• Finding Wintertime Fun

    POSTED December 23, 2016

If you, like me, are greeting the onset of winter with a grumpy attitude, it can help to have more than a far-off spring to look forward to. Fortunately, metro Detroit is home to plenty of wintertime fun.

Let’s start with a few of my favorite festivals. The Plymouth Ice Festival will be held in charming downtown Plymouth Jan. 6–8. Something about beautifully carved ice makes braving the cold worthwhile. And downtown’s restaurants and shops are ready when you want to warm up.  

A winter bar crawl works when the bars are near each other and town is Ferndale. The annual Ferndale Blues & Music Festival, scheduled for Jan. 27–Feb. 4, features plenty of barbecue, beer and live music. Most importantly, the proceeds go to charity.  

Campus Martius is hopping year-round—a far cry from when I slogged there in winter months to eat at Au Bon Pain (RIP) during my days as a Detroit News reporter. The annual Meridian Winter Blast, scheduled for Feb. 10–12, makes the most of the winter weather without outdoor games, ice skating and 50 live music acts brave enough to play outdoors.

For car lovers, it’s not just about the auto show. Autorama brings customized hot rods to Cobo Center Feb. 24–26. Prizes are awarded for the most tricked out of the lot.

Bitter about the cold? Find something to laugh about during the Michigan Comedyfest, which showcases LGBT comedians, at the Theater at the Ford Community and Performing Arts Center in Dearborn in March.

My favorite activity, cold weather or not, is probably trying new restaurants. The Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau maintains a handy list of of the latest openings.

And if you really want to stay food-focused, head to the Detroit Institute of Arts for “The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals.” The exhibit celebrates the monuments and sculptures - made of food - that were an integral part of European street festivals in the 16th to 19th centuries.  

Happy winter!

MACVB Annual Educational Conference finally reaches the shores of Mackinac Island.

As I rode in the carriage from the Shepler’s Ferry terminal to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, my mind wandered to a scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” In said scene, King Arthur and his sidekick, Patsy, approach a castle while galloping and banging coconuts together. After a few moments passed and my mind wandered back to the tree-lined streets of the island, I realized it was the clippety-clop of the draft horses pulling our carriage that brought on my thoughts of Python.


First came COVID. Then came the tornado.

The northern Michigan community of Gaylord was just starting to rebound from the pandemic with its groups and events business as a new season was getting underway when a rare EF3 tornado with estimated wind speeds between 136 and 165 miles per hour struck May 20.

Two people were killed and at least 44 were injured, according to official reports at the time. West Michigan meteorologist Bill Steffen said it was the strongest tornado to strike in the U.S. that month. 


A conference or convention venue might be described by meeting planners as offering ease and convenience for multiple reasons. It may be because its address is easily accessible from numerous compass points. Or perhaps it’s the destination—with a variety of opportunities for activities and entertainment close-by. And of course, it could be that the venue itself offers a peaceful, easy setting with all the comforts you could want. 

Well, at Treetops Resort, it’s all of the above.