If you're planning a trip to Motor City, you'd be remiss in not detouring to Dearborn to check out the Henry Ford triumvirate. First up is the Henry Ford Museum (tel. 800/835-5237; www.hfmgv.org/museum), which highlights the ingenuity of American inventors and innovators, from baseball to cars and planes to civil rights heroes, as well as few tragic artifacts, like the 1961 Lincoln Continental in which JFK was gunned down and Abraham Lincoln's rocking chair from the Ford Theater. Second is the 90-acre historic Greenfield Village (tel. 800/835-5237; www.hfmgv.org/village), where Ford collected not only examples of the finest and funniest examples of American machinery, but also the structures of some of its more renowned citizens, like Thomas Edison's laboratories, the Wright brothers' bicycle shop and home, and Ford's own childhood home. Finally, end with a tour of the Ford Rouge Factory (tel. 800/835-5237; www.hfmgv.org/rouge), where you can take a gander at a working automobile factory.
Another important part of Michigan's history has to do, of course, with water. The new Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, 145 Water St., Alpena (tel. 989/356-8805), may not have the secret of Davy Jones' locker, but it can give up the goods on ancient shipwrecks, with over 8,000 square feet of exhibit space and a live video feed trained on the bottom of Thunder Bay, so you can search for buried treasure without ever taking a foot off dry land. In the Upper Peninsula, the 200-foot-wide Tahquamenon Falls, fed from the same-named river made famous in the Longfellow poem "Hiawatha," is breathtaking, and it's only a portion of the 46,000 acres of state park bordering Lake Superior to explore. If flora is more your style, the outstanding 110-acre Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, 1000 E. Beltline NE, Grand Rapids (tel. 888/957-1580; www.meijergardens.org), has a tropical conservatory, a carnivorous plant house, a kids' garden, and over 100 sculptures by 30 important artists, including Auguste Rodin, Juan Muñoz, and Henry Moore.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.