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Places, Ideas Discover how Northern Michigan can turn your meeting into an event!


Golf Courses by Famous Designers Ultimate Up North Goodie Bag Off-Site Ideas for Your Group

Editor’s Note


Dream up a meeting that’s both memorable and sticks within a budget. That balance is, of course, Job 1 of any meeting planner. And fortunately for planners with Northern Michigan as a destination, achieving that magical balance is remarkably doable. Doable because Northern Michigan has such a diverse and rich range of offerings in all the key areas that planners need. For venues: from sprawling resorts with everything onsite to intimate B&B’s for small groups. For golf, dozens of courses, with several designed by internationally renowned course architects that will long linger in the minds of your golf lovers (p. 8). For team building activities or just a break from meeting mindset, Northern Michigan delivers a remarkable choice of off-site possibilities: rent bikes and hit a bike trail, canoe a gentle river, pair an attraction with a vibrant harbor-town explora-

tion (p. 18). And of course there’s Northern Michigan’s acclaimed wine country (a limo driver shares his tips for successful group wine tours on p. 13). Of course, let’s not forget that tone-setting starts with the goodie bag. We asked Traverse City meeting planner Allison Beers to share some Northern Michigan picks to pack that will, well, just plain make people happy (p. 17: darkchocolate-covered dried cherries, anyone?). Enjoy your meeting Up North!

Jeff Smith Editor, Meetings North SMITH@TRAVERSEMAGAZINE.COM

True Inspiration

Why just plan a meeting when you can plan to inspire? four-season outdoor recreation | sugar-sand beaches | championship golf art galleries | boutique shopping | wineries | microbreweries resorts & spas | conference centers | meeting planner assistance

True North Tr av e r s e C i t y C o n v e n t i o n & V i s i t o r s B u r e a u

101 W. Grandview Parkway • Traverse City, MI 49684 • (800) 940-1120 • Fax (231) 947-2621


Table of Contents 2013 • Volume 9, Number 1

A MyNorth Media Publication



Deborah Wyatt Fellows

Jeff Smith

MANAGING EDITOR Elizabeth Edwards


PRODUCTION DIR. Theresa Burau-Baehr GRAPHIC DESIGNER Claire Stortz


Todd Zawistowski WEB DIRECTOR Michael Thompson WEB DEVELOPER Roger Lamb


Kris Riley


Jim Driver

Ann Gatrell

Jeff Hale

Candace Morse Lisa Gillespie Jill Hayes Amy Artz Joslin Cyndi Ludka

3 Editor’s Note

All the right pieces for creating a memorable, affordable meeting.

5 A Caterer’s Favs

A top caterer in Traverse City shares her favorite off-the-radar meeting spots.

8 Big Shooters

Northern Michigan’s rolling, captivating terrain has drawn the skills of some of the world’s top course architects. Reward your crew with a world-class round.

13 Tips for Group Wine Tours

Touring wine tasting rooms with a group is a rich experience, but to be successful, it takes a little planning. We found a limo driver willing to share advice.

17 Goodie Bag Picks

Favorite picks for the perfect gift bag, from award-winning Northern Michigan meeting planner Allison Beers.

18 Off-Site Activities Idea Book

Active, fun, affordable and doable for a wide range of people. We serve up winning ideas for your crew when they head off-site for team building or just kicking back.

20 Airport Map and Advertiser Index

Drew Warner


Jodi G. Simpson


Jenny Buechel


Meredith Busekist




Lori Savage


Editorial & Advertising Offices 148 E. Front St., Traverse City, MI 49684 Phone: 231.941.8174 Fax: 231.941.8391 E-mail: © 2013 Prism Publications.

• 2013

3 is your group’s connection to cooking lessons, winery tours, boat rides, concerts, theater, festivals and more!

Your Ticket to Fun!

Call 800-836-0717 for group tickets.


© 2012 MyNorth

© 2012 MyNorth

Meeting Spaces

A Caterer’s Favs

As manager at Traverse City’s Grandview Catering, Jen Fultz has checked out pretty much every venue in the region. We asked her to share a few off-the-radar favorites, places that keep it fresh, mix up the vibe and can be useful in helping groups to problem-solve in innovative ways. Spider Lake Retreat Perched shoreside on one of the Traverse City region’s most enchanting lakes, Spider Lake Retreat sports a family lodge feel, but is large enough to accommodate corporate groups. Fultz loves the mirrored kitchen—two of everything: two double-stack ovens, two big refrigerators, two workspaces, so on. The retreat feels like a new and beautiful lake home (not rustic), but it can sleep 64 in 16 bedrooms, so the lodge can handle a group. Meetings happen in the large dining room and rec room. Two balconies serve as great breakout spaces. The beach and Adirondack chairs await for break time. 231.935.0111,

Twin Lakes Camp With its expansive woodsy lodge, pure-sand beach and forested surroundings, Twin Lakes Camp transports guests to a relaxed state that’s just right for open conversations and creative thinking. As a caterer, Fultz has been impressed with the quality and capacity of the kitchen, which allows groups to do whatever they want from a food standpoint. She’s also seen

the relatively large meeting room handle groups of 125 without losing its relaxed spirit. The fireplace and lakeside pavilion are nice tone setters, and in summer guests hop in the lake for a swim. Dorm on site. 10 minutes to downtown TC. Owned by Grand Traverse County, 231.922.4818. Search: Grand Traverse Twin Lakes Camp.

Cherry Tree Inn and Suites Large-ish groups that intend to meet in a single large room do well at the Cherry Tree Inn, Fultz says. Attendees like that their rooms are right on the beach and that they’re close to Traverse City, so the town’s acclaimed foodie scene and entertainment are right nearby. The Cherry Tree Inn’s large meeting room is in classic style, and Fultz says the friendly staff make meetings easy and comfortable to pull off. 877.778.8999,

Timber Ridge Resort “This is a great one for bringing a bit of Northern Michigan into your meeting,” Fultz says. Timber Ridge offers a large cozy loggy lodge meeting room in northwoods style, enhanced with a big fieldstone fireplace that warms up the space, and a small adjacent kitchenette that offers a range of food possibilities. For group bonding outings or break time, excellent trails for hiking, mountain biking, snowshoeing or cross-country skiing are right out the door. Fultz has seen many groups use Timber Ridge to gather away from their hotel to mix up the meeting vibe, since the venue is just minutes from Traverse City. 231.947.2770,


Additions at Grand Traverse Resort In an acknowledgment that innovative spaces can inspire innovative ideas, the Grand Traverse Resort has added two small but creatively designed rooms to its meeting room array.

Manitou Room: A pool table, bar and big screen TV (with wii hookup) will help your crew bond over games and good times. You might feel like you’ve been transported into a friend’s most excellent party room, but nothing wrong with that. Intimate at 1,004 square feet. Northwoods Room: Striking a balance between warm and upscale, this 1,366-square-foot boardroom, complete with large boardroom table, is outfitted with a fireplace, cedar trim and cushy chairs. 800.748.0303,

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Meeting success in any season

Why Choose Grand Traverse Resort and Spa? It’s the surprising destination that has it all: expansive meeting space, exceptional golf, exciting group activities, delicious food and drink – and a staff that excels at successful meetings. But it is more than that. It’s the convenience of the Traverse City region that beckons our guests to shop downtown, taste local wines, and experience year-round activities that encourage your attendee’s participation and help you achieve your meeting goals.

800-748-0303 | Owned & Operated by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians

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Golf Favorites

Big Shooters Golf stars and internationally renowned course designers have applied their talent to Northern Michigan courses. Treat your team to a round from golf’s brain trust.

Golf Favorites 1. THE BEAR Jack Nicklaus, Grand Traverse Resort Ranked as one of the top 20 toughest courses in America, this dramatically sculpted beauty by Jack Nicklaus stands as a Northern Michigan icon. Terraced fairways, tiered greens, deep bunkers, mounds and moguls will demand all your attention and the best of your game. Plentiful forest and water hazards round out the experience. When the Bear opened in the mid-80s, it helped kick off a golf course construction mania that swept Northern Michigan for the next 20 years. 800.236.1577,

2. MANITOU PASSAGE Arnold Palmer, Homestead Designed by Arnold Palmer, and then modified under his watch in 2010, The Manitou Passage made Golf Week’s list of best new courses when it reopened in 2010. Expect a gentle start that gets tougher as you go, thanks in part to the rolling and enchanting terrain of Leelanau County. The iconic 8th hole presents an unforgettable view of Lake Michigan and delivers a challenging dogleg right while playing down hill. The Homestead Resort is about 8 miles west in Glen Arbor. 231.334.5000,

3. BLACK FOREST Tom Doak, Wilderness Valley Tom Doak is one of golf’s most esteemed course designers and also happens to be a Northern Michigan resident. This, his second course, opened to wide acclaim and became viewed as a fine example of Doak’s minimalist approach to course design, aided by his homeland terrain and its natural ebb and flow that makes for superb golf. Be prepared for perplexing bunkers, unexpected slopes, and greens that mystify (appear easy—but aren’t), all on a 400-acre site near Gaylord. 231.585.7090,


4. MASTERPIECE Robert Trent Jones Sr., Treetops Resort Set amid one of Northern Michigan’s most legendary pieces of geography, the Pigeon River Valley, the Masterpiece is a challenging play defined by puzzling elevation changes, perplexing water hazards and confounding forest. A beautiful and intelligent course, the Masterpiece opened in 1985 and, along with the Legend and the Bear, is considered part of the triumvirate of courses that elevated Northern Michigan into national golf prominence. 866.348.5249,

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Make Your Meeting Benefits Last The idea was to make an impression, to share an experience and learn together. Now that the event is over, how can you make that impression last? Your guests will keep these meaningful gifts from Beautiful Sleeping Bear Dunes will linger on their coffee table. The travel mug will inspire their commute. And the DVD will take them Up North …

Doing Business in Northern Michigan = TVC Total Value Convenience The airlines provide group discounts for 10 or more attendees - please visit their websites for more details

FLY TVC - Northern Michigan’s Most Convenient Way to Fly!

For more information about bulk pricing and custom co-branding, contact Jodi Simpson at, or call 231-941-8174. MyNorth

© 2012 MyNorth

.com © 2012 MyNorth


America’s summer place. A historic tradition. Great 2013 dates are still available

Grand Hotel introduces the Complete Meeting Package. Includes accommodations, a full breakfast and five-course dinner daily with flexible dining options, cocktail reception on the evening of your choice, complimentary meeting rooms all under one roof, audio-visual equipment, daily coffee breaks, free golf green fees (cart fee required), free wireless internet, and a convention manager dedicated to your group. Book 10 rooms or more and receive a complimentary room with meals. Call 517-349-4600 or email for rates and availability.

g r a nd hote l . c om /me e t i n g s

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Golf Favorites 5. CEDAR RIVER Tom Weiskopf, Shanty Creek Resorts A kind of grace and elegance, a distillation of Northern Michigan landscape, prevails throughout this Weiskopf course that opened in 1999. Weiskopf mixes the pace, from fairways that roll out in an easy undulation to perplexing obstacle courses, like No. 14, that forces a downhill shot dropped onto a dinner-table sized green. Nail that and somebody else buys the first round. 800.678.4111,

6. THE LEGEND Arnold Palmer, Shanty Creek Resorts Opened in 1986, The Legend is Arnold Palmer’s first Northern Michigan golf course and is on the bucket list of any devoted Michigan golfer. A captivating play, with fairways rollercoastering around a ski hill, The Legend serves up elevation changes aplenty along with a solid offering of water hazards and trees. An abundance of doglegs forces players to rely on accuracy and focus, not always easy amid beautiful surroundings served by elevated tees that invite the eye to take in the scenery. 800.678.4111,


7. THE HEATHER Robert Trent Jones Sr., Boyne Highlands One of the first acclaimed public courses in Northern Michigan, The Heather wears its years well and has remained a must-play course for Mitten state golfers. The course sports such Jones trademark techniques as elevated greens, heavily bunkered approaches and extensive water hazards. Jones, who lived to 94 and is in the World Golf Hall of Fame, was noted for courses that required both intellect and risk, both in evidence at The Heather. 800.462.6963,

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Made for Meeting! Nestled in the Victorian port city of Manistee, Little River Casino Resort is one of Michigan’s premier conference and entertainment destinations. Little River Casino Resort offers space, accommodations, and catering to suit any event, accommodating groups of half a dozen to hundreds. We have a variety of meeting spaces, a 14,000 square foot multifunctional event center, state-of-the-art AV equipment and support, and a first class hotel with 292 guest rooms. Plus, you can enjoy wonderful dining in any of our three restaurants. Then experience the finest in casino action with over 1,500 exciting slot machines and table games! Give us a call today at 1-888-568-2244 and let us make your next event a success!

Winery Tours


Licensed? Insured?

Tips for Group Wine Tours


Taking your crew on the wine tour highway is fun and easy, but still takes some planning. Wine tasting tours make for fun and memorable corporate events, but the logistics take some thinking through. We check in with Doug Dornbos, who has led dozens of wine tours over the years with his two companies, GT Wine Tours and Grand Traverse Limousine.

is just to take a break from the heaviness of the corporate retreat, that’s a worthy goal. But others will use it as team building or as a way to study customer service. Some find a way to use the trip to highlight something they’re talking about on the retreat.

Any general advice before we get to the specifics? Some people look at wine touring as

What about advice for mapping out the route? You have to be realistic about

another version of bar hopping. But that is not really the point. The point is we have incredible scenery to enjoy. We have great wineries to enjoy. It’s a great way to spend a day, but it’s not a drunkfest.

the number of wineries you can visit in, say, four hours. We often have to help people trim back their list. On Leelanau Peninsula, the wineries are farther apart than on Old Mission, so be aware of how that affects travel time. We call them gap miles. Four is generally a good number.

Okay. Got it. Have fun, but show respect. What else? I think corporate wine tours are most successful when the organizer has a goal. If the goal

Corporate planners want to know that the tour company they are dealing with has an appropriate commercial license and adequate insurance to be chaperoning employees. Making things easy, the Michigan Department of Transportation keeps an online list for limousine and bus companies (separate lists). Users can search by size of vehicle and county to see an alphabetized list of carriers with current licensing and insurance. [Internet search: “MDOT current list of carriers”]

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Winery Tours

Who sets the pace of the outing?

It’s important to have that figured out. Some people really like to be structured and stay on the clock. Other people want to lounge at every tasting room. I find it’s best not to put those two groups together, have separate vehicles. My advice in general though is, for it to be a great day, don’t be overly committed to a structure. Be open to the day as it unfolds.


What about specifics of dealing with the wineries? The wineries have a contract they ask tour companies to sign that establishes some courtesies. And one is we will call 24 hours ahead if there are going to be more than 10 people. The wineries build beautiful but somewhat intimate tasting rooms and if you show up with a big group at a busy time it can swamp the tasting room. So they like a little notice. Generally the tour guide can deal with the wineries for you.

What days seem to work best for larger groups? I’d want to go for a Tuesday. It’s a slow day at wineries and in effect you own the winery. You get better service that way too. But in general, weekdays are less busy and off-season, too, of course. As for days to avoid, Saturdays in the fall harvest and color tour season are just nuts.

Do the wineries charge for tastings?

It varies. Some wineries charge a few bucks for tastings. Some can sell wine by the glass, others can’t. Tour guides are happy to deal with that for the customer.

Tell us about lead-time and pricing. The sooner the better, especially if you are looking at weekends, when you’re competing with weddings and reunions and everybody else. There are 15 weekends up here when the demand is way heavier than the number of vehicles. But if you pick midweek and off-season it’s infinitely easier to plan. We charge $10 per hour per person as a ballpark price.

Michigan’s PreMier Four SeaSon ConFerenCe DeStination Set among breathtaking northern Michigan, the Crystal Center – Crystal Mountain’s dedicated conference facility – was built to inspire productivity and learning. This full-service center offers flexible seating for up to 350, on-site catering, advanced presentation technologies and a talented planning staff. All just steps away from exceptional lodging, an award-winning wellness spa, and countless resort activities.

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Gifts for Attendees

Northern Michigan Goodie Bags By Allison Beers

As a meeting planner headquartered in Traverse City, I’ve made TC-centric goodie bags one of my specialties. Here are a few of my favorite picks to slide into the tote (or, in one case, be the tote!).



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1. Love Traverse City Why I like it: Who doesn’t LOVE TC? Or Michigan? This Great Lakes line of logo-wear is perfect for meetings anywhere in the state. LOVETRAVERSECITY.COM.

4. Cherry Stop’s Cherriyaki Why I like it: Wonderful blend of cherry and soy flavors. Travels well on the trip home. Plus, Cherriyaki is just fun to say! THECHERRYSTOP.COM/CHERRIYAKI-SAUCE.HTML.

2. Cherry Republic’s Dark Chocolate–Covered Cherries Why I like it: Delicious. I can eat a WHOLE bag! Your guests can too! CHERRYREPUBLIC.COM/SHOP-CHERRY-REPUBLIC/CHOCOLATE-CHERRIES /DARK-CHOCOLATE.

5. Great Lake State Tote Why I like it: Provide a bag that attendees will want to use AFTER the event and will ACTUALLY use! NORTHERNPIER.COM/PRODUCT/THEGREAT-LAKE-STATE-TOTE-BAG.

3. Eco Lunch Gear Why I like it: The fabrics are customizable, produced in Traverse City and made with organic cotton. Can be adorned with a logo for a golf outing giveaway or for the box lunch on the course! ECOLUNCHGEAR.COM.

Allison Beers is owner and founder of Events North.

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Off-Site Activities Idea Book

Rent Bikes

An Attraction and a Town

Stretch the legs, breathe fresh air and, of course, go shopping(!). Give your crew a break from meetings by pairing a Northern Michigan attraction with a casual day exploring a Great Lake harbor town. These four ideas get the party started. Grand Traverse Commons

Petoskey and Crooked Tree Art Center

The largest historical restoration project in the nation, Grand Traverse Commons, is underway just west of Traverse City’s downtown, where developers are transforming a colossal 19th-century mental hospital into a beautiful community of residences, shopping, eating and entertainment. Let your group free up some creativity by wandering the parklike grounds or hiking the trails. Then check out the memorable shops and restaurants in the Mercado and on the grounds. Wow. Unforgettable.

Crooked Tree Arts Center has evolved into one of Northern Michigan’s most remarkable venues. High quality art exhibits coexist with community theater and touring shows. Spend time letting art inspire your group and then walk to explore Petoskey, one of the Midwest’s most memorable Victorian-era lakeside shopping districts. Irresistible boutiques, spirited local bookstores, worthy restaurant options. Walk to the harbor for some big blue. Pretty!

Harbor Springs & M-119 Tour Let the curve and sway of the famous Tunnel of Trees highway (M-119) reward your crew and then backtrack the beauty to end the drive at Harbor Springs. Explore national-quality art galleries, fashionista-worthy boutiques and eateries of Harbor Springs. Free-up thoughts further with a stroll along that big-boat marina and captivating waterfront.

Traverse City and Dennos Art Museum Traverse City’s Dennos Art Museum has earned a reputation for top-notch picks, bringing in a steady lineup of international and national touring exhibits and building a stout collection of its own. After enjoying the galleries, steer the group to TC’s downtown and enjoy the remarkable verve of this renowned small town on the bay. Beautiful beach, marina, inventive boutiques, locally owned bookstores and a nationally acclaimed restaurant scene, all walkable.

America is falling in love all over again with the two-wheeler. Help your crew feel like 14-year-olds on bikes (and put ideas in motion, too) with an easy but active spin on a safe bike path. Bike rental shops are popping up all over Northern Michigan, many right by bike paths. Favorite trails (your people can ride as much or as little as they please): Leelanau Trail, 17 miles from Suttons Bay to Traverse City; Little Traverse Wheelway, 25 miles from Harbor Springs to Charlevoix; TART Trail, 11 miles from Traverse City to Acme.

Off-Site Activities Idea Book

Canoe Flotilla

Team building? What better metaphor than putting two people in a canoe and setting them off on a Northern Michigan river. Navigate the shoals, dodge the trees, power through the culverts. Well, you get the idea. Liveries generally have enough canoes to handle large groups, and Northern Michigan rivers are doable for novice paddlers. Au Sable River: Downtown Grayling has several liveries.

Winter Notions

Northern Michigan ski resorts aren’t just for skiers anymore. For group planners, that’s good news, because ski resorts know how to handle numbers and have all the gear to make outings easy. Also, your members don’t have to be athletes to enjoy all of these activities. A few ideas to consider:

Tube Runs Settle into a giant inflated inner tube and slide down the hill. (What could inspire childlike creativity more than that?). Athleticism not required—a tow rope takes your people back to the top.

Manistee River: Shel-Haven, just west of Grayling. Boardman River: Ranch Rudolf, south of Traverse City. Bear River: Bear River Canoe Livery, Petoskey. Crystal River (Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore): Glen Arbor has two liveries, Crystal River Outfitters and The River. Platte River (Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore): Trading Post and Riverside Canoe Rental.



Many resorts will arrange snowmobile rentals for your crew, and the venues are typically near extensive trail networks. Steering a sled (snowmobile parlance) is maybe not for everybody, but most people can handle it, especially on groomed trails.

Snowshoeing Snowshoes are a go-slow way to enjoy the snow, plus they offer excellent stability—especially when using poles. Ask the concierge to suggest a pretty trail and a distance right for your crew’s fitness level and give this a try.

On The Big Water Chart a course! Hoist the sails! Or just wander the deck with an appetizer and a beverage. Either way, an outing on the Great Lakes makes an unforgettable addition to any conference. Traverse City: Two-masted Schooner Manitou, on Grand Traverse Bay. Charlevoix: Ferry cruises on Lake Charlevoix or Lake Michigan through Beaver Island Boat Co. or Keweenaw Excursions. Lighthouse tours in the Mackinac Straits: Shepler’s Ferry Service. Leland: Evening cruises on Lake Michigan on the ferry Mishe-Mokwa, Manitou Island Transit.

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Getting Here


Pictured Rocks NL

Cherry Capital Airport 231.947.2250; AIRLINES: Delta, United, American Eagle

Christmas Munising

Sault Ste. Marie


Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, Marquette Seasonal weekend service: New York, Denver CAR RENTALS: Avis (231.946.1222), Budget (231.947.3883), Enterprise (231.922-2800), Hertz (231.946.7051), National/Alamo (231.947.1560)







Mackinac Island


Island Pellston Regional Airport

St. Ignace

LAKE HURON 231.539.8441;










Detroit: 2-4 daily (varies seasonally) Chicago: weekend flights

Harbor Springs



Avis (231.539.8302), Hertz (231.539.8404), Mackinaw Shuttle (231.539.7005) and Wolverine Stages (800.825.1450)

Charlevoix GRAND TRAVERSE BAY Boyne City

Mt. Pleasant

Manistee County Blacker Airport

Northport Peshawbestown


75 Lewiston

Traverse City 31



231.723.4351; AIRLINES: PublicCharters


Suttons Bay


Delta Connections, Lakeshore





Daily service to Chicago Midway Seasonal weekend service also available CAR RENTALS/TRANSPORTATION:


Mowry Rental


Houghton Lake




(Inside back Cover) 800-862-6963 Mark Homuth, Ext. 1

Cherry Capital Airport

Grand Hotel

(Page 10) 517-349-4600

Grand Traverse Resort & Spa (Page 6 & 7)

(Page 10) 231-947-2250

800-748-0303 Ext. 6150

Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa (Page 15)

(Inside Front Cover) 231-995-3100 Nate Glidden

800-968-7686 meetingshome

Hagerty Center

Little River Casino Resort (Page 12) 888-568-2244

Park Place

(Page 16) 231-946-5196 Margaret Morse

Shanty Creek Resorts

(Back Cover) 800-678-4111

Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau (Page 2) 800-940-1120 Mary Winowiecki







NG 5 0 YE AR



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MyNorth Meetings 2013  
MyNorth Meetings 2013