Enjoy this summer in Michigan — of the Blue Waters! We promise you a summer you will never forget as long as you live! Fishing, swimming, camping, outdoor sports without end. Cool breezes, blue skies, laughter and play — good health and good times for all who come! Set like a rare jewel in a mounting of great blue waters — bounded on the north by Lake Superior, on the west by Lake Michigan, and on the east by Lakes Huron and Erie, with 5,000 beautiful inland lakes — Michigan offers advantages enjoyed by no other state. Not even the discomfort of the habitual hay fever victim can interfere with vacation joys in Michigan!
— Excerpted from “Michigan of The Blue Waters,” State of Michigan Tourist of Resort Commission, Circa 1930.
Beyond the bridge, an unspoiled bounty of tranquil shoreline fringing three Great Lakes awaits. Indulge in the scent of fragrant pine.
In the 1800s, miners in the Upper Peninsula sustained themselves with a hearty, hand-held meal called a pasty. Filled with diced potatoes, rutabagas, carrots, ions and ground meat, the thick-crusted pasties were wrapped up and tucked into pockets for lunch. The original pasty recipes were actually brought over by Cornish miners from England in the 1850s when the copper and iron mines first opened.
Today, pasties are among the most sought-after souvenirs when visiting the U.P. Celebrate its contribution to the state’s culinary heritage during the Pasty Fest, June 30, in Calumet’s Agassiz Park. The day features a pasty-tasting contest, parade, music, games and family fun.
Settled in 1864 under the name Red Jacket, this historic mining village includes the Calumet Downtown Historic District — listed with the National Register of Historic Places and a part of Keweenaw National Historical Park. (906) 337-6246; mainstreetcalumet.com/PastyFest.
Photography by Rudolph Malmquist
Off of Lake Huron’s scenic coast, the state’s Sunrise Side calls to fans of nautical attractions.
As one of the largest state parks in the Lower Peninsula, Hartwick Pines encompasses nearly 10,000 acres of glacier-molded hills overlooking the east branch of the AuSable River valley in Grayling’s outskirts. A highlight of the park is the 49-acre forest of Old Growth Pines, for which the park is named.
During the annual Wood Shaving Days, July 21-22, visitors can venture into the woods and experience the sights, sounds and scents of its rich logging past as the historic steam-powered sawmill cuts logs into pine boards; traditional music drifts through the pines; crafters carve and burn wood into original works of art; an early pioneer activities such as blacksmithing, weaving and spinning can be seen and sampled first-hand.
Be sure to visit the Logging Museum for its historical interpretations of the state’s white pine logging era between 1840 and 1910. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, the museum houses exhibits, artifacts and photographs depicting life in the early logging camps. Another not-to-miss park treasure: Chapel in the Pines. (989) 348-2537; michigan.gov/hartwickpines.
Photography courtesy Hartwick Pines Logging Museum
A parade of boutique downtowns in harbor communities bustle with festivals and art in their parks.
Just two miles west of downtown Mackinaw City is one of Michigan’s best-kept secrets. The 600-acre Headlands stretch for 2.5 miles along the Lake Michigan shoreline, making it the ideal spot to star gaze. Last summer, this property was awarded International Dark Sky Park designation — one of only six such parks in the United States and nine in the world.
This summer, experience a once-in-a-lifetime celestial event — the Venus Transit on June 5. This occurrence, when Venus passes directly between earth and the sun, is actually an eight-year process which began in 2004. It’s said that world history and astronomical discovery are connected to this movement, which will not take place again until 2117.
On July 25, learn about the Northern Lights. This discussion will focus on what produces the Aurora Borealis, how to forecast its appearances, where the best viewing sites are in Michigan and how to best photograph this dramatic sky phenomenon.
August is full of exciting astronomical wonders, including the most prolific meteor shower of the season — the Perseids. It’s also a month for a “Blue Moon” — the third full moon in the summer season. The shower is actually visible through mid-July, with peak activity (courtesy of meteors reaching 60 or more miles per hour) expected around Aug. 12. Viewing begins at 9pm. All programs and viewings are free. (231) 348-1704; emmetcounty.org/darkskypark.
Traverse up along Lake Michigan’s shoreline through harbor towns rich in cultural character, sweet fruits and vast sweeps of dramatic dune.
Tucked in Michigan’s extreme southwest is a collection of eight picturesque hamlets which make up Harbor Country — often referred to as the “Hamptons of the Midwest.” This serene summer destination is rich with antique shops, art galleries, distinctive eateries and miles of scenic Lake Michigan shoreline.
Noteworthy events are also part of Harbor Country’s charm. Tour some of the region’s most architecturally-significant homes and breathtaking gardens, June 9, during the Heartland Alliance Home & Garden Tour.
Three Oaks hosts its 60th Annual Flag Day Weekend Celebration, June 15-17, with a pet parade, Art in the Park, live music and the “Largest Flag Day Parade in the World” on Sunday. That same weekend, New Buffalo hosts Artigras, featuring some 130 juried artists set up along the downtown streets to showcase and sell their wares.
New Buffalo is also home to the largest street fest in southwest Michigan — the Ship N Shore Festival, Aug. 10-12. The highlight of the weekend is the evening water parade, when yachts, sailboats and other vessels — all decorated with lights — float through the harbor. Afterward, fireworks explode in a Great Lake sky. Learn more about these and other Harbor Country get-aways at harborcountry.org.
In and surrounding the Motor City, urban delights merge with some of the state’s most memorable waves of blue.
Perched along 140 miles of Lake Huron and St. Clair River coastline, Michigan’s “Blue Water Area” featuring nine unique waterfront communities is a sparkling highlight of the thumb region. Stroll along boardwalks, relax on the beaches and explore natural parks and trails. Spend the day at the farmers markets, take a trip back in maritime history or take in an evening concert outside under the stars.
Port Austin’s Sea Kayak Symposium, June 14-18, offers both on- and off- water classes, demonstrations, guided paddles and bonfires. The Annual Chris Craft Plant Jamboree, June 22-23 in Algonac, is a popular antique and classic boat and car show. Harbor Beach celebrates its 12th Annual Maritime Festival, July 11-15, along the “world’s greatest manmade harbor” with live music, a car show and fireworks over the harbor.
The Blue Water Fest, July 12-14, is one of Port Huron’s largest events and a kick-off celebration to the Bayview Mackinac Yacht Race, which begins on the 14th. St. Clair hosts its “Will on the Water” Shakespeare Festival, Aug. 11-12, with strolling layers, a musical consort and dramatic performances. And more than 30 antique and classic boats are on displayed in the harbor waters, Aug. 10-11, during the Port Sanilac Antique Boat Show. Uncover more fun at bluewater.org.
Excursions legend: Commonly requested tourist information listed below:
Upper Peninsula Tourism & Recreation Association
West Michigan Tourist Association
Southwest Michigan Tourist Council
Michigan’s West Coast
Sleeping Bear Dunes Visitor Bureau
Traverse City CVB
Northern Michigan Tourist Association
Boyne Country CVB
Mackinaw Area Visitors Bureau
Michigan’s Sunrise Side
Blue Water Area
Detroit Metro CVB