Quilts, Quakers and Collies Itinerary
For those arriving the night before—be sure to overnight at the Quality Inn Forward in West Branch. An up-north lodge style hotel that offers great dining at the Lumberjack Restaurant— reminiscent of a “cabin in the woods” atmosphere. Steps away from an outlet shopping mall, too.
An early morning start—you arrive for the Charity Island Boat Cruise—experience an exceptional morning of cruising along the sparkling blue waters of Lake Huron—arrive on Charity Island. A unique archaeological site, Charity Island is home to two Bald Eagles, rare plants and is a nesting site to NEO tropical songbirds. Tour the light keeper’s house—enjoy a special lunch on the huge wrap-around veranda of the home. A special dessert and coffee are served on the return trip back to the mainland. Enjoy the winding drive along the backgrounds and byways of the Quilt Trail. These artistic quilts are actually wooden blocks that are painted in traditional quilt patterns and have been mounted to the sides and of historic barns and churches to depict the heritage of the area. Marvel at the sites of these quilts along the route— the Old Stone Church of 1887, the Lincoln Train Depot and one of the last remaining wooden depots in the state, the little Greenbush Schoolhouse from 1870, and White Barn Gardens where they make their own maple syrup. Too many stops to mention them all here.
A highlight on your quilt tour will lead you to a Quaker Farm. Who are the Quakers? A group of Christians that hold to a way of life based on simplicity. There are very few left in the United States. They did lifesaving work along the Underground Railroad and their quilt displays tell that story. Featured on Animal Planet, this Quaker Farm uses holistic farming practices. They are known for their popular farm and therapy collie dogs too. The collies they raise go to homes all over the world. There is so much to learn about the collies and how they use them for therapy with young children, etc. You’ll learn how they make their own soaps from milk and hearts—making them unique gifts, too. The Quakers alsohave flocks of Cotswald Sheep that are raised on chemical free pastures. The wool is perfect for hand spinners and doll-makers or any kind of fiber you need for crafts. This Quaker Farm is quite unique indeed, and you’ll love witnessing how they live and work here each day. Nestled on the shores of Lake Huron, historic Alpena will be your home tonight! Overnight a any number of fine hotels here.
The angels will be among us today! One of several guided tours of historic churches including a visit to St. Bernards’s Church. In 1861 Bishop Baraga came to Alpena from Sault Ste. Marie where he founded the church. Although the stone foundation was laid in 1880, the Irish completed it in 1884. It’s one of the oldest Catholic parishes on the “sunrise side.” They are known as the Grand Ladies of the Lakes—lighthouses have always been a beacon to the sailors on the lakes. View and tour the magnificent beacon—the Sturgeon Point Lighthouse and Light Keepers home. The Fresnal lens in the lighthouse is from Paris, France, and the keeper’s house is now a maritime museum. Dive into the Great Lakes past— experience the shipwreck of the century as you battle the fury of a Lake Huron storm aboard a nineteenth century schooner at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center. Immersive exhibits tell dramatic stories of the ships and sailors that worked and lived on these beautiful vessels. You’ll walk the decks, feel a Great Lakes storm and touch the massive timbers of the boat—and all without getting wet! This evening your grouop will share a fabulous dinner together at one of many top notch dining venues in the city of Alpena.