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Archive for michigan

Root Beer Falls

By Linda Tancs

Michigan’s Tahquamenon Falls State Park encompasses close to 50,000 acres and stretches more than 13 miles. Waterfalls are the predominant attraction there, featuring the third largest vertical waterfall east of the Mississippi River. Officially known as the Upper Falls, it spreads over 200 feet across and drops about 48 feet. Due to its amber color, the Upper Falls are affectionately known as “the Root Beer Falls.” Their distinctive hue is due to the tannins leaching into the Tahquamenon River from the cedar, spruce and hemlock swamps along its shores. The autumn leaves this time of year present a nice addition to the color scheme. Get a close-up look at the brink of the falls by taking 94 steps down to the main viewing deck, or you can take 116 steps down into the gorge for a panoramic view.

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To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

Twin Peaks on Lake Michigan

By Linda Tancs

St. Joseph, Michigan, has the only lighthouses on a Lake Michigan pier that are regularly open to the public. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, St. Joseph North Pier Lights (the outer light and inner light) are iconic structures on a breakwater with an elevated catwalk. An hour-long, guided walking tour is available from May to September, weather permitting. It includes a look into the outer light and culminates in a climb up to the lantern room inside the inner lighthouse.

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As coronavirus proceeds, it is likely that the vast majority of us will be limited in our travels. But this, too, shall pass. Our love for travel remains, so Travelrific will continue offering travel inspiration in this medium. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

The Most Beautiful Place in America

By Linda Tancs

Miles of sand beach, bluffs that tower 450 feet above Lake Michigan, forests, clear inland lakes and unhindered night sky views are just some of the charms of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Reportedly named after a Native American legend of a mother bear who swims from Wisconsin to escape a forest fire, the locale was once voted “the most beautiful place in America” by Good Morning America. It certainly does offer spectacular views, like the ones from the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive (named for the lumberman who initiated the road), a 7.4-mile loop with overlooks of the Glen Lakes, the dunes and Lake Michigan. The Lake Michigan Overlook (stop #9 on the drive) is a visitor favorite, where the sunset is particularly outstanding. Pick up an interpretive guide for the scenic drive at the Visitor Center in Empire.

Quebec Rural Style in Michigan

By Linda Tancs

The oldest home on Mackinac Island in Michigan is the Biddle House. Dating back to 1780 and built in the Quebec rural style, it was purchased in the 1800s by Edward Biddle, a wealthy fur trader who hailed from a prominent Philadelphia family (one of the first families of the United States). Biddle married Agatha de la Vigne, a Native American born on Mackinac Island who partnered with her husband in the fur trade. Often overlooked in island history is the fact that most residents in the 1800s were Native American. Now that the house is in the midst of a renovation, its Indian roots will be highlighted with a two-room exhibit.

World’s Largest Christmas Store

By Linda Tancs

It’s no wonder that Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, Michigan, is dubbed the world’s largest Christmas store. They’ve got over 50,000 trims and gifts, decorations and gifts from 50 nations, 150 styles of nutcrackers and 100,000 lights illuminating the salesroom, among other things. If you want to go really big on the gift-giving, there’s a 17-foot fiberglass Santa Claus for $10,000. Over 2 million visitors arrive at the store each year, a sprawling complex of 45 acres with its own Christmas Lane thoroughfare. The Bronner motto is “Enjoy CHRISTmas, It’s His Birthday; Enjoy LIFE, It’s His Way.” Merry Christmas!

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.

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.

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