How Did Michigan Cities Get Their Names? Part 1

Photo by Chris Arace

Each city in Michigan has a unique history and tradition. This includes everything from when the city was created to how it was named. With that in mind, we’re creating a new feature on the Pure Michigan Connect blog where we will tell the story of how five Michigan cities earned their names. Check out the first five below and look for more in the coming weeks.

 

Detroit:
Let’s start with Detroit, the city with the most Michiganders and one of the oldest cities in the Midwest. The city is named after the Detroit River, which links Lake Huron and Lake Erie. The word “detroit” is French for “strait,” and the French called the river “le détroit du Lac Érié,” meaning “the strait of Lake Erie.” On July 24, 1701, a French explorer and nobleman by the name of Antoine de la Mothe, sieur de Cadillac founded Detroit. Check out the Detroit Fall Beer Festival on October 22 at Eastern Market, which will feature more than 40 Michigan craft breweries offering more than 200 different beers for sampling throughout the day.

Mackinac Island:
Like many historic places in the Great Lakes region, Mackinac Island’s name derives from a Native American language. It’s been said that Native Americans thought the shape of the island resembled a turtle, so they named it “Mitchimakinak” meaning “big turtle.” Then, the French used their own version of the original pronunciation and named it Michilimackinac. However, the English shortened it to the present name: “Mackinac.” You can check out live streaming video of Main Street on Mackinac Island here.

Traverse City:
Traverse City’s name is almost self-explanatory – it is named after the Grand Traverse Bay. Indian hunters and French traders were the first people to spend time here, and it was they who gave the region its name – La Grand Traverse, because of the “long crossing” they had to make by canoe across the mouth of the bay. But even the native Ottawa and Chippewa people didn’t settle here permanently until the early 18th century. Check out the Traverse City page on michigan.org for a listing of more than 150 boutiques and restaurants.

Ludington:
Ludington wasn’t always knows as Ludington, but was originally named Pere Marquette Village, which was named after French missionary and explorer Father Jacques Marquette. After it was settled in 1847, a number of lumbering camps sprung up in the area, and a lumber baron named James Ludington built and settled into what are now impressive historic homes. Residents later renamed the city after him. It’s a place where simple, timeless joys are Pure Michigan.

Grand Rapids:
Before it was named Grand Rapids, the area was settled by Ottawa Indians near the Grand River Valley. One French trader named Louis Campau established a trading post in the area in 1826 and in 1831, he bought 72 acres of land from the federal government for $90 and named his land “Grand Rapids.” This land is now the entire downtown business district of the city. It’s a place created by and for artists of all types, and you can learn more on the Grand Rapids page on Michigan.org.

 

Michigan’s Local Fare in Restaurants with Style

Join Dine Michigan on a tour of some of the best restaurants in Michigan serving local fare. From a fine dining experience, to a diner specializing in gourmet breakfasts, Dine Michigan has you covered.

As fall nears it is time to enjoy Pure Michigan dining at its purest. Dine Michigan has reviewed several restaurants that go above and beyond when it comes to using Michigan’s natural ingredients. These restaurants are known to change the menu as little as every few days to keep with the locally grown fare. So get out and find Michigan grown produce while the season lasts.

By Land or Sea in Coldwater

Photo By Dine Michigan

The Boathouse - Michigan Fine Dining

Fine dining – start on the lake, Coldwater Lake to be exact. Pull up to The Boathouse Restaurant in your boat or in your car and head chef, Chris Nixon and staff will be ready to feed you like you’ve not been fed before. The proof is in its clientele. The Boathouse gets regular visits from Detroit, Indianapolis, Chicago and beyond. Why do people travel to dine here?  Maybe it’s the fact that the staff has traveled from restaurants in New York City and even farther, not just to bring their culinary expertise back to Michigan, but also so they would have the opportunity to cook with some of the purest ingredients grown right here in Michigan, naturally.

Start with an appetizer like the locally grown squash blossoms for an amazing taste sensation. For your salad, the Arugala salad with parmesan direct from Italy and 6 different forms of lemon, from juice to lemon confit, is sure to awaken your palate. Head to the main course where you can’t go wrong with any choice, but we recommend the beef. The 45 day aged beef is sous vide and then pan seared, and one of the best pieces of meat you will ever eat. Finish your meal off with the North 40 Blueberry Shortcake. Yes, with blueberries grown locally! There are many surprises in store that you NEED to experience. If you are a vegetarian, expect a visit from the chef. He will want to prepare a meal to your liking and will make sure it is just that. If you want something really special, call ahead and ask for it. Chef Chris will do his best to get and prepare your heart’s desire to perfection.

Grand Rapids Done Locally

Photo By Dine Michigan

Reserve - Michigan Fine Dining

We had the opportunity to enjoy a casual experience at Reserve in Grand Rapids. If you love wine then this place is an absolute must. For Dine Michigan, the over 100 wines on tap and more than 200 bottled wines were fantastic but the detail to Michigan’s and other naturally grown foods was out of this world. Right here in Grand Rapids, Reserve is blessed to have the art of Chef Matt Millar and his amazing culinary knowledge. From the Charcuterie to the Chocolate Rillete, your taste buds will want more, and much of it is locally grown and stored just for Reserve.

The dessert is to die for, and you must save room for it. It’s so delicious, that we are going to start telling you about the meal from end to beginning! Dessert at its best starts with the Chocolate Rillete, which is a creamy hazelnut spread, topped with a Saskatoon jam. Saskatoon berries are by the way, Michigan’s ONLY native berry. The Rillete is served with a bourbon pound cake, which by itself is delicious. For the main course, it’s time to stop ducking the duck. Try it, that’s all we have to say, as it is amazing. The ducks are from a farm where they are grown free range. So you need an appetizer? Try the Charcuterie; you will love the wide array of sliced meats and cheeses to enjoy with a great glass or bottle of wine. There are many appetizers which are all fantastic, but we are stuck on one unusual item, Chef Matt’s amazing Eggs and Eggs!

A Lansing Breakfast Party

Photo By Dine Michigan

Dine Michigan is offering a free meal to the first person to get a clear picture of Chef Zane's face at work!

Now let’s go get one of the absolute best breakfasts in the state of Michigan. You are headed to a little diner that only serves breakfast on Lansing’s north side called Golden Harvest. Golden Harvest uses an amazing array of fresh produce to produce a breakfast we promise you will remember!  The menu has many great items for adults and kids alike. The kids pancake made like a jolly roger is fun, filling and fantastic. As for adults, skip the menu and look to the specials board. Everything comes large, filling and super tasty, but the specials are truly special. The cook is a surprise. You would expect this little place to have just a standard cook, but not here. At Golden Harvest you are getting a true chef who will turn breakfast into an all day meal for you. Zane, chef and owner, does breakfast specials by starting with the best local in-season ingredients you can get. The prices will not reflect that though. Zane and his wife Vanessa keep prices down and concentrate on using local ingredients and serving great food. If you are in a hurry, be sure to slow down, you may need to wait a few minutes. If there are two of you and you sit at a table of four, plan to share a table with new friends!

Michigan Fine Dining

From a restaurant on the lake serving squash blossoms with flare to a serious breakfast party, these Pure Michigan restaurants will keep you coming back to Michigan for food you will remember, made with pride using local and natural ingredients grown in Michigan!

By Dave Coker of Dine Michigan

Go to www.dinemichigan.com to find more on these restaurants and many more.

Fabulous Fall Finds in Holland

Photo by: Diane Loew

Early morning visitors at the Holland Farmer's Market on 8th Ave.

Thank you to today’s Guest Blogger, Diane Loew for sharing a little about the expected and the unexpected finds at the local Farmer’s Market.

Fall in Michigan, my favorite time of the year. I especially love the Farmer’s Market, is there a better place to shop?

As the seasons change, so does the market. It is full of sensory overload. My Farmer’s Market of choice is Holland’s Farmer’s Market.

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