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

It hit 67 degrees this week; which made me think of spring; which made me think of golf; which made me think of beer; which made me think of grilling; which made me think of boating; which made me think how excited I am to spend my first full summer here in Traverse City. It has been a whirlwind nine months for us since we moved, with lots of excitement, mostly of the positive variety. One of the highlights has been the opportunity to share a bit of our story on this blog.

It’s been almost two months since we launched Life and Whim, so we wanted to change gears a bit today. First, we want to thank everyone who has read, shared, commented and sent us feedback via email about the blog. We know that there are millions of distractions fighting for your attention in the digital and non-digital world, so we really appreciate you spending a few minutes with us every week.

Today is an opportunity to take stock of where we are, and where we are headed. Accordingly, in lieu of our usual post style, we’d like to share a few updates and random thoughts with you.


We’ve been having a blast putting together Life and Whim posts, but we don’t want to keep the fun all to ourselves. One of our objectives when we started Life and Whim was to create a participatory blog and brand – meaning that it’s more than our own platform, it’s a platform for the entire community. And not just the community within a certain geographic proximity, but the broader community of people who hold Northern Michigan dear, who love of the outdoors, or who desire to grow, learn and explore, wherever they may call home.

To that end, we would like to extend you an invitation to collaborate. Do you love to write and have a point of view that you think may be relevant to our audience? Send us an email – we’d like to feature your work on the blog.

Do you have a beautiful photo of Northern Michigan’s majesty that you’d like to share? We’d love to see it and share it. Do you have a story idea – be it a business to feature, or a concept to explore – that we should know about? We’re all ears.

Be on the lookout for upcoming content from contributors. We hope you will enjoy a few new perspectives. And we look forward to hearing yours!


Midwest Living Magazine confirmed what we already knew this week by naming Traverse City the “Greatest Midwest Town.” Traverse City was one of twelve finalists for the distinction. The magazine’s editorial content director, Trevor Meers, said “I can’t think of a better town to represent what the Midwest has to offer.”

Add this to the many other accolades (#1 Foodie Town, Most Beautiful Place in America, Top Adventure Town, among others) that have been bestowed upon Traverse City and you can see why so many condos and hotels are being built and restaurants opened here, and the airport is expanding with more direct flights to more destinations for the summer. With growth comes growing pains, but we’re excited to see the flurry of activity and development that is happening all over town.


Speaking of new restaurants, we’re particularly excited about two that should be open soon, and that will add some ethnic flair to the Front Street dining scene. Gaijin is Harvest owner Simon Joseph’s new Japanese concept. As reported by The Ticker, Gaijin will focus on traditional Japanes ramen, as well as dumplings and bao buns, but not sushi. It will be located in the former Subway space on Front Street and is expected to open this month.

Mama Lu’s taco shop will open across the street from Gaijin in space being vacated by Zakey. It will serve al pastor-style tacos (my favorite) as well as other Mexican dishes. The new restaurant aims to open in May.

There are more – former Tapawingo owner Pete Peterson’s Alliance, and new dining options in the soon-to-be-opened Hotel Indigo, to name a couple – but we’ll preview those at a later date.

Votes and Grapes

The Michigan primary is over and went according to expectations on the Republican side. The Democratic result was a surprise. Whatever you think of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, your beliefs are probably strongly held. For better or for worse, a strong brand is polarizing – some people hate it, some people love it. But it’s almost never ignored. Setting aside the merits of any of the candidates, it’s clear that Donald and Bernie’s brands resonated here in Michigan. And good riddance to the political ads…until October.

Speaking of politics, Traverse City was represented at the White House last night – Traverse City wine, that is. Chateau Chantal’s 2013 ice wine (a sweet dessert wine) was served Thursday at the state dinner for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Congrats Chateau Chantal! If you’ve never visited Chateau Chantal make sure to check it out on your next visit to Traverse City. It’s located on the Old Mission Peninsula and, in addition to its great wines, it has some of the most breathtaking views of the bays that you’ll find in the region. You can stay there too – it’s where Heather and I spent a weekend on one of our first trips to Traverse City.


Finally, while I typically hate these type of non-announcement announcements, here goes anyway. We are in the midst of planning an exciting, family friendly, community-wide event tentatively scheduled for late spring. We’ll be collaborating with other Traverse City brands and businesses to put this together – but we’re not quite ready to identify what “this” is yet. Rest assured, it’s going to be fun, and you’ll know more soon. Stay tuned….

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