As the Motorcoach & Group Sales Manager for Michigan's Great Lakes Bay Regional CVB, Herb Zeilinger is your go-to when looking to charter a bus to the Great Lakes Bay Region.
By Herb Zeilinger
Charter a bus to Michigan's Great Lakes Bay Region and you won’t be disappointed. This area comprises the counties of Bay, Midland and Saginaw and is home to the communities of Bay City, Birch Run, Chesaning, Frankenmuth, Midland, and Saginaw.
Here’s a quick overview of each of these communities:
Sail the open waters, reach for the stars, and return to a simpler time. All this awaits your visit to Bay City. Originally surrounded by marshlands and forest, water was the main source of transport and travel. This is evidenced today by the number of cargo and personal watercraft that travel the Saginaw River running through Bay City. Bay City is home to a variety of tourism options, a taste of which include the Delta College 360-Degree-Experience Planetarium, Michigan's largest antique center, tours aboard the tall ship Appledore, or motor ships Princess Wenonah or the Islander, a tour of the U.S.S. Edson floating naval battleship museum and beautiful architecture reminiscent of the glory days of Bay City's lumbering and shipbuilding boom.
The Village of Birch Run
"Shop, Stay and Play" are the words to best describe this rural community conveniently located at I-75 exit #136. The Birch Run Premium Outlets offer more than 140 stores featuring everything from clothes to china and is home to Michigan's only Pottery Barn outlet. After your shopping adventure, take a walk through Wilderness Trails Animal Park and come face to face with wild and exotic animals. The Birch Run Expo Center offers indoor and outdoor entertainment events including Shipshewana on the Road. If this is still not enough to thrill you, get over to the Dixie Motor Speedway where you can experience exciting motorsport racing. Hungry? Featured on "Diners, Dives, & Drive-in's", Tony's I-75 restaurant literally serves one pound of bacon on its B.L.T. Sandwich.
"Michigan's Victorian Community" began as a lumbering town, which is evidenced by the beautifully restored lumber baron mansions. For the antique hunter, Chesaning offers hometown opportunities for you to experience at taste of American midwest hospitality.
"Michigan's Little Bavaria" is home to many unique shops, attractions, Bronner's CHRISTmas Wonderland - the world's largest Christmas store, and two of America's largest and best loved restaurants, the Frankenmuth Bavarian Inn and Zehnder's of Frankenmuth. Combined, these two restaurants can seat over 2,700 and each serve over a million meals annually. Be transported to a European atmosphere and enjoy the loveliness of this quaint, German-themed community. Make a stop at St. Lorenz Lutheran Church to see the history of this Lutheran mission colony founded in 1845 as told through the massive stained glass windows.
"A Million Brilliant Possibilities" is the only way to describe this city of modern explorers. Home to both the Dow Chemical and the Dow Corning companies, Midland is a must-stop during your visit to the region. Tour the 20,000 square foot home and studio of Midland's famed architect Alden B. Dow (who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright), the 110-acre Dow Gardens showcasing nature's beauty during each of the four seasons, the Doan Historical Center & Heritage Park to learn of Herbert Dow and his success at founding the Dow Chemical Company, a stop at the Chippewa Nature Center, a visit to the world-class Midland Center for the Arts, and a visit to Midland's own Great Lakes Loons minor league baseball team at Dow Diamond. Come to Midland and discover your own list of a million brilliant possibilities.
"Strong Roots, Strong Future" boasts a rich history highlighted by the lumber industry that made this city a thriving commercial center since the turn of the 19th century. Gracious Georgian mansions, acres of spacious parks and cultural attractions are available to enjoy during your time in Saginaw. Experience a show at the fully-restored, Vaudeville-era Temple Theatre, the incredible work of sculptor Marshall M. Fredericks, the beauty of art at the Saginaw Art Museum, our history on display at the French chateau-style Castle Museum, a trip to the Saginaw Children's Zoo and the mid-Michigan Children's Museum, and our cultural treasure found within the Japanese Tea House and Cultural Center. All these attractions are within minutes of one another.
All this provides only a glimpse at what awaits you on your visit to Michigan's Great Lakes Bay Region!
Photo credit: Great Lakes Bay Regional CVB