Thursday, January 3, 2013

Backroads and Byways of Michigan

Backroads and Byways of Michigan
Drives, Day Trips & Weekend Excursions
Matt Forster

This guidebook describes a dozen drives throughout the state of Michigan.  Each chapter starts with a description of the route (but you'll need your own map to visualize it).  The focus of the book isn't on the roads but on the attractions in the communities along the route.  Each drive would be an easy daytrip (typically 3-4 hours) but many of the recommended stops would justify a couple of hours each, so you couldn't visit them all in a day since each chapter describes a dozen or more options.  Contact information for the attractions and for recommended accommodations is listed at the end of every chapter.  Each chapter is illustrated with a number of black & white photos.

Two of the recommended drives are in southwest Michigan.   I've exerpted a few quotes from each of them.

Through the Heart of Michigan: Following the Grand River
Eaton Rapids, Lansing, Grand Ledge, Lowell, Grand Rapids, Rockford, Grand Haven
Length: 150 miles
Time 2.5 - 4 hours
"This cross-state drive bypasses the highways, misses the truck stops and fast food joints, and requires stops at the lights on Main Street of a dozen small towns.  For the right person, it's a relaxing journey through mid-America-- two lanes, speed zones, fields of corn and wheat, grain silos, once-grand Victorian homes, and empty downtown storefronts."
Selected highlights:
Ten Pound Fiddle coffehouse Lansing
Elderly Instruments Lansing
The Ledges, Grand Ledge
Fallasburg Park north of Lowell
Ada Covered Bridge
Frederik Meijer Gardens Grand Rapids
Heritage Hill, Voigt House, Meyer May House Grand Rapids
Gerald R Ford Museum Grand Rapids
John Ball Zoo Grand Rapids
Grand Haven State Park Grand Haven

The Grape Coast: Michigan's Wine Country
Paw Paw, Coloma, Harbor Country, South Haven, Saugatuck
Length: 175 miles
Time 3.5 - 4 hours
"Lake Michigan helps temper the local climate-- the vast body of water holds the summer's warmth and prolongs the growing season by a couple of months."
Selected highlights:
St Julian Winery Paw Paw,
The Chocolate Garden Coloma
Jollay Orchards Harbor Country
Warren Dunes State Park
Warren Woods
Grand Mere State Park
South Haven beach South Haven
Michigan Maritime Museum South Haven
Saugatuck Chain Ferry Saugatuck
Mount Baldhead Saugatuck
Oval Beach Saugatuck
Saugatuck Dunes State Park Saugatuck

 Available  from Amazon, other booksellers, and libraries.

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