Good Times Travel
17132 Magnolia St., Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Chicago, Grand Hotel, Grand Rapids, Charlevoix, Indiana Amish Country, Detroit
This in-depth Great Lakes region itinerary features the major highlights in Michigan, Indiana Amish Country and two nights in Chicago. Explore two centuries of American history at the Henry Ford Museum and tour an auto-baron’s home in the Detroit area...explore the Frederik Meijer Gardens and the Ford Presidential Library in Grand Rapids, tour the “mushroom” houses in Charlevoix...stroll amongst the Bavarian Village of Frankenmuth...and so much more! But the real highlights...a two-night stay at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago’s “Loop” and two nights at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island!
Optional transfers from home or our departure points this morning will have us at the Los Angeles International Airport for our flight to Detroit, Michigan. Those passengers not taking advantage of the optional group air should arrive at the Detroit International Airport by 4:00 p.m. if they want to be included on the complimentary transfer to the hotel. Remainder of the evening at your leisure.
After an included breakfast we’ll visit The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village and see why it is known as “America’s Greatest History Attraction” – it’s like stepping into a giant encyclopedia that is alive with three-dimensional storytelling. Climb into the cab of the world’s largest steam locomotive. See the limousine that President Kennedy was riding in when he was assassinated and the rocking chair Lincoln was sitting in at Ford’s Theatre. Sit in the very bus where Rosa Parks showed us what it meant to be a hero. Travel through time in the seven historic districts of Greenfield Village. We’ll tour the Ford Rouge Factory and see how automobiles are assembled and learn how the auto industry remains central to Michigan’s economic and cultural identity. We continue to the shores of Lake St. Clair and the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House – the lake-front mansion that sits on 87 acres and is an historically acclaimed architectural masterpiece from a bygone era. A docent-guided tour will showcase this couple’s lifelong interest in art and architecture. This evening, we’ll enjoy an included, memorable dinner. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Following an included breakfast we’ll travel to Frankenmuth, also known as Michigan’s “Little Bavaria.” Founded by German pioneers in the 1840s, memories of the old world are still prevalent in the town’s buildings and ornaments. Enjoy time to browse the Bavarian shops that line the streets and visit Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, the world’s largest Christmas store (96,000 square feet) featuring more than 50,000 trims and gifts. We continue north this afternoon across the Mackinaw Bridge to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and board a ferry for Mackinac Island. Step off the ferry dock and enter a Victorian village that has somehow escaped from modern civilization. Limited to transportation by horse and buggy, bicycle, or foot, on Mackinac Island life itself seems to slow down. A horse-drawn carriage will transport us to perhaps the most celebrated hotel in America, the majestic, colonial-style Grand Hotel. Known as the world’s largest summer hotel, it was built in the late 19th century for the elite that traveled here to escape the heat of the Midwest summers. This stately hotel’s front porch is the longest of its kind at 600 feet. Enjoy an included five-course dinner with entertainment in the hotel’s dining room. (Breakfast, Dinner)
After an included breakfast at the hotel we’ll enjoy a guided horse-drawn carriage tour that will reveal the magic of Mackinac Island. Visit “downtown” Mackinac Island with its many historic homes, grand Victorian cottages and fudge shops. Return to the hotel and enjoy the afternoon at leisure. Take a stroll in the beautifully landscaped gardens or take part in an optional afternoon tea lunch. Enjoy an included dinner with entertainment at the hotel this evening. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Following an included breakfast, we’ll return by ferry to Michigan’s mainland and continue south along the shores of Traverse Bay to Charlevoix. On a driving tour with a local guide we’ll see the unique mushroom-shaped stone houses designed by architect Earl Young. We continue south to Grand Rapids with an included dinner at a locals’ favorite. (Breakfast, Dinner)
After an included breakfast, we’ll visit the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum which includes a full scale reproduction of his Oval Office and the original Watergate burglar tools amongst thousands of other pieces of history related to our 38th President and Mrs. Ford. Then, a visit to the Frederik Meijer Gardens – an indoor botanic garden and sculpture park featuring 70 permanent bronze pieces including pieces by Degas and Rodin, a carnivorous plant house and a Dale Chihuly-designed 14-foot glass chandelier. We continue south to Indiana Amish Country for a Amish house and farm tour while riding in a traditional buggy followed by a traditional, family-style feast in a charming country kitchen setting. This evening we arrive in Chicago and the Palmer House Hilton Hotel. This iconic Chicago hotel offers modern conveniences while maintaining its historical elegance and central location in “The Loop” – the historic center of downtown Chicago. (Breakfast, Dinner)
Today, we’ll join a local guide for a comprehensive tour of downtown Chicago. See the exquisite lakefront, the “Magnificent Mile,” and the many outdoor sculptures. We’ll take a guided walking tour in Millennium Park, to see the Frank Gehry-designed Pritzker Pavilion, the quirky Crown Fountain and The Bean. We’ll get the best views of Chicago’s iconic architecture on a narrated architectural cruise on the Chicago River. This afternoon enjoy an included visit to either the legendary Field Museum or The Chicago Art Institute – one of the world’s great art museums. Enjoy an included dinner this evening amongst the 17-foot marble fountain and Austrian chandeliers at The Walnut Room. This historic restaurant was the first restaurant in a department store. (Dinner)
This morning we’ll visit the historic and charming town of Oak Park to visit the turn-of-the-century home and studio of America’s most renowned architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. A docent-guided tour of the Wright Home and Studio will showcase its dramatic soaring spaces, colorful art glass and bold geometric forms. We continue to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport for our scheduled nonstop return flight to Los Angeles. Those passengers not taking advantage of the optional group air should plan to depart O’Hare Airport no earlier than 6:00 p.m. Upon our return to Los Angeles, those with included transfers will be returned to their respective drop-off locations.
While we make every effort to operate our tours as outlined in the itinerary, we ask for your understanding, flexibility and to retain a sense of adventure while traveling with us. While these have always been necessary traits for travelers, they are needed now more than ever! Situations may arise that necessitate changes to the itinerary. Should we need to adjust the itinerary either prior to or while on tour, these changes will be communicated to you and only done when absolutely necessary. Now more than ever, our 30 years of knowledge and tour planning experience helps us navigate a unique travel environment on your behalf. You can put your trust in us knowing we are experts in travel planning and will do everything possible to provide wonderful new experiences and create amazing new memories for our guests while on the road with us.
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