February is the time for romance.
But not everyone has the same tastes. Of course, everyone knows about places like The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. But Hour Detroit staff and contributors decided to pick a few of their favorite, lesser-known spots around the state. Enjoy!
1Bay View’s Hidden Gem
The Terrace Inn, 1549 Glendale Ave., Petoskey; 800-530-9898. theterraceinn.com
Petoskey area visitors are more than likely familiar with all the area has to offer. From shopping in downtown’s Gaslight District to year-round activities of skiing, boating, and world-class golf, there’s plenty to do.
You can even hoist an adult beverage at Ernest Hemingway’s old haunt, the City Park Grill — which inspired Short’s Brewing Co.’s Hangin’ Frank Pale Ale (now bottled as “Controversi-ALE” when the general public didn’t quite get it).
But off the main drag just north of the city, there’s the Bay View Association. And tucked among the seasonal community’s 400 or so Victorian cottages is The Terrace Inn and 1911 Restaurant.
Bay View is particularly quiet in the winter; cottage owners — some in their third or fourth generations — are only able to reside there May through October.
Bay View was founded in 1875 by Michigan Methodists as a Chautauqua series camp — a place “for intellectual and scientific culture and the promotion of the cause of religion and morality.” An early “tent city” gradually transformed into a resort community.
The Terrace Inn opened in 1911. It has 37 rooms, ranging from the cozy “cottage” for $74 during the off-season to $189 for a suite on peak season weekends. The 1911 Restaurant’s hours vary — usually only open weekends during the fall and winter.
In winter, cross-country ski right out the front door, or head up to nearby Petoskey State Park for some more challenging hilly trails. There are special packages and events year-round. Think New Year’s Eve with a sleigh ride, a Winter Yoga Retreat, or Valentine’s package in February, and you get the picture. There are elopement weekends, martini/massage combos, and more.
In summer, the inn hosts a different artist each week, and the Bay View Association’s concert series — June through October — is just a walk in the neighborhood away.
Downtown Petoskey, on the shores of Little Traverse Bay, has nearly 200 unique shops and fine restaurants in the Gaslight District. And the nearby Crooked Tree Art Center has numerous events, including juried photography shows and a “Detroit Redux” show starting in June. Some 20 artists will represent the art scene in Detroit in metal, paint, clay, textiles, graphite, print, videography, digital imagery, and mixed media. — Steve Wilke
2Romancing Saginaw? For Sure!
Montague Inn, 1581 S. Washington Ave., Saginaw; 989-752-3939. montagueinn.com
Looking for a getaway but are pressed for time? Consider getting off I-75 and exploring Saginaw. There’s a charming Georgian-style bed and breakfast called Montague Inn that’s nothing like you might expect if you buy into the city’s reputation as an aging industrial center. Set on 8 acres on Lake Linton, it’s a relaxing and quiet getaway. Rooms start at under $100 a night.
And it’s not just for breakfast. There’s an “elegant dining” option at the inn’s restaurant — with surf and turf, fillet, chicken, salmon, and vegetarian lasagna. They also host weddings and other events, so call ahead to make sure it’s not booked solid.
If you’re looking for other things to do while in the area, Frankenmuth is just minutes away, as well as shopping at the Birch Run outlets. But once you’re at the Montague, other attractions are within walking distance.
Consider a visit to the Japanese Cultural Center, Tea House, and Gardens of Saginaw. It features a 3-acre garden that stretches to the shore of Lake Linton. Take a relaxing walk among weeping cherry trees, stone lanterns, and bamboo gates. You can explore the gardens for free, or take a $3 docent-led tour to learn about the tea ceremony (and sip some, as well) and how hand tools were used to construct the sukiya (rustic) structure.
Also nearby is the historic Hoyt Park for biking, running, or walking. In the winter, there’s an outdoor ice rink with a warming house, hot chocolate, and skate rentals. There’s also The Children’s Zoo at Celebration Square — home to more than 70 different animal species. — Steve Wilke
3A Downtown ‘Stay-Cation’
Email email@example.com for information or reservations.
Picture this: You’ve just shared an incredible dinner at Slows BBQ with a special someone (or a few craft cocktails at the nearby Sugar House) and then you head upstairs to call it a night. Upstairs? Well, Honor & Folly is a charming micro hotel located directly above the well-known barbecue joint, and offers an apartment to stay in that’s unlike any other place in the city. Situated on Michigan Avenue in the oldest neighborhood in Detroit, the unique open floor plan can comfortably sleep up to four people if you rent both rooms ($165 per night for one room, $215 for both bedrooms).
The interior has a distinct, unconventional design aesthetic with brick walls, exposed beams, and warm wooden floors that make for an inviting place to rest your head. Large windows accented with stained glass allow natural sunlight to pour in, and across the street, you can find the iconic, abandoned Michigan Central Station.
Much of the beautiful artwork and furniture is for sale and created by local artists. There’s no TV, and there’s no home-cooked breakfast offered like your standard B&B, but a full kitchen is available. For an extra fee the fridge can be stocked with local breakfast treats — or head down the block to Astro Coffee.
The space is great for cooking and entertaining, and has been used for private cooking classes, small parties, and out-of-towners looking to celebrate the holidays in Detroit.
Owned by seasoned travel blogger Meghan McEwen, the inn has been recognized by The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, and other well-known publications. McEwen used inspiration from her travels when designing the apartment and has had visitors come from as far away as Australia and Hong Kong.
Experience Corktown as a local would with Honor & Folly as your cozy home base, and with McEwen’s trusted recommendations for exploring the surrounding city. —Casey Nesterowich
Brewery Vivant & Meyer May House in Grand Rapids. Meyer May House photograph courtesy of Steelcase, Inc.
4Beer Lovers’ Grand Getaway
The Leonard at Logan, 440 Logan St. SE, Grand Rapids; 616-308-6585. leonardatlogan.com
With its vibrant restaurant, cultural, and beer scene, Grand Rapids is the perfect weekend trip for the couple who want to raise a glass (full of Michigan brews) to romance.
To set the scene, check into the Leonard at Logan House in the historic Heritage Hill neighborhood. Built in 1914, the Leonard has a rich history. The first owner of the English-style mansion was Harry Carr Leonard, president of local family business H. Leonard & Sons. Today the bed and breakfast offers modern amenities such as WiFi while still retaining historic charm — watch out for the old-timey phone in the hallway and the winding staircase. A full gourmet breakfast is served on the weekends; the rest of the week, a continental breakfast bar is open 24/7.
The Leonard has seven rooms, including the Princess Cecile, which is at the higher end of the price range at $199 a night on weekends and features a Jacuzzi bathtub, and the Baron, located in the old servant’s quarters with a more budget-friendly price at $129 a night on weekends.
What could be more romantic than a stroll hand in hand with your beloved? Tour the historic, grand homes in the neighborhood, including the Meyer May House, which was designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
For beer connoisseurs, February is the perfect time to visit Grand Rapids, which was crowned Beer City USA in 2013. Beer Week takes over the city, culminating in the sold-out Winter Beer Fest on Feb. 22, hosted by the Michigan Brewers Guild.
If you weren’t lucky enough to snag a ticket or drinking outside in freezing temperatures isn’t your cup of beer, you don’t have to venture far for further exploration of the city’s beer culture. A mile away from the Leonard in East Hills is Brewery Vivant and The Green Well restaurant and pub. Also nearby is Wealthy Street, where you’ll find popular bars Winchester and Electric Cheetah.
Bonus beer: Go for a day trip to Holland and try one of the unique beers flowing at Our Brewing Company, known for creative suds such as Oatmeal Cookie Ale, The King (a peanut butter and bacon stout), and the Careless Whisper IPA. Cheers to R & R (romance and refreshments)! —Dorothy Hernandez
5Extreme Skiing, Keweenaw Style
For information visit mtbohemia.com or call 906-289-4105.
There are plenty of romantic getaways for couples looking to escape the winter doldrums. But what about those who would rather be completely immersed in snow? Winter warriors need to head north to the Keweenaw Peninsula atop the Upper Peninsula.
Because of a lake effect from rugged Lake Superior, the Keweenaw averages more snowfall than almost anywhere else in the continental United States, save for mountain regions, averaging 273 inches of snow per year (390.4 inches is the record high).
This season, the Keweenaw was already experiencing significant snowfall in late October. That’s great news for hardy enthusiasts. Mount Bohemia, located close to the northernmost tip of the peninsula, has the longest runs with the highest verticals and the deepest powder in the Midwest. Mount Bohemia is for extreme skiing only. Beginners are not allowed.
They do not make or groom their snow. There are a total of 95 runs over more than 500 acres with a maximum 900-foot drop. These are mostly black diamond runs — some are double and triple black diamonds. There are also 12K of cross-country trails this year for advanced skiers.
Guests can stay in Houghton or Hancock, located at the base of the peninsula about an hour drive south, or in one of their trailside cabins. Or even an honest-to-God yurt, a hostel for as low as $25. Every thing about their trailside lodging is rustic, but you can ski right out of your front door in the morning. At night, warm up with a few drinks and dinner at the North Pole Bar and Restaurant.
The drive from metro Detroit to Mount Bohemia takes more than 10 hours in crystal clear conditions, but there are daily flights to the Houghton/Hancock airport on United Airlines from Chicago O’Hare. Detroiters can fly from Detroit Metro to O’Hare to the Keweenaw in under three hours, then rent a car at the airport. — Nicole Rupersburg
Photograph at right by Joey Wallis.