Ten Unforgettable Love Letters to Michigan From Our Fans

Our “A Love So Grand” love letters contest recently came to a close. We had a fantastic turnout with more than 300 letters submitted. Thank you to all who participated!  It was a joy to read your love letters to Michigan. Since there were so many letters that truly expressed all that is grand about the state of Michigan, we put together this roundup of love letters to Michigan from our fans.

403x403_MILoveletter1“A Michigander’s Ode to the Mitten” by Missy Langdon

My Great Lake State with waters blue, to you belongs my love most true
Each season has beauty for us to behold, even in winter – so bitter and cold
From the fluffy white snow that blankets the ground to the ice covered piers and caves all around
Then you ‘spring’ into beauty to which none can compare, with tulips and cherry blossoms blooming with flair
And summer – what joy the thought brings to mind, a more perfect vacation spot no one could find
We can see Pictured Rocks while taking a cruise, with picturesque sunsets in breathtaking hues
Your fresh water lakes give an ocean-like view on Mackinac Island riding bikes built for two
There are mountainous dunes rolling down to the shore, and cherries, melons and berries galore
When the air turns crisp and the apples all grow you prepare for a final, most beautiful show!
Your trees and forests display overhead a canopy of leaves orange, yellow and red
Michigan, your grandness is second to none, with you shall I live till my days are done!

“My beloved Michigan – Fresh Water, Fresh Michigan” by Sunisa Roidoung

I’m originally from Thailand, and Michigan is the first state ever of my life in US. The lakes in Michigan are beyond my expectation. The nature is amazing. I used to understand that lakes were small, might not be deep, and might be narrow like canals, ponds but NO, Michigan enlightens me that lakes are so big and wide. I had a chance riding speed boat with my friends on Lake Michigan 2 years ago. The color was green just like the sea.I never like cruising on the sea because I hate salt water, I feel sticky on my skin. But my experience with the lake is completely different.I opened my mouth so wide to bypass fresh air into my lung faster,I feel like the fresh air brings the highest ozone level into my body! I spent 2 hrs on the Lake. At that time, everything went out just perfectly, I love the lake, I love fresh water.I’m lovin it!
Overall, I love the nature in Michigan; blue sky, big trees, fresh air, fresh water. The name “Pure Michigan” absolutely represents the way I love Michigan.

“Oh, Michigan” by Alicia Tasvibi

Oh, Michigan, Oh, Michigan – you’re pure as you are true;
Your lakes so wide, your trees so green, your skies so bright and blue.
Oh, Michigan, Oh, Michigan – the place I call my home;
Your mitten shape, the goods you make, and towns with garden gnomes.
Oh, Michigan, Oh, Michigan – I never should have fled;
Your seasons change, your strength remains, with more proud years ahead.

Photo courtesy of Instagram user @cassie_smith

Photo courtesy of Instagram user @cassie_smith

“Yooper to the Core” by Stephanie Milbourn

Dear Michigan,
I love you when you’re hot
I love you when you’re cold
I love you when you rain and storm
It never does get old.

I love that you make rainbows
Across a gray blue sky
I love those pudgy, puffy clouds
That don’t look all that high

Spring brings everything to life,
Green grass everywhere
I can watch my daffodils bloom
or relax in my lawn chair

Summer comes with sunshine
The beach calls my name
I’ll enjoy it while it lasts
’cause changing weather is a game

Your fresh fall air comes whipping in
Gitche Gumee waves with all its might
Tree leaves look like Skittle bags
what a beautiful sight!

Then those big, white snowflakes
soon begin to fall
We’ll be breaking records
Because the snow banks are so tall

I love when it gets dark
And the stars are still so bright
The nature of Pure Michigan
Sure beats those city lights.

“My Love” by Kimberly Mannix

My Love,
Oh, how I long for you. Your beauty is beyond compare.
The first time that I laid eyes on you, I knew you had stolen my heart.
From your wide, sweeping porches, to your serene water vistas, nothing holds a candle to you.
I dream of you every night and long to be embraced by your warm breezes and rocking chairs.
With glorious flags and beautiful flowers adorning your doors, you welcome me into your heart.
Being with you on the island takes me back, somewhere in time, where everything moved slowly, love was grand, and
life was sweet.
Until we meet again…
With all my heart and soul, Kim

“To Michigan:” by Vanessa Gutierrez

Five was love at first sight as your beautiful beach sand tickled my eyes. As a child I visited your fields, where my family would work, and squeeze you tight while blueberry juice would drip down my lips. You gave me a kiss on the knee when my bicycle tire slipped on your rural road. Unpredictable snowflakes where the highlight of my day on April 14 when this love letter contest began. You blessed me with sudden rain on my September wedding day. I have felt your bumps along the highway as I weave through traffic on my motorcycle. I have trusted in you as I’ve walked onto your frozen paradise on Lake Michigan. Your heights left me in awe when I encountered Sleeping Bear Dunes. Your grand rivers show off the reflection of the sky as I’ve kayaked within you. You’ve hosted the colorful tulips in my hometown of Holland each spring. My wish is to rest on the beds of the Grand Hotel on the island. I love you my dearest Michigan, you are my refuge, my success, and my future.

1907288_10152811926173289_4591780164611936831_n“My dear Michigan How I Love Thee” by Jodi Schwarzenbach

I’m not sure if it was the way the air smelled on bright, spring mornings or how the lake roared with the onset of summer’s storms.  It may have happened while I felt the clear, cold water touch my skin as I swam or maybe it was the way the lilac’s scents made their mark on my heart.  It could have been the beautiful fall colors and the crunch of the leaves as I’d jump in the piles as a child.  It might have happened on long family boat trips to the beautiful Mackinac Island, viewing the Grand Hotel as if it were a king, welcoming us back each summer.  Or maybe it was while having amazing dinners at the famed Bronner’s in Frankenmuth.  Perhaps it was while sliding down Sleeping Bear Dunes and wondering if I’d ever see any prettier land again in my lifetime.  Maybe it was while having countless picnics with my family at Lumberman’s Monument or Ojibway Island.
I’m not sure of the exact moment I fell in love with Michigan, but she has always had my heart.  We will always be one.

“Come Back to Me” by Norma Allex

One of the hardest things in being apart, is that I miss your grandeur, but it is your warmth, sight,smells, fond memories and love that exudes from Lady Grand and the true love of Elise and Richard that whispers ever so gently “Come back to me”.
You know how to comfort me when I feel low or need to feel great love. No other place in this world makes me feel this way and so connected, especially to times past like 1912. You know how to take hold of me and put me in the arms of Somewhere in Time, year after year. My heart beats faster just thinking of you. You are ingrained into my soul with passion and peace.
I miss everything about you, so much so, that I dream of my return and be in awe of what is to come on that Grand porch with a louder whisper “Come back to me”.
You are the reason I wait patiently and take everything in stride, until my return in October. I can’t wait until the day I am in your arms again and am shouting out in joy,  “I have come back to you and I love you!”

“Mr. Michigan” by Stephanie Conlin Almaguer

I know that I must leave you often, but please understand, the Navy calls me & I must go. I will be back soon though! Walking along your magnificent body of water, laying on top of your golden beaches & wandering aimlessly deep in your trails. Maybe go camping & fishing or visit a town more filled with action! You have so much to offer. Tourists from all over will come to see how magnificent you are soon & you won’t be so lonely while I’m away. Want to enjoy some quality time together? We can plan a romantic getaway to Mackinac Island. Oh how I have always wanted to visit that beautiful island! Maybe we can share a carriage ride together & enjoy some of their famous fudge. We could even enjoy a round of golf at one of your many stunning golf courses. And while your winters are harsh & cold, I do enjoy tubing, skiing & snowmobiling. Don’t be jealous of the world I travel. I love you much more than any place I have ever been. And remember, I always come back home to you, my Mr. Michigan.

“To Michigan” by Sarah Hirsch

Great state, you have it all.  My feet can dip into glittery blue waters, climb sandy dunes, ski down powdery mountainsides, or walk your city streets between casinos, theaters and the finest restaurants.  My ears can hear the cheers from your stadiums, the music and melodies from amphitheaters, the calls of birds swooping over lakes and trees.  My tongue can taste your fresh cherries and apples, Mackinac Island fudge, pasties and packzis, Vernor’s and Faygo.  My eyes can focus on the vivid works of art at your museums, spectacular sunsets over stunning landscapes, or the grandeur of the grandest hotels.  Great state, you possess a wealth of experiences for the senses, and I am richer for knowing you.

 What do you love about Michigan? Tell us in the comments!

Announcing Pure Michigan’s “A Love So Grand” Love Letter Contest

UPDATE: Congratulations to Missy Langdon, winner of our “A Love So Grand” love letters contest! Thanks to Grand Hotel, Missy will enjoy a weekend getaway for two to Mackinac Island. Read Missy’s winning entry “A Michigander’s Ode to the Mitten” here.
Pure Michigan's "A Love So Grand" Love Letter Contest

We’re excited to announce the launch of Pure Michigan’s “A Love So Grand” love letter contest! The contest kicks off today and runs through April 30, 2014. 

Before there were telephones, emails, or texting, people wrote letters to express their love. You’re invited to bring back the love letter for an opportunity to win a trip for two to Mackinac Island, well known for being a romantic getaway destination.

The prize package includes accommodations at Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island for two nights, full breakfast and five-course dinner daily and 18 holes of golf on The Jewel. Airfare and/or transportation to Grand Hotel is not included.

Whether it’s Michigan’s sandy beaches, scenic golf courses, or the unspoiled nature, write a love letter in 1,000 characters or less (including spaces) on what you love about the great state of Michigan or why you would like to visit.

From April 14, 2014 – April 23, 2014,  submit your Pure Michigan love letter through the entry form on michigan.org, Pure Michigan Facebook contest tab, or Grand Hotel Facebook contest tab. Entries are limited to one unique entry per participant.

You must be a fan of Pure Michigan (when entering via the Pure Michigan Facebook contest tab) or Grand Hotel (when entering via the Grand Hotel Facebook contest tab) on Facebook to submit an entry. Participants submitting an entry via michigan.org do not need to become a fan of Pure Michigan or Grand Hotel on Facebook to enter.

Vote for your favorite entry from April 24, 2014 – April 30, 2014 on michigan.org, the Pure Michigan Facebook contest tab or Grand Hotel Facebook contest tab. You must be a fan of Pure Michigan (when voting via the Pure Michigan Facebook contest tab) or Grand Hotel (when voting via the Grand Hotel Facebook contest tab) on Facebook to view and vote on the entries. Voting is limited to once per day.

The winner will be chosen from the top 10 entries, as voted by fans, based on which letter or poem best reflects a passion and appreciation for the beauty of Pure Michigan or desire to experience it. The winner will be announced during the week of May 5.

View the official rules and regulations here.

What do you love about our great state of Michigan? 

Visit the entry form on michigan.org or the custom tabs on the Pure Michigan Facebook page and Grand Hotel Facebook page to tell us about your Pure Michigan “Love So Grand” today!

A Grand Romantic Getaway (Part 2)

Our Pin to Win: Michigan in Love contest was launched in February when we asked fans to create a Pinterest board that represented what an ideal romantic getaway looked like to them. We received a ton of great submissions, but ultimately selected Megan Battaglia of Buffalo, New York randomly as the winner. Megan immediately began planning a romantic getaway for her and her husband to take to Mackinac Island (and beyond!), which they enjoyed last month.

Today Megan tells us about their magical voyage around the state, their favorite stops along the way and even mentions needing to make some return trips to the state in the future!

Read from her below and visit michigan.org to learn more about Michigan vacation destinations.

My husband and I have just returned from our Pure Michigan Romantic Getaway – 2 days in Mackinac Island at Grand Hotel, round trip air from American Airlines, and a Buick rental car. We did the best we could to explore as much of western and northern Michigan as we could and here is how we did:

Day 1

Our first stop in our luxurious Buick Enclave was the Pure Michigan information center in New Buffalo where we grabbed maps and guides for all the beach towns we planned to visit as we drove up the west coast of Michigan.

Next stop, Holland. Beautiful town, plenty of shops and restaurants. We decided to have lunch at the New Holland Brewing Co. and sample some of their craft beers. We then visited the Windmill Island Gardens and toured DeZwann – the only authentic working Dutch windmill in the US! Next, onto Grand Haven where we visited the lighthouse and pier and walked the 2 ½ mile boardwalk which was lined with shops, restaurants, marinas, and shady benches to sit and enjoy the view.

After driving through other beautiful beach towns like Muskegon and Ludington, we finally arrived in Mackinaw City just in time for the sunset and to see the lights on the bridge. We stayed at a beautiful little motel “American Boutique Inn” right next to a waterfront park with a view of the bridge.

Day 2

Megan's view from her room at Grand Hotel

Finally, onto Mackinac Island and Grand Hotel! The town is like a scene from a movie set. Right away you notice the pace slows, people riding bikes, horse drawn carriages clop by, fudge shops offering free samples outside (it is ALL about the fudge here so we decided it was our “duty” to taste as many as we could). After shopping in town, we took Grand Hotel’s carriage up to the hotel to check in. Our driver was a year round resident of the island and shared some fascinating stories about life on the island. As we pulled up to the hotel it was as grand and welcoming as all the pictures you see! We were greeted with smiles and given a quick orientation to all Grand Hotel has to offer. Our room was  breathtaking – blue and green with beautiful antiques and a patio looking out over the lake. We were welcomed with a basket of champagne, roses, cheese, fruit and of course, fudge!

We then decided to tour the grounds of the hotel to learn as much as we could about this amazing place. We had ice cream at the new Sadie’s Ice Cream Parlor, visited the shops at the hotel, toured the flower gardens and the Esther Williams pool, walked the labyrinth, checked out the golf course, the Jockey Club and the Gate House restaurants,  stopped in at Grand Hotel Outlet Store where they sell discontinued items from the hotel (the manager of the store is a wealth of knowledge about the hotel and the island!) Finally, we settled on the porch (the longest front porch in the US and is as amazing as you would expect with magnificent views of the lake and gardens) for cocktails and then headed in for a wonderful dinner.

Day 3

The next day, we thought we would like to see more of the island and learn more of its history so the concierge at Grand Hotel set us up with our own private horse and carriage tour. Our tour guide took us along the shore up into the state park, to Arch Rock and Fort Mackinac – it was all beautiful and fascinating!

That night, as another part of our prize package, we enjoyed dinner at the Woods Restaurant which is a short horse-drawn carriage ride into the wooded interior of Mackinac Island. The restaurant is in a beautiful, warm, and cozy Tudor mansion and serving Bavarian style food. After dinner we enjoyed drinks in the Audubon Wine Room back at Grand Hotel.

I have to admit we were sad to leave the next day! We did the best we could to take advantage of all Grand Hotel has to offer but we definitely need to come back to spend some more time here! I am already perusing the fall specials!

Day 4

We were back in our beautiful Buick and onto another road trip day! We headed straight down from Mackinaw City to Route 119 and the Tunnel of Trees, a 20 mile one lane road under a canopy of trees along Lake Michigan. It was everything I dreamt it would be! Along the way we stopped at the 70 year-old Good Hart General Store with absolutely amazing homemade baked goods, deli items and famous chicken pot pies.

Megan and her husband stopping for a photo during one of their stops

From there we drove through Harbor Springs, Petoskey and Bay Harbor on our way to our final stop – Traverse City and the Leelanau Peninsula.

Day 5

Today we toured the Leelanau Peninsula by the way of scenic highway, M22. Our stops included:

  • Glen Arbor (beautiful beaches and home to the Cherry Republic Store and deli! Here it is all about the CHERRIES and we enjoyed them in every form they had!)
  • Empire (one of the best public beaches I have ever seen!)
  • Leland and Fishtown (ate at the Cove Restaurant perched right above the waterfall and looking down over the shops in Fishtown)
  • Wineries along M22 (including Chateau de Leelanau Vineyard, Black Star Farms, Good Neighbor Organic Vineyard, and Good Harbor Vineyards – there are so many more and another wine trail along the Old Mission Peninsula)
  • Suttons Bay (beautiful historic village with gorgeous views of the lake)

Day 6

For our last day, we saved the awe inspiring Sleeping Bear Dunes. This area has fascinated me since I learned a few years back that it had been voted the most beautiful place in America and it truly lives up to its name. Sleeping Bear Dunes is a 35-mile stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline with immense sand dunes sculpted by years of wind and water.

Our trip has come to an end and here are some of the things we learned:

  • Everyone we met in Michigan was kind to us
  • Everyone we met also dreamed of staying at Grand Hotel
  • Lake Michigan is a vast, pure, and beautiful lake. The colors of the lake in some spots look like the Caribbean (turquoise, teal and navy blue) Now, I understand the T-shirt slogan “Lake Michigan Unsalted” – it looks like an ocean!
  • Northern Michigan’s wines are delicious and rival those of any other state
  • The beaches of western and northern Michigan are some of the most beautiful beaches we have ever seen
  • We need MANY trips back to discover more. I don’t think we even scratched the surface of all there is to see and do.
  • I have become a “Pure Michigan Ambassador” and thanks to this wonderful prize trip, I have peaked the interest of so many people who have never thought of Michigan as a vacation spot – and many of them are already planning their trips to Michigan!

Thank you Pure Michigan, Grand Hotel, American Airlines and Buick for the trip of a lifetime – and we will be back!

Congrats again to Megan on being the winner of our Pinterest contest! We are thrilled that she and her husband enjoyed their trip to Michigan.

What would your perfect Pure Michigan trip entail? Tell us in the comments below.