I am grateful to have a wonderful family in beautiful Michigan that opened their doors to me during my break between travel assignments. Michigan has so much to offer from being home to Henry Ford, Kilwin’s chocolates, the Kalkaska Trout Festival and the Great Lakes. Let me share what I’ve seen over the past week with you:
My brother lives near the four season coastal resort community of Petoskey, Michigan. The City of Petoskey was named one of America’s Best Small Towns in 2013 by Smithsonian Magazine and I certainly agree. Petoskey is absolutely charming with vintage architecture, world-class shops/restaurants combined with a rich cultural arts community.
Thursday morning I drove through Oden to see The Cross in the Woods Shrine in Indian River. Built by the Catholics as both an indoor and outdoor church, it has the world’s largest crucifix. It has become one of the most famous and most frequently visited shrines in Michigan. The site also includes numerous smaller shrines in their park like setting. I found it to have a calming effect walking among the shrines with benching for prayer and contemplation. It was a perfect way to start the day. http://www.crossinthewoods.com/
Once relaxed and ready for the day, I stopped at the Oden Fish Hatchery and Visitor Center. They have a nice nature walk, but even more exciting to me was the re-created 1914-1935 Wolverine train car. The historic exhibit depicts how employees of the old Michigan Department of Conservation lived on the train while transporting and stocking fish across the state. Displays include the sleeping berths, a kitchen and several uniquely designed stewardship messages. I’ve always been drawn to trains and this was the most unique uses I’ve seen.
That afternoon I explored The Bay View Association. Voted one of the “Prettiest Painted Places” in America, Bay View was originally organized in 1875 as a camp meeting by the Michigan Methodists “for intellectual and scientific culture and the promotion of the cause of religion and morality.” They chose this site for the same reasons people continue to flock there today, the beautiful shores and weather along Little Traverse Bay. By 1877, streets, parks, and public areas had been planted and twenty simple cottages had been built. Ten years later there were 125 cottages, a hotel and a chapel. The religious program expanded and grew into a Summer Assembly of eight weeks.
Now “open” from May to October, Bay View is still “Simply a collection of grand, good people of all creeds, who, because of common consent and under democratic government, flock here in the summer to renew their friendships and help each other to all other enjoyments possible.” http://www.bayviewassociation.org/about-us-3/
Friday morning my brother and I drove to Tahquamenon Falls State Park in the Upper Peninsula near Paradise, Michigan. Tahquamenon (rhymes with phenomenon) is the second largest of Michigan’s State parks. Their Upper Falls is one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi and is the centerpiece of the park. We enjoyed a great hike through an old growth forest to the observation platform which is where our photo was taken. Interesting fact: The Tahquamenn River was made famous in the Longfellow poem Hiawatha.
Going and coming between the peninsulas we had to cross the Mackinac suspension bridge. Opened in 1957, it’s the world’s fifth-longest suspension, and the longest in the western hemisphere. I enjoyed going over it, but many drivers find it stressful with the high winds that blow through when you’re driving over. http://www.mackinacbridge.org/about-the-bridge-8/
We needed to stretch our legs and stopped to climb the Old Mackinac Point Light. Founded in 1889, the Old Mackinac Point Light Station was in operation from 1890 until 1957. Nicknamed the “Castle of the Straits” the Norman Revival style Light Station is beautifully maintained by Mackinac State Historic Parks. http://www.mackinacparks.com/parks-and-attractions/old-mackinac-point-lighthouse/ Mackinac Island and resort area has a great deal to offer with it’s beautiful scenery and activities, but we didn’t have the time on this visit. I need to make the time to return.
Saturday morning I woke to a gorgeous morning to explore another premier Michigan attraction, so I drove up M-119 for the Tunnel of Trees to start my day. The Tunnel of Trees is a magical, scenic road that winds from Harbor Springs to Cross Village and has been ranked among the most scenic roads in the nation. I hope to drive through this fall when the hardwoods will be aflame in fall color.
On my return trip I stopped in by the enchanting waterside village Harbor Springs where I found unique shops, a family run bakery and 100 year old United Methodist Church. In fact, Saturday afternoon my brother needed to run errands and asked me to join him. When we drove by the Harbor Springs Church I was excited to tell him about this morning’s find … until he parked in the pastor’s parking spot and pulled out his keys. Yes, my brother gets to preach from the pulpit of this historical church setting! That was a neat moment when I realized the church I’d been drawn to was his. It was made even more special when I attended Sunday morning service with him in the pulpit.
All good drives must come to an end to allow for a well deserved rest and to get laundry done. Enjoy my photos with further details of this trip at: http://emiling.com/photos/michigan-summers/