Mackinac Island & Traverse City, Michigan
Cherries, Lake Michigan & The Grand Hotel
A trip for all your senses is found on this journey to Mackinac Island and Traverse City. See the beauty of the lakes, vineyards, and art; smell the fragrant summer gardens, and taste the delicious, plump cherries. Lovers of art and nature will find plenty of enjoyment strolling through the botanical gardens in Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, all the while taking in the delightful fragrances. You’ve heard about Michigan cherries, now you get to experience the goodness for yourself while touring a cherry farm and picking your own cherries. Then why not Cherry Republic, the well-known retailer specializing in all-things cherry! Of course, no trip to the northern part of Michigan would be complete without a visit to beautiful and timeless Mackinac Island. Experience a two-night stay at the Grand Hotel, a National Historic Landmark, and take in the spectacular views from a rocking chair on the world’s longest porch overlooking the Straits of Mackinac. A delightful island carriage tour will take you through the surrounding woodlands and to scenic Arch Rock for a stunning photo opportunity. Enjoy free time to explore the islands’ boutiques and museums, sample the fudge, or rent a bicycle. Additionally, stay at the Thunder Bay Resort and take a horse-drawn carriage to view wild elk followed by a five-course dinner with locally produced wines. Find your sense of relaxation and adventure on this fun-filled trip to northern Michigan.
Note: This itinerary includes activities where moderate walking, possibly on uneven terrain, is required. Some of the most unique sightseeing can be restrictive to motorcoaches, especially in historic areas.
Sun, July 10: Depart Indianapolis via motorcoach and head north to Hillman, Michigan. Check in to the Thunder Bay Resort. Travel through the resort by horse-drawn carriage as guides tell stories and relate history of northern Michigan. Cross the Thunder Bay River over a wooden bridge and view wild elk up close in a preserve. Arrive at the Elk Antler Log Cabin to enjoy a delicious five-course dinner cooked frontier-style on twin antique wood stoves, accompanied by samples of locally produced wines. The owners will amuse you with stories about their family and how the elk preserve and resort got started. Then board your carriage for the short ride back to the resort for the evening. (Meal: Dinner)
Mon, July 11: Begin the day with breakfast at the resort before heading to Mackinaw City to board the island ferry. Upon arrival to Mackinac Island, disembark in the center of town where you’ll have some free time for lunch, shopping and fudge, fudge and more fudge! Enjoy a carriage tour of the island. Later this afternoon, transfer by horse-drawn carriage to the fabulous Grand Hotel. Grand it is — since 1887, this famous hotel has been welcoming guests to come and take a stroll or relax on the world’s longest porch — 660 feet lined with geraniums and rocking chairs. This National Historic Landmark prides itself on continuing the air and charm of yesteryear within its individually designed guestrooms and public spaces, afternoon tea, and exquisite dinner and dancing. Tonight, dress up for dinner in the Main Dining Room of the hotel. Afterward, enjoy live music and dancing. (B,D)
Tue, July 12: Enjoy a lovely breakfast in the Main Dining Room. Afterward, the day is at your leisure. Rent a bike; take a stroll along main street and see all the shops, restaurants, and pubs; visit Fort Mackinac; hike through the woodlands or do some birdwatching; explore Arch Rock; or surround yourself with the grace and beauty of butterflies and tropical gardens in the Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House. Or, stay at the Grand Hotel and enjoy high tea; swim in the 220 foot, heated pool; try your hand at tennis or pickleball; or enjoy the quintessential summer lawn games of bocce and croquet. Tonight, enjoy another delicious dinner at your leisure at the Grand Hotel. (B,D)
Wed, July 13: Today go back to the mainland; cross the strait by ferry to St. Ignace and board the motorcoach for the drive across the “Mighty Mac” bridge. Transfer to Traverse City with a stop along the way to visit a local orchard to learn about the process involved in producing Michigan’s finest cherries. Then grab a bucket and pick your own cherries to enjoy during your trip, or you may even have some shipped home. Enjoy a free evening in Traverse City: this popular city’s miles of sugar-sand shoreline include the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore with romantic lighthouses and coastal villages and is celebrated for quality cuisine, wine and culture. (B)
Thu, July 14: This morning travel through the rolling hills of Grand Traverse County to the Music House Museum where automated musical instruments and players are lovingly restored and displayed. Two instrument enthusiasts not only restored the instruments, but also the early 1900’s barn where a collection of music boxes, phonographs, radios, and jukeboxes ranging from the late 18th century to1950s are showcased. Another staple of northern Michigan would be wine! Make a stop at a local winery, whose tasting room sits at the highest point in the county providing breathtaking views and the perfect conditions for making award-winning wines. Spend the evening back in Traverse City at your leisure to relax by the waterfront, or stroll through the historic streets, shops, boutiques, and restaurants right outside your hotel. Don’t forget to stop in at Cherry Republic. Founded in 1989, they still operate today under their core values of “Life, Liberty, Beaches, and Pie” while offering over 200 items of all things cherry. (B)
Fri, July 15: After breakfast at the hotel, make your way to Grand Rapids, Michigan for a walk in the park. Not just any park, but the famed, 185-acre campus of the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Enjoy lunch and time on your own to stroll through the indoor and outdoor gardens including 15,000 square feet of tropical flora, carnivorous plants, Victorian era flowers, and seasonal flowers. Meander through quiet walkways and meadows while enjoying the shade garden and relish the tranquility while perusing the 8-acres of the Japanese garden. Meet back up for a narrated tram tour through the exquisite sculpture garden showcasing art from sculptors of the late 19th century to the present. Continue on to Indianapolis. (B,L)
Thunder Bay Resort, Hillman, Michigan. This charming resort is located on Thunder Bay River in a beautiful setting of pine trees and an 18-hole golf course. Highlights: spacious suites with kitchen, refrigerator and coffeemaker • restaurant • gourmet dinner and wine tasting • high-speed wireless Internet • hot tub.
Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan. A classic American resort by anyone’s standards, the Grand Hotel has been named by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as “One of a Dozen Distinctive Destinations” and a National Historic Landmark. Watch the sunsets over the lake from the world’s longest porch (600 feet). Highlights: each room is uniquely decorated • in-room coffee maker and mini bar • five restaurants • five bars • tea room • spa • 18-hole golf course • Esther Williams Swimming Pool (heated, outdoor) • fitness center • four tennis courts • duck pin bowling alley • live music, including the Grand Hotel orchestra • horseback riding on bridle paths • family games, including bocce ball, croquet, putt-putt golf, and a giant outdoor chess board • bicycles for rent • no tipping policy (fees apply for some activities).
(Casual resort wear is appropriate during the day at the hotel, just avoid midriff tops, sweatpants, or cut-off shorts along with no sleeveless shirts for the men in all areas inside the hotel with the exception of the Cupola Bar. Because every night is special, after 6:30pm, a coat and tie are required for the gentlemen — no jeans or shorts, and for the ladies, dress slacks, dresses, or skirts and blouses are preferred.)
Hotel Indigo, Traverse City, Michigan. Located in Traverse City’s trendy waterfront Warehouse District, this new hotel is a short walk to Grand Traverse Bay and the beach. Highlights: in-room coffee maker • complimentary high-speed Internet and Wi-Fi access • two restaurants • bar/lounge • fitness center.
* Subject to change due to fuel surcharge.