Made In Michigan.pdf - Leisure Group Travel

Made In Michigan.pdf - Leisure Group Travel

on location: midwest ❖ angela verrier

Groups learn the history of the Ford Motor Co. on a tour of the Ford Rouge complex in Dearborn, Michigan.


Factory tours spotlight a range of products, from cars to teddy bears

We are all born with a natural curiosity

to discover the world

around us. We like learning about where

things come from and how things are

made. Touring factories allows us to get

a behind-the-scenes look at the creation

of the goods and products we use and


Industrious Michigan has been a

leader in automotive, railroad, steam engine

and furniture production throughout

its history, manufacturing many

staples that America has come to rely on.

Factory tours allow visitors to experience

the excitement of watching machines

Ken Yenke is the curator of Chelsea

Teddy Bear’s museum, a tour stop.

and people make the things that we

use daily. Most factory tours are free,

offering an economical option for your

next group trip.

Groups may want to make a few of

these factory stops on their next Great

Lakes tour:

The Ford Rouge Factory in Dearborn,

once the center of the Ford industrial

empire, makes vehicles like the

F-150 pickup truck. Visitors are driven

on buses from the Henry Ford Museum

to the Rouge plant, where a virtual-reality

historical tour explains the production,

painting and distribution process of February 2011 31

on location: midwest ❖

a Ford. The last stop on the tour brings

visitors to the modern factory to watch

the final assembly of a truck. (800-835-


At the General Motors Truck Assembly

Tour in Flint, the birthplace of

GM, groups can see the production and

assembly of three different models of

one-ton trucks. For more history about

Chocolate Tours

DeBrand Chocolatier offers tours of their kitchens

as well as an elegant chocolate shoppe with

gourmet desserts and specialty drinks. Call the

Corporate Office to reserve your tour today!

Conveniently located just a few minutes from I-69

Exit 116 on the north side of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

General Motors, visit the Sloan Museum,

on the Flint Cultural Campus,

which features virtual tours and historical

automobile information. (810-342-


“Hot biscuits will be ready in a Jiffy!”

Chelsea Milling Company, where

“Jiffy” Mix is made, offers free tours.

Groups can spend about an hour walking

through the packaging plant, watching

vintage machinery at work, seeing an

informative slide presentation and enjoying

refreshments. Guests get to take

home a box of “Jiffy” mix. (734-475-


Constructing quality plush toys and

lovable teddy bears, the Chelsea Teddy

Bear Company, just across the railroad

tracks from “Jiffy” in the town of

Chelsea, offers fun factory tours of its

30,000-square-foot warehouse and assembly

stations. Groups can see the

world’s largest teddy bear, towering at 10

feet tall, and see antique teddies on the

history tour. Visitors complete the tour

with a trip to the retail store. (734-433-


The Hoegh Pet Casket Factory in

Gladstone is the pioneer in quality pet

caskets and ships them all over the

world, producing more than 30,000

caskets every year. Visitors can see the

manufacturing process of pet caskets

from beginning to end, including the

finished product in the display room.

Memorial plaques and cremation urns

are also made here and displayed in the

model pet cemetery. Tours are given to

Obtain Michigan

visitor guides

and itineraries –

and contact groupfriendly


directly – at

groups on weekdays. (906-428-2151,

Tours at Morley Candy Factory in

Clifton Township take visitors on a

video journey through the history of

chocolate and the Sanders family story.

Groups watch candy makers create luscious

treats like Pecan Torties® and

Coconut Clusters on the 100-foot observation

walkway. All tours conclude

with a chocolaty sample and visit to the

gift shop. (800-682-2760,

DeKlomp Wooden Shoe Factory

and Delft Factory in Holland makes

recreations of Dutch wooden clogs and

blue-and-white Delftware. On a tour,

groups can meet artisans and learn

about the production process, see the

paint room and watch the imported

machines shape the perfect pair of

wooden shoes. The factory site is also

home to Veldheer’s Tulip Garden,

which glows every spring with millions

of bright blooms. A retail store carries

Dutch specialties. (616-399-1803,

Ferris Coffee & Nut Company in

Grand Rapids is a wholesale and retail

supplier of coffee, chocolate and

nuts to many of Western Michigan’s

coffee houses, offices and individuals,

sharing their passion for coffee with

all. They offer group tours that include

a walking tour of the nut roasting

facilities, an informational slide

show, a visit to the retail shop and, of

course, hot coffee. (616-459-6257, LGT


For a sampling of what’s in store

for groups visiting Michigan, see the

article “Michigan Specialty Shops.” Log on to

32 February 2011

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