The more I travel—and the longer I edit this magazine—the more I appreciate convention and visitors bureaus. They are staffed with people who know their area inside and out, and are passionately committed to supporting and promoting it. In Michigan, in particular, we've needed voices telling our story to a country that often had it wrong. Our CVBs have done as much as anyone to do so and to turn our state’s fortunes around and attract the enthusiasm and investment that we need.

The Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau is one of the hardest working bureaus in the state. And their efforts pay off—more than 4.8 million visitors travel to the Greater Lansing region each year, generating more than $602 million in economic impact.

If you haven’t been lately, now is as good a time as any, and the bureau can help you with its recently has released 2017 Greater Lansing Visitor Guide.

This free yearly publication offers maps, and information about dining, shopping and attractions. Visitor Guides are distributed at Michigan Welcome Centers, local hotels, visiting meetings and conventions, sports tournaments and other high-traffic locations.

Lansing-based photographer Thomas Gennara shot the 84-page guide’s photography. Each section provides top things visitors might want to know, including:

  • 5 free things to do in Lansing
  • 5 places your kids will love
  • 5 unique restaurants that foodies will love

Visitor Guides are available in both print and digital format and can be ordered or downloaded at lansing.org.

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.

 

The day’s agenda is done—all the to-do items have been checked off, and it’s time to come together as friends and colleagues. So, what is there to do? Well, if you’re meeting in Ann Arbor, Michigan, plenty. Located just 20 minutes to the Detroit Metro Airport, which offers 1,100 daily flights from four continents, the city is home to the University of Michigan and is a hub of creativity and culture. Ann Arbor offers a walkable downtown and the quirky and innovative attractions you’d expect to find in a college town. 

 

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.