“Up north” and other Michigan delights

I swear, the following post is not sponsored by the Pure Michigan folks, but it might as well be. Over the 4th of July, D and I enjoyed a quintessential summer vacation in Michigan.

This was my first trip back to the Mitten since the big move in November and D’s first trip back since wedding #1 in September. I’d forgotten how wonderful (and humid) my home state is this time of year. There’s something magical about kicking back and relaxing “up north”– the boundary of which is typically understood to be Mt. Pleasant– with family and friends.

On a somewhat unrelated note, Michigan is a fascinating place in terms of language. Years ago, a sociolinguistic study was done on the Midwestern pronunciation of the vowel in words like top and shop, with the goal of figuring out how outsiders (in this case, Canadian speakers of English) perceived it. The researchers found that these Canadians perceived the vowel to be the same as the vowel in words like tap…  even though it’s written with an A. That’s how nasal-y our accent is. In fact, the very Midwestern word pop, when spoken by someone from the region, is often transcribed phonetically using the exact same symbol (ɑ) as the “ah” sound in the stereotypical Boston accent (you know, like, pahk the cah in the Hahvahd yahd). If you’d like to learn more, search Northern Cities Vowel Shift– one of my favorite topics in sociolinguistics.

During our visit, we squeezed in as much as we could, including a trip to the very dreamy Mackinac Island, which feels like it’s frozen in time. (You may have seen the movie Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour, which takes place on the island.)

Without further ado, here are a handful (okay, 16) photos of our adventures!

First, we have pictures from Canada Creek Ranch, where our family cabin is located:


Peaceful Lake Geneva at sunset


Successful fishermen!


Some more successful fishermen, back in 1997 (?)

I should mention that this was D’s first time fishing, ever! From what I hear, he was superb.

Next up, we’ve got two snapshots from our trip to the Upper Peninsula:


The ONLY pasties you should ever eat. A pasty (pronounced pas-tee, not pay-stee) is essentially a bigger, more rectangular, and way more delicious empanada.


Cross in the Woods, a famous shrine in northern Michigan

Finally, I present photographic evidence of our trip to Mackinac Island! For reference, Mackinac (with a C, unlike the Mackinaw City with a W) comes from a very long Ojibwe word meaning “big turtle.” Naturally, the British shortened it for ease of communication, and the French chose to spell it with a C on the end.

Some fun facts about Mackinac:

  • No cars are allowed. Bikes and horse-drawn carriages are popular forms of transportation, though the latter come with some foul-smelling side effects.
  • It was an important fur-trading site for the French.
  • The British built a fort on the island in an attempt to control the Great Lakes region during the Revolutionary War. The stubborn Redcoats held onto the fort for over a decade after we gained our independence.
  • Its Grand Hotel supposedly has the longest front porch in the world (which now costs $10 just to step foot on for a picture).
  • Each year, the island hosts the Lilac Festival.
  • The year-round population is very small– about 500 residents– compared to the summertime population.

VERY excited to be on the ferry


Te amooo


Arch Rock, a natural limestone formation


My fave


Better than the Caribbean any day


Little did Greg know, he would end up with an atrocious sunburn that evening


The fancy Grand Hotel


Sunset along the docks


Classic L & D shoe pictures


Representing Michigan State AND ‘Merica


Looking back from the ferry

It seemed weird to include pictures of us at the shooting range, but we did that too! D is apparently an excellent marksman, and I’m not as bad as expected. Uncle Seth was a very patient and wise teacher.

Other highlights of our vacation include hanging out with our very cool cousins from California (and MI, of course!), visiting and swimming in Ocqueoc Falls, Beach Bash activities, and general shenanigans.



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