Lucky to Live in Michigan
Sometimes I have to take a minute, look around and remember how lucky I am to live in Michigan. For one thing, there are no sharks in our in-land oceans. Earthquakes – on the rare occasion when there is one, are mild tremors at most. They elicit comments such as “What was that!” and ‘Wow, that was awesome! Did you feel that?” Also, Michigan is home to only one poisonous snake, the eastern massasauga rattlesnake. I’ve lived here all my life and I’ve never seen one.
Michigan’s cultural diversity ranges from the Detroit Opera House to museums, orchestras and various theaters on the one hand to back-trail hiking, threshers’ conventions and our own Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula. The industrial center is in the southeast, Amish settlements can be found along the back roads of south central Michigan
Up North is a whole other world. When we Michiganders say we’re Going Up North it means any place north of Clare. The rest stop at the intersection of US 127 and US 10 is the gateway to adventures, sparkling waters, great food and summers of fun.
Michigan has the longest coastline (3,288 miles) of any state in the union except for Alaska. That translates into a lot of beaches, boating and fun. Our maritime history is rich in ship building, transporting ores from our mines and stories of the many shipwrecks that happened during the treacherous winter storms on lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron.
I recently took a trip up to Traverse City, Mission Point and down the western coast to Manistee. Lighthouses and white sandy beaches are to be found near the small towns along the lake shore .
It has been more years that I want to admit since I’d been in the Traverse Bay area. The city has grown with the addition of micro-breweries and world-class restaurants with quaint little shops nestled among the new businesses.
A for sure stop was the General Store on the way up the Leelanau peninsula heading toward the Grand Traverse Lighthouse.
The proprietor entertained the customers with old-time stories of ghosts and snowed-in winters as they chose between homemade sour cream donuts, old-time soft drinks and a vast variety of unique wares.
The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake shore is also a landmark not to be missed. It is so much more than a tourist attraction with its unique archaeological formations. The area stretches for 35 miles of coastline and the dunes sit 400 feet above glacial moraines as the expanse was once covered by glaciers. The area was designated as wilderness in 2014 and is truly a site to behold.
And of course the view of the straits while driving across the Mackinac Bridge is breathtaking. It is the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere with a length of 26, 372 feet, connecting the lower and upper peninsulas. The inside lane – that is a see-through grate – will test your courage, especially on a windy day. It is a LONG WAY DOWN to the water and every few years a car would be blown over the side. Steps have been taken to increase the safety of drivers and there are times when the weather is such that crossing is not allowed.
Tonight, as I watched the setting sun turn the clouds pink and white against an azure sky, I thanked my lucky stars that I woke up today in this amazing state of Michigan.