It’s the season to check out these four Michigan vacation hotspots

It’s hard to predict what Michigan vacation travel will look like this season, but an increase in travel to the state is likely.

“COVID changed everything,” Travel Michigan vice president Dave Lorenz said. “What we do know is that people generally stay relatively close to home, even if they start to travel further afield.”

Most Michiganders will stay in Michigan, he said, and there are plenty of destinations to explore in the Mitten.

For elaborate displays of twinkling lights, Gull Meadow Farms in Richland has turned its greenhouses into a Christmas experience with “Walk Through the Lights”, while Calhoun County Fairgrounds in Marshall has the “Merry Mile” where families can see a driving light show from the comfort of their vehicle.

At Cornwell’s Turkeyville in Marshall, guests can enjoy a “Dashing Through the Snow” Dinner Theater until December 18th.

Lorenz suggests heading to the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners. It houses one of the largest collections of classic and vintage automobiles in the state.

“People don’t even realize there are indoor and outdoor exhibits,” Lorenz said. “At this time of year, they’re going to have four or five different light-themed areas that you can drive around through their beautiful campus… and you can visit Santa with the kids. You could spend the whole day there. . “

Cities like Detroit, Ann Arbor and Rockford also offer a variety of shops and restaurants, Lorenz said.

Here are four places to visit this holiday season, whether you’re looking to shop, eat and drink, have fun with the kids, or enjoy outdoor winter activities.

Great Christmas shopping

Inside Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth on October 20, 2021.

If ‘go big or come home’ is your motto this time of year, then why not head to Frankenmuth and shop at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the world’s largest Christmas store.

Open every day of the year except four since 1945, the huge holiday store sells over 6,000 styles of ornaments, Christmas trees, cards and lights, nativity scenes, collectibles, of garlands, stockings, advent calendars and wreaths.

The store’s campus is decorated for the holidays and located a short distance from downtown Frankenmuth – and more shopping.

Known as “Michigan’s Little Bavaria,” guests can take horse-drawn carriage rides, shop for gifts in downtown stores, ice-skate on a public ice rink, and dine on chicken at Zehnder’s, a restaurant. popular.

“It’s such a cool place any time of the year, but there is something special about being in the city this time of year,” said Lorenz.

Learn more about Bronner’s at www.bronners.com and Frankenmuth at www.frankenmuth.org.

Go out and enjoy the snow

There’s a long list of things you can do outdoors at Boyne Mountain Resort and Boyne Highlands Resort, but skiing is what both are known for, said Erin Ernst, director of communications for Boyne Resorts Michigan Operations. , who owns it.

The properties are only 42 km apart, located in Boyne Falls and Harbor Springs, but Boyne Mountain is the oldest. It was founded by Everett Kircher in the late 1940s, Ernst said.

Skiing is a big part of the Michigan winter experience.  Here is a skier at Boyne Mountain.

Boyne Mountain occupies 5,000 acres, with 415 skiable acres and 60 trails. Boyne Highlands comprises 4,000 acres, including 435 skiable acres and 55 trails. The pitch is laid out “very differently” to everyone, Ernst said.

If skiing isn’t your favorite outdoor activity, both resorts offer a host of other options, including ice skating, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, ziplines, tubing, horseback riding, snowshoeing, outdoor pools and SNO-GO ski bikes.

There’s plenty to do inside the resorts, including spa services and dining.

Learn more about Boyne Mountain Resort at www.boynemountain.com and Boyne Highlands Resort at www.boynehighlands.com.

A food and wine experience in Grand Rapids

Raise a Glass Tours in Grand Rapids offers private wine and beer tours of the city's restaurants and wineries, with transportation to each stop, as well as meals.

After Grand Rapids native Kris Mathis and his wife, Chawntrell, took a weekend trip to Traverse City, he wondered, “Could I recreate this experience in my own city?” “

His company, Raise a Glass Wine and Beer Tours, aims to do just that. It offers private, all-inclusive wine and beer tours of Grand Rapids restaurants and wineries, with transport between stops.

“We don’t do anything traditional,” Mathis said, adding that what his company offers are not wine tours. “They’re all city-style so they’re young, hip, urban where you’re going to visit different restaurants and wine bars and they’re going to set up a semi-private experience for you.”

Groups are given a total of five courses during each visit, which typically lasts four hours.

“Our entire menu is blind tasting, which means you can’t order a menu with us,” Mathis said. “The reason is that we don’t want customers to order the normal burger and fries. Our goal is to get you to try new things and we do that by allowing our restaurants and wine bars to impress you with their most creative and exclusive tableware. “

Learn more about Raise a Glass Wine and Beer tours at www.raiseaglasstours.com.

Detroit Zoo in Christmas Lights

Kevin Schabel, his wife Tami and their children Evelyn, 8, Tommy, 6, all from Romeo pose for a photo with their grandchildren inside a giant ornament-shaped light installation during Wild Lights at the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak on December 19.  3, 2020.

If your ideal vacation is to see spectacular light shows, consider a trip to the Detroit Zoo.

Wild Lights, its annual exhibit of over 5 million sparkling LED lights, 445 trees and 280 sculptures, many of which are inspired by wildlife, will fill the front half of the property until January 9.

The zoo’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit featuring award-winning photographs is included with admission to Wild Lights.

Entrance tickets cost between $ 17 and $ 24, and children under 2 are admitted free. The zoo offers a “Polar Patio” package for $ 30 to $ 38 which includes entry to the light and photo exhibit as well as unlimited food and desserts, hot chocolate in a souvenir mug and the access to a cash bar.

Guests are encouraged to dress for the weather when they arrive. Learn more about Wild Lights at www.detroitzoo.org.

Contact Rachel Greco at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @GrecoatLSJ. Liz Shepard contributed to this report.

Nick Buckley contributed reporting.

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