Our 500th Blog Post: Let’s Take a Trip

Photo Credit - Chris AraceMichigan celebrated a big birthday in January, and this blog’s 500th post gives another great excuse for cake!  In honor of the milestone, we looked at roads less traveled and came up with a 500-mile (OK, 504 miles) “Top O’ The Mitten To Ya”  road trip that encompasses all the natural beauty and relaxation of Pure Michigan.

Start in Muskegon, home to Michigan’s Adventure Amusement and Waterpark.  If the season’s not right for the “Shivering Timbers” rollercoaster (or Muskegon’s 27 miles of beach), explore life as an old-timey lumber baron at the Hackley and Hume Historic Site.

Heading north will lead you to the beaches, trails, lighthouses and dunes of beautiful Ludington, where you (and your car) can cruise Lake Michigan aboard a real steamship.  While a honey badger might not care, the S.S. Badger does.

Next, head northeast to Manistee – home to quaint Victorian shops, the world-class Arcadia Bluffs golf course and Little River Casino.  Manistee County is also one of the best places in the world for rainbow trout and salmon fishing.

Again heading north, stop in at the Sleeping Bear Dunes Natural Lakeshore.  Encompassing 35 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, Sleeping Bear Lakeshore is also home to an 1871 lighthouse and an extensive rural historic farm district.

Now, head east, with a quick detour north to the wine country of Suttons Bay.  You won’t find a parking meter or stoplight, but you will find art, antiques and Ciccone Vineyard & Winery, owned by the family of a little-known entertainer by the name of Madonna.

Head south again for Traverse City.  Grand Traverse Bay is a four-season destination, featuring 180 miles of sugar sand shoreline and extensive snowmobile and ski trails.  Chances are good you’ll find cherry everything, among other delicious eats.

Continue northeast towards Charlevoix, where you can catch a ride on the Beaver Island Ferry and Petoskey, known for its fresh air, historic architecture and lending its name to Michigan’s state stone.

From Petoskey, head south towards the charming Alpine delights of Gaylord, and Grayling, for canoeing, kayaking, fishing on the AuSable and Manistee rivers, and snowboarding, sledding and ice skating in the winter.  Grayling is even a great place for downhill skiing.

Head southwest towards the Traverse City Forest, and on to Cadillac.  In the winter, Cadillac offers 200 miles of groomed snowmobile trails and 34 downhill ski runs with over 485 feet of vertical drop.  Year-round, Cadillac offers 90,000 acres of state and national forest.

Alas, all good things must come to an end, and this trip winds down in Big Rapids.  One of Michigan’s better-kept secrets, Big Rapids offers swimming in the summer, gorgeous color in the fall, snowshoe trekking in the winter and lakefront picnic ground in the spring.

From Our Community: Pure Michigan Must-Dos

Who knows Michigan better than a Michigander?  With that thought, we asked the Pure Michigan Facebook and Twitter faithful to pick a place in Michigan and name one thing they HAVE to do when there.  Responses were fairly evenly divided between eating and nature, with frequent emphasis on…potatoes.

So without further ado, here’s a sampling of the must-dos across both peninsulas. Thanks to all who commented and submitted!

Where to Eat

Troy Rowley – Grand Haven: MUST have Pronto Pup!

Gina Helrigel Frazier – Rockford: Eat at The Old Mill above the dam of the Rogue River.

Cindy Hill Freeman – Copper Harbor: We have to have dinner at Harbor Haus. I order the best fresh whitefish ever! Enjoy the great view of Lake Superior anywhere in the restaurant and the wonderful German food.

Michael T. Szczepanski – Mackinaw City: Have Scalawags whitefish and chips, with awesome hushpuppies!

@AudaciousWolfFrankenmuth: Must have the Zehnders family style chicken dinner, Yum!  Mouthwatering road trip.

Susan Laing – Albion! Enjoy an avocado and bean tostada at Lopez Taco House.

Travis Kelley – Baldwin: Jones Ice Cream Shop. Best homemade ice cream ever!

Where to Nature

Shirley Burnett-Moore – St. Clair: Go stand or sit by the river. It speaks to the soul and spirit.

@AndrewPieschkeCharlevoix: Watch the sunset over the lighthouse.

@Natasha ColleenMarquette: You have to hike sugar loaf and check out the black rocks, so beautiful!

Natasha Lynn Snyder – Jackson: To visit the Cascades Falls.

@SandraMitchellMLowell: Fallsburg Park; step back in time and walk across the covered bridge.

@DTreeBayCityBay City: Tall-ship sail under the stars on the Schooner Appledore.

Vicki Pierce Schmucker – Adrian: Visit the historic Croswell Opera House in December to see White Christmas!

Where to Potato

Debra Kay Hukill – Gaylord: Visit the Old Spud Warehouse.  The structure is amazing, not to mention the merchandise they sell.

Tina Lambert – Posen, for the Posen Potato Festival. Can you say Polka?!

Kristel Johnson – Crystal Falls: Don’t forget to stop by Johnsons Potato Farm and pick up some fresh spuds!

Finding Balance at the Water’s Edge

Photo by Sue Beth BalashThere’s definitely a chill in the night air now and the water temps are cool.  If you’re not going to be cooling off in the sparkling great lake waters this fall, why not create a little shoreline art in your favorite Michigan location. 

At the Lake Michigan beach in Charlevoix, that’s exactly what our “kids” decided to do.  Our three young adults were not content to just lie on the sand wishing the water wasn’t so cold.  Inspired by the British nature artist/photographer, Andy Goldsworthy, they ventured to the shore to connect with nature and find balance.

It’s called “rock stacking”.  It’s the same thing you did with wooden blocks in your living room several decades ago, but this time the building blocks are treasures found in the shallow waters around Michigan (a different sort of toy box).

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