June 3, 2019 – A diverse schedule of activities greeted two dozen members of the Citizens Bank Travel Club who recently visited Chicago, the Holland (Mich.) Tulip Festival, and The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island on Lake Huron in north Michigan.
After checking into the historic Palmer House Hotel in Chicago, a walking tour brought Travel Club members to the beginning of “Route 66,” the iconic U.S. highway that stretches nearly 2,500 miles to Los Angeles. In Millennium Park, they inspected “Cloud Gate,” a three-story reflective steel sculpture that locals call “The Bean” because of its shape. The sculpture is composed of stainless steel plates welded together and highly polished for no visible seams.
Millennium Park borders Michigan Avenue, also known as “The Magnificent Mile” for its shopping district of upscale department stores, luxury retailers, restaurants and more.
Other Chicago highlights included a visit to the Art Institute of Chicago, one of the largest art museums in the U.S., and a rousing performance of “Hamilton: An American Musical,” the record-breaking Broadway production.
A motorcoach ride around Lake Michigan transported the group to the Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Mich., which was settled in the mid-1800s by Dutch Americans. The annual event began in 1930, and now attracts about one million tourists who enjoy six million tulips that are planted along city streets, in parks and outside municipal buildings.
The Travel Club’s introduction to the flowers began at Veldheer Tulip Gardens, where they discovered row after row after row of more than 800 varieties of brilliantly colored tulips.
The centerpiece of a visit to Windmill Island Gardens was the De Zwaan (“The Swan”) Windmill, which was built in 1884 in Holland, but heavily damaged during World War II. The Dutch government allowed it to be sold, relocated and restored at Holland, Mich., where it still produces stoneground flour that is available for sale.
Tulip festivalgoers were also treated to a parade and “klompen” dancing, in which local students dress in Dutch costumes and perform traditional dancing while wearing wooden shoes.
The next destination was the historic Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, on Lake Huron. Opened in 1887, the elegant Grand Hotel still requires gentlemen to wear coats and ties for dinner in the Main Dining Room. The hotel is well known for its notable visitors, including U.S. presidents, inventor Thomas Edison, author Mark Twain – and now the Citizens Bank Travel Club.
Motor vehicles are not permitted on Mackinac Island. Strolling the island on foot is a primary mode of transportation; other options are bicycles or horse-drawn carriages.
Travel Club members also enjoyed informative tours of a Ford F-150 pickup truck assembly plant, the Henry Ford Museum and the adjacent Greenfield Village, all near Detroit.