Hit the Road

With relief at the gas pump nowhere in sight, summer road trips may feel more like guilt trips. Because of that, travel plans are sporting a dose of practicality in the form of itineraries that stick a little closer to home. However, three new guides may be just the ticket for rekindling our affection for hitting the road


Jeff Counts’ Michigan: An Explorer’s Guide  (The Countryman Press, $19.95) provides fuel for the imagination when trying to find getaways closer to home.
“This book will help you discover everything from uncrowded beaches along Michigan’s 2,288 miles of coastline, remote Upper Peninsula inland lakes, and trout-fishing streams to upscale urban restaurants, backwoods taverns, and trendy art galleries,” says Counts, whose research involved spending a year traversing Michigan in an old Jeep.
For easy reading, Counts divides the state into regions and details vacation hot spots from Manistee to Detroit, Grand Rapids to Mackinac, Saugatuck to the U.P. Many destinations are familiar, such as the Boyne Resorts or The Henry Ford. But it also reveals lesser-known treasures, such as the small towns along the northern Michigan coast.

Another guide, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula  (The Countryman Press, $18.95), by Amy Westervelt, leads readers through the ghost towns, beaches, waterfalls, and lodgings that make the U.P. “one of America’s best-kept secrets.” 
As Westervelt explains in the book’s introduction, when she moved to Michigan from California, she “expected snow and lakes and friendly Midwesterners. “What I did not expect was that I, who had traveled the world from Brazil to Italy, Morocco to Japan, would find one of my all-time favorite vacation destinations here: the Upper Peninsula.”

So many people with cottages up north dart up the highway, completely oblivious to the flora, fauna, towns, and landmarks dotting the landscape on the way to their destination. It seems the only time they venture off the freeway is to gas up or to grab a bite at a convenient chain restaurant. In Driving Michigan: Mile by Mile on 1-75, by Leslie Mertz (Arbutus Press, $17.95), it’s clear there’s plenty to learn if drivers would slow down, take an unfamiliar exit, and explore.
There’s a difference between being a mere traveler and being an adventurer, and this book is an invitation to make a drab ride into an exciting journey. From the Ohio-Michigan border to Sault Ste. Marie, Mertz tells what awaits us at every exit off 1-75, including interesting tidbits about many mile markers. She also crams a good deal of history and trivia (called Brainbusters) into her volume. Crafty parents can take one of these exits, and bored kids aren’t likely to whine, “Are we there yet?” If it seems there’s a bounty of information about Michigan flora, it’s for a good reason: Mertz holds a Ph.D. in biology.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Your Guide to Michigan’s Odd and Unusual Festivals

We rounded up some of the state’s most niche events, celebrating everything from fishflies to Elvis

6 of the Spookiest Destinations in Metro Detroit

A new approach to tourism in Detroit hopes to capitalize on the public’s hankering for a good ghost story

A Peek Inside One of Michigan's Five Nudist Resorts

Turtle Lake Resort is the land of the free and the home of the bare

Favorable Winds

Hoisting the sails (and an adult beverage or two) with the nation’s oldest boat club

Michigan Filmmaker Hosts Adult Summer Camp

Participants relive their childhoods and forge new friendships
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Review: Testa Barra Wows with Contemporary Dishes
    The Macomb Township restaurant serves Italian fare that is on par with the surging Detroit food...
  2. Exploring Metro Detroit’s Tiki Trend
    Mutiny Bar and Lost River serve up island vacations with every drink
  3. Michigan-Made, Mother Nature-Approved Tools for Your Kitchen
    Ditch disposables and opt for reusable products
  4. A Deeper Look into the Racial and Ethnic Tensions Dividing Metro Detroit
    From the city to the suburbs, existing segregation could be hindering the region’s progress
  5. Every Day is Throwback Thursday at This Roseville Steakhouse
    Mr. Paul's Chophouse has remained consistently delicious for more than 50 years
  6. 3 Eateries that Focus on People, Profit, and the Planet
    These triple bottom line businesses are part of Detroit’s FoodLab organization
  7. A Look at the Inexplicable Exclusion of Detroit Tigers’ Lou Whitaker from the Baseball Hall of Fame
    Writer Michael Betzhold investigates the Major League slip-up
  8. Q&A: Nancy Barr, Curator of Photography at the Detroit Institute of Arts
    Plus, information about the DIA’s upcoming exhibit, Lost & Found
  9. This Vegan Catering Company Celebrates the ‘Natural Beauty of Food’
    Plus, tips on how to create your own photo-worthy grazing board
  10. Your Guide to Environmentally Friendly Organizations in Metro Detroit
    These 10 local businesses are paving the way for a healthier and happier planet