There are so many things that come to mind when I think of what it means to call a place “home.” As a child, my family moved around to many cities in Michigan due to my father’s job with the Michigan State Police. From as early as I can remember, we didn’t stay in any one place for more than a handful of years until I started sixth grade. When it was time to graduate, and go to college, staying in Michigan felt like a natural and obvious opportunity, which ended up being the best choice of my life. It allowed me to meet my husband, Dusty; an Arizona boy turned Michigander! We got married in Michigan, had our first baby in Michigan, and have called Michigan home for as long as we’ve been together. Michigan holds a decade or more of memories that have become a big part of who we are as a couple and as a family.
Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “home” as “the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.” This definition makes sense from a logical perspective but what it misses is the innate human need to draw on what it means for a place to actually feel like home. Home isn’t just where you live but a compilation of feelings and experiences that create a sense of pride and comfort that can’t simply be found by just being in a certain location. The feeling of “home” is linked to so many deeper human connections.
(photo taken at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore during a 9-mile hike and camping weekend we did in 2010)
Growing up in Michigan has always been something that I’ve considered to be a blessing and a real privilege. Some of my fondest memories include being on or near the water. Michigan’s shoreline cozies up against four of the five Great Lakes, with Lake Superior being the largest. I’ve lived in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for most of my life, where Lake Superior, or “mother Superior” as many call her, has been one of those breathtaking natural wonders that over and over again impresses me beyond words. As a kid, you could find me with my family, on a hot summer day, with our boats joined together on a Lake Superior sandbar. We would spend hours tubing, swimming, and spending quality time together under the summer sun. If you live in Michigan, being on or near the water is a way of life; sand dune exploring, ice fishing, surfing, pond hockey, jet skiing, paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, the list goes on and isn’t limited by the season.
Not only does Michigan boast beautiful beaches and gorgeous freshwater views but it has many small inland lakes which warm up nicely in the summer. My family owns a small cabin on Lake Medora, which is located almost at the very tip of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. My father and grandfather purchased the property and built the cabin that stands there today. Lake Medora holds some of my favorite childhood memories; I call it my “happy place.” There isn’t any other place I could be in the whole world that would give me the same sense of calm and peace that this little inland lake can.
(Lake Medora – located in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula – U.P)
Living in Michigan also offers four amazing seasons and is one of the many reasons why I love living here. Each season brings with it purpose and beauty. I know, I know…many of you Michiganders who are reading this are looking out your window right now during this spring season and wondering when summer will get here. Let me remind you, it’ll be here soon and with it comes SO many amazing things to enjoy. You know exactly what I’m talking about!
Each season has its unique beauty and special element. Just a handful of months ago, we were saying there was nothing quite like the first snowfall or when there was enough snow to build a snowman or go sledding for the first time or when the ponds or small inland lakes freeze just in time for a long-awaited game of hockey. Snowshoeing has been a huge favorite of our family’s in recent years and one we look forward to during the winter months. Many would argue that winter in the Midwest and Michigan specifically is long, and spring is just an extension of it, but I try to remind myself that with every great thing comes a waiting period for it to truly feel special – and that’s the reason those living in Michigan make the most out of the warm weather months. I’m not sure our summer and fall seasons would feel nearly as spectacular if they weren’t so long awaited and well deserved.
Michigan also has some of the best Midwest hospitality and friendliness that I’ve ever witnessed. Eye contact, smiles, nods of hello walking down the street, holding doors, and people always willing to jump in and lend a hand to strangers – these are a handful of qualities I feel like many Michiganders have. Everyone feels like a neighbor, no matter where you go in the state. I especially love how when we travel within the state that many people are so willing and eager to share their favorite local places to eat, stay, and play. There aren’t many people more passionate about their local favorites than a Michigan dweller…they are quick to share their favorite breweries, dinner locations, coffee shops, hiking spots, and best kept secret panoramic lookouts.
This upcoming season of life will, unfortunately, take our family out of the good old Great Lake State, which is sometimes hard for me to wrap my head around. I’m already missing the lake life. I’m convinced that home is a state of mind; it’s a sense of preference to a place that will forever hold onto your heart and likely holds many unforgettable memories. Michigan will always be my home no matter where this crazy journey called life takes our family.
If you are someone who wants to continue to call Michigan home for years to come and hopes to either buy a home or find resources to help you in the process, consider checking out Michigan State Housing Development Authority’s (MSHDA) website. It’s a great online place where you can learn more about MSHDA’s many resources and programs!
This blog post is sponsored by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) all thoughts and opinions are my own – thank you for supporting the organizations that I work with.