More than Meets the Mitten
Michigan has more coastline than the entire eastern seaboard of the USA. I’ll say it again, this time in all caps, MICHIGAN HAS MORE…you get the idea. But really, think about that for just a sec. That’s a whole lot of moody rocky shore, white sand stretches and Normandy-esq coastal towns that seem to specialize in strange art and microbrew beer. It’s intense.
Nestled within the world’s largest fresh water source, that just happens cozy up next to Michigan, are countless islands blessed with even more coast and pines.
Michigan has so much forest that we rebuilt Chicago. All of it. Trees are in no short supply, which creates nearly unlimited opportunities to camp everywhere, all the where and roast marshmallows a-plenty.
We have had have cars but have learned from recent events to diversify. Alongside hubcaps and mufflers we also have home-grown wine, home brewed coffee, co-op produced clothes and Petoskey jewelry. We have a force–to-be-reckoned with Revive Detroit movement that’s producing the coolest designs, bicycles and dog tag inspired necklaces. Who knew? We have authors, musicians, corrupt politicians and education reformers. We’re so good at sports that we’ve even managed to make ridiculous camp counselor-style necklaces cool in our take-me-out-to-the-ball-game passion.
Here’s where to visit along the west side of the state.
Within this measly eight mile perimeter sits Michigan’s golden era. Here you’ll find the grand mansions and grander hotels of Old Money. No cars are allowed, but fudge sure is, creating the perfect nostalgic atmosphere to gain 5 pounds in a weekend. Located between Michigan’s two peninsulas this tiny island showcases the clear, but freezing water of the Straits of Mackinac and reminds you that these big lakes are called Great for a reason. While Mackinac Island has more than its fair share of tourists, its charm still warrants the ferry ride.
Sleeping Bear Dunes
National Geographic’s best beach in the world. Need I say more?
Quaint meets weird here. Saugatuck is an artist’s paradise, with no obvious industry other than strange sculptures and paintings. It’s a charming town on the river with a still-working chain ferry. Downtown is full of cute shops, odd shops, local restaurants and a really cute park. All that’s missing is the barber shop quartet to bring you back a few decades.
Harbor Country is a series of several small towns near or on Lake Michigan. Here “summer” is still a verb, not a noun, at least for many of the tourists who come up from Chicago. Pretension aside, it’s a lovely set of one horse towns. And of course the main draw is the beach; the never- ending, never-fail-to-impress soft sand beach of Lake Michigan.
Michigan is the world’s most inland coast. It’s the heart of the USA and embodies all the good, bad and strange that that rightly conjures. Go to Michigan.
*Please note: Bias is rampant here. Do not be alarmed by the overwhelming sense of one sidedness and absolute slant.