Henry Ford Museum to unveil new exhibition of classic cars

Workers at the Henry Ford Museum are busy setting up a major new exhibition of 130 historically significant cars and trucks.

Driving America opens on January 29 and focuses on the effect of the automobile on American culture through interactive touchscreen displays, artifacts, and personal accounts. There’s even a mobile diner from 1946 that will be serving classic American diner food.

Of course it’s the cars that are the main attraction. Ranging from the 1890s to the early 2000s, they include numerous innovative designs such as the Model T, the 1907 Rocket Stanley Steamer, and the 1973 Chrysler Newport, which at 19 feet long makes it look like a tank next to some of the miniature cars of today. Driving America doesn’t just look at Ford products; several cars are on loan from other collections and include rival companies such as Honda.

For more on the Henry Ford Museum, check out this article by Gadling’s very own Paul Brady.

Steamer photo courtesy Richard H. LeSesne.

Michigan travel: Great destinations for a good cause

With Michigan’s economic news sounding about as grim as economic news can sound, Sarah Aldrich has written an ode to seven of Michigan’s small towns. Her recent post at Intelligent Travel captures the essence of each of the towns she adores. Reading Adrich’s missive reminded me of various friends of mine who have vacationed on Michigan’s shores. Everyone of them came back with stories about a wonderful time.

Although Aldrich was “reluctant to share” details about each of the towns she loves for fear that they might become overrun if they became too popular, she decided that Michigan might need a morale boost more than her need to keep these destinations just as they are. Tourist dollars talk. In a way, going to Michigan is do good travel. Your presence at an attraction, an eatery or a hotel puts dollars where they’re needed.

I’ve spent a few tourist dollars in Michigan myself. I’d recommend Greenfield Village and the adjacent Henry Ford Museum to anyone. Both are top notch attractions and well worth whatever money you have to spend. Staying in a hotel in Dearfield easily fits into a budget vacation.

If small towns aren’t appealing, another friend of mine just returned from Detroit and was pleasantly surprised by his experience and what the city had to offer. Even if you are only in Detroit for a few hours on a layover, consider taking a foray outside the airport to take in a smidgen of Michigan’s offerings. Grant has suggestions for what you might do and how to do it..

The message is: “Go to Michigan. The state needs you.” Aldrich would be ever so pleased if you did.

[The photo by daBinsi is of the Point Bessie Lighthouse in Frankfort, Michigan.]

President Kennedy was killed 45 years ago today. Where to head to remember him

“If we can not end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.”

John F. Kennedy

John F. Kennedy was assassinated 45 years ago today. As one of the events that certainly shaped the collective consciousness of Americans, at least in my opinion, here are places I’ve been where I’ve thought of Kennedy and that fateful day where the words “grassy knoll” and “book depository” became part of history books.

As a former Peace Corps volunteer, his legacy has touched me personally.

Place 1: Dealy Plaza and the grassy knoll. There is a plaque here to commemorate Kennedy. The grassy knoll was made famous by the idea that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone. Theories abound that shots were fired from the grassy knoll as well. If you drive along Elm Street, you’ll be on the route Kennedy’s limousine was following when he became Oswald’s target. The plaza is a National Historic Landmark.

Place 2: Sixth Floor Museum at Dealy Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Located in what was formerly called the Texas School Book Depository, the museum chronicles Kennedy’s life and death. (Although, I’ve been by the building, I’ve not been to the museum.)

Place 3–The limousine that Kennedy was riding in on the day he was shot can be seen at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan. I have been here. The rest of the museum is also worth a visit. It can take hours to see everything.

Place 4–His grave at Arlington National Cemetery. His inaugural address was used as the grave’s inscription.

Place 5–One place I have not been is the JFK Library & Museum in Boston, MA. Here you can learn more about Kennedy’s life and presidency through films and artifacts. Jacqueline Kennedy’s life is also included in the mix.

Here is another Kennedy quote that reminds me of travelers. Its message encapsulates one idea of what draws people towards distant horizons from where they were born. But it is also what pulls them back to the familiar.

“All of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea — whether it is to sail or to watch it — we are going back from whence we came.”

Autopalooza August is part of Michigan’s Year of the Car

As pointed out in this article in the Detroit Free Press, this summer marks the 100th birthday of the Model T AND the beginnings of General Motors Corporation.

Just think what a difference 100 years have made in car travel. Even though gas prices have jumped tremendously, Detroit would be a fun place to celebrate the car. Detroit could use some tourist dollars besides and Autopalooza August, the multi-location festival series looks like it could be a winner.

There are five major happenings going on each week from the end of July to the end of August.

  • The Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance in Rochester
  • Cruisin’ Motor Cities in downtown Detroit
  • Detroit Festival of Speed
  • The Woodward Dream Cruise through the suburbs
  • Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix

July and September also have car related events. There is a parade in Flint on July 20 and a Model T gathering at the Ford World Headquarters. Each of these are part of Michigan’s Year of the Car.

If you do go to Detroit, Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum are close by and worth a trip to Michigan on their own. You can, tour both as a package deal. If you can swing two days, one for each place, that’s better. You can thank car money for giving Henry Ford the umph to think up these two very different museums. On June 14-15 is Motor Muster Weekend and the village will be open until 9 p.m. on those days.

On the other side of the entertainment spectrum, check out Grant’s post on Detroit’s Motor City Casino. For info about travel happenings in Michigan, check out www.motorcities.org. There is a map that shows the cities where attractions are. By clicking on drop down menus, you can see what each place offers. Clever.