History & Gardens of Michigan & Illinois

Sep 17 – 24, 2008

Join our first-ever Michigan tour. The lakes mitigate the northern climate and Michigan and Illinois are resplendent with wonderful gardens and nurseries. The combination of beautiful fall gardens at their peak, nurseries, magnificent sculptures and crisp September air will enthrall you. Detroit is the home of the automobile and spectacular gardens. History comes alive at one of America’s foremost historical displays – Greenfield Village. Christmas is an all-year Bavarian event in Frankenmuth. Enjoy these delightful venues along with fine dining and great traveling companions.

  • Greenfield Village
  • Henry Ford Museum
  • Meijer Sculpture Gardens
  • Dow Botanical Gardens
  • Edsel Ford Estate
  • Frankenmuth
  • Cranbrook Gardens
  • Anna Scripps Whitcombe Conservatory
  • Rouge River Factory
  • Henry Ford Estate
  • Walters Gardens
  • Michigan State University Gardens
  • Chicago Botanic Garden
  • Cuneo Mansion and Gardens
  • Boerner Botanical Gardens
  • Fernwood
  • Historic tour of Chicago

Day 1

Start this extraordinary tour with a visit to Boerner Botanical Gardens. Enjoy art and sculpture blended with the arboretum, shrub mall, annual, perennial, herb, and rock gardens.

Day 2

Relish the Italian Cuneo Mansion and Gardens. The Villa’s 18 fully furnished rooms display murals, renaissance paintings and tapestries. Stroll through the Sunken Garden, Four Seasons Garden, Rose Garden and Statuary Walk reminiscent of Greek and Roman gardens. See the conservatory’s tumbling waterfall, streams, blooming, and lush, tropical plants. Enjoy the spectacular Chicago Botanic Garden, a vast 385-acre living museum of ever-changing natural beauty. Ramble through your favorites: English walled garden, three-island Japanese Garden, waterfall garden, or trail of annuals and admire the tropical and desert plants in 10 greenhouses. Take a one-way ride back to the days of Al Capone with the Untouchables Guide. Hit the gangster hot spots that made Chicago famous in the prohibition era of the Roaring 20’s. Finish with an authentic Italian Dinner at a joint recommended by "one a’ da guys."

Day 3

With fall lurking in the wings, Fernwood’s formal perennial borders should sparkle. Stroll among these beautiful gardens surrounded by cultivated and natural forests in 105 acres of the St Joseph River valley. Enjoy Michigan wildlife displays, bird feeding and a special display of paintings in the galleries. Get ideas to take home from Walters Gardens colorful demonstration plantings. See the amazing behind-the-scenes labs that start tiny plants from cells and seeds for their production fields. This company grows more than 1,000 new and classic perennials to supply the industry across the U.S. and Canada.

Day 4

Everything is magnificent at the 125-acre Fredrik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Savor autumn in the perennial, American, Victorian, Shade and Arid gardens. Examine carnivorous, tropical and other plants in the five-story conservatory. The whimsy in the children’s garden is enchanting. Among the plantings, enjoy capricious and elegant sculptures by artists Henry Moore, Auguste Rodin, and Claes Oldenburg and other artists. You’ll be in awe at the magnificent 24-foot bronze recreation of Leonardo da Vinci’s horse.

Day 5

Trial Gardens at Michigan State University are replete with the brilliant hues of All-America Selections (AAS) trial plants, and masses of perennials and annuals. Make notes of future introductions before they are released to the public. You’ll be charmed at the wonderful 4-H gardens, perennial gardens and study gardens. The Dow Botanical Garden, designed by the original owner of Dow Chemical Company, is a pleasure garden with 1700 varieties of fragrant flowers, trees and shrubs on 110 acres. You’ll be captivated at delightful new garden facets at each turn. Herb, color, and trial gardens, waterfalls, and a conservatory await your pleasure at this "don’t miss" garden.

Day 6

During free time at Frankenmuth, Michigan’s Little Bavaria, enjoy the ambiance of the city and stores. Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland beckons visitors 365 days a year with displays covering an area of five football fields. Find your Christmas trimmings or tour the town. Something will capture your interest at Cranbrook Gardens. Admire the symmetry of the sunken garden, breathe the scent of the herbaceous garden or absorb the casual beauty of the bog garden. Savor fountains, sculpture and architectural fragments, specimen trees and a lake stretching beyond fieldstone walls. Travel to Belle Isle in the Detroit River for the next treasure, the Anna Scripps Whitcombe Conservatory. Discover varied biomes in the central Palm House, Fernery/Cacti Wing, Show House and Tropical Wing. See an outstanding orchid collection and 13-acres of exterior water, heritage rose, perennial and annual flower beds that flank the conservatory.

Day 7

Step back to an age of discovery at the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village which celebrate 300 years of the American experience and innovative genius. Ford spent much of his life and fortune creating what’s now Michigan’s biggest tourist attraction. The museum is replete with national treasures like presidential limousines, the Rosa Parks bus, the Lincoln chair and Washington’s camp bed and chest. Of course Ford’s museum would not be complete without his collection of famous cars. Ride a locomotive, horse-drawn carriage, Model A bus, or Model T through the village. Seven historic districts preserve Americana. See Edison at Work (Edison’s idea factory), Working Farms (1880 farm life), the Railroad Junction (evolution of the train), Porches and Parlors (home life in America), Ford’s Model T (the childhood home where he invented the Model T), Liberty Craftworks (the craftsmen and artisans of the past and Main Street, USA (the hub of America’s hometown). Edison’s labs, the Wright Brothers bicycle shop and Noah Webster’s school are nestled among other significant historic buildings on the streets. Go to dinner at the impressive Home of Edsel and Eleanore Ford. Designed to resemble a cluster of stone Cotswold cottages, the mansion is replete with art antiques and furniture. Take in the air in their vast naturalistic garden – a work of art in itself.

Day 8

Detroit is home to America’s love affair with the automobile and where Henry Ford’s brilliant assembly line scheme took shape. Learn the tragedies and triumphs of the Rouge River Factory, see the assembly line for trucks and learn the techniques of how it is done. Stroll gardens where the rich and famous rubbed shoulders at the Henry Ford Estate. See the powerhouse that Thomas Edison helped Ford design. Before you leave, dine at tables where former guests Charles Lindberg, Thomas Edison, the Duke of Windsor and President Herbert Hoover supped.

Tour Includes: Airfare, luxury coach transport, tips, fees, taxes, excellent lodging, admissions to tour sites, 7 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 7 dinners on this escorted tour.