Savor the season with some (early) holiday cheer! Whether your mood calls for delectable food-tasting, toasting with friends, waltzing the night away—or a little bit of all three—you’ll experience it all on these November vacations in Northern Michigan.
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Raise your glass
Home to 26 wineries and ample options for cozy lodging, the Leelanau Peninsula hits the spot for late-fall festive getaways. Two consecutive weekends—November 4–5, November 11–12—celebrate tasty holiday fare and delicious drink along the wine trail. Tickets to Toast the Season include featured wine and food pairing at 20+ wineries, souvenir wine glass and holiday gift. Special nondrinking/designated driver food tickets are available for $25. Book a stay at nearby Black Star Farms, where seasonally inspired local harvest dinners ($100/person) take place on designated dates throughout the fall, including the evening of November 11. Need space for a larger group? Stay in one of the two-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom historic Stone Schoolhouse condos in Suttons Bay, walking distance to hiking trails, shopping and restaurants.
Cut a rug
Experience a classy, old-fashioned dinner dance featuring the 16-piece band General Assembly at the historic, lakeside Portage Point Resort in Onekama. The banquet room’s spacious hardwood dance floor will be ready November 4 for dancing—or simply sitting back and enjoying the sweet sounds. (Dinner at 6:30 p.m., dancing 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., $140/couple.) Special lodging packages at this 114-year-old resort also are available, starting at $240/couple.
Blast some calories (and sip a few)
Who says you can’t mix exercise and imbibing—safely, of course. The third annual Great Beerd Run on Saturday, November 11, is an untimed fun 5K at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa near Traverse City. Yep, it celebrates Michigan beer and beards. On-course beer tastings (small samples each mile) come from Beards Brewery in Petoskey, Short’s Brewing in Bellaire and Traverse City’s Right Brain Brewery. A post-race beer tent features a “best beard” contest, race grub and music. Participants in this festive run are gifted a knitted beard beanie, bottle opener/race medal, three beer samples and one free post-race brew with registration. Great Beerd Run room specials are available at the resort (231.534.6000, mention code beer2017).
Break bread with friends
Looking for that perfect recipe to roll out over the holidays? Find inspiration during Charlevoix’s Restaurant Week, November 12–18. Local participating eateries will serve up a unique menu for the week in addition to their regular lineup of dishes. Plan your culinary adventure by visiting Charlevoix Main Street, which lists restaurant menus. Charlevoix also hosts a weekly farmers market, which moves to the public library during November. Book a stay with Northern Michigan Escapes, which offers vacation properties overlooking Round Lake, Lake Charlevoix and Lake Michigan.
Celebrate in style
Ready to really dive into the holiday season? Visit downtown Manistee November 30–December 3 for the town’s annual Victorian Sleighbell Parade & Old Christmas Weekend. Festivities include the Victorian Sleighbell Parade with horse-drawn entries, bagpipers, reindeer meet-and-greet and carolers elegantly dressed in Victorian-style attire. Parade highlights: draft horses pulling a 30-foot Christmas tree down River Street followed by fireworks. Also find a festival of trees, A Christmas Story at the Historic Ramsdell Theatre and guided tours of the historic 1894 Lumber Baron Mansion, which now houses the Dempsey Manor Bed and Breakfast Inn and Victorian Tea Room. Stay just five blocks from Lake Michigan, at the Arcadia House Bed & Breakfast. In nearby Bear Lake, don’t miss the beautifully renovated and appointed Bear Lake Bed and Breakfast.
Traverse travel editor Heather Johnson Durocher writes from Traverse City. [email protected]