Torch Lake is Michigan's highly popular tourist and recreational spot. Torch Lake runs for 19 miles in length and covers a surface area of 18,770 acres in total. Its maximum width is just two miles, making it very long and narrow, and its average depth is around 111 feet. Located in Antrim County and surrounded by many different townships and villages, the lake is situated just a short drive away from Traverse City. Certain attractions may be temporarily closed or require advance reservations. Hours/availability may have changed.
1.Location - Torch Lake, Michigan
2.Visiting Torch Lake
3.Other Torch Lake Activities to Enjoy
4.More Ideas - Torch Lake, Michigan
Torch Lake, Michigan
- Location - Torch Lake, Michigan, Photo: Sean/stock.adobe.com
- Visiting Torch Lake, Photo: Keith Klosterman/stock.adobe.com
- Other Torch Lake Activities to Enjoy, Photo: bonniemarie/stock.adobe.com
- More Ideas - Torch Lake, Michigan, Photo: Keith Klosterman/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of Keith Klosterman - Fotolia.com
Attraction Spotlight: Veldheer Tulip Garden
The Veldheer Tulip Garden in Holland, Michigan annually plants over 5 million tulips for guests to walk through, purchase and enjoy. Visitors may spend hours walking through the tulip fields, which span 10 acres. Peak blooming season lasts from mid-April through mid-May, when not only the tulips are in full bloom, but 50,000 daffodils, 10,000 hyacinth and 20,000 crocus.
From June 1st through October, perennials in bloom include day lilies, Dutch lilies and peonies. The perennial gardens are set among canals, drawbridges and Dutch windmills. Guests who tour the tulip fields are given self-guided tour booklets, which assist in identification of the more than 800 different tulip varieties. Visitors enjoy the ample photography opportunities against the Dutch themed backdrop of the tulip fields and windmills.
Twenty Buffalo live at the Veldheer farm, the most famous of which are twins Wange and Nepa. The twins are the only known pair in the United States to have been genetically certified by The National Bison Association as identical. A 14-year old bull named Tacoma stands at nearly seven feet tall and weighs over 3,500 pounds. He is the only bull on the farm. The Buffalo are part of a breeding and educational program which teaches guests about the Buffalo’s place in American history. Grass-fed, hormone free, USDA quality bison meat is available for purchase.
A garden center on site sells a wide range of perennial bulbs and seeds, as well as fertilizer, gardening tools, bedding plants and garden statuary. Tulips and tulip bulbs are for sale during autumn only. The gift shop, De Klomp, sells traditional Dutch souvenirs, toys and Christmas items. Delftware is classic hand painted Dutch pottery. Veldheer’s is the only authentic Delftware manufacturer in the United States and produces 400 of the blue and white items, ranging from decorative figurines and collectibles to house wares. Custom projects can be completed upon request. Visitors may tour the factory and watch the entire process from pouring liquid clay into the molds, to firing in the 2,000-degree oven, to the hand-painting of each item’s designs. Traditional Dutch wooden shoes are also sold on site. A Dutch-trained and certified shoemaker works on site to carve the shoes from blocks of wood using traditional Dutch machinery. Visitors may watch the shoe-making process and order custom painted shoes, or have their name wood burned into the shoe. Shoe sizes range from doll-sized to adult. A candy shop offers chocolate letters in a variety of sizes, as well as Dutch pastries, cookies and candy. Knowledgeable staff and artisans are always present to answer questions about the crafting process or the items.
History: Vern Veldheer (b.1925) began the tulip garden as a hobby farm in 1947 with a planting of 300 white tulips and 100 red tulips in a 10-foot square plot of land. Today, Vern continues to work more than 60 hours per week at the farm, although he is nearing 100 years old. Vern purchased the adjacent De Klomp wooden shoe and Delftware factory in 1984, expanding his business from tulips to Dutch souvenirs. A small memorial on the farm is dedicated to his wife, who passed in 2004.
Ongoing Programs and Education: The Tulip Time Festival is an annual event celebrating Dutch culture and heritage. Each May, for one week, the entire city of Holland, Michigan is decorated with tulip plantings. Traditional Dutch Klompen, or wooden shoe dancing, food and live music can be found throughout the city. Three parades, the Volksparade, Kinderparade, and Muziekparade, take place over the 8 days. A quilt show and arts and crafts show are set up downtown, and trolley and carnival rides entertain visiting children. Veldheer’s Tulip Garden and the De Klomp wooden shoe and Delftware factory is just one of the many attractions open to the public for special events that week. The Tulip Time Festival has been named the best Small Town Festival as well as the best Flower Festival.
What’s Nearby: Nearby tulip gardens include Tulip Lanes, Windmill Island Gardens and Nelis’ Dutch Village, although with over 5 million bulbs planted, Veldheer’s offers the largest tulip planting in the United States. The Holland Museum and Dutch Galleries offer up a collection of Dutch Master paintings, including ‘Seated Beggar’ by Rembrandt. The museum exhibits artifacts related to the history of Dutch settlement in America. Holland’s Graafschap Heritage Center focuses on the history and genealogy of settlers to Holland, Michigan.
12755 Quincy Street, Holland, MI 49424, Phone: 616-399-1900
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Attraction Spotlight: Saugatuck Dunes State Park
Michigan is blessed with some incredible scenery. Both in the Upper and Lower Peninsulas, the Great Lake State is home to some extraordinary landscapes, with its long shoreline along the enormous Lake Michigan being among the most famous and iconic.
Millions of Michigan residents and out-of-state visitors flock to the shores of Lake Michigan each and every year, and one of the best places to enjoy the lake in a peaceful and harmonious location is Saugatuck Dunes State Park.
Saugatuck Dunes State Park - Lake Michigan State Park
Saugatuck Dunes State Park is a Michigan state park located on the shore of Lake Michigan in the area between the cities of Saugatuck and Holland in Allegan County. Once privately owned by inventor Dorr Eugene Felt, Saugatuck Dunes State Park was made into a public recreation area in the late 1970s. It stretches out across 1,000 acres of land and includes beaches, sand dunes, and scenic trails for visitors of all ages to enjoy.
It’s one of the best state parks in Michigan, and here’s everything you need to know about visiting Saugatuck Dunes State Park:
- Opening Times and Access - Saugatuck Dunes State Park is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Come rain or shine, the park will be open and accessible to the public, and this is a day use park, so it opens up early in the morning and closes down as the sun sets. Getting to Saugatuck Dunes State Park is easy enough from nearby major cities like Grand Rapids, and the entrance fee is just $9 for a non-resident daily pass, $32 for a non-resident annual pass, $11 for a Michigan resident when purchased with license plate renewal, or $16 for Michigan residents at other times.
- Amenities - You'll find some simple amenities around Saugatuck Dunes State Park to make your trip to the park more enjoyable and comfortable. Restrooms can be found around the park at the main parking lot and near the beach too, and there's also a large picnic shelter offered on a first come, first served basis. Camping is not allowed at the beach and there are no campsites or camping facilities. There are also no concessions at Saugatuck Dunes State Park, so guests are encouraged to bring their own food and drink or plan a trip to local restaurants in cafes in Saugatuck or Holland.
- Hiking - Hiking is one of the most popular activities at Saugatuck Dunes State Park. There are no less than 13 miles of hiking trails to be found here, so there are a lot of different hiking routes to be enjoyed and plenty of options for people who like to walk around, admire the views, look out for wildlife, and appreciate the fresh air. The trails each have their own names and lengths and are clearly marked. For those visitors who don't wish to go on long hikes but still want to enjoy the park, there's a short hike of just 0.6 miles from the parking lot to the lake itself. Visitors are encouraged to bring along some water to stay hydrated and wear comfortable footwear to have the most fun while hiking.
- Other Activities - Hiking is definitely the main appeal of Saugatuck Dunes State Park, and this is one of the best hiking locations in Michigan, but there's plenty more to do in this state park besides walking around. The park's eponymous sand dunes measure up at heights of around 200 feet, so they're a real highlight and can be a lot of fun to climb up and explore. Saugatuck Dunes State Park is also home to over 2 miles of soft, sandy beaches, offering amazing views out onto the waters of Lake Michigan. It's a great place to come with friends, family, or a special someone in order to simply sit on the beach and admire the views. Metal detecting is popular here too, as well as bird watching and eating picnics. In the winter, there's also the option to do some cross-country skiing when the snows start to fall.
- Important Information for Visitors - Pets are allowed at Saugatuck Dunes State Park, but all dogs need to be kept on 6-foot leashes at all times and cannot be left unattended or allowed to run around off their leashes. Guests are also encouraged to clean up after their dogs. Bicycles and camping aren't allowed in Saugatuck Dunes State Park, but alcohol is allowed for all visitors aged 21 and above. Metal detecting is allowed in certain areas of the park too and is a popular recreational activity in Saugatuck Dunes State Park.
All in all, if you’re looking for a fun place to go in Michigan for hiking and beautiful views of Lake Michigan, Saugatuck Dunes State Park is a great place to be. Open all year round, this park is one of the prettiest locations in the entire state and definitely one of the best places to really appreciate the incredible beauty of the Great Lake itself.
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Attraction Spotlight: North Manitou Island
North Manitou Island is fifteen thousand acres of wilderness located in the middle of Lake Michigan. Visitors to this Michigan island get to experience various outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, identifying wildlife, exploring the island village and ghost towns, finding inland lakes, and learning the stories of the islands people and its history.
Native Americans were living on North Manitou Island by 1000 BCE and conceivably as early as 11,000 to 8000 BCE. The island is one of the richest archaeological spots in the Lakeshore, especially along the cliffs at the northern end of the island. The Woodland Period (600 BCE to 1620 CE) is the most distinct period of cultural occupation and activity on the island and is marked by several substantial sites.
There is a rich history of logging on the island as it was an advantageously located source of wood for steam ship roving the Great Lakes. Early logging history of North Manitou Island revolves around on a wood dealer by the name of Nicholas Pickard who landed on the island in 1844-1846. By 1857 he was the largest land owner on the island and he constructed wooding docks at several locations including the town of Crescent.
Several other loggers landed on the island throughout it’s history and by 1860 it was a small “melting pot” of immigrants. Its population was 269 with 56 households. The first school was built in 1895 and could seat thirty-six students. North Manitou acted as weigh station where people and their goods were unloaded to await a transfer to other boats bound for different destinations.
Things to Do
North Manitou Island is the perfect place for visitors who enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, hunting, swimming, and exploring.
Camping- There is a small campground on the island with eight designated campsites, two fire rings, and one outhouse. Camping is permitted in the wilderness areas of the island, but open fires in these areas are not allowed. Campers on the island enjoy the solitude and beauty of the island while listening to the gently lapping waves of Lake Michigan.
Hiking- Hikers on North Manitou island enjoy twenty-three miles of maintained trails. These trails offer paths through impressive stands of maple and beech trees, old farms, and along the cliffs overlooking Lake Michigan. The terrain of North Manitou Island is gentle and easy allowing even the most inexperienced of hikers an easy time traveling the trails.
Swimming- Visitor to island enjoy the gentle waves of Lake Michigan when swimming along the shore.
Exploring the Animal and Plant Life of North Manitou- Visitors interested in exploring and studying the wildlife of the island will find diverse habitats on it is various stretches of beaches and wilderness areas.
Exploring the History or North Manitou- History buffs visiting the island will enjoy exploring the North Manitou Village and the ghost town of Crescent. The remaining buildings of North Manitou Island are connected with the US Life-Saving Station, Cottage Row, and the Manitou Island Association. While the ghost town of Crescent is uninhabited, North Manitou Village is still home to several inhabitants. Visitors should respect the s privacy of those living on the island.
North Manitou Lake- Hikers on North Manitou Island can take several different trails to Lake Manitou which is about two-and-half miles from the village. Visitors to the lake can camp and fish on the lake.
Field Trips- Field trips to Sleeping Bear Dunes are a great way for students to learn outside of the classroom.
Teacher-Ranger-Teacher Program- This program allows teachers to spend a summer working as a park ranger at Sleeping Bear Dunes, and then take the lessons learned at the park back to the classroom for more effective teaching.
Distance-Learning- Several distance learning courses are available for teacher to set up for their students.
Wilderness Ambassador Youth Program- High school students spend a week in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, learning skills that can be used in the wilderness, furthering their knowledge in conservational stewardship, and performing volunteer service.
Junior Ranger Program- Kids learn about Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park and how they can help protect it.
The Artist in Residence Program- Participants of the program must be writers, composers, and visual artists such as photographers. The program gives participants the opportunity to study and capture Sleeping Bear Dunes in whatever artistic medium they work with. Each work of art must work to advance the park’s mission
North Manitou Island leads a deer hunt every year to help keep the deer population under control and preserve the native vegetation of the island.
9922 Front Street, Empire, MI 49630, Phone: 231-326-4700
More Michigan beaches
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