Ten Things to Do at MSU (Without Having to Go to Class!)

Guest blogger Lori Lanspeary from the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau shares 10 fun things to do at Michigan State University without having to crack a book! 

Photo by Thomas Gennara Photography

Photo by Thomas Gennara Photography

Welcome to Spartan Country! Located in East Lansing, on the banks of the Red Cedar River, visitors can find a wealth of beauty and natural spaces on the sprawling campus of Michigan State University. While most people around the country know MSU by its mascot Sparty and its Big Ten sports teams, did you know that Michigan State University is currently recognized as a world leader in research? The school was founded in 1855 as the pioneer land-grant college in America and dedicated to the study of agriculture which explains the beautiful expansive campus. Today MSU has over 200 academic programs offered by 17 degree granting colleges.

BUT beyond the academics, visitors can find so many things to see and do on campus without having to sign up for a single class! Here’s the list of 10 things to do at MSU.

MSUMuseum-Dinosaur1. MSU Museum: Michigan’s first Smithsonian-affiliate, this museum is filled to the brim with research artifacts and natural wonders from around the world. And both the kids and adults love the dinosaurs!

2. W. J. Beal Botanical Gardens: The oldest continuously-operated garden of its type in the U.S. with over 2,700 species organized in economic, systematic landscape and ecological groupings. And the MSU Horticulture Gardens – A family of three adjoining gardens including research gardens, landscape arboretum and the delightful 4-H Children’s Garden.

3. Abrams Planetarium: Sit back and enjoy the wonders of the universe in the sky theatre.

MSU blog Pure Michigan4. Beaumont Tower: This is the iconic bell tower where carillonneurs play noontime recitals and legends tell of first kisses at midnight and engagements in the shadow of the tower.

5. MSU Farms: Colts racing, beef calves frolicking and mooing dairy cows waiting to be milked are a few of the sights to see when visiting the farms.

6. Wharton Center for Performing Arts: Catch the latest major touring Broadway blockbusters plus a great lineup of performing arts at Wharton.

7. MSU Dairy Store: It’s always hard to choose betwen the 32 flavors of some of the freshest ice cream you’ll ever taste. Or pick up some award-winning cheese varieties. Smiles guaranteed!

SONY DSC8. Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum: This Zaha Hadid-designed art museum presents groundbreaking, international contemporary art across all media and is housed in a pleated stainless steel and glass multi-angled building that in itself is an architectural wonder.

9. Demmer Shooting Sports Education & Training Center: This training site for Michigan State University archery, rifle and pistol club teams is open to the public and promotes the safe use of firearms and archery equipment.

10. Big Ten Sporting Events:  Spartan football, basketball and hockey are among the favorite reasons for a visit to MSU. The resounding chants of Go Green! Go White! echo across campus. Make time for one last stop. Your visit won’t be complete without a photo taken in front of the bronze Spartan Statue near the stadium.

Have you visited East Lansing? What else would you add to the list? 

image001Need help planning your trip? Contact the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau or while visiting Michigan State University, stop by our East Lansing Visitor Center at 549 East Grand River Avenue located directly across from the Eli & Edythe Broad Art Museum.  Find maps, brochures and Visitor Guides or speak directly to one of our friendly information specialists happy to assist you during your visit.

4 Ways To Enjoy Fall in the Grand Haven Area

Grand Haven may be one of Michigan’s most popular beachtowns, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do once the sun sets on summer! Here are 4 ways to enjoy fall in the Grand Haven area, courtesy of Stephanie Herder of the Grand Haven Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Grand Haven might be known as a summer beach destination, but there's so much to do in the fall

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

1. By Water
The Grand Haven area is surrounded by water including Lake Michigan, Spring Lake, Pigeon Creek, and the mighty Grand River. So naturally, we highly suggest taking in the fall colors from the water. There are many areas to launch your own kayak including Eastmanville Bayou, Hemlock Crossing and Mill Point Park. If you have never paddled or don’t own your own, Lakeshore Kayak Rental offers kayak lessons as well as kayak, canoe, and stand up paddle board rentals. While out on the water, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles!

Fall is the perfect time to hit the water in and around Grand Haven

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

2. By Bike
Did you know that the Grand Haven area has over 100 miles of bike trails? It’s true! The Lakeshore Trail is a 20-mile bike trail between downtown Grand Haven and Holland. Along the way you can stop at Rosy Mound Natural Area, Kirk Park, and grab a bite to eat at Sandy Point Beach House. The 15-mile Lakeside Trail encircles Spring Lake through the communities of Ferrysburg, Fruitport, and the Village of Spring Lake. If you looking for something more off-road, Pigeon Creek Park and Bass River Recreation Area offers mountain biking trails through the woods and along the Grand River. Fat Tire biking is welcome throughout the area including local beaches. Rock ‘N’ Road in Grand Haven offers bike rentals for all ages. You can pick up local bike maps at Rock ‘N’ Road, at the Visitors Center, or download them online at visitgrandhaven.com.

Biking is an excellent way to view the fall colors in the Grand Haven area

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

3. By Foot
The Grand Haven area is blessed with an amazing system of parks that offer trails through forests, along the rivers, over dunes, and with stunning views of Lake Michigan. North Ottawa Dunes is home to 513 acres of wooded dunes – some that exceed 750 in height. Rosy Mound Natural Area is a favorite stop with its arrangement of trails, stairs, dune boardwalk trail, and Lake Michigan beach. Hemlock Crossing has over 6 miles of trails that meander through the forest, old pine plantations, and along the Pigeon River. This is also the home of the Ottawa County Nature Education Center (NEC) which has exhibits, a wildlife den with critters and activities, and a wildlife viewing area. The NEC also offers a variety of programs including guided hikes, kayaking trips, and nighttime astronomy programs.

Look at those views!

Photo Courtesy of Visit Grand Haven

4. By Car
If you are looking to cover a larger area during your fall color tour of the Grand Haven area, then by car is the way to go. Our favorite route to take is the stretch of road from Grand Haven to Eastmanville Bayou and back – known as the Historic River Road. Using the handy guide found on our website or at our Visitors Center, this self-guided auto tour brings you along the original River Road which is oldest byway in Ottawa County and one of the oldest in the state. Numbered signs along the way indicate stops and points of interest that mesh local history with our beautiful riverside and park system. Some must-stops along the way include Vander Mill Cider mill and Winery, Odd Side Ales, Turk’s Tavern, Connor Bayou and countless farm side stands.

What’s your favorite way to see the fall colors in the Grand Haven area? Let us know in the comments below!

HerderAbout the author: Stefanie Herder, Marketing & Communications Manager of the Grand Haven Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Born and raised in the Grand Haven area, Stefanie has worked in the hospitality and tourism industry for over fifteen years where she has done everything from scooping ice cream to destination marketing. Now as the Marketing & Communications Manager for the Grand Haven Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, she loves seeing the area through the eyes of a visitor and sharing it with the world. 

Exploring the Old Mission Peninsula on M-37

Just north of Traverse City, the Old Mission Peninsula is a narrow finger of land extending into the center of Grand Traverse Bay. It’s 22 miles long and in some places as little as a mile wide: a beautiful patchwork of orchards, vineyards, forests and villages that’s especially lovely in fall.

Highway M-37, known by locals as Center Road, shows you the best of this magical place. It’s perfect for a half-day drive that combines fall color with beautiful views, visits to wineries and fruit stands, and unforgettable meals at charming restaurants.

The first winery you’ll encounter is just past the crest of the first hill, it’s the Old Mission vineyard and tasting room of Black Star Farms, established on the site of the former Underwood farm. At the bottom of the hill, rising up on the left, is the Italian stone villa that houses Mari Vineyards, the peninsula’s newest winery.

For the next few miles the road runs along the shoreline with its ducks, docks, birds and boats, then begins to rise again. On the right you’ll see a former one-room schoolhouse. (The Peninsula once had seven of them, and five are still in use.) It’s the tasting room of Peninsula Cellars. Across the road and up the hill is the relaxed new Bonobo Winery.

Photo Courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

At the summit of the hill, there’s a scenic treat: a lovely overlook with splendid views of both arms of the Bay – a favorite place for watching sunsets, storms and other natural displays. It overlooks the sprawling vineyards of Chateau Grand Traverse, the first winery established on the Peninsula.  As the road descends the hill, continue to enjoy the scenery along with the fruit and vegetable stands that will be increasingly noticeable on both sides of the road. Stop by for some fresh apples, plums, beans, squash and other locally-grown goodies!

Photo Courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

Just ahead is the village of Mapleton, one of the Peninsula’s two small towns, home to the laid-back Peninsula Grill and Bad Dog Deli, as well as a handy grocery store, the Peninsula Market, which has the only gas pump out here.

From Mapleton, the road leads north over a razor-thin bluff known as the Hog’s Back, (with wonderful views of East Bay to the right) and rises even higher to the imposing Chateau Chantal Winery Bed & Breakfast. Over the next hill you’ll find the Old Mission Tavern, a charming eatery that has its own art gallery, the Bella Galleria.

Photo Courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

One last hill takes you down past cherry orchards, vineyards and tall rows of hops with great views of Old Mission Village to the right. Here, as the highway makes a gentle turn to the east, you’ll enter Lighthouse Park, home to the picturesque Mission Point Lighthouse, built in 1870. Although it is no longer in operation, it is open for tours and is the centerpiece of an attractive park with popular beaches, historical exhibits and extensive hiking trails.

Photo Courtesy of Traverse City Tourism

What are your favorite memories of the Old Mission Peninsula? Share with us by commenting below!

Blogger Bio: Mike Norton majored in history at the University of Michigan and spent 25 years as a newspaper writer and columnist in Traverse City. For the past decade, he’s been director of media relations at Traverse City Tourism. He lives in the village of Old Mission.