Get artsy in Rockford, save money on Mackinac Island and more Midwest travel tips

You can watch artists in action at Rockford's Spring ArtScene, April 12-13.
You can watch artists in action at Rockford’s Spring ArtScene, April 12-13.
(Rockford Area CVB)
Chicago Tribune

Here are some of the more interesting events, deals, websites and other travel tidbits that have come across our desk recently:

•Spring ArtScene, which takes place April 12-13 in Rockford, offers art lovers the opportunity to view the work of local artists at more than 40 locations. There will be showings at galleries and studios, of course, but also at restaurants, bars, stores and more. Some artists also will be demonstrating their craft.

•Lilac Tree Suites and Spa on Michigan’s Mackinac Island is offering a deal during May. Stay at least two consecutive nights and get a reduction of $52 on the second night. The price break is equal to the cost of two round-trip ferry tickets to the island. The offer is good May 12-17, 19-22 and 27. You must mention the Ferry Special when booking.

•The Dunes Learning Center in Chesterton, Ind., is sponsoring a one-day event called Dune Buggy Birding Tour: Kankakee Sands Birds and Bison. Scheduled for April 27, the tour will visit Kankakee Sands, a nature conservancy property that has had major restorations. As the title suggests, birds and bison will be among the critters to be observed. Pre-registration is advised.


•Chateau Chantal, an inn and winery in Traverse City, Mich., holds regular cooking classes throughout the year. Next up is a class April 6 focusing on Cajun Creole food. Pre-registration is mandatory for the hands-on classes.

•Galena, Ill., will hold its annual U.S. Grant Birthday Weekend on April 12-14. Organized by the Galena & U.S. Grant Museum, the event honors the Civil War general and U.S. president who lived in Galena at various points of his life. Among activities are the Grant Home Lamplight Tour, a state dinner and a Main Street walking tour with a Grant re-enactor.

•The popular Vera Bradley Annual Outlet Sale will be April 10-14 at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Ind. The event features 40 to 60 percent off the retail prices of Vera Bradley handbags, purses, totes, luggage and more.

•Eight of Ohio’s state parks have lodges, and they offer a variety of specials. Among the deals are Stays for A’s, which reduces the regular room rate by $10 for each A on a student’s report card, or Savvy Seniors, which has rates as low as $79 a night for those 65 or older on stays Sunday through Thursday. Check out all of the deals at


•The Lake Geneva Festival of Wine will be held April 5-7 at Grand Geneva Resort and Spa in Lake Geneva, Wis. The Grand Tasting will be April 6, and new events this year include a Blue Chip Wine Dinner and a Chef Lunch Demo. There will also be a variety of seminars and other activities. Tickets can be bought for individual events, and lodging packages are available.

•For a taste of the Caribbean, the Great Lakes Steelpan Festival will be held April 13 in Woodstock. Classes on the instrument that originated in Trinidad and Tobago will be held during the day for musicians of all levels, and there will be a concert in the evening.

•Two Wisconsin favorites will be the stars at the 12th Annual Dairy State Cheese & Beer Festival on April 13 in Kenosha. More than 50 breweries will be offering up their beers, and there will be plenty of traditional and new flavors from Wisconsin cheesemakers, as well as live music.

•The Kalamazoo Numismatic Club hold its annual Spring Coin Show on April 6 at the County Expo Center in Kalamazoo, Mich. Both coins and paper money will be available for sale or trade.


•Visitors to Frankenmuth, Mich., can find deals on lodging, dining and more at

Deals and websites listed here have been checked for availability as of press time. Listings are not endorsements. Send tips at least a month in advance to

Phil Marty is a freelancer.

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