Exciting and immersive, this tour offers a mélange of exciting experiences from connecting with 200 years of technology at the impressive Henry Ford Complex and learning about cars to taking a horse and carriage ride on the charming streets of Mackinac Island that doesn’t allow them! Feel as though you have left the USA as you clink steins of good, cold German beer in Frankenmuth, Michigan’s “Little Bavaria.” A special highlight of this trip is three days in Chicago where you will discover the city’s historic neighborhoods, learn about the Chicago Fire and World’s Fair, get a birds eye view of the city from Willis Tower, and shop till you drop along the Magnificent Mile.
Why you’ll enjoy this trip:
♦ Travel through time, from the assembly plants and cars to an island that has no cars. Flash back to the Roaring 20’s, and historical architecture all while looking down from 110 floors up.
♦ Your guide tells of a legacy of innovative automobiles, how it all began, and the man behind it all ~ Henry Ford. A man who built his legacy from the ground up in Dearborn, MI.
♦ Experience a bit of German architecture, shops and restaurants right in Michigan’s Little Bavaria. Willkommen to Frankenmuth, where you will see a simpler way of life, and where it’s Christmas all year long.
♦ What do horse and carriages, family owned businesses and a Revolutionary Fort all have in common? They can all be found in 3.8 square miles of history on Mackinac Island, the island that time has forgotten. Enjoy this place that is still steeped in the 18th and 19th century ways.
♦ Listen as your guide’s knowledge includes topics from the great Chicago Fire to the World’s Fairs. Step into the roaring 20’s, known for everything from flappers to Harry Karey. Al Capone said it best, “Chicago put the roar in roaring 20’s.’
Day 1 - Arrive Detroit, Michigan
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Detroit. Upon arrival, we transfer to the Courtyard by Marriott in Dearborn, Michigan, where suitcases will be stored until after the rooms are ready. Depart for the Ford Rouge Assembly Plant Tour, which includes the design laboratory, a short film about the history of the Ford Motor Company, and the multi-sensory Manufacturing Innovation film which, with its high-tech special effects and 3-D projections, will take you on a wild “ride” from an auto’s assembly to the highway. Following this, walk through Ford’s Legacy Gallery of innovative automobiles en-route to experience the awe-inspiring scale of a real factory floor where Ford assembles the Ford F-150 trucks. After lunch, it’s the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, one of the most unique and expansive museums ever assembled. And it’s not just cars! There are exhibits of all types of vehicles, plus airplanes, furniture, home appliances, telephones, clocks, glass, lighting, firearms, manufacturing, agriculture, dollhouses, mathematics, Pixar animation, the house of the future, presidential limousines, and American history with artifacts including the chair in which Lincoln was assassinated, the cot on which Washington slept in camp, and the bus in which Rosa Parks defied segregation. This museum is a “must see.” Return to the hotel where tonight’s dinner is served.
Day 2 - Dearborn
After breakfast at the hotel, return to the Henry Ford complex to spend the day at Greenfield Village. About 90 historical buildings were moved to the 240-acre property from their original locations and arranged in a “village” setting. This was done to show how Americans lived and worked since the founding of the country. The Village includes buildings from the 17th century to the present, many of which are staffed by costumed interpreters who conduct period tasks like farming, sewing and cooking. A collection of craft buildings with pottery making, glass-blowing, and tin shops provide demonstrations while producing materials used in the Village and for sale. There are also various modes of historic transportation in the Village providing rides for visitors in authentic Ford Motel T’s, a 1931 Ford Model AA bus, horse-drawn omnibuses, and steam locomotive trains. Some of the most important buildings are Noah Webster’s Connecticut house, the Wright brothers’ Dayton bicycle shop and home, Stephen Foster’s Pennsylvania home, Henry Ford’s birthplace, the Illinois courthouse where Lincoln practiced law, Luther Burbank’s office, a replica of Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory, a Cape Cod windmill and an authentic General Store and covered bridge. There are about nine restaurants where visitors can have lunch. Travelers who do not wish to spend the whole day at Greenfield Village will be given the opportunity to return to the hotel for leisure time. Dinner can be taken at the Village or at the hotel.
Day 3 - Dearborn - Frankenmuth
Following breakfast at the hotel, depart for the 90-mile ride to Frankenmuth, a town that was settled in 1845 by conservative Lutherans who emigrated from the Franconia region of Germany. The early inhabitants pledged to preserve their heritage and remain loyal to the King of Bavaria. Therefore, many of the buildings and homes reflect German architecture; and numerous shops, restaurants and a brewery reflect the town’s legacy. Upon arrival, there will be a comprehensive tour of Frankenmuth, including a stop at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, a 7.35-acre establishment which claims to be the “World’s Largest Christmas Store.” Inside the building there are over 800 animated figurines and outside there are 27 acres of landscaped grounds and Christmas decorations. There is also a replica, built in 1992, of the Oberndorf, Austria, chapel where the hymn “Silent Night” was first played. Overnight is at the Bavarian Lodge, just a short walk over the German-style covered bridge into town, where there are two notable restaurants famous for their chicken dinners: Zehnder’s and the Bavarian Inn.
Day 4 - Frankenmuth - Mackinac Island
After breakfast at the Bavarian Lodge, board the coach for the ride to Mackinaw City at the northern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula (see map). Here Shepler’s Ferry takes the group to charming Mackinac Island in Lake Huron on the eastern end of the Straits of Mackinac between the state’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. The 3.78-square miles are covered mostly by woods and trails; some historic sites, including Fort Mackinac, a cluster of buildings from 1780; and a downtown area of shops and restaurants. The island famously prohibits motorized vehicles, so Main Street is busy with pedestrians, bicycles and horse-drawn carriages, as well as fudge shops, for which the island is famous. The historic Grand Hotel is the most recognizable landmark with its 660-foot porch, the longest in the world. Tonight’s elegant dinner will take place at this celebrated hotel. The next two overnights will be at the conveniently located Island House Hotel, a State of Michigan Landmark and a member of the Historic Hotels of America. The hotel has fashionable dining and bar areas, an indoor pool with hot tubs, terraces and a grand veranda overlooking the waterfront.
Day 5 - Mackinac Island
Breakfast is included at the hotel this morning prior to a 1¾-hour guided carriage tour of Mackinac Island, which includes Historic Downtown, the Surrey Hills Carriage Museum, Arch Rock, the exteriors of Fort Mackinac and the Governor’s Summer Mansion and more. The remainder of the day is free to dine, shop, rent a bicycle, walk the nature trails, tour Fort Mackinac, or just relax on the veranda before spending a second night at the Island House.
Day 6 - Mackinac Island - Chicago, IL
Enjoy another breakfast at the hotel before boarding Shepler’s Ferry to St. Ignace on the southern tip of the Upper Peninsula (see map). To reach the Lower Peninsula, the bus will cross the magnificent Mackinac Bridge over the Straits of Mackinac (the third longest suspension bridge in the U.S.). When crossing the 5-mile span, Lake Michigan is on the right and Lake Huron on the left. Continue south for the ride to Chicago. Enroute there will be rest stops and a lunch stop, as well as the in-coach viewing of the 1980 film classic, Somewhere in Time, which takes place on Mackinac Island and stars Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour and Christopher Plummer. Our accommodations are at the elegant 4.5-star Kimpton Palomar Hotel in downtown Chicago. Dinner is available at the hotel or at your choice of a local restaurant.
Day 7 - Chicago
Breakfast is served at the hotel prior to a 3-hour guided tour featuring the history and architecture of Chicago. This tour will examine the historical wonders and architectural gems scattered across the city. Everyone receives an archive photo book which recreates Chicago’s glorious past and details the fascinating saga of how the city evolved into a world class destination with one of the most brilliant and architecturally diverse skylines in the world. Topics include Fort Dearborn, the Chicago Fire, the Chicago School of Architecture, the 1893 and 1933 World’s Fairs and much more.
This tour is followed by a ride up to the Skydeck on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), the second tallest skyscraper in the U.S. at 110 floors and 1,450 feet. In addition to the incomparable views from the Skydeck, there are many interesting exhibits and The Ledge, a glass box (with a glass floor!) extending 4.3 feet from the building. After free time for lunch, the group will embark on a guided tour of the Roaring 20s. This was the dawn of the tommy gun, flappers, jazz, radio, talkies, speakeasies, gangsters, prohibition and women’s suffrage. It was Chicago, like no other American city, that best personified this era of prosperity in the midst of crime and corruption. The tour will show how all these elements made Chicago one of the most exciting and explosive places to live. In the words of Al Capone, “Chicago put the roar in the Roaring 20s.” Some of the sights include the Chicago Theater, Chicago Motor Club, the Wrigley and Tribune Buildings, Holy Name Cathedral and the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, and Frank Nitti’s vault in his former home, now Harry Caray’s Steakhouse. The evening is free for relaxation or a Friday night “on the town.”
Day 8 - Chicago
After breakfast at the hotel, the rest of the day is yours to enjoy as you wish. The local guide, tour manager and hotel concierge can help you decide among the numerous options available in this great city. The tour manager may also organize a few group activities if there are enough interested people. Below is a list of the most popular attractions in the city. Some will have been seen on yesterday’s tours; a few others can be enjoyed during today’s free time. A hop-on-hop-off tour is also a possibility. In addition, there are sightseeing, lunch and dinner cruises on Lake Michigan. And of course, there is always shopping, especially along the Magnificent Mile, the section of Michigan Avenue which boasts 460 retailers, including major department stores; international luxury labels and designers; and three vertical shopping centers. This evening, see a show or concert, or visit Second City, the comedy club that put improvisational comedy on the map. Also today, the Chicago Cubs are scheduled to play the Chicago White Sox.
Day 9 - Depart Chicago
After breakfast, enjoy some free time in Chicago this morning before transferring to the airport for your flight home.