Leaving Michigan: 13 Things You Miss Most When You’re Gone

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    Growing up in Michigan, I’ve always loved the wonderful things about our state—the people, the food, the lakes, the beautiful scenery, and the ability to show strangers where I live on the palm of my hand. But part of me has also taken the simple pleasures our Great Lakes State for granted. Like some Michiganders do so often, I left for an extended period of time… and let me tell you, the rest of the country could not be as wonderful as our state is.

    Leaving Michigan has given me an appreciation for so many things I once took for granted—the accessibility to fresh water lakes (Great Lakes and inland), the plethora of local craft brews, local produce, and so many other things I never would have thought I would miss.

    Since leaving, I’ve discovered a serious newfound FOMO (fear of missing out) for Michigan. Between all the amazing local festivals, the thousands of pristine miles of coastline, and did I mention, MICHIGAN BREWS. (I’m looking at you, Founders.)

    Below are 13 of the things I miss most while being away from Pure Michigan.

    1. Michigan craft brews

    Finding Michigan craft beers outside of our state is nearly impossible. Sure, some breweries are gracious enough to bottle and ship around the country, but nothing tastes as good as a freshly poured Two Hearted Ale. Besides the ever-popular Oberon, nothing beats an evening outside at Founder’s in Grand Rapids, or a night out on the patio drinking local craft brews.

    Leaving Michigan: 13 Things You Miss Most When You're Gone
    Short’s Brewing Company

    2. Michigan-made food

    Coney dogs, Superman ice cream, Mackinac Island fudge, pączki, pasties… The list could go on FOREVER. I once had someone ask me if I’ve ever had Superman ice cream. I GREW UP ON SUPERMAN ICE CREAM.

    Leaving Michigan: 13 Things You Miss Most When You're Gone
    Photo via Rebecca Calkins @Tallblondchick1


    3. Small town charm

    No matter where you find yourself in the Mitten, small town charm exists. We all know you can go from a big city (Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids) to a rural area within minutes, but that’s what makes us Michiganders so special. Even just on our daily commute, we’re going from culture to culture.

    4. Detroit Tigers

    This might be my first summer not attending a Tiger’s baseball game. Though I’m a girl who doesn’t care about the sport, I truly miss the experience of a baseball game at Comerica Park followed by an evening in downtown Detroit.

    Leaving Michigan: 13 Things You Miss Most When You're Gone
    Photo Courtesy of The Detroit Tigers

    5. Picturesque views

    Greenery for miles, sand dunes riddled along the coast, and blue waters as far as the eye can see. Whether you’re hiking or driving, Michigan views are unparalleled.

    Lake of the Clouds in Ontonagon. Photo courtesy of Instagram user @splat_me - The Awesome Mitten
    Lake of the Clouds in the Porcupine Mountains. Photo courtesy of @splat_me


    6. Wacky summer festivals

    Growing up in Howell, I was exposed to a bunch of random festivals growing up. The two favorites were the Howell Melon Festival and Balloonfest. Though at the time the city seems so hot and overcrowded, some of my most prominent childhood memories took place around these iconic city wide events. Some other fun festivals in Michigan include the Potato Festival in Edmore, Traverse City’s Cherry Festival, and Tulip Time in Holland.

    7. The sweet Midwestern charm  

    One thing that makes Michigan so unique is our people. There are few places around the country where people are so generous (despite our everlasting issue with left-lane drivers).

    8. Our unique carbonated beverages

    No one realizes what a necessity Vernors is until they can’t find it ANYWHERE. Not feeling well? Drink a Vernors. Feeling great? Drink a Vernors. Have a few extra scoops of vanilla ice cream? Add Vernors! Luckily if you’re not a fan of the ginger pop (yes, it’s POP), we can also choose from a plethora of Faygo flavors, which are also Michigan made! Though the two famous Michigan-made drinks are available across the country, they still seem impossible to find.

    Leaving Michigan: 13 Things You Miss Most When You're Gone
    Photo Courtesy of Margaret Clegg


    9. Michigan made tunes

    We’re lucky enough to have the ability to brag about Motown, Jack White’s record plant, and a slew of other Michigan made musicians. It’s always a treasure to find your favorites at local record stores, and even more joyous when those favorite Michigan songs come on.

    10. Detroit Rock City

    If you’re lucky enough to visit Detroit during its revival, you’re lucky enough. The history behind Detroit is so fascinating that we can’t help but explore the city in awe. Through it’s exciting shops, delicious restaurants, and gorgeous city-scape views, we’re truly so lucky to witness the city in action.

    11. We’re basically two states in one

    “If you seek a pleasant Peninsula, look about you…” Unlike any other state in the U.S. we have TWO peninsulas! We know downstate is full of exciting cities (big and small), delicious food, and gorgeous views; but the U.P. still feels like foreign land every time we visit. There’s not a bad spot to be in the Mitten state.

    Leaving Michigan: 13 Things You Miss Most When You're Gone
    Photo courtesy of @jason_feirick via Instagram

    12. The University of Michigan versus Michigan State University rivalry

    When asked one of the famous first questions asked by all non-Michiganders — “are you a U of M or MSU fan?!” — most of us have a loud and proud response. The iconic head-to-head rivalry is incomparable anywhere else in the country. Whether it’s “Go Green!” or “Go Blue!” both schools are great in their own regard. And one thing is for sure, we all hate Ohio State!

    13. Lastly, being able to sing the most iconic lyrics of all time…

    “Just a small town boy; BORN AND RAISED IN SOUTH DETROIT…” Even though no one has ever fit that description (unless you count Windsor, down river, or any of the other places that aren’t actually South Detroit), we’re all proud to be from the state of Michigan. So, thanks for the love, Journey.

    What do you miss most when you leave Michigan? Let us know in the comments!

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