Slide into Summer at Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa!
Or dive, jump, swim, climb, ride, hike, bike, golf, dine, or relax!Whatever your summer interests, Crystal Mountain will be sure to take good care of you and your family!
It was in March that I was searching for a family-friendly ski place to try out with our little kids during the off season.Well, when I happened upon Crystal Mountain’s website, I was blown away by what I saw for all of their summertime activities.Who knew, a ski resort in the summer?!Not only have I never been to a ski resort, I never would’ve considered them for a summer destination. We had to try this place out!
When we arrived, we immediately checked in and drove to our cottage at Water’s Edge.There was a parking spot reserved just for us and one next to it for a guest.We considered inviting family and friends to join us, and surely there would’ve been plenty of room, but for our first vacation like this and the only one we’d have before the girls start school, we wanted some special time with just the four of us.
The best way I can present this review is in sections, Lodging, Activities, and Dining...
The cottage was just perfect!Roomy, yet very cozy. Built within the past 10 years with all of the modern conveniences, but reminiscent of northern Michigan cottages of decades past.Downstairs was the Master suite, with a bath that included a whirlpool and two shower heads. There was a washer and dryer, a full kitchen, a large living room area with a flat screen tv and board games to play. I absolutely loved the gas fireplace, but my favorite was the screened-in porch with a view of the stream flowing through the backyard! If you prefer the full outdoors, there's even a deck. Upstairs was the kids’ room that included 5 beds (4 being a part of a bunk bed), a closet and a tv. There was also another bedroom with a king-size bed, and a bathroom with a shower. I loved the curved staircase!
Ours was a 3 bedroom cottage, but Crystal Mountain has a perfect place to relax for any size group or budget. Everything from hotel rooms, condos, suites, and bungalows, to 2 or 3 bedroom cottages, to townhomes and resort homes. A cottage or a house is a great choice if you have several families or friends coming together. The family sitting next to us at the outdoor movie said they were from Texas, Oregon, and Indiana, coming together at Crystal Mountain for some family bonding and summer fun.
The Chairlift Ride
The regular chairlift ride wasn’t operating on the days of our stay, but we still got plenty of rides with our alpine slide passes.You take a chairlift to the top of the mountain and then the only way down is to either slide or run.It was a beautiful ride to the top and very neat to look down on the village.From the top of the hill you can see Lake Michigan to the west, Leelanau County to the north, and well into MI east, and south.
Tip:Don’t wear shoes that could fall off on the chairlift ride!
The Alpine Slide Crystal Coaster
The Alpine Slide was the very first thing that caught my attention on Crystal Mountain’s website!Sledding down a mountain on a 1700 foot long slide, how cool is that?!We went down at least ten times and after every single ride, the kids were chanting “Again, Again!”If you are in the area, you have to try the slide at least once.If you can fit it into your budget and have the time, I highly recommend getting the day pass.The first couple of times we were extra cautious cruising down with the kids, but the more we did it, the more comfortable we became and the more excited we were to figure out a way to go faster!Tip:Talk with the staff, they know all the secrets!Rumor has it that the record for number of times going down in one day was around 76, set by two teenage boys last summer.Let me know if you beat it!
Waiting to go up.
At the top!
The Water Park
It’s been a very cool start to the summer, so we were feeling disappointed when we thought the water might be too cold for the kids, but with the air temp in the 70’s, and looking at all the fun stuff, the kiddos jumped right in without an ounce of hesitation! We hung out there for a few hours each day enjoying the pool, playground, sandbox, and hot tub.There was a good-sized shallow area for the little ones, with a playground in the middle of it that had a slide just their size.Next to the shallow pool were the lilypads to climb across and then the deeper pool which had a volleyball net set up, along with basketball hoops.
The Vertical Edge Climbing Wall
Although my husband has done this sport many times (prior to kids), this would be my first. And what a great place to get the family started on it! I was surprised not only could the four year-old do the climbing wall, but also the two year-old! They took to it like pros and the staff was super friendly and helpful! We each had a double pass, which was great because after a minute or two of rest from the first time up, everybody was ready to do it again, this time challenging themselves a bit more. It was neat that I got to go right along side my daughter!
Michigan Legacy Art Park
After an exhilarating day of sliding, swimming, and climbing, we still had a full evening of activities ahead of us. We were off to go hiking and discover some art along the way. I had no idea what to expect and what the kids would think of it, but it was quite astounding!
An artist's rendition of a bird's nest and pictures of how they made it.
Every day, Crystal Mountain has new daily activities that you can partake in. We attended a Luau, played field games, got our faces painted, ate popcorn and watched an outdoor movie. Some of the the activities have an extra fee, many don't.
You can check out movies or board games, rent everything from strollers to fat tire bikes, roast marshmallows at a campfire, get in a game of Laser Tag, practice fly-fishing, tye-dye a shirt, make a tube of candy, play at Frankly Fun Park (Playground), or even book an adventure like kayaking or tubing. There's so much to discover!
Events are on going, but one of the most exciting is coming up with Independence Day! Crystal Mountain will be celebrating all week long, but on July 3, 2013, they are turning the place into "Main Street USA" and will have a carnival the entire family can enjoy and fireworks over the mountain at dusk.
Delectable! Beautiful settings and delicious platters! The first night, we had some extra time before making it to the campfire, so we ate on the patio at The Thistle Pub & Grill. I don't have pictures from there, because we my mind was so set on tasting, versus preserving in photographs. My husband ordered the seafood plate, I the bruschetta, and the girls ordered a petite steak with potatoes and vegetables, and the spaghetti and meatballs off of the kids menu. I read the food reviews before coming, so I knew everything was going to be great. We topped the meals off with creme brulee and berry cheesecake. Let me just say Yum! Tip: Take leftovers home and heat up the next day for lunch in your cottage!
The second night, we needed to grab some food on the run, so we ordered a pizza and chicken wings from Little Betsie Bistro. I left my family at the cottage to walk and pick it up, and nobody could believe how fast I returned. Everything is a 5 minute or less walk. How I would love to live like that all of the time!
For breakfast both days, we enjoyed the hot breakfast buffet at the Wild Tomato where kids under 8 eat free until 11am.
There's plenty of other dining options as well, serving up summertime favorites, we just ran out of time.
An experience that is going to be built upon and passed down for generations to come...
It's obvious that Crystal Mountain strives to hire and maintain only the friendliest staff. There were opportunities around the mountain to leave a card acknowledging an employee that went above and beyond. I left a card stating that every single person, from corporate, to dining, to recreation, went out of their way to make sure this was going to be our best vacation ever! Many of the employees are grown children from parents and grandparents that have been visiting Crystal Mountain over the years.
Out of all the travels that I have done, Crystal Mountain is by far at the top of the list! It's somewhere that I pictured in my head, but didn't know it actually existed until experiencing it this past week. It's everything I that dreamed of, all in one - relaxation and adventure, surrounded by the beautiful great outdoors. The memories will be cherished and traditions have been started.