load that skewer all the way up and get your $7 worth, and remember to Instagram or it didn’t happen. 648 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids; 616-451-4969;

The Meanwhile

If you are feeling extra hip, the Meanwhile has got you covered, with cheap, strong drinks and a multitude of local artwork adorning the walls. While there is an old-school jukebox here (not the internet kind), usually the bartenders will just play whatever they want. Here, you can enjoy a spirited round of old-school Pac-Man (you know, the sit-down kind) over a house classic Vern Ehlers (Vernors and whiskey). 1005 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids; 616-233-1679;

Forty Acres and a Mule

Half a mile up the street from the Meanwhile is this newly opened soul food restaurant and bar. Owners Darel Ross and Lewis Williams have long been community activists for Grand Rapids, and proudly represent the black community. When they saw a void in Grand Rapids when it came to black-owned businesses and restaurants, they started their own, bringing upscale soul food to the Wealthy Street business district. (All of the aforementioned hot spots have outdoor seating, so you can feel the summer breeze whisper sweet nothings into your ears and enjoy the sun before Old

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Man Winter comes for the next eight months.) 1059 Wealthy St. SE, Grand Rapids; 616-723-9770;

Millennium Park

If you want to lay in the sand and jump in some water while without going too far (10 minutes from downtown), this is the spot to do it. Admission is $4 and well worth it. Besides swimming, there are nearly 18 miles of walking and bike trails that surround this little beauty. You can also rent kayaks, canoes, and standup paddle boards. There are also picnic pavilions with grills and a playground for the kids. 1415 Maynard Ave. SW, Walker; 616791-2357; millennium

Frederik Meijer Gardens

Here, a conservatory of rare plants from around the world are surrounded by plenty of sculptures. Notables include “Plantoir,” a dinosaur-sized shovel, and “The American Horse.” The Great Lakes Garden is also a great interactive experience if your spawn are with you. Besides the Amphitheater Garden, which hosts many shows throughout the summer, the Frederik Gardens are most renowned for its butterfly exhibition. 1000 E.

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Beltline Ave. NE, Grand Rapids; 888-957-1580;

Tree Runner Adventure Park

Since butterfly-watching is such a riveting event, you can pump that adrenaline back up at this nearby park, which features obstacle courses, rope bridges, and even zip lines so you can fly through the trees and get your Tarzan on. 2121 Celebration Dr. NE, Grand Rapids; 616-226-3993;

Stella’s Lounge

Besides touting America’s best burger (as named by GQ in 2013), Stella’s also has more than 200 whiskeys and classic arcade games. On a Monday you can catch the Drunken Retort, an outlet for artists to express themselves in an open mic format put on by a collective of local poets and activists, the Diatribe. Get there early — it fills up quick. 53 Commerce Ave., Grand Rapids; 616-742-4444;


Falling in September and October, ArtPrize — the brainchild of Rick DeVos (the DeVoses run Grand Rapids much like Dan Gilbert runs the the D) — brings people from around the world to the city. In 2017, 1,346

works created by 1,512 artists from 42 states and 47 countries were exhibited in 175 venues. While some locals groan at the increased tourism and kitschy art, there’s no denying ArtPrize is truly a spectacle, with all the excitement and controlled chaos running downtown. ArtPrize venues range from outdoor exhibits to local bars, encompassing paintings, sculptures, murals, and more. Many are featured in the galleries of the Heartside District, scattered throughout downtown. If you don’t mind large crowds, this is for you. Get your camera phone ready, some of the displays are mind-blowing.

The Pyramid Scheme GR has an array of music venues to catch a show, and all the good ones are smack dab downtown. This venue hosts great indie shows, and also boasts 24 pinball machines. 68 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids; 616-2723758;

The Intersection

The Intersecton is also a solid for live music, with three different stages — so they can hold multiple shows at the same damn time. 133 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids; 616-451-8232;

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If you’re a “Troll” — that is, if you live

downstate, or “under the Mackinac Bridge” — it can be easy to forget that Michigan has a whole other damn peninsula. Actually, it seems to happen a lot: A Facebook group, “Maps Without Michigan’s Upper Peninsula,” keeps track of maps that erroneously omit the land of the “Yoopers” — sometimes from Michigan, sometimes from the entire United States of America. Why does this cartographical blooper keep happening? Maybe it’s because the cutesy nickname for our state, “the Mitten,” clearly refers to the Lower Peninsula only. (Otherwise it would be “the Mittens,” right?) Maybe it’s the fact that culturally, Yoopers are quite different from the rest of us Michiganders — for instance, they are more likely to root

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for the nearby Green Bay Packers than they are for the Detroit Lions. (Though with the Lions’ losing streak, who could blame them?) Or maybe it’s because, simply, the U.P. is a faraway land — it takes nearly 10 hours to drive from Detroit to Calumet. Whatever the reasons, all Trolls would be remiss to not pay the land of the “Yoopers” a visit — it’s the quintessential Michigan road trip. Here’s why.

Hot pocket

Pasties are a northern comfort food — think of them as the U.P.’s answer to the Detroit coney dog. They arrived in Michigan via miners from Cornwall, England, and though the U.P.’s once-booming 19th century mining industry has largely wound

down, the pasty remains. The baked dough pocket is traditionally filled with a mix of ground beef, potatoes, carrots, and rutabaga, though these days you’ll find plenty of updates on the classic formula, including vegetarian, pizza, and breakfast options. Once in the U.P., you’ll find no shortage of places hawking the northern treat. Located right off the bridge is the family-owned Lehto’s (1983 W. US 2, St. Ignac; 906-6438542;, a favorite since 1947. But no matter where you get your pasties, you’ll have to make a decision: to slather it in ketchup or gravy. Most spots will offer both condiments, but everyone will secretly judge you depending on which one you use. (Think of it as the Michigan version of Dr. Seuss’ Butter Battle.)

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MARQUETTE Down under

Speaking of the mines, you can still visit them. Once home to the world’s deepest shaft, burrowing some 9,000 feet into the ground, Quincy Mine (49750 US-41, Hancock; 906-482-3101; quincymine. com) was one of the Upper Peninsula’s most successful copper mines. Now, it offers guided tours that just scratch the surface of the formerly complex network of tunnels. For an even more daring mining tour, you can try Adventure Mine Tours (200 Adventure Ave., Greenland; 906-883-3371;, a three-hour journey that involves rappelling down a dark, 80-foot mine shaft by rope and traversing a 30-foot chasm by swing bridge. This is how you earn that pasty.

Wild art

If the pasty is the U.P.’s answer to the coney, then perhaps Lakenland (2800 M-28, Marquette; 906-249-1132; could be thought of as its answer to the Heidelberg Project, artist Tyree Guyton’s neighborhood-sized art installation in Detroit. The brainchild of ironworker Tom Lakenen, Lakenland is a sprawling, 37-acre woodland populated by colorful, whimsical sculptures made of scrap metal. Like the Heidelberg Project, Lakenland has become an unexpectedly popular tourist destination, and like Guyton, Lakenen has battled with his local government to protect his unorthodox creation. Today, the outdoor park is open 24 hours a day, is free to the public, and is a favorite course for snowmobile riders in the winter.

Picture this

One of the U.P.’s best treasures is Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore — 42 miles of picturesque rock formations, waterfalls, and sand dunes. The highlight is the shore’s colorful sandstone cliffs,

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made of 500-million-year-old Cambrian Period sandstone that has been naturally carved into caves, arches, and even formations resembling things, like castles or human faces. Geologist Henry Rowe Schoolcraft called them “some of the most sublime and commanding views in nature” in 1820, and more recently, even rocker Kid Rock was so moved by their beauty that he filmed his video for “Born Free” here. For a tour, you can try Pictured Rocks Cruises (100 City

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Park Dr., Munising; 906-3872379; for a narrated trip, or Pictured Rocks Kayaking (1348 Commercial St., Munising; 906-387-5500; if you want to explore on your own.

High marks for Marquette

Aside from the aforementioned pasties, Marquette is a great place to visit as a tourist. With a population of some 20,000, it’s the U.P.’s largest

city and also home to Northern Michigan University, so it does have a bit of a night life. Highlights include the hip Blackrocks Brewery (424 N. Third St., Marquette; 906-2731333;, a converted corner house that has become a hip meeting place with live music and craft beer, or Third Base Bar (726 N. Third St., Marquette; 906- 226-9581) — a friendly dive bar where everyone will likely know your name by the end of the night.





Detroit seems to get all of the atten-

tion when it comes to conversations about all things culinary in the Great Lakes State, but there are plenty of other great restaurants and chefs across the state. Here are a few of our favorites.


MaMang: Billed as Flint’s only southeast Asian eatery serving “Vietnamese cuisine and Taiwanese treats inside the Flint Farmer’s Market,” MaMang is the product of chef Tony Vu, a master at fusing traditional and contemporary approaches from around the world. His offerings include dishes like the crispy Peking duck tacos with a sweet and sour pineapple salsa, or bun thit nuong with grilled lemongrass, caramel pork, spring rolls, cucumber, cilantro, shiso, Asian mint over vermicelli rice noodles, and a Vietnam-

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ese vinaigrette. But he’s best known for his Texas Smoked Brisket Pho — a 20-hour post oak smoked brisket to match a 20-hour bone broth. Vu’s professional cooking career launched with a food truck in 2014 following extensive trips to Vietnam and Peru. He now holds down a permanent spot at the Flint Farmers Market, from which he sources around 75 percent of the ingredients he uses during the summer months. Look for his recently opened spot in Traverse City. 300 E. 1st St., Flint; 810-394-8492

White Lake

The Root Restaurant & Bar: Just outside of metro Detroit is the Root, one of the restaurants that embraced seasonality and the local food movement early on. It still stands strong, offering dishes like Baked Michigan Brie (Reny Picot Triple Crème

Brie in a puff pastry with Grass Farms arugula, radish, dried cherry, fresh apple, and Michigan maple and black pepper balsamic vinaigrette) and the Michigan Pork Chop (whole grain mustard spaetzle, mushroom and roasted leek jus, fig mostarda, and mustard greens). The Root also has a killer fried bologna sandwich, made with Michigan’s C-Roy bologna. 340 Town Center Blvd., White Lake Charter Township; 786-769-9646


Golden Harvest: Killer omelettes and inventive breakfast dishes are the name of the game at this Old Town restaurant, where people will literally line up out the door to try them. Specials change all the time, but a sample of top notch plates include the Blue, Blue Balloon (blueberry, vanilla custard, shortbread, and blueberry coulis) or the

Breakfast Arepas (fried corn cakes topped with chorizo, egg, black bean, onion, garlic, pineapple, salsa, pepper jack, and cumin lime yogurt). 1625 Turner Rd, Lansing; 517-485-3663


Food Dance: Food Dance is one of Kalamazoo’s best spots for locally sourced, seasonally driven fare, and it maintains relationships with excellent companies and farms like the Brinery, Waterstreet Roastery, and Cedar Crest Dairy. Those relationships are used to build dishes like the BBQ Rocksteady Sandwich (Young Earth Farms pulled pork, BBQ sauce, and spicy slaw on a brioche roll) and Food Dance Pad Thai (bok choy, onion, ginger, carrot, egg, tamarind sauce, crushed peanuts, cilantro and the choice of chicken or tofu). 401 E. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo; 269-382-1888;


The Cove: Long before extreme bloody Marys were ever a thing, Leland’s the Cove was smoking chubbies and plunging them into their bloody Marys — the “Chubby Mary” — at their dockside restaurant on the Leelanau Peninsula. For fans of smoked fish, this is a must. For those unacquainted with a chub fish, it’s a tiny breed the flourishes in the Great Lakes, and is extra tasty after hanging out in the smoker. The Cove puts the approximately five-inch fish in its spicy bloody Mary with an olive, pickle, and lemon wedge. If you’re hungry, the Cove specializes in whitefish — try the Campfire Whitefish baked in foil with peppers and onions, or the stuffed whitefish that is “pinwheeled” with crab and shrimp stuffing. 111 River St, Leland; 231256-9834;


Jose’s Authentic Mexican Restaurant: Outstate towns aren’t necessarily known for


their Mexican fare, but Jose’s offers some of the best tacos around. Beyond those, try the Mexican pizza (thin and crispy crust, beans, cheese, tomato, cilantro, sour cream, and salsa; with the option to add steak, pork, chicken, chorizo, or barbacoa) and shrimp cocktail (shrimp, cocktail sauce, onion, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, avocado, and lime juice). 309 Petoskey St., Petoskey; 231-3483299

Traverse City

Gaijin: Gaijin offers “Japanese comfort foods” and is similar to an izakaya, or Japanese gastropub. Here’s you’ll find excellent dishes like the pork gyoza (black bean sauce, enoki mushroom, and pea shoots) as well as the Angry Crab Roll (lump crab, chili paste, cucumber, wasabi tobiko, and avocado). 136 E. Front St., Traverse City; 231-421-5466;

Grand Rapids

The Green Well: The Green Well bills itself as an American gastropub serving “honest fayre” with a local flair. That translates into excellent, seasonally driven cuisine built with ingredients from awesome local producers. Its building is LEED-certified, and it offers a

fine selection of beer, wine, and craft cocktails. Check out the Michigan Turkey (all-natural local turkey, sweet potatoes, creamy coleslaw, smoked bacon, white cheddar, tomato vinaigrette, grilled Field and Fire sourdough) or the Seafood escabeche tacos (Lake Superior whitefish, tiger shrimp, and blue crab escabeche with pickled radish and onion, spicy sour cream, citrus slaw, cilantro, guacamole, Green Well fire-roasted salsa and Champion Chips). 924 Cherry St., Grand Rapids; 616-808-3566;


Donckers: A homemade candy store, soda fountain, and restaurant that offers frozen treats like the T-Rex Sundae (zanzibar, sea salt caramel ice cream, chocolate and caramel sauce, chocolate rocks, Oreo crumbles, real whipped cream, and Donckers chocolate dust) and solid plates like the Scarecrow Sandwich (turkey, bacon, roasted red peppers, smoked gouda, and avocado spread on your choice of white, wheat, rye, or house focaccia bread). Without a doubt, Donckers is one of the most fun places on this list. 137 W. Washington St., Marquette; 906-226-6110;


Fuzzy’s Restaurant: The housemade bread in the folded sandwiches is what people drive across county lines to get at. The sandwiches consist of different meats stuffed into the bread that’s accompanied by lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mayonnaise, and mozzarella. Fuzzy’s is also a favorite visit because it offers a soda fountain and ice cream parlor. 1924 Court St., Saginaw; 989-790-1719

Port Huron

Palms Krystal Bar and Grill: Good fried chicken is a rarity this far north of the MasonDixon, and sometimes you’ve got to drive to get it. Port Huron’s Palms Krystal Bar and Grill offers Grandma Fay’s Chicken and Waffles (two pieces of chicken in a rough, homemade Belgian waffle, butter, maple syrup, and creamy coleslaw) and, if you aren’t in the market for bird, the Ultimate Bacon Burger (ground Angus beef, Smith’s Applewood smoked bacon, cheddar, jumbo onion ring, mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle, toasted brioche bun, and a side of BBQ sauce). Get it to go and take it for a picnic at any of Port Huron’s awesome waterfront state parks. 1535 Pine Grove Ave., Port Huron; 810-9859838;

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In 2016, upon his first-ever visit to Detroit, Gabriel Currie took a late-night stroll. Actually, “stroll” doesn’t do it justice. It was an hours-long, way-past-midnight walk through downtown streets. By himself. The Los Angeles native was invited here by acquaintances who were locals, but slipped away from his hosts. “I heard all the stories 50 |


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for years,” he says. “I wanted to see for myself.” He must have liked what he saw. In May of the following year Currie, founder and owner of boutique guitar builder Echopark, packed up lock, stock, and fingerboards and moved his operation from the L.A. district that inspired his company’s name to a nondescript, 4,000-square-foot structure in Detroit’s Old

Redford neighborhood. “It’s been interesting,” Currie acknowledges. “There have been challenges, for sure. Once my wife [Dawn] found the right house it became easier. But being in a new environment, no family nearby, no friends you have history with. I’m not afraid of much, but it hasn’t been all roses and chocolate cake.”


That may have been a subconscious reference to the halfeaten chocolate cake perched in Echopark’s lobby, a souvenir from the backstage birthday party for drummer Jason Bonham, whose Led Zeppelin Experience played DTE Energy Music Theatre the night before. Currie’s handcrafted, custommade guitars, amplifiers, and related gear allow him access to some very notable circles. Joe Perry of Aerosmith owns more than a dozen Echopark models. Troy Van Leeuwen and Royal Oak’s Dean Fertita from Queens of the Stone Age are fans. So is Jonny “Two Bags” Wickersham of Social Distortion, who praises Currie on the Echopark website for placing “so much care into the instruments he builds that his passion verges on obsession.” And Jackson Browne is so tight that Currie says the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer asked him to arrange Browne’s solo concert last August at the historic Redford Theatre. “We both love old buildings,” Currie says. “We were looking

at pictures of the neighborhood and Jackson said, ‘Look at this theater! It’s a little gem. I’d love to play there. Can you make it happen?’ I said, ‘Sure,’ but I just got here. I didn’t even know if they did live performances.” Currie, a colorful, damn-thetorpedoes type whose enthusiasm, intensity, and tattoos — including the one on his neck honoring his mother, Corallia — belie his 49 years, says the one question he still gets asked after more than a year in business here is why. “Why in the hell would anybody give up the tinsel and ta-tas of L.A. to move to Detroit?” he echoes. Reared in hardscrabble Southern California (“There were gang fights right outside our front door”) and overcoming a checkered past, Currie was, as they say in Hollywood, scouting new locations. “I grew up in that whole fucking thing, and was aware of the pariahs at a young age,” he says. “I did all I could do there and I said, ‘What would be the opposite of this, but still the same in terms

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of American identity?’ “I thought if I went to Detroit and could inhale some of that wind, dig my toes into some of that dirt, that could be it,” he says. “The air is clean, the people are very nice, and there’s no traffic. In L.A. you can’t get a turkey sandwich without spending a half-hour on the highway. I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if I had the chance to tailor my story my way?’ And it’s working out.” Currie chanced into an apprenticeship in L.A. as a luthier, or maker of stringed instruments, under the late Leo Fender, the Henry Ford of the electric guitar. He took a brief career detour into construction to provide for Dawn and their daughter, Petra, but a fall off a scaffold 10 years ago quickly rekindled his love of making guitars. He still takes a hands-on approach to the crafting of his instruments. This day he is excited by a shipment of sinker logs recovered from the bottom of Lake Michigan near Muskegon. “I use aged wood to achieve the things I want in tonality and stability,” he explains. His small production team includes master luthier Jim Duggan, a fellow SoCal native who Currie persuaded to move with him. “The first night was kind of scary, but I was

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ready for a change,” Duggan says. “I love the winter.” Echopark guitars don’t come cheap: He created a DT series of instruments in the $2,400 to $3,000 range upon relocating, “to take the spirit of ingenuity here and market something a little more affordable,” Currie says, but the rest of his product line runs from $3,500 to $14,000. He has reduced delivery time from one-to-two years to six-to-eight months. “Dudes with money aren’t used to waiting for anything,” he observes. A documentary on Currie’s conversion is in the works. It surely will include creation of the Old Redford Community Arts Foundation, which he and his wife founded with his proceeds from Browne’s concert. “When I was little we got dropped off at places in the community where kids could go sing, paint, dance, learn,” he says. “I thought it would be really cool if we could help foster that, create a little oasis here for these kids.” “It’s not enough to just move someplace and have a great house and business,” Currie says. “I want to affect other things, and be effective.” More information is available at




Schooley’s Original Spring Bobber Pole

Schooley’s, Greenville; According to family legend, one Michigan product started out as a childhood dream. Marvin Schooley had a dream that would seem to be very normal for a Michigan boy: He was ice fishing, but with a special pole he had never seen. The very next day, Marvin put together a model of the fishing pole in his dream, the first prototype of his “Original Spring Bobber Pole.” The design got popular, and a number of Marvin’s friends asked him to make them some. In the 1960s, Marvin improved the pole and developed even more fishing tackle, the products that now form the basic wares at Schooley’s Ice Tackle, owned by Marvin’s grandson, in Greenville, about 10 miles northeast of Grand Rapids. But Schooley’s isn’t the only manufacturing game in Greenville, which has hosted such companies as Ranney Refrigerator, Gibson Guitars, White Consolidated, and Frigidaire.

Hatchetman Keychain

Psychopathic Merchandise, Farmington

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Hills; The Insane Clown Posse is more than a band, it’s a Midwestern marketing empire. And how does an offbeat horrorcore rap duo become a Great Lakes State cottage business? Simple. First, the gruesome twosome held onto their publishing rights as best they could, which means they’re not at the mercy of even-more-gruesome coastal corporates. Second, the imaginative line of products they have marshaled means they own the site where you search for merch. And no merch is more iconic than the ICP “hatchetman,” a figure seen running in profile carrying a hand ax held high. It’s the symbol for Psychopathic Records and its artists, back when the label was going to be called Mad Paperboy Records, and ICP’s Shaggy 2 Dope sketched the runner on a napkin. As a Juggalo once told us, “It’s a great symbol for ICP, the record label, and Juggalos in general, because he’s always running, with his hatchet held high almost as a salute, and moving forward toward the future, never running backwards, cutting things down that get in the way, always making epic things happen.”

Martha’s Original Mackinac Island Fudge

Mackinac Island; Not all fudge packs the same wallop. And not many fudges on Mackinac Island can boast the pedigree of Martha’s, which is made using a century-old recipe with fine ingredients, cooked in copper, poured, cooled, and “hand-paddled” on a halfton marble slab. It all helps ensure that each 8-ounce slice of fudge is delectable, whether it’s garden variety or an exotic double dark chocolate caramel sea salt fudge. Lots of Martha’s fudges even have nuts in them, including pecan, walnut, and peanut butter.

Press On Juice

Traverse City; In 2012, Kristin Rockwood’s health was at low ebb. Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, her skin was discolored, her knuckles hurt, her hair was falling out, and, worst of all, she was unable to keep up with her two young daughters. A radical change in diet followed, as Rockwood moved away from processed foods and began loading



up on cold-pressed fruits and vegetables. Her health improved, the pounds melted away, and when she was back chasing her youngsters around, she decided to market a line of juices so that others could enjoy the same benefits without the extra effort and cleanup that juicing can involve. Now there are more than a dozen different concoctions, ranging from an 8-ounce mini-brew to an 18-bottle three-day cleanse package.

True North Rye Vodka

Grand Traverse Distillery;; Tasting rooms in Traverse City, Leland, and Frankenmuth Until recently, the distillery scene in Michigan resembled the state’s beer scene in the 1990s: Large, industrial concerns dominated the market with almost no challengers. Fortunately, however, the loosened rules that made the state’s craft brewing scene possible generated interest in small, craft distilling. One of the most established small distillers is Grand Traverse Distillery, as it was a pioneer in the legal microdistilling business. For a decade, Grand Traverse has used an Arnold Holstein still custombuilt in Germany to produce spirits using fine grains, and to deliver batches by taste, not by automation. Their True North Rye Vodka has been showered with more than a dozen awards, and they also produce a wheat vodka, a cherry vodka (natch), and a chipotle vodka, as well as

gin, whiskey, and bourbon.

Win Schuler’s Cheese Spread Jackson-area restaurant owner Win Schuler ran a very successful eatery that bore his name. The problem was lines were so long that diners were often famished by the time they got to their seats. So he sweetened the deal a bit by making sure diners sat down to bread, meatballs, and his proprietary “Bar Scheeze.” And, like today’s bottomless breadsticks or Cheddar Bay biscuits, diners developed a taste for the creamy, cheesy sauce. Win Schuler is gone, but his party mix lives on, available online in several sizes and flavors: original cheddar, sharp cheddar, bacon, “lite” cheddar, even a 2-pound party size.

Steenstra’s Almond Cookies

Available statewide at Meijer These brittle, gingery cookies baked with slivers of almonds and a hint of cinnamon and clove were a classic when your grandmother was a baby. They are based on a Dutch recipe that comes by way of western Michigan, where many hail from Holland. They’ve remained a classic ever since the 1920s, with the only ups and downs being the motion of the cookies as they’re dunked in milk. The brand is now managed by a larger firm, but the little orange packages of cookies are guaranteed to fill you with the same warm, fuzzy feelings when your pajamas had feet on them.

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yoPleurasure? 35806 VAN DYKE AVE. STERLING HEIGHTS 48312 @ 15 1/2 MILE RD

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American Gourmet Butter Pretzels

Sayklly’s Salt Water Taffy

Bavarian Inn Franconian Style Mustard


America Gourmet Snacks, Essexville; Before it became a shopworn marketing buzzword, “gourmet” attempted to stake out a place in American food that was on a somewhat higher plane. Back in 1981, Robert Jaenicke hoped to elevate the pretzel, a finger food eaten by the handful and washed down with beer, to something fancier. Using a patented and secret process, Jaenicke’s pretzel was both butterier and arguably better for you. Today, 37 years later, the pretzel’s makers claim it’s “the best tasting mini-twist pretzel available.”

Bavarian Inn, Frankenmuth; Bavarian Inn has become a one-stop shop for the roadtripping SUV set. Countless thousands of families visit each year, snapping photos at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, ordering the chicken at Zehnder’s, and perhaps spending the night at Bavarian Inn. You can take a little flavor from the latter in the form of a squeeze container of the same spicy German condiment you’ve enjoyed in their dining rooms. And what does “Franconian” mean? It’s a little piece of Bavaria, just like this mustard.

Sayklly’s Candies, Escanaba and Marquette; Since 1906, Sayklly’s has been catering to Yoopers’ sweet tooths. Today, its offerings include not just those big, boxed candies given on Valentine’s day but fudges, dark sea salt caramels, milk peanut clusters, milk pecan “snappies,” chocolate drops, peanut brittle, and “Yooper Trail Mix.” But those with a taste for the classics will no doubt approve of Sayklly’s taffies: It’s made from the same recipe it was 100 years ago, and hand-flavored and hand-pulled by expert candy makers. Flavors include banana, chocolate, grape, maple, vanilla, mint, cherry, orange, and even anise. Though the Chillbean crew would rather be known as a “worldwide inflatable hammock brand,” the fact is that two former Charlevoix High School classmates joined forces with European friends to market something that seems distinctly Michigan: an inflatable lounge chair. It would appear to be the perfect millennial marketing maneuver, from the slangy “chill” to the outdoor-oriented nature of the product, right down to the emoji-like logo. The lightweight air cushion is made of durable materials, ready for a quick poolside drink or a grueling week at Electric Forest Festival. The LED lighting upgrade will only help you get noticed.

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