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Midwest Getaways

By NED HAGGARD
Vacation fun begins in the imagination, wants and notions that cast restful, joy-filled images of where you want to be and how, whether for a weekend or longer. And next, the planning, what kind of abode do you want for parking your luggage and hanging your hat? Perhaps shopping for unique gifts in resort towns is your joy. Or perusing fine art from a stunning local artist or pondering a little known masterpiece from one of the long ago masters in a more museum-like gallery. And what of the children? What would bring squeals of fun from them? Whatever your wish, you drive your getaway and it begins with the planning. The Midwest is a wonderland of options for the weekend or longer getaway. Following are listings, by State and location of some of the most loved places for your journey to relaxation and renewal. Let your vacation begin, here, now with our pages of information to aid you as you sketch your getaway plans....


UPPER MICHIGAN

Marquette County

After a dreadful, Arctic cold winter in much of the country, spring and summer getaway fun awaits at relaxing, picturesque Marquette County. Poised on the shores of gorgeous Lake Superior on the Michigan Upper Peninsula, dining, touring, swimming, boating, hiking, fishing, biking and shopping await. Spectacular waterfalls, pristine forests to the visible horizon, marvelous lighthouses, sunning on the shore or swimming in the refreshing waters of Lake Superior. Call 1-800-544-4321.

Isle Royale Islands

Unspoiled, breathtaking beauty. Isle Royale is wilderness both remarkable and perhaps more remarkably, truly protected; it is the only United States National Park that is an island.45 miles long and 9 miles wide at its greatest width, it sits majestically in northern Lake Superior, 22 miles from the Canadian shore southeast of Thunder Bay, Ontario. It is open and accessible from April 15th through October, each year. It is the least visited United States National Park but the one that boasts the most repeat visitors; once visited, it enchants and lures one to return. Plan to “bring your own” when visiting because it is wondrously unspoiled with miles and miles of hiking trails and inland lakes for canoeing and kayaking. One arrives at this natural gem by seaplane or boat. For more information, go to: www.go-michigan.com/Isle-Royale-National-Park

Porcupine Mountain

Ah, the natural splendor and vacationer’s treasure, Porcupine Mountain in Ontonagon County, Michigan. A four season paradise, the warmer months, spring and summer offer a cornucopia of options for fun, relaxation, and marveling. 21 miles of sparkling sand beaches await the beachcomber, sunbather and swimmer. Miles and miles of designated wilderness biker trails overlooking Lake Superior and unspoiled, lush forests. Salmon and trout fishing are favored in abundance by the many, white water rivers. Agate Falls, Bonanza Falls, Cascade Falls and O Kun-de-kun Falls are among the most breathtaking of falls, especially after the winter thaw in the spring and early summer. Also, the area does not lack in dining, shopping, hotel and motel accommodations along with festivities and events. A gem of the northern peninsula. To learn more, contact: procupinemountains.com or call: 1-906-884-2047.


MICHIGAN

Petoskey

Atop the shores of Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay, Petoskey is a great choice for getting away. Renowned for its “Million Dollar Sunsets” on the Bay, it is just what the doctor ordered for a restful vacation. The Little Traverse Wheelway, years in completion follows the original wheelway that went from Petoskey to Harbor Springs in the late 1800s running 26 miles with paved trails and sidewalks. Petoskey State Park and Bear River Valley Recreation Area are adjunctive sites for exploration and pleasure. There are a number of mountain bike trails, as well, through spectacular hardwood forests. If you are a golfer, look no further; 14 courses grace the area with Golf Magazine having rated them #2 in the nation for exceptional course quality. The lakeside tourist communities, Petoskey, Harbor Springs, Boyne City and Bay Harbor have downtown locales sporting boutiques, galleries, and a varied range of shops not to mention dining options for every occasion and palate. And last, but hardly least among Petoskey’s options are the largest water park in the State and a grand casino. For more information, contact: petoskeyarea.com or call, 1-800-845-2828.

Holland

Only 3 hours from Chicago by car, Holland is a readily accessible community serviced by plane, bus and train. And it has something for everyone seasonally and year round. Its proximity to many other areas of interest also adds to its attraction. Of Dutch heritage, Holland offers many reminders of that influence in history and modern day presence: Nelis’ Dutch Village, Windmill Island Gardens, Veldheer Tulip Gardens and the Klomp Wooden Shoe and Delft Factory most notably among them. Holland State Park and the DeGraaf Nature Center lend additional opportunities for experiencing Holland’s beauty. Kid friendly options abound as do adult recreations: golf, shopping, vast options for dining, museums, arts and crafts. And don’t forget beach and camping opportunities and don’t overlook the Big Red Lighthouse. A splendidly nearby getaway. For More Information, Contact: Holland Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (www. holland.org) by calling 1-800-506-1299.

Grand Rapids

Talk about convenience, everything is close at hand in Grand Rapids with virtually endless ways of entertaining yourself during a relaxing vacation. And convenience is not incidental to the location, it is deliberate. There are a number of self-guided tours for the independently minded who do not want to keep pace with a clock, walking and driving tours, both. If you’re bringing the little ones, they will not be bored. Grand Rapids Children's Museum, the nearby John Ball Zoo complete with its petting zoo are two of many popular attractions for children and their parents. Prize winning, renowned breweries and beer bars are close at hand offering flavorful, top drawer brews. The close by countryside adds color and sunshine (hopefully) to your trip. Dining spans an array of choices for every taste. Red’s on the River is elegant dining and the "hot dog hall of fame" at the Corner Bar is another. In short, Grand Rapids is a vacationer’s wonderland. For more information, contact www.experiencegr.com or call 1-800-678-9859.

St. Joseph

The Riviera of the Midwest is what residents and visitors call St. Joseph and the neighboring area. Numerous activities can make choosing an adventure in its own right: Silver Beach alone along the Lake Michigan shore and the St. Joseph riverfront provide opportunities to swim, play beach volleyball or stroll viewing a gorgeous sunset. There are also children’s playgrounds and barrier-free walkways. Splendid Shadowland Pavilion adjoins. The bluff above St. Joseph affords a breathtaking view of downtown St. Joseph and is the location of the wildly popular Krasl Art Fair on July 12 and 13. Strolling in downtown St. Joseph, rich aromas waft through the quaint streets from sweet shops tucked among other inviting retailers. To learn more, access the St. Joseph Welcome Center at www.stjoetoday.com. Call 1-269-985-1111.

WISCONSIN


Port Washington

A historic seafarer’s community, Port Washington is a vacationer’s mecca on Lake Michigan’s Wisconsin shoreline just north of Milwaukee. Whether your pleasure is shopping in quaint shops and boutiques in historic, downtown Port Washington, strolling along Lake Michigan on its two-mile long Harbor Walk, bird watching or biking on the Interurban Trail, you will find fresh air relaxation and rejuvenating delight. By the way, Harbor Walk bridges Port Washington’s two sparkling beaches offering awesome views of the shoreline, lighthouse, and charming downtown. And if you find yourself among surfers, you have not been mysteriously transported to California, you have happened upon South Beach. The certified Clean Marina attracts boaters and the fishing is...well, shall we say, you won’t be disappointed. Port Washington offers those who enjoy a variety of options for dining restaurants that will fill every culinary wish in locations tucked among the historic, pleasant, downtown shops and streets. Don’t miss the Allen Edmonds Outlet Factory Shoe Bank. For more information on Port Washington, call, 1-800-719-4881 or visit www.visitportwashington.com.

Elkhart Lake

Gorgeous Elkhart Lake, located in east central Wisconsin near Sheboygan is a year round getaway area. The public walkway provides a stunning view of the 400 acre, 4- mile shoreline namesake lake. Here you can enjoy luxuries like a world-class spa. The Feed Mill Market in the village square offers a charming selection of souvenirs. Across the village park, you will find the Off the Rail Café. An array of restaurants offering an abundance of choices grace the community. While there are numerous events spanning the seasons, the most renowned is the annual Road America. The President and General Manager of Road America, George Bruggenthies, announcing the 2014 schedule said, "Road America is widely known for having the most active and diverse schedule of any road race circuit in the U.S. and we look forward to hosting the AMA, NASCAR Nationwide Series, TUDOR United Sports Car Championship (TUSCC) and three separate vintage events again in 2014.” For information, call 1-877-355-4278 or email them: tourism@elkhartlake.com.


Lake Geneva

I don’t know about you, but after a winter like the one so many of us in the Midwest have experienced, just the hint of spring brings a refreshing sense of joy, yes? For those of us who live in Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois, Lake Geneva is a short and beautiful drive from the closed in, musty, dusty urban reminders of wintertime. Springtime in Lake Geneva draws vacationers, from near and far actually, for events and joyful fun and just plain fresh air relaxation. While a year-round resort community, Lake Geneva is never dull in terms of things to do and places to shop and visit. The mile- long lakefront promenade is as rejuvenating as it is beautiful. The Four Seasons Nature Preserve is near at hand, too, with crabapple, apple and cherry trees throughout the area. The Memorial Day Chocolate Fest is an annual attraction in nearby Burlington (20 minutes from Lake Geneva). “Fiddler on the Roof” is only one of the running dinner-theater productions in the area beginning this spring. The Lake Geneva Cruise Line is world famous! For more about events, accommodations from the Spartan to the luxuriant, restaurants for every palate from the casual to the extraordinary and the myriad ways of getaway fun, call 1-800-345-1020 or email: info@lakegenevawi.com.

Racine

Racine is located on Wisconsin’s southeastern shore of Lake Michigan roughly 30 miles south of Milwaukee. Welcoming parks and hiking trails are nestled along the winding route through Racine along the Root River. A Certified Blue Wave Clean Beach— North Beach—50 acres of sparkling, inviting sand was named in 2012 by USA Today as one of “The 51 Great American Beaches.” Fishing is popular and plentifully rewarding in the nearby lakes and on Lake Michigan itself. For those of you attracted to architecture and the arts, the Johnson Wax Company’s Racine Headquarters is a living testament to the architectural genius of Frank Lloyd Wright. Guided tours are available. The Racine Art Museum has something for every art lover and tourist. The exhibits change often so you are likely to find something new each time Racine’s lure draws you back. The Wind Point Lighthouse is a popular attraction. The Racine Zoo is uniquely and pleasantly located on the Lake Michigan shore. If you love to eat (and who doesn’t?), you will find Racine one of the best places to visit, restaurants of all ilk and character abound, as do bakeries. To learn more, visit www.realracine.com or call: 1-800-272-2463.

ILLINOIS


Quad Cities

The options available in the Quad Cities are virtually endless for the vacation visitor year-round. The historic juncture of five, yes five communities spanning the Mississippi River in far northwestern Illinois and northeastern Iowa, Moline, East Moline, Rock Island, Davenport and Bettendorf offer many choices. Once home to American Indians, including famed Chief Blackhawk and later, “Go West!” settlers, both drawn by the advantages of the nearby Mississippi River, the Quad Cities have grown to be a vast hub of commerce, industry, tourism, and educational centers. The options for tourists are virtually endless: riverboat cruises, industrial tours including the Segway facilities and John Deere, river lock tours, casino dining and gaming, restaurants with all possible options, the charming historic centers architecturally maintained and some recreations from the earliest days of the Indians and settlers. Accommodations vary from hotels to quaint B&Bs with access to the Quad Cities available by plane, train and car; once settled in, there is a good public transportation system, taxis, all the amenities of the big city at hand for the tourist’s leisure. For more information, view www.visitquadcities.com or call 1-800-747-7800.

Published: April 25, 2014
Issue: Spring 2014 Issue