There Is No Place Like Home

We are very excited to share the news of the brand new Pure Michigan Living with you.  Our good friend and colleague, Joe Borgstrom, explains what the movement is about, and how you can help promote Michigan as not just a travel destination, but as a place to call home.

Pure Michigan Living

For the last few years, we here in Michigan have been given goose bumps listening to Tim Allen’s voiceovers of breathtaking images depicting our state in the fantastic “Pure Michigan” commercials. These commercials went national last year and introduced many people across the country to our great state. My friends and family who’ve never experienced Michigan all asked me the same question: “Does it really look like that?” The answer resoundingly is YES!

This campaign has done so much to elevate not only Michigan in the minds of travelers, but has given our residents a much needed ego boost in the midst of the constant onslaught of bad news. We at the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) wondered if there was a way to take that pride and use it to promote our state as a place not just to bring your business or your family on vacation, but as a place to live?  Thankfully, our partners at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Travel Michigan felt the same.

Today, we proudly launch, dedicated to covering good news and quality of life stories about our great state. As a part of our launch, we are asking residents of Michigan to share their stories of why they choose to live in Michigan. This “Choose Michigan” campaign seeks to collect 1,000 stories over the next week. Two lucky submissions will be randomly selected and awarded one of two great Michigan getaways donated by Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa of Thompsonville and the Westin Book Cadillac of Detroit.

We hope you share your story of why you Choose Michigan as the place for you to live your life!

Follow Pure Michigan Living on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook to show your support and share your stories with them.  And be sure to leave a comment below to let us know what you think of this new movement!

We hope you are as excited as we are to see Pure Michigan Living take off.  If you are a Michigan resident, please consider submitting your story, and let people know why you have chosen to stay here.

Joe Borgstrom is the Director of Specialized Technical Assistance & Revitalization Strategy for the Michigan State Housing Development Authority. Joe oversees the Michigan Main Street Center @ MSHDA as well as the new Pure Michigan Living program. He lives in East Lansing with his wife Kirsten and two kids, Kate and Jack.


A Musical Montage

Thanks to Stacy Niedzwiecki for this stunning guest blog submission.  These are photos she took at Sleeping Bear Dunes in Empire.  Stacy won 2nd place in the Pure Michigan Pro Photo Contest in August of 2009.  Remember - we are always looking for guest bloggers, so be sure to send us your pictures, videos, and stories!

Stacy_MichiganMomentsStacy Niedzwiecki, an outdoor photographer and graphic designer, assembled this video montage of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as part of her entry for ArtPrize 2009 held in Grand Rapids. The Rockford, Michigan photographer captured the majority of the images during her time as an Artist-in-Residence with the Glen Arbor Art Association in fall of 2007.  Let Stacy know what you think of her pictures by contacting her via Twitter, or by leaving a comment below.

Pure Michigan 2010 Resolutions for Maria Wygnal

From George Zimmermann’s resolution to attend Elvisfest and Dave Lorenz’s goal of going ice climbing, to Kirsten Borgstrom’s promise to try dog sledding in 2010, our team is resolved to travel the state in 2010 and take in as much Pure Michigan as they can.  Today, we’re introducing you to Maria Wygnal, and sharing her goals for 2010.

Maria is a travel marketing specialist with Travel Michigan/Michigan Economic Development Corp.  She grew up in the greater Lansing area and currently lives in East Lansing.  Her interests include travel, social media, graphic design and photography.  She’s also the voice of the Pure Michigan Twitter account, and you can see her out and about at many Pure Michigan events.  Here’s what she had to say when we asked her what her Pure Michigan resolutions were for 2010:

My personal list includes some of the typical blah resolutions, but when it comes to places I want to visit and things I want to do in Michigan… my aspirations are much more exciting! While growing up, my parents took my brother and I on many camping trips in Michigan and, during high school and college, I’ve enjoyed many other trips around the state with friends and family. I always thought I pretty much knew what Michigan had to offer. Over the past nine months, I’ve come to realize I was wrong. Since part of my job at Travel Michigan is creating and editing content for and our social media channels, I’ve learned a lot about some of the destinations I’ve been missing:

Maria hanging out near the campfire at Tahquamenon Falls State Park with Lux

Maria hanging out near the campfire at Tahquamenon Falls State Park with Lux

  • Explore new wilderness in the Upper Peninsula – Last year, I spent my Fourth of July weekend camping at Tahquamenon Falls State Park. This year I’d like to experience one of the U.P. treasures I’ve been wanting to visit ever since I heard about it… Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in Ontonagon. As Michigan’s largest state park and only state designated wilderness, the “Porkies” has 60,000 acres to explore and contains the largest tract of old-growth forest in the Midwest. The idea of camping, hiking, canoeing, seeing waterfalls, secluded lakes and towering trees, and having the chance to photograph it all is #1 on my list!
  • Visit Michigan’s largest spring – Another U.P. treasure… 200 feet across and 40 feet deep, an amazing 10,000 gallons a minute gush from the fissures of Kitch-iti-kipi (also known as “Big Springs”) at Palms Book State Park in Thompson. An observation raft allows you to view the fascinating underwater features of the crystal clear waters below. My mom said we went there during a family camping trip when I was young, but I don’t remember it. The photos I’ve seen have convinced me it’s worth going back.
  • Discover Michigan shipwrecks – From what I hear, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena is a great place to do just that.  And, since scuba diving is on my list of things to learn this year, I’m hoping to see some wrecks on the bottom of Lake Huron! While in the U.P., I hope to check out the Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tour in Munising for the first time as well.
  • Visit Hitsville USA (the original home of Motown Records) –Visiting downtown Detroit is always a treat for me because I enjoy the chance to look at amazing historic buildings. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have a favorite old building that I always look for when I’m downtown for a Tigers game. Detroit is rich with history and culture… and one of its most popular tourist destinations is the Motown Historical Museum. It’s hard to believe I’ve never been, so hopefully I’ll get a chance to make it there on one of my trips to the D this year.
  • Go downhill skiing – I always get slack for this one since I grew up in Michigan, but I have never been skiing… never. In eighth grade, my class was supposed to take a group trip to one of the ski areas and, for some reason that I no longer recall, the trip was cancelled. My skiing opportunities have been downhill (haha) ever since. Things are looking better for 2010 (thanks to a pretty nifty job). Watch out for me on the slopes!

Have you done any of the things on Maria’s list?  If so, and you have tips or advice to share with her, leave her a comment and let her know.

We hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know some of our talented team here at Pure Michigan.  If you see them out at an event, feel free to stop them and say hello.  And remember, we would love to hear your Pure Michigan New Year’s resolutions – you can share them with us on our Facebook Fan Page, Twitter (using the hashtag #MIspy), or by leaving a comment below.