Letters

Letters 12-14-2014

Come Together There is a time-honored war strategy known as “divide and conquer,” and never has it been more effective than now. The enemy is using it against us through television, internet and other social media. I opened a Facebook account a couple of years back to gain more entries in local contests. Since then I had fallen under its spell; I rushed into judgment on several social issues based on information found on those pages

Quiet The Phones! This weekend we attended two beautiful Christmas musical events and the enjoyment of both were significantly diminished by self-absorbed boors holding their stupid iPhones high overhead to capture extremely crucial and highly needed photos. We too own iPhones, but during a public concert we possess the decency and manners to leave them turned off and/or at home. Today’s performance, the annual Messiah Sing at Traverse City’s Central Methodist Church, was a new low: we watched as Mr. Self-Absorbed not only took several photos but then afterwards immediately posted them to his Facebook page. We were dumbfounded.

A Torturous Defense In defense of the C.I.A.’s use of torture in a mostly fruitless search for vital information, some suggest that the dire situation facing us after 9-11, justified the use of torture even at the expense of the potential loss of much of our nation’s moral authority.

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Offbeat Winter

Melissa Fruge - December 8th, 2008
The nights are dark and the days are often gray… welcome to winter in Northern Michigan. This year the snow arrived early and it seems to be sticking. Some of us can’t wait for Old Man Winter to arrive; we’ve been waiting since early spring to break out the skis and hit the slopes again… But if the thought of strapping two sticks on your feet and hurling yourself down an icy hill at breakneck speeds is less than appealing, fear not. There are other ways to while away the winter besides downhill skiing. Check out these offbeat ideas to add zest to the season:

Rent a Snowmobile
Snowmobiling is one option, and a popular one too. There are more than 6,000 miles of trails in Michigan and chances are you live near one of them. Gaylord is a mecca of the snowmobiling world, with trails fanning out across the north, including a new 62-mile trail running all the way to Mackinaw City via Cheboygan.
If you don’t own a sled but want to feel the wind in your face, there are lots of places to rent one for the day, just check out www.michigan.org, which provides detailed maps and a list of businesses that rent snowmobiles. Both Boyne Mountain and Boyne Highland ski resorts rent sleds.

Snow Tubing
Maybe the kid in you is dying to get out and play in the fresh powder. Why not take a snow day and relive your childhood by grabbing a sled and finding the nearest hill?
The latest twist on sledding is the snow tube, which offers downhill thrills with a greater margin of safety than traditional sleds or toboggans.
Just west of Traverse City, families head to Timberlee Hills for a day of fun, whizzing down the hills on a snow tube. It’s $15 for a two hour pass, but that includes a break midway through to warm up and enjoy the other activities Timberlee has to offer like the Hilltop Hideaway, which serves up food and hot chocolate so you can recharge. Plus, as an added bonus you won’t wear yourself out trudging back up the hill because the handletow system brings you back to the top with ease.
In Boyne City, kids still flock to Avalanche Hill to see who has the guts to go all the way down from the top, while in Petoskey they go to the Winter Sports Park to find out who has the fastest bump jumper in town. Both cities run parks that offer more than just sledding; there are also outdoor ice rinks, warming huts and concession stands.
Additionally, both Boyne Highlands and Boyne Mountain both have tubing parks with three lanes of twisty, turny fun and a rope tow so you can easily haul yourself and your tube back up to the top. An all-day pass will cost you $20, and season pass holders can enjoy unlimited tubing at both resorts.

Dog Sledding
Boyne Highlands (in Harbor Springs) first partnered with Nature’s Kennel last year to bring Iditarod sled dogs to Northern Michigan. The dogs are back again this winter and rides will be offered from late December through March. The hour-long adventure includes a stop midway for hot cocoa and photos.

Water World
If you don’t feel like braving the cold, Boyne Mountain (in Boyne Falls) has your ticket. Dig out your bathing suit and spend the day splashing around Avalanche Bay, Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark. There are several waterslides, like the giant Super G and the Vertigo Cannonball tube, an indoor wet rock climbing wall, and wave pool. There’s even a floating basketball court.
At the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, you’ll find a new 15,000-square-foot Indoor Water Playground that includes a 16-foot-tall, 70-foot-long waterslide, along with a waterwalk, sprayground, and water basketball. Then there’s Traverse City’s premier waterpark, Great Wolf Lodge, with a mammoth facility open to hotel guests.

SPA
You can also relax and spend the day getting pampered at a spa, with facilities at virtually every ski resort in the region, along with the Grand Traverse Resort. And we’ve got some of the best: Solace Spa at Boyne Mountain, for instance, was named one of the world’s best by Spa Magazine, it also happens to be the largest spa resort in the state.
From detoxifying steam treatments to facials, soothing massages, and state of the art fitness centers, spas provide everything you need to recover from an exciting day outside.
Spa action is ‘heating up’ literally and figuratively in Northern Michigan. At Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, the new Crystal Spa and Fitness Center is set to open in January. The spa will offer 12 treatment rooms, infared saunas, a steam room, a meditation lounge and garden with a hot tub for relaxing soaks after searching for snowmen.

HIKES
If snowshoe trekking is your thing, check out the guided hikes every weekend at Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, or at the Grass River Nature Preserve in Bellaire. Many ski resorts also offer guided snowshoeing hikes, such as the Wild Wonders Moonlight Hike at Crystal Mountain, where you can spend the evening tromping through the woods waiting for owls and other nocturnal animals to begin their nightly activities. To find out more visit Crystal’s website
www.crystalmountain.com.


 
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