Local Attractions in Northern Michigan
Make Thunder Bay Resort your Vacation Central
VISIT MICHIGAN'S SUNRISE SIDE
"Get Out and Explore Area's Natural Beauty"
by Sue Latuszek
Northeast Michigan offers a variety of ecotoursism activities for visitors to enjoy. "We have a lot of beautiful natural areas and lots of ways to enjoy them," said Deborah Pardike, director of the Alpena Area Convention and Visotors Bureau.
A variety opportunities exist, including trails for hiking, biking, snowshoeing and skiing, parks, canoeing, kayaking, scuba diving and snorkeling tours, elk viewing tours, morel mushroom hunting and even geo-caching.
"The majority are no cost or low cost and affordable for every family," Pardike said.
One area of particular interest right within the city of Alpena is Island Park, where visitors can view a variety of animals and plant life.
"The great thing about Island Park is they have brochures for self-guided tours,"Pardike said.
“ People simply follow the designated paths along the island, located in the Thunder Bay River, and learn about the flora, foliage and other interesting aspects of the area along the way.
Plans are in the works to create an interpretive River Center at the location, which Pardike said will be a great addition to Island Park because visitors can learn about the science of the river as well.
Snorkeling tours of shallow water shipwrecks in Thunder Bay provide visitors a unique view of the areas' maritime heritage. The unique geology of Rockport Harbor offers sinkholes to explore and fossils to hunt.
Geo-caching also is growing in the area. This monderized version of treasure hunting uses the internet and GPS to lead the hunter to the cache, which is usually just a logbook to enter your name and the date. "Most (caches) are located in natural areas," Pardike said.
Pardike said there also are several interesting agri-tourism opportunities available throughout the region, where farmers or other locals have agreed to share some of their time with visitors for a fun and educational experience.
Knaebee's Munchee Krunchee Apple Farm in Rogers City doesn't just sell apples in the fall, it offers apple picking, hay rides and other fun activities for families.
Another such example she gave is Green Road Gold Maple Syrup, where from mid-March to mid-April the public is invited to come and watch as maple syrup is made.
"In all of these opportunities, the visitor has a hand to guide them," Pardike said.
The amount of ecotourism opportunities has risen in recent years, and Pardike believes that is in direct response to today's consumers whose expectations are higher and are looking for interesting experiences.
"People are responding to the fact that today's consumer is very savvy," she said of the growing industry.
Never a dull Moment also check out
to help fill your intineray!
River Road Scenic Byway, Largo Springs & Lumberman's Monument - A 22-mile long, two lane road that parallels the south bank of the AuSable River
Sherni's Candy Shop - A trip throught this candy shop will satisfy any sweet tooth
Ocqueoc Waterfalls - A beautiful addition to any trip to the area with walking & picnic area
Mackinaw State Forest Sinkhole Area - 2,600 acre area with forest walkways through these natural geological formations.
Presque Isle Lighhouses - Presque Isle, on beautiful Lake Huron, hosts two of the Great Lakes' best Lighhouses
AuSable River Queen - A Paddle Boat ride to enjoy the AuSable River
AuSable Valley Railroad - A train-ride through and over beautiful scenery. Gift shop
Thunder Bay Canoeing - Canoe Trips
Jesse Besser Museum - Exhibits, special events, Sky Theatre Planetarium, Museum Store
Knaebe's Mmmunchy Krunchy Apple Farm & appleseed's mercantile- A must do!
Karsten's Pumpkin Patch- Jeff & Kathy Karsten invite you to visit their charming country pumpkin patch near Rogers City
Carriage and Elk Anter Log Cabin
Sunrise Side Wine & Hops Trail
Thunder Bay Resort can be headquarters of your Sunrise Side Wine and Hops Trail tour. The Resorts award wining Elk Viewing, Carriage/Sleigh Ride, Gourmet Dinner and Wine Tasting is like stepping back in time to the mid 1800s. Its literally over the river and through the woods aboard carriages or sleighs drawn by massive teams of Percheron and Belgian draft horses to the Elk preserve. Youre guaranteed a close up look at herds of majestic Elk. Bulls with massive antlers, cows and newborn calves roam the beautifully wooded property. Every season is different and the dinner rides are offered in summer, fall and winter.
Then its on to the rustic Elk Antler Log Cabin beautifully decorated with antiques and trophies. Warm yourself by the fireplace and savor the delicious aromas put forth by the twin antique wood cook stoves as culinary artist, Jan Matthias, prepares your 5 course gourmet dinner in full view of all the guests. Throughout dinner you'll sample 5 to 7 wines from Stoney Acres Winery. As dessert is served Jan provides a humorous monologue about how the event has evolved, the Elk, the cabin and grandchildren. Then its back aboard the carriage/sleigh for a quick return to civilization.
Advance reservations are required and the event may be done as a 4 hour stopover from $86 pp or as part of a package that includes lodging and breakfast from $169 pp for double occupancy and from $141 for quad occupancy. The Resort features large suites, villas and chalets perfect for family groups or several couples sharing a unit. Golf can be added for those who play, and other nearby courses can be included in a multi-day package.
The Elk Viewing Dinner is also featured as part of special events like Murder Mystery Weekends, Scrapbooking and Quilting Retreats, Group Tours, Destination Weddings and re-unions, Christmas parties, or New Years Eve, Superbowl and St. Patricks Day parties that also include live entertainment.
Visit the Sunrise Side Wine & Hops Trail Map to start planning your personal tour today!