Michigan is a beautiful U.S. State. Manufacturing is indeed the biggest industry; Detroit, after all, is the home of the automobile. Read on and you'll agree though, there is much more to this region than factories and auto workers.

The State of Michigan's geography is what makes it interesting. It is made up of two peninsulas which are bounded by four of the 5 Great Lakes: Huron, Erie, Superior, and Michigan. The Lower and Upper Peninsulas are linked by the 5-mile-long Mackinac Bridge at the Straits of Mackinac. The State motto is Si Quaeris Peninsulam Amoenam Circumspice: "If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you."

Abundant natural resources make Michigan a sportsman's paradise. It boasts 3,288 miles of gorgeous Great Lakes shoreline, 11,037 inland lakes, and 36,350 miles of rivers. About 50% of Michigan's total land area is covered by forests. Tourism is the State's second largest industry, and agriculture is third. Much of Michigan is either rural farmland or wilderness, with the bulk of the population residing in the southeastern corner, in and around Detroit. To the west, the city of Lansing is the capital.

Michigan became the 26th U.S. State in 1837. Its name is derived from the Indian words "Michi-gama," meaning "large lake." Known as the "Wolverine State," it also claims the following as its official symbols:

    State bird: robin
    State tree: white pine
    State gem: chlorastrolite
    State flower: apple blossom
    State fish: brook trout
    State stone: petoskey stone
    State reptile: painted turtle
    State game mammal: white-tailed deer
    State wildflower: dwarf lake iris

A few of my favorite points of interest:

  • Mackinac Island, a quaint and lovely tourist spot near the bridge, where no motor vehicles are allowed. It is the home of the opulent Grand Hotel, the setting of the film Somewhere in Time.
  • Tahquamenon Falls, Michigan's largest waterfall, in the Upper Peninsula
  • Pictured Rocks, spectacular landforms sculpted by Lake Superior
  • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, along Lake Michigan's coast
  • Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, offering a glimpse of life and invention in early America
  • The "Soo" Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, a system of canals which allows ships passage between lakes Superior and Huron.
  • The city of Holland's Tulip Festival, held every spring
  • Ann Arbor Summer Art Fair, one of the largest street art fairs in the U.S., held annually during the third week of July.

Source for statistics: Michigan In Brief

I find Michigan to be a strangely lovely location in which to live. Not that Ann Arbor is any measure of the state. But the surrounding hills and trees and scrub and farmland are stunning if you are driving home from Lansing at 1:30 a.m., with a cigarette tipped out the open window. If you are paying attention to the shade of the sky and the moon behind the clouds, to the layers of grey land and branch and fog wrapping itself around you. If you are playing R.E.M.'s Texarkana and Country Feedback in a row, with the ice reaching its way inside the collar of your coat, with the fields stretching their stalk flats out on your either side. If you are breathing in the air you breathe, half and all awake, pajamaed and heavy-socked and Birkenstocked. If you are looking and your eyes are even open.

This is where I live; I cannot live in the city. Ann Arbor is full of trees, and that helps. You can walk up the street collecting leaves this time of year, filling your pockets with crackling things. You can leave the window open and hear the front yard rustling all night in your sleep. You can lie under the trees nearly anywhere (well, anywhere outdoors) on campus. You can walk down to the river, to Island Park, and swing until your legs ache and your head spins from too much leaning back upside down. You can eat a sandwich and torture the ducks with the crusts. I like ducks. You can lean over the rail of the bridge and play Pooh sticks by yourself.

Or you can get in the car, the Michigan patented method of travel. You can go up the highway like a winged terror, like a ghost, like a man ambling with an apple cart.

I used to live in Cleveland, and would come up to Ann Arbor to visit every other weekend. I came up the other highway, up the Ohio turnpike, replete with police officers and ever-changing construction patches. I would stare at the fields and the sun and the barns, thinking how beautiful northern Ohio was at 4:30 every day, how the clouds dipped low over the horizon like islands.

Then I moved here, and although the terrain is exactly similar, and highway 23 much more crowded than I-80, although the sun sets over the low hills like it sets over the same low hills that flatten their way into Ohio, Michigan suddenly became much more beautiful than anything in Ohio. It is still.

reposted from The Everything People Registry : United States : Michigan, as indirectly suggested by Apatrix.

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