5 Urban Bike Trails You Need to Ride in Michigan

Did you know Michigan boasts more than 1,300 miles of winding bike trails across the state? While many might think of bike trails as back-woods, there are some that aren’t far from popular urban destinations! Read more on five trails found near bustling cities to check out this summer and how to get there.

1. Flint River Trail – Flint

A ride on this asphalt-paved trail is a must for anyone on the east side of the state. On this trail, you’ll pass through neighborhoods and city parks while learning about Flint’s heritage via historical signs. The Friends of the Flint River Trail lead bike rides every Sunday May through October starting at 2 p.m. from the Flint Farmer’s Market.

A point-of-view shot of the Flint River Trail

Photo Courtesy of the Flint Corridor Alliance

2. Port Huron Bridge to Bay Trail – Port Huron

While spending time on Michigan’s sunrise coast, don’t miss riding the Bridge to Bay Trail. This trail begins near the iconic Blue Water Bridge and stretches along the St. Clair River. You’ll head over the Black River drawbridge and then through downtown Port Huron and the Blue Water River Walk, ending just past the Coast Guard Cutter Bramble Museum and a tunnel under Military Street in New Baltimore. If driving isn’t your style, you can take the Amtrak Blue Water train and stow your bike!

3. Dequindre Cut – Detroit

The Dequindre Cut Greenway is a recreational bike path that opened in 2009 after being a Grand Trunk Railroad line for many years.. This 1.6-mile stretch offers a pedestrian link between the Detroit Riverfront, Eastern Market and many of the residential neighborhoods in between.

An inviting path in Detroit

Bike paths in Detroit offer unique vantage points

4. Grand River Edge – Grand Rapids

Head to the west side of Michigan and explore the Grand River Edges Trail system. These trails guide you along the banks of the Grand River while connecting downtown Grand Rapids to Kent Trails and Millennium Park. The trail includes 2.2 miles of paved path in Riverside Park that connects to the Fred Meijer White Pine Trail State Park.

A bike resting in at the Frederik Meijer Gardens

The Grand River Edge Trail offers beautiful scenery

5. Marquette City Multi Use Path – Marquette

Ride an Upper Peninsula network comprised of 17 miles of paved trails that takes you through some of the most scenic vistas and historic landmarks in the area. The most popular stretch of the trail spans about five miles along the Lake Superior shoreline from the MDOT Welcome Center in Harvey to Presque Isle Park.

What are your favorite trails around Michigan? Share with us by commenting below!

Pure Michigan Holiday Light Events

The holidays are a busy time of year. There are parties, shopping and preparations to be made for family visits. That’s why it’s nice to sometimes just take in the scenery of the season. There are some great events coming up this month with some amazing light and holiday displays to enjoy at your leisure. For a full list of events check out michigan.org.

Holly Dickens Festival
December 9 – 11, 2011, Holly
See the characters from Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” come to life on the streets of Historic Downtown Holly during the annual Holly Dickens Festival. Make special memories with your family while enjoying carriage rides, caroling choirs, hot roasted chestnuts and much, much more amidst unique shops and the Victorian atmosphere of the holidays. Head to the Holly Dickens Festival site for full event details and schedule.

Candle Light Christmas Walk
December 9 – 11, 2011, Marshall
The Marshall Historical Society’s Christmas Candlelight Tour is a highly personalized walking tour of five private homes decorated for the holidays. This is a walking tour of approximately 1.5 miles at a slow pace. Ticks are $20 sold in advance and only 600 tickets are sold. For more information, call (269) 781-5163.

The Big, Bright Light Show
Now-January 1, 2012, Rochester
You are invited to brighten your holidays in downtown Rochester with The Big, Bright Light Show! All the buildings on Main Street from the south bridge to Romeo Rd. will be covered in over a million points of light, along with East and West Fourth Street. Also, there will be large, lighted displays on Walnut from Third to University, The Dazzling Tree of Lights at the Depot Plaza (E. University & Water), and The Snowflake Spectacular on the Western Knitting Mill on Water Street. For more information on this event, visit their website or call (248) 656-0060.

Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic
Now – December 30, 2011, Flint
This holiday fantasyland features thousands of sparkling lights and Michigan’s most spectacular moving light display, the Huckleberry Railroad. The entire village is aglow with colored lights and more lights decorate the railroad’s locomotive, coaches and trackside displays. For information and reservations call (800).648-PARK or visit the Christmas at Crossroads Holiday Magic site.

Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village
December 9 – 10, 16 – 23, 26 – 27, 2011, Dearborn
Marvel at the splendor of a turn-of-the-century old-fashioned holiday experience complete with carolers and live reindeer along candlelit paths at this historic location.  For more information visit the Holiday Nights site. You can also call (800) 835-5237 or (313) 982-6001.

How Did Michigan Cities Get Their Names? Part 4

Photo courtesy of Battle Creek-Calhoun County Convention & Visitors Bureau

We’re happy to share with you another post in our ongoing series of how cities in Michigan got their names. Here are five more – including a seasonal city, perfect for this time of year. In case you missed them, here arePart 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Battle Creek
You might already be thinking, “Battle Creek must have been the site of some epic battle!” The reality of it though is a bit less epic. In 1825 a group of government surveyors were working near a stream near the present day site of the city when two Pottawatomi Native Americans appeared at their camp asking for food. A discussion turned angry and, during a brief skirmish, one of the surveyors took the Native Americans captive when he produced a rifle. The surveyors reported the skirmish to the Governor and later surveyors at the site recalled it as “Battle Creek.”

Royal Oak
The city of Royal Oak is named after a legendary oak tree. In 1819 Michigan Governor Lewis Cass set out to explore Michigan and prove surveyors’ claims that the area wasn’t completely swampy and uninhabitable. At first, swampy land was all they were finding until the group came across a massive oak tree, much larger than any other in the area. It reminded Gov. Cass about an oak tree King Charles II of England is said to have taken refuge under during an enemy attack in 1660. Recalling that story, Cass and his companions named the tree and the surrounding area “Royal Oak.”

Flint
Flint’s recorded history also dates back to 1819 when a trading post opened. It was originally called “Grand Traverse,” however over the course of 17 years it had other names as well like “Todd’s Crossing”, “Sidney” and “Flint River” after the local Indian name “Pawanunking,” which referred to the nearby river’s rocky bed. It was later shortened to Flint in 1836 before being incorporated as a city in 1855.

Hell
There are a few theories on the origin of the name for Hell, Michigan. The most popular involves a man in the 1840’s named George Reeves who, when asked by officials what he wanted to name the settlement he helped start, replied, “Call it Hell for I care!” Another story of the town’s name comes from the frontiersmen who traveled the low-lying wetlands at the height of mosquito season. After traveling through such wet and infested terrain they referred to it as “Hell.”

Christmas
The story of Christmas, Michigan’s name is a bit more merry. A Munising man began a roadside factory in 1938 so that he could create holiday gift items. Unfortunately, the factory burned down shortly thereafter, but the name and the factory’s roadside Santa Claus stuck around to this day.