By Greg Johnson
The Benzie County Visitors Bureau, which is a nonprofit organization working to promote the county and region for tourism businesses and visitors, announced earlier this month it will be now known as Make It Benzie.
While it may be the smallest county in Michigan, Benzie is big on golf, tourism, and fun. Not only are there two major rivers that flow throughout the country, but also there are more than 50 lakes, and it borders Lake Michigan to the West. Benzie County is also home to Crystal Mountain Resort in Thompsonville, Michigan: one of the top golf and skiing destinations in the region.
The Benzie County Visitors Bureau stated the county “exudes a friendly and approachable personality with a modern, hip vibe.” With unique wineries, breweries, and distilleries within its border and surrounding the county, visitors often describe it as a place that is beautiful and tranquil.
From water skiing, snowboarding, boating, and hang gliding off the bluffs, to accessible brew pubs, wineries, distilleries, and eateries, Benzie County offers guests all the modern amenities—wireless and ATMs—visitors need and love while on vacation, while also providing a respite from routine.
For vacationing golfers, there are two courses at Crystal Mountain, which is a resort hub of activity for sports, entertainment, art, and dining.
The award-winning resort features downhill skiing and snowboarding in the winter; and golfing, hiking, biking, and water adventure when the weather turns warmer. It recently completed an $11 million, 31,200-square-foot expansion comprising about 25 deluxe hotel suites, a specialty market featuring gourmet food and wine, a coffee and wine bar, and a rooftop terrace.
Crystal Mountain also is home to the award-winning Crystal Spa, Michigan’s only Alpine Slide, the Park at Water’s Edge, Michigan Legacy Art Park, and an IACC-approved conference center for meetings, conferences, weddings, and banquets.
For 14 years the Mountain Ridge course has been the home of the Michigan PGA Women’s Open Championship, a 54-hole event that features Michigan’s best professional players as well as those from other states in the Open format. The Michigan PGA Women’s Open Pro-Am is held the weekend before the championship, which this year is June 24-27. Crystal Mountain offers various stay-and-packages, and special opportunities for guests looking to walk the pedestrian-friendly village.
As for Make it Benzie, the organization indicated the county includes many destinations. For instance there is Coastal Suites Resort, a getaway property near Crystal Lake; Stormcloud Brewing Company, recently named the No. 1 Best New Brewery in Michigan by two media groups; and Area 31, a new gathering place with unique food trucks and craft, vendors, and flea markets. Some new restaurants have been added to the array of dining options in the county such as Jim’s Joint BBQ, which was named the people’s choice award winner for best new restaurant in the county in 2017.
“There’s a real love affair with Northern Michigan and all it has to offer, making Benzie County the place to be for the perfect vacation,” said Mary Carroll, president of Make it Benzie. “No matter what type of vacation visitors are looking for—majestic beaches, lots of blue water and sky, abundant exciting outdoor recreation, stunning natural beauty, a relaxed vibe, modern and sophisticated shops, great restaurants, and comfortable lodging—Benzie has all the amenities to satisfy everyone’s interests and needs.”
Coinciding with its new branded name, Make It Benzie is offering a vacation getaway package for visitors who stay two consecutive nights at one of several participating lodging locations between Memorial Day Weekend and October 31, 2018. The summer and fall vacation package called Benzie Treasure Trove has a $300 value with over 20 free gifts and value priced offerings.