Georgia to the Great Lakes!

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From Georgia to the Great Lakes!

This is where we have decided to go on our first big trip.  We are leaving the first week in June.  You can see our tentative route on this map.  We will travel north into Tennessee, and head towards Nashville.  From there we will go through Kentucky and into Illinois.  We would like to see different parts of Illinois - Springfield, Chicago.  Then we will go into Wisconsin and Michigan.  During this portion of the trip, we would like to see Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, and Lake Huron.  If the route permits on this trip, we would also like to see Lake Erie.  Lake Ontario will have to wait, this time.  From Michigan, we will go south into Indiana, and then we'll head back into Kentucky, Tennessee by way of Knoxville, and back home to Georgia.

SO, if you know of something historical, interesting, or even funny, that we need to see along the way, please post a comment here.  We want to know what we shouldn't miss!

Click on comments beside the title of this post, and you will be able to add yours! It looks like a word bubble with a number in it. :)

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12 Response to Georgia to the Great Lakes!

March 15, 2011 at 6:35 AM

From a friend of ours:

Hey Ellis Family!
OK I have two special stops you need to make on your journey both in Michigan and both some of the most undiscovered destinations ever.

1. Traverse City Michigan - this is a beautiful quaint town on the edge of lake michigan that has an interesting history. most people are unaware that 76% of the countries cherries are grown in Traverse City. They have a national cherry festival which is an amazing event. This year it is july 2nd - 9th. This is something to be involved in and will be a highlight of your trip. http://visit.cherryfestival.org/

2. Sleeping Bear Dunes - you talk about amazing and beautiful undiscovered country. Minutes from traverse city and they have probably have hook ups for you to stay the night. These are two special places for my family. We went to the cherry festival a few years ago on our way to northern ontario and both places remain as favorite memories. http://www.sleepingbeardunes.com

Have fun! Be safe and grow! God Bless!


March 16, 2011 at 5:14 PM

Hi traveling Ellis family,
I grew up in Illinois and summered in Michigan and there are at least the following two favorite stops you must see. In Chicago, don't miss the Museum of Science and Industry...educational and fun (interactive) for the entire family. And in Michigan, the Mackinac (pronounces Makanaw) Bridge takes you from the upper to the lower peninsula, and Mackinac Island has a state park, a ferry ride to get there, and a population of 523 (+ summer tourists). Just a wonderfully quaint (as I remember it) fun little city and island. Hope you enjoy it. Gwen

March 18, 2011 at 6:35 AM

Hey guys!

On your way back home through Kentucky make sure you swing by Louisville and vist the Louisville Slugger Baseball Bat museum. We were there a couple years ago and the girls loved it! They even got a compilmentary bat! (a small one of course but it was cool. We got a couple for my nephews with their names put on them). The river is also beautiful. Talk to Rob Bowman at Hope, he's from Louisville and can tell you some great places to see and eat. We are so jealous!!

March 18, 2011 at 6:57 AM

Hi Ellis Family!

Years ago I lived in Michigan. My son was about 10 at that time. We got a big kick out of taking visitors from Detroit to Windsor...taking the tunnel there and the bridge back. It always amazed him that we could be in the US one minute and another country the next.

Have a GREAT trip...I am so jealous!

March 18, 2011 at 8:12 PM

From another friend:

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Metropolis, Illinois (home of superman)

Luray Caverns

Checkout RoadsideAmerica.com.

Mary McDonald
Abigail's mom

March 21, 2011 at 5:48 PM

Oh, I second the stop in Metropolis, Illinois. There's a huge statue of Superman -- not to be missed. Also, just across the river from Metropolis is Paducah, Ky., where I lived for one wildly exciting summer. Not much to see here -- EXCEPT the National Quilt Museum, which is really surprisingly awesome. These aren't grandma quilts you've seen in everyone's house -- they're amazing works of textile art. And there's often some educational programs going on for kiddies. Here's the website:


March 21, 2011 at 9:25 PM

Mackinac Island, Michigan is a beautiful place!

Also, Frankenmuth, Michigan; a little Bavarian town with the world's largest Christmas Store.

Be careful through Chicago the bridges tend to be a little low. ;) learn from experience!

March 25, 2011 at 3:47 AM

Hi Ellis Family!

Greetings from the frozen north. While you are in Michigan I must emphasize what a few have already told you plus add some new places as well.

First, do visit Sleeping Bear Dunes, Mackinac Island,and Traverse city. You will not be disappointed.
But I wanted to add that you stop at Picture Rocks in Michigan's upper penninsula. And while you are visiting Frankenmuth stop by Tony's restuarant in Birch Run. The portion's that they serve are unbelievable!

Hope you guys enjoy your trip and be safe!
Dustin K.
Detroit MI

March 25, 2011 at 6:44 PM

The Art Institute of Chicago. There might be a challenge for you with this, as its in the city itself, and I don't know any admission fees. However, it is well worth the experience. Many priceless paintings hang in there, and if you ever saw "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," then you know what the Art Institute looks like, as it is featured in the movie. I always recommend this to anyone who visits the Windy City.

March 25, 2011 at 9:28 PM

From another friend -
I grew up in Michigan. I agree that Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes are worthy of a stop. If you don't go to Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, the Silver Lake Sand Dunes are on the Lake Michigan side. Try to hit some lighthouses along the shoreline of Lake Michigan.

I'm not sure how far north you are going, but you could visit the locks at Sault (said "soo") St. Marie. This is where they "lock" the boats / ships in between the two lakes, which are at differing water levels.

Definitely go to Makinac Island and visit the largest porch (at least it used to be?) at the Grand Hotel there. Traverse City is absolutely beautiful and known for cherries.

Eat at Zehnder's in Frankenmuth, MI. It's like Helen, Georgia x 10. Be sure to go to Bronner's Christmas Wonderland while in Frankenmuth.

If passing through Detroit, eat at Lafayette Coney Island, a must. See what's showing at the Fox Theater. Take a drive down Jefferson, next to the Detroit River, to view the old mansions. Get some good seafood at one of the restaurants in St. Clair Shores area, just north on Jefferson. Go to Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, just outside of Detroit (very cool museum). Visit Tiger Stadium and see some great baseball! If a few miles North of the stadium, take a drive south down Woodward viewing all of the old / fancy houses that belonged to auto executives back during the boom of the auto industry. Ann Arbor is also a cool city, which is the home of the University of Michigan.

June in Michigan is all about hanging out at the lake, playing on boats / waterskis. Be sure to grill out somewhere and enjoy the perfect / cool summer evenings in Michigan.

While going through Ohio, visit Sandusky to go to Cedar Point amusement park. This park is the mecca of all amusement parks!

Have fun!

Shelly Carey
Warren, MI native, transplanted to Atlanta.

April 4, 2011 at 6:47 AM

Ellis Family-

Growing up in Northern Michigan I can help you quite a bit on that portion of your journey.

In upper Peninsula check out Tahquamenon Falls, upper & lower falls both beautiful and state park right there. In Sault Ste. Marie I'd check out the Sault locks. It connects Lake Superior to lower great lakes. Huge ships are either lowered or raised 21 feet to continue on their journey. Very neet seeing 1,000 foot ships.

Connecting the lower and upper peninsula is the Mackinac Bridge which you will cross over, it's the third largest suspension bridge in the world. In between the 2 peninsulas you have Mackinac Island. You can take a ferry to the island from either St. Ignace (upper) or Mackinac City (lower). Only motorized vehicle on island is firetrucks, rest get around on horse drawn carriages and bikes. You can bike around island very easily and is very cool. Grand Hotel is on Island, at 660 feet it has largest front patio in the world. also there is a fort where they re-enact battles from previous wars.

Cruising down Lake Michigan side neet towns such as Harbor springs, Petoskey Charlevoix and as mentioned previously Traverse City. Traverse City is by far biggest and call themselves Cherry capital of the world. I grew up in a small town between Charlevoix & Traverse City. On other side of Traverse City is Sleeping Bear dunes, the first dune is a doozie but rest ok & stunning views of Lake Michigan. There are a ton of towns with old lighthouses on this side as well.

If you continue on west side Grand rapids has Gerald R Ford Presidential Museum/Library. If you go down east side i agree with frankenmuth for the Christmas shop & Greenfield Village.

In Chicago the Museum of Science and Industry is phenomimal. Also the Willis Tower (formerly known as Sears Tower) as it is still tallest building in US. Also I'd check out Navy Pier as it is neat and if you're into baseball you have to see Wrigley Field.

Have an awesome trip & let me know if you have any questions.

Mike Kiessel

May 17, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Hi Jim Lisa and family, I have a wonderful place in Indianapolis for you to take the kids. It is the Children's Museum. It is a five story building with more than you can see in one day. They even have one floor of hand-on science experiments. Even Jim Mims said it is not to be missed.


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