Thumbs Up for Huron County – A Guide to Pure Michigan’s East Side

Looking to visit Pure Michigan’s east side? From Harbor Beach to Port Huron, and everywhere in between, there are endless opportunities to lose yourself in nature and explore one of the state’s hidden gems. Guest blogger Barbara Ann Siemen, known as Farm Barbie, shares just some of the amazing things Michigan’s thumb has to offer! 

I was raised in Mid-Michigan, only a few miles from I-75; our beachfront home in Bay City was a pit stop for friends and family on their way “up north.” While there are numerous points of interest up north in the Upper Peninsula, and throughout our great mitten state, my roots are in the Thumb, and I think has a lot to offer!

I’ve often joked, because Huron County is its own peninsula, nobody travels through it by mistake. If you are in Huron County, you mean to be there. Sadly, Huron County is easily and often missed. However, there are many wonderful reasons to live, visit, and play in Huron County.

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Photo Courtesy of Karen Murphy.

Let’s start with the geographical fact that Huron County offers you a sunrise to sunset opportunity. Start your lakeshore tour of Huron County by spending the night in my city, Harbor Beach. Stay at a motel, a bed and breakfast, a cabin rental, or a county or city campground. The sunrise view of the Harbor Beach Lighthouse and pier are incredible; enjoy them while walking or jogging along our newly appointed Harbor View Trail.  Our Maritime Festival has been rocking for over 10 years now, and is our biggest event of the summer. Take a tour of the lighthouse, and dine at the beach or at one of our many restaurants before embarking on the rest of your journey.

Travel north on M-25, through Port Hope, but don’t forget to stop for a huge hand-dipped ice cream cone at Grindstone General Store. Enjoy it there, or take it to go. Then, continue on your way to Port Austin. If you enjoy shopping at farmer’s markets, then you are in luck! Port Austin boasts one of the biggest and most successful farmer’s markets in the state! I love picking up fresh vegetables at the market, especially for my Pico de Gallo recipe. I serve it with tortilla chips for a light party dish or afternoon snack, or use it to top off a cheeseburger or scrambled eggs. Of course it is delish in quesadillas, fajitas, or nachos too! Yum! Port Austin is also home to an impressive marina, many restaurants, and a spectacular Fourth of July show. You might even wish to take in a play or musical at the Port Austin Community Players.

Photo Courtesy of Farm Barbie.

Photo Courtesy of Barbara Ann Siemen.

As you travel to the west side of the county, now going south on M-25, be sure to stop at Port Crescent State Park to see the beautiful beach and a favorite state campground.  You will travel through Bay Port, on your way to the quaint cottage town of Caseville, home to the infamous Cheeseburger in Caseville Festival. Caseville also hosts several other festivals and events throughout the year. Caseville is diverse in its accommodations, too, with choices ranging from campgrounds, bed and breakfasts, motels, to weekly cottage rentals. Grab a beer and a bite to eat at the new Thumb Brewery, before heading out on a fishing adventure with Team Gunsmoke.

After you limit out for the day, cuddle up on the beach at Caseville County Park and watch the sunset to complete your journey. You’ve accomplished a lot in Huron County! Congratulations! Now is a good time for you to begin planning your next trip back to HuCo! There are a lot more neat towns and points of interest in Huron County, I just can’t name them all! You” just have to come back soon.

FB Profile picBarbara Ann Siemen, known as Farm Barbie, is a city girl turned country chick, thanks to falling in love with a farmer. She’s a stay at home mom and professional farmer’s wife. She’s also an amateur photographer, chef, and fashionista and an aspiring children’s book author. Check out her blog.

 

21 Ways to Make an Environmental Difference in Pure Michigan

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Happy Earth Day! In honor of everything that’s being done to keep Pure Michigan beautiful, guest blogger Kerrin O’Brien from the Michigan Recycling Coalition shares a a list of things everyone can do to keep our state environmentally clean.

How many of these tips do you often keep in mind?

Earth Day provides us with an important reminder that recycling has become a critical foundation for environmental action. As the warm spring sun shines on Michigan, it is a day to celebrate the beauty found across the state and to remember that our vibrant and sustainable economy is dependent on upon a healthy and productive environment.we all can do to help keep the Great Lakes State clean.

While recycling has become universal with positive environmental action, it’s not easily accessible for all Michigan residents and businesses. There are economic and environmental benefits to capturing and utilizing the more than 4 million tons of waste that we put in Michigan landfills each year. But, Michiganders must rely on their communities, businesses and organizations to provide them with opportunities to recycle and ultimately contribute to a healthy state.

If you do have a rolling recycling cart to wheel out to your curb on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, you are well-served. Learning as much as you can about your program is not only good for the environment,  it can actually save you money. Find out what’s happening in your neck of the woods. Inquire about municipal services or subscription-based services with your hauler. Recycling is gaining traction as a valued public service and you can add your voice to the choir to ask for even better services.

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An easy way to contribute to a healthy environment and economy is to make recycling a priority in your business and home. What does Earth Day mean to you? A day to enjoy the outdoors? A day to take action against

There are also a variety of other ways to make a difference. Here are 22 ways you can make a difference!waste? A reminder of the importance of conservation?

  • 1. Turn off the water while brushing teeth and shaving
  • 2. Go Vegetarian for one day of every week
  • 3. Try to cut two minutes off of your daily shower
  • 4. Buy food, clothing and other items that are locally produced
  • 5. Adjust your thermostat to be 1-3 degrees lower for the day- each degree can save up to 10% in energy costs!
  • 6. Check that your car’s tires are properly inflated and air filters are clean. Maintaining your car means less used parts in a landfill.
  • 7. Get unsubscribed from constant junk mail that gets tossed away
  • 8. Bring your own reusable bags for shopping and pack your lunch in reused glass or plastic containers
  • 9. Bring your own reusable mug/bottle/cup or start a  BYOC (bring your own cup) initiative at your office
  • 10. Challenge yourself by air drying an entire load of laundry or washing with cold- warm water instead of hot
  • 11. Writing Action Day – Look at the things you use every day or buy often, are those companies using recyclable packaging? Are they using too much packaging? Or at the end of that products life are you able to dispose of it in an environmentally friendly way? If not,  let them know that as a loyal buyer of that product that you care about the end life and recyclability of those objects- write them a letter, go on their website or social media and let them know!
  • 12. Donate items, time or money – Old clothes, electronics and other household objects can often be reused or re-purposed in unique way
  • 13. Unplug everything – Maybe it’s your toaster, T.V., Cellphone charger or even cellphone
  • 14. Unplug yourself. Grab a board game, go on a walk, sports, read book or have a scavenger hunt!
  • 15. Dust the coils underneath or on the back side of the fridge
  • 16. Learn more about organic produce and plant vegetables in your yard
  • 17. Take the bus, ride a bike, carpool, or walk to one of your destinations or daily commute
  • 18. Get to know where you can reuse or recycle almost everything in your community
  • 19. Use less paper. Cloth napkins, e-tickets
  • 20. Use the stairs, open the door manually, open the door for someone else manually! Use a hand can opener, stapler, etc. Whatever could be done without electricity try it out, rake your leaves or yard clippings instead of using a leaf blower, go for a run outside instead of the treadmill
  • 21. Get educated- maybe there is an environmental issue you don’t know all the facts on- today get educated on something you care about

kobrienKerrin O’Brien has worked with the Michigan Recycling Coalition in a variety of capacities since 1993. In addition to managing the organization, her interest lies in building consensus and movement around pro-recycling policies that work for both the public and private sector. As a nonprofit development specialist and facilitator, Kerrin has led many nonprofit organizations through strategic planning and development efforts. She holds a Social Science bachelor from Michigan State University and has completed ICL’s Executive Director Development Program.

Help Vote Pullar Stadium as Kraft Hockeyville, USA

Pullar GroupFor more than 75 years, hockey players in Michigan have heralded Sault Ste. Marie’s Pullar Stadium as a standout ice arena. The Pullar was recently selected as a Top 10 Finalist in the Kraft Hockeyville, USA contest. The top rink will take home the title of Kraft Hockeyville USA, $150,000 for the stadium, and a preseason NHL game. The rink was selected based on an essay submitted by a local player, Ron Maleport, who’s been skating at the Pullar since the 1960’s. Pullar Stadium was the only arena in Michigan selected as a finalist.

Built in 1939 the Pullar Community Building (Pullar) was considered “state of the art” with artificial ice providing year round skating. The Pullar is home to the Hiawatha Skating Club established in 1941 and has been used for big bands, teen dances, as a roller rink, and is still being used for visiting circuses, but above all hockey. Pullar ice has been home to decades of local kids and hockey greats.

During WWII Sault Saint Marie’s Soo Locks were heavily guarded due to the importance of materials that were being brought down for the war effort. The Pullar was a temporary home to the overflow of soldiers that couldn’t be lodged at local Fort Brady. Giant barrage balloons, used to hover over the locks, were also housed in the Pullar alongside the bunks of the soldiers.

Jack Adams

Hockey legend Jack Adams and his Red Wings trained on the summer ice at the Pullar from 1948-1958. Players were so fond of the rink and the hospitality of the Sault Ste. Marie community the Wings dubbed the Sault “Hockeytown”. To this day the community proudly wears the badge of The Original Hockeytown.

The Pullar has been an integral part of this community for over seven decades. Generations of skaters have watched as their kids and grandkids grew up on the ice, building skills and confidence. The Pullar has meant so much too so many and Sault Ste. Marie wants to make sure this important part of the community is here for future generations.

Fun Facts about the Pullar Stadium

  • Originally cost $180,000 to build this “state of the art” ice rink
  • One of the oldest artificial ice rinks with continued use in the U.S.
  • In the early days the Pullar was one of the few rinks in the world to have summer ice
  • Greats such as Gordie Howe, Ted Lindasy, Sid Abel, and Alex Delvecchio skated at the Pullar
  • Home of the Soo High Blue Devils hockey team
  • Lake Superior (College) State University’s  Laker men’s hockey team played at the Pullar but are now at the Clarence John “Taffy” Abel Arena
  • Soo Eagles Junior A Hockey team call the Pullar home ice since 1962

Sault Ste. Marie and the Pullar need your help taking the title of Kraft Hockeyville USA.

Cast your votes three ways:

a) Visit www.krafthockeyville.com, click on Pullar Stadium and follow the instructions.

b) Text PULLAR to 35350 to vote (combination of 50 texts & calls per cellular device) message and data rates may apply

c) Call 1-855-255-5975 and select 3 to vote for the Pullar

You can vote up to 50 times per each method each day for up to 150 votes each day. Voting Phase II ends at midnight April 22. If the Pullar receives enough votes to be top in it’s category, it will be one of two finalists to move on to the final voting stage, which is held April 27-29.