We explored Michigan as part of our Great Lakes Road Trip in May-June of 2021. Our explorations included Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. This video covers Michigan’s lower peninsula, affectionately referred to as “the Mitten” (see map below).
The Michigan Mitten is all about eclectic folksy inns; tunnels of trees; expansive sand dunes; famous authors like Hemingway, Bruce Catton, and Jim Harrison; lighthouses; weathered fish shanties; cherry orchards and grape vineyards; megachurches and the American Taliban; presidential museums; Henry Ford and the automobile; the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor; and obscure battlefields.
After crossing the Mackinac Bridge over the Straits of Mackinac, we: cruised through the Tunnel of Trees to Petoskey; enjoyed the thatch houses at Charlevoix; hiked the Cottonwood Trail at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore; enjoyed a lovely dinner at The Cove in Leland, with views of weathered shanties on the Fishtown dock. We drove by Jim Harrison’s old home — writer’s cottage and all, and then cruised through cherry orchards and wineries up the slim Old Mission Peninsula, where we found another lighthouse. We came face-to-face with the DeVos evangelical mission in Holland, wandered the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum (which was sadly closed due to COVID), and endured a bad experience with our Airbnb in Detroit, which turned out to be in the derelict Hamtramck neighborhood, and lost most of our money. We wandered through Ann Arbor and watched In the Heights at the Michigan Theater. We learned about the history of cars and American innovation at The Henry Ford in Dearborn. After dropping Mike at the Detroit airport, I went on to learn about an obscure battle in the War of 1812 at the River Raisin National Battlefield Park: “Remember the Raisin!”
Our top ten experiences in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula were:
10) Cross Village & the Tunnel of Trees
9) Grand Haven and the Tri-Cities Historical Museum
8) Grand Rapids and the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
5) Dearborn: The Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village
4) Ann Arbor: the charming town & the University of Michigan
3) The Old Mission Peninsula: cherry orchards, wineries, & lighthouses
2) Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
1) Leelanau Peninsula: Leland, Fishtown, and Jim Harrison’s old home
Thanks for watching!
Planning a road trip in Michigan with my daughter and granddaughter in a few months so your post is so helpful. Thank you! 😊
Thanks so much! I’m glad you found some ideas for your road trip. If you’re going to the Upper Peninsula too, here’s my blog post on that: https://wanderessence.com/2022/04/06/michigans-upper-peninsula-to-mackinac-island/ We enjoyed the Upper Peninsula more than the Mitten, except for the northeast part of the Mitten, the Leelanau & Old Mission Peninsulas and Sleeping Bear Dunes. Other than that, the Henry Ford in Dearborn is something great to see (you could take a whole day there), and Ann Arbor is quite charming.
Thanks so much for dropping by. 🙂
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Thanks for all the info and link to your post. I have been to the Henry Ford a few times over the years and always enjoy our time there. I have wanted to go to Mackinac Island and Sleeping Bear Dunes forever. Maybe this is the year that I’ll get there. 😁
I hope you do! We had lots of fun at Mackinac Island. It was great to rent a bike and ride all over. I wish we’d had more time there, maybe an overnight. Enjoy your trip when you go. 🙂
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