Summer is the perfect time to get out and explore Michigan – and this year, I vow to cross 12 items of my “bucket list” of activities. My challenge to you…is to do the same. Come up with a list of places you’ve never been, things you’ve never done, foods you’ve never tried – and then set out on the open road to discover (or rediscover) this great state in which we live! Hopefully my list below will prompt some ideas for your Pure Michigan summer adventure!
1. Stand Up Paddleboarding. I have NO coordination, but I’ve been assured I can probably handle this exciting new water activity. I’ve got things lined up with The River – Traverse City (www.therivertraversecity.com) – which is one of dozens of places around the state to give this a try!
2. Dune Rides. I can’t believe in all my years promoting Michigan, I have YET to get out on the dunes for an excursion. Tours are offered with Saugatuck Dune Rides and with a couple outfitters in the Silver Lake Area (www.thinkdunes.com).
3. Purple Rose Theater. I have promoted shows in this Chelsea theater, owned by Michigan’s own Jeff Daniels, for years…but have never attended a show there (although I have taken a behind the scene tour, once). On Golden Pond is coming up later this month…one of my FAVORITE shows…and I’m making plans to check that out. (www.purplerosetheatre.org).
4. Balloon Ride. Last summer, I was invited to take to the sky but weather prevented me from doing so. I’m hoping to give it another try this year with Grand Traverse Balloons (www.grandtraverseballoons.com) – one of several operators around the state.
5. Charity Island. I’ve visited several of the islands in Lake Michigan, but outside of Mackinac Island I haven’t ventured out into Lake Huron. You can take a boat ride out to the island and spend the night, have dinner, explore, tour the lighthouse and just kick back and relax! (www.charityisland.net).
6. Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Michigan is home to hundreds and hundreds of shipwrecks, and “shipwreck alley” off the coast of Alpena in Lake Huron is one of the largest preserves of these maritime disasters. This 448-square-mile area protects one of America’s best-preserved and nationally-significant collections of shipwrecks – totaling more than 200 (with more than 50 discovered and identified). I definitely need to check this place out! (http://thunderbay.noaa.gov/).
7. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. I’ve been as far north as Marquette (for the UP Beer Festival each September), and while I’ve passed through Munising, I have never taken the opportunity to tour the Pictured Rocks lakeshore. Someday, I’d love to take a kayaking trip out there (I’ve seen some pretty awesome pictures), but for now, I think I’ll stick to a big boat tour! (www.nps.gov/piro | www.picturedrocks.com).
8. Keweenaw Peninsula. While I’m in the UP neighborhood, I need to get out to the Keweenaw…to visit lighthouses and mining-towns-turned-ghost-towns. This may actually be more of a fall trip, because I really want to check out the explosion of colors on the trees. (www.keweenaw.info).
9. Michigan Antique & Collectibles Festival. One of my favorite summer activities is antiquing – and last year someone told me about this giant fair held at the Midland County Fairgrounds. Dates are scheduled for June 2-3, July 21-22 and September 22-23, so I’m sure I can find at least ONE day to head over and do some treasure hunting! (www.miantiquefestival.com)
10. Driving Lessons. Did you know that at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corners, you can learn to drive “everyman’s car” – the Model T? It looks like a pretty neat experience – available to anyone over the age of 16 with a valid driver’s license. This will be a great way for me to spend some quality time with my son – who just got his license in mid May! (www.gilmorecarmuseum.org).
11. Titanic IMAX 3D & Exhibit. I’ve always been fascinated by the Titanic, and through September The Henry Ford in Dearborn has an exhibit with hundreds of artifacts and a replica of the grand staircase (sans Leonardo DiCaprio). They are also running the movie in 3D on the IMAX screen, all marking the 100th anniversary of the sailing and sinking of this magnificent ship. Sounds like a great rainy-day activity! (www.thehenryford.org/titanic).
12. Mackinac Bridge Walk. I think this FINALLY going to be the year that I take part in this long-standing tradition. I’ve driven the bridge countless times, but my fear of heights has prevented me from doing the walk. I’ve found a group of friends who promise to take care of me on the trek…so I think I’ll be good. Join us? www.mackinacbridge.org.