Cooking Up Food & Friendships

Growing up, many family traditions were centered around the table. After launching Promote Michigan in 2004, I found myself drawn to certain sectors of the hospitality industry: restaurants, wineries, breweries, distilleries, farm markets and agricultural organizations. Yes, I found a way to get paid to eat and drink…how lucky! I was also building a network and often friendships with chefs who were eager to feed my desire to learn more about locally-sourced ingredients and unique ways to prepare them into delicious dishes.

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Celebrating Michigan’s Irish Communities

Irish immigration to Michigan dates back to the early 1800s, with a heavy increase between 1845 and 1855 during a period of famine in Ireland, lasting well into the 1920s. Starting first in Detroit, the Irish made their way north and westward, landing throughout both the Lower and Upper Peninsulas where they found work in factories, fishing villages and copper mines. Nearly one-third of Michigan’s foreign-born population was from Ireland in 1870. Today, only about 10% of the state’s 9.9 million population is of Irish descent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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Shedding Light on Michigan’s Historic Female Keepers

Serving as a lighthouse keeper was the only “non-clerical” government job that women were allowed to have in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Michigan had more than 60 women documented as lighthouse keepers at these historic beacons, often serving as assistant keepers with their husbands, fathers or brothers—and in the case of tragedy, many were promoted to the role of head keeper.

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Giving Thanks for Life in Northern Michigan

It was Thanksgiving of 2009 when it really sunk in for me…spending five days alone in Empire for the holidays and being at peace with it. This year, I will celebrate Thanksgiving in Walloon Lake at “Mi Storybook Cottage” – where I am blessed and thankful once again for being able to live in such a beautiful place, making a living doing what I love and having the support of my family and friends.

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Digging Up Michigan’s Historic Ghost Stories

I’m intrigued by legends of historic sites that house such unsettled souls. I’ve researched, written and presented on “Michigan’s Ghostly Beacons” for nearly 20 years (and am actually working on a book on this topic). I’d say about two dozen of Michigan’s 120+ beacons have haunted stories attached to them. In anticipation of Halloween, I started digging around looking for other sites rumored to be haunted…here’s what I came up with!

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Three Decades of Grand Mackinac Memories

This year, Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island celebrates its 130th year of serving seasonal guests. As the world’s largest summer hotel, the Musser family’s Grand Hotel boasts 385 rooms, is a member of Historic Hotels of American, is listed with the National Register of Historic Sites, holds countless other distinctions for its time-honored hospitality and is considered one of the top family-run tourist businesses in the state.

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Great Lakes, Great Times – in Pure Michigan

Michigan has been welcoming travelers since the 1800s who arrived by steamer ships, trains and later personal automobiles to escape the city heat in Chicago, St. Louis and other locales. They were drawn to the sugar sand beaches, the cool waters and the often allergy-free environment.

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