If you haven’t heard, I’m having a long-term love affair with Michigan! I love everything about the Great Lakes State – the two (+) peninsulas, four seasons and 83 counties. I love the people, places and products that are made here. I love the stories and songs. I love the history and the opportunities for the future.
To celebrate the month of Valentine’s Day, it is fitting to share some of the romantic get-aways, restaurants and attractions that I think you’ll LOVE to explore (this month and beyond). What do you LOVE about Michigan? Share your favorite love story, here: www.facebook.com/promotemichigan2.
Romantic Get-Aways (Listed in alphabetical order)…
1. Amway Grand Plaza Hotel – Grand Rapids: Timeless and classic, West Michigan’s largest hotel has been welcoming couples since it opened at the Pantlind Hotel in 1913. The rooms in the historic hotel evoke old-world charm, while the tower offers a more modern feel.
2. A Night to Remember B&B – Lexington: Unlike the 1958 movie (about the sinking of the Titanic) this quaint inn is just a stone’s throw from the shores of Lake Huron.
3. Bay Pointe Inn – Shelbyville: Tucked along the shores of Gun Lake, this quaint 38-room inn is perfect for a quiet escape. Enjoy dinner in the Terrace Grille, relax in the indoor pool and settle into the cottage-like rooms (many with in-room Jacuzzi tubs and fireplaces) for well-deserved rest and relaxation.
4. Big Bay Point Lighthouse B&B – Big Bay: Enjoy a rare opportunity to spend the night in one of Michigan’s historic lighthouses, situated along the shores of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
5. Black Star Farms Winery B&B – Suttons Bay: Noted for what I consider the soft sheets I’ve ever slept on…as well as nightly “happy hour” in the library and a gourmet breakfast. Enjoy a walk (or snowshoe hike) through the snow-covered vineyards and then warm up later in front of the fireplace!
6. Cobblestone Manor – Auburn Hills: Splurge on the “Presidential Suite” with its four-poster, draped king-size bed; relax in front of the fireplace in the adjoining library; or indulge in the all-granite bathroom with huge garden whirlpool tub or mammoth shower.
7. Cocoa Cottage – Montague: How sweet it is. How can you not love staying at an inn named after one of the most noted aphrodisiacs?
8. Garland Resort – Williamston: Snuggle in at the longest log cabin resort this side of the Mississippi, then check out the “Gourmet Glide” culinary cross country ski event.
9. The Harbor Grand – New Buffalo: You can’t go wrong with the Ben & Jerry’s 24-Hour Ice Cream Urge Satisfaction (delivered any time, day or night) or the Breakfast in Bed! Cuddle up in your in-room robe, next to the fireplace and relax!
10. Shoreline Terrace Inn – Muskegon: Each of the 140 guests rooms here boast an array of fine antiques and accessories, making it a cozy home-away-from-home. Request a corner\ room, to enhance your views throughout the downtown area and the adjacent harbor.
11. Stafford’s Bay View Inn – Petoskey: Step back in time at this elegant inn, located just steps from the frozen shoreline of Little Traverse Bay. A variety of packages are available, including horse-drawn wagon rides through historic Bay View.
12. Webster House – Bay City: This 1886 historic inn offers a variety of luxurious packages – featuring locally-made chocolates, candles, romantic music, in-room breakfast, a wine and cheese reception and couples side-by-side massages in the new spa/sauna room.
13. Westin Book Cadillac – Detroit: Classic, legendary, glamorous. Originally built in 1924, this Italian-Renaissance-style hotel is listed with the National Register of Historic Places. With more than 450 rooms (and 35 suites), many with sweeping views of the Detroit River and downtown skyline, a stay here is quite the experience. Be sure to make time for dinner at the world-class Michael Symon’s Roast restaurant.
Romantic Restaurants (Listed in alphabetical order)…
1. Café Cortina – Farmington Hills: Love is in the air at this authentic Italian eatery – dubbed one of Metro Detroit’s Best Kept Secrets. It’s said that many couples get engaged, hold their wedding reception and celebrate their anniversaries here, making it a long-standing family tradition!
2. Cliff Bells – Detroit: Step back in time to the 1920s, when flappers and gangsters ruled the city. Dress to the nines and make a night of it! With its rich wood tones, red accents and a passion for days gone by, this historic restaurant is not to be missed!
3. Coach Insignia – Detroit: Dubbed “Simply Magical,” this contemporary steak house offers breathtaking views from the top of the GM Renaissance Center. Featuring elegantly-delicious cuisine and a world-class wine list (one of Michigan’s largest), this award-winning restaurant is a highlight of the Motor City.
4. Cygnus 27 – Grand Rapids: Perched atop the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, this restaurant affords one of the best views in Michigan and a world-class menu!
5. The Lark – West Bloomfield : This award-winning country inn evokes a sophisticated European-style like no other, with rich terra cotta walls and Portuguese tile murals. The eclectic and distinctive menu showcases the finest in French cuisine. Choose from both fixed-price and a la carte dinners, Tuesday through Saturday.
6. Maru – Grand Rapids: There’s something romantic about sharing sushi – the fresh flavors, colors and presentation make it an experience more than a meal.
7. Rowe Inn – Ellsworth: Superior fine dining with a local flare – with many items sourced locally. Much like a traditional French country inn, the menu changes with the seasons. Tucked away in Northern Michigan, this intimate eatery also offers up impressively extensive wine list.
8. Toasted Oak – Novi: In my world, pork products (especially bacon) are an aphrodisiac! When it comes to premier locally-sourced, cured, aged and crafted foods and beverages, this eatery hails among the best of the best.
9. Table Restaurant – Midland: Located inside The H Hotel, this upscale, fine-dining establishment delivers a diverse menu and extensive wine list, all in a classic setting.
10. Tabor Hill Winery & Restaurant – Buchanan: Vineyard views provide a picturesque backdrop for a quiet dinner for two. Fine cuisine, paired with award-winning wines, make this a top eatery for culinary enthusiasts.
11. Terry’s – Charlevoix: My one and only visit here was about 10 years ago, but it still stands out in my memory for the fine whitefish grenobois, wine and cozy, romantic setting.
12. Trattoria Stella – Traverse City: Housed in The Village at Grand Traverse Commons (formerly the Northern Michigan Asylum) this traditional Italian restaurant is home to James Beard nominated Chef Miles Anton.
13. Webster’s Prime (inside the Radisson Plaza Hotel), Kalamazoo: This is what dining was like “back in the day” when people dressed for dinner, sat at white linen covered tables, listened to the tunes on the piano and absorbed the atmosphere of the rich wooded dining room. Ambiance, impeccable service and elegant fare make this a top choice for couples!
Romantic Activities & Events
1. Chill out at the Magical Ice Festival in St. Joseph (Feb 8-10).
2. Feel like a kid again at the Rick Springfield Concert at The Whiting in Flint (Feb 9).
3. How sweet it is! The Chelsea 5th Annual Chocolate Extravaganza (Feb 9).
4. Head out for an evening of fun – during the Cross Country Ski by Lantern Light (Feb 9) or Guided Snowshoe Hike (Feb 16) at Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling.
5. A classic comes to the stage – with Romeo & Juliet at Midland Center for the Arts (Feb 14-24).
6. All aboard for the “Love ‘em or Leave ‘em Valentine’s Day Train Excursion” aboard the Steam Railroading Institute in Owosso.
7. An annual celebration – it’s Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula’s Romancing the Riesling in Traverse City (Feb 16).
8. Settle in under a cozy blanket for a horse-drawn carriage ride with Classic Carriages in downtown Grand Rapids.
9. Many of the destinations spas around the state offer side-by-side couples treatments – including the JW Marriott in downtown Grand Rapids; the “duet spa” at The Homestead Resort in Glen Arbor; Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort in Mount Pleasant; and the Inn at Bay Harbor in Bay Harbor, among others.
10. Make Your Own Beer – Saugatuck Brewing. You can create your own distinct style of beer, with your own specific label, for a souvenir to enjoy for weeks to come!
11. Lace up your skates and hit the ice, with the stars and moon above, at The Rink at Campus Martius Park in downtown Detroit.
12. Take Dance Lessons at Arthur Murray’s in Grand Rapids, then hit the town and dance ‘til dawn!
13. Heat things up with one of the many cooking programs around the state – Munro House B&B in Jonesville, Chateau Chantal in Traverse City, Food Dance in Kalamazoo, Salt of the Earth in Fennville, Bekins Cooking School with Sue Chef in Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor Cooks in Ann Arbor and Simply Good Kitchen in Birmingham. For something extra sweet, try the “Chocolate School” at Grocer’s Daughter in Empire!