Designated a TOP 100 EVENT by American Bus Association for a seventh year in a row, this one-of-its kind experience starts annually May 30 and continues to October 1.

Take a journey to the past that’s loaded with plenty of modern-day fun. Get a true look at the Amish lifestyle and learn about their history. Tour country roads more traveled by buggies than cars. Stop at shops filled with goods your grandma probably used. Step into an Amish kitchen and learn cooking secrets.

Michigan Garden Tour Itinerary


Grand Rapids, Traverse City, Great Lakes Bay Region, and Kalamazoo

Day One:

Depart Illinois and arrive in Grand Rapids approximately 3:00pm EST.  Lunch to be included on the way.

NOTE:  Experience Grand Rapids can assist you with your Grand Rapids itinerary as well as help you find the perfect place to stay.  Call Mary Manier at (616) 233-3554 for assistance.

Visit the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and experience American’s most entertaining presidential museum.  Attend a White House State Dinner, step inside the Oval office, and see the original Watergate burglar tools.  This museum also features Smithsonian-caliber changing exhibits.  The Gerald R. Ford presidential burial site is located on the grounds.

Average visit: 1½ hours - Admission: $5.00
Check into a Grand Rapids hotel.Enjoy a dinner cruise aboard the Grand Lady Riverboat.  Cruise along the Grand River just like the paddlewheel steamboats did during the 1800’s.
Cruise length: 2 hours  - Prices vary depending upon the cruise

Day Two:

Check out and breakfast at hotel.

Experience the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, one of the world’s 100 most-visited museums.  A year-round botanical garden and sculpture park featuring indoor and outdoor gardens, nature trails and boardwalks, more than 100 magnificent sculptures by renowned artists, special exhibits and more.  In June 2015, the Gardens will open the new Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden.  The Gardens offers guided tours as well as narrated tram tours.  The tram tour includes the Sculpture Park, Michigan Farm Garden, and the American Horse Sculpture.

Average visit: 2 hours - Admission: $12.00
Enjoy lunch at the newly redesigned Taste of the Gardens Café, with its dazzling ceiling sculpture by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly.
Depart Grand Rapids approximately 1:00pm and arrive in Traverse City approximately 3:30pm.

NOTE:  Traverse City Tourism can assist you with your Traverse City itinerary as well as help you find the perfect place to stay.  Call Sarah Barnard at (231) 995-3910 for assistance.

Check in at a Traverse City hotel.

Head out past picturesque orchards and vineyards to the end of Old Mission Peninsula and to Mission Point Lighthouse, built in 1870 and just recently opened to the public.  Climb the short tower, hike the wooded trails, stroll the beach, and visit the historical exhibits including the 1858 Hessler Log Home, a real log cabin that’s been restored.

Average visit: 45 minutes - Admission into the lighthouse is $5.00 per person.

Visit Chateau Chantal for a tour and wine tasting.  Chateau Chantal Winery is located on 65 acres in one of the most scenic areas of the Great Lakes on Old Mission Peninsula.  The vineyard development began in 1983. Sweet and tart cherry orchards were replaced with grafted grapevines of the vinifera species; the same as grown along other parts of the 45th parallel in the Bordeaux region of France.  With many different tour options available, guests will enjoy a full tour of the cellar while learning about the wine making process and tasting Chateau Chantal’s award winning wines.  Depending on budget and availability, your experience can be arranged several ways.

Average visit: 1½-2 hours - Admission: $3.00 - $75.00 per person depending on the tour.

Mission Table welcomes you to relax and enjoy local artisan fare for dinner. The atmosphere is warm and inviting; a place where our guests can relax and feel welcome. A meal might include a breeze off the bay, a great sunset or a glowing fireplace, but it is always a genuine Old Mission experience. Mission Table is casually upscale.  Serving crafted distilled Civilized spirits, award winning Jolly Pumpkin & North Peak micro brews, and locally produced Bonafide wines. The staff will work with you to create a pure epicurean experience for your group.

Average visit: 1½-2 hours

Day Three:

Check out and breakfast at hotel

Explore The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, located in a beautiful park setting of mature trees and diverse public trails just minutes from downtown Traverse City.  The Village at Grand Traverse Commons is one of the largest historical rehabilitation sites in the country.  Formerly the Traverse City State hospital, the 18th century Victorian-Italianate buildings are now an eclectic neighborhood of unique shops, delicious foods, local wine tastings and more.  Tour the grounds with a guide and take some time to explore on your own.  They are currently redesigning the tours that they offer.

Be sure to visit the Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park on the grounds of the Grand Traverse Commons.  The Botanic Garden is a year-round sanctuary of environmental preservation, recreation and education.  Its 25 acres will nurture the soul, enliven our history and promote Michigan’s natural beauty.  Special tours can be arranged for groups of any size.

Average visit: 1½-2 hours - Admission: $3 per person for a wagon tour or free for the walking tour.
Visit downtown Traverse City for lunch on own, dine together as a group, or arrange for box lunches to go from Grand Traverse Pie Company.  The Traverse City Tourism office can assist with options.

Depart Traverse City approximately 1:00pm and arrive in Midland approximately 3:00pm.

NOTE:  The Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau can assist you with your Great Lakes Bay Region itinerary as well as help you find the perfect place to stay.  Call Herb Zeilinger at (800) 444-9979.

Arrive in Midland, home of the Dow Chemical Company.  Your first stop will be Dow Gardens, originally the back yard of company founder Herbert Dow’s home.  Open year-round, the gardens comprise 110 acres of ever-changing foliage, water features, a butterfly conservatory and children’s garden.

Average visit: 1½ hours – Admission: $5.00 per person + guide fee if requested

Make the Chippewa Nature Center your next tour stop.  Located a few minutes outside of Midland, this is nature at its best!  Over fifteen miles of trails through 1,200 acres lets you enjoy nature along the Chippewa River.  Selected trails are paved and wheelchair accessible.  Don’t forget to step inside the visitor center.  Various themed programs and events are offered all year long.

Average visit: 1½ hours – No admission.

Travel 45 minutes to Frankenmuth, “Michigan’s Little Bavaria.”  This small city of 5,000 residents is one of Michigan’s premier visitor destinations.

Dinner this evening will be at America’s largest family restaurant, Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth.  Outside the main entrance to this 1,500 seat restaurant is an annual summer topiary chicken, as Zehnder’s is known worldwide for their family-style chicken dinners.  Staff will work with you to find a meal selection perfect for your budget.

Average visit: 1½ hours

Check into a Frankenmuth hotel for the night. 

Day Four:

Check out and breakfast at hotel.

Take time to stop into the Frankenmuth Visitor Center located downtown and pick up a copy of their walking foliage tour brochure, which helps to guide you along Main Street Frankenmuth.  A streetscaping was completed in 2003, placing all infrastructure underground and running irrigation up the streetlamp poles to water over 200 live hanging flower baskets.  The Frankenmuth City Beautification Committee maintains all the baskets and ground foliage, which is a volunteer organization that raises over $120,000 annually for the beautification of the city.

A stop in Frankenmuth would not be complete without a visit to Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland.  This massive 28-acre complex with retail shopping space the equivalent of five football fields is the world’s largest Christmas store.  A quick bite to eat can be obtained in Bronner’s “Season’s Eatings” snack area.

Average visit length: 2 hours – No admission.

Depart Frankenmuth approximately 1:00pm and arrive in Kalamazoo approximately 3:00pm.

NOTE:  Discover Kalamazoo can assist you with your Kalamazoo itinerary as well as help you find the perfect place to stay.  Call Sherri Craig at (269) 488-9000 or 269-488-0054 for assistance.

Visit the Kellogg Manor House for a tour of the summer home and gardens of cereal king, W. K. Kellogg.  Located on the north end of beautiful Gull Lake, this is a stop you won’t want to miss.  Here you will learn about Mr. Kellogg, the history of his company, the corn flake, and the history of this beautiful home.  Consider adding a luncheon or dinner to a home and garden tour.  Average visit: 1½ hours – Admission: $5.00

Check into a Kalamazoo hotel for the night.

Day Five:

Check out and breakfast at hotel.

Take a guided tour of Kalamazoo and view the over 150,000 annuals which are planted each year throughout Kalamazoo and Portage.  See the floral peacock and petunia trees in Bronson Park, as well as the surrounding historic neighborhoods.

Average tour length: 1 hour - The tour is offered free of charge

After a city tour, visit Wedel’s Nursery.  This family business has been in Kalamazoo since 1946.  Wedel’s will coordinate a class to meet the needs of your group.  Guided tours of the nursery are also available with advanced notice.  Be sure to add time for browsing in the nursery and retail center.

Average visit: varies by length of activity selected – Admission: $3.00

Lunch is served! Whether you're craving a burger, pasta, seafood or a great sandwich, Fletcher's Pub offers an extensive menu with appetizers, soups, sandwiches and delicious entrées!

Depart Kalamazoo approximately 1:00pm and travel home to Illinois.

Mid-Michigan Winter Holiday Wonderland

Day 1:

·         Travel to Birch Run within Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region

·         Shopping at Birch Run Premium Outlets, the largest outlet mall in the mid-west

·         Travel to Frankenmuth, “Michigan’s Little Bavaria”

·         Hands-on strudel making at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant

·         German lunch at Bavarian Inn Restaurant

·         Step-on guided city tour of Frankenmuth

·         Shopping at Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, the world’s largest Christmas store

·         Shopping along Frankenmuth’s Main Street and at Frankenmuth River Place

·         Famous Frankenmuth all-you-can-eat chicken dinner at Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth

·         After dinner, enjoy a holiday light tour though Frankenmuth

·         Check into Frankenmuth hotel of your choice

Day 2:

·         Bags out, breakfast and check out of your hotel

·         Travel to Saginaw, Michigan

·         Tour the Vaudeville-era Temple Theatre

·         Tour the Castle Museum and marvel at the beautiful holiday decorations mingled with the history of Saginaw County

·         Travel to Midland, Michigan

·         Tour the holiday-decorated Alden B. Dow Home and Studio; include a catered lunch

·         Visit the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus training school

·         Travel to Auburn, Michigan

·         Shopping at Warmbier Farms home and outdoor decorating center

·         Travel to Bay City, Michigan

·         Buffet dinner at Krzysiak’s House

·         Step-on guided Bay City light of the Center Avenue Lumber Baron mansion district and along the Saginaw River in Veteran’s Park

·         Check into Bay City hotel of your choice

Day 3:

·         Bags out, breakfast and check out of your hotel

·         Holiday shopping in downtown Bay City

·         Christmas presentation at the Delta College Planetarium 

·         Depart Great Lakes Bay Region

NOTE: Various holiday-themed events take place throughout the region such as the annual Christkindlmarkt in Frankenmuth or a holiday dinner show at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant, the Living Nativity in Frankentrost, holiday shows at the Temple Theatre and Dow Event Center in Saginaw, holiday shows at the Midland Center For The Arts in Midland or the State Theatre in Bay City.

Beacons to Barons Tour
Day One
30 minutes – Begin your day with a tour of the White River Light Station Museum. This stately, old building made of Michigan limestone and brick, features photographs, paintings, artifacts and stories that will provide a sense of West Michigan’s maritime heritage. See the World’s Largest Weathervane. Shop and grab lunch in historic White Lake! 1 hour – Tour the Muskegon Museum of Art, one of the most highly respected art museums in the Midwest.

It offers a full schedule of permanent collection displays, traveling exhibits and a museum gift shop. 45 minutes – An Omaha Beach D-Day Veteran, the USS LST 393 served in World War II. The ship participated in three invasions in the Atlantic and Mediterranean and made 75 voyages to foreign shores. 30 minutes – Tour the Muskegon County Museum of African American History.

Their primary goal is to provide local historical African American legacy information that will instill pride and motivation for young African Americans. 3 hours – A sunset dinner cruise on Muskegon Lake and Lake Michigan is the perfect way to end your day. The Port City Princess offers wonderful cuisine – many themes available!

Day Two

1 ½ hours – Begin your day at the homes of Muskegon’s most famous lumber baron, Charles H. Hackley and his business partner, ThomasHume at the Hackley & Hume Historic Site. The Hackley Home has been completely restored to its 1890 appearance, and the Hume Home is being restored to its 1915 appearance. Both are great examples of Queen Anne residential style architecture.

30 minutes – Tour the Fire Barn Museum, a replica of the Hackley Hose Company No. 2, which was formed in 1875 after the city experienced
several devastating fires. Artifacts include a 1923 LaFrance Class B Pumper Truck, hose carts, hooks and ladders, and much more.

30 minutes – Head next door to the Scolnik House of the Depression Era. This historic attraction tells the story of common families living during
the Great Depression. The house, built in the late 1880’s, features period furnishings, appliances, flooring and wallpaper.

1 hour – Tour the Lakeshore Museum Center for the “Michigan: Through the Depths of Time” exhibit. This exhibit takes visitors on Michigan’s 400
million year journey starting with under the sea, then moving through the ice age, and ending at today’s Great Lakes state.

Hackley Park is the perfect spot for lunch. The statues of Presidents and Civil War heroes are part of a collection that has been called one of the most historically and architecturally significant in the nation.

1 ½ hours – Visit the USS Silversides Submarine Museum. Go back in history while touring the most decorated World War II submarine, the
USS Silversides and the Prohibition era’s USCGC Cutter McLane that earned honor for sinking an enemy vessel during WWII.

30 minutes – End your day at P.J. Hoffmaster State Park with a visit to the Gillette Sand Dune Visitor Center. The center features state-of-the-art
exhibits to tell Michigan’s unique sand dune story.


See Bountiful_
  • Arrive at Montrose Orchard for strawberry, blueberry or pumpkin picking, a hayride and a class on seasonal jam making and take a jar of jam home with you.
  • Arrive at the New Flint Farmers Market, where a food demonstration will take place using locally grown produce.  Half the bus will attend the food demonstration, the other half will do a cheese and wine pairing tasting.  After 45 minutes the each group will experience the other activity.
  • Lunch will be on you own at the Flint Farmers Market.  Enjoy local barbeque, Middle Eastern or Mexican.  A turkey store offers sandwiches and Steady Eddies offers soups, salads, sandwiches and vegetarian fare.
  • Tour Applewood Estates, the estate is formerly owned by Charles Stewart Mott a mayor and descendant of Mott’s Applesauce.  The tour will include the rose gardens, flower gardens, the grounds and green house.
  • Check into your hotel and freshen up a bit.
  • Depart for dinner at The Cork on Saginaw
  • Travel to Pebblebrook Alpaca Farm to see alpaca’s in their natural environment and watch as the owners make yarn out of their coat.
  • Arrive at Cooks Diary Farm to watch the process of milking cows and making fresh ice cream and before you leave enjoy a serving of vanilla, chocolate or strawberry.
  • Arrive at Heavenly Scent Herb farm where you will be getting your hands on experience on how to use unusual herbs in your everyday
  • Lunch will be at The Laundry A part of the Fenton community for over a decade, The Laundry serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week in a casual bistro atmosphere.   Our Lunch menu features over 40 delectable deli sandwiches, housemade soups, and luncheon entrees.  A rotating seasonal Dinner menu is designed by Executive Chef Jody Brunori and highlights the highest quality meats and produce available.  A vigorous organic kitchen garden behind the restaurant provides Chef Jody’s kitchen with herbs and vegetables during the spring and summer months, while an on-site bee hive yields honey for use in both the kitchen and bar.
  • After lunch you will be head to The Crust-A Baking Company where you will have hands on class in pie, cookie or bread making.
  • Cookie or cupcake decorating will take place at Bellla Birches in Flushing, where you will decorate 3 cupcakes or cookies.
  • Then head to Redwood Lodge, where you will have a class on Michigan Beers and a special dinner picked out by you.
  • Dinner will be at Redwood Steakhouse.

    o Enjoy light Chef’s hors d’oeuvres served with beer inspired cocktails.

    o Beer Education class offered with brewer including three 6 oz beer samples.

    o Your choice of dinner from one of 5 selections

    o Dessert.

̇Then back to your hotel.

See Antiques
  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Depart for Nick’s  Consignment Emporium
  • Depart for Carriage Town Antiques
  • Enjoy lunch Al Fresco style at Hoffman’s Deco Deli attached to Carriage Town Antiques
  • Depart for Collette’s Vintage and Antique Mall
  • Arrive at the Cork on Saginaw for dinner and a class on Wines of Spain and Tango lesson.
  • Breakfast at hotel
  • Depart for Downtown Holly Battle Alley: stroll downtown antique stores and specialty shops in quaint historical Holly.
  • Lunch will be on own in downtown Holly with three restaurants to choose from.
  • Depart for the Genevieve’s Antique Treasures in Davison
  • Depart for Village Square Antiques in Davison










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   AdVance Tour and Travel 2018