Click to Vote for the Red Hot Best Of Northern Michigan!

Note: The voting is now closed. Check back after the first of the year for information on next year’s reader’s choice. Or check out the nominations from Red Hot Best of Northern Michigan 2011.

It is virtually effortless to sit around and talk about what’s best about Northern Michigan events, attractions, restaurants, food, wine and people these days. Spontaneous conversations range from the “wow” to the “have you tried” to a general celebration of the ongoing, and pretty amazing way Northern Michigan is evolving by just becoming more of everything that makes it so wonderful. Coffee shop conversations are filled with opinions about which Northern Michigan restaurants serve up food as good as the vibe, bread you have to nibble even before you get home, the best local salsa or who’s got a truly good local red ale. In the bleachers at a local basketball game it’s not at all odd to hear people debating the most fun Northern Michigan endurance race that gets your heart pounding, whether there really is a best cherry pie in Traverse City, or what lake will fill your bucket with the most panfish.

The truth is, it is really easy to sit around and talk about the best in Northern Michigan—the hard part is knowing where to start. We’re about to make that part a good deal easier. At Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine we’ve been celebrating the best of Northern Michigan for 30 years, and this year we are launching the Red Hot Best Northern Michigan readers’ choice.

The Red Hot Best of Northern Michigan starts with the 100 Red Hot Best ballot, up now on The results of voting on lead straight to the Red Hot Best June 2011 issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine. There will be three winners in 100 categories, decided through web voting on One vote per email address will make sure there is no obvious ballot stuffing. Sorry, guys.

We can’t wait to start watching your votes on everything from the best place to catch a comedy act in Traverse City (or anywhere else in Northern Michigan!) to your favorite neighborhood bar in towns from Benzie to Mackinac. What’s your favorite Northern Michigan fundraising event and what local high school band gets your nod? Love your car mechanic or your yoga instructor but don’t see them on the list? Write their name in. Is there a Fourth of July celebration you just won’t miss or a chocolate shop that always draws you in, but you don’t see them on the list—make sure you type their name onto the web ballot (we’ve made it easy to do). We’re looking for your favorite policeman, your pick for a classic diner and the independent bookstore you favor the most.

Are you already worried that there will be only three winners in each category? Just remember, the ballot will grow with nominees who will be seen every time a person votes, culminating in a list of the incredible efforts people in Northern Michigan make when it comes to creativity, excellence, commitment and working on the behalf of people and places.

What does a fun idea like the Red Hot Best of Northern Michigan tell us in the end? We will certainly end up with a lot of wonderful suggestions that will keep us out and about in Northern Michigan for the next year. And at the same time, together, we will celebrate the people, the spirit, the generosity and the creativity found in the region.

So head to and have fun sharing your bests and seeing the suggestions of other people who love this region. Watch for the Red Hot Best results in the June issue of Traverse. And wouldn’t it be incredible to see all these winners in one place at one time? Hmmm … a Red Hot party to announce winners? Stay tuned!

P.S. Find the ballot at