North East Michigan is also blessed with natural beauty. It includes Mackinac Island and Haughton Lake. It is dominated by Mackinaw State Forest and Huron National Forest. Four state parks - Hoeft, Thompson’s Harbor, Negwegon and Harrisville offer endless opportunities for activities like hiking, biking, camping, fishing, and water sports. Alpena, located by lake Huron, is a small center of trade and commerce. Besser Museum of Alpena gives a colorful exhibition of art and culture. Hartwicks pines logging museum is located in the Hartwicks Pines State Park.
Mackinac Island is a favorite tourist destination. No motorized vehicles are allowed on this island and transport is by ferry, sailboats, horse drawn carriages and bicycles. Mackinac State Park boasts of 2,250 acres of trails and myriad coastal wildlife and plants. The Island even has a Haunted Theatre with wax figures meant to frighten you. Haughton Lake is the largest inland lake of Michigan. From sedentary to aerobic, activities can include canoeing, kayaking and camping beside the lake.
East Central Michigan features areas like Bay City, Port Huron and Flint. Bay City houses many pubs and shops in 19th century style and Saginaw River is crowded with tall ships. Port Huron is fun in summer and winter, with cider mills in the fall and festivals in summer. Flint is the originating city of General Motors and features the Buick Research Gallery. Flint Cultural Center houses the Longway Planetarium, the Alfred P. Sloan Museum, and the Flint Institute of Arts.
Greater Detroit Area features a number of suburbs, which are mini-cities in themselves. Dearborn, Livonia and Sterling Heights all offer unique vacation opportunities. Dearborn is the location of the Ford Motor Company Headquarters and related attractions like the Henry Ford estate, Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.
South East Michigan has the important towns of Lansing, Ann Arbor and Detroit. Ann Arbor is another important town, most famous for the location of University of Michigan. It has a lively cultural scene and a booming book publishing business.
Detroit is perhaps the most famous and happening city of Michigan. This amazing city has been a French trading post, a British army headquarters, an international port and a center for American and world culture. It rose to its glory only in the 20th century as the world ‘s leading producer of automobiles and a bustling international port.
Founded in 1701, it first functioned as a French trading post and later as a headquarters of the British army. During the 1800s, it functioned as the refuge of African Americans trying to escape from the slave trade. The Underground Railroad brought many families to safety. With them, came the sounds and notes of Motown music.
Before the automotive revolution, Detroit was famous for making horse-drawn carriages and bicycles. Then Henry Ford and the Dodge brothers changed the scene. Henry Ford introduced the assembly line method in Detroit starting mass production of automobiles in America. This led to the first affordable motorcars for the American middle class. Iron mines and automobile production gave the city the name, ‘Motor City". Detroit became the first city to have paved roads and traffic lights. Also the first union of autoworkers appeared here.
The Great Depression slowed down profits but business boomed after Post-Second World War efforts at reconstruction. However the blatant disparity between the rich and poor and race relations, also brought about tension and race riots took place in 1967, fuelled by the civil rights movement. The 60s also spawned the popular music-recording label Motown reaching the African American sound to the world audience.