The talented dancers of the Michigan Classic Ballet Company bring The Nutcracker to life for the 22nd year with their elegant, well-trained limbs and precise artistry. Leaping through expressive choreography, the company transforms Tchaikovsky’s famous score into an enchanting escape into the Land of Snow, the Kingdom of Sweets, and the Municipality of Dentistry. The performers’ finesse and grace captivate eyes, while the sugar-powdered plotline piques imaginations young and old. Four special guest artists from the Grand Rapids Ballet lend their acumen to the classic Christmas tale. Quartets can seek refreshments, exchanging their tickets for coffee, pretzels, cookies, and other snacks that don't require the assistance of the ballet's titular appliance.
Rock Bar & Grill's facile flame-wielders sate hungry hoards with a menu of made-from-scratch burgers, sandwiches, and salads, and its bartenders souse tongues with innovative cocktails and beers from a full bar. Warm up teeth's chomping abilities with Guinness-battered Black & Tan onion rings ($4.99) before sinking them into a Rockhouse applewood-bacon cheeseburger ($9.99) or the Rockhouse slider trio, three burgers loaded with onions, ketchup and mustard on hand-made buns ($9.99). The northern-Atlantic cod sandwich—a succulent artisan sandwich bun swaddling lightly battered or grilled finned fare—offers a more promising way to indulge seafood cravings than suckling on an angry blowfish ($7.99). Leaf lovers suspiring for photosynthesized feasts can choose from a slew of garden-fresh salads, such as the vegetarian antipasto, Caesar, and house salads ($7.99 each; add chicken for $1.99). Fans of circle-shaped foods can rejoice in the Giovani special, a pizza combining roasted red peppers, garlic, and an Italian cheese blend ($12.99).
Aquatic Adventures of Michigan is the joint venture of independent dive instructors Kim D. Parker and Tom Rhoad, who, after years of working with other dive shops, yearned for a place where they could stretch their fins, teach scuba their own way, and bellow sea shanties as loudly as they liked. Today, their PADI Five Star IDC facility is fast approaching its 10-year anniversary, and has grown beyond basic PADI training programs to incorporate everything from underwater digital photography to lessons in deep diving, wreck diving, and night diving. The shop's instructors are fully certified in first aid and emergency oxygen use, and provide factory-authorized service to big-name companies such as Poseidon, Genesis Scuba, and Dive Rite.
On top of offering certified instruction in everything from open-water diving to sea-serpent domestication, the crew supplies fellow divers with quality scuba, snorkeling, and swimming equipment. They also plan exotic expeditions to the Caribbean and tropical Pacific for warm-water dives, and divers looking to stick closer to home can inquire about day trips or weekend getaways to locales such as the Great Lakes or Whitefish Point.
A sunny afternoon's work of putting putter to ball does more than bring up latent emotions about middle-school health class—it also brings up a hunger for fine dining. The lunch and dinner menus at the newly opened Fountain View Restaurant feature freshly prepared provisions that pair perfectly with the restaurant's view of Tanglewood's verdant greens. As you gaze at the links and begin to strategize through Fountain View's windows or bat lashes at the landscape from the outdoor patio, appease your grumbling food box with an order of scampi-style shrimp ($9), served over capellini in a mushroom-tomato broth, or a flatbread pizza and grilled veggies ($8), with fresh mozzarella and toasted oregano. With your mouth woken and wide eyed, direct its attention to a Fountain View specialty, the salmon roulade, a decadent buttery fish feast stuffed with shrimp, lobster, spinach, and jack cheese and served with mushroom risotto and asparagus ($14 for lunch, $19 for dinner). If you're collecting bones from your meals to complete your Rube Goldberg machine, order a bone-in “cowboy” rib eye—16 succulent ounces of Angus beef smothered in a bourbon demiglace with pearl onions and mushrooms and served with a jumbo baked potato and broccoli ($34 for dinner only).