My wife Deborah is a Michigan girl. Born and raised and proud. She’s not shy about it either when talking on blogs and over the Internet. She’s “smitten with the mitten,” as she likes to tell her out-of-state friends. And a couple of years ago, when we were thinking of taking our vacation out east, she said,
“I don’t know. I think I’d like to relax and go Up North. Besides, everything we want to do and our boys want to do is there anyway.”
Except whales. And the ocean. She knew this. And I did too. This was coming from the girl whose parents took her to every state and national park in the lower 48 (she frequently reminds her parents about missing those two ‘small’ details known as Hawaii and Alaska). And so it was. Choosing Lake Michigan over the Atlantic Ocean. Leelanau Penninsula over Cape Cod. Sleeping Bear Dunes over Acadia. And one year, we will make it out east for a vacation. But for now, our boys are younger, athletic and they like kayaking and Traverse City and Glen Arbor and playing football catch along Lake Michigan. And our oldest is a master when it comes to finding Petosky stones – actually we think they find him as within minutes of reaching the shoreline, he’s the first in our family to find one.
And so it is again, this year, fortunate enough to take a vacation, fortunate enough to have choices, we chose Up North. Deborah was talking about our plans with her good friend Cooper. Cooper lives with her family in Pittsburgh. And while discussing family vacations Deborah told Cooper about Traverse City and the towns along M22 and Leelanua Penninsula and Grand Traverse Bay. And she told her about the wineries, the farms and orchards, the artists and writers and the color of the water in Lake Michigan, how we sit by it all day and never tire of the view. She told her friend about the natural sand beaches and shoreline and our trips down the Crystal River. And conservation. Deborah explained how hard people work to protect it because of their love for it and the people who make their lives there. In essence, Deborah was saying,
“This is my home. This is where I live.”
Long story short, for this year’s Up North vacation, we will be accompanied by Cooper and her family. From Pittsburgh. A family who has never been to Michigan. A family Deborah has known but a short time but in who she has found so many similarities to our family. Among them: dads who plays the guitar, brilliant moms, kind children and a joyful sense of adventure to explore a taste of Up North. And we can’t wait.