Below is a lengthy excerpt from Sailing on the Great Lakes and Rivers of America ©1874. It was around this time that travel for pleasure and recreation began to take hold in America. For so many years and generations Americans worked hard, day and night. But as the industrial revolution began to take shape travel, vacations also began for the middle class and no longer something the upper class. What you might find historically helpful for your writing is the views of travel, the modes and the tidbits the author shares.
Tourists, in search of health or pleasure, who intend to visit the region of the Great Lakes of America, if starting from New York or any of the cities of the eastern or middle States, are advised to take the most direct route for Niagara Falls, where may be seen the magnitude of the accumulated waters of the "Inland Seas," as exhibited by viewing the American and Canadian, or Horse-Shoe Fall of this mighty Cataract. The Suspension Bridges, Rapids, and Islands, with other objects combined, form attractions that will profitably employ several days sojourn at this fashionable resort.
Here are several well-kept Hotels, both on the American and Canadian sides of the river, from whence delightful drives are afforded in almost every direction, while bringing into view new objects of interest, either on ascending on descending the banks of this majestic stream—this whole section of country, above and below the Falls, being historic ground. The battle-fields of Chippewa, Lundy's Lane, Queenstown, and old Fort George, opposite Fort Niagara, on the American side, all deserve a visit.
On leaving Niagara Falls the tourist can proceed westward, via the Great Western Railway of Canada, to Detroit, 230 miles, passing through an interesting section of Canada; or, proceed to Buffalo, by rail, 22 miles.
Grand Pleasure Excursion,
THROUGH LAKES HURON AND SUPERIOR.
Steamers of a large class leave Buffalo, during the season of navigation, every alternate day for Erie, Cleveland and Detroit, proceeding on their way to the Saut Ste. Marie and Duluth, Lake Superior, a distance of about 1,200 miles.
Passengers taking the Round Trip can stop, to suit their convenience, at any of the Lake ports, before arriving at Detroit. The City of Erie, 90 miles from Buffalo, is a place of growing importance, where terminates the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad, forming a direct and speedy communication with the cities of New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. This is a favorite line of travel, crossing the Alleghany range and connecting with the Great Lakes. The City of Cleveland, 95 miles further, is fast becoming a great mart of trade, and a stoppingplace for pleasure travellers. The railroad lines, in connection with its shipping facilities, afford this port great commercial advantages—no city on the Lakes exceeding it in natural advantages as regards a healthy climate, lovely situation, beautiful avenues, and delightful drives. Steamers run from this place to Put-in-Bay, Kelley's Island, Sandusky and Toledo, as well as direct to Detroit, Mich., each affording pleasant summer excursions.
On leaving Detroit, if bound for Lake Superior, commences the Grand Excursion—passing through Lake St. Clair and St. Clair river, forming the boundary between the United States and Canada. The steamer usually stops at Sarnia, Can., or Port Huron, Mich, to land and receive passengers. Immediately, after leaving the latter port, Point Edward and Fort Gratiot are passed, and the steamer enters the broad waters of Lake Huron. Here is experienced during warm weather the most delightful change imaginable. The upward bound vessels usually keep near the Michigan shore, on the left, while on the right nothing but the broad waters are visible for some two hundred miles.
Point au Barque and Light are reached 70 miles above Port Huron, and Saginaw Bay entered, here presenting a most magnificent expanse of waters, which, in stormy weather is dreaded by the mariner. The sight of land is usuallv lost to view until Thunder Bay and Light are sighted, 75 miles from Point au Barque. The steamer now runs direct for the De Tour passage, 85 miles further, when the grand and lovely St. Mary's river is entered, presenting a succession of islands, lakes or expansions—affording a view of river scenery of the most enchanting character, before arriving at the Saut Ste. Marie, the gate-way to Lake Superior.
Saut Ste. Marie, in connection with the Ship Canal, Fort Brady, and the fisheries below the rapids—the rapids themselves having a descent of 20 feet—and the Hudson Bay Company's post on the Canada side, present great and varied attractions. Here
fishing parties are fitted out for long excursions along the Canada or North Shore of Lake Superior,—often proceeding as far as the Nepigon river, where brook trout, of a large size, are taken in great quantities.
On the American or South Shore of the Lake lies Grand Island Harbor, where are two or three settlements, situated near the Pictured Rocks, 120 miles above the Saut. Here are many points of attraction, which, no doubt, is destined to become a fashionable resort.
Marquette, 170 miles above the Saut, is one of the largest and most frequented resorts for invalids and seekers of pleasure that the Lake region affords. Comfortable hotels and boarding houses are here wanted in order to make this embryo city the "Newport" of the Upper Lakes.
Houghton, Copper Harror, EaGle Harror, and Eagle River, situated on Keweenaw Point are all places of great attraction.
Ontonagon, Bayfield and La Pointe, situated on one of the Twelve Apostle Islands are old and favorite resorts.
Duluth and Superior City, situated at the head of the Lake, where enters the St. Louis river, have become places of great attraction, in a commercial point of view. Here parties are fitted out who desire to explore the North Shore either for fishing or seeking health and pleasure on the pure waters of this Inland Sea.
Tourists seeking health and pleasure may safely start on this excursion in June, and remain in the Lake Region or Upper Mississippi Valley until October.
APPROACHES TO LAKE SUPERIOR.
There are now six Great Routes of Travel open to Tourists to and from the Lake Superior country.
The first is by the Lake Superior Line Steamers. Starting from Buffalo and stopping at Erie and Cleveland, they pass through Lake Erie and enter the Detroit River, stopping at Detroit to land and receive passengers — cross Lake St. Clair, and ascend the St. Clair River to Port Huron, Mich., stopping at Fort Gratiot, where the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada crosses the river near Sarnia. The broad waters of Lake Huron are next crossed — passing Saginaw Bay — then St. Mary's River is entered at Point de Tour, passing upwards to the Saut Ste. Marie, and through the Ship Canal to Lake Superior; a distance of about 400 miles from Detroit.
The second is by the Canadian route, starting from Toronto and proceeding by Northern Railway of Canada to Collingwood, 94 miles; then crossing Georgian Bay and passing through the North Channel and St. Mary's River to Saut Ste. Marie, entering Lake Superior and running along the North Shore. This route affords some of the grandest lake and river scenery imaginable. The third is by the Chicago and Milwaukee Line of Steamers, passing through Lake Michigan and the Straits of Mackinac for a distance of about 400 miles, when the far-famed Island of Mackinac is reached; from thence the steamers run to the mouth of the St. Mary's River, ascending this beautiful stream to Lake Superior; a total distance of 500 miles from Chicago.
Note. — The numerous Lines of Railroad, on the East and South, which connect with the above Through Lines of Travel to Lake Superior, make this whole region of country easily accessible to the pleasure traveller or man of business.
The fourth is via the Chicago and North-western Railroad, running to Green Bay and Escanaba, Mich., and from thence by the Peninsula Railroad to Marquette, situated on the South Shore of Lake Superior; a total distance of 431 miles. This route is direct and speedy, passing through an interesting section of country for most of the distance.
The fifth is via St. Paul, passing over the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad to Duluth, 155 miles. This route affords an easy access to the Lake Superior region from the South; passing up the noble Mississippi to the head of navigation,—uniting the "Imperial Lakes with the Father of Waters."
The sixth is via the Northern Pacific Railroad, now completed from Duluth to the Upper Missouri River, a distance of 450 miles. This important railroad, when finished, will extend to Puget Sound, Washington Territory, with a branch running to Portland, Oregon. It now affords a direct line to travel to Fort Garry, Manitoba. The favorable features of this extended route Across the Continent, in a commercial and climatic point of view, cannot be over-estimated, which will afford a speedy and desirable route "Around the World."
Two other Lines of Railroad will soon be completed, affording additional means of reaching Lake Superior, viz.: the Grand Bapids and Indiana Railroad, extending from Fort Wayne, Ind., to Old Mackinac, Mich., and the Wisconsin Central Railroad, running from Menasha and Portage City, Wisconsin, to Ashland, on the South Shore of Lake Superior.