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Archive for michigan

Tulip Time

By Linda Tancs

It’s tulip time in Holland. No, not that Holland—Holland, Michigan. That’s not to imply that they don’t have anything in common with their European counterpart. Indeed, the city, located on the shores of beautiful Lake Macatawa and Lake Michigan, has a rich Dutch heritage arising from its founders from Rotterdam. The annual Tulip Time Festival is taking place through May 14, a celebration of Dutch cuisine, crafts, dancing and costumes. And, of course, the tulips—nearly 4.5 million of them. Don’t miss the parades, some of the largest and most spectacular in Michigan.

Aloha from Michigan

By Linda Tancs

The tropics beckon at Honolulu House in Marshall, Michigan. Yes, that’s right. In America’s Midwest, a sandstone mansion incorporates Polynesian (plus some Italianate and Gothic Revival) architecture. Its tropical influences include a raised veranda and observation platform. An inviting nine-bay porch spans the front, with its wide center bay serving as the base of its pagoda-topped tower. Built in 1860 for the first U.S. consul to the Sandwich Islands, it stands in the heart of Marshall’s National Historic Landmark District (at the corner of Mansion and Kalamazoo) and is listed on the Historic American Buildings Survey.

Lumber Queen of the World

By Linda Tancs

The commencement of the lumber industry in 1837 set Muskegon, Michigan, on a course to become fondly known as the “Lumber Queen of the World.” Indeed, by the time the local lumber industry had reached its peak in the mid-1880s, 47 sawmills surrounded Muskegon Lake, and another 16 dotted the shores of White Lake to the north. The name “Muskegon” is derived from the Ottawa Indian term “Masquigon” meaning “marshy river” or “swamp.” Bordering the shores of Lake Michigan, Muskegon County offers visitors plenty of activities this time of year. With the ferry in season, visitors can easily travel between Milwaukee and Muskegon. Another favorite is the Musketawa Trail, a 25-mile paved, multi-use recreation trail between Marne and Muskegon that passes through farmlands, villages and wetlands and over creeks.

Detroit’s Wall Street

By Linda Tancs

Touted as the Cathedral of Finance, the Art Deco style Guardian Building at Griswold Street in the financial district of Detroit, Michigan, is a testament to the city’s boom times in the 1920s. The 40-story orange brick façade, for instance, is graced with tile around the multistory windows. And it’s a good thing that The Sterling Group opened the building to non-employees when it acquired the premises in 2003. You wouldn’t want to miss the glorious detail inside—from three different kinds of exquisite (and in some cases, rare) quarried marble in the lobby to the stenciled colorful ceiling, gold leaf and stained glass that give this skyscraper its well-earned nickname. Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989, tours are free.

The World’s Longest Porch

By Linda Tancs

A National Historic Landmark, Michigan’s Mackinac Island is a refuge from a bygone era, where bikes and horse drawn carriages rule the roads. Enjoy spectacular views of the Straits of Mackinac in a rocking chair at the Grand Hotel, another national landmark boasting the world’s longest porch. The island’s splendor is particularly striking in bloom season. Tomorrow through June 14 is the 66th Annual Lilac Festival, the largest summer event.

A Shrine to Innovation

By Linda Tancs

If you think the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan is just a shrine for car enthusiasts, then think again.  Sure, you’ll find the first Mustang and the last Model T among its collection, but you’ll also discover a world of innovation through amazing exhibits like Made in America, featuring a Newcomen engine, gothic steam engine and McCoy lubricator.  The sprawling museum compound also celebrates pioneering in aviation, including a replica of the Wright Flyer.  And don’t miss Greenfield Village.  Founded in 1929 as an educational and historic landmark, it comprises seven districts chronicling 300 years of American industrialism in railroading, farming, handiworks, patentable inventions and, of course, automotive engineering.

Railroading in Michigan

By Linda Tancs

Railroading has a venerable history in Michigan, beginning with the grant of a charter to the Erie and Kalamazoo Railroad Company in 1833 to build the first railroad in what was then the Michigan Territory.  When Michigan became a state in 1837, construction had already commenced on a branch line from Palmyra to Jacksonburgh, a line put into service during the Civil War.  Numerous industry consolidations and a reduction in passenger and freight traffic nearly obliterated the branch line, but the Southern Michigan Railroad Society purchased the remaining track and transformed it into an operating railroad museum.  The Society offers train tours over the remaining track of the early Palmyra and Jacksonburgh Railroad.  Easily accessible from Toledo and Detroit, the route takes a nostalgic turn between Clinton and Tecumseh.  Make your reservations now for the popular Fall Color Tours in October.

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