The Detroit River's international waters stretch out for miles in either direction, winding along the Detroit skyline and kissing the Canadian border. As ships snake their way through the current, they pass lighthouses on small green islands, bridges stretched across overhead, and workers milling about on the riverside docks. Building on 20 years of boating, the captains of the Diamond Jack, Diamond Belle, and Diamond Queen let passengers take in these sights to the tune of guided narration as their ships' white and sea-foam green hulls slice through the water. The three ships have proven impervious to squalls and Poseidon's road-construction crews since their maiden voyages in the mid- to late 1950s, and safely gather up to 250 passengers on their panoramic upper decks or in protected lower cabins. Today, passengers on these storied steel decks can sip beer, wine, and soft drinks or nibble on snacks from an on-board snack bar during tours. Captains also pilot each ship on private group excursions, as well as school field trips past the river's ships, yacht clubs, parks, and docks.
Jaden James Brewery isn't the Bonga family's first foray into the world of sippable fermentation. In the same space where they now create specialty beers, they've spent years crafting wines from the fruits of Michigan's bountiful vineyards and orchards.
"So many people come for the wine, but we often get one half of a couple who says, 'I like beer,'" says Bob Bonga. The brewery's current selection includes a cream ale to be savored between bites of pretzels, a Russian Imperial Stout, and an oatmeal porter that Bob characterizes as "wonderfully dark, with roasted tones of chocolate and coffee." The juice of apples harvested in northwest Grand Rapids goes into hard ciders.
The family also prepares a short list of snacks for visitors. In the future, the Bongas may grow their menu further by distilling their own liquors.
The Sterling Heights Chamber of Commerce & Industry pairs with nine area restaurants in an effort to silence growling bellies during the Spring Grub Crawl. Nibble on platters of specialty cuisine or tipple drinks from cash bars at eateries including Abuelo's Mexican Restaurant, Longhorn Steakhouse, Cheeseburger in Paradise, and Wildwood Friendly Tavern. Crawlers can travel at their own pace, and a complimentary shuttle is available to pick up passengers every 20–30 minutes and heads to their next location or national park of choice.
Ann Arbor Aviation Center puts its students through the same training regimen regardless of their long-term goals. This approach ensures that all of its aviation alumni, whether commercial pilots or casual fliers, practice safe flying techniques as they share the air. The outfit's licensed instructors conduct training runs out of Ann Arbor Municipal Airport aboard aircraft by Cessna, Arrow, and Cherokee, guiding students through each step necessary to earn ratings from private pilot to airline transport pilot. Students also perform a good portion of their duties on the ground, both through academic work in ground school and situational practice aboard the Frasca flight simulator.
Talladay Farms ushers in cool air and the smell of drying leaves with harvest-season festivities near an apple orchard. Each year, staff members chart out complex mazes that illustrate an annual theme—this year, it's farms, including a barn, cow, and tractor—across roughly 7.5 miles of twisting paths carved into 26 rolling acres of golden corn. When they're not meandering through the complex mazes, guests gather around bonfires and picnic tables or head next door to Wasem Fruit Farm's apple orchards and pumpkin patch. As Halloween nears, they convert the twisting and turning paths of one maze into a haunted labyrinth, where actors leap from the rustling dead stalks of corn wearing terrifying masks or shirts with facts about how often paper cuts happen. Conscientious staffers place several checkpoints throughout each maze and hand out maps to keep guests from getting lost.
No gas. No emissions. No motors. The pedicab offers a novel way to explore a city, and the team at All American Pedicabs adds a few additional touches to this eco-friendly experience. When not pedaling around Downtown Grand Rapids, a driver may pull out a ukulele and entertain passengers or sing about how red lights really give pedicabs the blues. Then it's back on the road to travel to various destinations, perhaps a tour of local breweries.