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Archive for michigan

Big Snow Country

By Linda Tancs

Ottawa National Forest comprises nearly 1 million acres and is located in the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan, extending from the south shore of Lake Superior to the Wisconsin border. Along that border is the small town of Ironwood, a gateway to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Once a mining town, it’s now part of “big snow country,” where winters are long with an average snow accumulation of 200 inches. During ski season, there can be as many as 15,000 people in the area frequenting the six area ski hills and resorts with an abundance of snowmobilers plowing over 485 miles of groomed snowmobile trails. Rounding out the winter sports are dog-sledding, cross-country skiing and ice fishing.

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A Superior Wilderness Experience

By Linda Tancs

Surrounded by Lake Superior and near the border with Canada, Michigan’s Isle Royale is one of the least visited U.S. national parks. That’s to be expected, considering its remote location. All the better for you. Enjoy a car-free experience where the only approved modes of transportation include hiking, boating, canoeing and kayaking. Known for its wolves and moose populations, Craggy Scoville Point is a great spot for viewing some of the roughly 200 rocky islets that form the Isle Royale archipelago. Accessible by ferry, seaplane or private watercraft, there are two boats that service the island from Michigan—the Ranger III from Houghton and the Isle Royale Queen IV from Copper Harbor. The island closes from November 1 – April 15 annually.

Big Red

By Linda Tancs

The most photographed lighthouse in Michigan is Holland Harbor Lighthouse, affectionately known as Big Red. The bright red structure seen today on the south side of the Holland Channel is a descendant of the first structure built on the site in 1872. For a great view of Big Red, visit Holland State Park and walk along the boardwalk to the north pier (wheelchair accessible). You can also view it from Mt. Pisgah, where the dune staircase takes you 157 feet above sea level. Otherwise, it is a quarter-mile walk to the lighthouse across sand and gravel from the park entrance, and visits are limited to one hour.

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.

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