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It’s a Wonderful Time for Leelanau Wine!

Tips for a fabulous experience along the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail this winter…
Erin Bernhard/Assistant Director of the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association

Sunrise at 45 North

Sunrise at 45 North Vineyard & Winery

The active buzz of harvest is now tranquil as the newest vintage awaits its spring release. Dormant vineyards are resting for the season, and the sun shines brightly on fresh, fallen snow. It’s Leelanau Peninsula’s winter wonderland, and a great time to experience the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail.

Inside the tasting rooms, winemakers welcome you with open arms and smiling faces, eager to pour samples of their wines into your glass. With more elbow room at the tasting bars and more time to chat, winter is an ideal season for a more in-depth tasting experience. Winter hours are limited so be sure to call ahead or click here for a list of tasting room hours.

Or, wake up from the winter blues with a crisp, fresh trek by snowshoes or skis. A winter wine trail has cropped up between Blustone Vineyards, Forty-Five North Vineyard and Winery, and Tandem Ciders, offering a unique and fabulous way to explore wine country.


If the lively excitement of crowds is more your style, join us for a wine tour event along the trail. Here’s a list of upcoming events:

Sips & Soups – January 10 & 24
Warm up this January during a SOUPer new event, Sips & Soups, to enjoy warm-up pairings of wine and soup along the trail. Hosted two Saturdays in January, the event raises funds for local food pantries.

Taste the Passion – February 7-8
Indulge your taste buds during the SWEETEST event of the year, Taste the Passion, for delicious wine and sweet delights along the trail. And, be sure to say hello to the guest of honor – chocolate!

Sips, Chips & Dips – March 28
Everything goes with Leelanau wine, so why not keep it simple? Join the free, casual fun during Sips, Chips, and Dips with yummy wine and everyday snacks.

Spring Sip & Savor – May 2-3
Celebrate the awakening of the well-rested vineyards during Spring Sip & Savor. Try newly released wines paired with local fare, and join the fun Sip o’ de Mayo Hat Contest.

Each event is a self-guided tour along the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail with wine and food pairings at more than 20 wineries. Follow the links for more information and to get tickets.

Leelanau Peninsula Wines

Whether you choose a relaxing day of wine tasting or the hustle and bustle of an event, you’re sure to find many new wines to add to your favorites list and many more things to love along the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail.



About the Author: As the Assistant Director of the Leelanau Peninsula Vintners Association, it is Erin’s responsibility to help maintain community relationships with area wineries as well as to bolster the reputation of Leelanau wine through events, advertising, and the written word. Beyond her work with the Wine Trail, Erin is dedicated to the sustainable growth of the Traverse City area and works in many other realms to spread the word about Michigan as a whole. You can follow Erin’s work at

Winter at The Little Fleet Means a New Restaurant Every Month


An "indoors food truck" --LTO at The Little Fleet

An “indoors food truck” –LTO at The Little Fleet


When you live and work up here in Michigan’s True North, you realize pretty quickly that winter requires you to make adaptations. And that’s as true in the restaurant business as it is in anything else.

On the other hand, some adaptations can lead to serendipitous discoveries of awesomeness – like the new LTO (Limited Time Only) program at The Little Fleet on East Front Street. What started out as a sort of “indoor food truck” has quickly become an opportunity for aspiring restaurateurs to demonstrate what they can do – one month at a time.DSC_6927

Two years ago, former New Yorkers Gary and Allison Jonas – who created the popular Brooklyn eateries Sycamore and The Farm on Adderly before moving to Traverse City – created The Little Fleet by turning the former Jack’s Market into a full-service bar whose food service has been largely provided by the food trucks they invited to open up shop in their parking lot.

The Jonases had originally hoped to keep their popular street food scene going all year, using heat lamps and other amenities, but last year’s harsh winter persuaded them that they needed to try a different strategy. They took one of their own food trucks (a cute little trailer that housed the EZ Cheesy restaurant last summer) and brought it inside the bar, where they’re making it available each month to a different chef.

“The idea behind this place has always been to keep things new, fresh and exciting,” says Gary. “I think people really like having a different style of food here each month – I know I do.”

The arrangement allows The Little Fleet to provide lunch and dinner for their customers without having to get into the cooking end of things. And for the 30-day chefs, it provides even more.

“Some of these folks are hoping to start out on their own, and for them this is like a business incubator or a stepping stone,” says Gary. “On the other hand, some vendors are just passionate about food.”

The LTO experiment began in November with the introduction of KoKo’s Café, a venture by husband and wife team Carlos Carcia and Korrie Chichester, who were able to try out their plan to create an organic, local plant-based café using the on-loan food truck. December’s entry is White on Rice, from another husband and wife team: Eric and Amy Kolden, who are hoping to open their own sushi restaurant.

Amy and Eric and a sushi entree at White on  Rice

Amy and Eric Kolden and a sushi entree at White on Rice

“It’s awesome, because we don’t have to take on more than we can handle,” says Eric, who spend seven years with Red Ginger. “We’ve got five kids at home, and this is a fundraising project for us — our aspiration is to get our own food truck this summer.”

“We’re getting wonderful feedback from customers and from other people in the business who are offering help and support,” adds Amy. “Jen and Eric from the Cook’s House have been wonderful, and the entire crew from Short’s came by and asked if there was anything we need. It’s been great!”

DSC_6919The January LTO will be Betty’s Homestyle Soups, a venture by Jennifer Scott, whose seafood chowder recipe for Mahoney’s won the popular Soup’R Bowl Competition at the 2014 Traverse City Winter Comedy Arts Festival.  “All of my soup recipes are original,” she says. “They are designed to be comforting and fill people with happy memories.”

For February, former Little Fleet bartender Fernando Meza is hoping to set up shop to introduce locals to some traditional Mexican recipes he got from his mother. And in March, barbecue chef Greg Hart will park his Cordwood BBQ  cooking operation in the little trailer.

“It’s fun,” says Gary. “We’re just lucky that EZ Cheezy truck was small enough to fit inside.

Where Our Facebook Fans Recommend Viewing Christmas Lights

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The Traverse City area is decorated, festive, and ready for the holidays! And, this year we have great suggestions from our facebook fans on the best places to see Christmas lights. Whether you are heading downtown, to the neighborhoods, or to an indoor resort, this list offers diverse suggestions around the Traverse City area. Prepare yourself for the oohs, aahs, selfies, and endless comments on which one is a favorite as you explore our magical area this holiday season!

Grand Traverse Resort & Spa
Start in the Grand Lobby where’s there’s a 23 foot tall tree decorated with 2,500 ornaments and 4,000 Lights. Additional trees are placed throughout the Gallery of Shops and the whimsically decorated Dylan’s Candy Bar is a must-see for those with a sweet tooth!

10401 E Carter Rd 
Don’t miss this house off a side road of M-22! It’s generated local interest for a couple of years and has become a local attraction. From reds to electric blues and everything in between this one will surely be a favorite! (Thank you Mike and Karen Duda Sila for your holiday spirit!)

Downtown Traverse City
Our tree-lined downtown is decked out in twinkling lights and features a glorious Christmas tree (at the corner of Cass & Front St) waiting for you to applaud its impressive array of colors. Perfect for a slow drive or an evening stroll, this destination is charming and romantic!

Christmas on Kimberly Lane 
In this neighborhood just north of Long Lake you’ll find over 10,000 lights synced to some of your favorite Christmas songs. Open daily from 6-10 pm.

Great Wolf Lodge
Step inside the lobby and let the holiday spirit take over! Icicle lights, magnified snowflakes lit up on the walls, and a giant Christmas tree are just a few of the highlights! There’s a kid inside all of us just waiting to discover this indoor wonderland.

Central Neighborhood Traverse City (check the alleys too!) 
Drive down the 9th, 10th, and 11th streets of this downtown neighborhood where you will see a terrific display of lights, decorations, and more. We are told there’s even a space saucer with an alien in a Santa hat!

Stay connected for more holiday decoration posts! Starting on December 13th we begin our 12 Days of TC Trees on Instagram and Twitter (#12TCtrees). 

Pair the Perfect Holiday Wines from Old Mission Peninsula

Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula

Photo courtesy of The Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula

It’s the time of the year for giving and receiving, and celebrating with those we love. It’s also a great time to give and celebrate with wine, try new wines and see how pairing the right wine with your holiday meal can enhance your festivities. We’ve asked the folks at the Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula for some insight on their favorite holiday wines and ideas on wine pairings. Here’s what we found out about the perfect wine for this year’s holiday festivities:

  • 2 Lads Sparkling Pinot Grigio is an ideal holiday wine that pairs well with a range of flavors, complementing everything from your favorite appetizers to entrees, even dessert! Plus, this wine  brings an added elegance to any holiday table.
  • This time of the year is the right time for Pinot Noir, and Black Star Farms suggests their 2011 Arcturos Pinot Noir. The lighter body of the Pinot Noir is the perfect match for lighter meats and holiday fare.
  • Bowers Harbor Vineyard 100% Pinot Noir Rosé is another fantastic option this holiday season. Bursting with fresh watermelon, strawberry, and cranberry, this Rosé complements turkey and holiday traditions. Though it is considered a dry wine, it drinks with a variety of palettes, so enjoy this fruity and light spice.
  • This holiday season, reach for a Pinot Noir or a Dry Riesling – both complement earthly fall flavors and holiday spice. Brys Estate Vineyard & Winery Pinot Noir pairs beautifully with roasted vegetables, while their Dry Riesling will complement stuffing with apples and spice. Also, try the Dry Riesling with a rich butternut squash bisque or curried carrot soup. It’s sure to please.
  • Chateau Chantal offers their Naughty & Nice Red and White wines during the holidays. Perfect as a fun wine gift for the season. Ranging from dry to sweet, there is a selection for everyone at the table among these four wines. The Naughty Red and White are dry, while the Nice Red and White are the sweet versions of the same wine blend.
  • The 40th Anniversary wine, the 2013 Etcetera Rosé, from Chateau Grand Traverse is the perfect pairing for a holiday feast. Its robust, off-dry flavors offer pepper-like qualities that are sure to hold up to any poultry or white meat dish. The creamy finish and off-dry style make it versatile to share with grilled vegetables or pasta dishes. This rosé wine is celebratory in nature, as it was created to embrace the 40 years Chateau Grand Traverse has spent crafting wines on Old Mission Peninsula.
  • The perfect pairing for a holiday prime rib with a creamy horseradish sauce or an herbed rack of lamb with rosemary and thyme is Peninsula Cellars award winning Cabernet Franc. This dry red wine, voted best-of-class dry red and double gold for two consecutive years, boasts rich mocha and deep berry flavors.

This holiday season, taste, learn, share, and enjoy wines from Old Mission Peninsula! The Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula’s annual Day of Giving is the perfect time to stock up on these award-winning wines. On Saturday, December 13, the wineries will donate 15% of tasting room and online sales to Northern Michigan nonprofit organizations. Make a weekend out of it by pairing with the December 11 Ladies’ Night shopping and noshing extravaganza in Downtown Traverse City!

Day of Giving


Did You Know That Traverse City is a Destination on the Rise?


Who is visiting Traverse City in the new year? TripAdvisor announced new accolades including the one noted below.  We are thrilled to receive this award! Check it out and start planning your itinerary…

TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, has listed Traverse City as one of 10 U.S. winners of its 2015 Travelers’ Choice awards for “Destinations on the Rise.” The awards highlight spots in t

he country and around the world that have shown the greatest increase in positive feedback and interest from TripAdvisor’s online community from one year to the next.

“The TripAdvisor community has helped surface some unheralded destinations across the globe that are receiving rave reviews from travelers worldwide,” said Barbara Messing, the company’s chief marketing officer.

Traverse City was rated sixth on the U.S. list, which also included Wildwood, NJ: Nag’s Head NC; Prescott, AZ; Telluride, CO; Pompano Beach, FL; Catalina Island, CA; Waikaloa, HI; Knoxville, TN and Gulf Shores, AL.

“Situated along Lake Michigan, this outdoor adventure hub is known for its cuisine and culture,” the TripAdvisor site said. “Described as “a fun and pretty spot for families,” Clinch Park has impressed TripAdvisor travelers with its beach and stunning views. Visitors also rave about the Asian-inspired fare at Red Ginger, “one of the leaders in fine cuisine for Traverse City,” according to a TripAdvisor reviewer. Family at West Bay Beach

“We appreciate this recognition from TripAdvisor, demonstrating that the awareness of our product continues to grow, and that the Traverse City area is being recognized as an exciting travel destination,” said Brad Van Dommelen, president of Traverse City Tourism.

A total of 52 destinations around the world were included in the 2015 Traveler’s Choice listings. The top worldwide spot was Da Nang, Vietnam. Award-winners were determined using an algorithm that measures the annual increase in positive TripAdvisor traveler review ratings on accommodations, restaurants, and attractions, across destinations worldwide.

Where Will You Party in Traverse City on New Year’s Eve?

Guest Blog Story by Jennifer Hamilton from The Awesome Mitten

It may be hard to believe, but New Year’s Eve is quickly approaching. 2014 was a tremendous year for Traverse City and we should celebrate accordingly. Fortunately, there are lots of events in store that fit all ages and all budgets. Here are some ideas to help find the best way to ring in 2015.

New Year’s Eve Celebration at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa
Live music, an 80’s theme, dancing, and a great meal all make up the key components of New Year’s Eve spent at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. Cocktail hour starts at 6 pm, and a three-course plated meal starts at 7 pm. Live music featuring the Spazmatics begins at 9 pm.

This entire extravaganza only costs $75 per person, but if you are just looking to party, you can skip the dinner and arrive later for dancing and toasting. Tickets for the party only are $25 per person. Additional deals are available if you want to spend the night. Call 800-236-1577 for tickets and more information. Tickets are also available for purchase at

Shanty Creek Resort
This location is great for the entire family. Everyone can ski for free at Summit Mountain from 6:30 to 11 pm. After you’ve got your skiing fix in, there are three different parties to choose from. The adults only party at Ivan’s Mountainside Grill has a small cover at the door and begins at 9 pm.

The Lakeview Hotel and Conference Center is an event for the whole family to attend. Dueling pianos in the Grand Ballroom start at 8 pm, but the doors to the party open as early as 6:30 pm.

Additionally, there is a “Kids’ Night Out” in the Bellaire room, which is a party for just kids, ages six and up. This event will include games, dancing, arts, crafts, and snacks. At midnight, everyone can come together to enjoy fireworks over the slopes of Summit Mountain. This is truly a one-of-a-kind celebration that is full of different events spanning across the whole evening.

The Traverse City Cherry – T Ball Drop
It’s back! One of Traverse City’s most popular and busiest events: The Traverse City Cherry – T Ball Drop. The huge, sparkling cherry will fall 115 feet at midnight at the intersection of Cass and Front Streets. Live music and entertainment begin at 10:30 pm. Proceeds go to benefit the Goodwill Food Pantry and other local charities. A donation of $3 or three non-perishable food items is suggested. Over the past four years, over 30,000 pounds of food have been donated to local food banks because of this event. So, bundle up and ring in 2015 with members of the community to benefit those in need!

Top of the Park – Park Place Hotel
If staying outdoors in the winter is not your ideal situation, you are in luck. You can still view the beautiful Cherry – T Drop from the Top of the Park at the Park Place Hotel with hors’d’oevres, beverages, dancing, and live entertainment. The cost for this event is $125 per person or $200 per couple, all of which also goes to benefit local charities.

Jennifer Hamilton

About the Author:
Jennifer Hamilton lives and works in Traverse City as a social worker and feature writer for The Awesome Mitten. Jennifer strongly believes that no city compares to Traverse City because each season brings a whole slew of new adventures; running paths become snowshoeing trails, lakes for swimming become speckled with ice fishing holes, and golf courses become snowboarding mountains. It simply does not get better than this! - Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @J_Hamlett



From the Chair: Featuring Heather Reznik

Heather Reznik

Tell us a little about what a Corporate Account Executive does at Traverse City Tourism.
A Corporate Account Executive brings Corporate Meetings & Events to Traverse City. I focus on corporations in the Southeast Michigan area.

What did you do before Traverse City Tourism?
Before joining the Traverse City Tourism team, I was lucky enough to be able to stay at home with my son for 3 years.  Previous to that, I was a Hotel Sales Manager and worked at the Sheraton Ann Arbor Hotel, the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester, and the McCamly Plaza Hotel in Battle Creek.

What do you love the most about working for Traverse City Tourism?
I love the fact that I get to promote, arguably, the most beloved and beautiful city in Michigan! Who wouldn’t want to have a meeting or event in Traverse City?!

What attractions, destinations, restaurants, etc. do you favor in Traverse City?
I love going to Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay. The farm is such a beautiful and peaceful atmosphere!

What’s your favorite downtown lunch spot and why?
For a quick grab and go lunch, I love the Gobbler Sandwich at Mary’s Kitchen Port. For a sit down lunch, I love good BBQ from the Blue Tractor.

How you would you describe Traverse City to a first time visitor?
Traverse City is a combination of a sleepy New England fishing town; cool Pacific Northwest city with great food and microbrews; and a less pretentious Napa Valley.

What is your perfect day in Traverse City?  
It would be a beautiful, cool, fall day with my sisters! Start the morning out with some quiche at the Omelette Shoppe then head out for a little shopping downtown while savoring a latte from BREW. After a few hours of shopping, we would grab a quick lunch to go at Mary’s Kitchen Port (most likely the Gobbler Sandwich!) and head over toward the Open Space to enjoy it at a picnic table overlooking the bay. After lunch we would jump in our car and start heading out for both a Fall Color and Wine Tour. Then we would head back to town to end our day devouring something delicious at Amical for dinner. If we have the energy after all of that, we would catch a show at the State Theatre.

If you could wish for a celebrity sighting on the streets of downtown Traverse City who would you want to see?
Kate Winslet

What is your favorite season in Northern Michigan?
Fall. Nothing beats the cool weather and beautiful scenery!

Describe a memorable Traverse City moment or experience…
My first time climbing Sleeping Bear Dunes. I can’t remember exactly how old I was, maybe between the ages of 7 and 10. As a child, the sheer size of the dune is overwhelming, but I was determined! I’m pretty sure I ran the whole way up! When you’re an adult, you want to sit at the top (catch your breath!) and enjoy the view; as a kid, you just want to turn and run as fast as you can back down!

A Week of Beer…. Wow!


Pub Crawl Night at 7 Monks

Pub Crawl Night at 7 Monks


TRAVERSE CITY, MI –  I can still remember the life-changing moment when I took my first sip of a craft beer. I was having lunch at a local restaurant and ordered a Huma Lupa Licious from Short’s Brewing. That first India Pale Ale — intensely fruity and flavorful, with bursts of citrus and pine — changed my entire view of beer.

Tasting at the IPA Challenge

Tasting at the IPA Challenge

But by the end of the Traverse City IPA Challenge last Thursday night, I was beginning to realize that one can have too much of a good thing, even beer. Trying 11 different IPAs in a row is like eating all your Halloween candy in one sitting; it starts out great, but by the time you’re finished you have begun to realize the wisdom of moderation.

Actually, the timing couldn’t have been better, since this is Traverse City Beer Week (TCBW), an event whose astonishing plenitude of craft beer tastings, dinners, workshops and contests (over 60 of them, last time I counted) is a seven-day challenge to all my reserves of self-control.

TCBW started last year as a way to showcase Michigan’s vibrant craft brewing movement, particularly the 15 microbreweries, brewpubs and taprooms in the Traverse City Area. The inaugural week was such a success that it was brought back this year with an even larger schedule of events at restaurants, bars, microbreweries and retail locations throughout Traverse City. 

Traverse City is best known as a four-season outdoor adventure destination with a lively culinary and wine scene, but in the last couple of years it has also emerged as a major center of craft brewing. (Draft magazine named it one of Americas’ three “emerging beer towns” along with St. Louis and Oklahoma City, The Travel Channel listed it among the Top Seven Beer Destinations in North America, and calls it one of America’s Five Beeriest Beach Towns.)

Each TCBW event is developed jointly between brewers, restaurants and retailers, and is intended to educate or offer insight into some aspect of the craft beer movement — a special product or style of beer, a food-beer pairing experience or some other topic of interest. On Saturday, for instance, I stopped in at Brewery Ferment — a cozy neighborhood brewpub on Union Street — which was holding a “beer/cheese pairing” featuring some of their brews paired with cheeses from Boss Cheese and The Cheese Lady here in town.

Dustin Jones (r)  leads a customer through a beer/cheese pairing at Brewery Ferment

Dustin Jones (r) leads a customer through a beer/cheese pairing at Brewery Ferment”

We though it would be fun to pick out several cheeses that would go well with our beers and show our customers how well beer and cheese go together,” said brewer Dustin Jones. “Without a kitchen of our own we can’t really do our own cooking, but the Beer Week people let us decide what we want to do and when we want to do it. It’s a great opportunity for us.”

But that “educational” component shouldn’t obscure the fact that this is intended to be a fun experience. For example, Friday night’s opening festivities featured two late afternoon “pre-parties” at downtown restaurants, a beer-tasting/miniature-golf tournament at Right Brain Brewery, and a “pub crawl” of six downtown pubs sponsored by Short’s Brewing. Participants carried beer passports from bar to bar that could be traded in (when completed) for an official Beer Week t-shirt.

It certainly brought people out to downtown Traverse City — in droves. Many were cyclists who’d come to town for the Saturday’s Iceman Cometh Challenge race (coincidentally, sponsored by Bell’s Brewing of Kalamazoo) but others were here specifically to participate in some of the Beer Week events, and still more were simply swept up in the excitement. At the U&I Lounge, for instance, I ran into a group of young women visiting from Fenton who’d been out wine-tasting on the Old Mission peninsula all afternoon and were now enthusiastically embarking on their first Beer Week pub crawl.

Friday night Beer Week drinkers at The Franklin

Friday night Beer Week drinkers at The Franklin

And it’s only beginning. Ahead of us are five whole days of beer-themed events – beer dinners, first-time keg tappings, retail tastings, trivia contests, food pairings, panel discussions, and even an after-dark scavenger-style “keg hunt” — leading up to the final TCBW event: a 5K “Great Beerd Run” at the Grand Traverse Resort & Spa, complete with on-course beer tastings from three northern Michigan craft brewers and a post-race Best Beard Contest.

I’m learning to pace myself.

For updates on the schedule of Traverse City Beer Week events, go to  or visit the TCBW page on Facebook.

Beer Week pub crawlers at The Yard.

Beer Week pub crawlers at The Yard.

The Iceman Cometh: An Epic Challenge

Iceman Starting Line

Traverse City is home to the largest one-day mountain bike race in America, and this Saturday, Nov. 8, marks this year’s Iceman Cometh Challenge.

For those with a mountain bike and a network of CamelBak-ed friends, the Iceman is bandied about from the moment snow melts off the trails in the spring. Threats and bets are made amongst friends who will once again battle out the season’s last, most epic bike race, of the season. It takes place in early November, come sun, rain, sleet… or, with any luck, snow.

Iceman on the Trail

Each year the event tallies some 4,000 riders with registration selling out in under 15 hours every February. The course stretches 30 miles point-to-point from downtown Kalkaska, through the Pere Marquette forest, to the backwoods of Traverse City.

This year marks the 25th year of the Iceman and it all started with 35 guys and a case of beer. Now it’s a race with enough prestige to draw the country’s top riders… and tough enough to keep the local rec riders in locked in fear and anticipation.

But forget the cowbells and trophies for the big dogs. This race is all about the local dudes (and chicks) in the back of the pack who battle it out with nary a chance at a medal. They are the guts of the race, their glory lost and gained on a single hill, elation as close as devastation at any moment, going up against their friends in an openly fierce fashion.

It’s a fantastic race to watch with the finish line threading through a few last-minute obstacles in the wooded mecca of Timber Ridge Resort. Kandace Chapple

I’ve ridden the Iceman three years and thoroughly encourage finding a nemesis to battle against in the pack of thousands. It makes the race, with its endless hills and rutted descents all the more fun. And if you love to ride, no matter the weather, you might be tempted to hoof it to Michigan to see what all the (snowy, icy, muddy) buzz is about.

Kandace Chapple is the publisher and editor of Grand Traverse Woman Magazine, a Michigan women’s magazine. Visit Kandace is also a freelance writer and blogs about biking and motherhood at

From the Chair: Featuring Coryn Briggs


Tell us about what a “Digital Marketing & Design Specialist” does at Traverse City Tourism?
In a marketing job every day is a little different, and that is what makes it exciting! My job responsibilities include social media and web content management, graphic design, evaluating digital media analytics, as well as e-newsletter and video development.

What did you do before Traverse City Tourism?
I was the Marketing Director at Black Star Farms.

What do you love the most about working for Traverse City Tourism?
I love being a part of the creative, professional, and fun destination marketing organization that is Traverse City Tourism, and working with a diverse group of people that all share a common interest to promote this incredible place where we live.

What attractions, destinations, restaurants, etc. do you favor in Traverse City?
Beaches, The TART trail, the State Theater, Pyramid Point, Amical, The Summer Microbrew and Music Festival, and Trattoria Stella are a few of my favorites. Really, it’s hard to choose when there’s such a wealth of great places to eat, play, and discover!

What’s your favorite downtown lunch spot and why?
The Green House Café is perfect for lunch. The food is fresh, the service is quick and friendly, and the price is right. Plus, they have amazing and HUGE muffins!

How would you describe Traverse City to a first time visitor?
It is a city with small town charm, a European downtown flair, and awe-inspiring views on every corner. It is a place where the natural beauty will inspire you and the foodie scene will nourish you.  Lastly it is a place with a spirit that will fill your soul and tug at you until your return.

What is your perfect day in Traverse City?
The day would begin with a five mile run along one of my favorite routes that includes Wayne Hill, where there’s an overlook that astonishes me every time! After a quick soak in West Bay I would go home to grab a post-run snack (and shower!) and head out with my family to enjoy time at a playground or park. Lunch at The Workshop, complete with a few board games, rounds out the afternoon but leaves time to recharge at home. I’ll pack a picnic dinner, a bottle of local wine, a blanket and a few cozy layers for the evening and we take a scenic drive to watch the sunset at Good Harbor beach. The icing on the cake is the trip home when I am fully charged from the memories and moments captured during the day as well as the blissful silence of two sleeping children.

If you could wish for a celebrity sighting on the streets of downtown Traverse City who would you want to see?
Ewan McGregor

What is your favorite season in Northern Michigan?
Definitely fall and everything that goes along with it, including the rain.

Describe a memorable Traverse City moment/experience…
Running my first half marathon in Glen Arbor! Read more about it here in this blog story.