Michigan’s “Sunrise Side” is full of surprises.
For one thing, it has large sections that are completely free of development. For another, it’s amazingly accessible, beginning at its southern point at Port Huron and continuing all the way to the tip of the Michigan Mitt at Mackinaw City.
Then there’s US 25 and US 23, two of the prettiest drives you can find anywhere, with well-maintained state roads that parallel the lakeshore in most places and numerous roadside, county and state parks luring the traveler to stop for awhile and feast on the scenery.
But each morning, there’s the sunrise surprise. Some days it's an explosion of pastels. On other days, yellows and gold. Each sunrise, seen perfectly over the lake, is so spectacular most days that it’s worth getting up that early.
Lake Huron is the second largest of the Great Lakes with the longest shoreline. It is so big that we had to break our video reports on it into two segments. The first, covering the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, can be seen here:
This Lower Peninsula segment of our #VZGreatLakes Roadtreking Tour took us more than 500 miles as we hugged the coast, visiting beachside communities, lighthouses and marinas and learning how technology is allowing more and more people to live and play along Lake Huron’s shore.
Take the town of Lexington, a half hour drive north of Port Huron, the self-proclaimed “first resort.”
We were impressed by the sharp and trendy shops and businesses along the town’s main street. Crystal from the Lexington Downtown Development Authority said the solid Verizon 4G LTE wireless connections available there is a big draw, especially for boaters.
“They do love their Internet,” she told us from her M-25 flower shop. “Having that makes us more desirable as a destination.”
Indeed, we found 4G LTE coverage in most of the locations we visited in Bay City, East Tawas, Oscoda, Alpena, Cheboygan and Mackinaw City.
East Tawas Pointe lighthouse
Even miles from shore in the middle of Thunder Bay off the coast of Alpena where we were touring shipwrecks aboard a glass-bottomed boat in the Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary, folks were snapping smartphone photos of the wreckage underneath and then sending them to friends and family.
Stephanie Gandulla, who works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration out of their excellent museum in Alpena, said the area is known as shipwreck alley because of the numerous collisions that sunk more than 200 vessels in the area during the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.
“The Great Lakes has a tremendous maritime history,” she said. “And this underwater sanctuary is a fascinating place because there are so many wrecks within a relatively shore distance.”
Stay tuned for more as we continue along our #VZGreatLakes tour. Follow that hashtag on Twitter, and send me any recommendations on where I should stop along the journey - @roadtreking.
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*Disclosure: Verizon has compensated Mike for partnering with us on the Great Lakes Tour, but all opinions are his own.