The Awesome Mitten - A Letter To Michigan

Can All Michiganders Agree on These 7 Things?

These days, it seems like there are so many topics that can divide us Michiganders. Hot button political topics, college sports rivalries, and even the age-old question of whether or not pineapple belongs on pizza.

So let’s put our differences aside and take some time to see what (if anything) all Michiganders can agree on. Hopefully, we can find some common ground on our shared love of the state of Michigan!

7 Statements All Michiganders Can Agree On

Here we go…

Lakeport State Park Beach
Lakeport State Park | photo via @mimichiganphotos

1. The Great Lakes are awesome.

From recreation to important natural resources, I think we all can agree that the Great Lakes rock. With variations of sandy and rocky beaches, endless blue horizons, and refreshing waters, the Great Lakes are truly magnificent.

Plus, the power and beauty of the ocean without salt water or sharks? Yes, please!

Now, the virtues of each individual Great Lake can be the source of heated debate. Case in point: 5 Reasons Why Lake Michigan Is the Best Great Lake vs 5 Reasons Lake Superior Why Is the Best Great Lake.

But we’re here to discuss what we can agree on. So let’s wrap it up with the statement that all the Great Lakes are awesome. It’s hard to argue against that one.

Wisconsin Mitten - The Awesome Mitten

2. Michigan is the true mitten state.

Did you know that Wisconsin claims to be the Mitten State?! In 2011, Travel Wisconsin featured a Wisconsin-shaped mitten for a tourism campaign, much to the amusement of Michiganders. 

More recently, Wisconsin comedian Charlie Berens claimed that Wisconsin should bear the official Mitten State title in a hilariously controversial Instagram reel.

If I squint really hard, I can kind of see how Wisconsin resembles a lop-sided mitten-like shape with a teeny thumb. But, come on, there’s really no contest here… 

Clearly, Michigan is the true winner of the Mitten State nickname.

The Awesome Mitten - A Letter To Michigan
The hand map | photo courtesy of the odyssey online

3. Using your hand is the best way to explain where you are from in Michigan.

Any true Michigander has used their hands at least one time to point out where they are from. Am I right?

If you don’t have a map, your actual hand makes the perfect substitute to point out your hometown. Even a hand turned sideways makes a decent-looking Upper Peninsula.

When I studied abroad in college, I even used this “hand-y” trick with Europeans. It was very helpful to point out on my hand where I lived in relation to more internationally known cities like Detroit and Chicago.

Chalk this one up as more evidence for Michigan being the true Mitten State too.

Bond Falls
Bond Falls in the Upper Peninsula | photo via @parksjd

4. Trading Toledo for the Upper Peninsula was an amazing deal.

Okay, this one takes a quick history lesson.

In the 1800s, when drawing maps to apply for statehood, Michigan and Ohio both claimed ownership of the Toledo strip. This area was highly prized for fertile farmland and economic trade routes.

Known as the Toledo War, a mostly bloodless dispute (with one non-fatal injury) ensued between Michigan and Ohio. To end the dispute, Ohio was given Toledo, while Michigan received the full Upper Peninsula.

At the time, the wild and remote Upper Peninsula was considered the short end of the stick in that deal.

These days, I think all Michiganders would agree that the Upper Peninsula is a hidden gem. With its valuable mining industry and breathtaking waterfalls, Michigan just wouldn’t be the same without its upper half. 

10Reasons Header
Michigan’s four seasons

5. Living where you can experience all four seasons is incredible.

We may joke that there are two seasons in Michigan — winter and construction. But seriously, it is amazing being able to live in a place that experiences all four seasons. There’s something new and exciting to enjoy with each changing season.

Apple picking and colorful leaves in the fall. Sledding hills and ice festivals in the winter. Budding flowers and maple sugaring in spring. Beach days and dune buggy rides in the summer.

Now, some of those seasons (eh hem, winter) may be a tad longer than you’d like or just a bit too fleeting (don’t leave yet, summer!).

If you don’t enjoy the current season, you’re in luck because a new one is right around the corner.

Heading Along The Ridgeline To See Lake Michigan At Baldy Dunes.
Heading along the ridgeline to see Lake Michigan at Baldy Dunes | photo Kristi Murphy

6. There’s always someplace new to explore in Michigan.

Whether you’ve lived in Michigan for a few months or your whole life (or just like to visit sometimes), I bet you are still finding new places in our state that you are yearning to explore. 

From hot new restaurants and weird Michigan festivals to remote islands and hidden gem hiking trails in Northern Michigan, new adventures await in every corner of our state.

I know my Michigan travel list keeps growing every season, especially with amazing recommendations on the #MIAwesomeList!

7. Michigan is awesome, but it could be even better.

As much as we Michiganders love to sing praises for our beloved state, as with most things in life, there is always room for improvement.

Being an engaged citizen involves having a realistic view of the strengths and challenges of the area in which you live.

If you are reading this article, here’s my personal challenge to you:

Be a part of the solution. Help make Michigan a better place to live and visit.

Pick an area you are passionate about — childhood hunger, beach clean-ups, etc. There are so many worthy causes! Donate your time and/or money to help make Michigan an even better community.

Whether or not we agree on everything, we Michiganders are stronger when we work together.

Top Five Grand Rapids Bands - The Awesome Mitten
Grand Rapids concert | photo by Brian Wells

How Many of These Statements Do You Agree With?

All right, now it’s your time to weigh in. How many of these statements do you agree with? Any other statements you think all Michiganders would agree on? Share your thoughts in the comments below!