Five Spectacular Pure Michigan Instagram Fan Photos from July

This month, our Pure Michigan Instagram community has continued to amaze us with stunning photos from around the state. From sunrises and sunsets to days at the beach or the ballgame, we saw it all on Instagram this month. Here are five spectacular photos that we wanted to share today. For more, see our MarchAprilMay and June Instagram roundups and be sure to follow Pure Michigan on Instagram.

Camping at Port Crescent State Park. Photo by @salwangeorgesphotography:

A breathtaking view from Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Photo by @casiepr: 

An endless field of sunflowers, captured by @detroit_d in Traverse City:

A beautiful day at Log Slide near Grand Marais. Photo by @ariewise:

Sunset along Lake Superior, captured by @jmwuokko:

If you’re on Instagram, follow us @puremichigan! If you’d like us to share your photos from across the state, please tag them with #PureMichigan to give us permission to repost.

What’s New at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park

Fort Wilkins is a restored mid nineteenth century military outpost and lighthouse museum on the rugged shores of Lake Superior. If you’re visiting the Upper Peninsula this summer, it’s a must-see with friends and family! Today Barry James, a history specialist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, fills us in on what’s new this summer at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park.

If you drive north near the very tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula, you’ll be in Copper Harbor, Michigan’s northernmost village. Known for scenic views, excellent hiking and biking trails, this picturesque town also boasts Michigan’s northernmost fort.  Just a mile from the village is historic Fort Wilkins State Park.

The park is unique because it is bordered by water in a setting virtually undisturbed by modern intrusions. Overlooking Lake Superior’s rugged shoreline, nearly 600 miles from their regimental headquarters at Detroit, soldiers built Fort Wilkins in 1844 to keep law and order during Michigan’s copper rush.  If they could return today, the men, women and children who once lived there would still recognize this wilderness outpost, where 19 buildings survive – 12 of them original structures dating from the 1840s.

A perfect place for children to explore and learn, most of the fort’s buildings are accessible. Some have period room settings, others have hands-on displays. The Michigan Historical Center recently completed renovation to exhibits in the Married Enlisted Men’s cabins. Located outside of the fort’s wooden stockade, the four log cabins once housed married soldiers and their families. Known as “Suds Row,” this is where the post laundresses washed clothes. The cabins now introduce visitors to Fort Wilkins through a new audio-visual program, exhibits and a cabin where kids can compare the past to the present.

The new Married Enlisted Man quarters where kids can play and see how people lived in the mid-1800s

When entering one of the cabins children can play in a mid-nineteenth century log cabin exhibit. They learn about period cooking, games and keeping house by measuring period ingredients to “Make a Meal,” learning the “Steps of Laundry” and playing period children’s floor games. The open exhibit allows kids to touch objects, climb on a period bed, and play house.

Another noteworthy improvement is the nine-minute orientation program, “Beyond the Wilderness: The Fort Wilkins Story.” The program details the fort’s history and helps park visitors understand the origins of Michigan’s copper rush. The Michigan Historical Center carried out the renovation project in collaboration with the Department of Natural Resources’ Parks and Recreation Division with additional funding support from the Keweenaw National Historical Park Advisory Commission.

If you are traveling the Upper Peninsula this summer, be sure to visit Fort Wilkins Historic State Park and check out the new log cabin exhibits, as well as the other fort displays. You may even meet a laundress or a soldier in full costume. The fort presents an engaging experience that educates both adults and children about life at this remote outpost. Fort Wilkins State Park is open now through the end of August.

Are you visiting Fort Wilkins State Park this summer? Share with us below!

Barry James is a history specialist for the DNR’s Michigan Historical Center in the Upper Peninsula. He works out of the Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee.

15 Reasons to Love Summer in Michigan

Summer is officially underway in Pure Michigan! To celebrate the season, we asked fans on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Instagram “What do you love most about summertime in Pure Michigan?”

From outdoor events and festivals to long days at the beach and much more, summer means something special to everyone. Below is a roundup of just some of our favorite responses from fans. If yours is missing, tell us in the comments section below what summer in Michigan means to you!

“Swimming in and boating on Lake Charlevoix, camping, Lake Michigan, Lake Charlevoix, Torch Lake, and Walloon Lake sunsets!! I LOVE where I live!!” –  Teena McKenney Haskin

“Driving down backroads at night racing with the lightning bugs, eating fresh blueberries and strawberries, hearing whip-poor-wills at night and the first lake swim of the season, among others. I love Michigan!” – Marlene Guyton

“Camping at the many state parks especially in the U.P., canoeing the Platte River, hiking endless miles of trails at Ludington State Park, Sleeping Bear Dunes, music at Interlochen, waterfalls and lighthouses, Higgins Lake, Warren Dunes, 4th of July fireworks on Silver Beach in St. Joseph and the Cherry Festival in Traverse City. So many great places….aaahhhhh Michigan how I love you!”  -Tracy Weber

“Warm, breezy days, and yards filled with flowers. Fresh cherries and strawberries and watermelon! Fresh veggies from farmer’s markets too! Love the wonderful beaches along the west coast and the fun towns nearby, like Saugatuck, Grand Haven and Traverse City. Love the beautiful lakes for swimming, fishing and boating. Love camping and cottage time and meeting visitors from all over the country! Tiger’s games and visiting all the suburbs of Detroit and the cool restaurants and bars, like Madison’s in Mt. Clemens! Up north, “The Bridge”, Mackinac Island… Really, what’s not to LOVE about Michigan in summertime! OH! And the first day of summer is my birthday too! So there you go! PURE Michigan, simply the best!” -Susan Van Dyke Bowersox

“Sitting on the bluffs in South Haven, enjoying ice cream from Captain Nemo’s.” – Jan Walters

“Everything! The lakes, summer fruits and vegetables, Woodward Dream Cruise, art shows, festivals, family birthdays and get-togethers, 4th of July fireworks, lightening bugs, listening to the frogs at night, graduations, and more!” –Nancy Perkins

“Crystal clear blue water, beautiful forests, the smell of pine and sand between my toes. There’s no place like home in the mitten.”  -Anita Hoogenstryd Boonstra

“Warm and beautiful days and cool evenings. Mustn’t forget the gazillion stars on a clear, summer night!” -Renee Cummins

“Making our annual trip “home” to the Manistee/Arcadia area to visit the family and state we love so much….Family bonfire by the lake is always the highlight” - Tracy Dan Daberkoe

“I love hiking in the Porcupine Mts. And secondly, walking the beach at Grand Haven. Then there’s Copper Harbor…so many awesome places.” – Nancy J Occhipinti

“Everything – sunrise in Caseville, beaches on the west shore from South Haven to Arcadia, wineries of Old Mission Peninsula and golf.” – Joel Roach

Concerts. Baseball. Exploring Up North. Classic cars, parades, and shows. Finding constellations in the starry sky. Fireworks over the water.” – Liz Rademacher

“What I love about summertime in Michigan is EVERYTHING!” – Whitney Reed

The Grand Haven beach town feel. Just moved back after 10 years in Minnesota and now I take none of the luxuries and privileges of this town for granted!!” – Ben Pierce

“Campfires till really late under a starry sky, and warm sand to bury my feet in. Silver Lake duning!” – Terry Ellyatt Klein

Why do you love summer in Michigan