Late Autumn in Michigan. Walking, waiting, wondering. A great time for families to get out and explore the beautiful trails and cultural landscapes of our great state. Read on....Read More
Traveling in Michigan in the springtime is truly amazing. The weather has been sunny, mid 60's and blue skies dotted with gorgeous white clouds.
Being able to get outside and enjoy recreation with the family has been a gift.
The flowers are rising from their long slumber in places like Kensington Metro Park, Maybury State Park, and the Environmental Interpretive Center at the University of Michigan Dearborn.
We had a delightful weekend getting outside to ride at Kensington Metro Park. The air was cool in the shade and a bit windy, but we had a great time, seeing the sun reflecting off of Kent Lake, glimpsing a swan nesting just off the shore line.
The weekend before we spent time at Greenfield Village and saw many more glimpses of spring, including lambs just a few hours old. Taking the time to see the sights in southeastern Michigan this time of year even for a long weekend or a day trip is truly family travel time at its most memorable.
What do you love about springtime in Michigan?
The inspiration from this blog came from the Pure Michigan ad campaign. Several years ago I was driving to Florida with my family. We stopped at the Welcome Center where we struck up a conversation with a young couple from Georgia.
"Michigan," the man said, "you have a lot of mountains there don't you?" Even the large rolling hills known as the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan's Upper Peninsula don't compare to the Appalachians that dip down into Georgia. Where could this impressionable young man have gotten the idea that Michigan was so mountainous?
Then the image of a kayaker paddling past the layered multi-colored cliffs and rock formations of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore came to mind. I had seen this image on a billboard many times while traveling north in Michigan-driving past industrial complexes, suburban centers and flat farm lands. Besides the nature loving kayaker in the ads, I also saw other amazing vistas that I did not know even existed in Michigan. I started to wonder, did everyone out of of state picture Michigan as a mountainous, waterfall covered, mini Grand Canyon-like wonderland?
Whenever my family enters Michigan from the south up I-75, I try to imagine that Georgia couple expecting to see mountains but finding flat swampy land against giant power lines and billboard after billboard crowding the roadsides.
I also think of my own family looking for adventure out of state on the "road less travelled" and finding a dumpy hotel or tree-less campground in an area marketed for its beauty or for being culturally rich.
No, not all of Michigan is mountainous, or a natural wonderland, but if you know where to look, there is natural beauty, quaint towns, city centers with interesting cultural experiences. With this blog I intend to give vacationers an honest account of what they will find in Michigan. From the well-known vacation hot spots to gems off the beaten path
To those, like the Georgia couple, entering Michigan on I-75 from Toledo, don't be deterred by the factories, run down farms with rusted tractors, or brand new subdivisions backing up to the interstate. Keep going!
About three hours north the urban sprawl will give way to the pines, oaks, birch and poplars of the Huron National Forest and the natural beauty of Northern Michigan. Or head west on I-96 to Lake Michigan coast dotted with quaint tourist towns and gorgeous beaches.
When you know where to go, Michigan is a beautiful state-honestly.
Written by Jenny
April 15th. Ugh, it seems so far away. Yet, each year we look up on this event with great excitement and anticipation. Though I don't like to wish my days away, if this one day would just come a bit more quickly....
No, I am not talking about tax day. Those history fans in southeastern Michigan know the date circled on our families calendar refers to the opening of Greenfield Village!
So, what can a budget conscious family do this Spring Break if you are looking for something quiet to do?
One thing we usually are looking forward to doing:
Going to the Environmental Interpretive Center (EIC) at University of Michigan-Dearborn. This nature study area has several short hiking trails through a nature area formerly part of the Henry Ford Estate. The EIC has a few displays about the local wildlife and the Rouge River Watershed. The brief videos are also informative and interesting. It is free. It is suitable for all youth with supervision. You can see the entire EIC in less than thirty minutes with an average time span. The displays are very simple and non-flashy, but educational. The staff and students are informative, but you usually have to ask questions. You might want to ask about maple syrup production or the bird migration project.
The EIC has limited hours, so be sure to check before going to the center itself.
Treat yourself and sit for a while in the bird observation room. Start by counting the number of birds, then the different species of birds, and then before you know it you will just be marvelling at how relaxed and quiet it is!
The trails are open from dawn to dusk and there are several loops of no more than a mile in length.