Travel/Food Advice

PASLP2

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Dec 27, 2019
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I have a great recommendation for a small Italian restaurant in every major city that rhymes with Lominos. 😂👍🏼😉
 
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BrockBronson

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May 20, 2021
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Strange thread for a wrestling forum. California wrestling sucks. Take a trip to happy valley
 

d-1980

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Mar 11, 2014
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Back from a week in and around Asheville, NC. Burial Brewing is my new favorite brewery in the Smoky Mountain region. I'm a hazy NE IPA fan and they're making some killer doubles.
They may not be a match for Treehouse, but they're very good.
 

nerfstate

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Oct 10, 2017
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Was in Charleston for the day last weekend. Lewis Barbecue is the best brisket I’ve ever had, and the rest of it is also first rate. Weird eating Texas BBQ in the Carolinas, but not once you taste it.
 
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El-Jefe

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Jul 27, 2012
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Looking for some thoughts on 5-7 days in Northern Michigan, early Oct. Both travel and food.

We generally try to mix up our trips -- some culture, some outdoors, some stupid fun. We're not looking to do anything strenuous.

Plan is:
- Mackinac Island: 1 day, maybe with an overnight if we ferry in at night.
- UP: potentially as far west as Marquette. Definitely hitting Pictured Rocks (hiking + boat tour).
- Traverse City and surrounding area. Guessing 1 or maybe 2 days.
- Maybe the western (Lake Michigan) coast from Traverse to Muskegon. (This is the lowest priority, and really only if we need to stretch out the last day driving back to DTW airport.)

Any thoughts on what to do in those locations or enroute?

Don't need info on metro Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids -- have been there a few times already. We're going to a wedding in Detroit and plan to spend 1 extra day there to see Midtown (Motown stuff). Otherwise, anything south of I-96 and I-69 won't fit into this trip.

TIA.
 

nerfstate

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2017
7,048
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Looking for some thoughts on 5-7 days in Northern Michigan, early Oct. Both travel and food.

We generally try to mix up our trips -- some culture, some outdoors, some stupid fun. We're not looking to do anything strenuous.

Plan is:
- Mackinac Island: 1 day, maybe with an overnight if we ferry in at night.
- UP: potentially as far west as Marquette. Definitely hitting Pictured Rocks (hiking + boat tour).
- Traverse City and surrounding area. Guessing 1 or maybe 2 days.
- Maybe the western (Lake Michigan) coast from Traverse to Muskegon. (This is the lowest priority, and really only if we need to stretch out the last day driving back to DTW airport.)

Any thoughts on what to do in those locations or enroute?

Don't need info on metro Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids -- have been there a few times already. We're going to a wedding in Detroit and plan to spend 1 extra day there to see Midtown (Motown stuff). Otherwise, anything south of I-96 and I-69 won't fit into this trip.

TIA.
Subscribing. Have a trip in 2 weeks to Copper Harbor, and point south.
 

ClarkstonMark

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May 23, 2002
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Looking for some thoughts on 5-7 days in Northern Michigan, early Oct. Both travel and food.

We generally try to mix up our trips -- some culture, some outdoors, some stupid fun. We're not looking to do anything strenuous.

Plan is:
- Mackinac Island: 1 day, maybe with an overnight if we ferry in at night.
- UP: potentially as far west as Marquette. Definitely hitting Pictured Rocks (hiking + boat tour).
- Traverse City and surrounding area. Guessing 1 or maybe 2 days.
- Maybe the western (Lake Michigan) coast from Traverse to Muskegon. (This is the lowest priority, and really only if we need to stretch out the last day driving back to DTW airport.)

Any thoughts on what to do in those locations or enroute?

Don't need info on metro Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids -- have been there a few times already. We're going to a wedding in Detroit and plan to spend 1 extra day there to see Midtown (Motown stuff). Otherwise, anything south of I-96 and I-69 won't fit into this trip.

TIA.
In TC, Stella's is the best restaurant, but it is not casual. Poppycocks downtown is good. Apache Trout Grill right on the bay is great setting. Amical a fun fusion place. There are some good places for beer and a lot of wineries in the area (L Mawby for sparkling is can't miss, 45 North, 2 Lads are a couple other favorites; Left Foot Charley is walking distance from Stella's, others are all a good drive from TC). TC is great, and you should see some great fall foliage on your drive.

Stop in Cross Village on way to or from Mackinac and have a drink or lunch at Legg's Inn. This is a great drive btw.

I did Pictured Rocks Kayak tour a couple years ago - highly recommend - the boat tour will get you great views as well. The ~10 mile hike is great as well.

I know you said you don't need Detroit recs, but if you are hungry late hit uo Bucharest Grill for a chicken shawarma. And Standby is a great place for cocktails.
 

Cali_Nittany

Well-Known Member
Jan 5, 2016
4,522
9,553
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Looking for some thoughts on 5-7 days in Northern Michigan, early Oct. Both travel and food.

We generally try to mix up our trips -- some culture, some outdoors, some stupid fun. We're not looking to do anything strenuous.

Plan is:
- Mackinac Island: 1 day, maybe with an overnight if we ferry in at night.
- UP: potentially as far west as Marquette. Definitely hitting Pictured Rocks (hiking + boat tour).
- Traverse City and surrounding area. Guessing 1 or maybe 2 days.
- Maybe the western (Lake Michigan) coast from Traverse to Muskegon. (This is the lowest priority, and really only if we need to stretch out the last day driving back to DTW airport.)

Any thoughts on what to do in those locations or enroute?

Don't need info on metro Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids -- have been there a few times already. We're going to a wedding in Detroit and plan to spend 1 extra day there to see Midtown (Motown stuff). Otherwise, anything south of I-96 and I-69 won't fit into this trip.

TIA.

Sleeping Bear Dunes was a nice place to visit. If you want a good work out go all the way down to the lakeshore and run back up (but that would definitely qualify as strenuous). I also liked Whitefish Point (cool lighthouse and Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum).
 

nerfstate

Well-Known Member
Oct 10, 2017
7,048
16,532
1
Looking for some thoughts on 5-7 days in Northern Michigan, early Oct. Both travel and food.

We generally try to mix up our trips -- some culture, some outdoors, some stupid fun. We're not looking to do anything strenuous.

Plan is:
- Mackinac Island: 1 day, maybe with an overnight if we ferry in at night.
- UP: potentially as far west as Marquette. Definitely hitting Pictured Rocks (hiking + boat tour).
- Traverse City and surrounding area. Guessing 1 or maybe 2 days.
- Maybe the western (Lake Michigan) coast from Traverse to Muskegon. (This is the lowest priority, and really only if we need to stretch out the last day driving back to DTW airport.)

Any thoughts on what to do in those locations or enroute?

Don't need info on metro Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids -- have been there a few times already. We're going to a wedding in Detroit and plan to spend 1 extra day there to see Midtown (Motown stuff). Otherwise, anything south of I-96 and I-69 won't fit into this trip.

TIA.
Just got back from my trip—a truly magical place. Most of our time was in our rental house on the Keweenaw Peninsula on Lake Superior, and exploring nearby. One of the most relaxing vacations I’ve had—a definite convert to UP sauna culture—did it every day, often more than once with the frigid lake as an interval. By the end of the week, I was swimming laps in the lake by the house.

Marquette is very cool town though—definitely worth a stop—though many of the restaurants seem to have truncated hours due to short staffing. Black Rocks Brewery makes a fantastic Pilsner—their food is all via visiting food trucks. I had half an idea to seek out a Greco practice at NMU, but didn’t. Pictured Rocks was great—though we didn’t get to do a boat tour, which is really important to actually most of the area. No boats on labor day though.
 

ClarkstonMark

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May 23, 2002
6,415
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Just got back from my trip—a truly magical place. Most of our time was in our rental house on the Keweenaw Peninsula on Lake Superior, and exploring nearby. One of the most relaxing vacations I’ve had—a definite convert to UP sauna culture—did it every day, often more than once with the frigid lake as an interval. By the end of the week, I was swimming laps in the lake by the house.

Marquette is very cool town though—definitely worth a stop—though many of the restaurants seem to have truncated hours due to short staffing. Black Rocks Brewery makes a fantastic Pilsner—their food is all via visiting food trucks. I had half an idea to seek out a Greco practice at NMU, but didn’t. Pictured Rocks was great—though we didn’t get to do a boat tour, which is really important to actually most of the area. No boats on labor day though.
My last gf, going ~8-9 years back, had relatives in Marquette. LOVED going up in winter and suana - there is some kind of sausage that hew uncle had us cook in the sauna and then eat, can't recall the name of it.
 

Used2BEerie

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Mar 25, 2015
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Erie
My last gf, going ~8-9 years back, had relatives in Marquette. LOVED going up in winter and suana - there is some kind of sausage that hew uncle had us cook in the sauna and then eat, can't recall the name of it


giphy.gif
 
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Dogwelder

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Aug 1, 2013
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My last gf, going ~8-9 years back, had relatives in Marquette. LOVED going up in winter and suana - there is some kind of sausage that hew uncle had us cook in the sauna and then eat, can't recall the name of it.
Why was she the last girlfriend you ever had? Was it because you were afraid any next girlfriend can also have a naked uncle with a sausage? Or did you start preferring sausages? :)
 
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86PSUPaul

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Aug 17, 2017
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Why was she the last girlfriend you ever had? Was it because you were afraid any next girlfriend can also have a naked uncle with a sausage? Or did you start preferring sausages? :)
I knew talk of cooking a sausage in a sauna with an uncle would lead us down a strange path....
 
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ClarkstonMark

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May 23, 2002
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Why was she the last girlfriend you ever had? Was it because you were afraid any next girlfriend can also have a naked uncle with a sausage? Or did you start preferring sausages? :)
haha that's funny .... poor grammar ... last, meaning before the most recent, which lasted a good 8 years

to follow-up, the sausage we cooked in sauna was called Cudighi.
and for the voyeurs, the Cudighi was not the only sausage that gf put in her mouth in the sauna :p
 
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d-1980

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Mar 11, 2014
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Gonna try to get this thread back on topic ;)

Thinking about making trip out to Reno for the RTOC. Will plan to get there at least a couple days early, likely rent a car, and want to check out Lake Tahoe. Any tips, suggestions or other must do's out there? Any recommended breweries to visit?
 

a_mshaffer

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Dec 8, 2014
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Gonna try to get this thread back on topic ;)

Thinking about making trip out to Reno for the RTOC. Will plan to get there at least a couple days early, likely rent a car, and want to check out Lake Tahoe. Any tips, suggestions or other must do's out there? Any recommended breweries to visit?
has been a long time but you have to visit Virginia City. There was a local type bar we visited and I gladly paid for a drink to hear a local tell how the city was named! Spent most of my time skiing at Squaw Valley.
 
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86PSUPaul

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Aug 17, 2017
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has been a long time but you have to visit Virginia City. There was a local type bar we visited and I gladly paid for a drink to hear a local tell how the city was named! Spent most of my time skiing at Squaw Valley.
Ha! Can’t call it that anymore. That is racist and sexist! It is now Palisades Tahoe.
 

El-Jefe

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Jul 27, 2012
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Gonna try to get this thread back on topic ;)

Thinking about making trip out to Reno for the RTOC. Will plan to get there at least a couple days early, likely rent a car, and want to check out Lake Tahoe. Any tips, suggestions or other must do's out there? Any recommended breweries to visit?
Reno has a car museum, and art museum, and incompetent cops wearing post office shorts. (OK, that last part was Reno 911.) Maybe a day trip to Carson City if you like visiting state capitals. Otherwise, in that part of the country you're primarily looking at outdoor activities and old mining towns. After that, Yosemite is 3 hrs away (can be done as a really long day trip, weather permitting).

Donner Pass is within an hour of Reno. Just allow a lot of time and bring plenty of food.

There are some "scenic drives" -- but most of them go thru a lot of forest or a lot of no man's land desert before ending up at a lake (you're going to Tahoe anyway) or a mountain (no shortage of those). And not all of them are doable in December. Or maybe you'll find the smoldering ruins of Burning Man out in the desert.

Food wise: Nevada and Idaho have a surprising concentration of Basque restaurants. If the place hasn't been remodeled since the 1950s, that's not a bad thing.

A caution before you book the trip: check on rental cars first -- they're astronomically expensive. Without my employer's corporate discount, my Michigan rental car = $950 for 9 days -- for a Kia. (It's still $290 with the discount.) You might end up taking the shuttle to Tahoe and maybe getting a 1-day rental if you want to see anything else outside Reno. Or deferring the trip until rental car fleets get replenished.
 

d-1980

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Mar 11, 2014
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WOW :oops:, you were not kidding about rental car rates there!
We rented just a few weeks ago in Asheville, NC and cost was good, except due to staffing shortages, they didn't have our car ready for us yet. Person at counter said they'd give us next available at same price. It happened to be a red '21 Dodge Charger Daytona with a hemi. A festivus miracle I didn't get a ticket. :D
 

El-Jefe

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Jul 27, 2012
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WOW :oops:, you were not kidding about rental car rates there!
We rented just a few weeks ago in Asheville, NC and cost was good, except due to staffing shortages, they didn't have our car ready for us yet. Person at counter said they'd give us next available at same price. It happened to be a red '21 Dodge Charger Daytona with a hemi. A festivus miracle I didn't get a ticket. :D
Consider yourself lucky about a good cost at Asheville. Before the upgrade.

Isn't just my trip. This summer my brother needed a car from PHL for 3 weeks. Was quoted $3k. He wound up taking a train from PHL to Hbg, getting picked up there, and dealing with no car for 3 weeks in rural PA.
 

El-Jefe

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Jul 27, 2012
23,306
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Just got back from the Michigan trip. Will describe the trip in subsequent post(s) … but for now:

For those going to Nationals in March:

Downtown Detroit will be OK. There are enough restaurants and bars. Enough people out on a Friday night to be safe, but few downtown residents, so at night stick to the main streets or taxi/Uber. Not much else to do around downtown. Midtown has some museums, though the Motown Museum is closed for flood repairs.

Don’t go elsewhere in the city without a car – and print directions before leaving home. Detroit is still in very bad shape despite the hype, and GPS will steer you thru squalor when merely gritty urban routes are less than a mile away. Don’t assume “Hwy” signifies even a maintained road regardless of proximity to downtown.

For anyone staying longer or looking to save on hotel costs, consider Dearborn. It’s 15-20 min to the arena, is home to one of the country’s greatest museums (The Henry Ford Museum), and has superior food scenes in both West Dearborn and East Dearborn (aka Dearbornistan). Plus good hotels in Dearborn can cost less than half of downtown Detroit.

If you can’t get a hotel in the immediate Downtown Detroit area – bounded by M-10 to the west, I-75 to the north, and I-375 to the east – then stay in Dearborn. (Note that some hotels calling themselves “Downtown,” aren’t.)

Limit the trip to Detroit and Dearborn. Michigan is great to visit, but much less so in March.
 
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RoarLions1

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May 11, 2012
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Just returned from a 7-day trip to Utah - home state of the best head wrestling coach in the country. If interested in National Parks, fairly close together, this is among the best places to go, if not THE BEST. Stay at Torrey Schoolhouse outside Capitol Reef and enjoy the breakfast. Bryce Canyon Pines was our favorite restaurant at Bryce Canyon. And Whiptail Grill (Mexican) at Zion. None are 5-star, all are delicious!

P.S. If anyone goes to Zion EVER, you must use the East Entrance at least once. The main entrance is the South Entrance, where the majority enter.
 
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PSU_Lion_Fan

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Oct 24, 2017
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Duncannon, PA
Just returned from a 7-day trip to Utah - home state of the best head wrestling coach in the country. If interested in National Parks, fairly close together, this is among the best places to go, if not THE BEST. Stay at Torrey Schoolhouse outside Capitol Reef and enjoy the breakfast. Bryce Canyon Pines was our favorite restaurant at Bryce Canyon. And Whiptail Grill (Mexican) at Zion. None are 5-star, all are delicious!
Almost two years ago, my son and I visited Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyonlands, and the Grand Canyon. Absolutely breathtaking scenery. In Springdale, we had an amazing dinner at a Mexican grill…might have been Whiptail, not sure. Delicious, but for someone who had 3’ of his colon removed, it didn’t end well. Completed our 11-day trip with the PSU vs ASU match. That didn't end well either.
 

El-Jefe

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Jul 27, 2012
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To wrap up our Michigan trip -- and we did so much that it's hard to summarize, so what the hell, you're welcome for not having to plan your trips ...

A few general notes:
- Early Oct is a great time to go: colors changing, weather cool but not cold, most seasonal stuff still open thru 10/15 (though some close 9/30).
- This trip was a LOT of driving. 4 days of 5+ hours on the road. But we saw a lot and had a blast.
- Northern Michigan and the UP are mostly about outdoor activities. We limited our hikes to < 0.5 mi roundtrip due to time constraints and due to the insane amount of driving. There are much longer hikes available, also bring good bug repellent (Deet might not cut it in the summer).
- The UP is almost entirely 2-lane roads. Even primary roads have long stretches without posted speed limits.
- GPS/4G are spotty in the UP outside of towns. GPS will get you anywhere, but when leaving attractions you might have to drive 30+ min to re-engage GPS.
- Avoid UP night driving -- unlit, no reflectors, sparsely traveled, little/no cell service... these roads starred in Unsolved Mysteries.

General food notes:
- Detroit-style pizza: rectangular Pizza Hut. Decent, far better than Chicago, not remotely east coast pizza. The rest of Michigan eats normal pizza.
- Arabic food: forget Lebanese and "Mediterranean" (which is Lebanese) -- you can get these at home. Yemeni food is awesome, like Persian but more flavorful. Syrian and Iraqi also good, like Lebanese but with different spices. All can be found in Dearborn; some might be in Hamtramck (near Motown but less desirable).
- "Whitefish" is everywhere in the north. It could be any species. Try the smoked whitefish dip, smoked whitefish sausage, and whitefish chowder (corn or cream). Sandwiches, tacos, and entrees are good and get them, but not dissimilar from cod dishes in PA.
- Pasties: the Cornish hand pie modified by Finnish miners. Typically beef or chicken, with potatoes and rutabagas. Everywhere in the UP, including pasty delivery.
- Cudighi: slightly spicy Italian sausage, distinctively clove and cinnamon. Can only be found in the UP, and especially near Marquette.
- Lots of Finnish specialties: Trenary Toast (biscotti); Juusto (baked cheese); Pannukakku (baked pancake); Mojakka (fish soup); Rieska (rye bread); etc.
- Various fruits: Traverse City is a major source of many types of cherries, cherry foods, cherry wine, etc. Other berries and stone fruits can be found along the Lake Michigan coast. The UP is known for thimbleberries.

Detroit/Dearborn:
- Dearborn restaurants only below. I've been here 2x before and can answer questions, but all we did on this trip was hang out and relax.
- Buddy's PIzza: Detroit institution. Worth trying.
- Sheeba (Yemeni): incredible. Get the Fahsah (clay pot lamb with mashed potatoes), Galabah (lamb with onions and tomatoes), and Agdah (chicken stew). At least. The tea is so caffeinated, you'll need TP for your bunghole. Need to find Yemeni near home.
- Al Chabab (Syrian): hole in the wall where the owner serves you. Cherry Kabob was unusual and delicious. Aleppo Kabob was a normal kabob, but the pitas were coated with muhammara (nuclear-grade red pepper/olive oil dip). Etc. Very good food.

NW Michigan (Traverse City to Mackinac Bridge):
- Cadillac: detour if nearby for the KISS memorial. Very pretty lake (but the north has lots of these).
- Sleeping Bear Dunes: excellent. We could only hike the first dune due to heavy rain + impending nightfall. Could spend a few hours here if inclined to do more hiking.
- Traverse City: nice, relaxed beach resort town, wandered downtown for 1 day. With 2 more days, could explore Sleeping Bear, fishing villages, and wineries. State Hospital Tour was sold out. Botanic Garden too small to bother. Hippie Tree cute if already hiking that trail -- note, Google Maps put us on the wrong trail and we found a pentagram in the woods.
- TC food: Flying Noodle = excellent casual Italian with $12 pasta dishes (not a misprint). Taproot Cider House ... hard to go wrong with 2 dozen ciders on tap. Cherry Republic = tourist trap cherry-themed shop with $3 cherry wine tastings.
- Charlevoix: Mushroom House Bus Tour is a must -- 1-hr drive around houses designed to look like they grew out of the ground (and a few look like mushrooms).
- Cross in the Woods Shrine (Indian River): outdoor chapel with literally a giant cross in the woods, also stations of the cross in the woods. Worth a detour and stretch legs.
- Tunnel of Trees (M-119 near Harbor Springs): pretty but very narrow drive thru forest. Road is no shoulders, wide enough for 2 golf carts, driven by F-150s. Worth a detour if in the area and have a LOT of time as it's really slow driving.
- Legs Inn (Cross Village): iconic Polish restaurant at the north end of Tnnel of Trees. Unfortunately we only got to see the lakefront grounds due to staffing shortage. Euro place across the street is decent but very slow, also the only other option for 30 miles.
- Mackinaw City: State Park has a decent view + lighthouse, good excuse to walk off nerves before the bridge. Mackinaw Pasties & Cookies was good cheap food.
- Mackinac Bridge: 5-mi suspension bridge. I'm terrified of bridges and this wasn't bad. Granted, I drove slowly in the middle lane ... but I made it twice. This is not nearly the Annapolis fright-fest.

Yooper land -- northern half (Rt. M-28):
- Note, we only went as far west as Marquette due to time constraints -- no Copper Harbor, Houghton, etc.
- Soo Locks Boat Tour (Sault Ste Marie): 90-min boat ride thru the locks. Cool experience. Also the only reason to go to Soo (though the Alpine Chocolat Haus has great homemade ice cream).
- Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum (Paradise): Great small museum. Allow 2 hrs for the museum + grounds, a little longer if walking the beach.
- Tahquamenon Falls. Lower Falls less spectacular, can be skipped. Upper Falls a must. Worth going down the 94 steps, but 2 very good viewpoints from street level. Shares parking lot with good brewery.
- Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: 2.5 hr cruise from Munising is a must. We did the full drive, with hindsight could've skipped the Grand Marais portion of the park and saved 2+ hrs -- Sable Falls is pretty but the only worthwhile attraction east of Miners Castle Overlook.
- Christmas MI: cute town sign, 2 dopey Santas, and a casino. But you have to drive thru it on M-28.
- Lakenenland: drive-thru junk art park 15 min E of Marquette on M-28. Whimsical, fun, very well done. Free and open 24/7. Takes about 15-20 min. A must.
- Marquette: former industrial town, now a college town. Looks a lot like Bloomsburg or Lock Haven but with a pretty coastline. We mostly relaxed and drove around the coastline up to Presque Isle Park. There are a few museums, but we just wanted the day off.
- MQT food: The Vierling (downtown) is an iconic tavern. Vango's is a townie Greek/pizza place near NMU. Both very good. Lots of other appealing options (Cajun, Mex, Thai, Hawaiian, etc.), if we had more time.
- Da Yoopers Tourist Trap (Ishpeming): Exactly what it sounds like. Go there because it's stupid and have fun for an hour. 15 min from MQT, and free.

Yooper land -- southern half (US 2):
- Iron Mountain Iron Mine (Vulcan): 45-min tour of retired underground mine. Enlightening. Glad we went.
- Kitch-iti-kipi (Palms Book State Park, near Manistique): Raft tour across a large, deep natural spring; can see the underground water bubbling up thru the sand and into the spring. Neat experience. Raft takes about 15-20 min, but there will be lines in peak season. (We waited about 10 min in early October.)
- Swedish Pantry (Escanaba): downtown icon, about an hour from the mine tour. Has earned national accolades. Traditional restaurant that should never change anything except the carpet.
- Snowmobile Museum (Naubinway): wanted to see this but needed to catch the last ferry to Mackinac Island. 45 min NW of the bridge.
- Bridge View Park (St. Ignace): best views of the bridge. Better views than in Mackinaw City. After this, no need to visit either St. Ignace observation towers.

Mackinac Island:
- Resort island accessible only by 20-min ferry (from Mackinaw City and St. Ignace) or charter plane. No cars allowed on the island – all transportation on foot, by bike, or by horse-drawn carriage. Downtown is only about 1/3 mi long, 1 busy street + 1 quiet street deep.
- My wife loved it. I was disappointed. It’s not bad, just overrated. For a similar experience, I enjoyed Savannah more. It took our entire stay (1 night + 1 full day) to stop noticing the distinct smell of Lancaster County. Did I mention horse-drawn carriages? But by then I was bored with the food.
- For one day: get up early, eat breakfast, take the first carriage tour of the island. Tour pauses at Arch Rock. Get off at the Fort, explore a while, then take the next ride to the Grand Hotel. Explore there a while, then walk back into town, wander around downtown.
- Grand Hotel is just that. Famous for a very long front porch with rocking chairs. Hotel charges non-guests $10 to visit the facility and gardens (though they didn’t care the day we visited).
- Food: very little variety, choice largely doesn’t matter. Options are Grand Hotel (insanely expensive), Carriage House (merely expensive), Horn’s (Mex), and a bunch of places with near-identical menus. We ate at Millie’s because it was near our hotel, were satisfied, and returned. Mackinac Island also has 17 (!) fudge shops. Like I said, very little variety.
- Also note that Island lodging is very expensive if you can even find a room. We had to rearrange our entire trip to find one might under $400 -- in non-peak season. We did get into one of the better hotels – in a tiny, poorly configured room (which is typical). Closet was blocked by furniture. Had to keep our luggage against the room door – otherwise we couldn’t get from the bed to the bathroom. Also, we couldn’t open the windows because of Lancaster County outside. If I were to return, I’d strongly consider ferrying in/out as day trips from mainland hotels.
 
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PD4thespawn

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Dec 27, 2016
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To wrap up our Michigan trip -- and we did so much that it's hard to summarize, so what the hell, you're welcome for not having to plan your trips ...

A few general notes:
- Early Oct is a great time to go: colors changing, weather cool but not cold, most seasonal stuff still open thru 10/15 (though some close 9/30).
- This trip was a LOT of driving. 4 days of 5+ hours on the road. But we saw a lot and had a blast.
- Northern Michigan and the UP are mostly about outdoor activities.
- The UP is almost entirely 2-lane roads. Even primary roads have long stretches without posted speed limits.
- GPS/4G are spotty in the UP outside of towns. GPS will get you anywhere, but when leaving attractions you might have to drive 30+ min to re-engage GPS.
- Avoid UP night driving -- unlit, no reflectors, sparsely traveled, little/no cell service... these roads starred in Unsolved Mysteries.

General food notes:
- Detroit-style pizza: rectangular Pizza Hut. Decent, far better than Chicago, not remotely east coast pizza. The rest of Michigan eats normal pizza.
- Arabic food: forget Lebanese and "Mediterranean" (which is Lebanese) -- you can get these at home. Yemeni food is awesome, like Persian but more flavorful. Syrian and Iraqi also good, like Lebanese but with different spices. All can be found in Dearborn; some might be in Hamtramck (near Motown but less desirable).
- "Whitefish" is everywhere in the north. It could be any species. Try the smoked whitefish dip, smoked whitefish sausage, and whitefish chowder (corn or cream). Sandwiches, tacos, and entrees are good and get them, but not dissimilar from cod dishes in PA.
- Pasties: the Cornish hand pie modified by Finnish miners. Typically beef or chicken, with potatoes and rutabagas. Everywhere in the UP, including pasty delivery.
- Cudighi: slightly spicy Italian sausage, distinctively clove and cinnamon. Can only be found in the UP, and especially near Marquette.

Detroit/Dearborn:
- We just hung out here -- Dearborn restaurants only below:
- Buddy's PIzza: Detroit institution. Worth trying.
- Sheeba (Yemeni): incredible. Get the Fahsah (clay pot lamb with mashed potatoes), Galabah (lamb with onions and tomatoes), and Agdah (chicken stew). At least. The tea is so caffeinated, you'll need TP for your bunghole. Need to find Yemeni near home.
- Al Chabab (Syrian): hole in the wall where the owner serves you. Cherry Kabob was unusual and delicious. Aleppo Kabob was a normal kabob, but the pitas were coated with muhammara (nuclear-grade red pepper/olive oil dip). Etc. Very good food.

NW Michigan (Traverse City to Mackinac Bridge):
- Cadillac: detour if nearby for the KISS memorial. Very pretty lake (but the north has lots of these).
- Sleeping Bear Dunes: excellent. We could only hike the first dune due to heavy rain + impending nightfall. Could spend a few hours here if inclined to do more hiking.
- Traverse City: nice, relaxed beach resort town, wandered downtown for 1 day. With 2 more days, could explore Sleeping Bear, fishing villages, and wineries. State Hospital Tour was sold out. Botanic Garden too small to bother. Hippie Tree cute if already hiking that trail -- note, Google Maps put us on the wrong trail and we found a pentagram in the woods.
- TC food: Flying Noodle = excellent casual Italian with $12 pasta dishes (not a misprint). Taproot Cider House ... hard to go wrong with 2 dozen ciders on tap. Cherry Republic = tourist trap cherry-themed shop with $3 cherry wine tastings.
- Charlevoix: Mushroom House Bus Tour is a must -- 1-hr drive around houses designed to look like they grew out of the ground (and a few look like mushrooms).
- Cross in the Woods Shrine (Indian River): outdoor chapel with literally a giant cross in the woods, also stations of the cross in the woods. Worth a detour and stretch legs.
- Tunnel of Trees (M-119 near Harbor Springs): pretty but very narrow drive thru forest. Road is no shoulders, wide enough for 2 golf carts, driven by F-150s. Worth a detour if in the area and have a LOT of time as it's really slow driving.
- Legs Inn (Cross Village): iconic Polish restaurant at the north end of Tnnel of Trees. Unfortunately we only got to see the lakefront grounds due to staffing shortage. Euro place across the street is decent but very slow, also the only other option for 30 miles.
- Mackinaw City: State Park has a decent view + lighthouse, good excuse to walk off nerves before the bridge. Mackinaw Pasties & Cookies was good cheap food.
- Mackinac Bridge: 5-mi suspension bridge. I'm terrified of bridges and this wasn't bad. Granted, I drove slowly in the middle lane ... but I made it twice. This is not nearly the Annapolis fright-fest.

Yooper land -- northern half (Rt. M-28):
- Note, we only went as far west as Marquette due to time constraints -- no Copper Harbor, Houghton, etc.
- Soo Locks Boat Tour (Sault Ste Marie): 90-min boat ride thru the locks. Cool experience. Also the only reason to go to Soo (though the Alpine Chocolat Haus has great homemade ice cream).
- Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum (Paradise): Great small museum. Allow 2 hrs for the museum + grounds, a little longer if walking the beach.
- Tahquamenon Falls. Lower Falls less spectacular, can be skipped. Upper Falls a must. Worth going down the 94 steps, but 2 very good viewpoints from street level. Shares parking lot with good brewery.
- Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: 2.5 hr cruise from Munising is a must. We did the full drive, with hindsight could've skipped the Grand Marais portion of the park and saved 2+ hrs -- Sable Falls is pretty but the only worthwhile attraction east of Miners Castle Overlook.
- Christmas MI: cute town sign, 2 dopey Santas, and a casino. But you have to drive thru it on M-28.
- Lakenenland: drive-thru junk art park 15 min E of Marquette on M-28. Whimsical, fun, very well done. Free and open 24/7. Takes about 15-20 min. A must.
- Marquette: former industrial town, now a college town. Looks a lot like Bloomsburg or Lock Haven but with a pretty coastline. We mostly relaxed and drove around the coastline up to Presque Isle Park. There are a few museums, but we just wanted the day off.
- MQT food: The Vierling (downtown) is an iconic tavern. Vango's is a townie Greek/pizza place near NMU. Both very good. Lots of other appealing options (Cajun, Mex, Thai, Hawaiian, etc.), if we had more time.
- Da Yoopers Tourist Trap (Ishpeming): Exactly what it sounds like. Go there because it's stupid and have fun for an hour. 15 min from MQT, and free.

Yooper land -- southern half (US 2):
- Iron Mountain Iron Mine (Vulcan): 45-min tour of retired underground mine. Enlightening. Glad we went.
- Kitch-iti-kipi (Palms Book State Park, near Manistique): Raft tour across a large, deep natural spring; can see the underground water bubbling up thru the sand and into the spring. Neat experience. Raft takes about 15-20 min, but there will be lines in peak season. (We waited about 10 min in early October.)
- Swedish Pantry (Escanaba): downtown icon, about an hour from the mine tour. Has earned national accolades. Traditional restaurant that should never change anything except the carpet.
- Snowmobile Museum (Naubinway): wanted to see this but needed to catch the last ferry to Mackinac Island. 45 min NW of the bridge.
- Bridge View Park (St. Ignace): best views of the bridge. Better views than in Mackinaw City. After this, no need to visit either St. Ignace observation towers.

Mackinac Island:
- Resort island accessible only by 20-min ferry (from Mackinaw City and St. Ignace) or charter plane. No cars allowed on the island – all transportation on foot, by bike, or by horse-drawn carriage. Downtown is only about 1/3 mi long, 1 busy street + 1 quiet street deep.
- My wife loved it. I was disappointed. It’s not bad, just overrated. For a similar experience, I enjoyed Savannah more. It took our entire stay (1 night + 1 full day) to stop noticing the distinct smell of Lancaster County. Did I mention horse-drawn carriages? But by then I was bored with the food.
- For one day: get up early, eat breakfast, take the first carriage tour of the island. Tour pauses at Arch Rock. Get off at the Fort, explore a while, then take the next ride to the Grand Hotel. Explore there a while, then walk back into town, wander around downtown.
- Grand Hotel is just that. Famous for a very long front porch with rocking chairs. Hotel charges non-guests $10 to visit the facility and gardens (though they didn’t care the day we visited).
- Food: very little variety, choice largely doesn’t matter. Options are Grand Hotel (insanely expensive), Carriage House (merely expensive), Horn’s (Mex), and a bunch of places with near-identical menus. We ate at Millie’s because it was near our hotel, were satisfied, and returned. Mackinac Island also has 17 (!) fudge shops. Like I said, very little variety.
- Also note that Island lodging is very expensive if you can even find a room. We had to rearrange our entire trip to find one might under $400 -- in non-peak season. We did get into one of the better hotels – in a tiny, poorly configured room (which is typical). Closet was blocked by furniture. Had to keep our luggage against the room door – otherwise we couldn’t get from the bed to the bathroom. Also, we couldn’t open the windows because of Lancaster County outside. If I were to return, I’d strongly consider ferrying in/out as day trips from mainland hotels.
I would of been passing the hat before Dearborn/Detroit. Family, cousins mostly, in flint. while up there in Flint one summer I drove my aunt's to dearborn . Came to an intersection with about 12 stoplights all facing me. Never forget it.