Monthly Archives: February 2014

50 States Road Trip – Michigan

With a population of around 9.9 million, Michigan is the 9th most populous of the 50 United States and has gained several nicknames over its lifetime, examples being ‘The Great Lakes State’ and ‘The Wolverine State’. One of Michigan’s most famous landmarks, and one of the most easily recognised, is the beautiful and vast Lake Michigan. It is one of five Great Lakes of North American and the only lake that is entirely located within the United States.

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Lake Michigan

Lake_Michigan_Landsat_Satellite_Photo

Thought to have been named from the Ojibwa word ‘mishigami’ which means ‘great water’, Lake Michigan borders a total of four different states, and is 307 miles at its maximum length and 118 miles at its maximum width.

The shores of Lake Michigan are home to over 12 million people, with a number of cities, towns and small villages setting up shop by its sandy waters. Seasonal residents may even have summer homes around the lake, with homes they can return to in the colder winter weather.

Mackinac Island

Said to be one of the top 10 islands in the world, Mackinac Island is an Island frozen in time, where you can spend a few relaxing nights taking in the sites, and engaging in calming activities such as carriage tours and walks along the beach. For the more adventurous out there you can also go horseback riding and hiking.

The use of automobiles is banned at Mackinac Island, excluding emergency vehicles, so the air feels fresher and cleaner, and it is a great way to get yourself out and enjoying the world at a leisurely pace, instead of trying to whizz past it from the seat of your car.

Grand Rapids

Heritage_Hill_2Between the cities of Chicago and Cleveland is a small urban city intermixed with a natural beauty. The Grand Rapids is built next to Lake Michigan and is known as ‘River City’ because of its location. It is home to a number of different theatres and stages, and is also the home of ‘Heritage Hill’ the country’s largest historic urban area, and contains over 1300 homes dating from 1848. Homes created from a variety of over 60 architectural styles, Heritage Hill is definitely a site to see.

Hire a Car for our Next Stop – NY or Bust

We travel way East to one of the most populous and famous states in America; New York. Famous for its landmarks and the bustling atmosphere of its token city, NYC, New York is a state that is steeped in its own traditional and cultural history.

The Great Wall of China

Last Friday was the official start of the Chinese New Year celebrations. The holiday is a week long, and consists of festivals, traditional food, cleaning the house in preparation for the coming of the New Year, and the giving of gifts to family members and business partners. The Lunar Festival is a fantastic celebration that occurs every year in China, rocking the rest of the world by storm in a celebration that puts our New Years Parties to shame. So what better place to visit at this time of year, than the Great Wall of China?

great-wallFamous for its intense length, the original construction of the Great Wall of China was thought to be as early as the 7th Century BC. It is located across the hysterical northern borders of China and was constructed as a means to protect China from invaders. The Great Wall is a staggering 13,171 miles in length, and much of the original construction still remains standing today, although in various states of disrepair.

The Great Wall is a legendary hiking trail, as walking even part of the length of the Wall is considered to be a great feat, with certain sections of the wall thinning perilously out to only a few feet wide. Thousands of tourists attempt the walk every year, and there is even an annual event that has taken place since 1999, dedicated to running a marathon atop the Wall. It has also been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987.

great-wall-2It is fascinating to see what areas of the Great Wall are oldest, as the Wall has been constructed of a variety of material, including bricks, and earth wood and stone, when bricks had not yet been discovered.  Later on larger stones cut into rectangular shapes were used, as they can hold under their weight for longer than brick. Walking across the Great Wall allows us to see the progression of construction types used in the history of China.

As well as being a rich cultural experience, walking the Wall is also a great way to see China from above, and a way to take in the stunning view of rugged mountains and beautiful woodland. The Mutianyu section of the wall is the most popular amongst tourists, and the walk across this section takes about a day. So why not? Next time you plan a holiday in China, definitely try to hire a car and visit the Great Wall!