While some of the state, and a variety of businesses have begun to reopen, most events remain canceled amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. However, that does not mean there aren’t plenty of unique and entertaining things to this month. As usual, here are a dozen of our favorites.
Hit the Links
Golf courses reopened in May and now golf carts are back too. Michigan’s $4.2 billion industry took a pretty big hit with the loss of spring sessions so getting out on the course is not only a safe, relaxing way to recreate, it’s downright patriotic. At least that’s a good excuse if you catch any grief from those who think you’re wasting time. There are more than 650 public courses in the state from which to choose.
Participate in Virtual Chalk Festival
Taking art to the streets, the Northville Art House presents the 2020 Virtual Chalk Festival now until June 19. Artists of all ages are invited to transform their neighborhood sidewalks and driveways into chalk art filled with color and imagination using dry, wet, and/or spray chalk. Over $350 in prizes will be awarded to 4 winners through juried and public selections in each division: Children’s (ages 0-12) and Teen and Adult (ages 13 and older). The registration fee is $5 for the first artist and $3 for each additional artist with up to 5 artists on a single-entry form. A limited supply of chalk is available for curbside pick-up at the Northville Art House.
Join Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s River Front Run
Exercise may be more important than ever during this time of social distancing, so the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s Riverfront Run is going virtual. Proceeds benefit the nonprofit organization that works to maintain the banks of the Detroit River as a beautiful, safe, exciting space to gather. Participants are invited to run or walk streets, paths, tracks and treadmills all throughout Metro Detroit. Each participant receives a performance T-shirt, a commemorative medal and a bib, and must complete his/her 5K or 10K between June 15 and July 15. Runners and walkers can submit race times and photos online to win Detroit Riverfront Conservancy-branded merchandise. The cost to participate is $40.
Dine Al Fresco
Outdoor dining is always popular at this time of year, but even more so this month. Restaurants have been given the go ahead to reopen, but with limited capacity. Plus, many customers feel more comfortable with the idea of public dining outside, while we still grapple with COVID-19. To that end, many communities have granted additional outdoor dining space permits, cleared sidewalks, and even closed some streets to allow for more dining outside. The effort increases capacity for hard-hit eateries to feed more people, while keeping safe distances. Plus, it’s just a lot of fun to gather with some loved ones and dine in the great outdoors, while being served food that someone else cooked!
Get Out on a Boat
If you’re fortunate enough to have a boat of your own, invite some friends to hop aboard. Pick up a carry-out from a local eatery and make a day of it. If you’re not a captain or crew member of your own vessel, fear not, opportunity abounds by the middle of the month. The Tall Ship Manitou and its partner, Scout, began setting sail right around Memorial Day. You can take a trip across Lake Michigan on the SS. Badger beginning June 12. Soo Locks boat tours resume on June 15. Star Line and Shepler’s have already begun ferry service with cruises soon to follow.
Take in a Detroit History Bedtime Story
This is a really interesting and fun idea created by the Detroit History Club. Put on your jammies, gather around a device, and fall asleep to some fascinating tales about the Motor City. Stories unfold nightly on the group’s Facebook page at 8pm. If you’re late to the party, don’t worry, you can catch up on all the tales by watching the series of now over 80 videos that dive into local legends and obscure, but true facts.
Volunteer to Protect Our Great Outdoors
One of the safest and most spectacular places to be right now is outside enjoying our state’s magnificent flora and fauna. While you’re out, you can also do some good. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is constantly looking for volunteers to help conserve our state’s natural beauty and resources. You can participate in cleanup activities, plant trees, report invasive species, observe wildlife, become a guide, and much more. Volunteer opportunities can be found on the DNR website.
Head to Mackinac Island
The gem of the straits, like most tourist destinations, is off to a slow start with the cancellation of the annual Mackinac Policy Conference, but the Lilac Festival is still slated for June 5-14. Many events associated with the fest have been altered or deleted, but the lilacs are still blooming and so is the enthusiasm to welcome guests back for a season unlike any other. With ample biking, hiking, golf, and a bevy of outdoor experiences, it’s the perfect place to disconnect from the news and reconnect with some serenity. The Grand Hotel plans to open on June 21. Other businesses are opening before or after, so it is a good idea to check with your favorites in advance to know what to expect.
Taste Some Michigan Wine
While there’s nothing quite like conversing with winemakers when trying the fruits of their labor, winetasting can be done many ways this summer. Buy several bottles, make your own tasting note sheets, and invite some friends over, for a socially-distanced tasting. Many wineries have also now reopened if you prefer a more authentic experience. Check with the winery you intend to visit before departing to determine if a reservation is necessary since capacity is limited for safety.
Buy from Farmers Markets
Stores have remained open for the purchase of groceries, but not all food and beverage products made or grown in the state were distributed to those stores. Some were destined for restaurants that canceled orders, while others were only ever meant to be sold at local farmers markets. Most of those markets are now up and running at least for curbside pick-up, and many have returned to in-person shopping. There’s never been a more important summer to spend dollars at your community’s local market to support our farmers and small-batch makers. Consult the Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) website for options near you or your summer travel destinations. Buy veggies, eat from a food truck, pick up some salsa and jam, or treat yourself to a new candle or skincare product. Show up, socialize and spend.
Jump in a Canoe
Well, maybe ease yourself into a canoe, rather than jumping, or you could land in the drink. One of the things many of us have been reminded of during this pandemic is the joy that comes with simple activities done on our own or in the company of friends and family. Kayaks have become all the rage as of late, but when was the last time your crew got together for a canoe trip? Frustration and laughter are likely to overflow as you struggle to paddle and steer together, while staying in the boat. The Michigan Association of Paddlesport Providers has a website that makes it easy to find options near you, or at a location of your choosing around the state.
Get a Haircut
This is definitely not an item we ever thought we would put on a fun list of things to do around the state, but it’s amazing how much you can look forward to an errand once it’s been out of reach. Barber shops and salons around the state are slated to reopen on June 15, so there’s no more excuses for that “COVID cut” many of us have been sporting at the hands of an unskilled, but well-meaning, loved one. Wear a mask and tip big, if you’re able, to support these hard workers who have been kept from their craft for so long due to public health concerns.