Best of Life In Michigan 2015

by | Dec 30, 2015 | Beer, Food, Hiking, Michigan, Music, Travel

Promoting Michigan one Story at a Time! Michigan Beer Enthusiasts. Outdoor Fanatics. Music Admirers. We put our motto to the test this year and in the process found a lot of “Good” in Michigan. We hope you enjoy this recap of our favorite Michigan memories or shall we say the Best of Life In Michigan 2015. We welcome suggestions for our 2016 Michigan adventures. Leave us a comment or send us an email.

Best of Life In Michigan

Winter 2015 – Best Memories

Big Bay, Snowshoe, and Dog Sledding in the U.P.

There wasn’t a shortage of snow during the Winter of 2015, which was just fine with us. I’d gotten new snowshoes for Christmas and wanted to test them out. While we were in the U.P. to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Marquette, we snowshoed along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, to the summit of Hog Back Mountain and Yellow Dog River Falls. Read the post for the full story.

Best of Life In Michgian 2015 - Yellow Dog River Snowshoe - U.P. Winter - 2014 - 15

Our 2015 Michigan Winter vacation in the U.P. included a trip to Big Bay. Bill Thompson from Down Wind Sports who suggested the Yellow Dog River snowshoe hike, mentioned that if you were driving to Yellow Dog River you might as well go to Big Bay for lunch and do a tour of where Anatomy of a Murder was based and filmed. A real hidden treasure in our stop at the Lumberjack Tavern was to learn about the “Big Bay Shuffle”. I could tell you the story, but I think it’s better to hear it from the original storyteller himself, Mr. Jeff Daniels, who apparently is some dude that sits in with the Ben Daniels Band.

Best of Life In Michgian 2015 - Lumberjack Tavern Big Bay - U.P. Winter - 2014 -2

When the a packet of papers arrived in the mail from Triple Creek Kennel for our Dog Sledding adventure I said, “Chuck what have you signed us up for?” I wasn’t really expecting a reply, but he said, “No worries, I have an adventure map so it will be fine.”

Also tucked into the packet was a flyer that provided the following warning: “Mushing is one of the most unique sports, exciting and invigorating of all Michigan outdoor activities. It offers the thrill of speed, the quiet of the forest, the challenge of threading a sled down a winding narrow timber path, and the excitement of the dog team in harness, barking in eagerness. The Musher will test your physical fitness in working with the dogs as they pull the sled up hills and over obstacles. Like all sports, the prepared participant will fare much better. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan can be a harsh and unforgiving environment. The key to enjoyment of the mushing experience centers around warm clothing.”

Best of Life In Michgian 2015 - Dog sledding Munising - U.P. Winter - 2014 - 22


Discovering Mudgies and Batch

We are probably the only people in Southeastern Michigan that didn’t know about Mudgie’s in the Corktown district of Detroit. They have been winning awards for best deli and sandwich for years; we just weren’t in the loop. We found this little gem at 1300 Porter St when we headed down for the soft opening of Batch Brewing. It is the first nano brewery in the area. It is basically a neighborhood brewery that cranks out small batches of beers for folks to enjoy. A place where you can get to know the brewer and the beer they make. Put Batch Brewing at the top of your beer adventure destinations. Read the post for the full story.

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Best of Life In Michgian 2015 - Batch Brewing - Detroit - 2015-11

HopCat moves into Detroit and Ann Arbor

We joined the crowd for the grand opening of HopCat Detroit. It is a bustling bar that celebrates good beer, good food, and music. The tribute to Detroit’s musical heritage covers the walls on both levels. The lower level features a great collection of paintings of local music icons from Iggy and Diana to Alice, John Lee and Stevie. The picture of Rockin Bob Seger over the bar from the Stranger in Chicago era is fantastic. It brings a whole lotta beer and a fine music venue to Midtown Detroit. Read the post for the full story.

Hopcat Detroit - 2015-9

We braved the freezing temperatures and swirling snow on Valentine’s Day to join hundreds of craft beer enthusiasts for the grand opening of Hopcat Ann Arbor. Chuck wanted free Crack Fries for a year, but we weren’t quite crazy enough to wait in line all night. Only the first 200 customers were awarded free Crack Fries for a year.

hopcat - ann arbor -17

Winter Beer Fest

Chuck arrived in Grand Rapids with a list of 47 beers sorted and organized by tent for the 10th Annual Michigan Brewers Guild 2015 Winter Beer Festival. The list was adorned with circles and stars to assist with prioritization. With more than a 1000 beers to choose from, Chuck’s list of 47 beers came in handy. Perhaps it was the magic of the wizard from One Well, the Big Dickicle from Arcadia or maybe it was just the beautiful day but we all had a great time! Read the post for the full story.

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Best of Life In Michgian 2015 - Winter Beer Festival - WBF15 - 2015-105

Spring 2015 – Best Memories

Gears, Beers, and Beards

In March, we journeyed to a land of steampunk, beards of all shapes and sizes, and found some damn fine beers at the Grand River Brewery in Jackson. Capitol Steam and the Jackson Beard & Mustache Club put on the second annual Gears, Beards, and Beers event at the Grand River Brewery. The event featured a vendor fair of steampunk related items, beard contests in just about every category imaginable, and a costume contest. The event was free, unless you wanted to enter the beard contest or buy a raffle ticket for prize baskets. All the proceeds from the contest and raffle went to Cascades Humane Society. Oh, and there was a great band called Raven Song playing some great Celtic music while embracing some cool steampunk costumes. Read the post for the full story.

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BoneHawk and Blue Snaggletooth take over Bell’s

A few of Chuck’s favorite bands performed at Bell’s Eccentric Café in Kalamazoo and we were there to witness the madness. Bonehawk bathed the crowd in the purifying thunder of glorious rock. Blue Snaggletooth unleashed the gods of tube amp heaven upon the masses. Evil Deauxerz played it dirty and loose with all the rough edges exposed to leave you with a nice cut. Read the post for the full story.


Best of Life In Michgian 2015 - Bonehawk-BellsEccentricCafe-Kalamazoo_MI-20150321-ChuckMarshall-009

Making a wish at One Well

The Wizard from One Well Brewing cast a spell over us during the Winter Beer Festival. It must have been a love spell as Chuck hasn’t stopped talking about One Well Brewing since. While we were in Kalamazoo for the Blue Snagglethooth show at Bell’s Eccentric Cafe we spent a few hours at One Well Brewing. A great brewery making great beer and providing a fun place to enjoy your beverage. Read the post for the full story.

Best of Life In Michgian 2015 - One Well Brewing - Kalamazoo - 2015-17
One Well Brewing - Kalamazoo - 2015-5

Our favorite restaurant – The Lunch Room

The Lunch Room is our favorite place to eat in Ann Arbor and I’m not the only one who thinks so. It was voted “Best Food Cart” in Current Magazine’s Reader’s Choice Awards in October 2012, in 2013 “Best New Restaurant” and in 2014 “Best New Business.” We eat there at least once a week, sometimes twice. (There may have been a week when we ate there three times but who’s counting.) We even have our favorite seats. We highly recommend this restaurant. Read the post for the full story.

Best of Life In Michgian 2015 - Lunch Room - Ann Arbor - 2015-15
Lunch Room - Ann Arbor - 2015-12

Spring City Beer Fest

The Beer City Springfest 2015 had it all- great Michigan craft beer, wine and spirits, giant Jenja, delicious food, swing dancers, opera singers, the Boss Mustangs, Trixy Tang, something called the Mash MayHem and an earthquake just to shake things up a bit! Read the post for the full story.

Beercity - Springfest - 2015-76
Boss Mustangs - Springfest 2015 - 2015-8

Flower Day at Eastern Market

Did you know Detroit’s Eastern Market is the largest open-air public Farmer’s Market in the country? And since 1967, the first day after Mother’s Day, is known as Detroit’s Eastern Market Flower Day? We went last year and all six market sheds overflowed with people, wagons, flowers, herbs, vegetable plants, music, fruit plants, babies, bicycles, shrubs, food and JOY. Read the post for the full story.

Detroit's Eastern Market Flower Day - 2015-26

Summer 2015 – Best Memories

Fuzz Fest

Celebrating all things rock, the second Fuzz Fest brought a diverse line-up of 33 bands who put on an incredible rock show for the fans in June at the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The festival is the creation of Chris Taylor with help from his friends Jeremy Wheeler (Bang! Media), Jef Porkins (bass for Scissor Now), and James Symons, who put together their love of music and plenty of sweat to provide a showcase for gritty fuzzy indie rock from Michigan. Read the post for the full story.

Fuzz Fest II - ZenBanditos-BlindPig-AnnArbor_MI-20150611-ChuckMarshall-008

Rock, Paper, Scissors

On Saturday, June 6th we found ourselves standing outside the Point Bar & Grill in Flint, Michigan practicing our technique for the Rock, Paper Scissors, Tournament. Our friend, Cowboy Doug (aka Hopman), invited us and promised it would be a good time. 51 North Brewery was doing a tap takeover, so the beer would be delicious. And it was a fundraiser. The reasons why we were practicing our Rock Paper Scissors technique were increasing. Read the post for the full story.

Best of Life In Michgian 2015 - Rock Paper Scissors - Knights of the Drinker's Templar - Point Bar - 2015-23

The Knights of the Drinking Templar and J.P. O’Sullivian organized the Rock Paper Scissors Tournament to raise money for the Eastern Michigan Food Bank the Carriage Town Ministries. Fun, drinking and raising money for a great cause, LifeInMichigan was in. You’ve never been to a Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament you say, well read our post to learn more.

Rock Paper Scissors - Knights of the Drinker's Templar - Point Bar - 2015-165

Summer Beer Fest

“Drink Michigan Beer!” they said, so along with hundreds of other Michigan Craft Beer Enthusiasts, we did exactly that during the Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti’s Riverside Park.

The Brewers Guild provided a magical atmosphere for Michigan craft beer enthusiasts to drink, frolic and experiment. Strolling performers captivated audiences, an exclusive play was performed by Scotty Karate, while the beer flowed and Dark Horse T-Shirts arched across the blue sky. Read the post for the full story.

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Highland Games

The St. Andrew’s Society of Detroit celebrates and supports all things Scottish in Michigan. The society was founded in 1849 and supports Scottish society in Michigan through charity and scholarships. This year marked the 166th Highland Games event put on by the society. They are held on the first Saturday in August at the Greenmead Historical Park in Livonia. Read the post for the full story.

Best of Life In Michgian 2015 - Highland Games - Livonia - 2015-87

Music at the Ann Arbor Summer Fest

We have always thought of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival as Top of the Park because when the festival started back in 1984, the main focus for us were the free movies on top of the parking garage at Fletcher street. While Top of the Park is no longer on top of the garage, it is still going strong with over 140 musical, theatre, comedy, and performance art events each year. Something of a new tradition for us has been to visit Top of the Park during the July 4th weekend for some music and beers with friends. Read the post for the full story.

Best of Life In Michgian 2015 - Ann Arbor Summer Festival - AbigailStauffer-TopOfThePark-AnnArbor_MI-20150704-ChuckMarshall-30
Ann Arbor Summer Festival - CaptainIvory-TopOfThePark-AnnArbor_MI-20150703-ChuckMarshall-003

DIYpsi Craft Show

Three reasons why the DIYpsi Indie Art Fair is the perfect shopping experience. First, it is at Arbor Brewing so you can drink delicious craft beer while chatting with artists. Second, all the crafts are handmade by local artists. And third, well because it was fun and it is in Ypsilanti and who doesn’t love saying I’m going to Ypsi for beer and art!

The DIYpsi Indie Art Fair has been a thing since 2010 and I finally went on Sunday, August 9th. Apparently Chuck snuck over without me one year because he claimed he’s gone to it before. Anyway, we went this year (together!) Read the post for the full story.

Best of Life In Michgian 2015 - DIYpsi Indie Art Fair

Michigan RenFest

Each summer the Michigan Renaissance Festival comes alive in the 16th century village of Holly Grove complete with knights & royalty; a time-machine with a twist of mischievous make-believe.

In late August, Chuck and I traveled to the RenFen, as the Michigan Renaissance Festival is affectionately referred, for the Highland Fling. We sampled craft beer with Professor MacLaddy, caught the Ded Bob Sho and cheered for the gallant knights in the Royal Joust. (And those are just the highlights!) The program has pages of entertainment options and artisans, so plan to spend the entire day. Food! OMG, I almost forgot to mention it. There is something for everyone. I’m not much of a turkey leg fan, but they are a tradition for most RenFen enthusiasts. Read the post for the full story.

Best of Life In Michgian 2015 - Michigan Renaissance Festival! 2015

Fall 2015 – Best Memories

U.P. Fall Beer Fest

This year the festival was the second weekend in September, which meant the trees were lightly touched with color. It was still warm and sunny on Saturday when we lined up with our friends for the 7th Annual Michigan Brewers Guild Beer Festival. Michigan’s upper peninsula is one our favorite places to re-charge our batteries so combining Marquette with Michigan craft beer is PURE Nirvana. I bet you thought I was going to say Pure Michigan. Well, it is that too. The slogans are interchangeable. Read the post for the full story.

Best of Life In Michgian 2015 - UP Fall Beer Fest 2015 - Marquette, MI

Aurora and sunset at the Fitz – Keweenaw Adventure

We tacked our Keweenaw Peninsula Adventure on to our trip to Marquette, Michigan for the 2015 UP Fall Michigan Beer Festival. The adventure’s primary focus was exploiting the delights of the Eagle River Inn and if the stars aligned, witness the Northern Lights. The Eagle River Inn is perched on the edge of the Lake Superior. You are inches away from the water’s edge. The sunsets are breathtaking, but the real show starts after the sun goes down. This is truly one of Michigan’s best kept secrets. Read the post for the full story.

Keweenaw - Eagle River Inn - Brickside - 2015-27
Best of Life In Michgian 2015 - Pictured Rocks - Munising - 2015-31

Kalamazoo Beer Passport Adventure

You won’t really need a Conestoga wagon to enjoy the Give a Craft Kalamazoo Beer Trail, but it might help to get a room downtown to fully enjoy the journey. At any of the local breweries, you can pick up this cool Give A Craft passport. The passport has a handy map of where to find the breweries. It also gives you details on each brewery including hours, contact information, favorite beers, and food options. With this handy guide, you are ready to tackle the trail. Read the post for the full story.

Best of Life In Michgian 2015 - Kalamazoo Give A Craft Beer Trail - 2015-21

Mushroom Houses in Charlevoix

The Mushroom Houses in Charlevoix are the work of Earl Young. Who, interestingly referred to himself first as a realtor. He built the “Hobbit” like homes beginning in the late 1930s and into the 1950s. Young is reported to have said, “I always build the roof first, and then shove the house under it.” I believe it. Check out the post for the full story.

Best of Life In Michgian 2015 - Charlevoix - Mushroom Houses - 2015-51
Charlevoix - Mushroom Houses - Lake Charlevoix Brewing - 2015-19

Detroit Fall Beer Fest

Detroit’s Eastern Market was the scene of the Michigan Brewers Guild 7th Annual Detroit Fall Beer Festival. 7th Annual Detroit Fall Beer Festival It boasted an all star line-up of over 80 breweries and more than 675 beers. All of the usual suspects were in attendance and even a few mysterious characters. Read the post for the full story.

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Detroit Fall Beer Fest - Usual Suspects - 2015 -271

Bluegrass at Chelsea Alehouse

In October, the Chelsea Alehouse served up a heaping helping of down home bluegrass music at the Jason Dennie and Mark Lavengood Bluegrass Bonanza. Not only does Chelsea Alehouse brew up some fine beers and make some tasty food, they also bring in outstanding musical talent ranging from folk to funk. Wednesday nights they invite some of the best bluegrass musicians to storm the stage. Read the post for the full story.

Best of Life In Michgian 2015 - Bluegrass Bonanza JasonDennieMarkLavengood-ChelseaAlehouse-Chelsea-MI-20151028-ChuckMarshall-029

Nina and the Buffalo Riders

We stumbled up on Nina and the Buffalo Riders almost a year ago at HopCat in Detroit when they opened for the Steepwater Band. They were outstanding. When I heard they had released an EP, I had to get it and write a review to share my thoughts on this great music.

The tragedy in this initial release from Nina and The Buffalo Riders is that there are only 5 songs. The beauty of this release is that each song is marvelous. This six-piece band from Detroit, Michigan reinvents rock that feels vital to the salvation of your soul. Each song courses with the love of the music being made by each member of the band. Please read the full review and see this band live!

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Learning to ferment at the Brinery

Finally, we learned the lost art of fermentation. The Brinery offers their Fermentation 101 class on the last Saturday of the month. It is fun and you’ll learn something useful, especially if we ever have a zombie apocalypse. You’ll be the person who actually knows how to preserve food. If you are already well versed in the ancient art of fermentation, they have advanced fermentation classes. Read the post for the full story.

Best of Life In Michgian 2015 - The Brinery - Fermentation 101-58

Annual 4 Elf Bonanza

Dark Horse rides again! The Dark Horse Annual 4 Elf Party was on Saturday, December 12, 2015, and it was a fantastic ride from start to finish. It was fast and furious ride to be sure. We arrived well after the beer sale had started, but quickly caught up.

The music at Dark Horse’s 4 Elf party is always outstanding and this year they upped the ante with some unforgettable acts. Diversity was the key as each band had their own unique take on music from minstrel folk to Viking rock. The sound and lights were great. Read the post for the full story.

Best of Life In Michgian 2015 - 4 Elf - Dark Horse - 2015-117

Happy New Year and Welcome 2016

Putting together the Best of Life In Michigan 2015 was a joy as we remembered all the great times we had around our state. There is a ton more to explore and plenty of great people to meet. Thank you all for reading and sharing our stories. As we mentioned at the top, if you have suggestions for places to visit or events to attend, send us an email or leave a comment.

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