Traverse City Announces Affordable 'Sizzling Summer Special'

Summer is coming quickly, and the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau is bringing back its popular “Sizzling Summer” package program, with a tempting menu of special rates, discounts and money-saving offers. The new offer will run from early June 13 through early September and will offer low room rates at Traverse City’s best hotels, motels and resorts paired with special discounts on everything from dining, golf, movies and spa services to bicycle and kayak rentals, wine purchases, hot air balloon flights and tall ship sailings. Room rates and other details about the 2011 packages will be announced soon.

Arnold Palmer’s “The Legend” Celebrates 25 Years
Twenty-five years ago, Arnold Palmer launched The Legend at Shanty Creek Resorts, a course that helped launch the Traverse City area into the national spotlight as one of the most sought-after golf destinations in the country. This year, the resort is celebrating that birthday with special rates ($25 anytime through May 12, and after 4 p.m. throughout the entire golf season.)

“I feel strongly we should build courses that everyone can enjoy, not just low amateurs and professionals,” Palmer said during construction of The Legend, his first course in the Midwest. Its scenery and playability make it one of the most popular resort courses in the country; Golf Digest quickly ranked it among the top 50 resort courses in the nation when it opened, and it is still considered one of the top courses in Michigan, weaving its way through beautiful hills and ridges with stunning views of Lake Bellaire and the surrounding forests.

Shanty Creek Caters to Young Golfers
In recent years, America’s golf industry has been increasingly concerned that fewer young people are taking up the sport of their parents. Shanty Creek Resorts has decided to do its part to reverse the trend by providing opportunities for kids to experience golf in a resort atmosphere. This season, youngsters under 17 can play free of charge all week on the resort’s Schuss Mountain and Summit courses, as long as they’re accompanied by a paying adult. (And on Sundays after 2 p.m. they can even play free on the resort’s premium courses, The Legend and Cedar River.) Young golfers will also enjoy the new beginner tees on the Summit course.

More New Restaurants Debut Downtown
Seems as if there’s a new restaurant opening in Traverse City every couple of weeks. Here are some ones to look for this spring:

A new turkey-focused café called Wishbones is scheduled to open inside Cedar Creek Interiors on Union Street. It will offer specialty coffee drinks and teas, as well as breakfast and lunch items -- but what sets it apart will be a devotion to locally-raised turkey. Caterers Sarah Montgomery and Mark Fowler of Epicurean Mobile Specialties have already rounded up a source for fresh turkeys and plan to roast them on site. The new café will team up with Cedar Creek to create a “gallery atmosphere.”

Matthew Walheim, who co-founded Suttons Bay’s Silvertree Deli in, has opened a new café, Xylo, in Traverse City’s Warehouse District. The new eatery will feature many of the same items that were popular at Silvertree – from Thai and Mexican dishes to seafood, sandwiches, stuffed cabbage and desserts. Carry-out will be a big focus of Xylo, and Wallheim is hoping to appeal to patrons of the Right Brain Brewery next door.

Speaking of brewing, a new café and coffeehouse known as Brew is opening on Front Street next to the historic City Opera House. In addition to coffee, tea, espresso drinks, microbrews, local wines, and seasonal drinks, patrons will find pastries, grilled sandwiches, soups, salads, wraps, vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free menu options.

Chef Ralph Humes has opened Mana in The Mercato at the Grand Traverse Commons, serving his signature sandwiches, soups and desserts. Humes was co-owner of the popular Soul Hole in Old Town until last summer, and is re-partnering with Tad Trimwell, with whom he worked with while operating restaurants in Three Rivers and Kalamazoo.

Meanwhile, just up the bay, Rick and Salve Van Steenis have opened 22 Vines and Wines Café and Market, on M-22 near Hilltop Road, serving traditional Thai cuisine, thin-crust pizzas, fi sh tacos, baked goods, and Moomers ice cream.

Improvements, expansions, etc.
The Chateau Chantal Winery B&B has completed a major expansion of its cellar and tasting room, which adds 1,700 square feet of tasting room space, plus an outdoor tasting-room terrace. By summer, the winery expects to introduce an expanded menu, including wine flights and cheese-and tapas pairings, available without reservations.

Looking for a low rate on a traditional lakeshore cottage? Brookside Cottages on Duck Lake are offering some great deals to new customers this year: 50 percent off regular weekly rates from May 1 through June 18 (except Memorial weekend) and again from Aug. 13 to the of September (except Labor Day). Rates are based on availability and open to new reservations only.

Coming Events:
May 20-22 - Empire Asparagus Festival The lakeshore village of Empire greets the arrival of asparagus season with games, dinners and - of all things - an annual oral poetry contest for the best “Ode to Asparagus.”

May 28 - Bayshore Marathon An annual spring run up the Old Mission Peninsula - one of the world’s most beautiful marathon settings - that attracts more than 3,000 runners. Half-marathon and 10k runs are also offered.

May 28 - Antrim County Petoskey Stone Festival Celebrate Michigan’s state stone with a day of stone-hunting, stone-skipping, demonstrations, prizes, and other fun at Barnes Park near Eastport.

June 1-5 - Leelanau Peninsula BirdFest This inaugural event features lots of birding excursions to the Sleeping Bear Dunes (home to the endangered piping plover) and a schooner voyage to Gull Island near Northport to view the nesting grounds of Caspian terns.

June 11 Leland Wine & Food Festival 2011 is the 26th Anniversary of Michigan’s oldest wine festival and takes place at the Leland Harbor. Everyone has a chance to go to see 17 wineries of the Leelanau & Old Mission Peninsulas on Saturday, enjoy great food and music and kick off the summer festival season in style!

June 12 - Traverse Colantha Walker Dairy Festival A free, family-friendly festival in celebration of Traverse City’s most famous cow! Pancake breakfast, live music, farmers market, arts & craft market, kids’ activities, food & drinks, a memorial parade to Colantha’s headstone, the Great Grilled Cheese Grill-off, and MORE!

June 17 - Divas Uncorked! Visit the Old Mission Wine Trail on Friday, June 17 to sip, savor and enjoy this fun Girls’ Night Out event! Each winery offers a wine selection expertly paired with an appetizer or dessert prepared by Traverse City’s top chefs, while local businesses at each of the seven wineries pamper the ladies with demos and special take-away treats or coupons.

June 17-19 - Grand Traverse Kennel Club Dog Show Over 600 dogs from around the country compete at the Grand Traverse County Civic Center. The show features rally events, a puppy extravaganza, agility runs and judging for dogs of all shapes and sizes.

June 17-19 - Hot Air Balloon Rally Grand Traverse Balloons is hosting a fly-out with approximately 25 hot air balloons participating, including a balloon & glow and mass ascension.

June 26 - Old Town Arts & Crafts Fair Fine arts and crafts will fi ll the streets on this weekend in Downtown Traverse City. This annual juried art fair features over 90 artists and craftsmen displaying their work. Open to the public free of charge. Adjacent Lay Park will be featuring live entertainment throughout the day.

June 30-July 3 - Cedar Polka Fest This Polish-American Leelanau Peninsula community kicks up its heels at a four-day party with hearty food, drink and continuous polka music and dancing. Call for admission prices for adults. Ages 12 and under are free when accompanied by parent.

July 2-9 - National Cherry Festival Traverse City celebrates its heritage as America’s Cherry Capital with an eight-day party featuring over 150 family activities: air shows, fireworks, parades (including the nation’s largest all-children parade) games, races, midway rides, demonstrations, nightly outdoor concerts and lots of chances to taste delicious cherry products. Everything is located conveniently within walking distance, and since almost all the events are free, it offers more than a week of affordable family fun.

June 30-July 31 - Horse Shows by the Bay This month-long “equestrian festival” features thousands of the nation’s best horses and riders competing in the International Olympic disciplines of show jumping and dressage at Flintfi elds Horse Park, is an 80-acre show complex just east of Traverse City.

July 26-31 - Traverse City Film Festival Founded in 2005, the Traverse City Film Festival offers an outstanding selection of independent, foreign, and documentary fi lms, as well as premieres, parties, panel discussions and lectures about the world of fi lm, with free family movies shown each night at an outdoor screen at Open Space Park on the shore of West Grand Traverse Bay.

Aug. 20 - Traverse City Wine & Art Festival A landmark celebration of the wine, food and culture of Michigan’s wine coast on the lawn of the Grand Traverse Commons, featuring local wines paired with food & desserts, music and 30 tents of high quality Michigan art for purchase and appreciation.

Aug. 26-27 - Traverse City Summer Microbrew & Music Festival A great opportunity for folks to gather on the huge front lawn at the Grand Traverse Commons to sample beers from around the Midwest and listen to great music.

Sept. 8-10 - The Epicurean Classic The event that first put Traverse City on the international culinary map returns home for its seventh installment, featuring dinners, tastings and classes taught by top-level chefs from across the country and around the world. Held, where else? – at the Grand Traverse Commons.

Sept. 9-11 - Michigan Schooner Festival Tall ships from all over the Great Lakes gather in Traverse City for an extravaganza of beautiful sailing vessels, sailors and fun centered around the West Bay waterfront. The festival includes deck tours on participating ship, food, entertainment, sailing cruises, and a “Pancakes with Pirates” breakfast for kids.

Courtesy of the Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau. Call 1-800-TRAVERSE and visit for more information.