Wednesday, April 20, 2011
My entire life has been spent in Michigan. I'm leaving it soon. I need help figuring out how to make this last Michigan summer my best.
Born and raised just outside of Detroit in Grosse Pointe, I grew up in a part of the state steeped in its industrial history. The houses that Ford built — on the River Rouge and Lake St. Clair — were perennial fixtures of childhood for me. So too were the old Tiger Stadium (demolished), the Hudson's building (imploded), and other pillars of Michigan's once (and future?) Motor City. And beyond the sprawl of southeast Michigan, summer here means water — the water of Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and, less frequently but more dramatically, Lake Superior. There was also getting lost in the northwestern dunes, speeding across the waves in boats, always boats, eating, drinking, camping, road tripping, day tripping, running races, and doing nothing at all.
After a lifetime, I'm leaving this place. People who have grown up here frequently talk about their desire to get out of Michigan, with its urban decay, unemployment, and eight months of winter. People who visit have similar complaints, some legitimate and, as we've remarked previously, some less so. I used to be one of those complainers, but as it has recently grown more apparent that I would have to leave, the less I have wanted to.
Despite what people say, there's a lot of great stuff in Michigan. I should know because I've done a lot of it, but certainly not anywhere near all of it. Since this summer is my last chance to do so, I want to do all of the iconic and obscure, obligatory and wholly unnecessary, bucolic and museological, most healthful and damn outright self-destructive things unique to this pleasant peninsula that can possibly be crammed into a single summer.
I've got more than a few ideas for activities, but send me your suggestions. Here's a sampling of what I've got so far: go to a Tiger's game, go rock climbing at Grand Ledge, run in the Dexter-Ann Arbor half marathon, eat at Slow's, listen to jazz at Cliff Bell's, and several others. A few caveats: I'm kind of poor and I hate the Woodward Dream Cruise.
Over the course of the summer I'll be chronicling my last Michigan adventures. There's so much to this state that there's no way I can know about all of it — and I want to do, see, taste, and smell as much as possible before I'm a Michigoner.
Posted by B.C. Houston at 8:30 AM