Duck Days of Summer

Here’s a creative guest blogger submission from Mary Wyatt of Redford, Michigan.

“You don’t swim?” our host asked as the rest of the vacation-types prepared to enjoy the not-just-good-but-Great-Lake up close.

This isn’t swimming?” I replied, ankle-deep, scoping out all the best rocks on this particular stretch of Lake Huron beachfront. Mine, I tell you, MINE, MINE!!!! Oh.

Michigan Beach- OscodaThe beach here, north of Oscoda is gorgeous, just the right ratio of sand-to-beach-grass, comfy Adirondack chairs, sunshine, breeze, the sound of the surf gently lapping the shore. It’s just that the water is, well, I’d call it chilly, but up here the rating methodology is ducks. As in, how many ducks under water does it take before one is comfortable enough to enjoy the surf. A hot day might be classified as a two-duck-day. Cooler weather might call for three or even (gasp!-literally) four ducks. Beyond that is, I believe, hypothermia.

As a child, I was inseparable from the water. We nearly always had a backyard pool, and every Wednesday afternoon was spent at Camp Dearborn in Milford. In the summer, normal clothes were rarely worn. When a child woke in the morning, it was customary for said child to put on a bathing suit in lieu of real clothes. Kid heaven, no underwear required! All day we were in and out of the pool. Swim time lasted until one’s body temperature dropped sufficiently to induce Popsicle-blue lips. We got out long enough to have lunch, play on swings, enjoy some bike-riding, or play some tag (Not it!). When outside got boring, it was right back into the pool or the lake. We must have been the cleanest kids for miles.

At this advanced age, however, I have a hard time even using the lap pool where I work out. It’s only heated to 84 degrees, you see. The therapy pool, however, is a balmy 93 degrees.

So you see, it’s not that I don’t swim, it’s just that there aren’t enough ducks.

Travel Michigan Guest Blogger - WyattMary is a lifelong resident of Metro Detroit, and uses her devotion to the Red Wings to survive the winters! She teaches sixth grade because she enjoys hanging out with 12-year-olds. Some of her favorite Michigan places are Saugatuck, Petoskey, Traverse City, Dearborn, Oscoda, and Detroit. Go Tigers!

If you have any questions about his post, feel free to leave a comment, or contact Mary via email or Twitter (@middleagedwoman).

Michigan’s Second City

Another fantastic guest blogger submission – this one by Eric Kehoe of Grand Rapids MI.

I moved to Michigan’s West Coast about four years ago when I began attending Grand Valley State University.  Ever since then, I have grown to love Michigan’s Second City; Grand Rapids.

I relocated to downtown Grand Rapids last summer, moving into a 100-year-old house on Heritage Hill with my four roommates.  This house was like nothing I have lived in before — well, the entire neighborhood was of nothing I had been surrounded by before.

I grew up in Any Suburb, USA, where all that surrounded my neighborhood was corporate strip malls and a lack of personality.  Living in a city like that, it is hard to not get sucked into the rat race of a material world, easily forgetting the things that make this country, and, in particular, Michigan, so great; family businesses, community, fellowship, and local pride.

These are all brilliant qualities I see every time I step out of my Colonial Revival on the Hill and ride myNighttime in Grand Rapids bike through Midtown, down Wealthy Street, and into the heart of Grand Rapids.  Every time I grab lunch at Marie Catrib’s or a beer at Founders Brewing Co., I see the community–the sense of pride–in action.  I love being able to head to The Winchester, and read, almost defiantly written on their menu, that they “strongly support local business.” You can taste it in the food they offer, serving up local produce.

Speaking of produce, it is worth mentioning that I can walk two or three blocks down the road and get farm-fresh goods in the middle of the city at the Fulton Street Farmers Market.

Downtown at Rosa Parks Circle, or at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the community comes together. Whether it be for Pillow Fights or Blues Music, you can always find a great collection of Michiganders meeting up.  If the summer is getting too hot, my roommates and I pile into the car and head to Lake Michigan, where, if you are looking for it, you notice a collective unity between all beach goers.  We do not need to say anything; a smile and nod between two folks carries with it the quiet sense of appreciation for a coast we have grown to love.  And when autumn comes, and the leaves turn to that familiar Michigan hue, I look around and remind myself how lucky I am to live in a city that offers everything I can wish for.

I am proud to call Grand Rapids, and Michigan, my home.  If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you.

Eric Kehoe is a twenty-two year veteran of Michigan and plays in the band Valentiger.  You can read more about him at www.erickehoe.com.  If you have any questions about his post, feel free to leave a comment, or contact Eric via Twitter (@erickehoe)

Festivals This Week in Michigan – Week Beginning Aug 9th

As summer rolls on, let’s take a look at some the upcoming festivals around Michigan in the next week.

Looking for a family fun filled weekend in Northeast Michigan? Then visit the Buckley Old Engine Show , August 13-16, 2009.  Within the 200+ Acre show ground you can see “the past in motion” with hundreds of antique gas, steam and oil engines on display, plus working blacksmiths and foundry, old time crafts demos, flea market and many more attractions.  Make a weekend of it and take the family camping at one of the two designated camping areas adjacent to the show ground.

minty_mascot Come to St Johns in East Central Michigan and meet Minty, the mascot for the 25th St. Johns Mint Festival, August 14-16, 2009.  Enjoy everything mint as well as arts and crafts, pony rides, parade and a chocolate mint pudding-eating contest. 

 This year’s Heritage Celebration in Calumet in the Upper Peninsula, which celebrates the diverse ethnicity of immigrants who settled in the region, is Italian themed.  Events include an Italian Sausage making class, Heritage Parade, Gun and Sport Show and “The Great Deer Chase” bike race.  Don’t miss this event being held August 14 – 15, 2009.

 If you are in the Detroit Metro area of the state around August 15th, you have to take the time to visit the 15th Woodward Dream CruiseThis event which began as a small fundraising event to collect money for a soccer field in Ferndale, Michigan, has become the world’s largest one day automotive event, drawing 1.5 million people and 40,000 classic cars from around the world.  Come step back in time and enjoy the cruise at one of the nine different communities that host this event, from Ferndale to Pontiac on Woodward Avenue.

woodward

 

 Stay tuned for more festival information or visit the events page on Michigan.org.