Michigan.org is having a Pinterest contest. The lucky winner receives a trip for two to stay at the Grand Hotel.

The Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island [Photo Courtesy Danny O'Rourke]

The Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island [Photo Courtesy Danny O’Rourke]

Yup. That Grand Hotel.

All you have to do, is create a Pinterest Board “Pin to Win: Michigan in Love” and pin what makes Michigan romantic. Needless to say, my board is already created.

Sure. I don’t have too much. Only 14 pins. But oh, my! The fun I had putting this board together.

And since I haven’t blogged for nearly two weeks, what a wonderfully fun way to get back into it.

I do love Michigan. I miss my Michiganders. And I would so love the opportunity to visit again.

How well I remember the three-and-a-half hour drive each childhood summer, as Dad would come home from work on a Thursday night and the next morning we were packed and on the road to visit Grandma in Alpena. Those weeks of romping through the wilderness. Those were the days when I was fearless. When garter snakes and daddy-longlegs encouraged me just as much as dragonflies and wild daffodils.

I remember Kensington Park and how we made it a game: who would find the most animal tracks, or hear the birds? Feeding the ducks was always an adventure in itself. But to go in the fall, with the crisp leaves breaking under our shoes, emitting that wonderfully earthy aroma. That’s Michigan to me.

I miss the four seasons. The green of rain-soaked grass. The red and gold autumns. The bitter white winters. And the blossoming springs. Right now, Mom and Dad would be in the basement green room, pushing seeds into starter cups. It would be weeks before we would see results. But this time of year, the low flourescent lights would hang on their chains urging the plants to come alive. And slowly, the garden would start to grow.

Memorial Weekends were the best. For a few weeks before, Dad tilled the ground. And on Saturday, we planted. And hoed. And raked. And watered. And made a most glorious, muddy, nature-filled mess of ourselves. By the end of the weekend, rows of seedlings were staked and growing. Corn. Tomatoes. Lettuce. Rhubarb. Green beans and snap peas (my favorites!).

We’d dip in the pool to cool off, enjoy Dad’s barbecue, and head to town for parades and fireworks.

I grew up in Michigan. I often see pictures of familiar sights, and it’s amazing to me that while much has changed, much has stayed the same.

I can’t watch Somewhere in Time or a Cadillac commercial without feeling pride at my home state. Yes, I’ve been removed far too long, but I still consider myself a Michigander.

My desire to revisit The Mitten even inspired me to send them an email last summer:

I’m a former Michigander now located in Southern California. I run a daily blog (http://FranklyMyDearMojo.com), and am an active travel reviewer as well through Trekaroo.com, and other sites. I’ve kept in contact with my Michigan friends and we’re wracking our minds to find a way for me to revisit The Mitten. I realize this is a completely off-the-wall proposition, but I’m wondering if there’s a possibility of receiving a trip sponsorship? In return, I would write about my journey from start to finish on my Blog which I link to LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. I would also love to place your ad/button on my Blog directing my readers back to your site (regardless of sponsorship). My trip is in need of airfare and minimal expenses only, as I would be staying with friends throughout the state. I have people in Sturgis, Saline, Hartland, Brighton, Howell, Alpena. I’m interested in revisiting Frankenmuth, Holland, Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, Lansing, the Great Lakes, Mackinaw, Kensington Parks, the Parshallville Grist Mill and seeing the many colors of Autumn. Any other excursions, I leave up to my friends as impromptu tour guides.
I grew up in Hartland, and look forward to returning to my roots.
I’m aspiring to do a multi-part Blog series that would include various topics such as: the Geography of Michigan, the economic difference, Political climate, historical attractions, wilderness/farming aspects, weather, family based activities, heritage stories… It would more likely lend itself to writing a short book based on my travels. I run my own writing/editing/publishing company (www.NewInklingsPress.com).
Any and all sponsorship I receive would be properly recognized and acknowledged in print, including but not limited to my Blog and all social media sites.
Again, I thank you for your consideration of this extremely unique proposal.
I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

They’ve yet to respond. But I don’t lack hope. One way or another I’ll find my way back.

Michigan is so much more than a state. It’s memories. It’s my foundation. And I do so long to return.

And Frankly, My Dear… that’s all she wrote!

You may also enjoy reading:
You’re Gonna Make It After All
Dear Michigan
Destination: Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan
Rest in Peace, Patrick O’Rourke

Netflix. 'Nuff said.
Kitchen Craft: Aromatic Mason Jar
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