Get a whole new view of the Mackinac Straits this weekend by taking part in the 56th annual Mackinac Bridge Walk. Held on Labor Day each year, the walk starts in St. Ignace and crosses the Mighty Mac’s five-mile span, ending in Mackinaw City.
“We get anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000 bridge walkers each year,” says Kelly Vieau with the Mackinaw City Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a fun atmosphere; we get a lot of clowns, people wearing goofy hats, that sort of thing.”
The walk takes a few hours to complete, and each participant gets a certificate of completion at the finish line. Got your walkin’ shoes on? Just show up in St. Ignace (or take the bus from Mackinaw City for $5) on Monday, September 2, around 7 a.m. The walk is free, with no registration required. No one is permitted to start after 11 a.m., so be sure to arrive early. For more information, visit www.mackinacbridge.org/annual-bridge-walk-7/ or call the Mackinaw City Chamber at 231-436-5574.
Sure, some may consider Labor Day Weekend 2013 as the end of summer vacation—but we prefer to think of it as the start of fall travel season, during which there are great deals to be found. Just think: Cool nights, sunny days and crowd-free beaches and restaurants. Here’s a few great fall specials to get you started:
Torch Lake: Just when we thought pretty little Alden couldn’t get any sweeter, The Inn at Torch Lake opens up, offering European-inspired breakfasts, cozy suites, and daily wine and tea receptions. All just steps from stunning Torch sunsets. Swoon. This fall, stay two weekend nights and get the third night free. Or make make your reservations midweek, when each night earns you a second night at half price. 231-331-4845, inn-at-torchlake.com.
Traverse City: Stay at the historic Park Place Inn, right in the heart of downtown Traverse City shopping, dining and entertainment. Through autumn, the midweek rate is just $119 per night—more than a 50 percent savings off the price of a summer night’s stay. 231-946-5000, park-place-hotel.com.
Petoskey: Stafford’s Perry Hotel is tucked away in Petoskey’s historic Gas Light District, overlooking beautiful Little Traverse Bay. The hotel has several fall packages; our pick, the $249 Fall Color package, which includes two nights lodging, $50 in dining vouchers for use at any Stafford’s establishment, $20 off breakfast, and a CD to tour you through M-119’s Tunnel of Trees (the ultimate color tour drive). 800-737-1899, staffords.com.
Thompsonville: Enjoy the fruits of your labor this weekend by indulging in some fun ‘n’ sun. Head over to Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa for a mini getaway. Make a splash at the Park at Water’s Edge, or rent a bike and ride around at Mountain Adventure Zone. Book a two-night Pure Michigan Family Vacation, spa package or romance package stay and receive a $50 resort credit. Bring your clubs for a weekend golf package special, and play 18 holes at Mountain Ridge or Betsie Valley course from $99 per person, per night. Crystal Mountain is a golf and ski resort a half-hour southwest of Traverse City. 800-968-7686, www.crystalmountain.com.
Boyne Highlands: Perfect your swing on luscious greens surrounded by the majestic beauty of Northern Michigan with Boyne’s Unlimited Golf Package. This three-night package includes unlimited play at Arthur Hills, Donald Ross Memorial, Heather and Moor courses at Boyne Highlands, lodging, practice range access with free bucket of balls before each round, $25 Odawa Casino gaming voucher and complimentary 24-hour roundtrip transportation starting at $303 per person.
Don’t forget to participate in Boyne’s Patriot Golf Day, a nationwide fundraiser for The Folds of Honor Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides funding for families of military members disabled or killed during service. Try your luck in the 50-50 raffles at all resort pro shop locations and on Saturday, September 5, a Skills Challenge fundraiser to test your abilities: prizes for closest to the pin and a 100-foot putt contest. 800.GO.BOYNE, www.BOYNE.com.
Harbor Springs: Cozy up at Birchwood Inn of Harbor Springs for just $99 per night during Labor Day weekend. Take a trip to the historical Mackinac Bridge, or travel nearby recreational trails on foot, bike or horseback. Enjoy a secluded walk on Zoll Street Beach (pet friendly) or Zorn Park, both in downtown Harbor Springs. 231-526-2151, www.birchwoodinn.com.
Traverse City: Find your home away from home at Leelanau Chalets Vacation Rentals and Watersports. All vacation homes are on Lake Leelanau, a sand-bottomed, 23-mile-long lake that never feels crowded. Many vacation rentals are still open for the holiday weekend. While you’re vacationing, pick up 3-person jet skis for 3 days at $650 or a 17-passenger plush pontoon boat for $225/day. 231-218-6888, www.LeelanauChalets.com.
Stewart-Zacks: Check out various trendy and stylish items outside in the alcove for amazing Labor Day deals as well as 30% off all indoor outdoor pillows, September 3–8. 231-947-2322, stewartzacks.com.
Lil Bo Pub & Grille: Bring in any movie stub and get 10 percent off your food purchase during Labor Day weekend only, not valid during happy hour. 877.GoLilBo, LilBo.com.
Benjamin Twiggs: Expect huge savings here in honor of the new owner’s one-year anniversary with the store. Sale runs September 4–7. Prices will also be reduced on the website. 231-947-0208, www.BenjaminTwiggs.com.