Father’s Day: Kids & Fish, Wine & Tapas, and Some Historical Walking Tours

Is there anything as cute as a kid with a fish?
Is there anything as cute as a kid with a fish?

By MIKE NORTON

Ahh, how lovely it is to be in Traverse City this week! Warm enough for some serious sunbathing, if not quite warm enough for swimming (not for me, anyway.) A fresh breeze ruffling the maple leaves and making a sweet murmur in the pines, and the water as sweet and blue as you could wish for. The golfers are out doing their thing, the sidewalks are bustling with happy people, and last week’s rains washed the air so clean that I can see Northport Point from my office window.

Karen and I are nearly empty-nesters now, and the approach of Father’s Day gets me all nostalgic for the fun we used to have when our kids were small. One of our very favorite activities was fishing. (OK, it wasn’t Karen’s favorite at all – but the kids and I loved fishing the Boardman River during the salmon run and feeding worms to the bluegills over by Long Lake.)

Anyway, one of the best customs of the season also takes place on June 18. It’s Kid’s Free Fishing Day here in TC; more than 500 young anglers are expected to show up this Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Northwestern Michigan College’s Great Lakes Campus to take advantage of this great event.

They provide fishing rods, reels, and bait, though kids can bring their own fishing gear, too. More than 2,000 rainbow trout of 10 inches or longer will be stocked for the event under supervision of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and volunteers will be on hand to register anglers, give some basic lessons and help clean the fish. There will also be a cooking demonstration to show kids (and adults) how to prepare their catch.

For kids who get bored waiting for their turn, the Great Lakes Children’s Museum will host a free fish painting activity for kids waiting to fish. I presume this means painting pictures of fish, rather than slapping paint on the live ones – though you never know… Free food and refreshments are being provided by Orchard Creek Senior Living and Health Care. Parking is available at NMC’s Great Lakes Campus, just east of the Holiday Inn West Bay on U.S. 31. All children are invited, accompanied by an adult.

On Saturday evening, food and wine lovers may want to head for the Leelanau Peninsula, where the local wineries are putting together their second annual “small plates” event from 6-9 p.m. (A pretty good “date night” idea for Father’s Day. Hint, hint!) It’s a sort of tour of seven Leelanau wineries; at each stop, guests receive a full glass of wine and a “well-paired and substantial tapas dish.” (The “substantial” part is particularly important to us Father’s Day gourmands.) Advance tickets are required; you can buy them for $11 online at www.lpwines.com. I’ve seen the menu, and it’s mouth-watering!

And here’s one more thing, though it’s more about forefathers (and foremothers) than about present-day dads.  The History Center of Traverse City has resumed their popular historical walking tours, and will conduct them all season until October. There are three of these tours each week — Thursdays at 10 a.m., and Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1 p.m. They depart from the History Center (the old Carnegie Library at 322 6th St.) and are led by well-known history aficionados Carol Hale, Fred Hoisington and Greg Fiebing.

The tours last about an hour and a half, and take you past homes and buildings on Sixth Street, downtown Front Street, Wellington and State, among others. You also get a brief overview of Traverse City history, and admission to the Museum of History and new temporary exhibits. Comfortable walking shoes are encouraged, and you have to register in advance.

Tickets are $12 per person, but they also accept group reservations. Call them at 231-995-0313. For more information, visit www.gtheritagecenter.org or e-mail them at  gthc@gtheritagecenter.com

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About mikelovestc

These days, I’m the media relations guy for the Traverse City Convention & Visitors Bureau, but before that I spent 25 years as a reporter and columnist at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, a job that frequently took me out into the most remote backroads, forests, beaches and islands of the beautiful Grand Traverse Region. My strategy was pretty simple — just drive, paddle, ski or walk until you’re certain you’re lost, and then find somebody to talk to. It was a great job! I never intended to live in Traverse City. I grew up in Grand Rapids, spent four years in the Coast Guard in places like Miami Beach, Monterey and San Francisco, and when I finally graduated from college I took a summer job at the Miami Herald. To my surprise, I discovered I didn’t like the tropics nearly as much as I thought I would — and when the Record-Eagle offered me a job I took it, figuring I’d put in a year or two and head off to someplace like Seattle or Portland. What I discovered very quickly is that this place gets to you in a variety of unexpected ways. The beaches here are as lovely as anyplace else I’ve ever been, the weather is mild all year round — warm enough for swimming in September and cold enough for skiing in December — and just about the time you’re getting tired of one season you get another one every bit as pleasant. The people are laid-back and friendly, the music and arts scene is awesome, and the place still hasn’t gotten so sophisticated that a guy like me feels out of place.
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