40 Northern Michigan Events to Experience in February

Romance is in the air this month and the North is bustling with exciting, intimate and unique experiences. From shipwreck adventures to upbeat dance classes and Valentine’s Day dinners with a twist, there’s a Northern Michigan event in February just for you. 

MET OPERA LIVE IN HD: THE GERSHWIN’S PORGY & BESS | February 1

The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess returns to the Met for the first time since 1990, in a new production directed by James Robinson in his company debut. America’s “folk opera,” as the 1935 creators described it, tells the story of disabled beggar Porgy, sung by Eric Owens, and his love for the drug-addicted Bess, portrayed by Angel Blue. See the show live in HD at The Ramsdell in Manistee. 

WEEKEND DINNERS AT THE INN | Saturdays in February

Enjoy an intimate three-course dining experience at the beautiful Inn at Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay. The culinary team, winner of the Best Classic Food & Wine Pairing at the Grand Rapids International Wine, Beer & Food Festival, has created a special prix fixe menu to accompany Black Star’s wines. To preview the menu, click here.

CABIN FEVER WITH THE EASY PICKS, NATHAN TOWNE & THE CTAC GARAGE BAND | February 1

Beat the winter blues listening to the hot sounds of Northern Michigan musicians The Easy Picks, guitarist Nathan Towne and the CTAC Garage Band. The Easy Picks draws from great country songs across the eras, always keeping a focus on rich storytelling and catchy songwriting. Sought after for his versatility as a musician, Nathan Towne is as comfortable in a hard rock band as he is in a jazz ensemble. Catch the performance at Crooked Tree Arts Center in Petoskey. 

BLACK STAR FARMS PREMIUM WINE & CHEESE TASTING | Mondays & Fridays in February

Looking for an elevated wine tasting experience that is more relaxed and catered to you? Join Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay for a guided table service tasting including six wines chosen to compliment your palate, along with a souvenir glass and an artisan cheese board with house-made crackers, spicy nut mix and chocolate. Sit back and relax as you sip, nibble and excite your senses.

WINTER WINE WALK | February 1

Venture to the beautiful Otsego Resort in Gaylord to join a snowshoe wine tour. Starting at the River Cabin, trek in and around the resort to the Beaver Dam and back to reward yourself with some tasty treats.

LEVEL 1: INTRODUCTION TO IMPROVISATION | February 3 & 10

Improvisation fosters innovation, communication, relationship-building and storytelling. This four-week course at Copper Ridge in Traverse City teaches the fundamentals of improvisational theater through fun games and exercises. For more details, see the Facebook event here.

LIVE IN THE YURT: AFTER OURS | February 7

After Ours is a self-described “head-nod-jazz” duo from South Bend, Indiana, comprised of Eli Kahn and Arthur Schroeder with a unique approach to improvisation and dynamic range. Having worked together for more than nine years as the rhythm section in different groups, the two musicians have developed a tight chemistry that translates to their original music and interpretations of contemporary tunes. See the duo live at The Little Fleet in Traverse City. 

2020 FIFTH ANNUAL STOUT CHALLENGE | February 7
 

The Stout Challenge is a local competition between 12 Traverse City area breweries. Each brewery will produce their best stout and submit it for the event, held at The Little Fleet in Traverse City. Guests judge the brews and vote for their favorite after a blind tasting. The winning brewery will take home a trophy and the privilege of saying their brewery has “The Best Stout in the Traverse City area!”

WINE & CHOCOLATE TASTING | February 8

For the love of chocolate. Join Grocer’s Daughter Chocolates in Empire for a wine and chocolate sampling party, featuring Brys Estate reserve vintages and chocolate confections made by the in-house pastry chef. Red wine with chocolate is a classic, but there are so many more pairings to try!

HERBAL APHRODISIACS WITH BEAR EARTH HERBALS | February 8

Explore your senses and find a new lust for life with aphrodisiac herbs. Aphrodisiacs are mood elevating, life enhancing, energy circulating herbs that help us enjoy the sensual side of life and open our hearts to giving and receiving love. Many of these herbs are tasty and fun to work with. Sample herbs and learn how to use them at Twisted Fish Gallery in Elk Rapids. 

HELL ON HEELS PRESENTS HEARTS OF GLASS | February 8

Drag Queens have been a huge part of our culture for decades; let Red Sky Stage show you why! The theme of the February 2020 edition of this lip-syncing, dancing and singing adventure will be Hearts of Glass. It is guaranteed to be filled with loads of comedy and just the right amount of crassness. 

ATWATER BREWERY FOOD & FLIGHTS | February 8

Atwater Brewery has teamed up with the culinary team at Otsego Resort in Gaylord to host a beer pairing dinner. The four-course meal includes lobster mac n’ cheese, blackened bacon-wrapped shrimp, elk meatloaf and a chocolate almond brownie. 

TASTE THE PASSION | February 8 & 9

Winter is here and there’s “snow” much fun to be had along the Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail. Gather your friends and embark on an adventure of snow-covered vineyards bursting with sweet and savory bites paired with amazing wines. Whether you’re hand-in-hand with your valentine or traversing the trail with your gal pals, it’s sure to be unforgettable.

LIVE IN THE YURT: MICHAEL BEAUCHAMP-COHEN AND SAMANTHA COOPER | February 9

Michael Beauchamp-Cohen is a Michigan songwriter, musician and performer best known for his decade-plus collaboration with Laurel Premo in the Old-Time Roots, New Time Sounds duo Red Tail Ring. Beauchamp-Cohen writes lyrically dense, unconventional folk songs that explore personal subjects. Rounding out the night, Sam Cooper is a music teacher, a songwriter and a facilitator. Sam is currently finishing an album made possible with support from the Kalamazoo Arts Council. See them at The Little Fleet in Traverse City.

L. MAWBY SPARKLING WINES DINNER | February 11

Join The Cooks’ House in Traverse City for its annual pre-Valentine’s Day sparkling wine dinner. The five-course meal will be paired with Mawby’s famous bubbles.

VALENTINE’S FEAST | February 13

Palette Bistro in Petoskey is offering a five-course menu boasting oysters on the half-shell with sparkling rose mignonette, a smoked duck salad, linguine with shrimp, tomatoes and spinach, chicken cordon bleu and chocolate-covered strawberries. View the wine pairings. 

VALENTINE’S DAY DINNER & DRINKS FOR TWO | February 14

Surprise your loved one with a Valentine’s Day package at 123 Speakeasy in Traverse City. Treat yourselves to an intimate setting, an elegant three-course dinner, a champagne toast and five-star service with this fresh take on the traditional dinner for two. Step up the romance by making it a surprise, customizing with your own personalized password and a photo strip as a memento of your evening.

BLACK STAR FARMS VALENTINE’S HARVEST DINNER | February 14

Treat your sweetheart to a special Valentine’s themed dinner at Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay. These wine-paired culinary experiences are inspired by the best local, seasonal ingredients sourced from Northern Michigan’s finest farms.

VALENTINE’S DAY DANCE WITH THE KIOGIMAS | February 14

Mel and Nancy Kiogima, founders of Night Moves Social Dance, are bringing their love of dance to the Music House Museum in Williamsburg. The evening will begin with a dance lesson and then guests can dance the evening away. While it is fun to come as a couple, no partners are needed as there will be plenty of people to dance with!

THE INSIDERS: A TOM PETTY TRIBUTE BAND | February 14

Close your eyes and you won’t know the difference; open them and you still might be fooled. The Insiders present the premier Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers experience. The Old Art Building in Leland will be set up café-style and ticket purchases include a special Valentine’s Day treat.

SINGING VALENTINES FROM THE CHERRY CAPITAL MEN’S CHORUS | February 14

Have a barbershop quartet from the Cherry Capital Men’s Chorus deliver your wishes of admiration, love or just fun! The price includes two songs sung by the quartet, a long-stemmed rose, a card with your special message and the opportunity to have someone memorialize the delivery by taking a photo or video.

DUSTIN OLSON, COUNTRY SINGER/SONGWRITER | February 14

Originally from a small town in Northern Illinois, Dustin Olson has called Nashville his home ever since 2016. Armed with his own style, a cross between Steve Earle and Eric Church, Dustin has played all over Nashville and has toured nationally. Dustin’s next single, “Memories We Don’t Make,” is set to release on March 1. See him live at Red Sky Stage in Bay Harbor. 

VALENTINE’S DAY SIPS ‘N GIGGLES COMEDY SHOW FEATURING STEVE IOTT | February 14

Steve Iott is an embattled veteran comic who has seen it all and has plenty to say about it. A master of improvisation, Steve takes the audience along as he spins his tales of ridiculous life experiences. No topic is safe and no two shows are ever the same. See him at West Bay Beach Resort in Traverse City.

LIVE IN THE YURT: OLIVIA MILLERSCHIN | February 15

At 24 years old, singer-songwriter Olivia Millerschin has composed and released two full-length albums. Playing ukulele, piano and guitar, with a killer band behind her, Millerschin headlines national tours and opens for established artists. Olivia’s warm personality makes her audience feel right at home whether performing at a local coffee shop or Radio City Music Hall. The Little Fleet in Traverse City hosts. 

RIVER CABIN DINNER | February 15

Experience an enchanting evening with family and friends at Otsego Resort’s River Cabin in Gaylord. The private chef-prepared dinner includes loaded potato soup, honey bourbon sweet potato mash, cheesecake and more. 

JIMMY GRANT TRIO TRADITIONAL AND CONTEMPORARY GYPSY JAZZ | February 15

Native to Northern California, guitarist Jimmy Grant grew up in a household full of rich musical influences, however, from a young age he gravitated toward the jazz of Django Reinhardt. The Jimmy Grant Trio performs primarily in the style of Django, infusing swing era pieces, Hungarian, Balkan and traditional Gypsy tunes with the jazz guitar pioneer’s crunchy rhythms and hot harmonies. Jimmy will be at Red Sky Stage in Bay Harbor. 

WHISKEY & WINE: VALENTINE’S EDITION | February 15

Whiskey and wine, will you be mine? This Valentine’s tour is the best of both barrels, with an exclusive tasting experience at Traverse City Whiskey Co., Left Foot Charley and Rove Estate. It may be cold outside, but we promise you will stay nice and warm on this adventure!

CONIFER POP-UP | February 17

Two brothers cooking regional Northwestern Michigan food, popping up wherever they can. Conifer is currently a pop-up restaurant looking for a permanent brick-and-mortar space, while maintaining their focus on seasonal Northwestern Michigan food done simply but refined. Come join them at The Cooks’ House for an evening and let them treat you.

COLORING BETWEEN THE WINES | February 19

Grab a friend and unwind after a long day at work at 123 Speakeasy in Traverse City. Escape the chill of winter and cozy up with some wine or bubbly and a good coloring book. 123 Speakeasy will provide the food, drinks, coloring supplies and a frame for your art; local artist Mikayla Lehn will guide you through your art project and help you frame your art to take home. You bring your creativity, appetite and humor!

EXPLORING THE W.C. KIMBALL, A MANITOU MYSTERIES SHIPWRECK ADVENTURE | February 19

Journey to the waters of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Northern Lake Michigan and join author and shipwreck hunter Ross Richardson in exploring the history and mysteries of the Manitou Passage, one of the deadliest areas on the Great Lakes. Learn the wrecks’ stories and explore a newly discovered mystery schooner thought to be one of the most intact shipwrecks on the planet.

A HUNTER’S FEAST | February 20

Winter is here but you can warm up this February at The Franklin in Traverse City. A four-course meal comprised of sophisticated comfort food is sure to have guests feeling right at home, and a feast wouldn’t be called a feast without braised rabbit with mustard cream sauce and smoked wild boar ribs.

MAMMA MIA! | February 21–23, 28–29

ABBA’s hits tell the hilarious story of a young woman’s search for her birth father. This sunny and funny tale unfolds on a Greek island paradise. The storytelling magic of ABBA’s timeless songs propels this enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship, creating an unforgettable show. A large cast, non-stop laughs and explosive dance numbers combine to make Mamma Mia. Catch a show at West Shore Community College in Scottville.

ADVENTURES IN ACRYLICS WITH CHARLES MURPHY | February 22

Spend a Saturday working with professional artist, illustrator and award-winning art educator Charles R. Murphy at Twisted Fish Gallery in Elk Rapids. In this day-long workshop, that includes lunch, you will explore creative techniques using acrylic paints.

EMILEE PETERSMARK | February 22

Emilee Petersmark has been a member of the beloved Grand Rapids band The Crane Wives for nearly a decade now. But she also has an ever-growing collection of songs that just didn’t fit the band, that felt too personal or small for the Wives’ ever-growing sound. Gopherwoods Concerts is excited to welcome her to its stage in Cadillac.

GRAND TRAVERSE GUNS AND HOSES 7TH ANNUAL BENEFIT HOCKEY GAME | February 22

Please consider joining us for a night of fun for a great cause! The Grand Traverse Guns and Hoses board has selected the Kelly Rice family as its 2020 beneficiary. Kelly was shocked with the diagnosis of stage 4 Adenocarcinoma Lung Cancer, and this is our time to shine for her. The night will begin with a silent auction, pre-game warm-up including a public safety honor guard and National Anthem, team introductions and family introduction, followed by a chuck-a-puck event, 50/50 raffle, shootout contest and more.

WILD GAME DINNER | February 22

This memorable evening will be spent at the Pontresina at Otsego Resort in Gaylord, with views of the Sturgeon River Valley. The menu features a quinoa arugula and goat cheese salad, wild leek and forest mushroom bisque, pan-seared crispy duck breast, bourbon glazed carrots and a caramel apple tart tatin.

NMC CHOIR’S WINTER CONCERT | February 23

This wonderful afternoon of choral music features the NMC Children’s Choirs, NMC Chamber Singers and Grand Traverse Chorale, directed by Jeffrey Cobb, Stephanie Schall-Brazee, Ashley Larimer-Kelly, Joanna Aldridge and Todd Vipond. Held at the Lars Hockstad Auditorium in Traverse City.

TREAT YO’ SELF: LADIES’ NIGHT | February 27

In the dead of winter, it’s tough to motivate yourself to go out into the cold. Grab your girls and spend an evening IN at 123 Speakeasy in Traverse City. With chair massages by Sacred Waters Massage, henna by Corrie Dewey, custom sea glass jewelry by Zanpa Sea Glass, tarot card readings by Tara Pobuda, a 30-minute Burlesque dance tutorial by Amira Hamzar, make-up consultations by Marissa Griffore of A&M Beauty Professionals LLC and much more, there is an entire evening’s worth of fun in one spot.

NMC CONCERT BAND AND GRAND TRAVERSE CHORALE | February 28

Enjoy an evening of music featuring the NMC Concert Band directed by Pat Brumbaugh and the NMC Grand Traverse Chorale directed by Jeffrey Cobb at Milliken Auditorium in Traverse City.

MET OPERA LIVE IN HD: AGRIPPINA (HANDEL) | February 29

As the imperious title empress, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato leads the Met premiere of Handel’s tale of deception and deceit. Harry Bicket conducts Sir David McVicar’s wry new production, which gives this Baroque black comedy a politically charged, modern update. See the opera live in HD at The Ramsdell in Manistee.