Monday, December 28, 2009
Michigan travel resolutions for 2010
The economy is keeping people closer to home, and for us folks in Michigan, that’s not a bad thing, there are plenty of places to see and things to do near home. There’s also a growing movement to buy Michigan made products, and travel in the state is one of those.
To consider yourself a Michigan person, here are ten places to put on your 2010 New Year’s travel resolutions.
1. The Mackinac Bridge. If you haven’t seen the five-mile bridge connecting the Upper and Lower peninsulas, you really can’t consider yourself a Michigan resident.
2. The Pictured Rocks. Located in the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore between Grand Marais and Munising, the cliffs and sand dunes on Lake Superior are some of the most stunning sights in the state. For the outdoor minded, there’s a hiking trail the length of the area. Kayaking along the lake is also a good way to see them. For others, there are boat tours from Munising. One tip: Take the evening cruise; the colors of the rock formations are more vibrant at that time of day.
3. Keweenaw Peninsula. At one point during the 19th century, the region was one of the most important in Michigan because of copper mining. The town of Calumet had a population of more than 60,000, many of them immigrants from Finland, Italy and Great Britain, all drawn by mining jobs. A national historical park encompasses much of the old mining areas from Houghton/Hancock to Calumet, with many of the building open to the public. Calumet’s downtown looks as though it was abandoned in about 1910. The rugged Lake Superior shoreline looks more like Maine than Michigan.
4. Indian Village. The neighborhood of about 350 houses on Detroit’s near east side was home to the city’s elite, starting in the 1890s and continues to be that today. There are many Arts & Crafts homes, and there’s an annual home tour. Go to HistoricIndianVillage.org, for more information.
5. The Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area. Located about ten miles south of Manistee on Lake Michigan, the dunes are lesser known than the Sleeping Bear Dunes near Traverse City, but are just as stunning and there are fewer people. The 3,500-area area offers camping and lovely days at the beach. Nearby Manistee is less crowded and less expensive than Traverse City, and has two Lake Michigan beaches.
6. The Thumb. It’s probably one of the most overlooked regions of the state, but it has its charms, lighthouses, small towns and decent beaches, especially at Caseville. In the fall, the farm fields look golden, and there are many roadside stands offering produce.
7. Grand Rapids. The downtown is alive with activity and nightlife. The Amway Plaza Hotel is the centerpiece. Many of the older buildings have been renovated. Also, the Meijer Gardens attract many visitors.
8. Beaver Island. Located 30 miles from the mainland in Lake Michigan, the island isn’t as well known as Mackinac, but it has its own allure. Ferry service is based in Charlevoix, and you can take your auto to the island. Try taking a bicycle or just walking, they’re cheaper than taking your car over.
9. The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Take the plunge this year, and stay in this historic Victorian hotel that was built in 1887. The iconic structure that presides over the island still has a Victorian feel to it. There’s a dress code, but that’s a small price to pay for staying in an elegant place. Room rates start at $230 night, so it’s not out of reach.
10. Cranbrook Art Museum. Located in Bloomfield Hills, the museum is part of the Cranbrook Educational Community and is filled with the works of contemporary artists. It also focuses on design and architecture.