Northern Michigan Vacations: Face-warming sunlight crawls to the hidden corners of still-slushy sidewalks. Pink-painted store front windows welcome winter's returning long-lost shoppers. Even the seagulls step out to brave the last cool days, adding their familiar call to the otherwise silent marina. It's spring—hopeful, fresh, and life-giving spring. And since the weather in Northern Michigan is anything but predictable, here are our top picks in keeping warm while the months do just the same. Vacation or not, let's celebrate the break that is spring.
1. Take a dip in an indoor pool.
Though bustling in the summer, Traverse City's hotels are eager for your business these colder months. The deals are dynamite and the water's heated. Check out our Hotel Directory and choose your next place to splash.
2. Get tropical at a greenhouse.
Grab your coffee cup to-go and head to a Northern Michigan greenhouse. Just breathing in the humid air, smelling the green and loam—you'll be feeling tropical before you get to the bottom of your cup. Visit Traverse City's Garden Goods, Plant Masters in Suttons Bay, or Willson's Garden Center in Petoskey.
3. Get beach-bod-ready with hot yoga.
Rid your body of winter's toxins with a full-on sweat session at Bikram Yoga. Grand Traverse residents can score an unbeatable special of ten days for $10, unlimited yoga. Or for a full month, check out Yen Yoga's introductory offer of unlimited classes at $40. Channel your zen before the craze of summer.
4. Sit pretty fireside.
Sure the snow's been falling for months, but have you stopped to just watch it for an afternoon? Cozy up in your snuggie and lounge by the fire to take in the last of Northern Michigan's flurries. For those of us without the hearth at home, head to the blue couches at Espresso Bay on Front Street. Or for a combination of roaring fire and trickling fountains, head to Grand Traverse Resort and think cottage-meets-Hawaii.
5. Escape reality at Traverse City's State Theatre.
Friday, March 22-Thursday, March 28, movie-lovers can enjoy a week of free films at Traverse City's State Theatre. Each day is catered to a different audience, but younger viewers will enjoy the daily kids' selection each and every morning. Get the schedule here.
6. Warm up from the inside.
You made it through the bulk of the cold— now it's time to indulge your inner lush. Map out an afternoon dotting the dozens of tasting rooms up Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas with these chauffeured tours. And if wine's not your, um, glass of wine, hop around Northern Michigan's microbrews and distilleries. Cheers to spring!
7. Get a ski tan.
Who says you can't get that bronze goddess glow in Traverse City? The truth is, it might err more on the rosy side, but hey—it's color. Visit Nub's Nob now through March 17 and save big bucks on your full day pass. And this weekend, Boyne hosts its annual Brew-Ski Festival, March 8-10. Already stoked for next year's season? Snag a 2013-2014 season pass now with Shanty Creek's $249 discount rate.
8. Update your closet with retail therapy.
Bring out the tunics, the cotton and sandals. Or at least, let's just buy 'em. Hit up your favorite shopping district for a wardrobe facelift. We love the flirty scarves and jewelry at Haystacks, the cardigans at Baabaazuzu and the classic home accessories at URHOUZZ.
9. Grab your ticket to fun.
From musicals to museum exhibits, we've got the hottest events covered. This month, Legally Blonde comes to Old Town Playhouse, Rufus Snoddy returns to the Dennos, and a whole lot more. Get all the information on these events and snag your tickets at MyNorthTickets.com.
10. Be a tourist in your own neighborhood.
Think you know all there is to know about the area? We bet you'll learn something new on the Magical History Tour of Traverse City. You'll learn about colorful characters like our city founder, Perry Hannah, and "Wild" Bill Germaine, a small-town crook and con artist.
11. Read a steamy book.
Tropic of Cancer or 50 Shades—We'll let you look into the details. (We're a wholesome magazine, remember?) Hit up one of Traverse City's local gems like Horizon Books, Brilliant Books and The Bookie Joint for the season's best reads.
12. Explore the lay of the land.
Hold up. It's 5 o'clock and the sun's still shining? Get out on the trails for a surprisingly well-lit trek! Read up on our favorite snowshoeing trails and get gliding into the Northern Michigan woods.