We have been exploring Michigan since Memorial Day and I have come to realize that I love Michigan. I never thought I would say that, but it’s true. Here’s why:
- Michiganders love Michigan. Before we departed on this trip, it was evident to me that no people are more proud of their state than Michiganders are about Michigan. It’s even more evident once you are here. To a person they think it is absolutely the best place to live, period. As far as they are concerned, it has the best beaches, the best cherries, the best people, the best beer and the list goes on. The fact that Michigan had temperatures below those experienced on Mars last winter appears to have no bearing on their burning love for their state. People with that kind of gumption are my kind of people. Of course, all of these people who were expressing their love of Michigan to me before this trip were no longer living there; but I also love irony, so the fact that they left Michigan and still raved about it was another plus for me.
- Michigan has great bike trails. I mean great bike trails. Everywhere. Every town we have visited has at least one great, completely separated from traffic, 10’ wide bike trail that seems to connect to other great, completely separated from traffic, 10’ wide bike trails. Some go along rivers, others around lakes. Some are former railroad tracks and others are privately funded pristine trails that parallel gigantic sand dunes. I love that the hub of our automobile industry has invested so much into building great cycling infrastructure like they have. If they can do it, every state should be able to do it.
- There really is a lot to love. Lake Michigan looks like an ocean and has some great beaches. Sleeping Bear Dunes is really cool and the water up there is several amazing shades of blue. Not quite Tahiti, but in that direction. If you haven’t been to Detroit lately, it’s back in a big way and worth a visit. Lots of great public art, the river is gorgeous and there are a lot of new fun shops and restaurants near downtown. Mackinac Island lives up to its billing as a place worth visiting. On the Upper Peninsula Houghton/Hancock is a fun area, Pictured Rocks was worth the ferry ride and the drive up to Copper Harbor is easy and fun. The bottom line is, where else are you going to find cherry pancakes, monks who make Thimbleberry jam, heated sidewalks, a statue celebrating the invention of the Snurfer, the only Dutch-built windmill in the USA and a bunch of people who will explain to you where you should go next by using their right palm as a map?
So, I’m sold. Hooray for Michigan. GO Blue (most of the time).
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