Michigan’s Upper Peninsula Fall Colors Tour

October 8 – 12, 2018

     Autumn colors, and one of the most beautiful areas in the nation, combine to make this five day getaway a truly memorable experience.  Join Laura and Gary Block as we explore a new region of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and also travel to the Lower Peninsula of this gorgeous state.  These areas are known for its friendly people and unrivaled scenic beauty.  The UP’s nights become cooler after Labor Day and that causes an amazing transformation of their hardwood forests.  The broad-brush strokes of fiery crimson and gold cover the hills and valleys in autumn brilliance, traditionally peaking by mid-October.  We’ve expanded this getaway to five days in order to get everything in that we planned.  Some of the highlights are the Soo Locks Boat Tour, the Mackinac Bridge, the Tunnel of Trees, Castle Farms, the Pickle Barrel House, Mushroom Homes, the S.S. Badger Car Ferry across Lake Michigan, Music House and so much more.  In fact, we’ll experience three of the Great Lakes….Superior, Michigan and Huron.

     Our Andy’s Charter Service motor coach departs Little Falls at 6:30 a.m. on October 8th from the northeast corner of Wal-Mart and we’ll pick up in Brainerd or anywhere else on our route.  Our journey will take us through northeastern Minnesota and we’ll take a break at the visitor center overlooking Duluth and Lake Superior. Continuing to travel along the shores of Lake Superior across Wisconsin, we will stop for lunch on our own in Ashland, Wisconsin.  As we enter Michigan’s Upper Peninsula this afternoon, we’ll stop in Wakefield to view Sunday Lake and the on-site wooden carving of Nee-Gaw-Nee-Gaw-Bow by Peter Toth who did similar carvings in all 50 states and Canada on what he called “The Trail of the Whispering Giants”.  Our travels continue northeast to Marquette and switch our watches ahead to Eastern Time.  After checking in to Country Inn and Suites, we’ll meet our guide, Mr. UP, Fred Huffman and that evening we’ll  enjoy dinner, on our own, at one of our favorites, the Casa Calabria Italian Restaurant in the Village.                   

    Day two begins with breakfast at the hotel and then boarding the motor coach as we settle in with Fred Huffman to various destinations in the Upper Peninsula.  Fred has joined our groups every time that we’ve been to the Upper Peninsula and is truly one of the best guides in the travel industry.  The Falling Rock Café in Munising is our first stop for a restroom break and then on to the Pickle Barrel House Museum in Grand Marais.  Grand Marais, Michigan is a quaint fishing village and harbor town and on a smaller size looks very much like Grand Marais in northern Minnesota.  Both are small harbor towns on Lake Superior and if you look at the pictures online of Grand Marais, Minnesota you would swear you were in Grand Marais, Michigan.  The Pickle Barrel House is one of the most unique structures in the country.  This larger-than-life pickle barrel was originally built in 1926 as a summer home for a cartoonist.  Docents from the historical society will take us through the home and also the Old Post Office, another unique, five-sided structure built in 1905 that is on the Michigan Register of Historic Places, plus the on-site Iris Garden.  Lunch, shopping and free time on your own in Grand Marais where one of the restaurant choices is the West Bay Diner which is owned and operated by Ellen Airgood, the author of the best-selling book “South of Superior”.   After lunch it’s time to make a stop at the Lighthouse Keeper’s House which was built in 1906 and the Commercial Fisherman’s Memorial.  During World War II, the Coast Guard took over the lightkeeper’s duties and their families lived in the house until the station closed in 1982.   Our afternoon travels continue to the Hampton Inn in Sault Ste. Marie.  Established in 1668, Sault Ste. Marie is the oldest city in the Midwest.  Dinner this evening is at The Antlers Restaurant for more than a meal as they like to say at The Antlers.  Our group will be accompanied by 300 mounted animals and a 50 year tradition of bells and ship whistles.  After dinner we’ll head to downtown Sault Ste. Marie and visit Canal Park and the Soo Locks Visitor Center before we return to the Hampton Inn for the evening.

    Day three begins with breakfast, as we check out of the Hampton Inn.  For 160 years, mariners have navigated through the Soo Locks and now we will too.  Settle in for a comfortable, two-hour cruise and ride alongside 1000 foot freighters as we explore the U.S. and Canadian shores of the St. Marys River and the world-famous Locks.  Lunch is at the Lockview Restaurant, downtown Sault Ste. Marie before we set or destination for St. Ignace.  The sights will be spectacular this afternoon as we cross the Mackinac Bridge into the Lower Peninsula of Michigan.  There’s a rest stop at Michilmackinac State Park in Mackinaw City and a photo op at Mackinac Bridge and the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse. We pass through Cross Valley, a quiet town overlooking Lake Michigan on our way to ”The Tunnel of Trees”, a 20 mile stretch of Highway 119 that is internationally known for its scenery and follows the shore of Lake Michigan.  A brief stop at Pond Hill Farm, just north of Harbor Springs is included.  This is a year-round agri-tourism destination featuring something for everyone.  We arrive in Petoskey, where we’ll enjoy dinner at City Park Grill located in the city’s oldest building constructed in 1875.  The storied history of this Victorian-era pub includes tales of prohibition and underground tunnels, ghost sightings and was once the hang-out of a young Ernest Hemingway.  Our home this evening is the Weathervane Terrace Inn, the only AAA diamond rated hotel in downtown Charlevoix, on the shores of Lake Michigan.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

    Our fourth day begins with breakfast at the hotel as we begin one of our most interesting days of this journey. We’ll pick up another step-on guide as we tour the Charlevoix area.  The tour will take us past the renowned Earl Young “mushroom houses”, across the famous drawbridge, past some of the stunning resorts in the area and into the heart of this bustling little community.  There’s a rest stop before we move on to Castle Farms.  Castle farms, one of northern Michigan’s hidden gems, where you step back in time to acres of gardens, discover dragons and in the summer, Michigan’s largest outdoor model railroad.  Discover the story of this historic property built in 1918 with a guided tour that will take you deeper into the lore and history of this beautiful French Renaissance castle with soaring towers, stone buildings and sweeping gardens.  At noon, we’ll be served a buffet luncheon in the East Garden Room of Castle Farms.  Castle Farms is an experience you’ll never forget!!!  We depart Castle Farms for Acme, Michigan and the Music House.  Along the way, we’ll be saying god-bye to Fred Huffman as he heads back to the UP and we continue our journey.  The Music House is located in a converted granary and barn and located in the rolling, orchard-covered hills of Grand Traverse County.  This is a celebration of our love of music.  Today music is so threaded in the fabric of our daily lives that we forget that this was not the case 100 years ago.  The docents will take us on a walk through the history of automated music from the simplest music boxes to the amazingly beautiful and complex instruments of the early 20th century.  Many of the instruments are demonstrated to us, allowing us to experience the sounds our ancestors heard.  There is also a self-guided area covering the history of recorded sounds through phonographs, juke boxes and radio’s history.  There’s a reason that Forbes recognized the Music House as “one of the reasons to visit Michigan’s Lower Peninsula".  Ludington, on the shores of Lake Michigan, is where our home for the evening is located.  Tonight we’ll be staying at the Holiday Inn Express.  Dinner is on your own this evening at an area restaurant.

    It's our final day and another exciting one as we begin the day with breakfast at the hotel and then depart for the S.S. Badger Lake Michigan Car Ferry dock in Ludington.  The S.S. Badger is the largest car ferry to sail the Great Lakes.  This 410 foot ship carries 620 passengers and 180 vehicles, including our motor coach, from Ludington to Manitowoc, Wisconsin.  On board you can play Badger Bingo, watch a movie, shop or enjoy a meal in one of their two restaurants.  By the way, the S.S. Badger is on the National Register of Historic Places.  Arriving in Wisconsin, we board our motor coach once again and begin our journey back to Minnesota and arriving in Little Falls around 9:15.  Bring your camera, as this will be a trip you’ll want to remember for years to come.  Sign up today for an outstanding five day outing that is sure to please everyone.          

    

Ø  Comfortable Andy’s Charter  Service motor coach transportation

Ø  One night’s accommodations at Country Inn & Suites, Marquette, Michigan 

Ø  One night’s accommodations at the Hampton Inn, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

Ø  One night’s accommodations at Weathervane Terrace Inn, Charlevoix, Michigan

Ø  One night’s accommodations  at Holiday Inn Express, Ludington, Michigan

Ø  Step-on guide Fred Huffman from Marquette Country Tours

Ø  Dinners at Antler’s Restaurant in Sault Ste. Marie and City Park Grill in Petoskey

Ø  Lunches at Lockview Restaurant in Sault Ste. Marie and Castle Farms in Charlevoix

Ø  Tour of the Pickle Barrel House, the five-sided Post Office ,Lighthouse Keeper’s House & Commercial Fisherman’s Memorial in Grand Marais, Michigan

Ø  Visit Canal Park and Soo Locks Visitor Center in Sault Ste. Marie

Ø  Photo opportunity at Mackinac Bridge and Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

Ø  Soo Locks Boat Tour in Sault Ste. Marie

Ø  “The Tunnel of Trees” scenic drive & Pond Hill Farm

Ø  Charlevoix guided city tour including the “mushroom houses” & the famous drawbridge

Ø  Guided tour of the unique and beautiful Castle Farms in Charlevoix

Ø  Guided tour of the Music House in Acme

Ø   S.S. Badger Car Ferry across Lake Michigan from Ludington, Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin

Ø  Four breakfasts, two lunches and two dinners included

Ø  Mother Nature’s colors which usually begin in mid-October in Michigan

Ø  Luggage handling

Ø  Fun and prizes and hosted by Laura and Gary Block

$749 per person double occupancy                 $629 per person quad occupancy

$669 per person triple occupancy                    $999 single occupancy

$100 deposit per person required within 3 days of signing up.  Remainder due on September 15, 2018

Cancellation & Refund Policy

Transportation and lodging hosted by Gary Block Tours is arranged with independent firms.  Bookings for entertainment are arranged through independent hotels, theatres and other entertainment venues.  We take great pride in our selection of reliable firms.  However, we do not control these independent firms.  Sometimes shows or celebrity appearances are changed or cancelled without notice.  We cannot be responsible for claims or losses arising out of injury, accident, death, loss of enjoyment, frustration or inconvenience that arises from the act or omission of any independent firm supplying services to Gary Block Tours, or for mechanical breakdowns, governmental actions, acts of God, strikes or acts of war beyond our control.  We cannot be responsible for the consequences of your failure to follow instructions, including but not limited to check in, check out and baggage handling.  If events or reservations are cancelled or changed, we will make every effort to provide a comparable substitute tour experience. Autumn colors are never guaranteed, but we hope Mother Nature will be good to us. Deposits and payments are non-refundable unless the tour is cancelled .I have read and understand the Cancellation and Refund Policy notice.  All participants of this trip must sign below.                                                      Mail registration and payment to:

Gary Block Tours, 112 SE 4th Street, Little Falls, MN  56345

 

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Michigan’s Upper Peninsula 2018