Top Ten Reasons to Give Michigan a Chance

15 Jul

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)

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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?
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.)
  9. 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.
  10. 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? 

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26 Responses to “Top Ten Reasons to Give Michigan a Chance”

  1. Karen July 15, 2012 at 11:22 pm #

    I haven’t even read your list yet but now I know I have to re-read Jane Eyre. I just downloaded it for free on my Kindle so if you reveal the awesomeness of Rochester’s wife somewhere in this post I will be slightly annoyed. But let’s face it, I’m slightly annoyed already that I don’t get your analogy in the first place.

    • pithypants July 16, 2012 at 7:18 am #

      Rochester’s wife isn’t awesome. Don’t be disappointed.

  2. Karen July 16, 2012 at 12:14 am #

    finished the rest. I love Michigan but have never loved Vernors. Also don’t understand anyone who doesn’t see what a beautiful, resourceful, resource-filled, soulful place Michigan is. Makes me think maybe I should give Iowa a chance.

    • pithypants July 16, 2012 at 7:19 am #

      Maybe my post will prompt someone Iowan to write their own Top Ten list about what makes their state great?

  3. k8edid July 16, 2012 at 6:27 am #

    Well done…Michigan in summer is a beautiful, wonderous place. The winters…not so much. I miss living there.

    • pithypants July 16, 2012 at 7:17 am #

      Yeah, I didn’t think the winters would really sell people on it.

      • k8edid July 16, 2012 at 8:05 am #

        Tim Allen does voice-over for the “Pure Michigan” commercials – they play all the time down here in Florida. Maybe you could send the travel bureau this post and he could read it?

        I’ve managed to call both peninsular states home, now!!

        I’m assuming you attended the U of M? I won’t hold that against you, though.

      • pithypants July 16, 2012 at 8:39 am #

        Ha! I’m a SPARTAN and a honeybadger, never a Wolverine. And please tell me you’ve ALSO viewed the http://www.notsopuremichigan.com videos. They have two I love – one about Walmart Wolverines, and one about how hot Spartan women are. Maybe I’m biased.

      • k8edid July 16, 2012 at 8:54 am #

        Good. Spartan women truly rock…We lived just south of MSU campus for many years, and I got both my degrees there. Will check out the videos on my lunch break…

  4. Natalie July 16, 2012 at 7:03 am #

    Totally with you on the Vernors my fiance’s family hoards it when they visit Michigan :). Harris teeter down here (Hampton roads) sells it- but you pay like $7 for 6 bottles CRAZY

    • pithypants July 16, 2012 at 7:17 am #

      Right? We usually come back with a few 2L or cases in the trunk. Nothing better to make an ice cream float.

  5. Sonja July 16, 2012 at 7:45 am #

    West Virginians can also use their hand to show what part of the state they live in. (Although there are some stupid people out there who don’t know we are a state.) With your right hand, make a fist- leave out your middle finger and pinky. There you have a handy visual aid for the Wild and Wonderful state of WV. 🙂

    Loved the list!

    • pithypants July 16, 2012 at 7:55 am #

      I’m pretty sure that gesture might attract Trekkies. And WVA gets an undeservedly bad rap – it’s also a gorgeous state!

      • Sonja July 17, 2012 at 7:33 am #

        You are exactly right, we are the red headed step child of America. It’s so sad how many people have never been here, yet think we are the hillbillies they see stereotyped on tv. West Virginia has always been my home and always will. I think it’s absolutely beautiful. We are ‘Almost Heaven’ for a reason 🙂 It’s nice to see what Michigan has….. thanks so much for your posts.

  6. thesinglecell July 16, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    Florida can use anatomical references to point out locations. But I don’t know that you’d want to ask for that kind of a demonstration.

    • pithypants July 16, 2012 at 7:02 pm #

      Good point. Although, anything goes in Florida, so I’m surprised I’ve never seen someone whip it out to give directions.

      • Sonja July 17, 2012 at 7:34 am #

        I think if I ran on to Mark Wahlberg, I’d have to ask for directions. Very clear, very precise directions…..

      • pithypants July 17, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

        “To the left or the right of that mole?”

  7. Love & Lunchmeat July 16, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    When I first moved to Long Island, people would slow down their speech patterns when they found out I was from Michigan. I found this rather odd. Then they would ask about the weather which I also found rather odd. The southeastern part of Michigan gets maybe 5 degrees colder than here. (Granted, the northern parts of Michigan get wicked cold, but it’s kinda like comparing Bakersfield, California to San Diego…)

    I still miss many of these things about Michigan, especially the cherries and being able to drive 80. (I suppose I could do that here, but I’d probably kill someone.)

    You forgot one very important thing. In Michigan, cider mills always serves doughnuts!!!! And really, who wouldn’t move for better traffic, cheap real estate, and good doughnuts?

    • pithypants July 17, 2012 at 7:29 am #

      How did I forget cinnamon donuts and cider mills? You are 100% correct. I thought the two things were mandatory companions until I moved. The rest of the country is missing out on a perfect pairing.

      • k8edid July 18, 2012 at 9:42 am #

        Oh, man….now I gotta go back. That combination cannot be beat. I have a grandson due in September…maybe the apples will be ready. It has actually been hotter in Michigan than here in Florida, so I’ll wait till it cools off there.

  8. thinkingdj July 21, 2012 at 8:10 am #

    Hey, I was visiting MI at the same time. You also forgot all the breweries and the Heinz pickle factory, largest pickle factory in the world! (Though it’s not open to the public.)

    • pithypants July 21, 2012 at 10:11 am #

      Wait. Really? I had no idea there was a pickle factory in the state. It just got even MORE awesome! And let me guess… you had a Bell’s Oberon while you were there?

      • thinkingdj July 21, 2012 at 10:31 am #

        Yep, America’s pickles are made in Holland, east of Grand Rapids, on the lake. Bells is a staple, but we actually toured the New Holland brewery – Mad Hatter is their most well known brew. Michigan has a ton of breweries. The Pure Michigan site has a map that shows 103 different brewing companies.

      • pithypants July 22, 2012 at 5:41 am #

        Wow! Who knew? Apparently I overlooked an entire category because I’m a wine drinker.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Cops + Doughnuts = Yumminess | k8edid - July 21, 2012

    […] resilient, and stalwart.  If you need reasons to enjoy a Michigan adventure, check out this post by Pithypants, as well as this […]

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