I Come From the Land of Hands

I live in the state of Michigan which is located in the upper part of the Midwest section of the United States. Michigan has 2 peninsulas with the Lower Peninsula shaped like a mitten. But as you can see from the picture below, both peninsulas can be formed by using both hands. So it makes it very “handy” (I love puns, giggle!) to be able to point out on your hands where it is in Michigan that you live.

I live in Bay City, which is at the bottom between the index finger and the thumb. It is on the Saginaw River very close to where the Saginaw Bay is located. Saginaw Bay is the very large inlet off of Lake Huron between the index finger and the thumb.

Michigan is a very beautiful state surrounded by 4 of the 5 Great Lakes. In fact I believe I read somewhere that out of the 48 contiguous states in America (which means excluding the states of Alaska and Hawaii), Michigan, with both of its peninsulas, has the longest coastline of all of those 48 states.

And I also believe that in that same article I read that Michigan has the largest number of registered boats and boaters in all of the 50 states as well.

Michigan has a large number of inland lakes and rivers and millions of acres of forests. If you are the outdoorsy type, my beautiful state just about has it all for you, except for mountains. We do have some spectacular cliffs along the shores of Lake Michigan in both the Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula and along Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula.

The only physical thing that connects the two peninsulas is the beautiful Mackinac Bridge (pronounced Mack-in-aw.) It is a suspension bridge that stretches for 26,372 feet (8,038 m) between Mackinaw City in the Lower Peninsula and St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula. It spans over where the Lakes Michigan and Huron meet and that meeting point is called the Straits of Mackinac.

I have ridden over the bridge several times with my dad driving while with my mom and my brothers. I drove a round trip one time over it with my mom and my daughter, Tara. It can be a very scary drive, especially if the winds or the weather are rough, but oh, the views of the Lakes are spectacular and breath-taking.

I had driven my mom and my daughter, Tara, one time across the bridge to specifically have a shopping trip and an early dinner in St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula so that we could later see the pretty lights turn on at dusk before driving back over the Mackinac Bridge to the Lower Peninsula.

After we made our return crossing, I told my mom and Tara how proud I was of myself for driving that round trip over the bridge. I told them that there are some seasoned truck drivers, as well as regular drivers, who cannot make that sometimes white-knuckle drive over the bridge and that the Mackinac Bridge Authority has drivers on both sides who will drive the big rig trucks or passenger cars for the scared drivers.

One place I have visited twice is Mackinac Island. It is located in the Straits of Mackinac and it is a very neat place to visit, especially in June during lilac season.

There are no cars allowed on Mackinac Island. During the tourist season of late May through late September, the visitors can travel around the island in horse-drawn carriages (and I strongly recommend that you sit towards the back of the carriages because the horses, as horses will do, frequently plop patties and often loudly and stinkily fart.) But other than that tip, riding in the carriages around the island on a guided tour of the many of the interesting and beautiful sights is a lot of fun.

People can also tour the island on foot or on bicycles that can be rented. In the wintertime, most of the few year-round residents use snowmobiles around the island and they also drive their snowmobiles on the ice road to St. Ignace when Lake Huron finally freezes over.

Mackinac Island has played a very important role in the long-ago Great Lakes fur trade, as well as during the Revolutionary War when the British established Fort Mackinac, and it was also the site of 2 battles during the War of 1812.

There are many beautiful Victorian homes on Mackinac Island, as well as other architecturally interesting buildings, most especially the Grand Hotel.

The Grand Hotel was the primary location in the great movie, “Somewhere in Time” that starred the late Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. The Grand Hotel is also known for its world’s largest porch with many rocking chairs and other seating areas with great views of the Mackinac Bridge and the Straits of Mackinac.

“Somewhere in Time” fans have an annual October meeting at the Grand Hotel and both Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour have attended several times in the past.

And the fudge, oh yum! Mackinac Island has lots of little fudge shops that make scrumptious confections. The tourists are popularly called “fudgies” for their many purchases of that divine treat.

Each peninsula has special nicknames for the residents. Because the people in the Lower Peninsula, the most populated one, live “under” or “below” the bridge, they are called “trolls” by the people in the Upper Peninsula. Because the Upper Peninsula is commonly referred to as the U.P., the trolls then call the people who live there “Yoopers.” All said with love and affection. šŸ˜€

I lived for many years in both Flint and Flushing in Genesee County, which is about 60 miles northwest of Detroit. I moved to Bay City 5 years ago to be closer to Tara and my granddaughters and I love it here.

Bay City is approximately 40 miles northeast from Flushing where I primarily lived for 25 years. Our Flushing home was out in the country with our 5 meadowed acres that had deep woods at the northern end of our land.

I didn’t know for sure if I would like living in a city again after loving the quiet nature-filled home in Flushing but I do love living in Bay City. It is a big-little town with so much fun times and many types of celebrations along both sides of the Saginaw River that splits Bay City into its east and west sides.

I live on the 6th floor of a 9-story apartment building and I have great views of the Saginaw River from both my bedroom window and my balcony. I still get a kick out of watching the large freighter ships and the many sailboats and smaller boats go up and down the Saginaw River and pass through the 4 drawbridges in Bay City.

I have a great view also of the Liberty Bridge and 2 years ago I was so excited to see the Tall Ships come in and make port in downtown Bay City. The Tall Ships are replicas of different kinds of schooners, brigs, barques and other several-masted ships.

The Tall Ships organization, often with college student volunteers, visit different cities along the Great Lakes every 3-4 years and they teach people about the different types of ships and what life is like living on them with guided tours.

I have visited many different areas of Michigan but there are still some places I have on my “bucket list” I want to see. I most especially want to see the huge Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes on Lake Michigan in the Lower Peninsula and the Painted Rocks and Isle Royale National Park in the Upper Peninsula. Isle Royale is the largest island in Lake Superior, which is also on my “bucket list” too.

Michigan has so many beautiful and fun and interesting places to visit. If you ever get a chance to visit my wonderful state, you will leave with happy memories of a very good time.

So come to the Land of Hands!

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Mackinac Bridge

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Grand Hotel

The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island

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A scene from the movie, “Somewhere in Time”

 

 

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “I Come From the Land of Hands

    1. Any season, depending on what you are primarily interested in. If you enjoy downhill skiing, cross-country skiing or snowmobiling or ice fishing, Michigan is great for that in the winter time. There are walleye fishing contests on the Saginaw River in both Saginaw and Bay City. The Perchville Winterfest in the Tawas area on Lake Huron and Tip-Up Town winter fest in Houghton Lake are all popular winter fun times. If you are a spring and summer fan, heck, we have so much going on all over the state: the Cherry Festival in Traverse City, the Back to the Bricks car and motorcycle cruises in Flint, the Woodward Car Cruise in Detroit, The Lilac Festival on Mackinac Island, The River Roar speedboat races in Bay City, the Alma Highland Fest in the spring, the Potato Fest in Munger, The Cheeseburger in Paradise festival in Caseville, which is a funky, fun, off-beat good time. Michigan has Henry Ford Museum, Crossroads Village which both take you back in time with old cars, old buildings, trades, crafts, railroads, etc. The Durand Railroad Museum and Railroad Days get a lot of out-of-state visitors. The Dow Gardens in Midland (Dow Corning’s headquarters) are beautiful in all seasons. And with our many woods and forests, we have spectacular fall leaves viewings too. And if you like any kind of water sports or beach fun, heck we have millions of miles of beautiful freshwater beaches and the good news is there are no sharks šŸ™‚ There is the infamous Port Huron to Mackinac sailboat races that bring in a lot of out-of-state and international racers.We have wine tastings in many areas, Pinconning cheese shops, Mackinac Island fudge, all things cherry in the Traverse City area, thousands of apple and pumpkin farms with many fall fun times and events. There is even an authentic Japanese garden and tea house in Saginaw that I have gone to and they have an authentic cha-no-yu tea ceremony that is so beautiful and tasty, that I have gone back and participated in it several times. I could go on and on and on but Michigan has it all for whatever you are interested in doing and seeing no matter what the season. Can you tell I love my state lol?

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A fascinating post. But I did a double take when I saw Sault Ste Marie, because I have a pretty antique silver dish with a cover engraved Sault Ste Marie, Canada. A quick look in Wikipedia and the problem was solved. šŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, there are two Sault Ste. Maries, one on the eastern side of the Upper Peninsula part of Michigan and the other one is directly across the St. Mary’s River in Canada. They are international twin cities, isn’t that neat? Michigan has a great and close relationship with many Canadian cities and Michiganders and Canadians frequently cross borders on daily basis. In fact about 20 miles south of me in Birch Run is a huge outlet mall that daily always has several Canadian buses full of tourists taking advantage of the great shopping deals there.:D

      Liked by 1 person

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