Travel writers share "100 Things to Do Before You Die" in popular Michigan destinations

Did you know Baker’s Keyboard Lounge in Detroit got its start as a simple sandwich shop in the 1930s before becoming internationally renowned as a jazz haven? Or that there’s a new site in Ferndale where competitive axe-throwing is the recreation of choice? The venue’s name is The Corner and Detroit Axe.

Ever heard of The Parlor, a Traverse City bar that hosts a “Euchre Night” where you can sip a Smoke Stack cocktail while playing one of Michigan’s favorite card games? Or, of shipwrecks in the area that are so close to shore that snorkelers can explore them?

Bet you didn’t know that non-guests may swim in the Grand Hotel’s serpentine-shaped Esther Williams Pool even if they’re not staying at the iconic Mackinac Island hotel. A daily fee is a little-known option for visitors any day except July 4 and Labor Day weekend.

All these and scores of other informative tips aimed at geting the most out of visits to favorite Michigan destinations are detailed in a new series of travel books, “100 Things to Do in …  Before You Die,”  published by Reedy Press.

Later this month, three Michigan-based travel writers who wrote the above-referenced versions of these books will appear together in Metro Detroit to share their discoveries and discuss how they arrived at their choices:

Amy Eckert, launching the second edition of “100 Things to Do in Detroit Before You Die”;

Kim Schneider,  debuting “100 Things to Do in Traverse City Before You Die”;

and Kath Usitalo, introducing her second title in the series, “100 Things to Do on Mackinac Island Before You Die,” after last year’s successful launch of “100 Things to Do in the Upper Peninsula Before You Die.”

Each author will have autographed copies of her books available and will answer questions about her research from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, April 28 at Pages Bookshop, Detroit; and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, April 29 at a Books & Authors event at Leon & Lulu in Clawson.

Usitalo also will sign copies from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 28 at the Finnish Center in Farmington Hills.

The books, priced at $16 to $20, are available from Amazon and some area book stores.




Susan R. Pollack
Globetrotting journalist and former Detroit News staff writer Susan R. Pollack has covered travel since 1985, visiting scores of countries on five continents, 49 states, six Canadian provinces and hundreds of cities, islands and outposts along the way. From Alaska, the Galapagos and New Zealand to South Africa, Thailand and Wales, she has suffered the occasional lost luggage, jetlag and Montezuma’s revenge but still delights in sharing travel adventures with readers. In addition to The Detroit News, her award-winning stories and photos have appeared in major newspapers including the Dallas News, Toronto Star, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Chicago Sun Times; and magazines including Delta Sky, Midwest Living, Long Weekends, Experience Michigan, Jetsetter, Home & Away, Lakeland Boating, Hour Detroit, Prevue Meetings and Group Tour. She has contributed to several books including "Rand McNally 2008 Ultimate NASCAR Road Trip Guide." She also writes for websites including, and