Looking for a place to beach   along the frozen bayshore.

Looking for a place to beach along the frozen bayshore.


Kayaking in midwinter is a little like flying an airplane. If you can handle the takeoff and the landing, everything in between is usually pretty easy.

The tricky part is the ice, of course. Finding a place to enter the water – and even more perplexing, finding a place to exit. But with a little advance planning, some warm clothes and a waterproof skirt to protect your kayak from filling up in heavy seas, it can be a blast. And last Saturday was the perfect day for it, with lots of sunshine and a minimum of wind. Like swooshing through a giant Slurpee.

I’ve been doing this annual New Year’s paddle for over a decade now, ever since the year when my daughter Liz got a kayak for her birthday (which happens to be Dec. 31). She’s moved on to other pursuits since then, but I still get a kick out of being out on the water in wintertime. Always makes me feel I’m pushing the envelope a little. Which you ought to do as often as you can when you’ve reached your sixties.

As long as we’re on the subject of New Year’s, here’s our annual list of happenings, specials, dinners and other goings on in the Traverse City area. Get out there and welcome 2014 in style!

Cherry T Ball Drop

Times Square, move over! An illuminated cherry will drop from a crane in front of the Christmas tree at the corner of Cass & Front Streets. Attendees are encouraged to bring a nonperishable item or suggested donation of $3 for local charities. Downtown streets will close to traffic at 4pm and activities will get underway at 9:30pm. There will be live music by Miriam Pico and the Supplementals and a DJ throughout the evening.  Fireworks will be staged at Clinch Park. This event will be televised on MI News 26 and UpNorth TV (Charter Digital channel 73 and HD channel 789) and on Up North TV cable channel 97. The broadcast also will be streamed live on www.cherryballdrop.com  Open containers of alcohol are not permitted on the street.

BATA is offering FREE CherryT Ball Drop Event Shuttle from 8:30pm-1am.

-Civic Center shuttle to the corner of State and Park Streets (Park Place Hotel), running every half hour.

-Traverse City West Middle School to Front Street between Union & Pine Streets. (Record Eagle offices), running every half hour.

Grand Traverse Resort and Spa New Year’s Eve “Roaring 20’s party:

Aerie Restaurant & Lounge-

Join us on the 16th floor of the Tower for a romantic New Year’s Eve celebration, featuring a special dinner menu and live acoustic music from John Pomeroy and friends.  Call 231-534-6800 for more information.

Overnight New Year’s Eve Package includes:

*1 night accommodations 12/31/2013 (extra nights are available)

One New Year’s Eve Dinner per person

Cash Bar

Complimentary Champagne toast at Midnight

Proper attire is requested.  Must be 18 yrs or older to attend with a valid ID.

*1 New Year’s Eve Dinner per person in Governors’ Hall

Package prices starting at only $277 per couple, in the hotel, based on double occupancy.

For reservations, call 800-236-1577 or book online. *The above pricing does not include 11% tax and $14.95 nightly resort fee, and applicable gratuities. Rooms at this rate are limited. Not available to groups. May not be combined with any other offer.  Certain other restrictions may apply.  For all accommodations, check-in begins at 4pm and check-out is by 11:00am.

A La Carte tickets (without lodging) to the Governors’ Hall New Year’s Eve Party are $85 per person, plus 6% tax and applicable gratuities. Call 800-236-1577

The Bluewater Kings Band will be performing in the Governor’s Hall beginning at 6pm.

Proper attire is requested. Must be 18 yrs or older to attend with a valid ID.

New Year’s Eve Governors’ Hall Party Flyer including menu: http://www.grandtraverseresort.com/d/grandtraverse/media/PDFs/Promotions/NYE Dec 2013 flyer.pdf

Children’s Activities on New Years Eve:

*For children 6-14 yrs. please call the Health Club to register at 231-534-6788. The cost is $40 per child, 6pm-1am. Activities include a variety of games, art & crafts, pizza party, & balloon drop at midnight. Children must register in advance.

For younger children, ages 3 months-6 years please call the Resort’s Cub House daycare to register at 231-534-6780. Cub House rates are $8.50 per hour per child for Resort guests.

To reserve a New Year’s Eve package, purchase New Year’s Eve a la carte tickets, register for children’s activities, and for more information, call Grand Traverse Resort and Spa at 800-236-1577. Or visit www.grandtraverseresort.com

Rock In New Years Eve at Leelanau Sands & Turtle Creek Casinos:  800-922-2WIN

Leelanau Sands: Over $20,000 in giveaways from 9pm-2am. Win your share of $15,000 in e-credits. Winners will be randomly awarded $500 via hot seats!  Table game players will win a share of $5,000 in chips. Players will be randomly awarded $500 in chips.

Win Rocking Gemstones from 8pm-midnight!  We are giving away white gold, emerald, ruby, & sapphire jewelry from James C. Smith Jewelry in Traverse City.

Turtle Creek Casino: Over $35,000 in giveaways from 9pm-2am. Win rocking gemstones from 8am-midnight!

Dining: Bourbon 72-Open 4pm-10pm

Seasons Buffet-Open 4pm-11pm

Live Entertainment:

Turtle Creek Casino-Level 3 Lounge-Mac Daddy, Sierra Shame.

Leelanau Sands Casino-Phase 5 performs in the showroom from 9pm-1am.

Great Wolf Lodge:  Join us to celebrate New Year’s Eve from 9pm-midnight.

New Years Eve Buffet: Welcome the New Year in style with a Grand Buffet at Camp Critter Bar and Grill Serving from 4-10pm. Adults-$26.99, 11-15 yrs-$15.99, 4-10 yrs. 8.99, under 3 yrs are free. Reservations recommended (231) 941-3600

West Bay Beach a Holiday Inn Resort: 615 East Front Street, Traverse City

New Year’s Eve Party-Shimmers Night Club

Ring in the New Year with us-starting at 9pm.

Dinner for Two: $110. Seating at 5:30pm and 8pm. Four course dinner served in our newly appointed “Suttons Bay Room”.  Includes free admission into the Shimmers on the Bay NYE. Party.

Shimmers on the Bay NYE Party: $15 per person

Celebrate New Year’s Eve in style from 9pm-2am. Party hosted by DJ Shawny D.  Featuring two live bands: “Soul Celebration” and “Twice Shy”. Live count down coverage from Times Square shown on all six televisions and a balloon drop and champagne toast at midnight. You must be 21 years old with a valid ID. Call 231-947-3700 for more information.

New Year’s Day Breakfast Buffet: $15 per person

Open 9am-12pm. Featuring an Omelet Station, Belgian Waffles, Bloody Mary’s and Mimosas.

New Year’s Day: In Shimmers On the Bay: Open 1pm-8pm. Rose Bowl coverage, free appetizers at half-time, drink specials.

Room packages are available! Call-231-947-3700.

Shanty Creek Resorts: Free Skiing & Fireworks

Piano Wars Dinner Show- Lakeview Hotel Grand Ballroom. An evening including hilarious comedy bits, sing-a-longs, crazy props and costumes. Doors open at 6:30pm, show starts at 8pm: Adults $49, Seniors $47, Kids 5-12 yrs. $20, under 4yrs. free. DJ after the show until 1am. Seating is limited. Call 231-533-7084 for reservations.

Free night skiing at Summit Mountain from 6:30pm-11pm. Fireworks over the mountain after midnight.

Night Skiing at Schuss Mountain until 10pm. Torchlight parade at midnight!

Rock in the 2013 New Year at Ivan’s Mountainside Grill in Schuss Village. Live entertainment by Lester Bangs from pm-1am. Adults only- doors open at 9pm. Dinner is available for an additional charge. No reservations are necessary.

ParkShore Resort: New Year’s Eve Package Menu

1401 US 31 North, Traverse City   1-877-349-8898

Dance the year away in the ParkShore Lounge.  Join our DJ spinning the hottest tunes from 9pm-2am.

Dining package: Steak & Lobster dinner for two-$35 a person

Lodging Package: One night’s accommodations $169.99-$199.99 (including taxes), In-room New Year’s party favors, champagne toast in the lounge at midnight.

Inside Out Gallery-In the Warehouse District, will host a “Swingin’ String’ New Year’s Eve” party with musical guests Bill Strings, Don Julin and The True Falsettos from 8pm until 1am.  A $10 admission included all entertainment, cash bar, cash food buffet and a midnight toast.  Tickets are available at the door (if not sold out) or in advance at Inside Out Gallery and Oryana Natural Foods Market.

Southside Hide Out-Jack Daniel’s New Year’s Eve Party.  Free Jack Daniel’s giveaways all night long! Champagne toast at midnight. Free concert at 9pm with Brian Lorente …plus great food and Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel drink specials all night!

620 W. Wexford Ave., Buckley.  231-269-3738

Festival of Trains

Delightful and imaginative working model train layouts fill several rooms at the History Center of Traverse City. Cost is $5 per guest (free for ages 4yrs. & under). Open Mon.-Sat, 10am-7pm, Sun. Noon-4pm. Christmas Eve 10am-4pm, closed Christmas Day. Open New Years Eve 10am-4pm, closed on New Years Day. Family Pass is $30. 231-995-0313, 322 Sixth St. Traverse City.

Lucky Jack’s- Space is limited. Call for reservations. 231-947-2610

Family Party-5:30-8:30pm, one lane unlimited bowling, shoes, pizza & pop!

Party for Adults-9pm-1am, one lane unlimited bowling, shoes, pizza, pop, party favors, Glow Bowl & champagne at midnight!

Streeters: Three parties for only $10. Doors open at 9pm. Tickets $10 per person (includes one beverage between 9-10pm) for both parties, plus party Favors, hors d’oeuvres & a champagne toast! Advance tickets include your first drink. Complimentary party favors, champagne toast & breakfast buffet.

Party #1- Live Rock Stage-From 8pm-2am. Rock in the New Year with the Rock 105 staff as Evershine & Special guests perform The Top Hits in rock music on the Streeters Café Stage.

Party #2-Club Country- From 8pm-2am. Dance the night away & cruise into The New Year with Club WTCM. Featuring WTCM’s own Steveo mixing The Top Country Hits.

Party #3-Top 40 Dance Club- From 9pm-3am. Join Z93 Todays Best Hits & host Ron Pritchard. Ring in the New Year at northern Michigan’s largest NYE Dance Club Party, Featuring DJ Fade & DJ DomiNate.

1669 S. Garfield Ave., Traverse City, 231-932-1300, www.GroundZeroOnline.com

Mt Holiday: The new Zip Line is open! Holiday hours: 12pm-7pm.  $15 for one time or $25 for two rides.  New Year’s Eve Tubing Special- Open tubing 9pm-12am, $25 per person-reservations preferred. Special New Year’s Eve menu in the restaurant.


Brewery Ferment: Happy Hour from 4-6pm and 10pm-close!  Free prize popcorn!

Ring in the new year with friends, fun and local craft beer!  511 S. Union Street, Traverse City, 231-735-8113.



Apache Trout Grill: Special menu selections.

13671 S. West Bay Shore Dr., Traverse City, 231-947-7079

Amical: Downtown Traverse City

Open 11am-11pm, Full! Not accepting reservations. The patio is open on a first in, first served basis. (231) 941-8888.

Bluebird, The: Leland

Special menu, Open 5-9pm, reservations are recommended. Call 256-9081

Blue Tractor Cook House: Union Street, Downtown Traverse City

Dining specials from 11am-11pm.  Reservations are not required.231-922-9515

Boathouse, The: 14039 Peninsula Drive

New Year’s Eve Celebration. Open 4pm-5pm for Early Bird seating (3 course meal for $30) Seating from 5pm or 5:30pm. Limited seating available. Regular dinner menu starts at 6pm-11pm. Reservations preferred call 223-4030.

New Years Day Brunch- Open 11am-3pm. Our award winning brunch with over 60 items. Adults-$24.95, kids-$14.95

Firefly: Cass Street, Downtown Traverse City

Open 11am-2am. Full menu served until close. Small plate/big plate/bubbly/wine & Drink specials. Reservations recommended (231) 932-1310

Harbor 22-Special menu. 12917 SW. Bayshore Drive, 231-922-2114

Jolly Pumpkin: Behind Mission Table

Open noon-10pm. Select from the regular menu. (231) 223-4333, jollypumpkin.com

KilKenny’s: Live music by Alter Ego from 9:30-1:30am. Party favors & champagne toast. Cover charge-$5. 400 W. Front St., 231-941-7527

Maddy’s Tavern: 9205 US 31 South

Open 11:30am-11pm. Full menu served until close.  Reservations are recommended (231) 276-6244.

North Peak Brewing Company: Downtown Traverse City

 Open until midnight. Reservations recommended (231) 941-7325

Old Mission Tavern: Serving a special four course dinner & regular menu selections. Open 5pm-9pm. Reservations are recommended. Call 231-223-7280. 17015 Center Road.

Phil’s on Front: Downtown Traverse City

Serving breakfast from Midnight-2am. Entertainment-Marian Pico & a cast of many! (231) 929-1710.

Poppycock’s: Downtown Traverse City

Serving special menu selections. Call for reservations. 231-941-7632.

Red Ginger:  Downtown Traverse City

Special menu: This year’s offering is a three course Pre-Fixe menu for $55 per person along with plenty of extras available a la carte. Limited availability. Call 231-944-1733

Reflect Restaurant- Cambria Suites.

New Year’s Eve-Breakfast- 6am-10am and serving dinner from 5pm-11pm.

New Year’s Day- Breakfast 6am-10am, dinner from 5-10pm.

The Towne Plaza-Four course prix fixe menu with a glass of bubbles & optional wine pairing. Reservations recommended. Call 231-929-0900. 202 E. State Street, Traverse City

Trattoria Stella: Building 50, Grand Traverse Commons

Full! Not accepting reservations.