When we were coming home from Italy a few years ago and were nervously going through our first return trip through customs (because if you live in Michigan, Canada doesn't count), the nice man who interviewed us gave us an outsiders view of our home state. "Where are you from?" he asked in his all business, no nonsense tone. "Michigan," Jon replied in his slightly shakey, I've never done this before tone, to which the officer replied "Michigan!" his tone immediately turning to one of astonishment, "Got some troubles over there. You still have a job?" I guess to some, our state economy is at best a mystery, at worst a complete horror.
But there is so much more to our home than the outsiders view of a suffering economy. Michigan is a beautiful land of water and woodland. Our lake shores feel as vast as the ocean but without the salt and the sharks. I love to travel and experience new plances every chance I get, but I love coming home, and I'm also always happy to take a vacation right here: if not quite a staycation, then a statecation.
We were on the road again last weekend, this time for a family wedding on Jon's side that took us to the beautiful "west coast" of Michigan where the soft, fine sand stretches over small dunes and into the lake. There we soaked up time with family we hadn't seen in years. We buried our toes in the sand while watching the sun sink toward the horizon behind an unmarred span of lake. We attended a chilly but sweet wedding and danced into the evening. We broke bread and drank wine together. We came home refreshed and invigorated.
At the Chicago Botanical Gardens, on a river tour of the city, and rooftop dining. Our favorite way to spend the fourth is with family, and Chicago is a great place to do just that. For a few years there it was an annual trip, then last year we had other plans, so we were delighted to get back to our newer tradition, this year with added sight seeing adventures.
A photo essay.