MI Travel Guide - Page 2

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At the Colon Magic Festival: This is Your Brain on Magic

August 6, 2012 at 1:46 PM | by | Comments (2)

Here at Jaunted, we spend considerable time and (virtual) ink drooling over weird festivals. So, this summer, we've decided to visit a few. Today and tomorrow Lara Zielin will report back from the Colon Magic Festival in Colon, Michigan.

Okay, I’ll admit it, I was enthralled with that stupid rope. It was the Saturday night performance during the 75th annual Magic Get-Together in Colon, Michigan, and Mac King was on the stage. He was wearing a dumpy plaid suit (hello, cliché much?) holding nothing but a single rope. And here I was, leaned forward in rapt attention as he cut the rope, folded the rope, hacked at it time and time again and, voila! It was always the same piece of rope, the same length.

The applause at the Colon high school gym (the home of the fighting magi, where the motto is “learning is magic”) was deafening when he was done. Every seat in the house was packed, and everyone was downright delighted. Even the teenagers sitting in front of me—some of them from Chicago, a big city where disaffected kids should know better.

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Fulfill Your Summer Fest Quota at This Weekend's Colon Magic Festival

August 3, 2012 at 4:42 PM | by | Comments (4)

Colon, Michigan was named for a punctuation mark, not a part of the digestive system. The little southwestern Michigan town of 1,200 is a pause, but not a full stop, halfway between Chicago and Detroit.

Magician Harry Blackstone thought so, anyway. He set up shop there in the 1920s with his brother. The pair, along with their crew, would spit-shine their magic acts during the summer in preparation for their fall and winter tours across the United States.

Blackstone was a big deal performer back in the day—so much so that he drew other magicians to the town of Colon, including Australian magician and ventriloquist Percy Abbott. Abbot’s efforts to host public open houses showcasing magic left a legacy that’s not hocus-pocus. These days, the Colon Magic Festival and the Colon Magic Get Together draw thousands to the small town to see world-class performances and to shop at FAB Magic Company, one of the largest brick and mortar magic shops in the world.

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Three Crazy Easy Ways to Get Out on the Water in Upper Michigan

July 20, 2012 at 3:36 PM | by | Comments (3)

Summertime, and the livin' is easy. So you're thinking of a late season trip so long as there's blue water involved, hm? Believe it or not, Michigan's got beaches, blue water and budget-friendly destinations. This week we'll be looking at the ways and places in which you can chill out while diving into the state's northern bits.

We known we know. It's too hot outside. That's nothing that a little getting-out-on-the-water can't fix. Plus we have a theory, that as global warming continues, more and more people are going to be looking favorably on beach vacations in traditionally cold locales, like—oh—upper Michigan (where it was in the high 80s last week!)

Flying over the state, you'll be able to pick out at least ten lakes you wish you were cannonballing into right that moment. The good news is that you can...but you know, get off the plane first and check out these three ways to get on the water in Michigan's Upper Peninsula:

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True Story: We Got a Blackberry Peach Pie Past the TSA

July 20, 2012 at 9:26 AM | by | Comments (0)

What you see above is a Blackberry Peach Pie in a bag. It is not a weapon. It is not a dangerous material. It is neither liquid nor gel. IT IS A YUMMY NUMMY SCRUMDIDDLYUMPTIOUS PIE.

Luckily we know what it is, because the Transportation Safety Administration sure is confused. After forking our way through a piece of Grand Traverse Pie Company's ABC (apple-blueberry-cherry) pie way too quickly this last weekend, we caved and bought an entire "Tall ship" (blackberry-peach) pie with the noble intentions of flying it back to share with family.

The Delta agents checking us into our flight from PLN to DTW gently ribbed us about our carryon, but were sure TSA would let it through. In it went into the security buckets, with our Keds and laptop, successfully passing through the X-ray machine. Then maybe it made the TSA agents hungry, because they discussed (in front of us) whether or not it was allowed.

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Michigan Field Trip: Sippin' on Sweet Cherry Wine in Harbor Springs

July 18, 2012 at 2:23 PM | by | Comments (0)

Summertime, and the livin' is easy. So you're thinking of a late season trip so long as there's blue water involved, hm? Believe it or not, Michigan's got beaches, blue water and budget-friendly destinations. This week we'll be looking at the ways and places in which you can chill out while diving into the state's Upper Peninsula.

In honor of #winewednesday, and partly because we dedicated our palate to Lake Erie Wineries last week, today we visit a winery in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, just outside the hopping town of Harbor Springs.

Harbor Springs Vineyard and Winery sits on Pond Hill Farm, an organic working farm with a general store, restaurant, wine tasting room, garden (full of hollyhocks right now!), sheep, pigs, livestock barn, greenhouses and something called a Squash Rocket.

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Michigan Field Trip: This Island Was Made for Bicycling

July 17, 2012 at 6:24 PM | by | Comments (0)

Summertime, and the livin' is easy. So you're thinking of a late season trip so long as there's blue water involved, hm? Believe it or not, Michigan's got beaches, blue water and budget-friendly destinations. This week we'll be looking at the ways and places in which you can chill out while diving into the state's Upper Peninsula.

Did you know: The entirety of Mackinac Island is both a National Park and a National Historic Landmark?

Did you know: Mackinac Island State Park was only the second National Park established, following Yellowstone?

Did you know: There are over 70 miles of paved and natural trails for biking on the island, and all trails are completely free of motor vehicles?

Stepping off the Shepler's Ferry, the very first thing to greet us on Mackinac Island was a sunburnt tourist man wobbling on his beach cruiser bike, shouting a warning: "first timer here, watch out!" We jumped back onto the sidewalk, but secretly our hopes for mankind were renewed; here is a place where Americans get up off their butts and get to pedaling, enjoying the outdoors. Sure, it's the only option other than hailing a slow-moving horse carriage, but still—progress.

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Michigan Field Trip: How to Make It to Mackinac Island

July 16, 2012 at 6:40 PM | by | Comments (0)


Inside the terminal at Pellston Regional Airport

Summertime, and the livin' is easy. So you're thinking of a late season trip so long as there's blue water involved, hm? Believe it or not, Michigan's got beaches, blue water and budget-friendly destinations. This week we'll be looking at the ways and places in which you can chill out while diving into the state's Upper Peninsula.

Google Map Mackinac Island. Do it right now. It's waaaay up there in Michigan, isn't it? And yet, it's a real island that's been insanely popular with vacationers for 125 years. There are no cars on the island nor is there a bridge to reach it, so how do the seasonnaires, the daytrippers and perhaps even you get on over there? Let's see...

By Air:
· Commercial flight. The nearest major airport for scheduled flights is Pellston Regional (PLN). The airport is super quaint with only two gates and an interior chock-full of flannel, stone fireplaces and taxidermied animals. Even the carpeting is hunter's plaid. Delta is the only airline with year-round flights, and only from Detroit, so you'll need to connect at DTW.

Don't miss heading up the carved wood stairs off Delta ticketing to reach the second level of the airport, with its observation windows and couches, plus a full restaurant and bar. FREE WIFI throughout PLN!

You'll still have to drive/call a cab from PLN to the ferry to Mackinac Island, as Pellston Regional Airport is on the mainland, but only a 20-minute drive to the dock.

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Wish You Were Here: The Grand Hotel on Michigan's Mackinac Island

July 13, 2012 at 10:01 AM | by | Comments (0)


This photo of the hotel and its Esther Williams pool is unedited. Yes, it really looks like this.

If we told you that the temperature is low 80s, the sun is high and the clouds are absent and the water is Bermuda-blue and clear, you probably wouldn't think that we're speaking of somewhere way way up near Michigan's border with Canada, huh? Well, we are and we give Mother Nature a gold star on this one. It's Mackinac Island, a vacation destination since the railroads constructed the imposing Grand Hotel in 1887 and started funneling genteel city folk up here for the summer season.

This year the hotel celebrates its 125th Anniversary—this weekend, actually—but what's being celebrated the most is the fact that it still exists, still is owned privately by a family and still made of wood. Consider that it was built in a remote location with basic handtools and underskilled laborers in only 93 days, with the intention of it not lasting nearly this long, and you can begin to understand the importance of it hitting the century-and-a-quarter mark.

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Megabus is on the Move with $1 Fares for More of the Midwest

July 3, 2012 at 9:46 AM | by | Comments (0)

So at this point it might be a little too late to score a sweet airfare deal for your summer vacation, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay stuck at home. Think outside of the box when it comes to how to reach your final destination, and it also doesn’t hurt to think about taking the bus. We’ve reviewed survival skills to consider before trying to chase after one of those $1 bus fares, and now there’s even more cities from which to choose thanks to Megabus.

Fresh off their expansion down to Texas it now looks like the Megabus model is moving into Michigan just in time for the summer season. New routes include East Lansing to both Detroit and Chicago, and there’s even service from Grand Rapids over to Chicago and Detroit as well. This will especially come in handy for those college kiddos looking to head back to class in the fall, and they’ll be able to pick a bus that best fits their needs with three trips on the schedule on most days. Just don’t look to escape for the holiday weekend, as the buses aren’t set to start rolling until July 12.

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A Modern Pegasus: How One Little Horse Flew on Southwest Airlines

June 28, 2012 at 1:20 PM | by | Comments (0)

True frequent flyers may believe they've seen everything on planes, but travelers at three different airports on Tuesday were treated to something really rare—a service animal boarding a Southwest Air flight. This wasn't just any service animal, however; this was a mini-horse named "Cali," being filmed for a documentary.

Cali's story isn't so different from that of a seeing-eye dog in that she was trained (in Saratoga Springs, NY) and now finds a home helping a blind girl through life. Her owner, Mona Ramouni, is a grad student at MSU in Lansing, Michigan. So, when the Australian show "Sunday Night" decided to focus on Mona and Cali's story, it was only natural to return to where it all began, in Saratoga Springs. For this, the horsey would have to fly.

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Stalking the Empire Asparagus Festival: Long Live the Queen!

May 25, 2012 at 5:26 PM | by | Comments (0)

Here at Jaunted, we spend considerable time and (virtual) ink drooling over weird food festivals. So, this summer, we've decided to visit a few. All this week our Michigan embed Lara Zielin will report back from the Empire Asparagus Festival.

Everything about this year’s Asparagus Festival parade was green—from the clothes to the hats to the face paint, all the way to the parade’s commitment to the environment. No cars or trucks or lawn mowers or greenhouse-gas-emitting anythings were allowed. Other than that, as long as you celebrated the stalk, you could join the fray.

Twice.

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Stalking the Empire Asparagus Festival: Cupcakes and Poetry

May 24, 2012 at 5:46 PM | by | Comments (0)


Blueberry and asparagus cupcakes

Here at Jaunted, we spend considerable time and (virtual) ink drooling over weird food festivals. So, this summer, we've decided to visit a few. All this week our Michigan embed Lara Zielin will report back from the Empire Asparagus Festival.

Empire, Michigan’s ninth annual Asparagus Festival hosted a cook-off with sixteen entries that showcased, if nothing else, myriad ways in which people will meld asparagus with just about anything. Red lentil dahl, blueberry cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, smoothies, pesto; just add “and asparagus” and you’ve got…well, you’ve got something.

Festival attendees can taste all the entrants’ dishes for free. The only requirement is that you stay long enough to hear the top three announced, since eating and bolting is bad form in these parts. And it’s worth it to taste the standouts like winner Janet Golenberg’s asparagus cashew miso dip. A pop of garlic and a fresh, crunchy veggie to scoop it with (not an asparagus spear, thank you very much) made it an easy favorite.

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