From a snowshoe adventure in Northport to must-try fondue at a fabulous Traverse City restaurant, here’s what our MyNorth Media and Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine editors are obsessed with this December.

This is a web original article from the team at MyNorth Media and Traverse Northern Michigan. Want to read recent print stories? View our print subscription and digital subscription options and have Traverse delivered to your door or inbox each month.

Allison Jarrell’s December Pick

Indulge in Juniper Spice Sugar Scrub // This body scrub, crafted by Cedar Shore Soaps in Cedarville, smells like Christmas in a jar, thanks to a batch of hyperlocal ingredients: leftover gin aromatics—juniper berries, orange peel, cinnamon and coriander—from Les Cheneaux Distillers. Beyond the warm, wintry aroma, this scrub is swoon-worthy because it leaves your skin buttery soft, even after a day out in the elements. If you’re in the area, drop by Applecore General Store and grab a tub to gift (or indulge in yourself). If you’re not passing through Cedarville anytime soon, place an order online.

Photo by Allison Jarrell

Cara McDonald’s December Picks

Book a Weekend Getaway in Canada // I’m dreaming of a trip to Sault Ste. Marie, Canada, to do two of my favorite things at the same time: Ice skating and wandering the woods in winter, a.k.a. “forest skating.” The Crimson Ridge iced-over skating trail meanders through the wooded area at Crimson Ridge’s 15th hole, and you can also Nordic ski or fat bike on site.

Get Baking // Cold weather gets me in a baking mood. When I scored an antique cast iron skillet at The Granary in Williamsburg, it was with this recipe in mind: Half-Baked Harvest’s Apple Pandowdy. Honeycrisp apples hit the skillet in a buttery, brown-sugar cinnamon sauce, then are topped with puffed pastry and finished off in the oven. For an over-the-top serving touch? Add Moomer’s cinnamon ice cream. My next attempt is to take the same recipe and try it as a cobbler.

Lissa Edwards’ December Pick

Dig into Mama’s Meatballs in Frankfort // My new fave dreamy snowy evening pastime is bellying up to the bar at Vita Bella Italian Kitchen & Market in Frankfort for authentic Italian cuisine served up in an intimate atmosphere. Trust me, there’s not a loser on this menu, but don’t miss the Homemade Burrata and Mama’s Meatballs!

Photo by Lissa Edwards

Photo by Lissa Edwards

Carly Simpson’s December Pick

Listen to “Homage to the Northwoods” // Pianist Julie Chapman just released her latest original solo album, “Homage to the Northwoods.” The music was inspired by and composed at her Upper Peninsula home in Watersmeet. I especially love “Gavia Immer,” which is the scientific name for the common loon and pays homage to the bird’s distinct calls. Julie serves on the board for the DNR’s Michigan Loon Preservation Association.

Emily Tyra’s December Picks

Order the Fondue // For a true treat-yourself snack for the season: Chef Dallas Dziedzic at The Burrow in Traverse City created an irresistible French Onion Fondue with inspiration from restaurant owners Adrienne Brunette and John Larson. Brunette says the two enjoyed a similar dish in Chicago around Christmastime, and wanted to delight us all with a version made with Northern Michigan-style raclette from Leelanau Cheese. The fondue comes to the table gently bubbling in its own cast iron skillet—a cozy blanket of melted cheese over tender caramelized onions. It’s a delicious little gift.

Photo by Brad Smith

Another fondue-happy heads up for locals // Head to Glen Arbor Wines for the kickoff of the wine bar’s Holiday Mini Market with the work of Glen Arbor artisans and crafters. The mini market runs through Saturday, December 17, which is Shop & Sweets Saturday in all of Glen Arbor. Glen Arbor Wines promises to roll out the chocolate fondue for the occasion.

Photo by Glen Arbor Wines

Rachel Soulliere’s December Picks

Brunch & Hike in Northport // Grab your hiking boots (or if it’s snowy enough…snowshoes!) and head to Northport. Make your first stop New Bohemian Café for a delicious breakfast sandwich (I love the hot ham and Swiss croissant with an Arnold Palmer, and my husband can’t resist the breakfast burrito with a mocha!) and then head to Lighthouse West Natural Area and explore to your hearts desire. After your adventure, it’s time to warm up. Head down M-22 to Suttons Bay and stop for a warm cup of coffee at Northern Latitudes Distillery’s new tasting room or head to Premonitions Pizza & Arcade for a cup of soup (they only have soup in the winter, so don’t miss it!) and some indoor arcade games.

@rlsoulliere A Sunday in Northport ❄️✨ Breakfast at New Bohemian Cafè and snowshoeing at West Natural Area. #Michigan #NorthernMichigan #Snowshoe #MichiganTravel ♬ Dance, Baby! - boy pablo

Carly Simpson + Allison Jarrell Are Loving …

The Good Vibes at Rough Pony in Traverse City // Come for the delish drinks and food; stay for the cozy-cool décor. Rough Pony owner Becky Tranchell has opened a true gem in the Warehouse MRKT. Check out the café’s winter specials like a peppermint mocha and cranberry orange spritz. Personally, we’re loving the Shakerato with cardamom syrup—a wee-sized pick-me-up blanketed with foam—and the Bougie Toast loaded with avocado and a jammy egg.

Photo by Allison Jarrell

Photo(s) by Brad Smith