If you want to experience American football at its best, beg, buy, or barter for tickets to a fall Saturday University of Michigan home football game. The stadium, affectionately known as "The Big House", is the largest stadium in the United States and seats 115,000  “Hail to the Victors!” chanting fans. After watching the Wolverines defeat the Fighting Irish 41-30 under the lights from the forty yard line on September 7, 2013, it became clear that early fall just may be the best time to visit Michigan. Rivalries run deep, but friendly midwestern hearts eager to give directions, share a joke, or make a recommendation for a local watering hole may be found throughout the state.

In 1952, a couple of fishmonger’s tossed an octopus onto the ice before the puck dropped during the eighth game of the Detroit Red Wings hockey home ice Stanley Cup playoffs. During the 1950’s, six teams comprised the NHL and it took eight wins each to earn the Cup. That year, the Red Wings swept and the eight legged cephalopod earned its place as the team's good luck charm ever since. Even if you see just one hockey game in your life, the octopus drama makes this a contender for the one on the bucket list.

When the City of Detroit filed for bankruptcy in 2013, the 8.5 billion dollar collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts made headlines. The city officially owned the building, and the museum’s creditor's became predators seeking to auction off Van Gogh’s Self Portrait with Straw Hat (valued at $150 million) and Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s Wedding Dance (valued at $200 million). In a successful Hail Mary, the museum negotiated a plan to transfer ownership to a non-profit that had managed the museum, endowment, and fund raising. Regardless of the financial hullabaloo, this is one of America’s finest art collections and a don’t miss on any trip, business or pleasure, to Detroit.

Michigan boasts the lower 48’s longest freshwater shoreline in the world. Any trip to Michigan should include a water adventure. On our trip to Mackinac Island, we paddled Devil’s Kitchen and enjoyed our 1.5 hour tour so much that we booked the Round Island tour for the next day. A bit more challenging paddle, especially with a not fit for paddling three year old in one boat, we eventually arrived on the shores of Hiawatha National Forest. A quick tour of the 1895 Round Island Lighthouse and then the national park became a playground of discovery for all seven of us.

Something quite wonderful happens when you take away cars and replace them with horses. On Mackinac Island, only horse, foot, and bicycle traffic is allowed. When the ferry docks, it is a right of passage to head straight to the nearest fudge store and start sampling. If the Grand Hotel is the destination, no worries, luggage will be sent on a horse drawn carriage and delivered directly to the room. A leisurely stroll from town and thousands of red geraniums greet guests of this "Somewhere in Time" hotel. Don’t be shy, climb the steps, take a seat in one of the hundred white painted rocking chairs and order lemonade—better yet, order it spiked and sit for a while enjoying the breathtaking views of the Lake Huron Shoreline and the stunning flowers planted in the hotel’s vast gardens. 


Detroit Institute of Arts Museum


5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202

University of Michigan Football Game


Michigan Stadium, 1201 S Main St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Detroit Red Wings Game


Joe Louis Arena, 19 Steve Yzerman Dr, Detroit, MI 48226

Great Turtle Kayak Tours


7395 Main St, Mackinac Island, MI 49757


Zingerman's Deli -- 422 Detroit Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48014

Franklin Cider Mill -- 7450 Franklin Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301

Roma Cafe -- 3401 Riopelle St, Detroit, MI 48207

Dick O'Dows -- 160 West Maple Road, Birmingham, MI 48009

Rugby Grill -- The Townsend Hotel, 100 Townsend Street, Birmingham, MI 48009

Bill's Restaurant -- 39556 Woodward Ave, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304


The Grand Hotel

The Grand Hotel

286 Grand Ave, Mackinac Island, MI 49757

The Inn at Bay Harbor

The Inn at Bay Harbor

3600 Village Harbor Dr, Bay Harbor, MI 49770

The Townsend Hotel

The Townsend Hotel

100 Townsend St, Birmingham, MI 48009


MIDDLESEX by Jeffrey Eugenides

SONG OF SOLOMON by Toni Morrison