You know the old song, tiptoe through the garden? We went tiptoeing through Dow Gardens! Down the simple two-lane highway that is M-46 lies Midland, Mi, a town that saw its share of devastation in May of 2020, making national news when the Tittabawassee River dam broke flooding a large area of town. The sadness of what now, alongside the difficulties of small-town life amid a global pandemic, I could only imagine how living there feels. In support of all things regarding touring your home state, we took a 2 1/2 hour day trip to visit Midland to see what was up in a place that has proven itself to be as resilient as the midwestern spirit.
It exceeded my expectations!
A downtown, with one foot in the past, yet thriving on the present bustling with small businesses, and a spectacular casual, welcoming vibe, with not a speck of waterlogged disarray in the site. Mind you, the flood happened in May, and we were visiting in July. It was as if nothing happened. Yet, we weren’t here for that; we were there for Dow Gardens.
In 1899 Herbert and Grace Dow built The Pines, the first and only home they ever lived in close to the chemical company Herbert founded (Dow Chemicals). Although I’m afraid I have to disagree with the environmental impact chemicals have on our world, I still found it necessary to explore this attraction, which lies so close to home.
The 110-acres surrounding the Pines make up what is now Dow Gardens. A splendid display of flora amid wandering waterways, topped with ornate bridges, and hidden paths, which currently lead to new and unexpected features in each direction.
The children’s garden is an award-winning destination in its own right. This mandala shaped colorful area boasts a small sunflower labyrinth, water features, a playset in the middle, and of course, there’s the best part; the children’s garden is entirely edible! There are little signs everywhere inviting guests to partake by plucking a sprig of leafy green or taking a bean to try. (Limit 2 per visit please so there’s enough for everyone!)
Another unique feature of Dow Gardens is the Whiting Forest Canopy Walk. Tall Whiting trees are on display in their natural splendor equipped with a suspension bridge built in a manner that honors the trees and their surrounding area. There are little hammock sections everywhere, inviting you to stand and look down as well as a unique floating glass section and giant acorn pod lookouts. The bridge is a wonder, but not obtrusive. It’s more of a reminder that nature is a unique kind of art. Being the longest canopy walk in the US, it did not disappoint.
Cost of Travel
At the time of writing, this adult admission is $10/person, and kids are just $2 each since Dow Gardens boasts over 3 miles of footpaths, it’s worth the amount of entry. There are various types of new experiences for a nominal fee while visiting, but these were closed due to COVID-19. Honestly, visiting did not feel like we missed anything. It was an excellent 3 hours of meandering, tasting, and exploring.