Page 1

CRYSTAL’S SUMMER SOUNDTRACK OF THE ’70S P. 10

S U M M E R

2 0 1 8

CULINARY ADVENTURE, FROM MARKET TO TABLE P. 14

A PRO’S PERSPECTIVE ON GOLF & LIFE P. 21

THE WONDER OF RAPTORS P. 26


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SEPTEMBER Taste of Benzie & Beyond Tri-Up North Triathlon Bike • Paddle • Run

JULY Firecracker Race Art in the Park Beulah Art Fair Port City Run Up North Stand Up Paddle Board Classic AUGUST Crystal Lake Team Marathon Frankfort Art Fair Collector Car Show Benzie Fishing Frenzy

OCTOBER Benzie County Fall Festival (weekends in October) Fall Craft Fair Frankfort Beer Week Peaktoberfest Frankfort Film Festival

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L I F E

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Empire, Michigan


EXECUTIVE EDITOR

ALPINE ANNIVERSARY

Brian Lawson

People have been slip-sliding-away the summer at Crystal for a decade now. Here’s everything you need to know about Michigan’s only alpine slide.

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Bob Butz Kim Schneider Nancy Story Lynda Wheatley

P. 08

ILLUSTRATION Amy Breitner Debbie Bihlman

CREATIVE FIRE

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Michigan Legacy Art Park’s Resident Artist forges a bond between art, experience and community.

Alan Newton Beth Price Bike Benzie Bob Neumann Brian Confer Brian Walters Brittany Roberts Debbie Bihlman Eric Ripple Heather Higham Iron Fish Distillery Intraceuticals Jeff Rabidoux Keirsun Scott Ken Scott Megan Watt Nancy Story Nick Nerbonne Steve Loveless Stormcloud Brewing Company The Billings Photography Tod & Brad Reed Troy Deshano

P. 22

A CHECKERED PAST Learn how Ed Laprade’s drive to be a PGA professional and top instructor began on the race tracks of central New York.

P. 30

DAY TRIPPER These eight northern Michigan day trips will help you truly appreciate the theme featured in each of the Inn’s new suites.

P. 36 Crystal Mountain 12500 Crystal Mountain Dr. Thompsonville, MI 49683-9742 888.976.4484 crystalmountain.com info@crystalmountain.com

LAYOUT + DESIGN Gail Snable MyNorth Media

ADVERTISING SALES Jena Van Wagner 616.915.5967 jena_van@yahoo.com

Mountain Life© is published semi-annually. Copyright 2018 by Crystal Mountain. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written approval of the Publisher. The Publisher reserves the right to reject or edit any manuscripts received for publication. M O U N TA I N L I F E

CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

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3/22/2018 4:54:53 PM


Water-Lemons It’s funny where a train of thought can take you. Writing for the summer edition of Mountain Life begins while skiers and snowboarders are still making tracks in January’s freshly fallen snow. Honestly, even the most passionate of winter enthusiasts can find the thought of summer’s warmth and sunshine an inviting diversion. Such a midwinter’s daydream can bring about a collage of imagery, and on this one particular day I found my mind wandering toward watermelon. A pretty typical symbol of summer really, but it was something sweeter than the fruit itself that jogged my memory. Water-lemon. That’s what my daughter called watermelon when she was two. I believe strongly that this precious swapping of letters in the same syllable is the cutest thing that has ever happened or ever will. Just because I’m biased doesn’t mean I’m wrong. Of course, it’s now been a decade since her last piece of water-lemon. She still enjoys the fruit to this day but sadly for me, by its proper name. We all carry with us these wonderful little memories but they aren’t necessarily an adorable turn of phrase. They’re a canoe trip that didn’t exactly go as planned, a chipshot that inexplicably

found the bottom of the cup or maybe, a sunset atop Sleeping Bear that was simply perfect. We carry these moments everywhere we go, but the challenge is finding the space in our lives to unpack them. We’ll do a bit of that in the pages ahead. A golf pro who was driving go-karts on a race track before he learned to drive a golf ball. A soul who finds inspiration in creating art from iron, while another finds purpose in helping majestic birds soar again. As always, we’ll offer plenty of suggestions about where to find your next adventure. As your eyes scan the words and images of this issue, perhaps it will allow the time for your train of thought to travel back to a special place and then journey ahead to a beautiful summer that awaits. We hope the tracks lead you north to gather ye water-lemons while ye may.

Brian Lawson, Executive Editor

CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

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WHAT’S NEW THIS SUMMER

OVER THE LAST 25 YEARS ‘NEW’ HAS REALLY BEEN THE OPERATIVE WORD AT CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN, ESPECIALLY WHEN SUMMER IS CONCERNED. THE RESORT HAS A SKI HERITAGE DATING BACK TO 1956, BUT TODAY, AN EQUAL NUMBER OF PEOPLE (AND OFTEN TIMES MORE) VISIT WHEN THE SLOPES ARE GREEN AND THE WEATHER IS WARM. THE LAST DECADE ALONE HAS SEEN THE ENTRANCE OF THE ALPINE SLIDE, GRAVITY PARK, CRYSTAL SPA, BUNGALOWS AT CRYSTAL GLEN AND MOST RECENTLY, THE EXPANSION OF THE INN AT THE MOUNTAIN – NOT TO MENTION A MULTITUDE OF ACTIVITIES AND OTHER PROGRAMMING. CONTINUING WITH THE TRADITION OF CHANGE, THE RESORT WILL AGAIN BRING NEW TWISTS THIS SUMMER, STARTING IN THE VERY CENTER OF THE VILLAGE.

SOMETHING’S BRU-ING AT THE INN

LET’S RIDE

Crystal Mountain has finally answered one of its most vexing questions, “Where do I get a cup of coffee around here?” Under construction all last summer, the 31,200-square-foot Inn expansion fully opened this winter, which means this will be the Bru Bar’s first summer serving specialty coffees in the morning and, throughout the day, beer, wine and cocktails. You’ll be able to enjoy those drinks outdoors at tables on the deck adjacent to the Inn Lounge with views of the slopes or sitting street-side in front of the Mountain Market.

Crystal Mountain has a whole new fleet of bikes this summer featuring flagship Kona Bikes like the Process 153, Cinder Cone and Unit-X trail bikes, as well as, Kona WO Fat Tire Bikes. In addition, the resort also has new hybrid and kids bikes from Marin, KHS and Framed. Crystal has also redesigned its trail maps and partnered with the Michigan DNR to replace wayfaring signage on the Betsie River Pathway, making it easier to explore the combined 14 miles of beautiful mixeduse trails. If you prefer a little added safety and security on the trails, rest assured. This summer members of the National Ski Patrol will be hopping on mountain bikes to monitor the trails.

Speaking of which, the Mountain Market, right next door to the Bru Bar in the Inn Lobby, is also new this summer. This new specialty grocery will not only have the necessities but also fun non-essentials you’ll find only in northern Michigan, from local wine, spirits and craft beer to cheeses, produce and special gifts. Flip a few pages farther to find out how Bryant Betts and Jeremy Ursum, from our culinary team, prepared a gourmet meal in a Bungalow using only items they found in the Market.

RAISING THE BARR David Barr, the founder of Michigan Legacy Art Park, holds a special place in the hearts of those at Crystal Mountain, and now a new space will be named in his memory. Placed at the center of the village, Barr Park will begin to leap from rendering to reality this summer. It will be nestled between the Inn, Lodge and Crystal Spa, creating a new stage where people can gather and connect. Barr’s sculpture, Equation, on loan from Michigan Legacy Art Park, and temporarily on display in front of the Lodge, will move to its permanent spot next to the Inn’s glass staircase during a dedication ceremony this summer. Stay tuned on Facebook and Instagram for details.

FIT TO A TEE FOR FAMILIES Wednesday evenings have been among the busiest in golf over the last several summers. The popular program moves to the Practice Center this season. For $15 per person, you’ll receive top quality instruction from Crystal’s award-winning professionals plus driving range target contests, fun games and prizes that help you learn all facets of the game. Think of it as practice range meets bowling alley meets arcade meets golf school. Better yet, just find out what it’s like firsthand each Wednesday beginning June 13, 5pm. (You still receive a hot dog, chips and a drink!)

WAFFLES AREN’T JUST FOR WINTER The Waffle Cabin, which opened near the Mountain Adventure Zone in December, has been a huge hit, but waffles aren’t just for winter. Whether you prefer plain or drizzled with chocolate, all summer long you’ll be able to celebrate a ride down the alpine slide, round of disc golf, or victory in the paintball arena with waffles and other goodies.

CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

7


Sliding

through

Summer

The Crystal Coaster, Michigan’s only alpine slide, is celebrating its tenth anniversary this summer. After a decade of thrills you might think you know everything about one of the state’s most unique attractions or maybe you’re among those who have yet to ride the slide. Whichever the case, here are a few fun facts to test your knowledge or get you ready for that first trip.

FUN

FACT! An A-frame house once sat on the ground that now marks the halfway point of the alpine slide.

Spotters are stationed downhill to ensure riders maintain a safe distance.

Each slide must be dry before opening to riders. Each slide is approximately

1,500

FT. LONG

(over a quarter-mile)

D I D YO U K NOW?

Sommerrodelbahn is the word German’s use for ‘summer toboggan runs,’ which are said to have first emerged in 16th century Russia.


Serviced by the Loki quad chairlift, special hooks not only transport the sleds and sliders but also mountain bikes and riders to the resort’s Gravity Park.

You control the

speed

Only alpine

Push forward to go. Let up to slow down. Pull back to brake.

slide in Michigan! One of four in the Midwest 2 Minnesota, 1 Illinois

BE SAFE. HAVE FUN. 1

Quick F act s : • • • •

Established 2008 Annual Rides: approximately 25,000 Dates of Operation: Memorial Day Weekend through the end of October (a cool way to see the fall colors) Requirements: – Height: Minimum 52 inches (children at least 3 years old and under 52” ride free with paying adult) – Weight: 300 lb max.

e to Rid t e k Tic

Keep elbows and knees inside the cart

Do not lean into the 2 turns (stay upright)

3 Control your speed 4 Please do not race

THANK YOU!

Summer F un Pass

9 Single $ 5 s $2 Day Pas

Includes unlimited alpine slide rides, access to the Park at Water’s Edge, Climbing Wall, Edge Adventure course & more! Starting from $39 (over 52 inches tall) $29 (under 52 inches) CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

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1 9 7 0 flashback


k c a r t d n u o S s ’ l a t Crys s ’ 0 7 e h t of IF NORTHERN MICHIGAN SUMMERTIME NOSTALGIA HAD A SOUNDTRACK, IT MIGHT WELL BE THE SOUND OF THE ’70S. BY NANCY STORY

It was an era that saw college student ensembles perform around the region during the summertime, like the Golden Garter Review, at Dill’s Old Towne Saloon in Traverse City. Crystal Mountain joined the trend, introducing the Crystalettes in 1975. Billed as “fresh, dynamic and professional,” the group of Ball State University students entertained five to six nights a week. The fliers read, “Nine great entertainers. Five shows weekly. Continuous music, dancing and dining!” With golf still a couple of years away, fine dining was an important draw for Crystal’s summer guests, and the Crystalettes ramped up that experience. The revue performed in the Mountain Lounge, which doubled as the cafeteria during ski season, creating a need to reconfigure the room for singing and dancing. “In order to make space for dining and a dance floor, we removed the fireplace and the large black stack that went up through the roof, and installed ceiling beams, which are still visible today,” recalled Dave Christenson, Crystal’s food and beverage director at the time. The Ball State crew performed for three summers before Christenson had to recruit new talent. In the spring of 1978, he and his assistant, Greg Miller, went down to Ball State and Indiana University to scout Crystalette candidates from the schools’ music programs. “We interviewed guys and girls, searching for talent and bubbly-type personalities,” Miller recalled. “These were vibrant, wonderful kids.”

The student performers, most of whom had never met, arrived in mid-June and usually had only 10 days to rehearse before the very first show. Miller himself chose their music and marshalled the six-to-eight-piece band forward. “It was a challenge to put a band together that quickly,” he said. “We just picked a group, and hoped to heck they got along.” The Crystalettes received free room and board in dormitory-style units located underneath the base of the old Main Street chairlift before graduating to better digs in a nearby rental house in 1979. Each night, the band performed three sets. The first set was easy listening music followed by more high-energy hits from the ’50s and ’60s performed in costume with dance music rounding out the night. By the late ’70s golf was taking center stage at Crystal Mountain. With the resort’s nine holes built in 1977 and another nine two years later, the spotlight began to shift from the stage to the first tee. By 1983, the Crystalettes had taken their final curtain call. The Mountain Lounge transformed from a dining and dancing venue to the T-Ville Taproom, a 19th hole of sorts, where golfers enjoyed post-round drinks. Crystal was no longer just a ski resort but also a summer destination, and the Crystalettes had provided a musical bridge that left an indelible mark on the resort’s history.

CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

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spa | healthy lifestyle

Fresh Air

There’s a phenomenon that occurs as you pass just north of Grand Rapids on U.S. 131 or exit the interstate onto M-115 near Clare. The road ahead is tree-lined and wending. Tension in your shoulders lightens a bit, and suddenly it’s just easier to breathe. The water, sugar-sand beaches, food and lush landscape are all huge draws to the Grand Traverse region, but this feeling is what travelers truly hope to discover. It’s in ample supply. While there is no shortage of lounging to be done by the lake, pool or otherwise, there is also activity that clears the mind, stretches the muscles, tests endurance and fills the lungs with clean northern air. MOUNTAINTOP YOGA Serene in both its silence and sightlines of the horizon, this is among the north’s most unique studios and well worth the hike. HIKE There are 1,500 acres to explore at Crystal Mountain. Take a morning mountain hike led by a guide from the Peak Fitness Center or choose to journey through Michigan’s history, culture and environment in Michigan Legacy Art Park, featuring over 50 sculptures along two miles of trail.

RUN Summer begins with the North Mitten Half-Marathon, 10K and 5K (May 27)—followed by the thirst-quenching Micros at MountainTop, a smaller continuation of Saturday’s Beer & Brat Festival. Independence Day is sure to get off to a good start with a 4K on the 4th of July. RIDE Bike Benzie’s Up North Fondo and Tour (June 2) starts and finishes at Crystal. In between, find incredible views along routes of 30, 45, 62 or 100 miles (bikebenzie.org). In August, Gravity Fest offers an adrenaline tour down the Glacier Valley Glade trail, through the lower half of Crystal’s Gravity Park and finishing at the base of the mountain. Fall color season rounds out with the traditional Peak2Peak Mountain Bike Classic (October 20; endomanpromotions.org) along with the food, drink and entertainment of Peaktoberfest. Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.


Rare Air A treatment renowned in over 60 countries (4,000 locations) has found its way to northern Michigan, compliments of Crystal Spa. Intraceuticals has quickly become among the most requested skin treatment services at premier international destinations like Niyama Spa Resort in Maldives and Badrutt’s Palace in Switzerland, recognized by Condé Nast Traveler and Travel + Leisure respectively. Intraceuticals uses an innovative system in which their proprietary serum works synergistically with hyperbaric oxygen. The results are visible instantly, plumping and hydrating the skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. “This is really a ‘next level’ facial, pairing luxury and technology,” says Crystal Spa Director Stephanie Scott. “The results are both instant and lasting, requiring no downtime. It’s ideal for the active lifestyle of our guests.” INTRACEUTICALS CLARITY OXYGEN FACIAL The botanicals in this infusion soothe and calm inflammation and redness from blemish-prone and

hormonally challenged skin. The hyperbaric oxygen naturally reduces bacteria and the Clarity Serum, with lightweight Hyaluronic antibacterial formula, destroys blemish-causing bacteria and delivers vitamins and antioxidants to the skin while clearing oil build-up. Results are not only instant but continue to improve in the following days. 50 minutes, $185 | 80 minutes, $245 INTRACEUTICALS OXYGEN FACIAL This remarkably gentle and non-invasive treatment uses the latest skin technology to visibly lift, tighten and reduce fine lines and wrinkles using a combination of Hyaluronic layering, Vitamins A, C, E, and Green Tea. Cooling, calming, pressurized oxygen delivery increases absorption of the Intraceuticals serum and naturally improves your skin’s moisture levels, while vitamins and antioxidants protect and defend to leave your skin instantly smooth, with better volume and increased firmness. 50 minutes, $185 | 80 minutes, $245 Schedule your service by calling Crystal Spa at 855.995.5146.

CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

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T

o call the new Mountain Market simply a grocery store would not be doing it justice. Sure, you’ll find northern Michigan’s finest wines, spirits and craft beer. And the shop comes in handy if you’re hankering for some Great Lakes Potato Chips, need some cereal for the kids, a quick sandwich before an afternoon round of golf, or a salad after a morning at the spa. But the store is far more than just a convenience; it can stand alone as a culinary experience. Just ask Executive Chef Bryant Betts and Thistle Pub & Grille Chef Jeremy Ursum. “Walking up and down the aisles, seeing all the great local products and locally sourced fresh food, you begin to understand why people who love to cook love this region so much,” Betts says. So we set the chefs loose to express that love. Basketin-hand they walked right through the lobby of the Inn, through the doors of the Market and went shopping. Their mission: create a gourmet meal with ingredients they found in the Mountain Market and could prepare in any one of the resort’s accommodations that has a full kitchen. “On a vacation, I would probably load up with meats, cheeses and a couple of nice bottles of wine,” Ursum smiles. “But I can prepare as fine a meal as I would in the Thistle with what we have in the Market and the tools that can be found in the majority of our lodging.”

Fresh apples. Whitefish. Whiskey barrel-aged honey from Iron Fish Distillery. A baguette from Stonehouse Bakery. It was clear that the greatest of their burdens was choice but at last they reached consensus on a recipe and made their way to Bungalow 329. Everything they needed to prepare the Cherry and Goat Cheese Wild Rice and Breaded Whitefish (glutenfree)—pans, knives, oven mitts, etc.—was waiting inside. Sure, they could have snuck into the Thistle kitchen and grabbed their knives and a few other utensils, but any guest can find those same specialty items in the Market as well. After a little over an hour of cooking, they were ready to eat, drink and be merry. Prep time may take a bit longer for the novice but don’t sweat it, they are professionals after all. You might be a little skeptical about finding joy in shopping for groceries and cooking during your vacation. Fair enough. But sipping a glass of wine or drinking a beer while checking items off your list isn’t exactly the typical weekly trip to ‘the store.’ Assembling a culinary team of family and friends to try something new in your home away from home can be a memorable Up North adventure, however the final product turns out. Even better, our culinary dynamic duo has already made you a shopping list and written out some simple stepby-step instructions. The rest of this edible excursion is up to you. Bon appétit!

The basket fills up quickly. Some olive oil from Fustini’s. A bottle of riesling from Brengman Brothers. Bruschetta. CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

15


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CHERRY AND GOAT CHEESE WILD RICE WITH BUTTER CRUMB WHITEFISH

SHOPPING LIST CHERRY & GOAT CHEESE WILD RICE AND GLUTEN-FREE BREADED WHITEFISH Wild Rice Chicken Stock Dried Cherries Whitefish Filets (2) Crumbled Goat Cheese Kosher Salt Black Pepper Gluten-free Bread Butter Parmesan (grated) Honey Garlic Lemon Meat & Cheese board Stonehouse bread

6 slices gluten-free bread

CHERRY AND GOAT CHEESE WILD RICE Serves 4 people

N cup grated Parmesan 2 tablespoons butter 3 tablespoons honey

Ingredients

1 garlic clove (minced)

1 cup wild rice 2 cups chicken stock

PREPARING THE WHITEFISH

½ cup dried cherries

Once thawed, absorb excess moisture from 2 whitefish filets. Rub each filet with 2 tablespoons of kosher salt. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of black pepper on each.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine ingredients in a baking dish and cover with film wrap and aluminum foil. Cook on the middle rack for 25 minutes (375 degrees) or until liquid is absorbed. Uncover and add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Fold in 4 ounces of crumbled goat cheese. BUTTER CRUMB WHITEFISH (Gluten Free) Serves 4 people Ingredients 2 whitefish filets

kosher salt

black pepper

PREPARING THE TOPPING Toast 6 slices of gluten-free bread and crumble. Add N cup of grated Parmesan and 2 tablespoons of melted butter and thoroughly mix. Evenly coat each filet. Cook on the top rack for 15 minutes (375 degrees) or until the filet is 145 degrees with a golden crust. Next, whisk together 2 tablespoons of melted butter, 3 tablespoons of honey, 1 minced garlic clove, 1 teaspoon of salt and pour over golden breadcrumbs. Serve with a lemon wedge.

CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

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Garden is a Verb Someone casually strolling the paths through the Cottages at Water’s Edge or Bungalows at Crystal Glen might only consider garden as a noun, perhaps decorated with a string of adjectives like breathtaking, lush or vibrant. However, for Master Gardener Kathy Maginity and her crew, “garden” is really more of an action than a place. Maginity’s hands have been tending the soil at Crystal Mountain for 27 years, during which she has watched the resort’s award-winning landscape take bloom. In fact, her entrance into gardening at the resort began where most people enter the grounds. “We planted our first perennials at the front entrance off M-115, and it was a huge project,” Maginity recalls. “One person slept there all the first night just to keep watch.” Much like the gardens themselves, the job has only grown in scope. One gardener can spend all day hand-watering the plants around the village, as they do three times per week. Drip irrigation is also used for more efficient use of water in the beds, and the waterpreservation strategy is furthered around Crystal Spa

with plants native to Michigan and the northeast — part of its LEED-certification. “It’s constantly changing, we’re constantly moving things around,” Maginity says. “Something that doesn’t work in one spot might do really well in another; you just have to try different things.” The work begins almost as soon as the snow melts from the slopes in April. By the time the kids are getting out of school for the summer, Kathy and her eight-person crew will have planted approximately 6,700 annuals around the village. After nurturing the gardens all summer long, they’ll round out the season by planting 5,300 bulbs by the end of October. Their dedication paired with the exquisite designs of Landscape Architect Sandy Clinton and Master Planner Mark Johnson has helped the Cottages and Bungalows earn national recognition from the Perennial Plant Association and American Society of Landscape Architects. Kathy does take a break every week from mid-June to late-August for another verb: Tour—as in showing off the gardens to guests. Be sure to visit crystalmountain.com for this summer’s tour schedule. CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

19


BETSIE VALLEY, NO. 6


Playing Through He has a seemingly effortless swing. His congenial nature is one that makes him easily approachable at the pro shop, and he quickly puts students at ease on the practice tee. He boasts a résumé that includes a winter spent teaching golf in Indonesia and another stint in Japan instructing 23 students in the finer points of the game. These would seem to be reason enough to name Greg Babinec the 2018 Michigan PGA Professional of the Year, an honor bestowed upon him in April. However, it was a challenge he played through more than a quarter of a century ago that’s shaped him into the man recognized and respected by so many of his peers. “People ask me how I can smile after a bad shot,” Babinec grins. “It’s because there’s another swing coming up.” In 1990, not long after getting married, Babinec was out playing a round of golf when he could hardly catch his breath. But he was a fit cross-country skier and cyclist—cardio strength wasn’t an issue—so he decided to get checked out, and the news was grim. Cancer had

metastasized in his lungs. With his future very much in doubt, he did as any pro would do: he played it as it lay, grinding through surgery, a clinical trial and four grueling months of chemotherapy. “You go through all the emotions, fear, anger, it was tough, and nothing was more [tough] than the uncertainty,” Babinec said. He was fortunate to have survived, yes, but he gained an essential lesson, too. “It’s helped me frame the important things in my life, including golf,” he says. Twenty-eight years and three children later, perhaps the enduring side effect of his battle from two-and-a-half decades ago is a sincere gratitude for his place in the world and the people around him. Along with a regulation set of 14 clubs, Babinec carries with him a perspective that keeps the game and his next shot in the proper context. Babinec smiles, “I won’t pretend that I never get nervous standing over a putt, but at the end of the day, I know it’s only a putt.” CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

21


Creative Fire

MICHIGAN LEGACY ART PARK HAS LONG MELDED ART, EXPERIENCE, AND COMMUNITY. THIS YEAR, THE PARK IS STOKING THE FIRES OF ITS ARTIST IN RESIDENCE PROGRAM, BRINGING MORE ARTISTS, MORE ART, AND MORE EXPERIENCE HOME. BY LYNDA WHEATLEY

On the kind of late September day northern Michigan lives for—wisps of clouds sliding across blue skies, a warm fall wind whipping through still-green forests—180 area high school students gathered at the edge of Crystal Mountain’s Totem Park with dozens of other locals. The teens were fresh from a hike through Michigan Legacy Art Park, where over 50 sculptures and poetry stones dot two miles of hardwood-covered hills on Crystal Mountain’s grounds. Eager and breathless, the students were about to embark on some artistry of their own. Their guide: The park’s 2017 Artist in Residence, Theresa Smith. Their tool: A 3,000-degree furnace capable of eating scrap iron and spewing out molten-hot iron into “scratch molds” the students had created themselves. Not your usual arts and craft class? Nope. And that’s exactly as the Art Park’s Artist in Residence program intends. Born five years ago, the program has had a tradition of inviting one artist each year to create work inspired by the park and to lead programs engaging the public, explains the Art Park’s Executive Director Renee Hintz. But Smith’s iron-pour event, she says, spurred a change in the approach. “[All of our artists have] engaged the public in different ways,” Hintz says. “But this last one with Theresa was just … wow! … probably the most impactful.” Before the public pour, Smith went to five area high schools and taught kids the art, science, and history of iron pouring. She then made scratch blocks—consisting of pressed sand and a silica-type bonding agent—into which students scratched nails and other tools to create their own designs. “She was able to create her own work, involve the kids, and do this public iron-pour so that people from the community could come and watch, too,” Hintz says. Inspired by the sheer number of people Smith’s work

touched, and the excitement it generated, the Art Park staff and board decided it was ready to reach even more. So beginning this year, the park will expand its residency program from hosting one artist annually to hosting three. And rather than operate by invitation only, as in years past, it has created an application process so any interested artist can apply. As always, artists will receive a stipend and work with Art Park staff to tailor the length (generally two to 12 weeks), lodging needs, and composition of their residency, which ultimately affords them the opportunity to collaborate with the public and create a public work at Michigan Legacy Art Park. “Our main goal is to get more artists into the park, provide them the time and space and resources they need to be inspired and creative, and engage them and the public in our work,” Hintz says. For her part, Smith says the engagement aspect is one of the best parts of the residency. “You can show them pictures, talk about it, show examples, but when they actually see it happen, it’s, ‘Oh yeah! That’s really cool!’ Cast iron is everywhere. I hope the takeaway for them is, when they see something cast [elsewhere], they have a relationship to it that they wouldn’t have had before. It’s educational, an opportunity to make something very tangible, and they get something that’s an experience they otherwise wouldn’t have.”

INTERESTED IN APPLYING?

Visit the “Get Involved” section of MichLegacyArtPark.org for details and a residency application, and learn about calls for submissions and youth programs. CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

23


NASHON HOLLOWAY BAND RETURNS AUGUST 11


2018

Sweet Summer Sounds FROM A HEART-OF-THE-FOREST AMPHITHEATER, MUSICIANS IN THE SUMMER SOUNDS CONCERT SERIES TAKE THE STAGE FOR A 23RD SEASON.

“Magical.” It’s one of the most common things you’ll hear as visitors make their way down the trail on firefly-filled evenings after a Summer Sounds concert at Michigan Legacy Art Park. Music has always been an integral part of the nonprofit sculpture park’s mission to connect people to art and nature, and for its 23rd season, the Summer Sounds concert series brings another eclectic mix of new talent and beloved favorites. The 2018 season will kick off with a bang, as The Bergamot return by popular demand (July 6). Led by married couple Nathaniel Hoff and Jillian Speece, their Americana-infused indie pop was a huge hit and memorable finale last summer. For the first time in 15 years, award-winning songwriters Sally Rogers and Claudia Schmidt will return to Summer Sounds (July 20). These two torchbearers of folk music have been writing, teaching and performing around the globe for over 40 years. Concertgoers can also expect to discover something new. This year, Afro-Caribbean salsa orchestra Grupo Ayé make their first visit to the park (August 4), along with Traverse City native Jonathan Timm (July 27), who brings an alt-country sound developed over the past seven years in Nashville. It’s all part of six weekend evenings perfectly suited for making lifelong memories with family and friends. Talented musicians aside, the venue itself nearly steals the show. Nestled in the center of a 30-acre hardwood forest decorated by more than 50 sculptures, the Art Park’s amphitheater creates a live music experience unlike anything else in northern Michigan. Summer Sounds concerts are delightfully casual affairs. Attendees bring their own picnics and chairs. Kids come for free, and the $10 ticket price means anyone can enjoy music in the park, surrounded by the sights and sounds of summer. Want to know more? For a complete schedule and artist information visit michlegacyartpark.org/summer-sounds.

THESE AND MANY MORE

TICKETS ON SALE! tickets.interlochen.org 800.681.5920

CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

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rebecca lessard


Wings of Wonder Twenty-nine years ago, Rebecca Lessard considered herself a shy person. Never one for hanging out in crowds, Lessard liked communing with nature. In fact, she liked wilderness and wildlife. She wanted to find a way to channel that passion into something impactful and while her original intention wasn't necessarily to work with birds, that quickly changed. “My first year as a rehabilitator, I started with 12 birds of prey and today we take in 60 to 90," says Lessard. "When I started I thought the work would be rewarding and fun and that it might also be a good experience for my children.” Fast forward to now. Just about everybody in northern Michigan has heard about Wings of Wonder, the nonprofit raptor sanctuary Lessard founded in 1990 at her home near Empire. Every year, Wings of Wonder takes in more than enough injured vultures, falcons, owls, osprey, eagles, hawks and harriers to keep her dedicated team of volunteers busy. When she and the crew can release recovered “patients” back into the wild, the eagles especially draw hundreds of onlookers and usually a local television crew or two. The non-profit's driving mission is education. Rebecca and her team now conduct around 100 educational presentations every year at schools, senior centers and more—and anywhere she can get the word out about the wonders of raptors. Today, Wings of Wonder has members all over the world. SANCTUARY Crystal Mountain’s connection with Wings of Wonder goes back a long way. The resort’s Director of Recreation, Janice Davidson, is a longtime volunteer and supporter. It was Davidson who arranged and organized last August’s Wings of Wonder release of an eagle at the resort; the event drew an audience of over 500, including guests from as far away as Detroit. “We also host Wings of Wonder education programs and our annual Turkey Vulture Trot in November is going into its 13th year,” says Davidson, adding that the annual Thanksgiving weekend race averages about 100 runners, property owners and guests. Doolin, the resident turkey

vulture, accompanies Rebecca to the event for pre-race pictures and questions before it ceremoniously raises its wings to signify the start of the race. “It’s a great family event. Adults and children just love the experience of seeing the owls, hawks, vultures and falcons up close,” Davidson says. “Each bird is unique and has its own story of how it ended up at Wings of Wonder which really helps Rebecca’s environmental message resonate.” BEING MORE MINDFUL OUTDOORS Lessard says her birds are brought in to recuperate at Wings of Wonder for all sorts of reasons. Getting hit by cars is a biggie; in the wintertime when food is scarce, raptors that dine on roadkill risk becoming roadkill themselves. In addition to West Nile Virus, lead poisoning is another big danger for raptors. “It only takes a rice-sized piece of lead to kill a 15-pound eagle,” Lessard says, adding that while lead shot was banned long ago for waterfowl, the threat still hasn't been eliminated entirely in hunting nor the sinkers and split-shot used by many anglers, despite the availability of safer alternatives. Davidson and Lessard are currently exploring ways Crystal Mountain and others can help bring attention and always-needed donations to help fund rehabilitation and programming into the future. In 2017, Wings of Wonder took in a record number of eagles (22). One eagle eats about a pound of meat, per day—primarily fish and rodents. Lessard’s annual food bill can run nearly $18,000. “Housing and rehabilitating large birds of prey is expensive work,” says Lessard. “We have some exciting plans for the future that make it all worthwhile.” “This is amazing work, and I’m honored that organizations like Crystal Mountain see the importance of fostering an appreciation for raptors and the important role these birds play in our healthy, local ecosystem.” IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO LEARN MORE AND HELP SUPPORT WINGS OF WONDER WITH A DONATION, FIND THEM ONLINE AT WINGSOFWONDER.ORG.

CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

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EVENTS

S U M M E R / FA L L 2 0 1 8 E V E N T S C A L E N D A R

May

August

13

Mother’s Day Buffet

4

Gravity Festival

18-19

Farm-to-Table

4, 11

Summer Sounds Concert Series, Michigan Legacy Art Park

17

Legacy Gala, Benefiting Michigan Legacy Art Park

26 Opening Day: Crystal Coaster Alpine Slide & Park at Water’s Edge

17-18

Farm-to-Table

24–25

Ben Wright Invitational

26 13th Annual Michigan Beer & Brat Festival

26 Story & Art Tour, Michigan Legacy Art Park

27 North Mitten Half-Marathon, 10K & 5K

8/31-9/3

27

Micros at MountainTop

September

27

Pool Party

20 Wildflower Nature Tour, Michigan Legacy Art Park 25–27

Crystal Cup

June

Labor Day Ski Sale

2

Last Splash Pool Party

3

Labor Day

3

2-for-1 Community Day Farm-to-Table

2

Bike Benzie Up North Fondo & Tour

21-22

5

Michigan Legacy Art Park Golf Classic

23 Artist Tour, Dewey Blocksma, Michigan Legacy Art Park

15-16

Farm-to-Table

16 Fairies & Forts, Michigan Legacy Art Park 17

Father’s Day

October 10/1-11/25

Crystal Spa Days

22–24 Michigan PGA Women’s Open Pro-Am

20

Peaktoberfest

20

Peak2Peak Mountain Bike Classic

24 Story & Art Tour, Michigan Legacy Art Park

20

Tour de Tykes Bike Race

25–27 Michigan PGA Women’s Open Championship

13, 20, 27 Harvest Days & Halloween Spooktacular 26–28

July

Property Owners Weekend

26-28 Ski & Snowboard Sale, Mountain Sports

3 Old Fashioned Fourth Family Carnival & Fireworks 3 & 5

Family Golf Scramble

4

Fourth of July 4K

27

6, 13, 20, 27 Summer Sounds Concert Series, Michigan Legacy Art Park 20-21

Farm-to-Table

29

Pool Party, Park at Water’s Edge

Ski Swap

28 Michigan Legacy Art Park Fall Color Tour

C R Y S TA L M O U N TA I N . C O M


13TH ANNUAL MICHIGAN BEER & BRAT FESTIVAL MAY 26 The tradition continues with 100 Michigan craft beers, a dozen varieties of brats, live music plus collector and electric cars on display, right at the base of the slopes. BIKE BENZIE UP NORTH FONDO & TOUR JUNE 2 Whether riding the 30-mile flat and fast route, the more challenging 45- or 62-mile course or the ultimate 100-miler, a breathtaking tour of Benzie County awaits. For more information visit bikebenzie.org. MICHIGAN PGA WOMEN’S OPEN JUNE 22–27 An international field will gather at the Mountain Ridge course for a 16th time to decide the state’s open championship. Festivities begin the weekend prior (June 22–25) with the ProAm. Reserve your spot ($329 per person) by calling 888.976.4484. OLD FASHIONED FOURTH OF JULY CARNIVAL & FIREWORKS JULY 3 Celebrate our nation’s independence one day early with carnival games, bounce houses, a petting zoo, food, drink, music and fireworks over the mountain. GRAVITY FESTIVAL AUGUST 4 Physics has never been as exciting as downhill mountain biking from the top of the Crystal Clipper chairlift, through the lower half of the Gravity Park and finishing at the base of Loki. Of course, you can also test Newton’s law in the Disc Golf Challenge or maybe both! CRYSTAL SPA DAYS OCTOBER 1 - NOVEMBER 26 As the fall colors reach their peak in October, Crystal Spa invites you with a menu of select 50-minute services from $69. PEAKTOBERFEST – FEATURING THE PEAK2PEAK MOUNTAIN BIKE CLASSIC OCTOBER 20 Hundreds of riders, three different divisions (beginner, sport and expert), wave after wave take to the trails in and around Crystal on a 10-mile loop, vibrant with fall color. Just below the finish line, the Peaktoberfest celebration with food, drink and live music! Register at endomanpromotions.com.

PEAK2PEAK MOUNTAIN BIKE CLASSIC

CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

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A CHECKERED PAST CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN’S RESIDENT GOLF GURU AND INSTRUCTOR EXTRAORDINAIRE, ED LAPRADE, TALKS ABOUT HIS RACECAR ROOTS AND THE HALL OF FAME FATHER WHO HELPED PUT HIM ON THE FAST TRACK TO A SATISFYING CAREER. BY BOB BUTZ

T

he closest most golfers ever get to the experience of car racing is zipping along with their buddies in golf carts trying to be first to reach the next hole. But for resident pro Ed Laprade the connection to the racetrack runs a lot deeper. “Everybody talks about their dad being the best at this or that,” says Laprade. “But my dad is definitely a man who could make a car go fast.” In the world of super-modified racing, Ed Laprade, Sr., is a bona fide Hall of Famer. The fastest short-track cars in the world, “supermodifieds” are hand-built, open-wheel racers best recognized by their huge tires and massive wing on the back of the car. With a frame made of chrome moly tubing and powered by a gargantuan V8, methanol-burning engine, “supers” race on paved oval tracks that are one mile or shorter. One of the most famous supermodified tracks in the world—central New York’s Oswego Speedway, considered “The Home of the Supermodifieds”—recognized Ed Laprade Sr. as part of it’s 2007 Hall of Fame class. In the early 1980s, Doug Heveron drove one of Laprade’s cars into the history books by winning 24 features in 35 races—claiming an astounding 70 percent of the wins during the 1981 and 1982 seasons. “There aren’t too many people in the world who can bend and weld chrome moly tubing, put together an engine—basically make a race car from scratch and have it go fast enough to win as many high-level races as my dad,” says Laprade.

DRIVEN TO SUCCESS Imagine for a minute growing up with a winning racecar in the garage and the crazy-accomplished father who built the thing, a man who would one day be revered as an engine-building mastermind. No one would be surprised if you got into racing, too. In fact, it would be strange if you didn’t. But that’s not exactly the way it went for Crystal Mountain’s Director of Golf Instruction. “I loved going to races. I just didn’t have the interest in cars that my dad did,” says Laprade. “Truth be told, I can’t even change the oil in my car.” Laprade raced quarter midgets until the fifth grade. And, naturally, with his father working as “chief wrench,” he did pretty well. For his day job, Laprade Sr. traveled the world working as a mechanical engineer, designer and eventually group president for Hamilton Sundstrand Industrial, then owned by United Technologies Corporation—a Connecticut-based global conglomerate that develops and manufactures everything from elevators to aircraft engines, aerospace devices and building security systems. “A guidance teacher in high school told my father that he hadn’t taken the mathematics classes required for engineering school,” recalls Laprade. “But Dad wanted to be an engineer and so he taught himself calculus and trigonometry. He graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from Western New England University, where he was inducted into the Engineering Hall of Fame in 2006. His ‘just get it done’ attitude and work ethic has always been off the charts.”

CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

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Laprade moved around a lot as a boy. His father’s job demanded it. But car racing and winning were always a constant. By the time he hit middle school, Laprade had seen his father win so many races that he playfully recalls questioning the point of even showing up at the track if the team didn’t take home first place.

chance and make golf my career. In fact, it was my father who brought home a brochure for the Professional Golf Management Program at Ferris State University, which was the first time I had heard of the program.”

Still, his young interest in golf came as a surprise. One day, a sixth-grade friend asked if he’d like to go. Something about the experience ignited him. Laprade asked his father if he’d be willing to put down his wrench one Saturday and give the sticks a try, too. Soon, father and son were golfing every chance they got.

Ed Laprade graduated from Ferris with high honors in 1993. From there, he started working as a golf instructor in Long Island and, later, Florida at the Palm Beach Polo Club. His flair for teaching and his expert-level of play led to an opportunity at Crystal Mountain, where he’s been working since 1999.

NASCAR AND GOLF

“It was my first job in the industry where the company actually encouraged me to play tournaments,” remembers Laprade. “Growing up, every time Dad got a promotion we had to move. So I was never afraid of relocating. But now I have a family, this place just feels like home.”

Golf and car racing couldn’t be more divergent sports; both require a degree of extreme focus and a knack for performing under pressure, but that’s where the similarities end. Golf happens in tranquil outdoor settings where fans and announcers speak in whispers. Racetracks are, well, racetracks—metal stadium seats, fences and the constant eardrum-rupturing roar of screaming fans, engines and the occasional car crash. The obvious contrast—and the fact that golf was a sport they could do together—appealed to Laprade and his father. For about a year, the two golfed and learned the sport together. Laprade remembers he was in seventh grade when his father got an opportunity to race Indy cars. But the dream to race at the Indianapolis 500 was over almost as quickly as it began when the driver broke his leg during a practice run. Laprade Sr. left his job and took up the role of NASCAR crew chief of the now famous “Yellow #01” car driven by Doug Heveron. His first NASCAR race was the Daytona 500, where the car proved it had the speed to compete, and the team followed the circuit that year. “My dad left a very good job to give NASCAR a shot,” remembers Laprade. “He knew he would regret it for the rest of his life if he didn’t have the guts to give it a try. By this example, he showed me not to be afraid to take a

THE CRYSTAL CONNECTION

At 46, Laprade is a PGA professional. He’s the recipient of the “2017 Northern Chapter PGA Teacher of the Year” award and has been teaching players of every level for over 20 years. In addition to being part of the team that led the Crystal Mountain Golf School to a Top 25 rating, Laprade was named one of the Best Teachers in State by Golf Digest and is the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Northern Michigan PGA Assistants Champion. “I never got into cars, but I learned a lot about what it takes to succeed from watching my father,” says Laprade. But the biggest gift of all—outside of encouraging his son to get into the driver seat and chase his own dreams—is the fact that his dad developed a serious passion for the sport to which Laprade introduced him. He describes his father, now 71, as a “crazy-avid golfer.” “My dad could live anywhere in the world but he ended up buying a summer home here at Crystal Mountain,” says Laprade. Part of the lure of living Up North is definitely the opportunity to watch his two granddaughters grow up. But Laprade says the other definite bonus is that now, father and son, get more time together enjoying the game they both came to love. CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

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Rack ’em Up! “I want these greens rolling as smooth as billiards tables.” Delivered with a wry smile and a gleam in his eye, this is the directive Golf Course Superintendent Jason Farah has been giving his crew for the last three summers. By now, they really don’t need reminding, the high standard is just business as usual. You can tell just how dedicated the team is to their craft the moment the putter blade taps the ball and it begins its untrembling journey to the cup. One might think the courses just awaken this way each morning. That’s the idea. “They’re like ninjas,” jokes Trevor Mills, golf course maintenance supervisor. “If we’ve done our job you never see us, it’s like we were never even there.” It’s far from the truth though. Well before the sun is making its ascent over the horizon these men and women are already gathered around a monitor in what amounts to a Situation Room, receiving the day’s assignments. Then they fan out to mow, clear the slightest debris, and roll each putting surface with the same type of equipment used on the PGA Tour. Each green is special and treated as such.

“We don’t really think of it as two courses; we have 36 championship holes,” said Farah. “Whether you’re on No. 6 of the Betsie Valley or No. 15 of Mountain Ridge, we want to provide a true roll and consistency in speed. I think the end result has been reflective of the good work our people do and the consistency of our process.” The greens are typically the subject of the first compliment paid during a post-round interview at the Michigan PGA Women’s Open. When greens are tuned up to an 11-plus on the stimpmeter, you might see a few golfers shake their heads at the pace, but if putts aren’t dropping, most confess operator error with nary a criticism of the line. Any self-respecting member of the grounds crew gets a twinge of satisfaction from challenging a tour-caliber pro, but those who tend the greens are rarely around to accept the accolades. They’ve got to be back on the course bright and early. But, really, the best way to thank Crystal’s turf pros: just be sure to fix your ball mark and replace your divot.

CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

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Day Tripper

BY KIM SCHNEIDER

WHEN THE INN AT THE MOUNTAIN’S NEW SUITES NEEDED A NAME, INSPIRATION CAME FROM THE NEIGHBORHOOD—FROM THE PRETTIEST COVES, CREEKS AND PENINSULAS OF MICHIGAN’S NORTH. THESE ARE THE SPOTS THAT LOCALS OFTEN MENTION IN HUSHED TONES TO KEEP SECRET THEIR FAVORITE LOCALES. YOU LIKELY WILL TOO AFTER YOUR SUNSET BONFIRE MORPHS INTO A NIGHT SKY FILLED WITH MORE STARS THAN YOU IMAGINED EXISTED, OR YOU SAMPLE PICNIC FARE FROM A GEM OF A TAQUERIA BEFORE A RIVERSIDE BIKE RIDE. VISIT ONE (OR ALL) ON AN EASY DAY TRIP WITH CRYSTAL AS HOME BASE AND SEE IF YOUR TONE ISN’T A LITTLE MORE WHISPERED THAN USUAL AS YOU HEAD BACK TO THE RESORT AND SHARE YOUR ADVENTURE DISCOVERIES.

PLATTE BAY | ROBERT NEUMANN


PLATTE BAY The current of the Platte River runs strong into the big lake, and most anyone who has spent a peaceful few hours on a river paddle or float is lured into the stream for a chance to splash, swim and drift the day away in the warm current. Thanks to the popularity of river floats and a nearby campground, this is not a hidden gem. But it can be a peaceful one if you plan your journey in late spring or early fall, or start your paddle in the early morning, putting in at the Platte River Picnic Area near M-22 or

booking a rental from a paddling outfitter. Your earlyrising reward is the chance to spot a great blue heron, kingfisher or river otter. Do head inland a bit to find one of the national lakeshore’s most interesting hiking trails. From Peterson Road off M-22, you’ll access the Otter Creek/Platte Plains Loop trail, a “ridge and swale” system that mirrors the shape of Platte Bay with trail loops that follow the ancient shorelines of Lake Michigan.

CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

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BETSIE BAY | BETH PRICE

POINT BETSIE LIGHTHOUSE


POINT BETSIE | BETSIE BAY | STEVE LOVELESS

ARCADIA DUNES Combine what Manistee County calls its “natural wonders” tour with the best see-forever Lake Michigan overlooks that you can hike to, drive past or eat along, and you’ve got the ultimate day trip centered around the Arcadia Dunes Nature Preserve. The preserve itself, 10 miles north of Arcadia along M-22, features one of the most accessible overlook hikes: a straight mile up “Baldy” to a 365-foot drop straight to Lake Michigan. This is also great habitat for scarlet tanagers and black-throated warblers. Stop at the Arcadia Overlook or “Inspiration Point,” where 120 steps climb to a panoramic view from 370 feet up; it’s particularly stunning in fall. Mystery awaits at “Gravity Hill,” at Joyfield and Putney Roads, by the Blaine Christian Church, where you’ll swear your car rolls backward uphill. You’ll be mystified in a good way at your final stop, Iron Fish Distillery: alongside a humble dirt road, discover a lively barn pub setting where you can sample barrel-finished gin, rum, whiskey, vodka and bourbon on the state’s first working farm devoted to small batch craft spirits. BETSIE BAY To plan the perfect day along Betsie Bay, follow the advice of Carol Kraak, communications coordinator for the Benzie County Chamber of Commerce and Benzie Area Visitors Bureau and cyclist who has logged some 4,000 miles—and counting—on the Betsie River Trail. She likes to start along Lake Michigan in Frankfort, where the trail officially originates, and where the trail hugs the bay between Frankfort and Elberta. The view changes daily and by season as the forest floor morphs from columbines to lady’s slippers to goldenrod. Perhaps a deer, rabbit, turkey or coyote may cross your path as

the trail winds through woods and over the Betsie River toward the end of the flat and pretty six paved miles that end near Crystal Lake. The Conundrum Cafe in Frankfort offers one-stop shopping with a bike rental and picnic to go. Those who prefer to fish the river can do so from a platform along shore. Shop for supplies at the Frankfort Tackle Box, and if you hook a keeper, take the catch for preservation at Port City smokehouse, where you can also pick up a fish sandwich fried fresh. Thirsty from the ride? El Berto’s Taqueria on the Elberta side of the bay has a loyal following for its creative burritos (including vegan) and also fresh fruit smoothies. On the Frankfort side, live music’s usually on the menu at Stormcloud Brewing Company, as well as award-winning Belgianinspired ales and outside-the-box events. POINT BETSIE The white lighthouse with a red roof that sits at the tip of Point Betsie is said to be the most photographed lighthouse on the Great Lakes, and it will come as little surprise once you turn left on Point Betsie Road off M-22 and reach a still-wild stretch of nature. You can tour the 18th-century lighthouse and climb the tower. It’s easy to imagine the many ships that ran aground as you watch waves pound on the shore, says photographer Steve Loveless, a member of the lighthouse friends group. Add more local awesomeness by rounding Crystal Lake into Benzonia and settling into the Roadhouse Mexican Bar and Grill outdoor cantina for empanadas or mango barbecue wings. Then taste away at St. Ambrose Cellars Meadery and Winery, where meads (honey wines) are creatively made with the inclusion of cider, herbs, wine grapes and even beer. Finally, check the Grow Benzie website for a schedule of events centered around cooking, tasting and farmers markets. CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

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SLEEPING BEAR DUNES | JEFF RIPPLE

OTTER CREEK | HEATHER HIGHAM


EMPIRE BLUFF

SLEEPING BEAR DUNES

OTTER CREEK

The Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail passes through the heart of the national lakeshore, and you can use this direct, shady and extra scenic route to get by bike (or foot) from the popular Dune Climb to Glen Haven’s beach, general store and on to the village of Glen Arbor. There, Crystal River Outfitters can set you up for a Crystal River float or stand-up paddleboard fun on Glen Lake. Relax at Glen Arbor Wines, where 10 locally made wines have names inspired by the Sleeping Bear experience: the dune drive, the dune overlooks and Petoskey stone hunting. Glen Arbor Wines’ fire pits and bocce court invite lingering. In the national park, take in the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, for even if you’ve been there before, you haven’t seen all it has to offer, which this year includes a new set of 11 wayside exhibits created by Oliver Uberti, former senior design editor at National Geographic. At various mapped stops on the trail, learn how French explorer Pierre Charlevoix, when paddling past in 1721, first described the dunes as shaped like an animal lying down. Memorize how to share the tale of the Sleeping Bear in Anishinaabemowin—the local Native American dialect. Discover how the first people described the constellations vividly throughout the lakeshore. Linger after sunset at the drive’s North Bar overlook, says Tom Ulrich, deputy superintendent of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, or settle in at a northwest-facing beach. A study showed these beaches provide the best views of night skies and northern lights because shoreline bluffs block light from towns.

The draw to Otter Creek is, and apparently always has been, the striking beauty of the spot near the end of Esch Road where the winding stream meets Lake Michigan. This now sandy beach was once the town of Aral, so named because early settlers thought it was as stunning as Europe’s Aral Sea. An interpretive sign tells the story of a ghost town that once held a sawmill, company store, schoolhouse and even, at one time, a band that entertained beach-goers. Today’s entertainment is centered on the changing beauty of the inlet, says nature photographer Steve Loveless. Book a few hours on location with Loveless on his new private photography tours, or just explore one of his favorite beach stretches. Round out the day in Empire, just north on M-22. Shop Miser’s Hoard, where everything—new and antique—has a story; surf or paddle with a rental or lesson from Sleeping Bear Surf and Kayak; and when you get hungry, paninis like the “SS Neurotic” at the new Shipwreck Cafe pay homage in their own way to the wrecks of the Manitou Passage and beyond. For dessert, the handcrafted truffles at nearby Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate are ethically sourced—and delicious.

CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

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CHERRY BLOSSOMS | OLD MISSION PENINSULA | TOD + BRAD REED

HISTORIC FISHTOWN | LELAND | MEGAN WATT


OLD MISSION LIGHTHOUSE | BRAD REED

OLD MISSION PENINSULA

LELAND FISHTOWN

Picture a drive that crests to a view that has you shouting, “Pull over!” and where prescient planners anticipated the need. Scenic turnoffs sit above views of distant bays to both east and west and a foreground of hills patterned with grapevines, trees drooping with ripe red cherries and classic barns. But that’s just the first reason to head to Traverse City’s Old Mission Peninsula, a day trip destination that cuts between the east and west arms of Grand Traverse Bay and can be explored for the most part on a straight 20-mile jaunt on M-37 from Traverse City to the peninsula’s tip. Linger—it’s encouraged—on breezy patios positioned for lake views at spots like tasting rooms of newcomer wineries Mari and Bonobo, often to the soundtrack of a local singer-songwriter. At Brys Estate, pick your own bouquet amid gardens of lavender and other blooms, then order a frose (frozen rosé) on the patio overlooking the vines. But Old Mission Peninsula is not only all about wine. The cherry industry started in the village of Old Mission, and history like that of the Presbyterian missionary who planted the first cherry orchard is showcased in village museum shops and in the lighthouse at the peninsula’s tip. Learn while you shop for gifts new and Civil War–era old at the Old Mission General Store, where the actor/owner just may spin a yarn about the days Henry Ford and Thomas Edison shopped here.

Order a mint fudge cone at the Dam Candy Store, then stroll the working wharf past classic tugs like the Joy and Janice Sue and gaze out at Lake Michigan. Next, wander shops housed in 150-year-old fish shanties. There’s the Tug Stuff shop, themed around iconic boats, galleries like Sporck Tile Art, with scenes highlighting regional wildlife and beaches. But first place your picnic sandwich order from The Village Cheese Shanty, where the pretzel bread has so many addicts you’ll likely need to wait in a long line (it’s worth it!). Summer’s festivities morph into Olympic-style excitement come fall when crowds of massive salmon attempt to leap the dam. There’s no wait for a front row seat or for your order of a Chubby Mary, the signature Bloody Mary accented with a smoked chub. Fish are Fishtown’s true reason for being. Working fishermen still haul their catch into the back of Carlson’s Fishery, where you can order whitefish pâté and ask about family patriarch Nels, who emigrated from Norway more than 100 years ago: five generations of fishermen followed. Sunsets are a reason for staying by the shore. Catch the sunset cruise on the Mishe Mokwa, through Manitou Island transit, or stroll to North Beach, where you’re invited to build a fire in a designated spot, settle in and watch the show.

CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

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COMING SOON… updated website!

W

hether it’s a fleet of mountain bikes, a twist on Wednesday Family Golf Night or a hotel expansion, there’s seemingly always something new happening at Crystal Mountain. Guests will soon find the next big thing before they even arrive. This spring the resort will launch a completely redeveloped crystalmountain.com, with brand new mobile phone and tablet platforms. One of the best things about travel is anticipating and planning your trip. The bold look of Crystal’s new digital destination, with dynamic video, photos and information, will give a glimpse of your vacation to come. New functionality will make it easier to search and filter events, activities, spa services, programs and more! The big redesign is only the beginning. Just as we have built Crystal’s village piece-by-piece, we’ll continue to add features to crystalmountain.com that improve the online experience.

CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

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SUMMER LOOKBOOK M

L

J C

A

N

D

E

Q

WHILE THE WEATHER IS CERTAINLY THE TRADITIONAL WAY TO GAUGE THE CHANGING OF THE SEASONS, A MORE TRIED AND TRUE METHOD MAY ACTUALLY BE… SHOPPING. ONE ONLY NEEDS TO QUICKLY BROWSE THROUGH THE SHOPS AT CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN TO REALIZE THAT SUMMER IS IN FULL SWING.

Speaking of which, you may get a little more distance from your swing off the tee with (A) Callaway’s NEW Rogue driver and greater touch on the greens with an (B) Odyssey Works putter. Even if you’re having an off-day on the course, you can still look your best with (C, D, E) men’s golf polos or (F) a women’s sleeveless golf tee by Greg Norman.

The chill of an early-morning tee time won’t be an issue with a (G) quarter-zip from EP while the vibrant colors and patterns of the (H) EP Pro line as well as that from (I) Tail Activewear will have you stylin’ in the sun.


H

I

B

F

G

P

K

O

Greet the sunrise and sip your morning coffee from (J) the Sunset Hill Stonewear mug you picked up in the Mountain Market. Some jam from (K) the Cherry Hut or a little (L) Iron Fish Distillery Whiskey Barrel Aged Honey might taste pretty good on your toast. Of course, (M) the Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup goes well

with pancakes. A bit later use one of your Silipint (N) pint or (O) stemless glasses to raise a toast of craft beer or (P) wine. A bottle from Brengman Brothers might be a nice choice.

Visit the new Mountain Market, Peak Boutique, Kinlochen Pro Shop and Mountain Sports for these great finds and many more!

As the sun sets, gather around the fire with some added warmth from a colorful (Q) Outta Town sweatshirt.

CRYSTALMOUNTAIN.COM | MOUNTAIN LIFE | SUMMER 2018

47


THE BILLINGS PHOTOGRAPHY | VISIT ONLINE: WEARETHEBILLINGS.COM


thea c i or t s hi

open y ear

ter

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un

d

October 18-21, 2018

Home of the

featuring AWARD winning FILMS from around the globe

Available for Special Events

301Mainstreet•Frankfort,Mi49635

FrankfortGardenTheater.com

sit back, relax,

and watch the

storm roll in. 12oz cans m a k i n g l a n d fa l l

2018 Stormcloud Brewing co. 303 MAIN STREET | FRANKFORT, MI


12500 Crystal Mountain Drive Thompsonville, MI 49683-9742 888.976.4484

Book your reservation by calling 888.976.4484 crystalmountain.com

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Mountain Life, Summer 2018  

Crystal's Summer Soundtrack of the 70's / Culinary Adventure, From Market to Table / A Pro's Perspective on Golf & Life / The Wonder of Rapt...

Mountain Life, Summer 2018  

Crystal's Summer Soundtrack of the 70's / Culinary Adventure, From Market to Table / A Pro's Perspective on Golf & Life / The Wonder of Rapt...

Profile for mynorth