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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Michigan folk I need a little travel help if you can. The wife and I are planning a small vacation in late October and need some advice. I really like the Charlevoix, Petoskey area all the way up to Mackinaw but for this adventure those areas are to far. This will be the wife's first big trip as rider instead of passenger on board her new burgman 400. Other than being a little chilly in Northern Michigan I want to keep the mileage down to around 250 ish miles from here in Indianapolis. Looking at the map that puts us the the St Joe - South Haven area. Any suggestions on a nice place to stay that isn't going to break the bank in that area?

Thanks D
 

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Late October in St. Joseph is usually a pretty colorful time with the leaves. Plus it is also a good time for visiting the apple orchards and wineries in the area. There are several hotels and motels in the St. Joseph area, ranging from your standard Holiday Inn Express to the more luxurious Boulevard, and I believe there are also a few B&Bs.
There are also some smaller "towns" along the lake to the south (Lakeside, Union Pier, etc.) but St. Joseph just received a #3 spot on the best underrated beach towns in America, and the piers, lighthouse, and bluff area make for beautiful walking and sightseeing.

From Indy, it's about 3 hours, coming up 31. There are some nice backroads that lead up through different small towns, as well. I used to live in Anderson, and made the trip to my family home in Bridgman pretty regularly, usually on backroads whenever possible.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I will will check it out. I have a co-worker who really likes St. Joe. All he said was stay away from Benton Harbor. I found an awesome resort in Saugatuck but as luck has it they close for the season the day we want to come up. The plan was to take 31 up from Indy. The burg is a beast and will run the interstate with no problem, but she wanted a slower pace for her first big trip. Thanks for the info!
 

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michigan tour

Johnboy and I are heading up to Michigan after Vintage Days at Mid Ohio...We need some ideas concerning the following:
1. roads
2. must see destinations
3. great places for food and drink
4. notable state parks for camping

We are thinking of a big loop that includes, but is not limited to Muskegon, Sleeping Bear Dunes Area, St. Sault Marie, Copper Harbor, and back...
 

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If you can, a few more miles from Saugatuck [fun town!] lies the town of Holland - it's a great base of operations....great restaurants, New Holland Brewery (fantastic beer), and one of my favorite hotels, from the architecture, design, rooftop restaurant, and staff - the City Flats hotel. It's actually very affordable, and worth the effort to enjoy one night there. It's in downtown Holland, so you can walk everywhere. CityFlatsHotel - Home

And this website has some good Michigan routes posted
Michigan Motorcycle Roads & Routes - Bluestar hwy / Red arrrow hwy / US 12 | OpenRoadJourney.com

This route takes you exactly as you've envisioned. And, going thru Benton Harbor is no big deal.....it's actually a nice ride, since it's so close to the water, very far from the sketchy areas.
 

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I can second the vote for Holland. Also, about 40 miles south of Holland is South Haven, also a scenic stop with several very good places to eat (Clementine's serves some amazing lake perch and walleye).

If you have time, following the Lake Michigan lakeshore from Mackinac takes you through some beautiful terrain, including the Tunnel of Trees (starts at Cross Village on the north end and runs down to Harbor Springs near Petoskey).

And as was noted - if you follow Blue Star Highway south, it winds nicely along the lake, although usually just far enough inland that you may only catch an occasional glimpse, and goes through Benton Harbor well away from any problem areas. Actually, it goes right past Whirlpool's world headquarters and through the middle of the new Harbor Shores golf course, which will be packed around the end of May for the 2012 Senior PGA Championship...
 

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Tunnel of Trees

Make sure you include the Tunnel of Trees ride. North of Petosky, you take M119, Michigan's scenic highway. And stop at the Leggs Inn for a bite to eat. I am from Northern Michigan, and it is a great little strech of road.
 
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