In 1964, the trio of Joe Balulis, Bill Kater, and Seth Bidwell hung a shingle that read "Marquette Trails Golf Club" amid the dense forest of Manistee National Forest. The nine-hole golf course was their verdant brainchild and source of nutritional fairway grass, but after three years of joint ownership the triumvirate elected to go their separate ways, leaving the family of Joe Balulis to take over. Joe’s sons would go on to oversee the addition of a back nine that opened in 1985, bringing the overall length to 5,847 yards and par to 70. In 1993 a new clubhouse and a restaurant (The View) opened. Today, the Balulis family invites players to venture through the forest groves with clubs in hand, pursuing their golf balls until they’re in the cups and safe from the course's forest-dwelling co-founders.
Coyote Crossing Resort nestles into the bordering Manistee National Forest, dusting the landscape with rustic timber dwellings armed with modern amenities. Each two-bedroom unit houses contemporary accouterments such as satellite TV, a full bathroom, and WiFi access, allowing curious kids to learn about nature before dipping their toes into it. Triplicate cooking options keep growling bellies from upsetting the surrounding wildlife, including a fully equipped kitchen, a charcoal grill, and fire rings that yield flame-licked fare. Drawing inspiration from 50 acres of surrounding woodlands, rich wood lines the walls and floors of each cabin. Upon stepping outside, guests will find themselves minutes away from attractions such as the Pine River, Lake Cadillac, and various public beaches.
The northern Michigan town of Prudenville edges one side of the 22,000-acre Houghton Lake. During warmer months, groups flock to the water for jet-skiing and kayaking. Between Houghton Lake and nearby Higgins Lake, there are more than a dozen launch sites for boating; local shops rent out boats for all kinds of trips, whether you want to fish for the lake's abundant bass, brown trout, and walleye fish, or just take a relaxing cruise. The two lakes are also lined with sandy beaches, which have picnic pavilions and waters safe for swimming.About 16 miles north of Springbrook Inn is Marguerite Gahagan Nature Preserve, which is threaded with a network of hiking and biking trails across 60 acres. Signs pop up throughout the trails that tell informative tidbits about the white- and red-pine forest and cedar swamp habitats. A small stream known as Tank Creek also cuts across the preserve, and it's lined with boardwalks and decks that overlook the water. One paved trail is wheelchair accessible.Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.
The owners of Marinades Pizza Bistro have given their loyal customers a tough choice: either fall back on the familiar taste of gourmet wood-fire pizzas, or branch into uncharted territory at Grill One Eleven, which is right next door. Reviewers for On the Town and The Grand Rapids Press did not regret their decision to venture into Grill One Eleven, each one praising chef John Butler's seafood-stuffed grouper, swimming in chive-onion-butter sauce.
Like a king disguised as a lowly archduke, the two-story restaurant's ambiance is both elegant and approachable, with rich, hardwood floors and earth-toned walls surrounding diners as they feast on chicken risotto or roasted portabella burgers. Local craft beers flow freely at the granite-topped bar, pairing well with rib eyes and sirloins hot from the wood grill. Large windows shed sunlight on desserts of carrot cake and creamy lemon tart, which can also be enjoyed beside fireplace of the upper-level lounge area.
Florentine Pizzeria Ristorante and Sports Bar's chefs concoct robust Italian entrees from scratch, and servers deliver them in a lively interior dining area lined with 12 TVs. Opt for a pizza from Florentine's extensive menu, which catalogs personalized pies ($7.99+), piled with fresh toppings and buttressed with Chicago-style, hand-tossed, or gluten-free crust. Alternatively, diners can dive into a seafood grilled pizza ($9.99), topped with a trio of seafood and crisped over an open flame. Imported Italian pasta, such as seven-cheese lasagna ($10.99)—with one cheese for each European who stays home during the World Cup—tangos passionately with attention-hungry cutlery, and stuffed chicken scallopini protectively bear hugs capicola ham and melted cheese. Florentine rounds out its savory selection with thick subs and eclectically topped burgers, including a pesto-kissed bruschetta burger ($8.49).
Perched on the bank of the Rouge River, Reds on the River serves up breathtaking views and award-winning cuisine made from scratch, largely with local ingredients. The dinner menu delights with starters such as Maryland-style crab cakes ($15) and Stallone-style mussels ($10). Reds’ impressive eight-layer lasagna ($16) contains seven more layers than the single-decker London-broil steak, simmered in a veal stock reduction and accompanied by mashed yukons and asparagus spears ($18). The chef's signature half-rack of lamb ($34) is a sweet treat for the shepherding senses, while the New York strip, aged 21 days ($28), unleashes a Manhattan of mouth-wateriness on palates. Midday meal-seekers can let their taste buds bloom with a mouth-moistening, highly-dunkable lunch creation such as a french dip on a french baguette with gruyere cheese, dill pickle, and au jus ($11), or a lobster grilled-cheese sandwich with tomato-basil soup, with the sandwich harnessing Maine lobster in a net of gouda, american, and mozzarella cheeses ($15). Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.