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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Where (in Michigan) Would You Send ‘Em?

I don’t know where the shame of being a tourist comes from. I’ve heard many friends in full touristic swing say that they don’t want to mix with tourists, not realizing that even though they don’t mix with them, they are just as much tourists as the others.
– Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Who can sleep while being stalked by a big, bright moon? It was hanging over the old farmhouse when I got home a little after nine o’clock, and surely that’s what woke me up again in the middle of the night. I got up and read several traveler’s tales of Spain but soon found myself harking back to my own more modest travels in Michigan.

Ever since writing that the Pictured Rocks are a must-see destination, I’ve been wondering what other people would put on a Top Ten list of Michigan attractions. If that’s too hard, what’s your #1 favorite place? And while we’re at it, what’s your #1 favorite Michigan book? If you want to divide attractions into natural and man-made or books into fiction and nonfiction, that would be interesting, too.

Anyone? Who's willing to stand up and be counted? Old Mother Moon wants to hear from you!

(But travel to the moon? Not I! No, thank you! I love earth too well.)


Anonymous said...

(1) The Lake Michigan shoreline from Saugatuck all the way to (2)Sleeping Bear and beyond to (3) the Straits of Mackinac, the Bridge, and Mackinac Island. (4) The Lake Superior shoreline from (5) the Soo through (6) Pictured Rocks and Munising all the way out to (7) Copper Harbor at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula and beyond that to (8) Isle Royale. Back south with a loop through (9) the Jordan Valley and then over to (10) Hartwick Pines.

Then we do cities:

(1) Detroit, with its splendid river, astonishing architecture, Greenfield Village/Henry Ford Museum, and Rob the Firefighter . . .
(2) Grand Rapids, with Meijer Gardens and the other Ford Museum and (3) Ann Arbor, with its excellent museums and theatres (stage and film)

Books another time.

P. J. Grath said...

Wow, Gerry! You hit high points, for sure! If we were making up a list a few years ago, I'd put in the Michigan State Fair. That's no more, but Cranbrook is still around and worth a trip.


P. J. Grath said...

One reader sweetly e-mailed me as follows:
"In Michigan, the Pictured Rocks are amazing. My father took the family there around 1970, and to Tahquamenon Falls on the same trip. I know you wanted posts on your blog, but my Michigan places are all memory-associated and not necessarily where I would send someone. Once I got a book at the library sale in Kalamazoo when I was 11 or 12 years old. I climbed up high on some statue in the park downtown near the mall and read while eating a 7-Up popsicle from the ice-cream man. It was heaven and makes that one of my favorite places. The rest are all between Leland and Northport. Beaches: Van's, Happy Hour, Cathead Bay. Drives: Eagle Highway/641, M-22 from Leland to Northport, and Dog Ears Books, of course!"

Another, a Northport neighbor, e-mailed to say,
" is that what woke me up around 2 am!?! and it is now a bit after 5 am? and STILL AWAKE??!! I guess that explains it all..the darn full moon..for my lack of well as its been causing the kids to be very badly behaved!! Hence the saying goes, when there's a full moon be on the lookout for many strange include..bad nasty children!! hahahha."

Needing either a Google or a Blogger account to leave comments keeps some people from leaving them, I realize. Sorry! But thanks for reading and getting in touch with me!

Anonymous said...

PJ you are absolutely right, Cranbrook and the waterfalls of the U.P. deserve to be on any Top Ten list. Also Marquette, and Eagle Harbor, and the Garden Peninsula, and the Seney Wildlife Preserve and . . . OK. I'll stop now. You know what happened when I tried to think of The Book? I went to look at the Michigan Notable Books list and got all distracted and . . . I love this place. Really. I love this place.

I'm sorry that the blogging platforms are more interested in locking people into their systems than in bringing others into the whole experience. Nothing is so dear to the heart of the blogger as a genuine comment. One day you and I will figure out an app that will let Real People comment all over the blogosphere without difficulty.

Anonymous said...

Gerry hit a lot of the ones I would have said. Specifically along the Saugatuck to Sleeping Bear stretch, I would call out the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. I’m also a sucker for Mackinac Island, fudgy tourist Mecca that it is. And I’d vote for the beach at Good Harbor if I wanted to give away the secret of that magical little spot that is still so private. I also love the whole stretch of undeveloped beaches along the north shore of Lake Michigan in the U.P.

P. J. Grath said...

Oh, yes, yes, yes! Seney Wildlife Refuge, for sure, Gerry, and I love Mackinac Island, too, Maiya.

I do think, however, that we are neglecting the northeast corner of the lower peninsula. There is a gorgeous drive from Mackinaw City to Alpena (and yes, those of you from outside Michigan, the island is spelled one way and the city another--confusing, I know, especially since both are pronounced as the city name is spelled)--where was I? Oh, yes, from Mackinaw City along the Lake Huron shoreline down to Alpena there are beautiful, mostly empty, sugar sand beaches lined with the loveliest of white birch trees. In fact, we're getting into the time of year when this drive will be its most beautiful: the white birch trunks, the leaves a bright yellow, against the beautiful blue of Lake Huron. And then down by Alpena there are beautiful marshes, great for bird-watching. Go west from there and check out the Au Sable River. No, there isn't a corner of Michigan without its delights!

Books, Gerry--SO difficult to pick a favorite or even put together a top ten list, but I have no trouble naming my favorite nonfiction Michigan book of all time. It's (still) WAITING FOR THE MORNING TRAIN, by Bruce Catton. Intimate memoir, social commentary, all situated in the sweep of North American history, so beautifully written--.

Thank you for not letting difficulties keep you from commenting.

P. J. Grath said...

Tom Wetherbee nominated (via Facebook) Garden Island Harbor. Oh, all the beautiful islands, and I've never visited most of them!

Deborah said...

It isn't necessary to be a Blogger or have a Google account to leave a comment on your blog. My email address (not a Google account) and a password work fine.
I didn't answer your questions earlier but agree with many of people about the beautiful lakeshore. Thanks to your respondents I now have new places to visit.

P. J. Grath said...

Glad it works for you, Deborah. I love having my sister visit and comment!

Thought of another island, unlike any of the others--Harsen's Island, over on the channel that connects Lake Huron to the lower Great Lakes. Car ferry to the island, houses on stilts, and all drinking water has to be carried in from the mainland. It's another world, like something out of a storybook.

Susan said...

Negwegon State Park, between Alpena and Harrisville on Lake Huron. Sandy, difficult road; don't try it with an RV! Nobody every there. Gorgeous.

P. J. Grath said...

Muchas gracias, Susan, for adding a hidden-away Lake Huron magic spot. That stretch of Lake Huron I mentioned was recommended to us years ago by a bookseller then of Alpena, now of Calumet. He said it was wonderful for having hardly any people on the beaches. And by the way, the whole downtown of Calumet, in the Keewanaw peninsula, is a historic district, with wonderful old buildings from the height of the iron and copper mining era.

Shelly Francisco Walter said...

NO WAY! were u really looking to decorate this week in the wind and rainy days we've been having?!? u woulda been blown awat,..unless u had Sarah to help hold u down..just checking to see IF i can NOW post here

P. J. Grath said...

Congratulations and thanks, Shelly: your comment came through without a hitch. I do moderate comments now (after an annoying spate of spamming), so they don't appear immediately. But it looks like my sister was write about not needing a special account to get your comment up. Good news!