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Travel: America’s cherry blossom state burst into spring

Alan Wooding (left) and Kieron Dodd take a spin in a 50-year-old Ford Mustang at the 'Pure Michigan' launch party in London.

Alan Wooding (left) and Kieron Dodd take a spin in a 50-year-old Ford Mustang at the 'Pure Michigan' launch party in London.

As the first signs of spring begin to show and the winter snow has melted, the state of Michigan is coming into its own by offering visitors access to the world’s longest freshwater coastline and some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable on the other side of the Atlantic.

Travel writer Alan Wooding attended a special function as the popular US state launched its ‘Pure Michigan’ brand on the British market.

There was an enjoyable gathering in London when guests were ferried around the Knightsbridge area from the popular Vini Italiani wine bar in Old Brompton Road aboard a 50-year-old convertible 3.3 litre Ford Mustang which was built in Michigan’s motor city, Detroit.

The state of Michigan has over 100 wineries, 11,000 lakes, 1,300 miles of bike trails and, of course, the cherry blossom – and that’s a real indication that spring has sprung.

You can visit the boater’s paradise of Harbor Springs which is nestled along the deepest harbour in the Great Lakes region.

The charming 100-year-old waterfront community is home to one of the most spectacular and scenic drives – Michigan Highway 119. It leaves the town through a narrow road engulfed with mature broadleaf and pine trees known as the Tunnel of Trees.

Visitors are spoilt for choice with Michigan’s 11,000 inland lakes that provide a plethora of tranquil fishing spots where guests can admire the spectacular views and catch dinner.

Alternatively cyclists looking to get on their bikes have over 1,300 miles of bike trails. Whether it’s the thrill of mountain biking or a more gentle cycle through lush forests and hills, there is a tour for cyclists of mixed ability and comfort.

To sample a tipple of Michigan’s fine wines, visitors can explore one of the state’s wine trails or tours including the popular Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail, Lake Michigan Wine Trail near New Buffalo or the Wineries of Traverse City’s Old Mission Peninsula where enviable views across the bays as far as the eye can see.

Michigan is also the cherry capital of the world and what better place to see such a spring like spectacle as when Traverse City turns into a sea of flowering trees.

Witness the dawn of spring each May‚ as some 2.6 million blooming cherry trees transform the city into one of America’s most impressive floral displays.

Visitors are invited to join in with the festivities hosted by local vineyards and restaurants across the Grand Traverse Bay to celebrate the season’s first blossoms.

With over 800 pubic golf courses in Michigan, there is somewhere for all handicaps: Sweetgrass in the Upper Peninsula to the par-three course at Treetops Resort in the Northern Lower Peninsula, if you are near Grand Rapids why not have a swing at the Thousand Oaks Golf Club where visitors can have a swing and enjoy a round or two?

The State of Michigan is blessed with the riches of unspoiled nature and apart from having the world’s longest freshwater coastline, its lakes that feel like oceans with shimmering beaches, miles and miles of cherry orchards, glorious sunrises and sunsets, daytime skies of the deepest blue, nighttime skies scattered with stars.

Home to more than 100 public beaches, some of the highest freshwater sand dunes in the world, stunning multi-colored sandstone cliffs, two National Lakeshores and the only national marine sanctuary in the Great Lakes, the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Lake Huron.

There are more than 100 lighthouses, numerous maritime museums, ten shipwreck-diving preserves and historic military fortifications rim Michigan’s Great Lakes shoreline.

Lakes, campgrounds, wildlife refuges and 99 Michigan state parks and recreation areas create a wide variety of recreational pursuits. Rivers for water sports and thousands of miles of hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling trails thread their way among some 100 species of trees.

Long days, relaxing weather and more than 800 pristine Michigan courses make for the perfect tee time. Because being able to play all day is Pure Michigan.

Cellet Marketing and Public Relations has won an exciting new brief to handle the marketing and public relations for Pure Michigan in its ambitious drive to increase international visitors.

Following a five-year strategic plan for Michigan’s tourism industry, this appointment marks a fresh push targeting the UK and Irish markets to elevate its status and promote the state as the destination of choice for travellers in search of an authentic American experience.

For more information on spring attractions in Michigan visit www.michigan.org

 

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