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A look at trails and camping all summer

June 23, 2010 - Growing up, Matt Forster didn't realize his family vacations would come in handy for his career. But the iTunes application, Up North! Grand Traverse, wouldn't have nearly the amount of background information without Forster's 38 years of Northern Michigan "research."

"I've been going to the Grand Traverse area my whole life, so I started with stuff I knew," Forster said.

Forster, a Goodrich native, wrote the iTunes application that went on sale June 15 for $2.99 on itunes.apple.com. The digital travel guide covers it all, Forster said.

"Bed & breakfasts, quiet lakeside inns, campgrounds; where to eat and how much you'll spend," the writer began, "It's as close as your fingertips."

Along with Forster's life full of Grand Traverse experiences, about three weeks of work went into finalizing his application.

"With digital travel guides, every entry needs a photo. So I spent three weeks taking photos and checking business hours and things like that," he said.

There are 200 entries and about 500 photos in the current travel guide. Upgrades make Forster's work neverending, however.

"I need to know when a chef quits or when a restaurant goes out of business," Forster said.

"I think every two months, I'll make changes."

Forster is no stranger to Michigan travel guides. He wrote his travel guide, Backroads & Byways of Michigan, in 2009, and he's looking forward to working on his next project: a camping guide.

"I'll be looking at trails and campgrounds all summer," he said.

"My publisher is doing a camping series for a number of states and I get to do Michigan."

"People come to drink in Michigan's wine country, and others come to eat their fill at tables prepared by the country's best chefs, supplied with an abundance of local produce."

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