Category: Food and Drink

Michigan’s Best Magazine, Spring 2020

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Dear Friends,

It was not so long ago that Michigan’s Best comprised only stories of our great state’s flavors. The food searches led by the energetic John Gonzales and Amy Sherman have proven to be a source of appreciation and inspiration for hundreds of thousands of readers. You spend so much time with this content on our website that we felt compelled to bring you more of what you clearly love!

In 2019, Michigan’s Best expanded to include stories of the Arts, nonprofits, Michigan’s businesses, and more. Innovations, adventures, and initiatives were waiting to be discovered by our team and shared with readers. This expansion, featured both on and at, gave us a chance to tell more stories about the people, places, and happenings in the State, produced both in digital and print formats.

winter rafting in Gaylord, MIYou may have been following this movement that Michigan’s Best has in your Sunday newspaper. Each week, we feature just a few of our favorite stories in the section you’ll find wrapping your advertising content. But there were so many stories to tell!  We needed to share more.

What you hold in your hand is just one more way these stories have been collected and packaged. This “magazine” represents a collection of the stories we’ve told so far. We sincerely hope you find it informative, perhaps intriguing or inspiring.

Eric Hultgren checks out Project 1If you’d like more of this content, you’ll find it on the sites mentioned here. But you can also follow along in real time by connecting through social media. We hope you join us along our journey to uncover Michigan’s Best stories and the people that bring them to life.


The Michigan’s Best Team

(Comprising Journalists, Videographers, Photographers and the dozens of unsung team members that shape this content into its digital, print, graphic, animated, or visual form.)

Download the Michigan’s Best Magazine, Spring 2020

Ready for spring? Kick start the season during Traverse City Wellness Month

Traverse City Wellness Month - spa

No doubt, winter in Michigan can be a beautiful time of year. But the cold and snow season also can feel so dark and dreary, making us just want to hole up indoors like a bear in hibernation. In the winter we tend to eat more and do less. No wonder it’s the unhealthiest season of the year!

Well, now winter is coming to an end. Finally! And that means it’s time for us to spring into action and get healthy.

Spring brings longer days, giving us more time to be outdoors. More time to enjoy the natural beauty all around us. More time to re-engage the outside world and be social. And guess what? More sunshine. Get ready for a healthy dose of Vitamin D!

Seriously, we should make our New Year’s resolutions in the spring, not in the middle of winter. That’s why many places to stay in Traverse City are teaming up to offer special Wellness Month packages during April. In addition to discounts at participating hotels and resorts, you’ll get a package of coupons for deals on everything from massage and yoga to chiropractic screenings and healthy dinners. Plus, you’ll get a free bag of delicious Lulu Fuel Granola!

How are you going to break out of the winter doldrums and make the most of Michigan’s spring this year? Here are just a few ways you can kick-start the season on a trip to Traverse City during Wellness Month:

Traverse City Wellness Month - yogaNestled in a gorgeous setting high above the bay near the tip of Old Mission Peninsula, Chateau Chantal is one of Traverse City’s most iconic wineries. During Wellness Month, the winery will also be a yoga haven. Come stay at Chateau Chantal’s B&B from April 17-19 for the Weekend Yoga Retreat. You can unwind with private yoga sessions, wonderful wines, delicious dinners and downtown shopping.

If you can’t make it to the yoga retreat that weekend, no problem. When you stay at a participating hotel, your Traverse City Wellness Package includes coupons to Yen Yoga & Fitness that you can use any time during April.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National LakeshoreSpring is a great time to visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It will feel like your own slice of paradise to immerse yourself in America’s Most Beautiful Place before summer crowds arrive.

You can let the lake breeze wash over you as you walk the beach and come face to face with returning migratory water birds like the cute little piping plover. Maybe you’ll even find a coveted Petoskey stone. In recognition of Wellness Month, admission to the park is free on Saturday, April 18.

When you stay at a participating hotel, your Traverse City Wellness Package includes deals on massage at Living Light, free lotions from Great Lakes Bath & Body and a free stress relief roller ball from Old Mission Lavender. Those are just a few of the luxury spas and salons in Traverse City where you can relax in style.

Traverse City Wellness Month - hot stone massageHave you ever taken a hot mineral bath? Enjoyed a cherry-scented paraffin manicure or a massage with oven-warmed stones? They’re all great ways to get your body and your emotional health in sync for the seasons to come. Another way: Take advantage of Relax and Recharge packages at Grand Traverse Resort & Spa.

Speaking of relaxing and recharging, Grand Traverse Resort & Spa is teaming with Black Star Farms on a VIP Wine & Spa Weekend April 10-11. Perfect for couples or for a girls’ weekend, the event combines resort lodging with a behind-the-scenes wine tasting tour, spa treatment and healthy breakfasts each morning.

Traverse City area WineryIn fact, throughout Wellness Month there are wine and cheese tastings, special happy hours and other wine-themed activities happening all over Traverse City.

Open your mind to the historic wisdom of Tibet when the Loseling Monks perform a one-of-a-kind show on Friday, April 17, at the Dennos Museum Center on the campus of Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City. Through the mystical and sacred arts of ancient music and dance, you’ll broaden your awareness of Tibetan civilization and contribute to world peace by supporting Tibetan refugees in India. Tibetan Loseling Monks perform a one-of-a-kind show

Special events to nurture your mind and spirit are planned throughout Wellness Month.

With most of winter’s snow melting away by April, the chance returns to lace up your running shoes and get outside. What better way to pick up the pace than to take part in northern Michigan’s premier celebration of off-road running?

runners in the Traverse City areaThe Traverse City Trail Running Festival at Timber Ridge on April 24-25 features a two-person adult 10k relay on Friday, with individual 10k, 25k and 50k runs on Saturday. Plus, there’s a free race for kids, too!

Wellness Month isn’t just about your physical, emotional and spiritual health. It’s also about the health of your relationships! Isn’t it time for a girls’ weekend? Or, how about an intimate getaway, just the two of you? Traverse City Wellness Month couple getaway vacation

Grand Traverse Resort & Spa is offering Carefree Getaway and Do Not Disturb deals during Wellness Month. Or, get the girls together and live it up during a wine weekend in Traverse City.

Let’s not forget to treat your body well with delicious, healthy food. When you stay at a participating hotel, your Traverse City Wellness Package includes the option of a $50 dinner for two featuring an appetizer, two entrees and two desserts. Delivery is free to many area hotels. Or, you can head out to any of the dozens of incredible restaurants in Traverse City that serve healthy, locally-sourced food.

We haven’t even mentioned the free guided group meditation, free eco-fin foot treatment or discounted chiropractic screening at Jovia Wellness that comes with your Traverse City Wellness Package, when you stay at a participating hotel. Or the beautiful northern Michigan golf you can play in the spring. Or the guided walking tours of the largest historical renovation project in the Western Hemisphere.

There are so many ways to get your wellness in gear this spring in Traverse City. Start here and customize a visit that will put winter behind you for good and really get things on track for a healthy 2020!

Warm up this winter with Traverse City Restaurant Week

Traverse City restaurant week

It happened to be Restaurant Week when Forrest and Nicole Moline vacationed in Traverse City several years ago. They dined together at Trattoria Stella, Michigan’s Best Italian restaurant, sharing a table in one of the hidden alcoves inside historic Grand Traverse Commons. The beautiful encounter is one of the reasons the couple decided to move to Traverse City.

Now this winter the Molines are taking part in Restaurant Week for the first time as restaurant owners, hoping to give their guests the same kind of memorable dining experience. Forrest: A Food Studio is one of about three dozen restaurants offering three-course meals for $25 to $35 from Feb. 23-29.

Forrest: A Food Studio

‘It’s super exciting for us to be a part of (Restaurant Week),’ said Forrest Moline, who opened Forrest: A Food Studio last fall in Traverse City. ‘The goal for the Food Studio is to resemble an Art Studio, but instead of the craft being woodwork, painting or ceramics, the medium is for the culinary arts.’ (J.Zevalkink Photo)

“There are restaurants all over (the Traverse City area) and every town has a different look and feel,” said Forrest Moline, who has worked in Cleveland and Detroit with renowned chef Michael Symon and in Birmingham with charcuterie expert Brian Polcyn.

“It’s so fun to visit each little town, dine at the restaurants and meet the locals and hear their story. That’s what drew us up here, the warm feel you get from the locals.”

Warm might not be the first word that comes to mind when describing Michigan in January and February. After all, the Mitten state is a winter wonderland where you can go skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing, ice fishing, winter hiking and fat tire biking. But winter in Michigan also is a great time of year to warm up indoors and try new restaurants, discover new wines or sample craft spirits.

You can do it all in Traverse City and enjoy the best of Michigan’s winter, both inside and out. Not only is Traverse City the Best Winter Getaway in Michigan, but it’s also

Red snapper

Feast your eyes – and your tastebuds! – on some of the best dishes in Michigan during Traverse City Restaurant Week. ‘We built our small 1,200-square-foot space to feel more like a home kitchen and dining room than a typical restaurant,’ owner Forrest Moline said. ‘Everyone has a seat at the chef’s table.’ (J.Zevalkink Photo)

one of America’s best beer towns, one of the country’s leading wine regions and the No. 1 Foodie Destination in the Midwest.

Traverse City hosts many unique winter events that will whet your appetite for the area’s celebrated food and beverage scene. You can plan your trip around a Vine to Wine Snowshoe Tour, the annual Ice Wine Festival or one of several wine trail events such as Taste the Passion, Romancing the Riesling or the Winter Warm Up.

Michigan’s headline winter event for foodies is Traverse City Restaurant Week, scheduled this year Feb. 23-29. About three dozen restaurants in one of America’s most underrated food towns will offer three-course meals for $25 or $35 all week long.

Restaurants typically offer a few options to choose from for each of the three courses. You can find participating restaurants and menus here. Reservations are strongly encouraged.

“We’re going into our 10th year for Restaurant Week,” said Colleen Paveglio, marketing and communications director for Downtown TC. “The intent is to highlight the restaurants here in Traverse City. A lot of them are local-food focused. Long before it was trendy we were on that path just due to this being an agricultural community.

“It’s grown throughout the years and now we have people that travel to Traverse City for the event.”

While in town for Restaurant Week, you can pair delicious dinners with a tour of the Traverse Wine Coast – either self-guided or led by one of the area’s many wine-savvy tour operators. You’ll find award-winning wines at dozens of wineries nestled in Traverse City Restaurant Week - winebeautiful nooks and crannies all over the region, including the famed Leelanau and Old Mission peninsulas. Both peninsulas have been recognized as Top Wine Regions through USA Today’s Readers’ Choice Awards.

Traverse City also is home to more than a dozen microbreweries, and a growing number of craft distilleries that take the fruits of Michigan’s bountiful agricultural harvest and turn it into small-batch vodkas, whiskeys and gins for your pleasure.

When you’re not sipping spirits or sampling fine wines, you can make time to experience Traverse City’s historic movie theatres or to browse downtown shops for unique items you didn’t even know you were looking for.

Exploring Traverse CityAnd, of course, you can enjoy outdoor recreation in Traverse City all winter long, whether by cross-country skiing the rolling hills above Grand Traverse Bay, tubing down one of the area’s thrilling runs or exploring the incredible Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

RELATED: 5 Traverse City Restaurants Sourcing Local Foods Year-Round

Whenever – and for whatever reason – you come to Traverse City this winter, you can take advantage of Traverse City Escape Packages. The seasonal special combines discounted rates on lodging with an assortment of coupons on everything from dining, movies and spa services to wine purchases and entertainment. Escape Packages are available all winter.