Michigan Summer Bucket List
June 24, 2021

Michigan Bucket List: Hidden Gems to Visit This Summer

Show Notes

On this episode, Chuck Gaidica is joined by David Lorenz, vice president of Pure Michigan. Together, they discuss gems around the state to visit this summer.

In this episode of A Healthier Michigan Podcast, we explore:

  • The importance of travel and its impact on our well-being.
  • The Pure Michigan Pledge.
  • Gems around the state to visit this summer.

Discover more hidden gems around the state at michigan.org.

Transcript

Chuck Gaidica:
Hey, Chuck Gaidica here, before we jump into today’s episode, I want to let you know that we would like to hear from you, whether you have feedback about the show or a question you would like answered in one of our episodes. Leave us a voicemail at this number 313-246-4771. We look forward to hearing from you and now to the show.

Chuck Gaidica:
This is A Healthier Michigan Podcast episode 83. On this episode, we’re gearing up for a Michigan road trip. We’ll be talking about the hidden gems around the state that we can all add to our summer bucket list.

Chuck Gaidica:
Welcome to a A Healthier Michigan Podcast. This is a podcast dedicated to navigating how we can improve our health and well-being through small, healthy habits we can start implementing right now. I’m your host, Chuck Gaidica. Every other week, we’ll sit down with a certified expert to discuss topics covering nutrition, fitness, and today getting on the road and it can include all of the above, you put your bike on the back of your vehicle and you’re off and running. In this episode, we’re talking about all things, Michigan travel. Joining us today is the Vice President of Pure Michigan, David Lorenz. David, good to have you with us.

David Lorenz:
Oh, it’s really good to be with you, Chuck, especially on this subject, since travel is all about health, it’s all about mind, body and soul.

Chuck Gaidica:
It sure is. And, I know you’ve got a deep background in all kinds of things. You now lead Michigan’s state tourism branding and advertising. You’re a multiple boards for travel and the chairperson for the National Council of State Tourism, so you’ve got a deep and rich background, and you’re learning from others as they learn from you around the different states. But, Michigan is so unique and such an attraction to so many across the country. Right?

David Lorenz:
It really is. Well, the fact that we’re a four season state really gives us a real lead on so many other places.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah.

David Lorenz:
There’s nothing wrong with places that are always hot or always cold, but it’s something really unique about something that offers a real variety of travel experiences.

Chuck Gaidica:
And when you talk to others across the country, because Pure Michigan is one of those brands that just stands out, summer rises right to the top here. It’s not just because of the warm temperatures that we’ve relished since Memorial Day, but you’re talking about a state with 11,000 inland lakes, beautiful blue sparkly water, thousands and thousands of trails. There’s just so much to brag about.

David Lorenz:
Well, there really is. And Chuck, I’ve traveled all over the country, really all over the world for work and for pleasure, and I keep on coming back because I have seen so many other places. And so, I’m aware of how truly blessed we really truly are. And, I think it’s a shame that people may not really appreciate that, if they really don’t get to too many places. So the funny thing is, as much as I want people to spend their leisure travel time here in Michigan to keep our economy going, and to enjoy time with friends and family, travel, just plain travel anywhere is good for us, if it only helps us to appreciate where we happen to live, because we’re lucky to be here.

Chuck Gaidica:
It’s funny you say that, because I got a kick out of a buddy of mine who was bragging to me, I won’t mention the state, about lakes down south. He was talking about how big the lakes are. And then, I came by for a visit and I realized its kind of green water, nothing against somebody who lives on a lake that’s fed by a river, but we are spoiled to your point, where we have all these inland lakes. Some of them are fed by a river, but down south, they think a lake is a dammed up river, and we just have such a different look to our lakes and the quality of the water in Michigan.

David Lorenz:
Well, we are who we are because of the experiences that we live. It’s the same thing with environment, we only know what we’ve experienced in the past. So, the fact that we are in a place that touches on four of the five Great Lakes and they are great lakes. My friends who come from places all over are always so amazed the first time they see a great lake, and so many of them have literally said, “That’s not a lake, that’s an ocean.”

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah.

David Lorenz:
That’s what it seems like. We’re just kind of used to seeing them.

Chuck Gaidica:
Right. Well, where do we start? When you give a pitch, not just to people who in a business setting, but just to your friends and relatives across the country, where do we start talking about Pure Michigan?

David Lorenz:
Well, it’s always dependent upon what people are into, so to speak. And as you mentioned, Chuck, summertime is that time of the year when most people like to travel. It’s a time they have time to get out there, because kids are out of school in normal times. And, that’s when most people want to take their vacation time. And since vacation time is such a limited amount of time for most of us, we only have so much time. In fact, there’s a greater lesson to learn there, but we only have so much time for leisure that we want to optimize that for the best experiences that we can have with our friends and family. And, that’s why this is such a great place. Abundant, natural beauty, unique experiences to have and authentic places to go to. And, there’s nothing wrong with Disney World or Universal Studios.

David Lorenz:
But I mean, we have these places where the American story was written, places like Detroit that put America on wheels, places like Mackinac Island, our first national park. People say, “What do you mean?” Well, that was our first national park. It ended up being given to the state, became Michigan’s first state park. Before that, it was a national park. And so, real things happened in these places. Like on Mackinac for instance, the first scrimmage of the war of 1812. And, you can still go there. You can imagine what it was like during that time, because real things happen. They’re substantive things that created what we now know as the American experience. So, we just happened to be in this really unique place that was really a big part of who we are today.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, you also are encouraging here to me to think about the story behind the story. Because oftentimes, the places that we visited, there’s something that pops to your mind right away, Mackinac Island fudge, right?

David Lorenz:
Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica:
There’s just so much more with the story behind the story. We’ve been taking our kids forever, for decades to Mackinac Island. And, I’ve been there multiple times too. And, you just get used to the beauty.

David Lorenz:
The fun.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. The fun part of it. And there is so much you can do, even on the island, it could just be a bike ride and you could have a delightful, life impacting bike ride. And, it’s just perfect. Wonderful.

David Lorenz:
Yeah. Just enjoying the atmosphere. Well, I’m sure you’ve heard, at least I hope you’ve heard Tim Allen say, “Your trip begins at michigan.org.” And, what we mean by that is you’re going to get there eventually and you’re going to learn about these things like we just talked about, but you might as well learn a little bit about it first so that, that experience can be that much more fulfilling when you are there. So for instance, if you go to michigan.org, you learn about a place like Mackinac Island that has this great rich history and heritage. Or it maybe you want to learn a little bit about our Native American heritage before you go to a place like the Ziibiwing Museum of Anishinabe Culture in Mt. Pleasant. If you know a little bit about it before you go, it can be so much better.

David Lorenz:
If you go to a place like Ishpeming, where they have the National Ski Hall of Fame. And you think, “Why in Michigan?” Because this is where, what we know as the ski industry started in America. You think, “Well, why not out west in the big mountain area?” Just, that’s not the way it started. It started here. So, you learn a little bit about that before you go out to these places, and it just makes it so much more of an enriching experience.

Chuck Gaidica:
And doesn’t it help you create that road trip, whether it’s with kids or without kids. Or now for many grandkids, if you’re going to hop in the car and drive across the state, it is nice to have more than just potty breaks.

David Lorenz:
Yeah. Well, travel should be a learning experience for everybody, but especially for the kids. And I remember being a little kid and I remember saying, “Are we there yet?” And, how many times have you heard that? Well, if you have stories to tell on that trip to start the imagination flowing for these kids, they’re not going to say, “Are we there yet?” They’re going to say, “Well, tell us more.” “Tell us more about what we’re going to see, what we’re going to experience.” And so, if you can tell them a little bit about why that place is so special, or maybe tell them the story of the sleeping bear, why we call it Sleeping Bear Dunes, this what we believe is a Native American story. There’s some controversy about that.

David Lorenz:
But so, learn about that story and you can tell that story. And, if you are in a position where you can actually see the kids’ faces as you’re telling them these stories, and just look at their eyes, you can see that they’re imagining these things and what would have been like. That makes that experience just a little more fun for them. And the funny, interesting thing is they don’t even know they’re learning. They’re learning something that might be able to help them in the future.

Chuck Gaidica:
And, what a joy that is for us as parents, or grandparents, or relatives, or friends to see the wonder on a kid’s face, that oftentimes summer is the only time we can have maybe the roadside stand with fresh tomatoes or a lightning bug, or getting that Petoskey stone that we can uncover. It’s that stuff that really makes your summer trip filled with wonder for kids and for adults alike.

David Lorenz:
True. And let’s say you’re going to go out to a place… We’re the trail state, we have more trail mileage than any other state in the country. So you might go to a place like Traverse City, for instance. And, most people go there because of the great downtown and the beautiful area and such. But, maybe you go either on a bike ride through the TART Trail, or maybe you’re going to go on a hike somewhere and they’re experiencing the flora and the fauna. And, you’re telling them about all these things. And before you know what, you’ve walked three or four miles.

David Lorenz:
So they’ve had a great time, but guess what? They’ve been outside, they’d have been away from that personal device, that iPhone or whatever it is and they been experiencing real life. They’ve been experiencing nature. They’ve been now introduced to it and they’ve been getting exercise all at the same time, while getting all that fresh air. Think about all those positives that are part of that travel experience that might have just changed the way that young person then becomes whoever they’re going to be. Somebody who truly appreciates nature can help to sustain our environment down the road. There’s so many positives to getting out there and traveling.

Chuck Gaidica:
And that discovery, we’re talking about wonder discovery, these things are real. It was just a couple of years ago, my brother and my son, one of my sons, we went on a road trip to the U.P. Well, first of all, you have to put your device away because you can’t really use it.

David Lorenz:
It doesn’t work.

Chuck Gaidica:
No. But then, here we are in the Central U.P. and we probably saw, it had to be at least six, at least half a dozen waterfalls in the course of three hours. If using a little map, and then hiking and finding them. And, we’re kind of going back and forth, which was the prettiest, which wasn’t. So, there are all kinds of ways to see Michigan. And of course, getting in the car and heading out is one of the ways.

David Lorenz:
Well, and as entertaining and enjoyable a video on a phone, or an iPad or whatever it can be, there’s nothing like the awe of something like Tahquamenon Falls. When you walk up that trail, either the upper or the lower falls, and then you hear that thunderous noise, and then you see the foam, and the mist, and the water coming over. And kids say, “Why is the water kind of looks like root beer?” And you can tell them, “Well, that’s not pollution, this is a really healthy ecosystem because that water has all the tannins from the leaves that are broken down on this thousands and thousands of acre forest that the river traverses through.” And, it’s just such a beautiful thing to see. And again, an educational experience at the same time.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. And you talked a little bit about time, and I guess, capacity in life is our time or our money. And, you don’t have to spend a ton to see great stuff in Michigan, right? It could be a one tank trip, it could be multiple days, but time is important to all of us. And at the same time, if you’re going to spend some time doing something great and having fun, especially after we maybe have been cooped up for a while, getting out enjoying Michigan this year is top of the list.

David Lorenz:
True. After what we’ve been through this last year, I hope that there’s a better appreciation for life itself. The very first ad we made with Tim Allen’s voice, the sound of Cider House Rules in the background, was an ad that started out this way. And, I might have the number wrong. So excuse me, if I have it wrong, but it started out and it said 25,000 mornings give or take, that’s all we get. Now, think about that. We only have so much time, so why not live it? I mean, live that time. And, getting outside and experiencing it at a place like Pure Michigan that offers these great experiences. So, let’s do our work and let’s do the things we need to do to sustain and to help our family grow and all. But, let’s make sure to reserve some time to truly live and to share that with friends and family, and new experiences, new places along the way.

Chuck Gaidica:
So, as we reflect back on where we’ve been, talk a little bit about the Pure Michigan Pledge, what is that?

David Lorenz:
You know what? The COVID experiences has reminded us that we are not alone on an island. We are in this together and this life. And during COVID, we were trying to recognize that, yes, we’re all different. And, we had all these political things going on as well, so there was all this divisiveness. People who were upset, because they were told they had to wear a mask, or they had to distance, or keep their hands clean or whatever. So, we felt that we could use the brand in a different way, because Pure Michigan as a brand has always brought us together. It’s a kind of putting a flag in the ground and saying, “I’m proud of this place and who we are.”

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah.

David Lorenz:
So, we felt that if we came up with what we call the Pure Michigan Pledge, an opportunity for people to say, “Listen, I’m going to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.” I’m going to kind of give up some of my personal mandates in life and try to appreciate other persons and people’s positions.”

David Lorenz:
“And, not just feel like I’ve got to fight everything, but help people to get along by thinking of them above myself.” So, this was during the times when we really had to wear masks all the time, and all these other things. Just trying to say, “Listen, I don’t like it, but I’m going to do these things.” So now, as we’re constantly going through this new evolution and things are starting to free up, I think it’s a way for us to kind of pivot on that position and still say, “We have a lot of things to work on, societally with our communities.” “We need to come back together after this very difficult time.” So, the Pure Michigan Pledge is now going to take another pivot into saying, “Listen, I’m going to try to listen to you more than I talk.”

David Lorenz:
“I’m going to try to accept your position, I may not agree with you, but I’m not going to fight you on it either.” And, I’m going to listen to you and maybe try to have a sensible debate at times, but going to try to think of you above myself.” And, that’s really what it always has been, a reminder that other people are important, not just us. So, I’m going to take a pledge to be respectful and treat you with dignity, whatever the issue is. And, a big part of that during COVID was wearing that mask and distancing, keeping your hands clean.

David Lorenz:
And above all things, and this is going to continue to whatever happens, I think we’re going to make a big change in the way we think. We’re going to stay home when we’re sick in the future. Before this, I would fight through a cold and go to work every time. And then, I would get everybody else sick. And, I really wouldn’t even think about it. Well, after this, I’m thinking about it. So, the Pure Michigan Pledge will change, but the essence will be, I’m going to think of you so when I’m sick, I’m going to stay home. Make sure you don’t get sick from me.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. And, being respectful during this travel season may also include packing some patience, that we are trying to be respectful. I remember, well, from our air date, we’re airing this episode originally now, mid to late June. But just a month ago, Memorial Day weekend, my brother came down from Cadillac. He said, “The northbound traffic from Southeast Michigan looked like a hurricane evacuation route from Florida.” And it was a rainy Friday, if you remember.

David Lorenz:
Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica:
And so, we’ve just got to understand that there is this pent up demand for a lot of people to experience Pure Michigan, but just pack your patients and everybody, we’ll all get through it. It’ll be fine.

David Lorenz:
Yeah. Over Memorial day weekend, I did drive up north and I did spend a little time in the Mackinaw region. And, I saw that huge backlog of cars for a while. But to your point, Chuck, it’s a great example of whether we’re on the road, whether we’re in a line, we need to try to be more respectful and patient. And let me tell you, I’m telling myself that as I’m saying it, because we’re not perfect. And, I had a couple of very minor hospitality issues, very minor. But I’m not used to that, because we’re pretty darn good at hospitality. What’s happening right now is we can’t get enough employees to work both in the travel industry and in other industries. So, we’re getting new people coming in and they have not been fully trained yet. They’re still going through that initial training process.

David Lorenz:
So, they’re going to get it wrong here and there. So I had to tell myself, “This is the time to be patient to be kind and to understand.” In my case, I feel like I have an educational opportunity here to kind of teach the industry as I experienced things. So, I kind of find it difficult to say, “Well, okay, well, first off, just so you know, I’m not being critical, but I do want to point out that the way that’s supposed to be done is this way.” Sounds a little condescending, but I’m trying not to do that. So, I guess for all of us, the lesson is let’s just try to take a deep breath, and be kind, and to try to understand and be patient to your point, Chuck.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, you mentioned something that strikes me as a role that I never thought that I need to also think about in a way, because we are ambassadors for the State of Michigan. If we’re standing in line and we’ve got that small little issue of an extra five minute wait, and we pop a gasket, we may have people behind us who are from Wisconsin, or Indiana, or Tennessee, it doesn’t matter where. We are all ambassadors, like it or not, for our great state.

David Lorenz:
We sure are. And, you would think that at my age, I’m a father and my son is now 30 years old, so he’s been around for a while, but we’re all teachers as well. And, young people will learn by our example. So, do we really want to show them the wrong way or the right way? I think that’s a pretty easy question to answer.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, let’s talk a little bit about your personal, maybe not your preferences, but we can’t go over every travel destination, call it a bucket list, we hope we have more than just a few of those 25,000 mornings, if that number is correct. Right?

David Lorenz:
Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica:
Bucket list makes it sound like it’s the last time we’re traveling, but give us some of the popular spots that come to mind for you and that you hear about, you get reflections back from even surveys when people have come to visit Michigan?

David Lorenz:
Yeah. Well, you mentioned Chuck that with 11,000 lakes inland, and touching on four of the five Great Lakes, there’s water everywhere. In fact, there’s either a lake or a major stream every six miles, that’s the average. So, that’s pretty unique. So, I am like most Michiganders, a person of the water. I’m either on it, in it or under it, and always enjoy it in a variety of ways. So anywhere with water, fresh water is where I want to be. But my wife and I really enjoy hiking, so we can find any of the hundred plus state parks with trails everywhere, or any of the local parks to enjoy hiking. And when it comes to specific locations, favorite spots are hard for me to say, because I am aware of so many. And you’d be surprised that, you might think Traverse City, Mackinac, all of the U.P., they are favorites, but it depends on my mood for the day because I have a kind of a quirky interest in history. So, I might think of a little town like Centreville in the Southern part of the Lower Peninsula.

David Lorenz:
It’s a beautiful little town. These buildings fronted by brown brick, because they became popular in the 1800s when the vehicles, so-called vehicles, wagon trains would go from Detroit area, Chicago area along the Sauk Trail. So, some of these little towns really built up in that area and it’s a big Amish town. So, you can still see horse and buggy riding by quite often there with the covered bridges and such. So, little towns like that, I love and we have many, many, many of them. I love anywhere you can go kayaking and that’s just about anywhere. So, it’s hard for me to come up with that answer.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. And, it is particular to everybody’s context you about what they want, but kind of helping us, you’re encouraging me too, to really think of… I kayak, I’ve kayaked up north as well with a group, but to really push ourselves to either re-experience something we used to think about, or maybe expand our envelope of things, can maybe get out of our comfort zone. Right?

David Lorenz:
Yeah. It’s true. Try something new. And the thing is, if you want to try something like, let’s say kayaking for instance, there are outfitters out there that will not only provide all the equipment that you need, but they’ll show you how to do it. They’ll even take you on a tour to do these things. Now of course, summer season is here, but that’s the cool thing about the four season environment. If you’ve never snowmobiled, if you’ve never skied or whatever, there are people there who are so passionate about it, they can’t wait to show you how to do it.

David Lorenz:
Something this time of year, maybe like horseback riding, you can find plenty of places, including like a Double J Resort, north of Muskegon to go horseback riding. So, think about that. Think about the things maybe you’ve always kind of dreamed about doing, and then go after it, challenge your perceptions about what you can do and try it out, because you might find it’s going to be your next new, real passion. You’ll never know.

Chuck Gaidica:
I’ll give you an example for me, in particular, Dave, I’m kind of a type A, get it done, keep on moving kind of guy. And to dial it down, life in general and just the movement within my life, I sometimes have to look for those opportunities. And some of the greatest travel I’ve had in Michigan, whether it’s been by RV, even a motorcycle ride to Hell, Michigan, so I can say to you right now, I’ve had a hamburger in Hell. I’m a private pilot, so I have flown.

David Lorenz:
Oh, nice.

Chuck Gaidica:
You would think that getting in an airplane, you want to fly fast and get somewhere, get off and you’re there. And that’s great, you want to get to Harbor Springs. But for me, flying low and slow over the forest of the U.P. and watching, I assume, a mama bear with her cubs running through the woods, for me to slow it down and get in a kayak and just take a two hour trip down a crystal clear river for something like this podcast, where we talk about mindfulness, and health and wellness, you started off saying this, there’s a connection to doing all of what we’re talking about that is helpful. It’s just good for us, right?

David Lorenz:
That’s true. Well, and in fact, I’m not somebody who likes to sit on a beach. I’m like you Chuck, I like to be active, but I have to tell you over the Memorial holiday, I was up north. I was on a beach, on a beautiful sunny Saturday with the crisp air, had a fleece on. Because, it was still a little chilly at that time of the day, reading a book and it just occurred to me how blessed I was to be there that day, just doing that. So I just went, “My gosh, this is pretty nice.”

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. So, you talked about off the beaten path, there are ways for us to go to the website you describe. Give us the website again, where we all should go.

David Lorenz:
It is Michigan.org. And, you can find those kind of little hidden treasures. In fact, if you do a search for like hidden treasures on michigan.org or something like that, hidden gems, you’re going to find a bunch of suggestions from bloggers we’ve collected information over the years. And so, you might find something that’s really unique. Like for instance, after all these years, I grew up in Michigan, I’ve lived here all my life. I’d never really spent any time in Oscoda until last fall. And, we stayed at a little place called Mai Tiki Resort, which is one of those little like cabin places, where there are a bunch of cabins and cottages.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah.

David Lorenz:
Well, that’s kind of like how we grew up. They used to be a lot of those. There aren’t many around anymore. So that Oscoda area, they probably have a dozen of those types of stay opportunities. And, we had a blast just listening to the water lapping along the shoreline, Lake Huron. So you never know, get out there, explore, discover, and just soak it all in.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, we’ve got something new we’re trying, starting with this podcast episode, where we’ve asked some of the listeners of the podcast to pipe in on their ideal summer road trips in Michigan. And we’ve got three, Amy, David and Shandra, who are going to help us out. Do you mind if we bring them in and then they can shoot us whatever they think their best summer road trip is and we’ll get your comments, huh?

David Lorenz:
Oh, fantastic. Can’t wait.

Chuck Gaidica:
All right. Here’s Amy.

Amy Barczy:
Hey, this is Amy Barczy from Grosse Pointe, Michigan. My favorite summer destination are west Michigan beaches. You really can’t go wrong in the middle of July when it’s super hot, being out in these sparkling clean water with the sandy beaches, it’s just perfect. Some of my favorite parks, Saugatuck Dunes State Park and Rosy Mound near Grand Haven. You can hike through the woods and end up at the beach. It’s just perfect.

David Lorenz:
Oh, nice. Yeah. What’s cool about that Chuck, is that I actually live near Rosy Mound and that’s just south of Grand Haven. And, most people know the downtown area of Grand Haven, beautiful state and city beach. In fact, I ran there over the holiday on Memorial Day, I made sure to stop at the Escanaba Memorial, reminded myself what Memorial Day really is all about. And then, I just loved that area. But at Rosy Mound, you go through this path and it goes through the sand dune, so you’re up and down, up and down. It’s not for the meek, even though it’s a short little trek, you get to the beach. And before you walk down that last final set of stairs to the beach, you have this view from the top of the sand dune and you think you might be on part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

David Lorenz:
It’s that same type of awesome view. It’s just beautiful. And then, when you get down there on the beach, you have another winding trail that goes along on a kind of an elevated wooden path. It’s beautiful, but you can’t go wrong at any of our lakeshore communities. You’ll love it, she mentioned Saugatuck area. That’s one of the places, one of the two places you can go on a dune buggy ride as part of your experience. Saugatuck/Douglas, art friendly, beautiful little towns, just beautiful, beautiful.

David Lorenz:
But they’re just, there are so many of these little places, we call them west Michigan beach towns and they are awesome. I was also in Muskegon the other day for the ribbon cutting of a new attraction at Michigan’s Adventure amusement park and water park. So, the total opposite of kind of what I was talking about before, but perfect for family experiences where there’s a lot of activity, a lot of fun. And even there though, I suppose you can actually just sit there and read a book, just sitting there by the lazy lake and the river and such. So you never know, it’s just a great place as well.

Chuck Gaidica:
I’ve stayed at the campground right across from Michigan Adventure, and then taken grandkids there. So it’s-

David Lorenz:
Oh, nice.

Chuck Gaidica:
… just perfect. Something’s not lost to me about Amy’s commentary to us was she mentioned right at the top, she’s from Grosse Pointe. So, here’s somebody from extreme Southeast Michigan. She’s close to water, to big water.

David Lorenz:
Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica:
Maybe not a great lake, but Lake St. Clair, and she’s traveling completely to the other side of the state for her bucket list. How cool is that?

David Lorenz:
Yeah. And it’s pretty common actually, West Michigan is known for the beaches. The interesting thing is it’s a shame that people aren’t more aware of places like Port Huron, and Tawas City, and Alpena, and that Eastern part of the lake on Huron area.

Chuck Gaidica:
Downtown Lexington, right?

David Lorenz:
Oh, beautiful, beautiful little town. Wineries and such, that’s a great place.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah. All right. Well, we’ve got another one here and this time it’s from David.

David:
Hello. My name is David. Just sharing that my favorite spot in Michigan to visit during the summer is Mackinac Island. Perfect getaway from everything. Immediately decompressed as soon as you get up on the island in beautiful Northern Michigan, just a great place to unwind and a nice, relaxing vacation. The scenes and the scenery around the island are beautiful. You can walk the trails or run the perimeter, which I like to do. It’s absolutely perfect for a summer vacation. On my bucket list, I’ve always wanted to visit Pinckney in the summer. I’ve gone up there in the winter to ski, but never in the summer. So, I’ve always been interested in what that city offers during the summertime.

David Lorenz:
Nice.

Chuck Gaidica:
You talked about Mackinac Island quite a bit. What are your thoughts there about what David had to say?

David Lorenz:
He’s right. It’s just a… Mackinac Island, I’ve always thought it was kind of like the epicenter of the travel industry in Michigan, because that’s really where travel really got going as an industry, and the steamers and the rail lines would bring people up back in the day. And now, it’s still just as popular, if not more so. When you take the ferries, either from St. Ignace or Mackinaw City, and then you get there and you just have a great time. Now, one thing I would advise David and everybody to do is not only go on the perimeter of the island, it’s like 8.2 miles around and it’s a really cool bicycle ride, but go into the interior of the island. Not enough people do that. Now, you do go up a hill to get up there, because the island is kind of like the tip of a mountain, so to speak, sticking out of the water.

David Lorenz:
So, you kind of go up that hill, but once you’re in that forested area, it’s awesome. And, make sure to check out the two cemeteries there or three, I’ve lost track. But one of them is a military cemetery, it’s one of four places in the country that is always at half mast. Now, there’s something to learn about before you go. And why? Because, it’s a great story. And then, there are a bunch of these natural features as well. Of course, they’re just so many things. Now, did he say Pinckney is one of the places?

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, I heard him say. Pinckney. But Pinckney that I think of is in Southeast Michigan, right?

David Lorenz:
Yeah. So, and great town as well. The thing is, you just can’t find a bad place to go to, because it’s all about what you put into it, and then what are the things you do when you’re there, who you’re with. That’s really the best part.

Chuck Gaidica:
One of the things that brings me great comfort is traveling to Mackinaw, especially for me, it takes me back in time to a comfortable place with a grandmother who’s no longer with us. When I graduated eighth grade, my grandmother took me to Mackinac Island. It was my first experience to Mackinaw, my uncle, my favorite uncle, who was part of the same family who passed away when I was about 10, used to take me for little toys and magic tricks. Well, there’s a shop on Main Street there in Mackinac Island. So for me, I go to places like that and I immediately flashed back to a kinder, gentler place in my mind with family that surrounded me. And, I think that’s what many places in Michigan do to us. They not only look like they’ve come from a different time, but you can immediately zoom back in your memory to people you were with and say, “Yeah, that was great and this is why.”

David Lorenz:
Well, it’s for that reason that I always try to remind communities that are very popular in the summertime especially. They get a little anxious because there are so many travelers and visitors, and I know that they don’t always like it, but try to remind them that we are the memory makers, the travel industry helps families have these experiences. And as they do that, these memories are built that’ll last a lifetime. It’s that important to them. So again, as we mentioned earlier, Chuck, be kind, be patient and realize that for someone, for some family, this is a special time.

Chuck Gaidica:
Yeah.

David Lorenz:
So, I’d like to augment it rather than cause a challenge.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, Dave, we’ve got one more here from Shandra. Let’s hear where she likes.

Shandra Martinez:
Hi, this is Shandra Martinez. and my favorite destination is Grand Haven. I love the boardwalks along the channel, it’s such a great place to enjoy the waterfront and see the lighthouse. And, it’s a nice mile and a half past that stretches from Grand Haven to the harbor.

David Lorenz:
Yep. Certainly understand that Chuck, and that’s why I live here. It’s just such a great little town. And as I mentioned earlier, what I most love about Grand Haven, maybe some visitors would never really know much about, and that is their connection with the U.S. Coast Guard. Grand Haven has this very rich connection, which goes back for many years. It’s why the Coast Guard Festival happens in a year. But back in World War II, there was a ship called the Escanaba and it’s sink on escort duty to the UK in the Atlantic, and lost 101, 102 men, all locals back then. So, the city bought enough war bonds to build the next Escanaba. No city in America has ever done anything like that, and that’s why Grand Haven is known as Coast Guard City, USA, by act of Congress.

Chuck Gaidica:
Wow.

David Lorenz:
Yeah.

Chuck Gaidica:
What a great piece of information that is. And, I’ve actually been sitting on a park bench there with kids, just watching boats go by, literally just kind of rest and talking about, “Well, that one looks cool and that one’s got a radar arch and that one doesn’t,” it just all of a sudden it’s like 45 minutes went by. It was great.

David Lorenz:
Pretty special place, but we have so many like that. And, I recommend people check out Ludington, similar but different, make sure to check out their Waterfront Park. There were statues, sculptures there. It’s just really awesome. Pentwater, a little bit different, very art friendly community as well. Great food, right on the water, nice marina, all that. So, we have just so many places like that. It’s fun to explore.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well, as we wrap things up, Dave, this has been great. Thanks so much, but give us a takeaway that we can leave with everybody who’s listening about traveling Michigan and Pure Michigan.

David Lorenz:
Well, I think the most important thing about travel, even though we’ve talked about all these healthful reasons to travel, and of course, it’s good for the economy as well. It’s imperative, very important for Michigan, one of our most important industries. But what travel does also is, it introduces us to other people who live in other places, they may look different, sound different, act different. They may have different religions, different thoughts. Mark Twain put it best when he said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”

David Lorenz:
So, this is what travel does. It introduces us to other people who we think are different, but when we are there and we talk to them and we get to know them, we understand through full immersion that they are just like us. And, if you think about what we’ve been through most recently in the story of America, we need to get to know each other, and to get to truly understand this very important truth is that we’re all the same in the most important ways. We all want a better life for our kids and our grandkids, that’s what travel does. It teaches us that in a way that nothing else can. So get out there, go to places that are different, meet people that look different and live your life fully.

Chuck Gaidica:
Well. Perfect. David Lorenz, thank you so much. And, we sure do appreciate what Pure Michigan does for our economy and does for us in general, as people who live here, so we hope you stay well and thanks.

David Lorenz:
Hey Chuck, it’s my pleasure. And remember, your trip begins at michigan.org.

Chuck Gaidica:
Thanks for listening to A Healthier Michigan Podcast brought to you by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. If you like the show, you want to know more, you can check us out, go online at a healthiermichigan.org/podcast. You can get new episodes like this one, all of our previous episodes, we’re up to episode 83 and we’ll put some info in our show notes as well. So, you can find information that way. And, you can get all of these on your smartphone, your tablet. Be sure to subscribe to us on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app. And don’t forget, we’d love to hear from you. If you want to leave us feedback, you have a question, you have a comment you’d like to drop for us on the show, we may air it just so you know, you can become the next star on A Healthier Michigan, on our podcast. Call this number 313-246-4771. I’m Chuck Gaidica. Be well.