• By CHRIS SMITH Illustration By LINDSAY HIBBARD

For a sportsman, winter can be a rough ride. Ice fishing or cross-country skiing can cast away the frozen blues only so much, but when temperatures plummet for weeks on end, getting outdoors becomes a chore instead of a favorite.

  • Photos by TESSA LIGHTY

Kids — of all ages — packed Traverse City Central High School’s auditorium this March for the annual “Disney and Desserts” fundraiser for the school’s choir programs. The event features choreographed and costumed performances of Disney favorites, meet-and-greet characters, face painting and a long table full of treats.

  • LIST PROVIDED BY HORIZON BOOKS

THE BACKYARD ORCHARDIST — By Stella Otto: For novice and experienced fruit gardeners alike, this has been the go-to book for home orchardists for over two decades. (Plus more)

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  • Story by STEPHANIE BRZEZINSKI Photos by STEVEN BLAIR and MACKINAC ISLAND TOURISM BUREAU

Spring officially began in March, but Mackinac Island kicks off the season with its annual Lilac Festival in June.

  • Story By MARTA HEPLER DRAHOS Photos By TESSA LIGHTY and JOHN L. PARKER

Old Mission Congregational Church is the quintessential country church. The Michigan State Historic Site — built in 1891 at the end of Traverse City’s Old Mission Peninsula — features paned windows, whitewashed siding and a graceful steeple. During the summer the church’s three rows of pews fill for the Sunday service. But winter can draw as few as 20 to 40 faithful.

  • By BROOKE KANSIER Photos By TESSA LIGHTY

TRAVERSE CITY — Some Traverse area bars are getting a little bitter — and customers are loving it.

  • By KATHY GIBBONS

Writing this article on making pasta, I couldn’t help but think about my first encounters with pasta-making in my grandma’s kitchen.

  • Story by SALLY BARBER Photos by JAN-MICHAEL STUMP

Spring arrives in the woodlands with a burst of wildflowers. Baby birds, rabbits and deer arrive on the scene — fragile, innocent and beautiful.

The Big Little Hero Race — fun run at 9 a.m. and 5K and 10K at 9:30 a.m. — is April 21 at Northwestern Michigan College Main Campus — West Hall. (Plus more)

  • Essay by CHRIS SMITH Illustration by LINDSAY HIBBARD

“Hey Y’all, watch this!” is a line I should have been credited with. I believe Jeff Foxworthy coined the phrase, making millions while I, the true author of that great one-liner, remained behind, in a snowdrift of debt and despair.

For anyone who has ever wanted to try cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and fat biking, Winter Trails Day provides a free introduction led by volunteer experts in winter communities across the country. This year’s Winter Trails Day at Timber Ridge Resort featured free trail access, introductory ski lessons, fat bike demonstrations, guided snowshoe hikes and equipment rentals for those ready to try a new winter sport. Photos by Tessa Lighty.

Before asphalt and pavement, competitive cross-country running took place on grass, snow and ice, dirt trails and farmland. The Farmland 5k Run hearkens back to the sport’s European traditions with a nod to the new with a Free For All Bike race on a Traverse City farm. Photos by Jan-Michael Stump.

  • Story by STEPHANIE BRZEZINSKI Photos by Cadillac Area Visitors Bureau

Joy Liptak VanDrie, who was born and raised in Cadillac, said her family likes to get out in the snow — whether on skis or a snowmobile.

DEATH COMES TO THE RECTOR: By David Hall — The Rev. Dr. Daniel Henricks is shocked to learn that the police have called his best friend’s death on Easter Sunday morning a suicide, leaving Danny with unanswered questions.

  • As told to KATHY GIBBONS Photos by JAN-MICHAEL STUMP

Position: Owner/operator of MI Market in Suttons Bay, which is focused on local Michigan-made food items.

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  • Story by KATHY GIBBONS Photos by JAN-MICHAEL STUMP

Bellaire restaurants take turns claiming bragging rights in annual soup cook-off that feeds 600. One year Toonies Fish and Steakhouse takes the prize. The next, it’s The Pelican’s Nest.

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  • Story by SALLY BARBER Photos by JAN-MICHAEL STUMP

Alison Goss’ snowshoe affair began four years ago with a dare from friends. One month after strapping on snowshoes for the first time she was the top woman finisher in the annual Traverse City 5k Bigfoot Race — and had a new favorite winter activity.

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  • STORY BY STEPHANIE BRZEZINSKI PHOTOS BY CAROL LOCEY and the MANISTEE COUNTY VISITORS BUREAU

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, sleigh bells ringing and holiday caroling are all part of the annual Victorian Sleighbell Parade and Old Christmas Weekend in Manistee from Nov. 30 through Dec. 3.

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  • BY KATHY GIBBONS PHOTOS BY JAN-MICHAEL STUMP

Just when you think you can’t make one more run to the grocery store or yet again turn on the oven, mess up the kitchen or clean the house for company, along comes New Year’s Eve.

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  • STORY BY ALLISON BATDORFF PHOTOS BY JAN-MICHAEL STUMP

There are some seasonal illnesses to which some are immune. The holidays set symptoms in motion:

‘Wait Until Dark’; Into the Arctic; Guided Walking History Tour. (Plus more)

This year's summer Harbor Days served up the usual festival fare — games, rides, contests, food and fun — but added a new twist — a tornado. The National Weather Service reported that a small tornado touched down in Birch Lake, a few miles from Elk Rapids' downtown, festivalgoers took cover and no damage was reported.

The summer marked the 50th Annual Northwest Michigan Engine & Thresher Club Show. The Old Engine Show’s golden anniversary featured Lily Pearl’s Square dancing Tractors, expanded exhibits of International Harvester Collections, scale model tractors, and steam traction engines. Photos by JAN-MICHAEL STUMP.

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  • Story by STEPHANIE BRZEZINSKI

In the mid-1960s, two businessmen visited Switzerland and set out to transform Gaylord’s Main Street into what Otsego County Historical Society Executive Director Jim Akans called “Swiss with a Bavarian touch.”

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  • By SALLY BARBER Photos by DAN NIELSEN

Chilly autumn weather summons sweaters which haven’t seen the light of day for months. Slip one on, pour a cup of hot chocolate and chew on this yarn of an East Jordan family’s serendipitous journey to success.

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  • By KATHY GIBBONS Photos by TESSA LIGHTY

Name: Chris Day. Position: Executive chef, Poppycocks, Traverse City.

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  • BY CYMBRE FOSTER Photos by KATY BATDORFF

Since you only live once, you might as well live adventurously, says Traverse City entrepreneur Heather Harrington.

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  • BY CODY SOVIS Record-Eagle photos

If you’ve got a calendar handy, consider pulling it out and counting the weeks between Aug. 13 and Nov. 4.

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  • BY SALLY BARBER PHOTOS BY TESSA LIGHTY and JAN-MICHAEL STUMP

Great picnic sites abound throughout the area whether for the quickie lunch, the leisurely alfresco afternoon or a romantic outdoor feast.

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  • STORY BY DANIELLE WOODWARD PHOTOS BY TESSA LIGHTY

Summertime at St. Ambrose Cellar keeps the Beulah tasting room abuzz with customers looking for their honey fix in a tall glass of cider, beer or good old-fashioned mead.

GT Scene video

Low Bar General Manager Josef Hess demonstrates how to make a Bourbon Smash at the Low Bar in Traverse City. Record-Eagle video by Erin Sloan

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