Experiencing Northern Michigan: 2018 Retrospective & Looking Forward to 2019
Happy New Year, Northern Michigan! I’m so excited for what 2019 will bring and for all the new experiences ahead this year. A lot of good happened in 2018, so I’d like to take this New Year’s Day holiday as an opportunity to reflect back on some of the best moments throughout the seasons this past year in NoMi. But first: do you have any resolutions? On my list is reading more books (and visiting more bookstores Up North!), growing a garden, having more fresh flowers around the house from the farmers market, and getting out often to keep experiencing, documenting, and sharing all Northern Michigan has to offer.
Every New Year, I love reflecting on the past year’s highlights. My top five favorite experiences in NoMi this past year took me from Traverse City up to Harbor Springs to Lake City and back to Cadillac. Mackinac Island, too—there’s a whole section on that below!
- Fall Color Tour Through the Tunnel of Trees on M-119 in Harbor Springs
- Creating Culture at the Crosshatch Skill Swap on Earthwork Farm in Lake City
- Guided Tour through the Steam Tunnels at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons
- World-Renowned Architect at the Dennos Museum Talks Artist Residency in Leelanau County
- Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga at Kenwood Heritage Park with SUP’n Cadillac
A few months back I wrote a column titled “The Best of Summer 2018,” which highlighted some of my favorite moments from this past summer, so check that out for a more extensive list of awesome activities Northern Michigan has to offer when it’s summertime and the living is easy. For those of us stuck in the NoMi snow, let’s take advantage of this winter wonderland backdrop. Safely sled down Diggins Hill in Cadillac or challenge yourself with a fun Snowshoe Wine & Brew adventure on Old Mission Peninsula!
Northern Michigan offers the most cinematic setting for wandering, exploring, and going on outdoor adventures. Winter, spring, summer, or fall, there’s so much to do here and infinite reasons to get outside!
- Hiking the Treat Farm Trail to the Bluffs in Empire
- Celebrating Earth Day at Cadillac Commons
- 60th Annual Art on the Rocks Along Lake Superior in Marquette
- Planting a Peach Tree from the Wexford Conservation District
- Summer Fun at Adventure Island in Cadillac
There are boundless opportunities and unique ways to learn a new skill here in NoMi, whether you take a class through a local business, a creative nonprofit, or an educational institution like Northwestern Michigan College.
- Cheesemaking Class with Boss Mouse Cheese at Gather in Harbor Springs
- Paint & Sip Class at Painting & Vine in Downtown Cadillac
- Crafting Teas and Tonics for Wellness Workshop at The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park
- Candy Making at Sweet Treats Bakery in Cadillac
- Teaching with the National Writers Series and NMC College for Kids in Traverse City
It’s no secret that Northern Michigan boasts one of the most spectacular food scenes in the state, not to mention our craft breweries, cider houses, and wineries, famous ice cream, morel mushrooms, and some fantastic farmers markets.
- Brunch at Patisserie Amie in Traverse City
- Fresh from the Downtown Marquette Farmers Market
- Judging “The Taste of Morels” at the 58th National Morel Mushroom Festival in Boyne City
- Fresh from The Village Indoor Farmers Market at Grand Traverse Commons
- Moomers Homemade Ice Cream in Traverse City
Northern Michigan has taken center stage in 2018, sharing its talents and giving great performances for the community to enjoy.
- Old Town Playhouse Breaking Records with Mamma Mia! in Traverse City
- United Way Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre Fundraiser in Cadillac
- Community Reading of African American Poets & Writers at Horizon Books in Traverse City
- “Christmas Gifts” Readers Theatre with Cadillac Footliters at Up North Arts
- A Night at the MAB Awards with Mane Content
Truly otherworldly, Mackinac Island is one of the most magical places in Northern Michigan. Last June I visited for the first time to attend the Lilac Festival (a beautiful annual event complete with a grand parade), tour Fort Mackinac, ride in a horse-drawn carriage, dance with butterflies, and experience the history and natural beauty of the Island.
- Touring Historic Fort Mackinac
- 70th Annual Mackinac Island Lilac Festival & Grand Parade
- Horse-Drawn Carriage Tour of Mackinac Island
- Bike Life & Kite-Flying
- Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory
There’s something happening on every corner in Northern Michigan, and you don’t have to travel far to find a fun event, festival, class, or opportunity to shop, explore, and experience NoMi in your own backyard.
- Firefighters Association vs. Detroit Lions Basketball Game at Cadillac High School
- Traverse Area District Library MakerFest at the City Opera House
- Printing Homemade Valentines with Cadillac Artist Dani Renwick
- Celebrating 50 Years at the Cadillac Festival of the Arts
- Holiday Bizarre Bazaar at The Plump Pumpkin in Ghost Town Bristol
- Santa Visit at the Wexford County Historical Society Museum in Downtown Cadillac
There’s so much to celebrate today, and so much good to reflect on from this past year. Looking ahead to 2019, the New Year is going to bring some pretty fantastic experiences. I’m excited for all 2019 has in store, and I can’t wait to share it with you! What were some of your favorite moments from 2018, and what are you most looking forward to in the New Year? Hope you celebrated big, set your goals, and have a fun start to 2019!