Join us on this fantastic tour as we travel to Holland - MI, Mackinac Island, Frankenmuth – MI, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron & Lake Superior. It's easy to succumb to the Mackinac Island’s magic - carriages, picturesque Victorians, the world's longest porch… And did we mention fudge? Temptation drifts on the wind in this enchanted island in northern Michigan. Seventeen fudge shops crowd the downtown area, and delectable scents escape every time a door opens. Chocolate, peanut butter, more chocolate.
The good people of this lovely island banned motor vehicles in the early 1900s. The island, between "mainland" Michigan and its upper peninsula, is one of those rare places that gives you a glimpse into a simpler life. A little fudge, some exercise, a chance to see beautiful scenery. What more could a vacationer want? Maybe a touch of magic…. Mackinac has that covered too. Close your eyes and you'll swear you've stepped back into the late 19th century.
Victorian inns and homes with wide verandas, long wood balconies and conical turrets march up the verdant hillsides. And the absence of cars and other motor vehicles gives the island a dreamy ambience. Horses clip-clop along the street pulling carriages; couples roll by on bicycles built for two; American flags and bright flower boxes decorate homes and street lamps.
Day 1 Black Hills to Albert Lea, MN (527 miles)
We start our day with an 8am departure from Rapid City heading east to Albert Lea, Minnesota, making appropriate comfort and meal stops along the way.
Overnight Albert Lea, MN – Country Inn and Suites – Supper included
Day 2 Albert Lea, MN to Neenah, WI (295 miles)
This morning, we depart Albert Lea and head into Wisconsin. Our destination today is Neenah, a delightful area situated by the banks of Lake Winnebago, Little Lake Butte des Morts, and the Fox River, approximately forty miles southwest of Green Bay.
Overnight Neenah. WI – Breakfast included
Day 3 Neenah, WI to Saulte Ste Marie, MI – (353 miles) – Note time change today
Today we follow the north western shores of Lake Michigan. En route we make convenient comfort stops together with picture & meal stops along the way. Late afternoon we arrive at the town of Saulte Ste Marie, where the waterway connecting Lake Michigan and Lake Huron saw both booming commerce and some pretty spirited conflicts during the active fur-trading era. The Soo Locks have been referred to as one of the great wonders of the world. Our tour boat will ride the water as it is raised twenty-one feet, straight up, to the level of Lake Superior. You will then cruise under the International Bridge and Railroad Bridge before crossing into Canadian waters (no passport required) where we see one of Canada's largest steel plants in operation. We return to the lower harbor through the historic "newly restored" Canadian Lock and cruise past the St. Mary's Rapids.
Overnight Kewadin Saulte Ste Marie, MI (Hotel & Casino) – Breakfast included
Day 4 Soo Locks – Mackinac Island & overnight (80 miles)
After breakfast, we load up our suitcases ready for our boat trip through the Soo Locks which departs at 10am. Our tour boat will ride the water as it is raised twenty-one feet, straight up, to the level of Lake Superior. You will then cruise under the International Bridge and Railroad Bridge before crossing into Canadian waters (no passport required) where we see one of Canada's largest steel plants in operation. We return to the lower harbor through the historic "newly restored" Canadian Lock and cruise past the St. Mary's Rapids. Continuing on our next leg which takes us south across the historic Straits of Mackinac. We cross the “Big Mac” Bridge, a 100 million-dollar structure completed in 1957. The 8,344 feet between cable anchorages make it one of the world’s largest suspension bridges. On arrival in Mackinaw City we will have a little time to explore before boarding our ferry bound for Mackinac Island and the world renowned Grand Hotel. When you step off of the Island Ferry Dock, you will be in a living Victorian village. Please cross streets on straight angles rather than diagonally and be aware of horses, bikes and people stepping off of carriages, and then enjoy the downtown hustle and bustle of the early 1800s. Our luggage will have been tagged prior to getting on the ferry and will be delivered to your room at the Grand Hotel. Please remember, this is an historic Hotel so rooms may not be as spacious as a modern hotel. Tonight Supper is just amazing in this wonderful historic hotel. After you are free to explore.
Overnight Grand Hotel – Mackinac Island – Breakfast & Supper included
Day 5 Mackinac Island Tour by Horse and Carriage then travel to Frankenmuth, MI – (215 miles)
After breakfast, we depart the hotel by horse & carriage for a short tour before being dropped off at the ferry terminal. What you will experience is by far the most enjoyable and authentic way to take in some of the beautiful views. After time for lunch we head south to the German village of Frankenmuth known as Michigan’s little Bavaria. We arrive late afternoon and check into our hotel for the next 2 nights.
Overnight Frankenmuth, MI – Springhill Suites - Breakfast included
Day 6 Frankenmuth, MI
A full day to explore this delightful village which was founded in 1845 by a group of fifteen German-Lutheran missionaries who came to this area for the purpose of teaching Christianity to the Chippewa Indians. Franken depicts the province from which the settlers came and Muth means courage in German. The name Frankenmuth means “Courage of the Franconians.” Today, Frankenmuth is a thriving community of 4,900 residents who take great pride in preserving the German heritage. Area homes, businesses and surrounding farms remain neat and clean reflecting this German ethic. Well-tended flowers and lush greenery abound in what many visitors describe as the most authentic Bavarian architecture to be found anywhere in the United States. This morning we take a tour of Frankenmuth before exploring this delightful village on our own.
Overnight Frankenmuth, MI – Springhill Suites - Breakfast included
Day 7 Frankenmuth, MI to Holland, MI (160 miles) – then to Ludington, MI (90 miles)
Our journey today takes us to the west shoreline of Lake Michigan to the picturesque town of Holland, MI. It’s both easy to see and hard to imagine that Holland, Michigan has its roots in the most solemn aspects of Dutch culture. Much of the religious conviction remains, as does the traditional Dutch architecture, and ambiance. But like its pioneers, Holland has reinvented itself without letting go of its heritage. Today’s Holland is alive with diverse cultures, whose influence has created an exciting, thriving community that has never lost its charm. During our tour of Holland, we visit De Klomp Wooden Shoe and Delft Factory which is a store that words cannot describe. From the time you walk into the door, your eyes will not believe the beauty and splendor of the items on our shelves. Talk with the staff as they explain how they make the product from beginning to end. See the detail and pride of work that goes into each piece of product they make. See the shoe maker produce wooden shoes from block of poplar wood using authentic Dutch machinery (still used in Europe today) designed especially for making wooden shoes. From Holland it is around 1 ½ hours to our final destination for the day…. Ludington, home port for the SS Badger.
Overnight Ludington, MI – Breakfast & supper included
Day 8 Ludington – Ferry SS Badger across Lake Michigan to Manitowoc, WI (4 hours) to Tomah, WI (168 miles)
After breakfast this morning, we depart the hotel at 7.45am and head to the ferry terminal in time to catch the 9am ferry across Lake Michigan. Our ship is the SS Badger…. She is the largest car ferry ever to sail Lake Michigan, and has provided a fun and reliable shortcut across the huge inland sea for more than fifty years. The S.S. Badger is a national treasure, offering a cruise experience that links us to an earlier time when a sea voyage was the ultimate travel and vacation adventure. The 410′ S.S. Badger entered service in 1953, and was built primarily to transport railroad freight cars, however, the Badger reigned as Queen of the Lakes during the car ferries’ Golden Era in the late Fifties, with Manitowoc, WI as her Wisconsin port of call. The crossing is 4 hours so please take your lunch break before disembarking – we change to Central Standard Time when we arrive in Manitowoc so our arrival time will be 12 noon. After disembarking the ship, we continue our journey by road to Tomah, WI (170 miles) arriving late afternoon. After checking into our hotel, it’s time for supper. Overnight Tomah, WI – Breakfast & supper included
Day 9 Tomah, WI to Sioux Falls, SD (355 miles)
We leave the hotel at 9.30m and head west on I-90 (a surprise awaits us…) after which we continue on to Sioux Falls, SD for our last overnight. Meal and comfort stops will be made along the way.
Overnight Sioux Falls, SD – Breakfast & Farewell Supper included
Day 10 Sioux Falls, SD to Rapid City, Sturgis & Spearfish, SD (358 miles)
After breakfast we leave the hotel at 8.30am and head to The Falls of the Big Sioux River have been a focus of life in the region throughout history. Native American peoples were the first to visit the falls and bring stories of them to European explorers. They have been the focus of recreation and industry since the founding of the city of Sioux Falls in 1856. Today the park covers 123 acres. Each second, an average of 7,400 gallons of water drop 100 feet over the course of the falls. We leave the park at 10.15pm and head west to Al’s Oasis at Chamberlain for our lunch break. After lunch we continue back to the Black Hills and make comfort stops along the way.
Starts: Friday June 8th 2018
Ends: Sunday June 17th 2018
ABS Travel Group | 945 Enchantment Road, Rapid City, South Dakota, 57701, USA
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