Sunday, September 11, 2011

Backroads of Michigan

Backroads of Michigan: Your Guide to Michigan's Most Scenic Backroad Adventures.
by Robert W. Domm
Voyager Press

This book falls somewhere between a guidebook and a photography book. It's full of large color pictures, taken by the author, along with descriptions of 25 driving routes in Michigan. The state is divided into four sections: "Pasties and Iron Ore: The Upper Peninsula," "Where the North Begins: The Upper Lower Peninsula," "The Sunset Coast: Western Lower Michigan," and "Under the Thumb: Southern Lower Michigan." Each route is illustrated with photos of the landscape and selected details-- a wildflower, a picturesque stairway, or a Victoria cupola-- along with driving directions, an area map, and a few pages of description of the attractions and the history of the area. Two of the routes are in Southwest Michigan.

Backroads near Kalamazoo
1. Dunes, Beaches,and Art: Saugatuck/Douglas to South Haven.
"The two-lane Blue Star Memorial Highway (also labeled A2) links Saugatuck/Douglas to South Haven and once was the main north-south thoroughfare between the cities. Nowadays most commercial traffic uses U.S. Highway 196, a modern four-lane highway that shadows the older road. For those interested in a closer look at the local scenary, the Blue Star offers a slower-paced route packed with interesting sights and mom-and-pop businesses. Along the Blue Star are numerous antique dealers, ranging from quaint shops to sprawling lawns cluttered with rusting metal curios. Bed-and-breakfast inns (including one for pets), art studios, small restaurants, and plant nurseries are interspersed with fields of highbush blueberry and small farms along the route."

Directions: From I-196 take exit 41 onto Blue Star Memorial Highway, which leads south to the towns of Saugatuck, Douglas, and South Haven.

2. Yankee Springs
"Between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, where the rolling cornfields give way to forests and clear, quiet lakes, is a place called Yankee Springs State Recreation Area. Steeped in colorful history and awash with natural beauty, Yankee Springs entices visitors with 5,000 acres of public land situated around nine lakes, including a portion of Gun Lake, one of the largest and deepest inland lakes in Michigan. Oak, maple, and hickory trees line the blacktop roads and hang in a green canopy over the narrow sand-and-gravel access roads leading to the park's secluded lakes. Every season offers something new at Yankee Springs."

directions: From US-131 take exit 61 onto M-179. Go east on M-179 to Gun Lake Road. South on Gun Lake Rd to park. Continuing on Gun Lake Rd to Yankee Springs Road, then north, makes a loop back to M-179 (Chief Noonday Road.)

Amazon offers a Kindle version. Barnes & Noble lists used copies. I found a copy at the library.

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