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The Friday Five: What’s Happening and What’s on Our Minds

It seems like we are the only people in Traverse City this week. Everyone else, wisely, headed south to warmer climates. We thought we might have the last laugh since March began with a lot of sun and warm weather, but the joke’s on us as it has been cold and dreary here this week. At least the ten inches of snow we got hit with last week is almost gone, save for the dirty mounds and shady spots.

It’s actually been kind of nice here – streets are clear, restaurants and bars are thrilled for the business, and there are some fun activities for the kids who are out of school but stuck in town. But don’t get me wrong, we’re excited for the hustle and bustle of what’s to come. It won’t be long before things are hopping in Traverse City.

We have a bunch of things we are working on – in addition to our twice-weekly posts – that we’re excited to share with you in April. For today we have our Friday Five feature about what’s happening with us and with Traverse City.


I have a love-love relationship with food. I really enjoy cooking, but not so much that I don’t prefer someone else to cook for me. And so I’m particularly excited about the flurry of new restaurants opening in this renowned foodie town.

A few weeks back we mentioned that Japanese restaurant Gaijin and taco shop Mama Lu’s would soon be open on Front Street. In the interim we had a chance to sample Gaijin’s fare at The Little Fleet where Gaijin is serving a few of its menu items out of a food truck. We had ramen bowls and gyoza and loved everything.

The Ticker recently reported that White on Rice, a sushi specialist which formely operated out of a food truck at The Little Fleet, is opening a bricks and mortar location on Fourteenth Street. Spark’s BBQ, which also began out of a food truck, is also opening a storefront location in the former Elsie’s on Front Street. And Alliance, former Tapawingo owner Pete Peterson’s new venture, recently opened its doors in the Warehouse Market. It serves a “vegetable forward” – but not vegetarian – small plates menu.

Red Ginger is not new – it’s been a staple of the restaurant scene in town for years – but it earned some recognition worth mentioning. It recently was named one of OpenTable’s “100 Hottest Restaurants in America for 2016.” Red Ginger is extremely popular to begin with, so given this new publicity (well deserved – it’s one of our favorite spots) it’s best to start thinking about summer reservations.


The Traverse City Record Eagle recently reported that Traverse City’s long awaited and eagerly anticipated new hotel, Hotel Indigo, is slated for a late April opening. The 107-room hotel overlooks West Grand Traverse Bay and will feature rooftop and ground floor bars, as well as a restaurant called The Warehouse Kitchen and Cork.

If you’ve been to Traverse City, but never explored the Warehouse District on the west side of downtown where Hotel Indigo is located, definitely check it out. It’s buzzing with new development and activity.


Spring and summer is festival season in Traverse City. Most everyone is familiar with The Cherry Festival and the Traverse City Film Festival, but there are so many more great events through the season that are worth your time. A great resource for checking out upcoming festivals is Traverse City Tourism’s website. Spring festivals are listed here, and summer ones here. We’re particularly looking forward to Short’s Brewing Company’s Anni Party XII on April 30, and Boyne City’s National Morel Mushroom Festival which runs from May 11-15.

While I’m in a “festive” mood, I thought I’d mention that Traverse City is one of ten finalists in USA Today’s Best Coastal Small Town contest. It’s a reader’s choice award, so cast your vote here.


Legendary author and northern Michigan icon Jim Harrison passed away earlier this week. He was 78 years old. Harrison is best known for writing Legends of the Fall, a three part series which later became an Oscar-nominated movie. His zest for life and enthusiasm for the outdoors was evident in all of his work.

Next Week

In our last Friday Five feature we vaguely teased an upcoming event that we have been planning. We described it as “exciting, family friendly, and community-wide” and we’re happy to announce that our plans have crystallized nicely and we’ll be revealing the news next week! We can’t wait, but we can’t say much more for the moment, other than that we are collaborating with two other awesome brands and businesses in Traverse City to make this happen. Stay tuned next week for the big announcement. If you don’t already subscribe to Life and Whim, enter your email address below to ensure that you’ll get all of the updates, as well as all of our posts, delivered directly to your inbox.

Enjoy the remainder of your Spring Break and we’ll touch base next week…

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