8 DAYS/ 7 NIGHTS
Group members who are not on a pre-tour will arrive today.
This evening, mingle with other group members at a meet and greet reception hosted by our Tour Manager, a destination specialist.
Chicago, situated on Lake Michigan, is among the largest cities in the U.S. It’s famed around the world for many things, including its bold architecture, its blues musicians and clubs, deep-dish pizza – and Al Capone.
There’s no better way to tour Chi-town as it’s called than on the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s architectural River Cruise. But we won’t take the ordinary river tour. We’ll board an exclusive CAF photography river cruise, designed for the photographer, or photographer at heart. You’ll have access to all angles while the local, highly-trained docent points out architectural highlights along the way.
This afternoon, choose between excursions. If you like sin with your suds, then join our walking tour and learn the basics of Chicago’s sinful history, all the way from the city’s first vice district, to Capone, Prohibition, and the mob. Explore the basics of different beer styles and beer’s influence on criminal enterprises, especially during Prohibition. You’ll taste several Midwestern craft beers from lagers to porters.
Or choose to glide through the fragrant floral paths and rose gardens of Grant Park, along the Lakefront to the Museum Campus on your very own Segway. If you can stand you can learn to use a Segway. Knowledgeable guides explain the culture and history of the area and massive museums.
Tonight, Kingston Mines is on the menu. Founded in 1968, Kingston Mines is the largest and oldest continuously operating blues club in Chicago. Its two stages have been graced by the likes of Magic Slim, Billy Branch, Junior Wells, and scores of other musical greats. We’ll listen to some of Chicago’s best live music – and remember their motto: “Hear Blues – Drink Booze – Talk Loud – You’re Among Friends!” ™ You may want to eat before we go, or save your appetite for the southern style fare you can get onsite from Doc’s Rib Joint.
Chicago – Holland – Traverse City
You won’t need your passport to enter this Holland, on the shore of Lake Michigan. The Dutch heritage is plain to see in the traditional Dutch architecture and ambience. Stroll the quaint downtown and enjoy it galleries, shops and eateries.
We’ll continue north to the Leelanau Peninsula. Here we visit some of the peninsulas noted wineries. We’ll discover breathtaking views and stylish wines as well as their passionate winemakers.
The evening is spent in Traverse City. The downtown exudes retro charm with plenty of fresh, farm to table restaurants and big-city entertainment with a small-town feel. You may want to take in a show, the opera or live jazz.
Traverse City – Mackinac Island
We leave our vehicle behind and board the ferry to Mackinac Island. This Victorian-style island, covering only 3.8 square miles (9.8 km2) in land area, is located in Lake Huron, at the eastern end of the Straits of Mackinac, between the state’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. The entire island is listed as a National Historic Landmark and is well known for its wide variety of architectural styles, including the Victorian Grand Hotel and its ban on all motor vehicles.
This morning, as part of the included touring, you can explore Mackinac Island your way.
Bicycles and horse-drawn carriages are the only modes of transportation here. You can pick up a bicycle – or adult tricycle – and gear, along with trail maps guiding you on various routes throughout the island. Take the perimeter route to loop around Mackinac Island’s shoreline. The flat, smooth asphalt road places you right between dramatic forestry and the rocky shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron with majestic views of their deep blue waters.
Or take a more adventurous tour route for an “immersive experience” to see Mackinac Island’s points of interest such as Skull Cave, the Grand Golf Course, Arch Rock, Governor’s Residence, and Fort Mackinac.
You may want to sit back and relax on a guided horse-drawn carriage instead. See many of the island’s sites with stops along the way. The afternoon and evening is free to enjoy as you like.
Mackinac Island – Lake Michigan Crossing – Milwaukee
Heading south today, we’ll stop to taste some of the local craft beers. Bolstered by the Great Lakes and nurtured by the glacier rich soil, Michigan is a brewer’s paradise with countless varieties of styles and tastes. It ranks fifth in the nation in the number of breweries, microbreweries and brewpubs.
Late afternoon we make the ferry crossing across Lake Michigan to Wisconsin.
Tonight we visit Milwaukee’s most unique downtown food destination, the Milwaukee Public Market. Bursting with unique, high quality selections of artisan and ethnic products, and freshly-prepared foods, you’ll have a wide variety of dinner options from its independent merchants. Enjoy your selection in the Market’s Palm Garden.
Once known almost exclusively as a brewing powerhouse, the city now boasts the beautiful Milwaukee Riverwalk and Milwaukee Art Museum, with its architecturally impressive addition shaped like a floating cross, with wings opening and closing from a central base.
This morning we’ll tour past the beautiful mansions along Lake Michigan with numerous photo opportunities at the city’s most unique landmarks, as well as several stops where you can interact with locals and experience the city as they do. We’ll take in City Hall, the Milwaukee Art Museum, North Point Lighthouse, Miller Park, the Historic Third Ward, and much more.
This afternoon we’ll visit the Harley Davidson Museum. “It’s the best of American design and culture – seasoned with freedom and rebellion, showcased in a landmark building.” Exhibits tell the stories of the extraordinary people, products, history and culture of Harley-Davidson and for some of you, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for. That’s right, go ahead and swing your leg over one of the many motorcycles that inhabit the gallery.
Milwaukee’s German heritage is apparent throughout the city and in its beer gardens!
We’ll enjoy a final night dinner together at a Bavarian Bierhaus. Enjoy Bavarian favourites from jaegerschnitzel to bienenstich and both local and German style beers from its own brewery.
Milwaukee – Oak Park – Chicago
After departing Milwaukee we arrive in Oak Park, once the home of Frank Lloyd Wright, where he designed and built some of his earliest buildings. Unity Temple and Wright’s own former home and studio are among the many Wright buildings still preserved in the village. We’ll tour the Wright home and see the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway before time for lunch in the village.
Passengers departing for home will be dropped off at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. Those staying on will be taken to our post-tour hotel.