As spring unfolds, it’s time to get the knots and kinks of winter out of our system. Benzie County is a place where natural beauty comes alive with wildflowers, thousands of birds, and artistic exploration. Luxurious spa experiences are also at their finest and very affordable.
From April 1 through May 15, 2017, the Crystal Spa at Crystal Mountain will offer Spa Days with select massage, body and facial services starting at just $69. Crystal Spa, a 18,500-square-foot, Leed-Certified oasis at the heart of Crystal Mountain honors the art and natural beauty of northern Michigan in a setting that awakens and inspires. Within the comforts of this elegant retreat, Crystal Spa guests enjoy a welcoming, attentive staff and complimentary Eucalyptus steam rooms, infrared saunas, an indoor relaxation lounge, and a mosaic hot tub garden as part of the Spa Days experience. Spa Days special pricing includes a Cactus Cooler Body treatment, Deep Tissue massage, Relaxation Massage, Quiet Mind Massage, Eight Greens Facial and Goodness Greens Pedicure.
Benzie County’s bird migration and wildflowers will also be in full swing. With its rolling hills covered by forests and fields, numerous lakes, ponds, rivers, streams, marshes, and a long coastline along Lake Michigan, Benzie County is ideally situated for migrating birds and blooming wildflowers.
From early April until mid-May over one hundred species of birds will be making their way to and through Benzie County. In the past, as many as 168 species have been reported in one day by area bird societies. Benzie County has also had the highest bird count reported of any other county in northern Michigan. Public locations for bird sightings include Point Betsie and Elberta’s Marsh and Betsie Bay with sightings of waterfowl – loons and long-tailed ducks, Sandhill Cranes, American Bitterns, Sedge Wrens and Willow Flycatchers. Woodland species in the spring that can be sighted along Peterson Road in Northern Benzie County include Hermit Thrushes, Common Nighthawks. Blackburnian, Yellow-rumped and Pine Warblers and Olive-sided Flycatchers.
Numerous natural areas in Benzie County reveal beautiful wildflowers – trillium, jack-in-the pulpit, lady slippers and pitchers thistle. And, for those who possess luck and a keen eye, edible wild morel mushrooms and leeks can be found in Benzie County’s woods and forests corresponding to spring’s seasonal temperatures.
Art is also alive in Benzie County in the springtime. The spring season allows ease to explore unique galleries within the town of Frankfort, and villages of Beulah, Benzonia, and nearby Empire. Among the many noteworthy galleries are those where artists are in residence including Ellie Harold Fine Art (located in the artist’s home!), Focus Gallery with stunning photography by Drew Smith, and State of the Art Framing and Gallery featuring the creations of ArtPrize winners Ann and Steve Loveless. A trip to Benzie County wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the historic studio of Gwen Frostic, well-known Northern Michigan artist who made the Benzie County area famous with her nature inspired artwork. Another exquisite Empire gallery is Sleeping Bear Gallery with works by many Northern Michigan and Midwest artists. The Elizabeth Lane Oliver Center for the Arts in Frankfort, located along the Betsie Bay and just steps from Lake Michigan, also features art exhibitions by Northern Michigan artists, as well as classes, workshops and a gift shop. There is even an outdoor art exhibit along the nature walk at the Michigan Legacy Art Park within the grounds of Crystal Mountain. The Art Park, located on a densely wooded 30-acre preserve, includes 1.6 miles of hiking trails and features over 50 sculptures, poetry stones and an outdoor amphitheater where, in the summer months, a concert series is held. Admission is $5 per adult, children and Crystal Mountain Houseguests can explore for free.
After spa-ing, nature walks and art inspired journeys, take in some of the memorable watering holes – Benzie County’s St Ambrose Cellars, Stormcloud Brewing Company, Lake Ann Brewing Company or Iron Fish Distillery. Then settle in at one of many unique cozy restaurants in Benzie County to make your relaxing journey complete. Among the many unique and locally owned restaurants, food is inspiring at Stormcloud Brewing Company and the Fusion in Frankfort, The Cabbage Shed in Elberta, Cold Creek Inn in Beulah, Roadhouse Mexican Bar and Grill in Benzonia, Platte River Inn in Honor, and the Thistle Pub and Grille at Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville.
There are many lodging choices in Benzie County, including quaint cottages, cozy cabins, inns, motels and condos. For an entire listing see www.visitbenzie.com. For assistance with lodging choices, call the Benzie County Visitors Bureau at 800-882-5801.
General Information about Benzie County
Benzie County is a perfect vacation getaway with quaint towns and villages such as Frankfort, Elberta, Honor, Thompsonville, Beulah, Benzonia, and Lake Ann plus the majestic Crystal Lake. Benzie County has spectacular beaches, miles of biking and walking trails, views of Lake Michigan, and great restaurants and shops. Perfectly situated along the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Benzie County has nearly 30 miles of Lake Michigan coastline, 57 inland lakes, approximately 200 miles of rivers, and 22 miles for biking along the Betsie Valley Trail. Outdoor activities in the spring, summer and fall include fishing, golfing, biking, hiking, running, kayaking, and more.
Benzie County is only 130 miles north of Grand Rapids, 235 miles north of Detroit, 290 miles north of Chicago, 295 miles north of Fort Wayne and 380 miles north of Indianapolis. Plan a couple of days or more and get a true flavor of the relaxed pace and exquisite natural beauty of Benzie County.