How to get to Grand Rapids, Minn., from ChicagoI have booked a trip to go to the Judy Garland Museum in Grand Rapids, Minn., and need to get there from Chicago and then from Grand Rapids to Detroit. I cannot seem to find a route and was advised I would have to go to Duluth and drive from there. Can you advise me of the best way to make this type of trip? Many thanks. - Liz, London
I'm sorry the public transportation system in this country is so inadequate! No, you can't just hop a train, as you can in Europe. We wish.
I can tell you the "best'' way to take this trip. Rent a car in Chicago, drive up the west coast of Lake Michigan and take U.S. across Wisconsin to Duluth and on to Grand Rapids, stopping at all the cool places along the way.
From Grand Rapids, go back to Duluth and take the southern half of the Circle Tour of Lake Superior to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. — or, even better, the northern half (see Circling Superior). The Circle Tour is a world-class trip; you'll see many lighthouses, waterfalls, cliffs, cobblestone beaches and probably a moose or two.
From the Soo Locks, head south and cross the Mackinac Bridge (be sure to see Mackinac Island) and drive to Detroit along the west shore of Lake Huron.
That would be a great tour, but chances are you don't have the time. In that case, fly to Duluth from Chicago and rent a car there. From Duluth, you can get a nonstop flight to Detroit. You'll pay about $450 on Northwest/Delta.
If money is an issue, take the Megabus to Minneapolis from Chicago and rent a car there. You can return it in Minneapolis and then take the Megabus back to Chicago and on to Detroit.