Michigan Moments

Bridge View Park, St. Ignace. Photo Courtesy of Midwest Living/Aaron PetersonFeatured 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. Tuesdays 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). 

Lchayim 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). 

Pollo Gratzi, Ann Arbor. Photo Courtesy of Midwest Liviing/John NoltnerMichigan 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 Kalamazoos 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 areas earliest settlement (810/658-2286; www.davisonmuseum.org). 

Mount Pleasant Discovery Museum, Mount Pleasant 

Interactive activities like a beehive, where kids pretend theyre 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 nations only remaining hand-cranked ferry (269/857-4261; www.saugatuckcity.com). 

South Haven Ecocab, South Haven 

Enjoy summertime the eco-friendly wayfrom 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 Michilimackinacs history with two exhibits about local Native Americans and the forts 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 Michigans picturesque landscape (231/420-9923; www.spiritofthenorthyoga.com). 

Stone Skipping Competition, Mackinac Island 

Get to Windermere Point Beach early on July 4ththe 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 Michigans 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 Michigans 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 areas 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 childrens 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 worlds largest working rifle, and Big Gus, the worlds largest working chainsaw, mark the site of Da Yooperss 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 UPs 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 theyre a block from the iconic caps 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).