Michigan State, USA

Graham McKenzie explores this state on the Great Lakes.

What’s your image of the US state of Michigan? Car manufacturing ? Motown music? That was certainly mine before I visited. Having now been there on several occasions I can now see that yes; my first thoughts were correct but were also terribly short sighted.

Michigan is stunning and its natural beauty is second to none. Predominant amongst those natural assets are the Great Lakes, which are the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world. This enables Silver Travellers to enjoy activities such as boating, fishing, and swimming in these pristine waters. Additionally, Michigan has many beautiful state parks and forests that offer hiking, camping, and wildlife spotting. In the autumn, or fall, these forests turn a multitude of colours that are truly breathtaking and far exceed anything one can see this side of the Atlantic. Special mention must also be made of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore an area that features, unsurprisingly, not your normal dunes but towering sand hillocks that overlook Lake Michigan, providing amazing views especially at sunset.

The state is also renowned for its vibrant cultural scene. The city of Detroit, where all the automobile manufacturing takes place is unsurprisingly known as the “Motor City,” and has a rich musical heritage including being the birthplace of Motown music. The Silver generation who are fans of the music (and who is not?) can explore the Motown Museum and learn about the history of this influential genre. Detroit, the international gateway, is also home to several world-class art museums and theatres that showcase a wide range of artistic performances. It is also the home of the major sports teams namely – The Lions, The Tigers, and The Pistons.

For history enthusiasts, Michigan has a wealth of historical sites and landmarks. The state played a significant role in the automotive industry, with Detroit being the headquarters of major manufacturers such as Ford and General Motors. That legacy can be seen right across the city but no more so than at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village where one can learn about the history of American innovation and see iconic artifacts such as the Rosa Parks bus and the car that J.F. Kennedy was travelling in when assassinated in 1963. Allow enough time as this is one of the most comprehensive and impressive institutions in the whole of the country.

It’s not all about major metro areas though. Michigan is also home to numerous charming towns and smaller cities that offer unique shopping and dining experiences. Traverse City, known as the “Cherry Capital of the World,” hosts an annual cherry festival and is famous for its local wineries. Further North Mackinac Island is a popular tourist destination known for its Victorian-era architecture and horse-drawn carriages which can only be accessed by ferry and has no automobiles. Not even those from Detroit. Ann Arbor is the home of the state’s biggest University and as a consequence has a very lively social scene with a multitude of independent bars, restaurants covering virtually every conceivable type of cuisine. It’s also home to the ‘Big House’ – The University of Michigan’s sports stadium and is the biggest in the whole of the USA and the third largest in the world with a capacity around 115,000 people. Further North on the shores of the ‘Big Lake’ is Grand Rapids which was the childhood home of President Gerald Ford and now houses his Presidential Museum.

In conclusion, Michigan offers a wide range of attractions and experiences that make it an appealing destination for Silver Travellers from the United Kingdom. From its natural beauty to its cultural scene and historical sites, there is something for everyone to enjoy – plus of course it has Motown!

Find out more

Visit Michigan.org for information on Michigan, then call our Silver Travel Advisors on 0800 412 5678 to book your trip.

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