Road Scholar : Home
Great Lakes Grand Discovery

Program Number: 21180RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/29/2014 - 7/10/2014;
Duration: 11 nights
Location: Minnesota/New York/Michigan
Price starting at: $5,685.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Adventure Afloat Study Cruise; Small Ship Cruising
Meals: 32; 11 Breakfasts, 10 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Gluten Free; Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian    

Nearly fifteen thousand years ago, the last of the great glaciers retreated, leaving us with the legacy of the Great Lakes. Although they are called lakes, they are in reality vast inland seas that comprise one-fifth of the world’s fresh surface water. Our voyage explores the best of the Great Lakes as we discover natural, historical and cultural treasures along a sweeping route framed by two great American cities – Buffalo and Duluth – each of which is undergoing a renaissance of their own.




Activity Particulars

All excursions involve a fair amount of standing and quite a bit of walking - often over rough ground and sometimes uphill. Mobility is essential, as small boats and tenders are sometimes used for disembarkation and re-embarkation. There is no elevator on the ship.



Itinerary At-a-Glance

Minneapolis, Minn., 1 night; aboard Yorktown, 10 nights;



Days 1-2: Arrival Minneapolis, Minn. / coach to Duluth / embark Yorktown:

Discover Minneapolis, the “City of Lakes,” on an expert-led field trip. Continue to the port city of Duluth to board the ship. Lodging: Comfortable hotel.



Houghton & Keweenaw Peninsula, Mich.:

Navigate through the Portage Waterway, the narrow channel that separates Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula from the mainland, to call at quaint Houghton and learn about the Keweenaw copper boom.



Day 4: Marquette & Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore:

Go ashore in picturesque Marquette to visit its Maritime Museum and Lighthouse. Sail along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, a 40-mile stretch of spectacular cliffs and rock formations.



Day 5: Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., or Agawa Canyon (Canada):

Transit the Soo Locks, known as the busiest in the world, where some 12,000 ships pass annually. Choose to explore Sault Ste. Marie or take a train excursion through magnificent Agawa Canyon.



Day 6: Manistique:

Call at Manistique, a small town on the bucolic Garden Peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan. Explore this scenic region and experience Fayette, an evocative industrial ghost town.



Day 7: Mackinac Island:

Explore idyllic Mackinac Island, a Victorian-era haven where cars are forbidden and bicycles share the road with horse-drawn carriages.



Day 8: Alpena & Presque Isle:

Sail into Thunder Bay and go ashore in Alpena to learn about the many historic shipwrecks in this area. Journey to Presque Isle, a place of untouched natural beauty that is home to two historic lighthouses.



Day 9: Detroit:

Walk along the Detroit International Riverfront and see the glittering Renaissance Center. Journey to the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village and get a look at the workings of the Ford Rouge Factory



Days 10:
On Lake Erie:

Enjoy wonderful views of your surroundings as the ship navigates Lake Erie.



Day 11-12: Buffalo / Niagara Falls / disembark / departure:

This morning visit Niagara Falls, one of North America’s most spectacular wonders. Enjoy a thrilling Maid of the Mist
boat ride beneath the falls. Later explore Buffalo, a city experiencing a vibrant renaissance. Our visit will showcase Buffalo’s architectural gems and include a visit to the famed Albright-Knox Museum.



Yorktown

Built and registered in America and staffed by American officers and crew, the Yorktown is the perfect vessel for exploring America’s great coastal waterways. With a draft of only nine feet, it can sail where larger vessels cannot go, and its American registry allows it to operate domestic itineraries unavailable to foreign-flag ships. Passengers enjoy an informal onboard atmosphere and tend to spend much of their time underway enjoying lectures and concerts in the lounge or reading and relaxing on the sun deck.


Meals and Lodgings
   Hyatt Regency Minneapolis
  Minneapolis 1 night
   Yorktown
  Yorktown - At Sea 10 nights
 Hyatt Regency Minneapolis
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: The newly renovated Hyatt Regency Minneapolis is perfectly situated on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis with beautiful city and park views. The hotel includes a striking new lobby, luxurious new guestrooms and suites, and a brand new restaurant and market place. The redesigned hotel pays tribute to the unique culture of Minnesota, with sleek mid-century Scandinavian décor highlighted by a spacious lobby featuring an expansive stone fireplace framed by rustic wooden logs.
  Contact info: 1300 Nicollet Mall
Minneapolis, MN 55403 USA
phone: 612-370-1234
web: www.minneapolis.hyatt.com
  Room amenities: Each room features wireless Internet access (for a fee), a television, personal safes, a telephone, individual climate control, full bath amenities, iron and ironing board, alarm clock, hair dryer, and coffee and tea making facilities.
  Facility amenities: This hotel offers wireless Internet access (free in the lobby), laundry and dry cleaning services, safe deposit boxes at the front desk, soda and ice machines on each floor, a gift shop, a hair and manicure salon, restaurant, bar, indoor pool, and fitness center.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: N/A It is possible to book one additional pre-program night through Road Scholar. To book an additional night, please contact the Road Scholar Amherst office at 413-253-9736.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Yorktown
Type: Cruise Ship
  Description: The Yorktown is the perfect vessel for relaxed and convivial exploration of America’s great coastal waterways. Built in Florida in 1988 specifically for coastal cruising and certified by the U. S. Coast Guard, the Yorktown flies the American flag and is staffed by friendly and experienced American officers and crew. With a draft of only 9 feet, the Yorktown is able to maneuver in secluded waterways and visit small ports that are inaccessible to larger vessels. And Yorktown’s American registry makes it possible to operate domestic itineraries unavailable to foreign-flag ships. The ship’s cuisine, served in a dining room large enough to accommodate all guests at once, emphasizes American regional culinary traditions. Accommodating only 130 guests in 65 exterior cabins, the Yorktown enjoys an atmosphere of warm and relaxed informality that endears it to repeat and new guests alike.
  Ship Information: Length: 257 feet Beam: 43 feet Draft: 8 feet Cabins: 69 Flag: American
  Contact info: Travel Dynamics International
132 East 70th Street
New York, NY 10021 USA
phone: 800-257-5767
web: www.traveldynamicsinternational.com
  Room amenities: Most cabins have large picture windows, and each is furnished with comfortable beds, a writing desk, ample storage, a clock/radio/CD player, and has a private bathroom. Your cabin is the perfect place for peace and quiet and for private rest and reflection.
  Facility amenities: The ship offers a dining room, spacious observation lounge, large sun deck, library, and swimming platform. Both the lounge and dining room are surrounded by large picture windows that afford unobstructed views of the passing scenery. The water aboard ship is safe to drink, and bottled water will be provided on group excursions. Cash (USD) and credit cards are the preferred forms of payment aboard ship. For telephone communication onboard, you may use the ship's Maritime service satellite system which will be charged to a credit card. Email access on board: Internet-ready laptop computers will be available for use on board from which personal emails can be received and sent by accessing your own web-based email account. A fee will be charged for each 30 minutes of use. There is also wireless Internet access available for a fee. THERE IS NO ELEVATOR ON THE YORKTOWN. Stairs are unavoidable as there is no elevator on the Yorktown. The Lounge and the Dining Room are on separate decks so participants must be able to navigate stairs multiple times per day.
  Smoking allowed: No


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Minneapolis, Minnesota. Welcome Orientation at 5:00 PM in the hotel. You will be staying at Hyatt Regency Minneapolis that night.
  End of Program:
Buffalo, New York. After breakfast on the last day. You will be staying at Yorktown the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. The TDI Traveler Information Form is required. All participants are required to have a government issued ID in order to embark the Yorktown.
  Parking availability:
Program begins in Minneapolis and ends in Buffalo so parking is not applicable.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Minneapolis
  From End of Program
  Location:  Buffalo
Travel Details
 

From the Minneapolis - St. Paul International Airport to the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Approximately $35
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

Approximately 20 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

10 miles

 

From the dock in Buffalo to the Buffalo Niagara International Airport

 

To Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Taxi

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

Approximately $40
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

Approximately 20 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

13 miles

 
Driving Directions
  To the Hyatt Regency Minneapolis From 94 West (Maple Grove, St. Cloud): Exit off 94 to North 4th Street. Continue to 2nd Ave. S. and turn right. Be sure not to turn on 2nd Ave. N. You need to cross Hennepin Ave. and Nicollet Mall. Continue on 2nd Ave. S. past the Convention Center to Nicollet Ave. and turn right. Hotel and parking ramp will be on your left. From 35W North (Northern suburbs): Follow signs for downtown exits. Take the 11th street exit. Follow 11th street to 2nd Avenue south. Turn left onto 2nd avenue and continue past the convention center. Turn right onto Nicollet Ave. the hotel and parking will be on the left. From 94 East (St. Paul, Wisconsin): Follow 94W, stay in far right lane to the 11th St. exit. Take 11th St. to 2nd Ave. Turn left at 2nd Ave. Go past Convention Center. Turn right at Nicollet Ave. Hotel and Parking ramp will be on your left. From 35W (South suburbs): Follow signs for downtown to the 11th St. exit. Take 11th St. to 2nd Ave, turn left. Continue past Convention Center. Turn right at Nicollet Ave. Hotel and parking ramp will be on your left. From the Minneapolis/St. Paul Intl Airport: Exit right out of airport and follow signs to 494 West. Take 494W to 35W North. Follow signs for downtown to the 11th St. exit. Take 11th St. to 2nd Ave, turn left. Continue past Convention Center. Turn right at Nicollet Ave. Hotel and parking ramp will be on your left.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Welcome Orientation
(Sunday, June 29)
   
 Afternoon: Arrivals in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Welcome Orientation at 5:00 PM in the hotel.
 Dinner: Welcome Dinner.
   
Accommodations: Hyatt Regency Minneapolis
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Minneapolis, Minnesota / Embark Yorktown
(Monday, June 30)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast in the hotel dining room.
 Morning: Take in a lecture about the Twin Cities before exploring Minneapolis on a guided excursion.
 Lunch: Lunch at a local restaurant.
 Afternoon: After lunch, transfer via coach to Duluth. Embark the Yorktown at 4:00 PM.
 Dinner: Welcome Dinner onboard.
   
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Houghton, Michigan / Keweenaw Peninsula
(Tuesday, July 1)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Today Yorktown will navigate through the Portage Waterway, the narrow channel that separates Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula from the mainland, to call at quaint Houghton, built on a bluff facing the channel. Keweenaw witnessed the country’s first mineral rush, when vast deposits of copper were discovered in 1840. By the time the rush was over early in the 20th century, copper had generated enormous wealth, estimated to be ten times more than the money generated by the California Gold Rush. The legacy of the copper rush is still evident today in the abandoned mines, deserted settlements nestled in the forest, and the opulent buildings in the region’s towns. We will explore this historic region, including a visit to a copper mine.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Free time to explore on your own. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
   
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Marquette, Michigan / Pictured Rocks
(Wednesday, July 2)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: This morning Yorktown calls in Marquette, a picturesque city on Lake Superior where our sightseeing includes the Marquette Maritime Museum and Lighthouse. The ship then sails to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, a 40-mile stretch of pristine natural wonders along Lake Superior’s southern coast. The colorful sandstone cliffs are of particular interest, having created beautiful arches, caves, and other formations over time.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Continue your full day excursion. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
   
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan
(Thursday, July 3)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Yorktown transits the Soo Locks, often called the busiest in the world, where some 10,000 ships pass annually. Dock at Sault Ste. Marie. See the Soo Locks from the viewing platform in town and visit a 1917 Great Lakes freighter, now a museum. Also drive outside Sault Ste. Marie to the Point Iroquois Lighthouse, resting on a bluff above Lake Superior. Climb the lighthouse for views of the entire coastline, see the lighthouse keeper’s memorabilia, and walk on the boardwalk to the beach.
 Lunch: Lunch will depend on your choice of excursion.
 Afternoon: Enjoy some time at leisure. Take in a shipboard guest lecture.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
   
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Manistique, Michigan
(Friday, July 4)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Spend the morning sailing into Lake Michigan to call at Manistique, a small town on the bucolic Garden Peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Explore this scenic and peaceful area, including the Big Spring, in Palms Book State Park, its crystal clear waters stretching 200 feet across; and Fayette, the center of a large smelting operation in the 19th century, now one of the country’s most evocative industrial ghost towns, protected as a state park site.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
   
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Mackinac Island, Michigan
(Saturday, July 5)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Arrive in beautiful Mackinac Island, a Victorian-era haven where cars are forbidden and bicycles share the road with horse-drawn carriages. Explore this idyllic island and see the ancient limestone formations that were considered sacred by the Straits Indians; the impressive Fort Mackinac, built atop a high cliff by the British in 1780; and the landmark Victorian Grand Hotel.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: This afternoon, enjoy free time to stroll along streets lined with ginger-bread trimmed buildings and browse in the charming shops. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
   
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Alpena, Michigan / Presque Isle
(Sunday, July 6)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Arrive in Thunder Bay to call at the lovely town of Alpena, home to an outstanding maritime museum with displays on Great Lakes maritime history. There is also the opportunity to travel north to the small peninsula of Presque Isle, an untouched place of great beauty with two historic lighthouses. Pristine forests, numerous inland lakes and 72 miles of Lake Huron shoreline on the central flyway make Presque Isle a birder’s paradise.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Sail from Alpena in the early afternoon and cruise Lake Huron enroute to Detroit. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
   
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Detroit, Michigan
(Monday, July 7)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: After sailing through Lake Huron we’ll arrive in Detroit. Explore the Henry Ford Museum, a National Historic Landmark. This museum originated with Ford’s personal collection of historic objects and his desire to preserve them and to portray the Industrial Revolution. The permanent collection includes rare exhibits such as John F. Kennedy's presidential limousine, Abraham Lincoln's chair from Ford's Theatre, Thomas Edison's laboratory, the Wright Brothers' bicycle shop, and the Rosa Parks bus. The newly reopened Driving America permanent exhibit highlights the influence of the automobile on American culture and contains an unparalleled collection of historically significant vehicles and related artifacts. Other exhibits include antique machinery, pop culture items, locomotives, and aircraft.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: At sea. Sail through Lake St. Clair and Lake Huron towards Alpena. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
   
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Cruising Lake Erie
(Tuesday, July 8)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: At sea. Take in the beautiful views of these freshwater seas. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: At sea. Relax on deck. Attend a shipboard guest lecture.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
   
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Buffalo, New York / Niagara Falls
(Wednesday, July 9)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: This morning visit Niagara Falls, one of North America’s most spectacular wonders. Enjoy a thrilling Maid of the Mist boat ride beneath the falls.
 Lunch: Lunch onboard.
 Afternoon: Enjoy an expert-led field trip through Buffalo, a city experiencing a vibrant renaissance. Our field trip will showcase Buffalo’s architectural gems and include a visit to the famed Albright-Knox Museum.
 Dinner: Dinner onboard.
   
Accommodations: Yorktown
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Disembark / Departures
(Thursday, July 10)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast onboard.
 Morning: Disembark. Departures.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Inventing Niagara


Author: Ginger Strand


Description: A witty, well-researched tale of the transformation of a natural wonder into an engineering feat, spectacle and monument.



Mackinac Island


Author: Terry Phipps


Description: Phipps captures the splendor of the architecture and gardens of Mackinac in this collection of photographs.



My Art, My Life, An Autobiography


Author: Diego Rivera


Description: A revealing portrait of the painter who revolutionized modern mural painting and is ranked among the most influential artists of the 20th century.



Niagara, A History of the Falls


Author: Pierre Berton


Description: Meticulously researched and entertaining, this history of Niagara Falls captures the sideshow atmosphere of the place with its honky-tonk attractions and daredevil feats. An engrossing social history.



Northeast to Great Lakes Map


Author: Borch Maps


Description: This handy laminated regional map includes more detailed inset maps of New York, Boston and Washington D.C.



Selected Stories


Author: Alice Munro


Description: This collection of 28 short stories represents some of Munro's finest work. A powerful range of emotional, evocative tales set throughout the cities and rural towns of her native country.



Shining Big Sea Water, The Story of Lake Superior


Author: Norman K. Risjord


Description: A swift, illuminating history of Lake Superior, from its geological birth and native inhabitants to early explorers and industries, developers, cities and future challenges.



Shipwrecks and Lost Treasure Great Lakes, Legends and Lore, Pirates and More!


Author: Michael J. Varhola


Description: Frederick Stonehouse provides the historical forward to these 21 riveting tales of ships that met their end in the treacherous waters of the Great Lakes, including the sinking of the British gunboat H.M.S. Speedy in 1804, the Navy brig U.S.S. Niagara in 1820, the Civil War steamer Island Queen in 1864 and the tanker Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975.



The Great Lakes


Author: Wayne Grady


Description: Wayne Grady showcases the nature and ecology of the Great Lakes, hub of industry and agriculture, and home to 40 million people, in this illustrated portrait of the region, including the geological formation, conservation challenges, forests and resources. With hundreds of color photographs and illustrations by Emily Damstra.



The Living Great Lakes


Author: Jerry Dennis


Description: Raised on the shores of Lake Michigan, Dennis weaves the tale of his own month-long voyage on the Great Lakes aboard the Malabar with history and conservation in this outstanding portrait of the region.



The Long Ships Passing, The Story of the Great Lakes


Author: Walter Havighurst


Description: A vivid popular history of the Great Lakes, rich in anecdote, incident and drama. Havighurst recounts the early days of ships and shipping on the Great Lakes from the time of the early French voyageurs through the industrialization of the region at the turn of the century.



The Song of Hiawatha


Author: Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


Description: This Everyman’s Library Classic of Longfellow’s epic narrative poem, set along the south shore of Lake Superior and loosely based on the legends of the Ojibwe and other Native Americans, includes an introduction and the latest scholarship on the classic.



The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald


Author: Frederick Stonehouse


Description: Stonehouse presents the circumstances and evidence for the loss of the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, which disappeared during a heavy snow storm on Lake Superior in the early evening of November 10, 1975. With no evidence and no witnesses, the captain and crew of 28 are still listed as missing.





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