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The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Photo by Catharine Norton

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Photo by Catharine Norton

Fourth in a Series

On the fourth day of my recent “Magical Lake Michigan:”cruise aboard the Grande Mariner with Blount Small Ship Adventures, we reached the top of Lake Michigan in early evening.

Dinner, normally served at 6:30 p.m., was delayed a bit while we sailed under the five-mile long Mackinac Bridge, which spans the Straits of Mackinac and connects the Upper and Lower peninsulas of Michigan.

The bridge was opened to traffic in 1957 and is considered an engineering marvel, costing $100 million to build. It’s the fifth largest suspension bridge in the world and the largest in the Western Hemisphere. Four million vehicles cross the bridge annually.

We were heading for Mackinac Island, just beyond the bridge, following our earlier stop at Beaver Island. Docking there in early evening, we would have much of the next… Continue reading

The former King Strang Hotel overlooks the Beaver Island waterfront. Photo by Catharine Norton

The former King Strang Hotel overlooks the Beaver Island waterfront. Photo by Catharine Norton

Third in a Series

I’m sure that many residents of Michigan have heard of Beaver Island, even if they haven’t actually visited there. But when I saw it on the itinerary for my recent “Magical Lake Michigan Cruise” aboard the Grande Mariner from Blount Small Ship Adventures, it had me scurrying to my atlas.

It turns out that Beaver Island is the largest island in Lake Michigan: about 13 miles long and three to six miles wide. But it’s remote and sparsely populated — with only about 550 year-round residents — and it can only be reached by boat or small plane.

Ferries serve the island from the mainland in warm months, but when the weather gets cold and the northern reaches of the lake ice over, Beaver Island residents mostly have to hunker down… Continue reading

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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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