(Photos by A Curious Introvert)
Recently while finishing a 1000 piece puzzle of Michigan the Great Lakes State, I began musing about all the wonderful places, events and attractions on the puzzle and a lifetime of Michigan summer memories. In Michigan we tend to start our summers early due to the excitement we experience on the first sunny days after winter’s beautiful snowfall has melted and you will immediately see the sidewalks flooded with walkers and bike riders thrilled to be out of the house. The first event to look forward to after a long winter is the Holland Tulip Festival held the first weekend of May. Holland is a beautiful coastal city located in western Michigan on the shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa with beautiful beaches and fantastic shopping and restaurants downtown. The Tulip Festival not only celebrates the first blooms of Spring with a town full of tulips, but also their wonderful Dutch history. The shores of Lake Michigan hold many memories of summer trips to a bed & breakfast in Saugatuck, a weekend of gambling and staying at a New Buffalo harbor hotel, white sand beaches, walking the piers to the lighthouses, and shopping and dining in the charming downtowns. Traveling along the coast of Lake Michigan offers some of the best coastal towns in America waiting for memories to be made.
In between trips to the coast and shopping you sometimes discover you need a change of pace and decide it is time drag the golf clubs out of the basement and plan a trip to one of Michigan’s highly rated gorgeous golf courses. For me, it is not so much about the golf, but the beautiful scenery and the wonderful memories created playing rounds of golf at Arcadia Bluffs and Bay Harbor.
The most spectacular area of Michigan with some of my most favored memories begins Up North along Lake Michigan in Frankfort and extends along the coast through the sky-high dunes at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, Leland, the Leelanau Peninsula, Traverse City, Bay Harbor, Petoskey, Harbor Springs, the Tunnel of Trees and Mackinac Island. The memories of motorcycle trips along the coast, weekends in Leland’s Historic Fishtown and Mackinac Island, film festivals in Traverse City, and visiting the many wineries, unique shopping districts and waterfront communities along Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay are endless.
While at times I found it difficult finishing the Great Lakes State puzzle due to my bifocals and needing a geography refresher connecting the pieces of the Michigan mitten map, the extended time completing the puzzle offered more time for nostalgia, a desire to create more Michigan summer memories and a smile remembering some of my special pieces in my jigsaw puzzle of life.