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Lilac Festival makes best small-town festival list

A festival all about lilacs? You'd believe it if you've ever been to Mackinac Island in the spring, where lilacs scent every corner. Its Lilac Festival got some recognition for best small town festival on a list from travel giant Fodor's.
Excerpt: You may not know it, but some of the country's best festivals are held in small towns scattered throughout the U.S. Featuring a wide range of unique themes, and ranging in size and scope, these celebrations often include parades, entertainment, food, and plenty of special events. Make an effort to time a vacation with one of these beloved fests, which are held at various points throughout the year. 
For the whole list, click here.
Source: Huffington Post

Biker tracks an 1800-mile course across the U.P.

Check out the Pure Michigan blog if you have a motorcycle and like to travel the U.P. Thorough maps, reviews and neat photos all come from a biker who's already been there, done that.
Excerpt: I like to do my exploring on an adventure motorcycle, but a car – or even a horse (as I learned along the way) – will take you to treasure. With motorcycle riding upon us, it’s a good time to share some opportunities for the curious to explore and enjoy.
Rolling along to take in hundreds of points of interest, I covered about 1,800 miles of Pure Michigan goodness. My goal went beyond the entertainment of taking my own trip.  I wanted to share some information that would make it easier for others to plan a trip of their own. 
For the whole story plus maps, click here.
Source: Pure Michigan

Grand Hotel named best wedding venue by Brides magazine

High-end details plus the romance of an island with no cars allowed--plenty of reason right there to have a Grand Hotel wedding, if that's in your price range. Brides magazine agrees, listing it among the best places to get married.
Excerpt: The Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island, Michigan is the perfect locale for a Michigan bride's idyllic wedding day. Tucked away on an island in Lake Huron, your guests will be transported into a magical wedding weekend from the moment they set foot on the island. Since cars are not permitted on Mackinac Island, arrange for horse-drawn carriages and bicycles to transport guests to the hotel.
Find out what else is on the list here.

U.P. universities win collaboration award

A recent ceremony brought together economic developers, state officials and various stakeholders from across the state to honor outstanding accomplishments, including an award that went to three U.P. universities for how well they work together.
Excerpt: The Collaborate, Connect, and Create awards are each presented to one of Michigan's 10 Prosperity Regions, which were created under the Gov. Rick Snyder to inspire collaboration and provide services more effectively and efficiently. The awards were presented by MEDC CEO Steve Arwood at the Michigan Governor’s Economic and Education Summit in Detroit.
For the whole story, go here.
Source: MI Newswire

Houghton couple visits every county in the continental U.S.

The story of a U.P. couple has even hit the international news of interest, as they recently achieved their goal of visiting every county in every U.S. state--at least, except for Alaska and Hawaii. But, they're working on those, too.
Excerpt: A Michigan couple has completed a quest to visit all 3,108 counties in the lower 48 states after driving around the country in a green 1999 Dodge Intrepid for almost nine years.
Jennifer and Jonathan Riehl put the finish touch on their journey this week when they boarded a ferry to Nantucket in their car, which has accumulated almost 540,000 miles.
For the whole story, go here.
Source: Daily Mail

The perfect Michigan road trip has been created in time for spring

The roads are clear, and if the landscape isn't quite green yet, it's definitely inspiring thoughts of road-tripping. This year, a Michigan State student plotted out the ultimate Michigan road trip, posting a route online that will hit most major landmarks in the state. Might be worth a try this summer.
Excerpt: It's a map that makes you dream of summer days and green Michigan landscape sliding by outside your driver's side window.
Randal Olson, a computer science and engineering doctorate student at Michigan State University, has created what he views as the ultimate Michigan road trip. 
For the route and more info, go here.

Marquette food truck mentioned in Michigan Blue magazine

Dia de los Tacos owner Mike Walker of Marquette is interviewed about his Marquette-based food truck in lakefront lifestyle magazine Michigan Blue.
Excerpt: Food trucks are on the move throughout the country. Unique menus and portability have the trend speeding up in Michigan, too, although a special focus on healthy and sustainable ingredients from local sources is driving it.
From Kalamazoo to the Upper Peninsula, Michigan food trucks offer up healthy "fast food" in cities, on college campuses and at special events, redefining grab-and-go for a new generation.
The whole story is online here.
Source: Michigan Blue

Gwinn is named Michigan's most affordable small town

If you're looking for a cheap place to live, you can't do better than the Gwinn area, at least according to Business Insider.
Excerpt: has ranked the most affordable small towns from every state, and Michigan's most affordable small town is right here in the Upper Peninsula.
Gwinn was selected as Michigan's most affordable small town. Business Insider looked at towns with between 1,000 and 10,000 residents.
For the whole story, go here.

Porcupine Mountains State Park needs votes for top U.S. park

USA Today, along with website 10 Best, has listed the Porcupine Mountains as one of the best parks to visit in the U.S. The winner is determined by voting, so if you agree, head over to their website to weigh in.
Excerpt: The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, or the "Porkies" as its known to frequent visitors, encompasses 60,000 acres of lakes, rivers and virgin forest. The park offers camping on the shores of Lake Superior, 90 miles of hiking trails, kayak rentals, mountain biking and, in the winter, access to the Porcupine Mountains Ski Area.
For more on how to vote, click here.
Source: 10Best/USA Today

U.P. cafes take second and third in Best Coffee Shop contest

Java by the Bay in L'Anse and Falling Rock Café and Bookstore in Munising, both cultural mainstays in small U.P. towns, showed how loyal their customers are in a recent Mlive poll that resulted in second and third places for northern Michigan.
Excerpt: Cabin Creek Coffee in Alpena has won the people's choice award in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula in the search for Michigan's Best Coffee Shop.
Readers nominated and vote for their favorite coffee shops across the state. Cabin Creek Coffee won with 25.7 percent of the vote.
Following Coffee Creek was two Upper Peninsula shops.
The whole results are online here.

Marinette Marine CEO named to U.S. manufacturing council

Jan Allman, CEO of Marinette Marine, was appointed to the U.S. Department of Commerce's Manufacturing Council for a two-year term, according to a recent announcement.
Excerpt: U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced the appointment of 30 private sector leaders to the Manufacturing Council (the Council) for the 2015-2016 charter term. The Council was established in 2004 to serve as the principal private sector advisory body to the Secretary of Commerce on matters relating to the U.S. manufacturing industry. 
For the whole news release, go here.
Source: U.S. Dept. of Commerce

Finland Calling goes off the air after over 50 years

Finland Calling, or Suomi Kutsuu, a U.P. local TV talk and variety show that linked Finnish culture to U.P. viewers for decades, is ending as its longtime host retires. It was the only Finnish-language show broadcast in the U.S.
Excerpt: On March 29, Finland Calling will sign off for the final time, but on March 25 of this year, Finland Calling will celebrate its 53rd anniversary.  When Carl Pellonpaa signed on as the host in 1961, he certainly didn't expect to go this long.
For the whole story, click here.

Pop-up record store returns to Marquette

Vinyl record collectors in Marquette should be happy to know that the Pop-Up Record Sale is returning to the Ore Dock Brewery at the end of March.
Excerpt: The usual 5PM-MIDNIGHT on THURSDAY....but...NOON to MIDNIGHT FRIDAY AND SATURDAY! There will be vinyl. Lots of vinyl.
More on the event is online here.
Source: Facebook

Former NMU skier takes gold medal

Cross-country skiing is a niche sport, but U.P. folks do tend to excel in it, like this fantastic accomplishment from NMU alumna Caitlin Gregg.
Excerpt: Northern Michigan University Nordic skiing alum Caitlin Gregg (Compton) took home a bronze medal in the 10k freestyle at the World Championships Tuesday. Gregg is part of a historic podium that saw two Americans take home a medal in the same event for the first time ever at a World Championship or Olympic individual cross-country skiing race.
For more on the story, go here.

14 tastebud-pleasing restaurants in the U.P.

Best burger in Michigan? To-die-for barbecue? Find out all the great places you've been driving by in the U.P.--and maybe stop next time! Movoto rounded up a list of the best restaurants in the U.P.
Excerpt: This humble restaurant in Sault Ste. Marie will give you one of the best burgers you’ve ever had, plain and simple. Just make sure you don’t leave without trying both the deep-fried mushrooms and the deep-fried cauliflower.
The whole list is online here.
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