Tulip Time Festival

3 Things I Can’t Wait To Do This Spring In Michigan

If you enjoy watching any of the fascinating nature documentary series out there, you’ll love springtime in Michigan.

It’s a time when, seemingly overnight, life erupts before your very eyes. Vibrant green buds sprout all around and there’s no shortage of flowering trees that attract hummingbirds, bees,  and butterflies.

After months of bare trees and, if you’re lucky, alluring snow – yes, it’s beautiful but it is white and considered “the absence of color” – Michigan’s sudden spring will inundate your eyes and boggle your mind.

Experience the wonder of a Michigan spring by working your way through our Spring Bucket List.

Michigan’s climate and environment allow flowering trees and vegetation to thrive! We are home to many beautiful, unique native plants and trees. We grow fruit, vegetables, grasses, vines, trees, flowers, and who knows how many other plants! I’m pretty sure Google doesn’t even know.

Michigan’s State Flower, The Apple Blossom.
Michigan’s state flower, the Apple Blossom.

Let’s make our way back to the dazzling effects a Michigan spring advances on the soul, especially the souls of Michigan natives that persisted through the snow; the blanket of snow that tightly swaddles the seeds and roots below, who only long to grow.

A Michigan spring holds all the literary elements of poetry.

Below is a short list of springy things to see and do in Michigan, all of which make springtime my favorite time in the Great Lakes State.

Solely Taking a Walk

Spring is a great time of year to take a walk on any one of Michigan’s 4,020 miles of hiking trails.

Having just moved back to Michigan and to the unfamiliar west side, I’m personally looking forward to hiking the Kal-Haven Trail State Park, formally known as the Kal-Haven Trail Sesquicentennial State Park.

As Seen Here, The Kal-Haven Trail Is Also Stunning In The Fall. Photo Via @Hoosier_Girl_Photography
As seen here, the Kal-Haven Trail is also stunning in the fall. Photo via @hoosier_girl_photography

No permit is needed to use this former railroad bed turned trail that runs 33 miles between South Haven, to a point just west of Kalamazoo. The trek passes through charming small towns and villages, points to historical sites (the Bloomingdale Depot Museum is just about smack-dab in the middle!), and features wondrous scenery.

Expect to see orchards, farms, and woodlands in all their spring glory on this rather straight and flat path.

The hard-packed limestone slag surface is suitable for almost all types of bikes, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling (when there’s at least a 4-inch base of snow), and horseback riding. But as I said, I’ll be taking a stroll.

Walking Outdoors Does A Body Good

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again, walking just 30 minutes a day is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. Walking strengthens bones, reduces excess body fat, and boosts muscle power as well as endurance and energy levels.

This cardiovascular physical activity does all these things and MORE. It’s amazing that a relatively simple exercise can do so much. Best believe that walking in nature, especially after a long winter, will only add benefits to that list!

Get out and hit the trails this spring! It doesn’t have to be the Kal-Haven State Trail Park, there are many to choose from across our great state. Here are a couple more:

Explore the Lansing River Trail
A Trail For All Seasons: Exploring Michigan’s White Pine Trail

After your walk, go do…

The Exact Opposite of Walking; Henry Ford’s Giant Screen Experience

Let’s be truthful, sometimes Michigan spring weather conditions are too chilly and/or wet. On these days, I recommend letting all the nature come to you! The Henry Ford large screen theater always features at least one nature documentary, and in 3D no less.

They are also sure to offer a kid-friendly film, I remember seeing a Fantasia screening here decades ago. Fast forward…

In 2016, The Henry Ford in Dearborn upgraded its former IMAX theater with a new state-of-the-art 4K digital projection system, new sound, a larger screen, and new seats. Their giant rectangular screen is eight stories wide (84 feet) and six stories tall (62 feet) with the capability to show both 2D and 3D IMAX films.

My husband and I (Michigan natives) were living in California when these upgrades were made so we just had to check them out. We took my six and four-year-old to see Great Bear Rainforest in 3D and it was comical, also magical, but mostly comical.

First Family 3D Movie In The Books!
First family 3D movie in the books!

Our boys were in awe of the 3D imagery before them; there was a moment we had to hold one of them back by his shirt! He stood and reached out to touch the all-white and rare Spirit Bear.

In the moment all I could think to do was keep him from toppling over the stadium seats in front of him – but now, do you think I should be worried he thought the bear was real and still decided to try and touch it? Yikes.

Flowers Galore

What girl doesn’t love flowers? In addition to the beautiful budding flowers you can witness each and every day by simply existing in Michigan in springtime, you can visit the following festivals to further overwhelm your oculars and olfactories:

Tulip Time Festival, Holland
Lilac Festival, Mackinac Island

Tulip Time Festival | Photo Via @Mikehnatiuk
Tulip Time Festival | photo via @mikehnatiuk

Again, being new to the west side of Michigan, I was happy to find the hidden gem that is Shades of Lavender in Mattawan. While the farm had me at ‘lavender,’ I was pleasantly surprised and very impressed to find there is much more to their operation! 

Shades of Lavender Farm

Walk through a shaded tunnel of white pines, Michigan’s state tree, and make your way to the u-pick lavender fields. On your way, you may find butterfly gardens, dried botanicals, sunflowers, and forest mushrooms. The farm is lovely. So lovely, I plan to pay Shades of Lavender a small fee to allow a professional photographer to meet my family there for a private photo session among the wildflower fields.

Now, I must admit, what excites me most about Shades of Lavender is their on-site farm shop! It’s open year-round but the hours vary during their off-season between Christmas and springtime. While I believe not much is left to happenstance, it seems my first visit to the shop involved a bit of luck.

Some Of The Shades Of Lavender Goodies I Brought Home.
Some of the Shades of Lavender goodies I brought home.

Don’t Delay, Shop Today

I had been driving by Shades of Lavender for three months and each time I thought to myself, “I have got to check that place out.” My mom’s birthday is in February and as her special day drew near, my want to explore the shop quickly became a need, can you appreciate what I’m trying to say here? Must I really say it? Okay. OKAY!

My name is Kerrie and I am a gift-buying procrastinator. It’s not that I don’t have a plan. Oh, I spend the time considering whatever it is I would like to give – it’s just the purchasing part that sneaks up on me.

February was underway when I pulled into the Shades of Lavender parking lot. The lights were on, but to my dismay, the door was locked! Boy was I in trouble having no backup gift in mind.

I turned to walk back to my car when I heard a friendly voice call to me. It was the owner of the farm shop, Anthony, or as I would come to know him, Anthony the Alchemist.

Shopping at Shades of Lavender

Anthony fumbled with the door a bit. He happened to be testing a fresh batch of lavender lotion and frankly, the store wasn’t meant to be open for business that day. A true, charming gentleman, he managed to hold the door and offered the excess moisturizer from his palms.

The delicate, floral smell was perfection. Anthony graciously let me in to explore the floor while the lavender aroma hung in the air and on my own hands. This made my time at Shades of Lavender all the more special (as if a personal shopping experience wasn’t enough!).

The Shades Of Lavender “Classic Trio Gift Set” – My Mom Loved It!
The Shades of Lavender “Classic Trio Gift Set” – my mom loved it!

I learned that most of the lavender harvested on the farm might never leave the farm, unless it goes in YOUR car, of course. It’s reaped with a sickle and packed into their on-site copper still to make lavender essential oil and hydrosol, also known as “flower waters.”

The intoxicating elixirs are used to make a range of bath and body products, candles, wax melts, and more. Check out the ‘more’ (like their hand-blended tea) in their Shades of Lavender online store.

A Legit Farm-Shop

When spring hits, Shades of Lavender will hold regular business hours and this is now, yet another reason to love springtime in Michigan. The flowers on the farm will start to bloom in late May, if you miss this opportunity to visit – go to the aforementioned Mackinac Island Lilac Festival in June.

The Shades of Lavender “Mackinac Island” scented candle can be found in the Little Luxuries gift boutique, making it Mackinac Island-approved.

If you miss both of these occasions, no worries! Lavender blooms repeatedly, sometimes even into the fall. I suppose this qualifies the Mattawan farm and shop as something to look forward to and enjoy well past springtime.

In fact, I forgot to mention three little words… Lavender ice cream. Mmm. Thanks once more for the sample, Anthony! I’ll be seeing you again soon!

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