Travel and outdoors product reviews and trips

Fun Travels Across the United States


Ann Arbor
Denton Township
Grand Rapids
Great Lakes Region
Hickory Corners
Mackinac Island
Traverse City

NEWS: (Cities & Towns Follow the News)

Metcalfe, Masters of Nature-Play Design, Debuts Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens: New Project Redefines the Environmental Education Experience

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to Bring 'Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics' to Ford Presidental Museum

Grand Hotel’s Award-winning Hospitality Brings Groups Back for 97 Years

Latest Events at the Grand Hotel & Mackinac Island

Tsogyelgar Dharma Center Has the Largest Buddist Mural in America

The Henry Ford Museum in Michigan Voted Number One in the List of the Top 10 Coolest Museums in the World


Grand Traverse Resort and Spa Helps Travelers Focus on Health, Wellness, and an Active Lifestyle

The full-service resort has always promoted a healthy and active lifestyle, inspired by the beauty of its natural surroundings. Nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which won the designation of Good Morning America's Most Beautiful Place in America in 2011, sets the scene for outdoor and soft-adventure activities, to help travelers improve their physical health, and find a healthier state of mind. In addition, Grand Traverse Resort and Spa offers winter activities on-property, plus Spa Grand Traverse provides a variety of treatments and therapies to travelers seeking wellness and relaxation.

Relax and Recharge

Also inspired by the rejuvenating nature of Northern Michigan, the 7,000-square foot Spa Grand Traverse offers a wide array of massage therapies, skin care, and signature treatments with natural products that focus on de-stressing, detoxifying and rebalancing body, mind and spirit. The spa’s two floors encompass a full range of amenities, including 23 treatment rooms, a salon, and a retail boutique. As a nod to locally grown produce, spa goers can savor signature cherry-infused services featuring locally made products, which are used in massage and nail care services. These unique products, also available for purchase in the retail boutique, add a delightful and rejuvenating aroma with natural antioxidant cherry oil leaving skin with a healthy, radiant glow.

A Bit of Adventure

For guests looking for a little adventure, outdoor activities abound at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa with on-property cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice-skating, and dog-sled rides courtesy of Second Chance Mushers, a Siberian Husky and Alaskan Malamute rescue center.  Off-property, visitors can take part in nearby downhill skiing and snowboarding at Mt. Holiday Ski & Recreation Area, offering 10 runs and snow tubing with express return lift.

For more information on the resort, please visit


Located on 900 acres near Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Bay, Grand Traverse Resort and Spa is one of the Midwest’s finest, full-service, year-round resorts featuring nearly 600 rooms, suites and condominiums, 86,500 square feet of flexible meeting and outdoor venue space, 54 holes of championship golf including courses designed by legends Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, a full-service spa, and upscale dining and shopping. Enjoy Grand Traverse Resort and Spa’s Winter Activities Center at the Clubhouse with cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, dog-sled rides, and children’s activities on weekends in January, February and March. Call 800-236-1577 or visit Join Grand Traverse Resort and Spa’s online community on Facebook and Twitter.


Tsogyelgar Dharma Center Has The Largest Buddhist Mural in America

Tsogyelgar Dharma Center has undertaken the project of creating the largest cycle of Tantric Buddhist murals in America, a colorful depiction of Buddhas in Purelands painted over sixty feet of wall, twelve feet high. Not since the luminary Tibetan Lama Trungpa Rinpoche created the Great Stupa of Dharmakaya in Colorado, has there been a work of Buddhist Art on this scale in America. When Trungpa Rinpoche came to America in the 1970s, Tantric Buddhism from Tibet was just beginning to take root in the West. A generation later, it is in full bloom as evidenced by this ambitious work of American Buddhist art. The mural is housed in the Main Shrine Room at Tsogyelgar Dharma Center, which is hidden away in an unassuming mid-western barn, just outside of Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The use of art and symbolism plays a central role in Tantric Buddhism. While the mural is an impressive work of art in its own right, for Buddhist practitioners it also holds an even deeper significance. Buddhists consider the deities in the paintings to be actually present on the wall and displaying the qualities of Enlightened Awareness. The paintings also function as guides to meditation.

The artist, Mr. Rob Davis, an accomplished painter and graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, apprenticed for the past several years with master Tibetan painter, Pema Rinzin, at the Rubin Museum of Himalayan Art in New York City. Traktung Rinpoche, the center’s Director, Meditation Master, and scholar of Vajrayana Buddhism and Comparative Religion hired Mr. Davis to carry out his vision. Traktung Rinpoche conceived of the project, along with the Tsogyelgar’s meditation gardens and stupas to further the center’s aim of translating and transmitting the Buddha’s teachings in the West. With the help of twenty assistants, Mr. Davis plans to complete project on schedule.

Tsogyelgar Dharma Center is seven acres of gardens and shrines named for Yeshe Tsogyel, the great female Buddha from Tibet. The Center was founded in 1990 by students of the American born Spiritual Master, Traktung Rinpoche and hosts a variety of programs for people of all levels of interest. For detais, check web site


The Henry Ford Museum in Michigan Voted Number One in the List of the Top 10 Coolest Museums in the World

Michigan's Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation has been voted one of the coolest museums in the world for families by the New York Times. Ranked number one in the list of worldwide museums, it was recognised for being "chock-full of inventions, machines and pieces of Americana to explore, including a 1952 Wienermobile." The museum was also highlighted for some of its other attractions including the driving exhibit with 130 cars and 20 interactive exhibits and a section on freedom and justice that covers everything from revolution to suffrage to civil rights.

Some of the other most popular artefacts, exhibits and experiences include the Rosa Parks Bus. Inside this bus on December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, a soft-spoken African-American seamstress, refused to give up her seat to a white man, breaking existing segregation laws. Today you can step inside the bus yourself and take a seat as you immerse yourself in the courage of Rosa Parks.

Driving America is an opportunity to look at America's favourite mode of transportation in a different way. Stand back in awe and explore some of the earliest automobiles to take to America's roads, and then immerse yourself in the interactive exhibits to dive deep into the digital collections. Build a Model T just like Henry Ford. Pick up a wrench and try to build a quality product in 2018.

It also houses the presidential limousine of John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln's chair from Ford's Theatre, and the Wright Brothers' bicycle shop.

Founded in 1829 by the automobile industrialist Henry Ford and based on his efforts to preserve items of historical interest and portray the Industrial Revolution, it is now one of the largest indoor and outdoor history museum complexes in the USA. The complex also includes Greenfield Village, the outdoor living history museum section and it is a National Historic Landmark located in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Michigan, United States.

Our Mission

The Henry Ford provides unique educational experiences based on authentic objects, stories, and lives from America's traditions of ingenuity, resourcefulness, and innovation. Our purpose is to inspire people to learn from these traditions to help shape a better future.


Trestle Park in Denton Township provides recreation opportunities in Roscommon County including campsites and swimming at Sullivan Beach.


What to See & Do

Adventure and Recreation

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Outdoor Adventure Center on the Detroit riverfront will provide guests with exhibits, displays, and hands-on simulators to showcase the natural and cultural resources in Michigan.

Zehnder’s Splash Village of Frankenmuth has opened its new 29,000 square foot atrium waterpark. The retractable roof is the only of its kind in the Midwest.

Thumbs Up Wine Trail is a 275 mile trail spanning from Bad Axe to Clinton Township. The trail consist of vineyards, wineries, a meadery and a cider house.

The 42-mile Fred Meijer Clinton Ionia Shiawassee State Trail is now open. The trail connects the communities of Ionia, Muir, Pewamo, Fowler, St. Johns, Ovid and Owosso, utilizing a former railroad corridor.

Michigan’s new statewide trail running from Belle Isle Park to Ironwood is now open offering two distinct routes (one for hiking, one for biking) and serving as a link between many existing trails.

Michigan Activity Pass (MAP) has combined with Michigan state parks, the Michigan Historical Center, and Michigan libraries to offer free passes to more than 120 historic and cultural destinations around the state.

Hanson Hills Recreation Area, in Grayling, has a new six mile Fat Bike trail.

Au Train’s new trailhead has been completed. The trailhead includes a universally accessible kayak launch and fishing pier, railroad depot pavilion, log cabin interpretive center, picnic tables, restrooms, and trail head for multi-uses.

River Town Adventures has opened in Lansing offering kayak, canoes or paddle boards available to rent and explore the Grand and Red Cedar Rivers. Taxi tours are now also available from the Lansing City Market, Old Town or REO Town.

A 15K trail system dedicated to fat tire bike users is being created in the heart of Traverse City’s popular Vasa Pathway.

Traverse City’s Mt. Holiday now has a ten station zipline available with advanced reservations.

Running Rivers in Douglas now offers a three hour kayak and stand up paddle board float trips on the Kalamazoo River.

Sports and Events

A new, reversible Tom Doak designed golf course will be built at Forest Dunes Golf Club in Roscommon.

Dog sledding adventure meets photography workshop with a new package from Nature’s Kennel in McMillan.

Where to Eat

·         Wineries – New wineries opened or opening in Michigan include: Walloon Lake Winery (Walloon Lake), Petoskey Farms Vineyard (Petoskey), 3 North Vines (Croswell), J-Tree Cellars Winery (Tecumseh), Love Wines (Ludington), Aurora Cellars (Lake Leelanau), The Villa Mari Vineyard and Bonobo Vineyards (Traverse City), Seasons of the North (Indian River), WaterFire Vineyards (Torch Lake).
·         Breweries – Michigan’s craft beer scene continues to grow with the opening of the following breweries: Thumb Coast Brewing Company (Port Huron), Thumb Brewery (Caseville), Cognition Brewing Company (Ishpeming), Elk Street Brewery (Sandusky), One Well Brewing, Brite Eyes Brewing Company, Texas Corners Brewing Company (Kalamazoo), Tecumseh Brewing Company (Tecumseh), Dead Bear Brewing Company, Paddle Hard Brewing (Grayling), Territorial Brewing Company (Battle Creek), Tripel Root Brewery (Zeeland), Hop Lot Brewing Company (Suttons Bay), Brewery Becker (Brighton), Constantine Brewing Company (Constantine), Elk Brewing (Grand Rapids), Eternity Brewing (Howell), Fetch Brewing Company (Whitehall), Northport Brewing (Northport), Railtown Brewing Company (Caledonia), River’s Edge Brewing Company (Milford), Upper Hand Brewery (Escanaba)
·         Other Spirits – Grey Skies Distillery, Long Road Distillers, Flatlanders Barstillery (Grand Rapids), Detroit City Distillery (Detroit).

Where to Stay

The Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit has undergone a $30 million renovation.

The Courtyard by Marriott in Benton Harbor has been bought and will be a Best Western. A complete renovation will be done by the new owners.

The Best Western of Harbor Springs completed a large renovation of their breakfast room, lobby, and new pool/hot tub area.

In Petoskey, Odawa Hotel has upgraded its rooms, Americas Best Value Inn completed renovations of several of their main buildings and The Terrace Inn and 1911 Restaurant in Petoskey are now pet friendly.

On Mackinac Island, Lilac Tree Suites and Spa has freshly painted rooms and new room features, the Chippewa Hotel has updated their guest rooms and Island House Hotel is renovating guest bathrooms.

Muskegon’s Comfort Inn has undergone a total renovation of all 116 rooms.

The Red Roof Inn Flint has renovated their sleeping rooms to a boutique design with all new furniture, spa-inspired bathrooms and more.

America’s Best Value Inn in Holland re-opened as Baymont Inn & Suites.

The Days Inn in Munising is now Pictured Rocks Inn and Suites and the Munising Super 8 is now the Magnuson Hotel Pictured: Rocks Munising.

In Traverse City the Howard Johnson and Knights Inn have undergone renovations, the Fairfield Inn & Suites and Baymont Inn & Suites have renovated their lobby and public spaces and the Cherry Tree Inn & Suites have completed a renovation of its luxury suites.

In Saugatuck, Timberline Motel is now Starlite Resort and the Shangri La Motel is now The Saugatuck Retro-Moter Inn and is newly renovated.


What to See & Do

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to Bring 'Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics' to Ford Presidental Museum

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Neseum in Washington, D.C., partnered to create this one-of-kind exhibit. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum’s presentation of “Louder Than Words: Rock, Power and Politics,” marks its first stop outside of the two iconic partnering museums. The exhibit first premiered on May 20, 2017, at the Rock Hall and was on display at the Newseum during the 2017 presidential inauguration through July 31.

Video, multimedia, photographs, periodicals and artifacts, such as Bono’s 2002 Super Bowl jacket will be displayed. Performing at the Super Bowl in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, U2 paid tribute to the victims by projecting their names on a massive backdrop as it played "Where the Streets Have No Name." Bono wore the jacket during the performance; the jacket's stars-and-stripes lining serves as an additional homage to the victims.

For more information about the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and its traveling exhibits, visit

About the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame:

Rock Connects Us. Our mission is clear: To engage, teach and inspire through the power of rock and roll. We share stories of the people, events and songs that shape our world through exhibits, innovative programs and concerts. Join the millions who love it as much as you do. Experience us live or online – Visit or Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@rockhall). Long Live Rock!

About the Newseum:

The mission of the Newseum is to champion the five freedoms of the First Amendment through exhibits, public programs and education. It is the only institution in the world dedicated to championing the five freedoms of the First Amendment; religion, speech, press, assembly and petition. One of the top attractions in Washington, D.C., the dynamic, engaging and interactive experience offers seven levels of exhibits that encourage visitors to consider the evolution of freedom of expression, and to explore the meaning of freedom in an age of continual technological disruption. The Newseum is a 501(c)(3) public charity funded by generous individuals, corporations and foundations, including the Freedom Forum. For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum:

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum brings American history to life for students of all ages.  Here all are welcome to enjoy, to learn, and to participate in our national heritage. The Museum offers historical material through interactive exhibits, sparking curiosity and enthusiasm about our nation’s history and government. Programs, school tours, and historical performances are also offered. The Museum is operated by the National Archives and Records Administration with support from the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation. For information visit

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

One of the world’s most significant botanic and sculpture experiences, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park serves more than a half-million visitors annually. Meijer Gardens was recently named one of the world’s 30 “Must-See Museums” by Patricia Schultz, author of 1,000 Places to See Before you Die. The 132-acre grounds feature Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory; one of the largest children’s gardens in the country; arid and Victorian gardens with bronze sculptures by Degas and Rodin; a carnivorous plant house; outdoor gardens; and a 1750-seat outdoor amphitheater, featuring an eclectic mix of world-renowned musicians every summer. The internationally acclaimed Sculpture Park features a permanent collection including works by Rodin, Oldenburg, Moore, Bourgeois, and Plensa among others. Indoor galleries host changing sculpture exhibitions with recent exhibitions by Picasso, Degas, di Suvero, Borofsky and Calder.

Admission Prices
Adults – $12
Seniors (65+) – $9
Students – $9
Children (5-13) – $6
Children (3-4) – $4
Children (2 and under) – Free

Monday, Wednesday – Saturday: 9 AM – 5 PM; Tuesday: 9 AM – 9 PM; Sunday: 9 AM – 5 PM. *Note – Extended Sunday hours are only for the duration of the exhibition.

For more additional information, please visit


Michigan was actually shaped by the Great Lakes. Carved by glaciers more than 12,000 years ago, its two peninsulas are visible from the moon and instantly recognizable on any globe or atlas. What's equally amazing is that these two peninsulas are dotted with more than 11,000 inland lakes, laced with 36,000 miles of rivers and streams, and defined by a 3,200-mile Great Lakes coastline. Along this coastline are more than 100 public beaches, some of the highest freshwater sand dunes in the world, multi-colored sandstone cliffs, two National Lakeshores and the only national marine sanctuary in the Great Lakes -- the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Lake Huron. In this area, you'll also find more than 100 lighthouses, numerous maritime museums, ten shipwreck-diving preserves, and historic military fortifications dating from the American Revolution and the Civil War.

It's no wonder that people plan vacations here, particularly sunbathers and swimmers -- for there are dozens and dozens of miles of blond-sand beaches, numerous state parks, a National Lakeshore, lakeside villages, artists' colonies, golf courses, and world-class resorts. Almost anything you love doing, you can do here - from the lakes, campgrounds, wildlife refuges, rivers for canoeing, kayaking, fishing and miles of hiking, biking, riding, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling trails.

For more information and a variety of vacation planning tips, contact Circle Michigan, Inc., Grand Rapids Office, 3665 28th Street SE, Suite B, Grand Rapids, MI 49512; 1-800-513-6424, or check wet site


Gilmore Car Museum

The Gilmore Car Museum, located in Hickory Corners, Mich., always has something exciting on tap and is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and until 6 p.m. on the weekends.
The Lincoln Motor Heritage Museum was patterned after a historic Lincoln dealership and celebrates the Lincoln with more than 20 vehicles. The Cadillac-LaSalle Club Museum is a premier attraction for enthusiasts.

To learn more about the Gilmore Car Museum visit  or call the museum at 269-671-5089.


Where to Stay

Michigan's Crown Jewel, America's Favorite Freshwater Destination,  and the Summer Capital of the World

PWhen passengers arrive, they'll be visiting an award winning and globally recognized destination with plenty of new things to experience during the 2019 travel season.
Most lodging facilities will close for the season on October 28, 2019.  

Visitors noticed several new improvements in 2019. Among them are:

The Mackinac House

Brand new for this season, the new 19-room luxury bed & breakfast opens late June on Market Street just one block from Main Street and the Fort. The Mackinac House perfectly combines state-of-the-art modern luxuries with all the charm of Mackinac Island. Guests will enjoy a daily Continental breakfast, smart televisions, high speed Internet, air conditioning, private bathrooms and walk-in showers.

Bicycle Street Inn & Waterfront Collection

Located directly on Lake Huron in Haldimand Bay by the Shepler's Ferry dock,
Waterfront Collection South adds 28-new guest rooms, for a total of 41 unique guest rooms on the waterfront. Many rooms have Main Street or water views, and walk- out balconies. Big on modern comforts, guest rooms include custom designed contemporary furnishings with premium bedding, guest baths with walk-in glass shower, in-room fridge, microwave and coffee-maker, 43" HDTVs with cable, complimentary Wi-Fi connectivity, A/C, advanced sound suppression, and convenient elevator service.

Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry

Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry is very excited to offer a new island dock, (see rendering above) completely redesigned with the comfort of their guests at the forefront of every detail. Arriving passengers will enjoy an unencumbered walk to Main Street on a widened dock with a separate luggage pod and covered staging area.

Also departing passengers will now gather in a modern, climate-controlled area protected from any possible inclement weather. The dock also includes a new ticket office, lighting and speaker system, and has been widened by a healthy 10 feet, and extended 25 feet, making for a much smoother guest experience.

On the mainland, new buses with large luggage holders have been added to the Shepler's ground fleet. Improvements to the parking operations in both Mackinaw City and St. Ignace will also be completed in time for the coming season.

Mission Point Resort

Mission Point Resort has a great deal of news for 2019. Most important is the debut of 133 newly renovated guest rooms and suites, completing their long term renovation of all 241 guest rooms with both the Main and Straits Lodges. New rooms feature inspiring color palettes and whimsical elements that bring the island colors of Mackinac's natural landscape indoors. Upgrades also include the addition of air conditioning to most public spaces including restaurants as well as improved wifi throughout the property.

Executive Chef Matthew Nelson has developed new additions to the menus at Chianti, Round Island Bar & Grill and Bistro on the Greens, using locally-sourced ingredients for his Northern Michigan inspired dishes.

Also new at Mission Point is their guest gardening program as part of their recognition by Proven Winners as a Make sure to also stop by their gardens this year as Mission Point was recently selected as Proven Winners' newest Signature Garden.

Grand Hotel

Four new Cupola Suites will be completed in time for opening weekend, bringing the hotel's guest room total to 397. Visitors will notice the hotel's roofline now resemble the hotel's original architecture from the late 1800s with dormers lining the entire length of the roof. These unique accommodations offer both one and two bedroom suites along withwith parlor, ideal for families or anyone needing extra space during their Mackinac visit.
A new concierge desk for all guest-related services will also be available on the parlor level of the hotel. Here, you will be able to receive renowned Grand service from the hotel's dedicated concierge staff.

Grand Hotel is also excited about the addition of five new Hackney horses, bringing the total at Grand Hotel stables to eight. Included in Golf Digest's Top Five Michigan Golf Destinations, Hole #2 on the Jewel's Grand nine portion will receive a redesign. A creek is planned through the fairway just short of the green, adding to the natural beauty and unique challenge of the par 4 hole.

Island House Hotel

A short 50 years ago, Victor Callewaert and Harry Ryba notably saved Mackinac's Island House Hotel from its pending demolition by purchasing the historic estate. The 2019 travel season brings exciting renovations at Island House Hotel including fresh new coastal casual decor in each of their 94 air-conditioned guest rooms and suites.

Lilac Tree Suite Hotel & Spa

The Lilac Tree Suites & Spa has received a fresh interior coat of paint, the installation of guest hallway ceiling fans, a modern door lock system with elevator card reader for added guest convenience and safety. The Lilac Tree Spa has added a second guest bath offering increased privacy for guests receiving spa treatments.

Chippewa Hotel

The Chippewa Hotel also on the water, opens the season with new floor covering, a fresh coat of paint, new hardware, and updated furnishing as part of the final phase of a three-year project including suite guest baths with stunning walk in showers. A staple in the live entertainment and libations scene, Chippewa's Pink Pony will boast a powerful new sound system for enhanced live entertainment.

Metivier Inn

While maintaining their Victorian décor and charm the Metivier Inn underwent a facelift in the main lobby as well the main floor rooms.

Hart's Inn

Hart's Inn is excited to welcome a new host, Mr. Michael Bauman who will be the official face of the inn for the season.

Fort Mackinac

Exciting new exhibits will debut at the North Blockhouse and Office (formerly Post Headquarters) The renovated Office exhibit will feature two updated period settings and new gallery spaces interpreting the training and duties of Fort Mackinac's officers during operation. The new North Blockhouse exhibit will plunge visitors in an immersive, multimedia presentation allowing them to step back in time to the War of 1812 and experience the confusion, fear, and drama of the British capture of Fort Mackinac on July 17, 1812. New tours and demonstrations at Fort Mackinac for the 2019 season include an updated "People of Fort Mackinac" walking tour, a "Women of the Fort" walking tour, and a Bayonet Drill Demonstration.

Mackinac Island State Park

The Mackinac Island Botanical Trail will officially debut in time for the 2019 season. Weaving along the Arch Rock Bicycle Trail, the trail includes seven turnouts featuring plantings and interpretive signs detailing floral life unique to Mackinac Island. Visitors can rest at trailside benches while reflecting on Mackinac Island's unparelled natural beauty.
The state park's Mackinac Island Artist-in-Residence program also debuts in 2019. Rotating artists in residence will be housed in the newly remodeled second floor of the Mackinac Island State Park Visitor's Center on Main Street, formerly the 1915 Mackinac Island Coast Guard Station.
Late last season, the state park also installed a new bicycle repair station located at the British Landing Nature Center. This station offers an air pump and common repair tools and is 100% free of charge.

Great Turtle Toys

Fun for the entire family, Great Turtle Toys is adding a new LEGO collection to their inventory, offering unique Lego kits for all ages. Opening day of the 2019 season for Great Turtle Toys is April 26.

Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry

Star Line Mackinac Island is now offering Tesla full size supercharger station for electric cars at their Mackinaw City dock.

The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum

A new juried exhibition, "Visions of Mackinac" will debut as part of the museum's 10th anniversary and encourage artists working in all media to share their artistic visions of Mackinac Island. Subjects may be people, places, gardens, buildings, landscapes, landscapes, or whatever subject best captures the artist's creative vision of Mackinac Island. 

Upcoming Island Events

Mackinac Island Halloween Trick-or-Treat (October 26) #HalloweenOnMackinac 
Great Turtle Trail Run/Half Marathon (October 26) #GreatTurtleRun

For more information contact Mackinac Island Tourism (906) 847-3783
m a c k i n a c i s l a n d . o r g

Grand Hotel’s Award-winning Hospitality Brings Groups Back for 97 Years

Grand Hotel’s success in providing signature hospitality and one-of-a-kind appeal has helped foster a loyal following, and is underscored by the number of organizations that come back every year to hold their annual meeting at the hotel. The longest consecutive meeting record is held by the Michigan Health and Hospital Association (MHA), which will hold its 97th consecutive annual meeting this summer at Grand Hotel.

Spencer Johnson, outgoing president of the MHA, says that when he was hired from New
York as president 30 years ago, the search committee gave him one word of advice: “They told me you can do pretty much anything you want as long as you don’t try to move the location of the annual meeting,” he remembers. “The fact is that it’s a great venue and we focus on it being a family-centered event,” Johnson said. “You don’t find this kind of venue anywhere else in the country. To have it right here in Michigan is very special. It’s the one time a year all the health care leaders in Michigan can get together, network and see what’s going on with their colleagues, and Grand Hotel provides a chance to conduct business in a very calm and reflective way.”

While the MHA has been meeting there the longest, a number of other organizations are
not far behind in the length of time holding their annual meetings at the hotel. For example, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) have convened at Grand Hotel for 72 consecutive years, the Knights of Columbus have met there every year since 1954 and the Michigan Bankers Association, which first met at the hotel in 1936, has come every year since 1958. “Through the years we have become good friends with the members of these
organizations, and we look forward to their return as a continuing series of highlights throughout the season,” he said. “They have become a part of the Grand Hotel family and we look at this as a second home for them.” Members of each group, when asked about their annual return, all mention the ease of working with Grand Hotel staff, the beauty of Grand Hotel’s unique setting and the importance of the tradition of returning to Grand Hotel, in some cases involving second- and third-generation conference participants.
family has always been so gracious and hospitable.”

Bob Fox, State Deputy for the Michigan Council of the Knights of Columbus, says the
hotel staff is so familiar with the Council’s needs that “they could run the convention without us. “When we come back it’s ‘Welcome home,’” he said. “They greet you at the dock, they greet you at the hotel and when you walk into Margaret’s Garden, the fragrance of the flowers tells you that you’re home again.” In addition to a variety of business organizations, Grand Hotel also continues to host prominent gatherings of public officials on a regular basis. The Detroit Regional Chamber has held its highly visible annual policy conference at the hotel for 35 years, and Michigan, Republicans have held their fall convention at Grand Hotel every other year for 60 years. Tammy Carnrike, chief operating officer of the Detroit Chamber, said, “There’s no place quite like Grand Hotel. The old-world mystique set amid such natural beauty provides an ambience you can build your event around in a way that will leave your guests talking for years to come. It allows for networking opportunities that attendees will tell you are more impactful than anywhere else they have been."

Mission Point Resort

Situated on 18 acres where Lake Huron and Lake Michigan meet at the Straits between Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas, Mission Point Resort offers everything from a Kids' Club to fully automated Meeting Planner Suites, plus the only 500 seat theatre on the entire island. Relax, play golf, croquet, tennis, swim in the outdoor heated pool, pamper yourself with a massage at the 7th Heaven Spa, rent a bike, or dine at several restaurants right on the premises. Arrive here via direct ferry service from the mainland (available from St. Ignace and Mackinaw City) and vacation on these lovely 18 acres. Or, plan your next meeting here. A total of 33 meeting rooms offer over 35,000 square feet of group meeting and function space, and 7,500 square feet of sound stage can be used for exhibits, large banquets and Theme parties. The Conference Center features an Executive Board room, various size meeting rooms and a full service Business Center.

There's more, too. . . Lake cove swimming, outdoor hot tubs, volleyball, and an executive 18 hole putting course. Not enough? Try the fitness center. It includes a stream room, dry sauna, tanning, massage therapy, and hair salon. Nearby attractions if you feel like exploring, include Fort Mackinac, Arch Rock, Marquette Park, Indian Dormitory, St. Anne Catholic Church, Mission Church, Mission House, downtown shopping, restaurants, Historic Market Street, and more.

Children 12 and under eat free from a special menu, when accompanied by an adult in the Round Island Bar & Grill (Casual, fun, flip flop earing crowd), Lakeside Marketplace (Grab a picni basket filled with gourmet sandwiches and chilled wine), and The Epicurean (Five star fine dining at its best). At the Bistro on the Greens, adults can enjoy the fresh catch of the day every day, with outdoor dining and live music.

Nearby attractions include Fort Mackinac, Arch Rok, Marquette Park, Indian Dormitory, St. Anne Catholic church, Mission Church, Mission House, Downtwon shopping, restaurants, Historic Maret Street and much more.

For more information and reservations, contact mission Point Resort, One Lakeshore Drive, P.O. Box 430, Mackinae Island, MI 49757; 906-847-3312, or check web site


Metcalfe, Masters of Nature-Play Design, Debuts Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens: New Project Redefines the Environmental Education Experience

Metcalfe has announced the opening of Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens, its latest—and most ambitious—nature-play project to date. Located in Midland, Michigan, the installation opened October 7, 2018 as an experience-oriented complement to the Dow Gardens complex, the landmark public gardens established in 1899 by Herbert H. Dow.

Comprising a dynamic network of bridges, paths, and tree canopy walkways that are populated with engaging gathering points and interactive features, Metcalfe’s design offers a close-up, four-season experience of the 54-acre forest of native northern pine from a variety of unexpected vantage points. On the journey through the woods, visitors encounter a series of “right-brained” experiences involving a progression of open fields and dark forests. People are not constrained to staying on trails; the more they wander, the closer they get to nature and opportunities for introspection. The site also includes a new playground, apple orchard, two bridges, amphitheater, Visitor Center, a café, and Forest Classroom.

“This active, participatory environment is an architectural antidote to the over-reliance on virtual, screen-centric life that people today typically experience,” said Alan Metcalfe, AIA LEED AP, Principal of Metcalfe. “In a world of technology that sometimes makes us more divided, we work to design places that bring people together outdoors and in nature for purposeful interaction. Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens is a great example of that philosophy.”

“What is now Whiting Forest was my backyard as a kid. My brother and I spent countless hours there, climbing trees, catching frogs, skating on the ponds, even building our own cabin—we created our own adventures,” said Macauley (Mike) Whiting, Jr., president of The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation. “When conceptualizing the Whiting Forest project, we focused on how to bring that childhood experience to others and how to instill in people an appreciation of nature.”

Among the highlights of Whiting Forest at Dow Gardens:

·       With three “arms” winding over a pond and apple orchards and through the forest, the 1,400-foot-long tree canopy walk—the longest in the country—provides a one-of-a-kind vantage point from 40 feet above the ground as it draws visitors through the woodland

·       Expansive cargo nets stretched between trees create places for visitors to walk, jump and sprawl safely while suspended 25 feet over the forest floor

·       Walk-in slatted-wood pavilions in abstracted forms of nests and pods offer shelter and act as settings for reflection, discussion, and observation

·       A huge, 13,600-square-foot playground features a sandy beach, flowing water, and child-scaled play structures

·       The Visitor Center, a restored and repurposed midcentury residence by architect Alden B. Dow

The Whiting Forest Café, amphitheater, and forest classroom provide additional opportunities for visitors to gather and interact with one another and the environment; there are also facilities for hosting workshops, seminars, and programs. Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens is ADA compliant, allowing full access for all visitors.

About Metcalfe

Founded in 2002, Metcalfe is a Philadelphia-based multi-disciplinary practice with a well-established, diverse body of work that creates experiences for people of all ages. With experts in architecture, graphic design, and exhibition design, the studio possesses broad and deep creative capabilities, talent that it effectively deploys across its award-winning portfolio of K-12 schools, healthcare, and cultural projects. Among its award-winning nature-play projects are the award-winning Out on a Limb installation at the University of Pennsylvania’s Morris Arboretum, the Abington Friends School’s Garden Station and AFS Outside for the Headwaters Discovery Program, and the Discovery Garden at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. 

About Dow Gardens

Established in 1899 as a home for Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow and their seven children, the 110-acre Dow Gardens now welcomes more than 130,000 guests per year. Visitors can participate in hands-on educational programs, discover beautiful art and music in a relaxed setting, and explore the several gardens at the historic estate. Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens is a signature gift of the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation. For more information, visit


Meadow Brook Hall and Gardens

Meadow Brook Hall & Gardens is the fourth largest historic house museum in the United States, and is especially renowned for its superb craftsmanship, architectural detailing and grand scale. Built in the 1920s as the residence of OAKLAND UNIVERSITY founders, Matilda Dodge Wilson (widow of auto pioneer John Dodge) and her second husband lumber broker Alfred G. Wilson, the 110- room, 88,000 square - foot, Tudor – revival style mansion is complete with vast collections of original art and furnishings.

Listed on both the national and state registers of historic places, MEADOW BROOK HALL strives to preserve and interpret its architecture, landscape and fine decorative art so that visitors may be entertained, educated and inspired by history.

For additional information about Meadow Brook Hall and Gardens Mother’s Day Dinner, call (248) 364-6263 or visit


Traverse City’s Mt. Holiday now has a ten station zipline available with advanced reservations.

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