Great Lakes & Trains featuring the Grand Hotel
Crystal blue water views and awe-inspiring sites beckon on this adventure through the Great Lakes, which offers 2 days at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island and highlights the history, innovation, trains and natural beauty of Wisconsin and Michigan
Nature’s majesty and American history are presented in the most memorable way on this 10-day journey through the Great Lakes. The tour begins in Chicago, where we board Amtrak’s Hiawatha at Chicago’s Union Station and set out on a short journey to Milwaukee, WI. Upon arrival, a deluxe motorcoach takes us through the scenic Door County Peninsula bound for Sturgeon Bay, where we discover tradition through local cuisine. Next, we travel through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and cross the Canadian border into Sault Ste Marie, a charming city on the St. Mary’s River, and our launching point for adventures both by train and water. We cross the world-famous Mackinac Bridge en route to Mackinaw City and then ride a ferry boat to Mackinac Island for a 2-day stay at the stunning Grand Hotel. Back on the mainland, we travel down the western shore of Michigan, enjoying sites of forests, sandy beaches, charming towns, lush farmlands and sailboats in the distance as we approach Traverse City. Of course, no visit to Traverse City is complete without a visit to one of the most beautiful displays of nature in the United States, Sleeping Bear Dunes. The journey continues south, with a stop at the fascinating Steam Railroad Institute of Owosso before arriving in Dearborn. Dearborn - the city Henry Ford called home - is filled with amazing displays of history and innovation, and we experience some of the best through our all-inclusive visits to the three attractions of the Henry Ford Museum. Whether it is nature or a step back in time you seek, this Great Lakes getaway has a little something for everyone.
- You enjoy a perfect harmony between light and no activity. You’re okay with some walking and don’t mind strolls through cities or being on your feet for a few hours, perhaps on uneven pavement or cobblestones.
Highlights and Inclusions
- Rail travel on Amtrak
- Scenic rail excursion on the Algoma Railway’s Agawa Canyon Tour Train
- Hotel accommodations for 10 nights, including 2 nights at the Grand Hotel
- 16 meals, including dinner at a winery
- Guided tour of Door County Peninsula
- River cruise through the Soo Locks on Lake Superior
- Mackinac Island carriage tour
- Tour of Earl Young's Mushroom Homes in Charlevoix
- Sleeping Bear Dunes excursion
- Visit to the Steam Railroad Institute
- All-American Pass access to the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village
- Ford Rouge Factory tour
- Transportation by deluxe motorcoach
- Services of a professional tour manager
- Baggage handling
Day 1 - Depart Chicago Aboard Amtrak’s Hiawatha
Arrive at Chicago Union Station to meet your tour manager and fellow travelers. Board the Hiawatha for a scenic ride through the suburban panoramas of Northern Illinois as we travel from Chicago to Milwaukee, “The Cream City.” Upon arrival, we board our motorcoach to Sturgeon Bay, WI, which is the gateway to the incredible beauty of the Door County Peninsula. Upon arrival, we check into our hotel and then get our first taste of the peninsula with a local treat: a Door County Fish Boil. This traditional meal consists of freshly caught fish and scrumptious pie made with Door County cherries. Overnight Sturgeon Bay, WI. (D)
Day 2 - Door County Peninsula Sightseeing
Sturgeon Bay is known for its shipbuilding history and luxury yachts, and Door County Peninsula is home to spectacular coastal scenery and a lively past. Today, explore it all with an expert guide. The tour takes us to quaint coastal towns and offers memorable vistas of both Lake Michigan and Green Bay. We make a stop for lunch at Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant & Butik, a restaurant specializing in traditional Swedish and Scandinavian dishes, and have a unique dining experience in a building with goats who graze on the roof! Continuing back down the peninsula, marvel at the colorful leaves of the cherry orchards and the endless fields that dot the landscape. On our return to Sturgeon Bay, the remainder of the day is at leisure. The nightlife scene here has much to offer, including pubs, bars and a late-night bowling alley. Overnight Sturgeon Bay, WI. (B, L)
Day 3 - Michigan’s Upper Peninsula/Sault Ste Marie Canada
After breakfast this morning, we board our deluxe motorcoach for a journey through the western towns of Green Bay. We pass Peshtigo, WI, a place that was devastated by the United States’ most deadly fire on the same day as the Great Chicago Fire in 1871. The emerald trees and lush surroundings of Escanaba River State Forest and Hiawatha National Forest are simply enchanting, and we enjoy views of both as we continue north and into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We continue through the UP, taking in even more pristine landscapes before crossing over the St. Mary’s River, which connects Lake Superior with Lake Huron, and into Canada. The picturesque town of Sault Ste Marie is our destination. This town straddles the Michigan/Canada border and is known for its red sandstone buildings that line its 19th-century canal. This area is brimming with history and offers water vistas in every direction. In fact, there is even a river walk alongside our hotel that offer tranquil vistas of the St. Mary River and the city. Additionally, there are lighthouses, historic houses and charming landmarks to discover. Overnight Sault Ste Marie, ON. (B)
Day 4 - Agawa Canyon Tour Train
An all-day excursion aboard one of North America’s most scenic trains, today’s adventures take us deep into Agawa Canyon aboard the Agawa Canyon Tour Train. This roundtrip train ride follows a 114-mile route that puts some of the most remote - and colorful - scenery of Ontario on display. As the train moves over towering trestles and alongside winding waterways, take in views of granite formations, pristine forests and magnificent displays of nature in the Canadian Shield. GPS-triggered commentary tells the story of the region via wireless headsets and allows you to spot upcoming points of interest. Stories of the Ojibway, fur traders, explorers and entrepreneurs that opened this vast wilderness are also told. As the train descends 500 feet into the canyon, we approach the crowning jewel of the tour, Agawa Canyon Park. As you step off the train with time to explore, embark on a scenic walk along one of the graveled trails, some of which lead to beautiful waterfalls. Alternatively, experience the invigorating climb up over 300 stairs to an outlook perched 250 feet above the canyon floor. Do not forget your camera for this scenic excursion! We return via the same route later this afternoon and head back to our hotel alongside the St. Mary’s River. Overnight Sault Ste Marie, ON. (B)
Day 5 - The Grand Hotel/Mackinac Island
We begin the day on the water with a cruise on Lake Superior. Take in sights of the charming lakeside, as well as of massive Great Lake shipping vessels carrying materials such as limestone, iron ore, grain, coal and salt from the mines in the upper Great Lakes. We head toward the Soo Locks - a marvel of engineering and a living historical artifact - where we experience the 21-foot difference between Lakes Superior and Huron. The boat tour allows you to “lock through,” just like the cargo vessels, and to experience the amazing gravity-powered lock system, which raises and releases 22 million gallons of water! Back on the shore, we board our motorcoach and travel through the UP and to one of the most beloved sites in the Great Lakes, Mackinac Bridge. This bridge is the longest suspension bridge between anchorages in the Western Hemisphere. As we cross this amazing span and the Straits of Mackinac, we arrive in Mackinaw City - a destination that combines lakeside scenery and interesting history. Enjoy some time to explore the unique shopping village before boarding your ferry to The Grand Hotel- America’s Summer Retreat on Mackinac Island. This iconic hotel opened in 1887 and retains much of its original charm, through historic architecture and time-honored traditions. The property is famed for hosting presidents and filming iconic movies, such as “Somewhere in Time.” It also boasts the world’s longest front porch and magnificent views of Lake Michigan and the Straits of Mackinac. Spend the remainder of the day exploring the traditions of the Grand or enjoying the amenities of the island. Remember, there are no motorized vehicles allowed on the island, so explore by foot, horse-drawn carriage or bicycle. This evening, dinner is served at the Grand Hotel. Dinner is a special event in which dress code in enforced and guests enjoy chef-prepared offerings while gazing upon dramatic views. Overnight Mackinac Island, MI. (B, D)
Day 6 - Mackinac Island Carriage Tour
Experience the unbelievable beauty of Mackinac Island from the seat of a carriage this morning. Pulled by a team of Hackney and Percherons horses, see the sights of downtown, followed by points of interest all throughout the island. Some of the most popular include the butterfly conservatory, Arch Rock and the Fort Mackinac Avenue of Flags. These stops are only enhanced by the magical atmosphere of Mackinac Island: its views of the blue waters of Lake Michigan, complete with sailboats floating in the distance, and its abundance of carriages, bicycles and visitors meandering through the quiet, automobile-free streets. As we return to the Grand Hotel, the afternoon is free to explore the island. Take some time to revisit favorite stops from the tour, visit Fort Mackinac National Historic Site or Fort Holmes for a dose of history, or head downtown to peruse the shops, restaurants and art galleries. One thing Mackinac Island is most famous for is its fudge; sample your way through the shops! You can also select to stay at the Grand Hotel and enjoy its great amenities, which range from sports to spa services. This evening, dinner is served at the hotel. Savor the freshly prepared, seasonal cuisine in the impeccably decorated dining room (dress code is enforced). Following dinner, find a seat on the porch and watch a beautiful sunset over the lake. Overnight Mackinac Island, MI. (B, D)
Day 7 - Michigan’s Western Shore/Earl Young’s Mushroom Homes
Today we leave the quiet comfort of Mackinac Island and ferry back to mainland Michigan for a scenic drive along the western shore. Quaint lakeside communities come into view as our motorcoach moves down the shore, and beautiful sailboats can be seen floating in the distance. Travel through lush forested areas and see the unique beauty of Michigan displayed. We travel through the resort community of Petoskey, MI, where brilliant blue waters meet powdery sand beaches, as we travel toward Charlevoix, MI. In Victorian Charlevoix, we take a break from our journey and sightsee through the city. One of the highlights here is the unique Mushroom Homes that were built by Earl Young. Looking upon these incredible homes, we learn more about Earl Young and why he built them. Continuing, we pass through lakeside villages and travel through rural expanses en route to Traverse City. Before we arrive in the city, we make a stop at a local fruit farm and sample the seasonal offerings. As we arrive in Traverse City, we check into our hotel for an evening of leisure. Overnight Traverse City, MI. (B)
Day 8 - Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park
Called “The Most Beautiful Place in America” by ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is our destination today. This incredible inland destination is located in Glen Arbor, MI, and boasts miles of sandy beaches, dunes reaching up to 450 feet above Lake Michigan, lush forests, pristine lakes and more. Here, we embark on a ranger-led tour and take short walks on the dunes to see stunning views over the vast blue waters of the lake. It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Later, we return to Traverse City for an afternoon at leisure. Experience the unique culture, cuisine and charms that come with this northern city. There are an assortment of boutiques to visit, as well galleries and museums. Clinch Park is a favorite of locals, for its sandy beaches and idyllic scenes. We conclude the day with a visit to a local winery, where we enjoy a four-course dinner prepared by the onsite chef using locally sourced ingredients. This meal is perfectly paired with its signature wines, creating an ever-memorable dining experience. Overnight Traverse City, MI. (B, D)
Day 9 - Steam Railroad Institute
Traveling into the heart of the Mitten today, we head to the Steam Railroad Institute in Owosso to learn about the golden age of steam railway travel in Michigan and the Great Lakes. A volunteer docent is our guide during our visit, and he shares his vast knowledge of the trains and the railway as we tour the yard. There are two steam engines in the museum’s collection, as well as a diesel engine, passenger cars and various rolling railway equipment. Perhaps the most impressive of the collection is the Pere Marquette 1225, which is 16 feet tall, 101 feet long (combined length of the engine and tender) and weighs over 400 tons. Despite its massive size, it produces an impressive 5,000 tractive horsepower. In fact, this magnificent steam locomotive was even the inspiration for the locomotive in the beloved Christmas movie, “The Polar Express.” After our explorations, we continue our motorcoach journey to Dearborn, MI, the home of Henry Ford. Check in at your luxury hotel, The Henry, then take the evening at leisure. Overnight Dearborn, MI. (B)
Day 10 - The Henry Ford Museum/Greenfield Village
Your All-American Pass offers admission to the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village today. At the Henry Ford Museum, learn how America’s greatest innovations have shaped history. There are exhibits dedicated to both past and present innovations, including the bus Rosa Parks refused to stand up on, President Kennedy’s limousine, the circular Dymaxion House and more. Explore displays dedicated to agriculture and fashion, as well as those that tell the history of flight. There is no shortage of interactive exhibits and fascinating collections to excite visitors of all interests. Across from the museum is Greenfield Village - an 80-acre museum that brings history to life through seven historic districts. As a whole, Greenfield is a collection of factories, businesses and Americana that exemplify America’s tradition of innovation and creative thinking. Walk through Thomas Edison’s Lab and the Wright Brothers Home & Cycle Shop. Visit the homes of Henry Ford and Noah Webster. Experience the ins and outs of a working farm. Watch as glass is blown and pulled using traditional methods. Your All-American Pass gives you unlimited rides at Greenfield, so take a ride aboard a Model T or hop aboard a historic steam train. After the day’s excitement, join the group for some all-American comfort food at Ford’s Garage Restaurant. Overnight Dearborn, MI. (B, D)
Day 11 - Ford Rouge Factory Tour/Tour Conclusion
Embark on one last adventure this morning, a tour of the Ford Rouge Factory. Here, we get an insider’s look at the manufacturing process of the Ford F-150, one of America’s most iconic pickup trucks. During your visit, get a taste of the immensity of the Ford factory with a tour of the assembly plant floor, watch parts become trucks from the 80-foot observation deck, visit the Legacy Gallery and learn even more about innovation. Following the tour, a group transfer to Detroit Amtrak Station or Detroit Metro Airport will accommodate trains and planes departing after 2:00 p.m. (B)
Train and Hotel Accommodations
Hotel accommodations include the Bridgeport Hotel (Sturgeon Bay), Delta Marriott Waterfront (Sault Ste Marie, Canada), The Grand Hotel (Mackinac Island), Bayshore Resort (Traverse City), and The Henry (Dearborn)
Dates & Prices
Select from the packages below to view prices for this tour.
|23rd September 2020||$3,059||Book Now|
|1st October 2020||$2,959||Book Now|
|3rd October 2020||$2,959||Book Now|
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: Departs 23rd September 2020 ($3,059), 1st October 2020 ($2,959), 3rd October 2020 ($2,959)
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