Friday, December 11, 2009

Really Big Christmas Stores

It's that time of year, folks. Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa and Yule are all upon us. Michigan is lucky enough to have not one, but two large holiday stores for your shopping pleasure. Now, admittedly, both are heavily Christmas (one very much so) but the patient shopper will be able to find items for the other holidays as well.

The first, and probably the best known is Bronner's in Frankenmuth. This place is immense! They have thousands of ornaments, hundreds of wreaths and trees and who knows how many other decorations, books and toys. They also have a wonderful selection of Hummels and Christmas village houses and accessories. You can easily spend several hours here, so I suggest making Frankenmuth a day trip. Hit up Bronner's and then head over to either Zehnder's or Bavarian Inn for yummy chicken dinners. From either restaurant, you can easily walk the downtown area and check out some of the other local stores. Check the Frankenmuth website for deals and special events, like Oktoberfest and Snowfest.

The other Christmas shop is Always Christmas in Canterbury Village. Located in Lake Orion, Canterbury Village has a restaurant, an ice cream shop and several smaller shops that surround Always Christmas. Always Christmas is smaller than Bronner's, but still large, with two stories of trees, ornaments, and decorations.

If you need a little help getting in the holiday mood, I suggest checking out one of these great places. It's impossible to leave either one without humming a carol!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Back From Vacation

Well, I know I've been bad about posting lately. My only excuse is the fab trip to St. Lucia that I have just returned from. This is a blog about Michigan, so I won't go on about the trip, but it was a great time and now that I have returned be on the look out for some great posts!

In the meantime, go take a look at Buy Michigan Now's holiday gift guide. There are some wonderful ideas!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Favorite Michigan Holiday Activity?

OK, now it's your turn! Leave a comment and tell everyone about your favorite holiday activity in Michigan.
Do you love the cider mills? Christmas at Crossroads? The light display on Hines Drive? What are the folks up north doing this season? Or over on the west side of the state?

One lucky commenter will be chosen to receive a Michigan Mitten ornament with their choice of colors and "hearted" city!! So, let everyone know where you'll be heading this season!

A winner will be chosen on Sunday, November 29th! Blog, Tweet, Facebook or link this post and let me know in the comments for an extra entry!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Fun!

Ok, so the haunted houses have been going strong all month and Hallowe'en Nights at Greenfield Village is an awesome time, but for folks looking for events on the actual night of Halloween-where can you go? Here is a collection of links to check out for tomorrow night!

Of course, there's always good ol' trick or treating!

Zoo Boo at the Detroit Zoo
Halloween at Crossroads Village
Halloween Train-Walled Lake
Halloween Train-Coopersville
Brandywine Cemetary
Museum Mystery Tour at the DIA

Leave a comment and tell us your favorite activity in your community!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Farewell to a Legendary Detroiter

Soupy Sales has passed away at the age of 83. Soupy's show was a staple of lunchtime TV in the 1950's and he is credited with saving the American Broadcasting Company. His full obituary is here.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Having a Handmade (and Local!) Holiday

It's getting to be that time of year. The winter holidays are getting close and that means folks are going to be shopping for gifts! Let me suggest that you support the local economy, as well as hard-working local artists, by making the commitment to have a handmade holiday.

 It's not hard to find handmade gifts from right here in Michigan. Here are several ways to find them:
1) Visit a local craft show. Many schools and churches have them this time of year. There is probably at least one near you!
2) Check out Artfire's Michigan Artists Guild.
3) Check out Etsy and do a search for "Michigan Trolls". It's a group of Michigan artists. Or just search "Michigan".
4) Check out local boutiques and craft malls that bring together many handmade artists for convienent shopping. Try The Town Peddler in Livonia or Countryside Craft Mall in Sterling Heights.

If you're anything like me you're tired of buying a bunch of mass-produced items for holiday giving. This year, concentrate on spending the same money that you would've spent at the local department store at a craft fair, craft mall or an online artist venue. You may not be able to get as many items for each person for the same money, but I guarantee that the items you get will be of better quality and more cherished than anything you could find on a shelf full of identical, mass-produced "stuff". You will also be supporting the Michigan economy on the most basic level.

So get out there and start shopping!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sidetrack Bar and Grill in Ypsilanti

Sidetrack has been one of my favorite restaurants since I live in Ypsi several years ago. Their burger has been rated as one of the best in the country by GQ magazine and their sweet potato fries are awesome! I have never had anything at Sidetrack that I didn't enjoy and they have a really nice selection of wine, beer and liquors. It's not a huge place, but it's cozy and fun, and the staff is friendly and efficient.

For a little under $20 (not including tip) you can get a cheeseburger, sweet potato fries, a drink (I had the hard cider on draught) and dessert.

Next time you're in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area, I highly encourage a stop at Sidetrack!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Extreme Comfort Food at Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

As we get closer to the cool days of fall, I can't help thinking about a hot bowl of soup and a gooey, rich sandwich. Where do I go to satisfy the comfort craving? Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup! Several varieties of soup are made fresh every day, with tomato bisque always on the menu. A wide assortment of sandwiches and salads are also available. Try the pulled pork for a modern twist on the southern favorite. Or go traditional with a grilled cheese (you get to choose up to three kinds of cheese for your sandwich). Meatloaf, mac and cheese, and chicken pot pie are also available.

I highly recommend treating yourself to some gourmet comfort food at this really yummy Michigan restaurant!

Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup is located on Northwestern Highway in Farmington. Check out the menu here.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Detroit Restaurant Week

I'm just hearing about this, but I'm very excited! From September 18 to September 27th, 17 premiere Detroit restaurants will be offering a three course menu for $27 per person. This is a great way to check out some of the more exclusive eateries downtown for less money than usual.

Some of the restaurants participating include: Roast, The Whitney,and Opus One. For a full list of participating restaurants, menus and reservations check out: Detroit Restaurant Week.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Michigan Artisan- WoodNGoods

Well, there's no denying it: fall will be here before we know it. That means that Back-to-School, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and all sorts of holidays and occasions are going to be upon us before we know it. Some of these occasions warrant gift-giving. This year, consider giving beautiful gifts that were handmade right here in the great state of Michigan!

Periodically, I'll feature a Michigan artisan here on Yes Michigan! I hope that you'll check them out and consider them for all your gifts this year!

WoodNGoods makes amazing wood "paintings" as well as ornaments and other fun stuff. Check them out!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Come Cheer on the 3-Day Walkers!

For those of you who don't already know, this weekend is the Michigan Breast Cancer 3-Day. Around 2000 men and women will walk 60 miles over 3 days to raise funds for Susan g. Komen for the Cure. Another 500 folks have volunteered to serve as crew to meet the needs of those awesome walkers. Come on out to one of the official cheering stations to cheer them on as they walk! Or make your own cheering station along the route! If your house or place of business is on the route, consider putting out some cold water, lemonade, or just leave your hose on and out! It's going to be a warm one! Kids with squirt guns are also appreciated!

You can find the official cheering stations here.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Waterparks in Michigan

Now that summer is in full swing, folks are looking for a fun way to stay cool. Try a water park! In addition to the parks listed here, check with your city, county, state and other park organizations (such as the Huron-Clinton Metroparks). Some of those have spray and play areas or waterslides.

I have not been to all of these, I am just compiling links here. If you have experiences with any of them, please feel free to comment.

Indoor Waterparks:
Surfari Joe's
Zehnder's Splash Village
Avalanche Bay
Splash Universe
Great Wolf Lodge
Sterling Inn

Outdoor Waterparks:
Michigan's Adventure-Wildwater Adventure
Waterford Oaks
Thunder Falls

Did I miss your favorite Michigan waterpark? Leave a comment and tell us about it!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Are you a Michigan Artisan?

Do you make awesomely beautiful jewelry? Are you a woodcarver? Do you craft yummy Michigan cherries into equally yummy jams? Would you like to expand your business past local craft shows and farm markets? Then here is your answer:!

Artfire is a new venue for artisans around the world. If you sign up now, you can lock in a $12 per month fee. That's it. There are NO listing fees and NO commissions taken on sales. Studios are customizable and staff is attentive and responsive.

Join now and get your Michigan-made product on the map!

Register on

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Walled Lake Farmer's Market

I love farmer's markets. Eating locally produced food is important to me. If you're with me on this, then check out your local market! I have several that are near me. The Oakland County Farmer's Market on Pontiac Lake Road is now open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and they have some great vendors. Hartland and Howell have markets as does Royal Oak. Later in the summer Clarkston will start up. And, of course, the Eastern Market in Detroit is legendary. My personal favorite is the Walled Lake Farmer's Market.

The Walled Lake Market is on Maple Road next to the Fire Station. You can find fresh-baked breads and cookies, pickles, tea and-my family's personal indulgence-the BEST tortilla chips in the world (try the "Secret Recipe"). Currently, you can also buy your own plants for your garden. Later in the season you will be able to find yummy produce at great prices. The market runs from 7am-1pm on Wednesdays. I'll be there tomorrow!

If you need to find the market nearest your house, go check out Local Harvest.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Henry Ford Special Offer

I've already posted about how wonderful The Henry Ford is, in my opinion. Now that spring is here Greenfield Village is open and bustling. Right now you can download a coupon at The Henry Ford's website that allows you to get a family membership for only $99. This allows two adults and all of their children (or grandchildren) who are under 18 in the household unlimited admission to Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum, plus discounts on rides and special events. Depending on the number of folks in your family and which venues you visit, the membership will be paid for with one or two visits! You can get all the details on the website!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Spring in Michigan!

Could it be? Have we finally left winter behind? With the beautiful weather we've had the last couple days, people are starting to emerge from hibernation and head out into the world!

Since Earth Day is coming up next week, lots of places in Michigan are having activites this weekend. Check out the Detroit Zoo this Saturday!

There are also events in Ann Arbor, Rochester and others! Give it a google and see what you can find! Get outside and enjoy the spring!

If you know of an event leave a comment and tell folks about it!

Monday, April 6, 2009

AI Fusion- Dining in East Lansing

I apologize for this post's lack of pictures. I didn't take my camera and I should have for this restaurant!

This weekend, my husband and I were taking my parents to dinner and a show for their birthday. Checking out the options for eating near the Wharton Center, I discoverd AI Fusion. This asian fusion restaurant is on East Grand River, in the Hobby Lobby complex. There's a bar, a sushi bar and plenty of seating, all in a relaxing atmosphere with lovely asian design.

We started our meal with the Surf and Turf roll. Tempura shrimp, cucumber, avocado and rice were draped with thinly sliced, rare filet. It was absolutely delicious and a great choice for the men-folk who are a little less excited about the more traditional sushi options.

The entrees we chose were quite varied, but all delicious. My husband had the teppanyaki filet and chicken. My mom had the very spicy Seafood Delight and my dad had the Dolsot Bibimbop. I sampled my mom's and husband's and they were wonderful! I didn't try my dad's but he enjoyed it, especially the red sauce. I had the galbi, marinated short ribs. They were delicious, beautifully tender and just sweet enough. The fried rice and lightly grilled vegetables that accompianied the meals were fresh and yummy.

For dessert, I had the Mochi Ice Cream-small scoops of green tea and chocolate ice cream wrapped in a sweet rice cake. A nice, subtle finish to the meal, especially after the richness of the beef. My parents shared an Apple Pie Egg Roll, definitely fusion! An egg roll wrapper was filled with apple pie filling, fried and dusted with cinnamon and sugar. It looked incredible!

All four of us really enjoyed our meal and highly recommend AI Fusion the next time you're in East Lansing!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Michigan on a Budget #3- State Parks

Now that spring is finally in the air, it's time to talk about outdoor fun in Michigan! Michigan has State Parks and Recreational Areas all over the state. The parks vary in the amenities they offer, but it's quite possible to find fishing, boating, hiking and biking opportunities all in one place. Some of the parks have nature centers and educational programs. Many have beautiful beaches and swimming areas. Take a picnic and spend the day!

At $6 for a daily entrance to the park or $24 for an annual vehicle pass, the deal is too good to pass up!

There are additional fees for camping or some other activities, and if you're going to be doing anything that requires a permit-make sure you get one!

Check out the Michigan DNR website for more info!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

More Michigan Resources

Are you heading out the grocery store and want to know what Michigan products are lurking on the shelves? Then just check out some of these sites!

Buy Michigan Now
Made in Michigan
Buy Michigan Products

I've used each of these sites while looking for Michigan products and I like all three. I will be featuring these sites, and others, individually in later posts, but I wanted to make sure everyone had the links to start using with your very next trip to the store!

Enjoy-you may be pleasantly surprised about which products are made right here at home!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hiller's Michigan Foods Fair

Hiller's is a Michigan-based grocery chain that is spearheading a campaign to support Michigan companies. Their circular highlights which products are from Michigan and how many people each company employs. Not only that, they are very fun store with lots of gourmet and hard to find items!

On March 21-22, 2009 from 11am until 4pm there will be a Michigan Foods Fair at the Union Lake Hiller's store on Commerce Road. Vendors will be offering samples of their products and people will be on hand to answer questions about supporting Michigan and what else you can do to help. Check out Hiller's website for more information.

Another awesome thing going on at Hiller's is the Hometown First program. When you spend $100 at Hiller's you qualify for a Hometown First card. There is a list of local businesses that will accept your Hometown First card as a coupon. The card is redeemable one time. There is a more detailed explanation here.

Please find your local Hiller's and check them out! You will find a great selection of products and you will be helping Michigan businesses-everybody wins!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

It's Maple Sugaring Season! and Michigan on a Budget #2

Did you know that Michigan is very active in the Maple Sugar industry? Michigan is one of few places in the world that has native maples suitable for sugaring!

This is the time of year to see some sugaring demonstrations. Freezing nights and above freezing days cause the sap to run. On a good day, from a large tree, you might get a gallon of sap. It takes forty gallons of sap to boil down to 1 gallon of syrup!

Parks all over Michigan are doing maple sugar demos in the next couple of weeks. My family headed over to Independence Oaks in Clarkston for Maple Magic last weekend. Using a puppet show to interest the kids, we learned the basics of tapping a tree, collecting the sap and boiling it down to syrup. With crafts and samples of foods made from maple syrup the program kept everyone happy!

After the inside portion, we headed outside to tap a tree and see a kettle of sap boiling over an open fire. The presenters did a great job and the program was enjoyed by everyone!

The park itself looked like it had a lot to do. We passed trails, play equipment and picnic tables. The Lewis Wint Nature Center has both stuffed and live animals to check out. The entrance fee into the park is $7 for a day, so if it hadn't been raining we would have spent a lot longer. The program was an additional $2 a person. If the weather had been nicer, we could've packed a lunch and had a great day out for $13. Definitely budget friendly!

Check out the Maple Syrup Association website for more information about sugaring and check out possible demos in your area!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Great Lakes Children's Museum

I love Traverse City. It is beautiful, fun and has something for everyone. For the younger members of your group there is the Great Lakes Children's Museum. When we went my son had just turned two and he had a blast!

It has a water and boating theme (appropriate enough). There is an area for coloring, a very cool climbing/sliding explanation of the water cycle and the most incredible virtual stream that reacts as people walk through it. The best part, though, is the huge, interactive water table that dominates the center area.
Kids are able to see how the flow of water changes as they add or remove the plastic panels. A large collection of floating toys helps drive the lesson home. As a bonus, adults seem to love the table as much (maybe more) than the kids. My husband played at the table for much of our visit!

There is a small toddler area full of fish pillows, books and a small, soft slide.

There is also a game that helps illustrate how pollution affects us and the water around us. It was a little advanced for my little guy, but the older kids really seemed to be enjoying it.

At just $6 a person for an all-day admission (under 2 are free), the museum is a great bargain for a little fun for the kids. Visit the museum website for more information on hours and events.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I must apologize for my absence. I was out of town for a while and kind of got out of the routine! I will be back tomorrow with a post about some fun in the northen lower peninsula!

See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Ocqueoc Falls

Nestled in an area of farmland and forest, Ocqueoc Falls is the only major waterfall in Michigan's lower peninsula, eleven miles inland from Rogers City, off of M-68, in Presque Isle County.

There is a a rustic camping area with permanent outhouses, picnic tables and parking. There are some beautiful hiking opportunities or you can simply explore the area immediately surrounding the falls. If you're a geology buff, examine the rocks for geologic features like the ripple marks that my son and I found.

This would be an excellent half-day trip for folks from the northeast lower peninsula, or even the thumb area. Take a picnic lunch and spend several hours exploring the falls, hiking and relaxing outside. It is truly a beautiful place.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Michigan on a Budget #1

Want to visit some of Micigan's cultural hotspots and save a few bucks in the process? Then hit your local library and check out the Detroit Adventure Pass! There are 28 great spots participating, from Ann Arbor to Howell to Pontiac to Detroit. The pass will allow free admittance for either 2 or 4 people and many places have additional deals you can take advantage of on the day you visit with your pass.

For more information and to check out a full list of the participating venues, check out the Detroit Adventure Pass website.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Potter Park Zoo

Situated along the Red Cedar River in Lansing, Michigan, Potter Park is a large park that avoids the lawn-like uniformity of many traditional green spaces. The park itself is full of trees and has several picnic pavillions and play structures. Within the park is Potter Park Zoo. The zoo began in 1915 when J.W. and Sarah Potter donated 58 acres to Lansing. This became Potter Park. In 1917, twenty-seven more acres were added and the first animals, elk, arrived in 1920. The zoo continued to grow throughout the 1950's but that growth slowed in the 60's and some people thought the zoo should be closed. In 1969, Jim Hough formed the Friends of the Zoo. Money raised by the society bought the zoo's first elephant in 1972 and the zoo railroad in 1974. In 1986, the Friends of the Zoo became the Potter Park Zoological Society.

Today, the zoo is open year round and is home to over 400 animals. Camel and pony rides, a petting area, big cats, primates, penguins and otters are just a part of all the things to see and do at the zoo! Members receive free admission to the Potter Park Zoo as well as other perks throughout the year. Members also receive free or discounted admission to over 100 other zoos and aquariums across the country.

Rates for parking and zoo admission vary based on age, membership and Ingham County residency status. Check the zoo's website for a complete listing of fees, hours and events. Use of the park outside the zoo is free except for the parking fee.

The Potter Park Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Henry Ford

Billed as "America's Largest History Attraction" The Henry Ford lies in Dearborn, Michigan. It's actually several attractions and all are worth a visit.

The Henry Ford Museum is a vast space with 40 foot ceilings. The main floor area houses an amazing collection of cars, trains and technologies old and new. Special exhibits have included a history of chocolate and a display of some of Hollywood's most famous props and costumes. There is also an IMAX theater, a gift shop and a restaurant. Galleries along the outside edge of the museum contain jewelry and other smaller collections.

Next door to the Museum is Greenfield Village, a living history area full of entertaining and educational sites. You can see Thomas Edison's workshop, the Wright Brothers' Bicycle Shop, one-room schoolhouses, stores, and numerous homes. You can watch craftspeople at work in the Libery Craftworks area, ride in a Model T, a 1931 Model AA Bus or an Omnibus pulled by a team of horses. Of course, no visit is complete without a ride on the Weiser Railroad. The Village also hosts many special events throughout the year including Civil War reenactments and Historical Baseball games. The Eagle Tavern hosts "Slow Food" evenings several times a year featuring locally produced food-some from the Village's working farm! There is plenty of other food options throughout the Village as well.

The final attraction is the Ford Rouge Factory Tour. The Rouge Factory is not only a monument to Henry Ford's innovation of the past, but also to future innovation. One of the most impressive features is the 10.4 acre living roof, which helps manage storm water. The Rouge Plant is a leader in the area of green design.

For hours, rates, schedules and directions for all three attractions visit The Henry Ford's website. You can also purchase tickets and memberships online. Check the schedule for special free admission days.

Consider starting a new family tradition with Hallowe'en Nights and Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Recently I have become passionate about supporting local business, agriculture and artisans. Let's be honest, Michigan has gotten a bad rap lately. All you ever hear about is our economy problems, our higher than average unemployment and auto industry bailouts, but there is so much good stuff here in Michigan! I intend to find the good stuff and bring it to you. Together we can help Michigan thrive once again!

I'll start by letting everyone know about a new group of artisans on Etsy. There's a team called the Michigan Trolls (full disclosure-I'm a member). If you want to see our products, just head on over and search "Michigan Trolls". The items are beautiful and varied. I'm sure you will find something to love!

I Took The Handmade Pledge!