Allegan County News & Union Enterprise Clare County Review & Marion Press Commercial Record Courier-Leader & Flashes LaFayette Sun

Mike’s Musings: Michigan’s beauties evident during tour

Michigan really is a winter wonderland. I came to that conclusion after my girlfriend and I took a state mini-tour two weekends ago.
It began and ended at Metro Airport, but the hundreds of miles we traveled in between providing breathtaking scenery and genuinely friendly people was invigorating for this soul.
Our first destination was Boyne Highlands, the ski and golf resort between Harbor Springs and Petoskey. This part of the state was a common destination for me 25 years ago when golf outings here occurred every summer. But I hadn’t been back since.
I marveled at the hilly countryside blanketed with fresh snow. The ski runs were perfectly groomed and easy to maneuver.
We wandered into Harbor Springs, one of the most exclusive harbor towns in Michigan, and it didn’t disappoint. It was a delight to wander into the dozens of shops, looking and wishing I had the money to buy a piece of jewelry or furniture that cost more than the vehicle I was driving.
We checked the many restaurants and decided to dine at an inexpensive but filled-to-capacity tavern. The food was excellent.
Our next destination was St. Ignace, just across the Mackinac Bridge. It had been some time since I’d crossed the straits and stayed in St. Ignace, but our short trip there reinforced the thought that little changes in small towns.
St. Ignace was everything I remembered with the exception it was winter and about the only commercial enterprise open was the Kewadin Casino.
After touring a portion of the Upper Peninsula around St. Ignace, we crossed the bridge south to Mackinaw City. We grabbed a room at the Holiday Inn that was both the most affordable and best room of our trip (I highly recommend) and drove around Mackinaw City.
Like St. Ignace it was barren, with very few stores open. We did find a candy shop open however and loaded up the area’s famous fudge plus other treats.
If that wasn’t enough food, we ended up at the Dixie Saloon for drinks and dinner. The log interior made for terrific ambiance as we looked out on frozen Lake Michigan. The food was even better. We dine out often and this experience was one of our better.
Next morning we piled in the car and set our GPS for Frankenmuth. The trip would be long but well worth it. I had been craving a Bavarian Inn chicken dinner for some time.
It had been at least a half dozen years since I had visited the German-themed town. But now I was sharing this huge spread of chicken and all the side dishes one could want.
As most visitors to Frankenmuth do, we had to spend a few hours at the world’s largest Christmas store, Bronners. It is filled with every Christmas tree ornament you could imagine, as well as artificial trees, wreaths, outside decorations, etc. etc. If you are a kid at heart you will definitely get lost in remembering Christmas memories.
We took to the road again the next morning for our final stop, Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills. If you are a shopper, which I am not, this indoor mall is a must stop on any tour of Michigan. It boasts 185 stores, 25 of which are one-of-a-kind for this state.
It has a big aquarium (admission $20 inside), movie theater and dozens of restaurants interspersed among the exclusive and not-so-exclusive shops.
Next stop was the airport, which meant a drive down I-75 to connect at I-94 in Detroit. Unlike are aforementioned travels, Detroit was dirty, dark and run down. Having worked there in squalor in the past, I was embarrassed to have my girlfriend experience this part of Michigan. Beauty was nil and the vacant buildings and houses are a reminder of what can happen to a large city that loses its industrial base.
Detroit aside, Michigan is a beautiful state. Now Covid is behind us, I encourage one and all to get in their vehicle and enjoy it.

One Reply to “Mike’s Musings: Michigan’s beauties evident during tour

Leave a Reply