In the past few years, my husband and I have repeatedly pondered why we should continue to live in Michigan. It's no secret that Michigan's economy is very depressed (O.K, it's the pits!). We may be home to the Big Three auto makers, but global competition has certainly taken a bite out of the automotive industry and our state's economy has suffered terribly. With 336,000 job losses since mid-2000 and an expected 33,000 more in the next two years.... well, you get the idea...it doesn't look too promising.
Yet, I still reside here and for a number of good reasons. At the top of the list are my grandkids. They live within 2 miles of me and I get to see them several times a week. Apart from family, there are other reasons why I find it hard to part ways with my home state.
1) Michigan ranks #1 in the nation for public golf courses. My husband and I love golf. We travel often, and still find Michigan golf courses are some of the best we've played.
2) Michigan has over 11,000 fresh water lakes, and is surrounded by 4 Great Lakes: Huron, Superior, Erie, and Lake Michigan. There are 10 lakes just within 1/4 to 3 miles of our residence. No wonder Michigan is dubbed a Water Wonderland.
3) Over 115 historic shoreline lighthouses.
4) Over 3288 miles of shoreline. More than the entire Eastern coastline of the US.
5) Mackinac Island's Murdick Fudge. Fudge also has a traditional and delicious place in the hearts and mouths of Michiganians. Over a hundred years ago, on Mackinac Island, Murdick's Candy Kitchen started making fudge. Since that time fudge has sprung into a huge industry on that beautiful island, beloved to honeymooners and other romantics in the warmer weather. Now fudge is available year-round all over the state.
6) Mackinac Island. It is the truly "all natural" theme park of America. Limited to transportation of horse and buggy, bicycle or foot, surrounded by water, it has escaped the vast changes of time. Its real Victorian image is preserved and enhanced by a small population of 500 permanent residents and scores of summer residents, maintaining bluff cottages in original state.
7) Detorit Red Wings (hockey) and Detroit Pistons (basketball). They rock!! Also, our good ole' Detroit Tigers have been playing some awesome ball. And, of course, GO BLUE!!! Our U of M football team is the best (yes, I'm a Wolverine fan...NOT a Spartan fan). Tailgate parties, whether in college parking lots or in front of our own TV, certainly brings a sense of fanfare to Michigan's college football season.
8) Climate. Michigan's climate may not be Hawaii's, but the diverse climate and the unique effects of the Great Lakes create an amazing profusion of agricultural products -- more than 125 of them. When you bite into that delicious chocolate-covered cherry, find a flowering cyclamen delivered to you at the doorstep, or open a chilled bottle of Michigan wine ... you'll be glad you're here. Besides that, the state's blustery February cold makes for good snuggling weather. Winter photo by Al Hyams.
9) Detroit's Annual Jazz Festival. Every year there's an incredible line-up of jazz all-stars. For 28 years, the Detroit International Jazz Festival has attracted visitors and locals to an end of summer ritual on Labor Day Weekend that celebrates one of America’s most important art forms. The festival boasts 6 stages and 100 acts over four days in a city well known for its musical legacy.
10) MOTOWN BABY!!!! Home to the Temptations, Supremes, Four Tops, Gladys Knight, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Jackson Five, Lionel Ritchie.... and on and on. Motown is forever remembered for the music it created during the 1960s that was heard on radios in automobiles as teenagers cruised the streets and highways. Never in history has one company produced so many top ten hits as Motown did during that marvelous decade.