Date Published: March 6, 2016
Publication Name: Detroit Free Press



With the promise of spring comes possibilities. Here are 10 new and fresh things to tempt travelers in Michigan this year. Some are recommended by Michelle Grinnell at Travel Michigan. Some are my own suggestions:

• Sail on the SS Badger. Just named a National Historic Landmark in February, the iconic ferry, now with clean energy, sails between Ludington, Mich., and Manitowoc, Wis. If you’ve never tried it, this should be the year.

• Be on hand as the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum in downtown Grand Rapids reopens June 7, fully renovated with new exhibits.

This summer, take a guided kayak tour at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore with the new “All About Water” program. Promising stunning views of Michigan’s most beautiful sights, they provide the gear.

• Play a reversible 18-hole golf course at Forest Dunes Golf Club in Roscommon. The Loop course opens in July. One day, the Loop course will have players play clockwise, and the next day it will reverse direction.

• Get in line to see Applewood, a gorgeous estate in Flint that was the home of Charles Stewart Mott. It will start offering regular public hours starting in May on Thursdays through Sundays.

• Find a bit of Africa in Michigan. Starting this spring, you can stay overnight in one of eight new tented structures at the Joe and Clara Stewart African Tented Camp and Zamani School at the Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek. Open to scouts, schools, groups and families with children.

• Join the first Mackinac Raptor Fest (April 1-2) that marks the migration of raptors including vultures, hawks and bald eagles as they fly north over the Straits of Mackinac, one of the first signs that spring is definitely

• Book your entire trip to Frankenmuth on the German-themed city’s new all-purpose portal,

• Try a winery in Michigan’s Thumb. The 3 North Vines winery in Croswell joins Blue Water Winery in offering some nice wine from vineyards coaxed to flourish on the shores of Lake Huron.

• Enjoy the improved facilities and new observatory and telescope that will debut in late 2016 or very early 2017, depending on how fast construction goes, at the Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City. It is going to be out of this world.