Shark Free …In the Mitten

We’re right in the middle of Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, and while we love a good (fictional) thriller story about deadly shark attacks, we also have a healthy level of fear for our ocean dwelling friends! Which is why we love this week’s In the Mitten topic – Michigan beaches! Take a look at some of our favorite fresh water beaches – and get ready to enjoy your day salt and shark free 😉

 

LAKE MICHIGAN BEACHES

  • Silver Lake Sand Dunes – if you have a taste for adventure, this beach is for you! Visitors can cruise along the area’s dunes and enjoy the slower paced beaches, all within walking distance.
  • Pere Marquette Park – just south of the Muskegon Channel, Pere Marquette Park offers beautifully maintained beaches, playground, volleyball, and a number of restaurants and attractions nearby.
  • Saugatuck Dunes State Park – this State Park has a little something for everyone. Walk along the well-kept paths to the dunes and lakeshore or trek off-path to create your own adventure.
  • Warren Dunes State Park – home to 3 miles of shoreline and 6 miles of hiking, Warren Dunes is open year-round and can provide tons of beach and nature fun.
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore – we love this area for all of the hiking opportunities! We’ll admit, the beach isn’t the best Michigan has to offer, but the views are spectacular

LAKE HURON BEACHES

  • Tawas Point State Park – Situated on the end of a sand spit that forms Tawas Bay, and is often called the Cape Cod of the Midwest. Enjoy the shallow sandy beach, or walk along the beach toward the Tawas Point Lighthouse
  • Hoeft State Park Beach – Located in a wooded stretch of Lake Huron, you’ll find moderate temperatures year round – which makes this beach great for those hot summer months, and wonderful for winter beach fun.
  • Bay City State Park – this area features amazing coastal wetlands and over 1,000 feet of sandy beach right along Lake Huron, making this park a great place for beach goers and wildlife enthusiasts

LAKE SUPERIOR BEACHES

  • 12 Mile Beach – in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore near Munising
  • Black Rocks in Presque Isle Park – not exactly a beach, but we had to include this stunning area! Jump off of the unique rock formation or wade in from the small rocky beach.

LAKE ERIE BEACHES

  • Luna Pier Public Beach – one of Michigan’s southernmost beaches, Luna Pier Beach offers a quaint beach and pier area, as well as some great cafés nearby.

INLAND LAKES

These inland lakes have a lot of fun swimming and recreation to offer as well! Be sure to check these out as you tour the beautiful coastline.

  • Torch Lake – The famous sandbar at the lake’s southern end draws impressive crowds each year.
  • Lake Michigamme – located in the U.P., this lake has three beaches and 16 islands so you can explore to your heart’s content!
  • Gull Lake – Ross Township Park has an adorable wooded picnic and beach area, perfect for those days at the lake when you want some shade with your sun.
  • Lake Charlevoix – Ferry Beach is our favorite for this inland lake – offering sandy swimming areas, picnic areas, paddle board rentals and pavilions.
  • Higgins Lake – South Higgins Lake State Park is often voted one of Michigan’s best places for beach and lake goers.
  • Kent Lake – Located in Kensington Metropark in Milford Kent Lake features Martindale Beach, a great family-friendly beach with a splash pad and water slides!

Drive-Ins …In The Mitten

Every once in a while, we love having a good old-fashioned throwback night! One awesome way to do that in Michigan is at a drive-in movie theater! There are 9 functional drive-in movie theaters in Michigan (that we could find!), so chances are, there’s one close to you. Most usually feature family friendly films, but we noticed a few have some scary films and R-rated – so be sure to check the line-up before popping your popcorn and piling into the car!

 

EASTERN MICHIGAN

Summer Drive-In
Website
USA Hockey Arena, 14900 Beck Rd, Plymouth, MI 48170

Open only from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the Summer Drive-In is a great pop up location for family fun. There are 3 screens with movies ranging from G to R, so check the line up before heading out. Chances are you will find a family friendly double feature no matter which date you visit! The Summer Drive-In also has an onsite concession stand for snacks and drinks.
Gates open at 7:30pm. Movies start at dusk.

 

The US-23 Drive-In
Website
5200 Fenton Rd, Flint MI 48507

After a short time down, the US 23 Drive-In is back up and running after being revived by new owners. Originally built in 1952, US 23 has two screens and shows double features each night and most are family friendly with the exception of some late feature rated R movies. Their concession stand was recently expanded, so don’t forget to try the new burgers or grab a root beer float!
Gates open at 7:30pm. Movies start around 9:40pm.

 

Hi-Way Drive-In
Website
2778 Sanilac Rd, Carsonville, MI 48419

The Hi-Way Drive-In first opened in 1947 and is open daily for a double feature. New movies start on Fridays and run for the entire week, so be sure to check out the most popular family movies playing when they are released!  Campers are welcome here and movie goers are sometimes treated to a fireworks show, and there is a small concessions stand as well.
Movies start at dusk.

 

Ford-Wyoming Drive-In Theatre
Website
10400 Ford Rd, Dearborn, MI 48126

The Ford-Wyoming was built in the 1950s and is an Art Deco masterpiece. It’s worth getting there early just to marvel at the architecture!  Open 7 days a week, they often have an early and a late double feature – so this is perfect for the night owls!
Gates open at 8pm. Movie times are around dusk.

 

SOUTHERN MICHIGAN

Capri Drive-In
Website
119W Chicago Rd, Coldwater, MI 49036

The Capri came to Coldwater in 1964 and is now one of the community staples in the summer! Featuring multiple screens, the Capri is open daily. Most features are family friendly, so definitely bring everyone along!
Movies start at sundown.

 

WESTERN MICHIGAN

Getty Drive-In
Website
920 E Summit Ave, Muskegon, MI 49444

The Getty Drive-In is a twist on West Michigan’s largest cinema company, Celebration Cinemas.  Opening in 1948, the Getty has 4 screens and double features on most nights! There are concessions stands available and playground as well for the kiddos. Movies aren’t always family friendly though, so check the line up before heading out.
Gates open at 8pm. Movies start at dusk.

 

Sunset Drive-In
Website
69071 Red Arrow Hwy, Hartford, MI 49057

The Sunset Drive-In was started in 1948 and has one of our favorite features – carload pricing! You can watch two movies each night and get the whole family in for just one low price. The Sunset has movies every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and you can get snacks or concessions right on site.
Gates open at 7pm. Movies start at dusk.

 

Five Mile Drive-In Movie Theater
Website
28190 M-152, Dowagiac, MI 49047

Five Mile Drive-In was built in 1961 and like the Sunset, they have car load pricing – we cannot get over how great that feature is for families.  Open Friday – Sunday, Five Mile has a concession stand on site with full dinner items available.
Gates open at 7pm. Movies start at dusk.

 

NORTHERN MICHIGAN

Cherry Bowl Drive-In Theater
Website
9812 Honor Hwy, Honor, MI 49640

The Cherry Bowl Drive-In, which opened in 1953, is a northern Michigan favorite! With all sorts of additional things on site, like a diner, putt-putt golf, playground, pony rides, and tons of fun picture opportunities, you could easily spend a day here. The Cherry Bowl is always family friendly and has double features – so you get two movies for the price of one!
Movies start at Dusk.

 

 


Summer Festivals …In The Mitten

Festivals are one of our favorite summer features in Michigan! Whether you’re looking for entertainment, delicious food, fun local goods, or just a great activity for friends and family, you can find it all at one of our picks for Summer 2019 Festivals in Michigan!

National Cherry Festival
Traverse City, MI
June 29 – July 6

cherryfestival.org

There’s still time to hit this classic festival this week! Running through Saturday, Cherry Festival offers amazing cherry-based recipes and food, fun carnival activities and rides, concerts, movies, and more. Our favorite? The pie eating contest of course!

 

Tall Ship Celebration
Bay City, Mi
July 18 – July 21

www.tallshipcelebration.com

Each year, the Saginaw River in Bay City transforms in to something you would expect to see in 1819, not 2019. Tall ships from all over the world dock for a weekend, and tourists can board the ships, enjoy sailing education, do some tall ship themed crafts, and even eat Pancakes with Pirates!

 

Coast Guard Festival
Grand Haven, MI
July 26 – August 4

www.coastguardfest.org

While Grand Haven is a popular beach destination all summer long, you can’t beat the fun and energy of Coast Guard Fest. The 10 day festival, which started in 1937, features concerts from popular artists, cover bands and local favorites, a 5K and 10K, food, games, and of course the US Coast Guard is on site as well.

 

Ingham County Fair
Mason, MI
July 29 – August 3

Ingham Fair Website

This year marks the 165th Ingham County Fair. There will be fun events all week, including exciting grand stand events, tractor pulls, the family fun zone, and of course amazing food! The fair pays tribute to the agricultural heritage of Michigan, so be sure to check out the 4H exhibits as well.

 

National Blueberry Festival
South Haven, MI
August 8 – August 11

www.blueberryfestival.com

Michigan is one of the top 5 blueberry producing states in the nation, so we had to include Blueberry Fest! Check out the Kiwanis Blueberry 5K/10K, the Blueberry Craft Fair, the blueberry pie eating contests, and nightly entertainment.

 

Michigan Renaissance Festival
Holly, MI
August 17 – September 29

www.michrenfest.com

The Ren Fest is one of the longest running festivals we found – it lasts for 6 weeks every summer! Jump in to a new world in Holly – where you’ll find knights, squires, Kings and Queens. We love the jousting competitions – and be sure to grab yourself an old-fashioned turkey leg to enjoy while watching.

 

Allegan County Fair
Allegan, MI
September 6 – September 14

www.allegancountyfair.com

One of the biggest fairs in Michigan each year, Allegan County Fair is an amazing wrap up for the summer! Often featuring huge names in entertainment, this year you can see both Little Big Town and Dan + Shay on the mainstage! The fair also features 4H exhibits, antique and farmers markets, carnival rides and the ever-important selection of pop up food vendors.

 

Didn’t see something in your area? Check out this full guide of Michigan Summer Festivals, available from Pure Michigan!

 

 


Fireworks Displays …In The Mitten

Fireworks displays are one of our favorite summer activities! Whether you plan to celebrate this summer with a small back yard sparklers or go all out with a large professional display, fireworks are sure to please. And if you don’t want to do all of the work? Check out some of these recommended displays happening in Michigan this month and next!

Detroit
The Ford Fireworks Detroit

Website Here
June 24th
Fireworks at 9:55pm

White Pigeon
White Pigeon Days

Website Here
June 29th
Fireworks at dusk

Sturgis
Sturgis Fest Fireworks

Website Here
June 29th
Fireworks at dusk, around 10pm

Mackinaw City
All American 4th of July

Website Here
July 4th
Fireworks at dusk

Bay Harbor
Fireworks and Steel Drum Band

Website Here
July 4th
Fireworks at dusk

Grandville
4th of July Celebration

Website Here
July 4th
Fireworks begin at 10pm

Saugatuck
Fourth of July Waterfront Festival

Website Here
July 4th
Fireworks begin at dusk.

Battle Creek
Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival

Website Here
July 4th
Fireworks begin at 10:30pm

Lansing
4th of July Parade and Fireworks

Website Here
July 4th
Fireworks begin after concert, which starts at 8pm

Mason
Fourth of July Celebration

Website Here
July 4th
Fireworks begin at 10pm

Bay City
Bay City Fireworks Fesitval

Website Here
July 4th, 5th and 6th
Fireworks at 10pm

Grand Rapids
Amway Family Fireworks

Website Here
July 6th
Fireworks begin at 10:30

 

A small tip from your REALTOR® friends and neighbors: remember when doing your own fireworks displays to abide by all laws, policies, and procedures for your neighborhood, city/town, and county. Also be respectful of those with small children or pets that may not enjoy fireworks displays!


Ice Cream Parlors …In the Mitten

We don’t know about you, but when the weather gets warmer, we crave ice cream! Michigan has so many iconic ice cream flavors, like Superman, a wild blue, red and yellow ice cream. We tried one from Kilwin’s that had Blue Moon, Red Pop and lemon flavors.  Another favorite is Mackinac Island Fudge from Hudsonville Dairy, a West Michigan creamery – it has delicious fudge chunks and butter fudge in a vanilla ice cream. Can you say “Yum?!”

Tucked away in every corner of Michigan, there are the cutest little ice cream shops serving some of Michigan’s best scoops. Here’s some of our favorites:

 

LANSING MICHIGAN AREA
Scoopy Doo’s – Dewitt, MI

126 N Bridge St, DeWitt, MI

Visit Scoopy Doo’s brand-new digs on Bridge St. in Dewitt – they just re-opened Memorial Weekend! We love the fun Scooby Doo theme and their Hudsonville Ice Cream selection.

 

EASTERN MICHIGAN AREA
Creamy Freeze – Commerce, MI

602 W Commerce Rd, Commerce, MI

Featuring both soft serve and hand scooped ice cream, Creamy Freeze is a local favorite! They feature new flurry flavors every week, like Samoa girl scout cookie, brownie fudge, and pecan praline caramel.

 

SAGINAW MICHIGAN AREA
Mooney’s Ice Cream and Cakes – Saginaw, MI

5716 State St., Saginaw, MI

Mooney’s is a Saginaw area favorite for a long time – it has been in business for over 20 years! Stop in a pick up a triple scoop sundae or try one of their unique ice cream cakes.

 

NORTHERN MICHIGAN AREA
Kilwin’s Chocolates – Petoskey, MI

316 Howard Street, Petoskey, MI

The original Kilwin’s opened its doors in Petoskey in 1947. From their delicious ice cream flavors, to their amazing chocolate treats, their slogan really says all you need to know about the stores: “Sweet in every Sense since 1947.”

 

GATEWAY MICHIGAN AREA
Sand Lake Party Store – Nottawa, MI

25595 M 86, Nottawa, MI

This one is truly a hidden gem! The Sand Lake area party store is home to all sorts of goods (can you say “24 flavors of bratwursts”?!) but they are also known for their HUGE servings of ice cream. Try a “bellyache” – that’s 5 giant scoops – of their most popular flavor, Hudsonville chocolate!

 

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN AREA
Sherman’s Dairy Bar – South Haven, MI

1601 Phoenix Street, South Haven, MI

In South Haven’s shopping district, Sherman’s Dairy Bar is a quaint little community staple. Serving up Sherman’s Ice Cream, which opened in 1916, their ice cream is known for the real ingredients that make up their flavors. Check out the strawberry – you’ll see real whole berries in there!

 

GRAND RAPIDS MICHIGAN AREA
Frosty Boy – Cascade, MI

6886 Cascade Rd SE, Grand Rapids, MI

Situated right in the cute downtown Cascade area, Frosty Boy is everything we need from a neighborhood ice cream parlor. They have a few snacks, some dinner items like hot dogs and broaster chicken, and of course, ice cream! Also serving up Michigan’s own Hudsonville ice cream, this is a must stop when in the area.

 


Farmers’ Markets …In the Mitten

 

For this week’s “…In the Mitten” feature, we’re covering Farmers’ Markets! Farmers’ Markets are a summertime staple in Michigan. Professional farmers, home-growers, and often times craft-makers get to show off their skill weekly, and the market is a community hotspot in just about every corner of this awesome state! Here’s our favorite farmers markets that are a must see this summer.

 

Eastern Michigan – Plymouth Community Farmers’ Market

The Gathering – 736 Penniman Ave, Plymouth MI

Photo Credit: Plymouth Township, Michigan

Tucked in the adorable downtown area of Plymouth, MI is the Plymouth Community Farmers’ Market. Held on Saturdays, you can stop by, grab some fresh produce, and have a picnic in Kellogg Park, or stop by any of the other local shops all in walking distance.

Saturdays, 8:00am – 1:00pm

May 4th – October 26th

Website

 

Saginaw Area – Downtown Saginaw Farmers’ Market

203 S. Washington Avenue (M-13), Saginaw, MI

Photo Credit: City of Saginaw MI

Farmers’ Markets have been running for over 100 years in the Saginaw area. The current version features over 50 vendors 4 days per week and offers an awesome place for community engagement in the heart of downtown Saginaw. We love their website too – it features all sorts of great resources and education about fresh food from their vendors.

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 10:00am – 3:00pm

Saturdays, 9:00am – 1:00pm

May 24th – October 30th

Website

 

Northern Michigan – Cheboygan Farmers’ Market

401 N Main St, Cheboygan, MI

Photo Credit: Cheboygan Farmers Market Facebook

Located at Festival Square in downtown Cheboygan is the Cheboygan Farmers Market. Rain or shine come visit this quaint market featuring 10-20 quality Cheboygan area vendors. You can pick up fresh produce of course, but there are also craft goods like hand spun yarn, jams and jellies, and fresh baked goods.

Wednesdays and Saturdays, 8:00am – 1:00pm

June through October

Website

 

Lansing Area – East Lansing Farmers’ Market

Valley Court Park, 280 Valley Ct, East Lansing, MI

Photo Credit: East Lansing Farmers’ Market Facebook

Steps away from the MSU campus, the East Lansing Farmers’ Market is for growers only – meaning you get some of the best farm grown produce and products that Michigan has to offer! Occasionally, you can also find artisan goods, flowers and more! The market accepts SNAP/Bridge cards, and the Double Up Food Bucks initiative for those that qualify.

Sundays, 10:00am – 2:00pm

June 2nd – October 27th

Website

 

Grand Rapids Area – Fulton Street Farmers’ Market

1145 East Fulton Street, Grand Rapids, MI

Photo Credit: Fulton Street Farmers Market Facebook

The Fulton Street Market is actually one of the few farmers’ markets in Michigan that is open almost year round. Featuring an indoor market and an outdoor market, Fulton Street has dozens of vendors each week offering produce, dairy products, meat and eggs, farm products, baked goods, beverages, artisan products and more!

Main Market: Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 8:00am – 2:00pm

May 4th – October 26th

Artisan Market: Sundays, 11:00am – 3:00pm

June 9th – September 29th

Website

 

Southwestern Michigan – Kalamazoo PFC Farmers’ Market

1204 Bank Street, Kalamazoo, MI,

Photo Credit: Kalamazoo PFC Farmers’ Market

Featuring over 100 businesses each week, the Kalamazoo Farmers’ Market has everything you want. Conveniently located in downtown Kalamazoo near Upjohn Playground, the Farmers’ Market has a central pavilion with restrooms, often features live music or entertainment and is the place to be on summer weekends! Visit for the fun activities, entertainment, or Food Truck Alley, and stay for the amazing home grown products.

Saturdays, 7:00am – 2:00pm

May through November

Tuesdays, 8:00am – 1:00pm and Thursdays, 2:00pm – 6:00pm

June through October

Website

 

Gateway Area, Southern Michigan – Three Rivers Farmers’ Market

Market Pavilions at Scidmore Park, 138 West Michigan Avenue, Three Rivers, MI

Photo Credit: The Huss Project

Located in beautiful Scidmore Park, the Three Rivers Farmers’ Market is not only an amazing place to find fresh produce in the summer months, but they are a great community resource for all things Three Rivers. Visit their Facebook page to see info about local crafters, businesses and resources for residents. They also host Summer Movies in the Park, which sounds so fun!

Thursdays, 2:00pm – 7:00pm

June 20th – September 19th

Facebook Page

 


Top 10 Activities to Do This Winter Break

Need to get out of the house this winter break? These are our favorite activities, in no particular order, to try with your friends and family!

Ice Skating

Find a local ice rink that has open skating hours, or to up the fun, hit one of Michigan’s many outdoor pop-up rinks! There’s Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids, Campus Martius Park in Detroit, and Millenium Park in Portage. Try searching for one near you!

Build a Snowman

Now this might be a tricky one this year, as not much snow is in the forecast for Michigan the next couple weeks, but if we do get some fresh flakes, try to create one of these snow person masterpieces!

Go skiing or snowboarding

Northern Michigan has some absolutely wonderful ski resorts, who regularly keep their mountains covered in fresh powder. Not a fan of the ski lift or can wrap your head around the snowboard? We love a good time by the fire in the lodge!

Go on a winter hike or walk

This one is especially great along one of our amazing Michigan beaches! Watch the waves roll in and create the phenomenon known as “ice balls” – they usually happen every year.  Just be sure to wear some warm outerwear – it gets windy this time of year.

Shovel snow for your neighbors

We love this one! Have a neighbor who could use some extra help around the holiday? Get out and shovel their walkway or ask if there is anything else you can help with outside their home. Our agents are constantly looking for ways to give back, and this is an easy way to make someone’s day.

Take a holiday lights tour

Holiday lights tours are very popular this year, and for good reason! The light displays are often fun and whimsical, and the perfect thing to do in the evening. Try a professional one like these or create your own light tour by driving through your own neighborhood!

Visit an Indoor Waterpark or your favorite museum

Need some warmth but still want to get out of the house? Try visiting one of Michigan’s amazing indoor waterparks or visit a public museum – many have decreased ticket prices during winter break.

Try a new Restaurant

New place in town that you’ve been dying to try? Now’s the time!

Exercise

Feeling a little sluggish after those holiday meals? Get started on your resolution early and hit your local gym, or try a fun group fitness class like Yoga or Zumba.

Volunteer

Even after the holidays are over, your favorite local charities need your help! All for Good is an online hub to get connected with service opportunities in your community.

 


Fall Colors Peak in the UP

Fall is one of the most beautiful times of year, especially in Michigan.  The slightly cooler temperatures in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (or the “UP” as many refer to it) currently have fall foliage at it’s peak color – but it won’t last long!  The Upper Peninsula is one of the most breathtaking places to view a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges, yellows and greens.  It offers up prime landscapes for photos and fall color tours due to its less dense population, variations in elevation and the multitude of trees.  In 2017, Nikon even declared Michigan to be the best state for fall color photos!

Seen here with colorful fall foliage, Michigan s Tahquamenon Falls is the second largest water fall east of America’s Mississippi River.

Following are some of our favorite destinations to view fall’s beauty in the UP:

With colors at peak in the Upper Peninsula now, mid October is the perfect time of year to embark on a fall color tour.  Colors have been exploding in the Lower Peninsula over the last week and will reach it’s peak very soon.  Most of our color will be completely gone by Halloween due to rapidly dropping temperatures and windy fall days.  So don’t wait too long to hit the road and enjoy the scenery all the way to your destination.  Sunny days are generally best for experiencing the full beauty that Michigan has to offer in the autumn.

 

Want to own your own piece of paradise? You can view current homes for sale: HERE