Michiganís Great Lakes Bay
Published: Saturday, September 1, 2018
Some may daydream about taking a dip in the ocean… but in the Great Lakes Bay Region, the waters are salt- and shark-free, and there’s no better place to dive right in! Magnificent miles of the nation’s longest freshwater coastline will welcome you here to Pure Michigan.
Just Add Water
Taking in beautiful blue waters aboard BaySail’s grandiose Appledore IV tall ship schooner in Bay City is an opportunity not to let sail by. Board this majestic beauty! Prepare for sunsets over the water (swoon) amidst ‘Legends of the Saginaw Sails’ or ‘Stargazer & Moonlight Dinner Sails.’ And in October, witness Mother Nature’s fall glory like never before during Autumn Color Tour River Cruises. (Think: hot cider, chili and cornbread, and even cozy quilts, while sailing through radiant scenery of reds and golds — oh, yes!)
Boarding a shallow-bottom boat and readying to experience the “Everglades of Michigan” means you’re hanging out on the waters of the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge — one of Michigan’s 7 Wetland Wonders — with the one-and-only Johnny Panther Quest Adventure Trips.
Looking to spend time idling along, or forging the narrow waterways in a kayak with your paddle leading the way? Venture out to Midland’s Chippewa Nature Center for a guided evening kayak on the Chippewa River or head to Ike’s Mobile Kayak Rentals in Midland for both guided or on-your-own good times.
Cruising along on the 12-passenger electric boats of Frankenmuth FunShips, you’ll experience the scenic waters of the Cass River and sights of Michigan’s Little Bavaria, Frankenmuth — quite possibly aboard a Wine & Chocolate Tasting Cruise! Or cruise the Cass River aboard the Bavarian Belle Riverboat, and appreciate a one-hour, narrated sightseeing cruise complete with bird sightings and memorable stories.
Are you looking to catch your own dinner? Let Boomerang Fishing Charters take you boating on the 1,143-square-mile Saginaw Bay, and lead you right to reeling in some serious catches of walleye and perch.
Whether boating or beaching, fishing with charter companies or hand-tied flies, kayaking inland lakes or water-skiing the Saginaw Bay, water-enthusiasts have endless options to explore Pure Michigan waters when they Go Great Lakes Bay — and the inside know-how to experience them all like a local!
Drink It All In
Microbrews, craft cocktails, wine selections that wow — the Great Lakes Bay Region offers something for all to sip on. But where to go when you’re ready for a cold one?
Join the packed house, Woody’s Draught House in Old Town Saginaw, for good reason — 106 good reasons! Woody’s serves up 106 brews on tap. Or, find yourself amongst friends at WhichCraft Taproom in Midland, where you’re invited to, “Drink local, drink well.” When you order from more than 80 varieties of craft brews (40 on tap), you’ll be sipping on something that’s made right here in Pure Michigan.
Wanting an even shorter path from tap to glass? Twenty house-made opportunities await at what locals describe as “a cozy brewhouse”: Tri- City Brewing Company in Bay City. And you can’t say you’re serious about swigs until you experience Frankenmuth Brewery. Founded in 1862, it stands as the original craft brewery in Michigan! Consider yourself strongly advised to take a free tour of this historical gem.
If slow sipping is more your style, in a sophisticated, warm atmosphere (complete with overstuffed, leather seating and a roaring fire), make your way to Whine Bar in Midland to enjoy remarkable, and remarkably hard-to-find, wines.
Looking more for historical charm? Find yourself immersed in the ambiance of a 1920s-style speakeasy at Bancroft Wine & Martini Bar in Downtown Saginaw. Patterned to reflect the classic wine bars of Europe, the Bancroft is known for hand-crafted martinis.
Prost is a German word for “cheers”, and when it comes to the charcuterie, think wooden boards of Prosciutto Di Parma from Italy, Manchego cheese from Spain, and olives for days. Prost! in Frankenmuth touts an extensive wine list, along with six wine taps that deliver wine protected from oxidation to the very last pour.
And whether you have “just one” or you stay longer to taste “each one”, enjoy your time here drinking it all in like a local.
A Table To Remember
For farm-to-fork at its most decadent, find your way into Bradley’s Bistro in Old Town Saginaw for fresh, colorful, exquisite — lunch or dinner here is simply delicious. Or take a scenic drive into the country, which is part of the charm of The Maple Grille in Hemlock; every mouthwatering experience thereafter seals the deal. This place doesn’t take reservations, and when the farm-to-fork dishes are gone, they’re gone, wiped from the chalkboard menu.
Walking into 3rd & Johnson Market and Eatery in the historic Johnson Street Business District of Bay City is, at first, a tantalizing eye-candy experience of fresh, locally-grown fruits, vegetables, meat selections, and more. But, it’s upon eating the unique, seasonal dishes and time-tested classics that 3rd & Johnson serves up that you’ll fall in foodie-love with this extraordinary eatery.
For lunch or dinner in Uptown Bay City, The Real Seafood Co. offers two levels of casual upscale dining, indoor and out, all overlooking the scenic Saginaw River. Sipping cocktails as the Appledore IV sails in? Sign us up. Locals look to The Real Seafood Co. for a creative blend of market-fresh catches with locally-sourced ingredients.
As you peruse the extensive wine list while sitting amidst modern elegance at Table Restaurant, located at the H Hotel in Downtown Midland, a French-trained pastry chef has prepared European-style breads for your evening. Upscale and downright delicious, we suggest you make reservations and enjoy.
Since Frankenmuth is a tourist hotspot, and chicken dinners at Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth are world-famous, foodies may consider the scene too mainstream to be miraculous — wrong! The flavor experience includes heaping platters of golden brown chicken (worth the trip alone) and so much more.
Farm-to-fork. Locally-sourced. Upscale, Downtown, and even backwoods! Take this tasty trip along the insider route to discover our truly tasteful region, experienced like a local!
Plan your trip by visiting www.gogreat.com today!
This article first appeared in the Fall Issue (Sept/Oct) 2018 of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.