I just spent a week in Michigan leading up to my class reunion. When my East Coast friends hear I’ve been to Michigan, they usually scrunch their noses and say something that makes me realize they think I’m going somewhere like Kansas or Iowa.
That reaction, coupled with Michigan’s declining population, should prompt PR agencies to circle like vultures, seeking an easy buck. But since they aren’t stepping up, I’ll take on the task. Because really, Michigan is like the US’s well-kept secret. Sort of like Rochester’s wife in Jane Eyre. But less crazy and more awesome.
So, without further preamble…
Ten Reasons To Move to Michigan (Or At Least Visit)
- It’s a peninsula. Which is LIKE an island in that there’s water everywhere, but better because you don’t need a boat to reach it. The only other state that can claim that is Florida, and it’s filled with old people who can’t drive and snakes. Although if you believe this article, maybe you’ll only need to worry about the snakes, since they seem to be taking care of everything else.
- Michigan is all about the lakes. OK, maybe this seems redundant since I just pointed out that it’s a peninsula, but in addition to being bordered by the Great Lakes, Michigan has over 11,000 named lakes. And counting the Great Lakes, Michigan has more shoreline than the entire Atlantic Seaboard. (Think about THAT the next time you imply I’m visiting Iowa.)
- Sauerkraut Suppers. According to the 2000 census, two of the top five ancestral sources for Michigan residents are German (20%) and Polish (8%). This means you’re generally only a stone’s throw from a church that hosts a monthly fundraiser dinner with sausage, sauerkraut, potatoes, spaetzle and gravy. How can you NOT want to live near this?
- Skiing. You heard me correctly. If you like to ski but don’t live out West or in Canada or Vermont, then Michigan is your next best bet. True, you’ll never hear someone trading Whistler for Boyne Highlands, and Michigan doesn’t technically have mountains, but there’s a ton of snow and hills, so shut your mouth. Plus it’s more affordable.
- It’s so great, even the celebrities come home to roost. Just ask Jeff Daniels, who founded the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea, or Kid Rock, who resides in Clarkston, MI and shows up in my Facebook newsfeed monthly because one of my friends has bumped into him.
- Sweet corn and cherries. If you’ve never bought either of these freshly picked from a roadside stand in Michigan, you are settling for second-rate produce. True, they’re only in season for a limited window, but once you’ve tasted them, you’ll know those few weeks make the rest of the year worth it.
- The Speed Limit is 70. And generally, the number of miles you’re going is the number of minutes it will take you to get there. Living in DC, which now boasts the distinction of having surpassed Los Angeles with the nation’s worst traffic, I advise you not to underestimate this one.
- International Flavor. You’re just one bridge away from being in another country. And – unlike Texas/California – the odds of having to bribe a police officer to avoid jail time in crossing the border are nil. Though you might have to toss an apple to the Mountie’s horse. (This is especially helpful if you’re a college student who is not yet legal to drink in the US, because the drinking age is only 19 in Ontario. Not that I would know anything about that.)
- Vernors. Sure, you might not move to a place simply because it’s home to the best ginger ale in the nation, but think about what that spirit of invention says about the place. It was the first soda (pop) made in the United States. Combine that with a certain someone named Henry Ford, and I think you can get a sense of the possibilities for an entrepreneur.
- You always have a handy visual aid at arm’s length. Have you ever gotten frustrated trying to explain where you live to someone? Michiganders don’t have this problem – they simply turn up the palm of their right hand and point. Saginaw? Crotch of you thumb. Traverse City? Tip of your pinky. Don’t tell me any other state can do that. Wisconsin tried earlier this year and learned that when you mess with the Mitten, you get the whole fist.
Now that I think of it, that actually makes a pretty good motto. So don’t you want to visit?