Oct. 4, 2002 -- There are many places to see in Michigan, from Detroit — the Motor City that is home of Motown — to Mackinac Island, an authentic Victorian village, population 500, where transportation is limited to horse and buggy, bicycle or foot.
Ann Arbor, a college town that is known for the University of Michigan, is also a mecca for golf, shopping, dining, culture, fairs and festivals.
There are smaller places, too.
Frankenmuth, considered Michigan's No. 1 visitor destination, annually gets about 3 million to 3.25 million guests in town, even though the population is just under 5,000. Founded by German settlers in 1845, Frankenmuth built on its Bavarian heritage and turned it into a yearlong Octoberfest.
But enough from us. Here's what we heard from Michigan residents via e-mail about some places they felt Diane and Charlie might want to visit in their home state. (To find out about accommodations in any of these places, go to the state tourism office's Web site, at Michigan.org)
Western Shoreline: Everyone knows Michigan is famous for its cereal and automobiles, but there is another area that is famous in Michigan and is the sand dunes on the Western shoreline of the state.
Approximately 20 miles West of Hart is Lake Michigan and the Silver Lake Sand Dunes that run between Silver Lake and Lake Michigan. A great resort area in the summer with Craig's Cruisers, Mac's Dune Rides, fruit trees (cherry, apple, peach, plums) and of course the No. 1 crop is asparagus. We have an Asparagus Festival in Hart shared with Shelby, and a Cherry Festival in Traverse City. So you see everything doesn't center around the cities of Detroit, Lansing and Flint. The out of the way areas has some very great areas to visit that no one really knows about. Try us, you will like us!!!!
Monroe: I understand you may be visiting Detroit, Michigan soon. You should stop in Monroe (40 miles south of Detroit). We have a wonderful county historical museum with a great exhibit dedicated to General George Armstrong Custer. We are also the home of La-Z-Boy Chair Co., and also have an exhibit at museum on their 75th anniversary. (I work at museum, thus my bias!!)
Traverse City: Come to Traverse City, Michigan, a jewel in the Great Lakes region. We are the mitten state and are located where your little finger is on your left hand. When visiting here you will find a plethora of sites, sounds and personalities to focus on. We are the Cherry Capital of the world, boast of the largest movable sand dunes in North America (Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore) complete with its Indian legend and lore.
There are wineries, a unique Music House Museum with an immense collection of antique automated instruments, and a fascinating history with new high tech business, too. Traverse City is the off-season training site for the Detroit Red Wings, all kinds of sports and hunting opportunities are available here, too. On the political side, we have a "downtown" story to tell vs. the malls, we have aggressive land conservancies that are charting new policies and models for the country, a battle over development vs. farmland preservation, Indian gaming! issues, and traffic problems to solve. Traverse City has a community college, but lacks the diversity of other larger metropolitan areas. The arts community is extremely vibrant and active with museums, concert series, and the world-renowned Interlochen Center for the Arts.
In Michigan, also known as the Great Lakes State, there are adventures to be had everywhere you look.
Up North, as us natives call it, GMA should visit the Traverse City/Leelenau/Old Mission Pennisula (or the little fingers). Great vacation spots in the summer. Attractions to see: The Sleeping Bear Dunes; art galleries, antiques and vineyards are everywhere. Chateau Grand Traverse can boast a Riesling that competes and wins against German vineyards.
Our UP (Upper Peninsula) is God's country. Houghton and Hancock along with Calumet in Copper Harbor are reminders of our mining days.
Isle Royale National Park is located in Lake Superior. The park has breath-taking shoreline and is home to wolves and moose. It is only accessible by boat or floatplane.
"Isle Royale is relatively untouched by direct outside influences and serves as a living laboratory and United States Biosphere Reserve," quoted from the National Parks Web site.
In the Detroit area, there is the DaimlerChrysler Auburn Hills Headquarters, home to the American brands Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep. Their headquarters was built to be easily converted into a shopping mall if ever vacated by the automaker.
On their grounds, the Walter P. Chrysler Museum, host to the history of the automaker.
Royal Oak and Birmingham are two centers of culture for local artists.
Ann Arbor is home to Charlie's favorite football team, The Michigan Wolverines. Great college town. There's always something going on!