Featured in Pure Michigan 2014 Spring/Summer Issue, beginning on page 11.
The best vacations come in little discoveries and special moments. Surprising and delightful, they are as much a part of Michigan as its vast waters. Here are some favorites.
More Michigan Moments – More Lower Peninsula
40th International Cherry Pit-Spitting Championship, Eau Claire
Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm hosts the competition on July 5. Pit-spitters compete in hopes of beating the world record of 93 feet; divisions include men, women and youth. Celebrate the Fourth of July weekend with fruit at the you-pick farm and Cherry or Apple Waffle Boats (877/863-3276 or 269/782-7101; www.treemendus-fruit.com).
Argo Cascades, Ann Arbor
Navigate a series of nine drops and pools along the Huron River. Rent a kayak or raft for the trip, or walk the 1,500-foot Border-to-Border Trail along the cascades (734/794-6241 or 734/794-6240).
Bone Island Grill, Jackson
The early bird gets the 99-cent breakfast on Monday at this tropical-themed restaurant and bar. Tuesday’s breakfast taco goes for $1, along with daily (except Sunday) $5 breakfast specials (517/783-2144).
Gravity Hill, Blaine Township
Visit the Benzie County Visitors Bureau for directions to the unmarked optical illusion. Put the car in neutral or set a ball on the road and both will seem to roll uphill (800/882-5801 or 231/882-5801; www.visitbenzie.com).
L’chayim Delicatessen, Beulah
Cream cheese and bagels made in-house pair perfectly for breakfast at the lively and cozy deli. Try the Nutty Puff, the popular puff pastry with cinnamon, sugar and nuts (231/882-5221).
Macatawa Greenspace, Holland
Restored wetlands returned this 122-acre park to its natural state, making it an aviary attraction. Boardwalks, 18-hole disc golf course and trails for biking attract visitors (616/738-4810; www.miottawa.org).
Michigan Maritime Museum, South Haven
“Mysteries Beneath the Waves: Wrecks of the Sunset Coast” opens its two year run in May 2014. The exhibit includes five known shipwrecks and interactive activities (269/637-8078; www.michiganmaritimemuseum.org).
Michigan News Agency, Kalamazoo
The neon sign blazing, “Bringing the World to You Since ‘47” marks downtown Kalamazoo’s only bookstore. With an emphasis on Michigan, the store hosts monthly readings by native authors (269/343-5958; www.michigannews.biz).
Mid-Michigan Historical Museum, Davison
The newest branch of the Davison Historical Museum occupies 102 wooded acres, and includes walking trails. The museum features artifacts from the area’s earliest settlement (810/658-2286; www.davisonmuseum.org).
Mount Pleasant Discovery Museum, Mount Pleasant
Interactive activities like a beehive, where kids pretend they’re bees, a Japanese house that honors the sister city of Okaya and an aquarium fill this new, 12,000-square foot museum (989/317-3221; www.mpdiscoverymuseum.org).
Olive Shores County Park, West Olive
Traverse the 710-foot-high dune by stairs and boardwalks to reach the Lake Michigan sandy beach. Hiking trails loop through the mostly-wooded park and around the dunes (616/738-4810; www.miottawa.org).
Saugatuck Chain Ferry
The 24-passenger Saugatuck Chain Ferry, launched in 1838, still carries passengers across the Kalamazoo River for just $1. Wait at the landing for the nation’s only remaining hand-cranked ferry (269/857-4261; www.saugatuckcity.com).
South Haven Ecocab, South Haven
Enjoy summertime the eco-friendly way—from the seat of a 3-person pedicab. Flag one of two pedicabs or call ahead. Fare is free, but payment in tips is accepted (269/767-6127).
South Southwest Rowhouse, Mackinaw City
The reconstructed rowhouse at Colonial Michilimackinac displays information about Fort Michilimackinac’s history with two exhibits about local Native Americans and the fort’s French occupation from 1670 to 1760 (906/847-3328; www.mackinacparks.com).
Spirit of the North, Mackinac Island
Stretch in the sun with yoga at Yoder Dock. The outdoor summer classes make the most of Northern Michigan’s picturesque landscape (231/420-9923; www.spiritofthenorthyoga.com).
Stone Skipping Competition, Mackinac Island
Get to Windermere Point Beach early on July 4th—the 45-year-old tradition of stone skipping begins at 10 a.m., with an Amateur Tournament and Pebbles division for kids 12 and under. See how the experts do it at the Professionals Tournament, starting at noon (www.stoneskipping.com).
The Henry Ford, Dearborn
The Donald F. Kosch Village Playground recreates a 1930s construction site with an interactive steam shovel and cement mixer. Kids can take the wheel in a 1931 Ford Model AA truck (800/835-5237; www.thehenryford.org).
The Inn at Harbor Shores, Benton Harbor
A high-rise hotel on Lake Michigan’s shore, The Inn recalls 1900s lakefront resorts but features modern amenities, including a rooftop deck, locally focused restaurant and Jack Nicklaus-designed course (269/927-4653; www.harborshoreslife.com).
Thunder Bay Karst Preserve, Alpena
The preserve showcases Michigan’s sinkholes at Stevens Twin Sinks, Bruski Sink and Mystery Valley Karst Preserve, one of the largest collapse valleys in the Great Lakes-region (www.michigankarst.org).
Trestle Park, Prudenville
The Houghton Lake park celebrates the area’s 1800s-logging industry with a large mural and log-constructed buildings. A rain garden joins traditional park features, including grills and a dock (989/366-5913; www.dentontownship-mi.org).
West Michigan Underwater Preserve, Muskegon
Divers can explore 10 known shipwrecks (and maybe discover more), all located in a 345-square-mile area of Lake Michigan, including the waters around Big Sable Point Lighthouse (www.wmup.org
More Michigan Moments - Upper Peninsula
Aldo Leopold Preserve, Marquette Island
The biggest preserve on Marquette Island in Les Cheneaux features a new hiking trail that runs to Wilderness Bay on the Lake Huron shoreline (231/347-0991; www.landtrust.org).
Chief Wawatam Park, St. Ignace
The waterfront park features a children’s splash pad, fishing platforms and a human sundial. Nearby Wawatam Lighthouse, a 52-foot tall beacon, helps mark the nearby park for visitors (906/643-8252).
Da Yoopers Tourist Trap, Ishpeming
Big Ernie, the world’s largest working rifle, and Big Gus, the world’s largest working chainsaw, mark the site of Da Yoopers’s souvenir shop. The singing group that croons about UP life sells their music and UP mementos to visitors at the roadside store. Customers can also see replicas of a deer camp and unusual cars, or stop by the rock shop and mineral museum (800/628-9978 or 906/485-5595; www.dayoopers.com).
Ludington Links, Escanaba
Overlooking the lake in Little Bay de Noc, the flat terrain of this nine-hole disc-golf course appears easy, but baskets sitting along the shoreline call for accurate shots (www.escanaba.org).
Northwood Adventures, Vulcan
Get your adrenaline pumping on guided rafting and kayaking trips through rushing water in Piers Gorge or the Paint or Sturgeon rivers. Take in the scenery along the UP’s western border (906/563-5450; www.michiganrafts.com).
Pioneer Trail Park, Escanaba
This championship-grade disc-golf course attracts visitors with its 18 holes, woods, ravines and the Escanaba River. The challenging Par 55 course is free to play (906/786-1020; www.deltacountyparks.com).
Stormy Kromer, Ironwood
Look for the giant red hat that lets visitors know they’re a block from the iconic cap’s factory. Free tours at 1:30 p.m. on weekdays let visitors see how the hand-stitched hat is made. Bring the kids and pick up Stormy Kromer products for the family at the retail store (888/455-2253; www.stormykromer.com).