Michigan: Detroit and beyond on an awesome American holiday
US & world travel
From mountain adventures to luxury hotels, Sean O'Grady is pleasantly surprised on a trip to the Midwestern state.
Set the mood
I'm standing on top of a crate looking down over a mountain with several belts and straps wrapped around my torso. I grip the rope tightly, as an extremely chirpy girl named Chelsea encourages me to run off the crate. I obey her command and am sent 50 feet into the air at a speed of 40kmph.
Welcome to Boyne Mountain Resort's zip line (boyne.com/boynemountain). Located at the northern tip of Michigan's lower peninsula, the resort's exterior is postcard-worthy; a sprawling hotel surrounded by mountains and forests.
One could be forgiven for checking in and never leaving with the endless activities on offer... golfing, indoor water parks, disc golf, chair lifts and spa centres are all at your disposal. Rooms don't come cheap, starting from €199, but it's quite the intro for a surprising trip to Michigan.
Larry Mawby's vineyard is nestled away in Suttons Bay in northern Michigan and supplies locals with some of the best wine (lmawby.com) there is to find.
The outdoor venue is full of people of all ages eager to take advantage of two free tastings and paid tastings - with complimentary food from $7/€6.50 to $15/€14 depending on the wine chosen.
The highlight is an incredibly tasty sparkling wine called Sex. The name has caused such controversy that Larry tells me it has been banned from being sold in Britain... which has certainly not hampered its popularity in the States.
The perfect spot to spend a lazy afternoon, guests can sit back and relax and gaze over acres of vineyard with their glass of vino.
One of the quickest and most enjoyable ways to see the city of Detroit is the Slow Roll. Taking place every Monday at a different location (which you can find on slowroll.bike), several hundred locals band together for a 10-15 mile bike ride through the city's neighbourhoods.
Anyone who brings a bike can take part, and regulars often bring stereos with them to ensure participants have something to sing along to while they cycle. Definitely something to do as a change from the more obvious tourist attractions.
One of the most luxurious hotels in Detroit is the MGM Grand (mgmgranddetroit.com). With 401 rooms starting from €280, the resort boasts friendly staff, comfortable rooms and several amenities you could spend hours in.
Some of the most popular attractions are the casino (which you must be over 21 to enter) and a nightclub with its own VIP section that can be rented out to guests.
Visit the MGM Grand's immerse spa to make your stay an even more relaxing experience. From aromatherapy-based treatments to baths, massages and treatments for men, women and couples, there's something for everyone to help sit back and unwind after a busy day seeing the sights.
Travel in the summer months is strongly advised. A late autumn trip along Lake Michigan was cut short before it had really begun due to heavy rainfall. If winter travel is a must, make sure to bring plenty of extra layers.
Get there & around
Virgin Atlantic (virginatlantic.com, via London) and Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com, via Newark) fly to Detroit from around €618 return in April.
Check Tour America (touramerica.ie), American Holidays (americanholidays.com) and American SKy (americansky.ie) for packages.
In Detroit, buses and bicycles are popular ways of getting around; for exploring the rest of the state, prices for ECAR Economy at Wayne County Airport start from around €186 per week. For more info, see michigan.org.
NB: All prices subject to availability.