Growing up in Michigan, I only lived a couple blocks from Lake Saint Clair. Going to the beach was a common pastime and the smell of fish was always expected when driving down Jefferson Avenue. Living by the lake was all I ever knew, I never really thought about how lucky I was until I left it behind. When you marry someone in the military, you never know where you will end up. Our first assignment was in Ohio. Sure, Ohio has some land along the Great Lakes, however, we were in the very southwestern part of the state, nowhere near any type of lake.
There were parks that had “lakes” in them but, for someone from the Great Lakes State, they looked more like small ponds than a lake. I still remember going on Google and searching for local beaches shortly after we arrived. The first result listed? A waterpark nearby named “The Beach” that had sand around a zero entry pool. Not exactly what I had in mind!
After spending 4 years in Ohio, it was time to move again. This time we were assigned to Maryland, which is most definitely not a landlocked state by any means. We arrived in Maryland a little over a month ago and, having nowhere to live except a hotel when we first got here, we did a lot of eating out. One night we went to downtown Annapolis to grab dinner at a restaurant that was on the Chesapeake Bay. I don’t think I can even begin to describe the slightly pathetic excitement I felt upon seeing WATER! Four years in Ohio means being long overdue for some time on the beach. The sun, the sand, the sound of the waves hitting the beach, that is music to a Michigander’s heart. However, it still isn’t as good as being back home. Salt water is not nearly as wonderful as fresh water and it takes me half an hour to get to a beach here instead of the 3 minutes it took back home. Having the Bay and the ocean nearby most certainly is better than being landlocked, but it’s still just not the same as a good ol’ Michigan beach.
Having so many beaches right in your own backyard is something that many Michiganders take for granted. When you have them there all the time, you don’t think much of them. But, leave the beaches behind for a while and you’ll realize just how amazing they really are. So pick a beautiful Michigan summer night and go drive to the nearest beach. Walk up to the sand and take in the beauty of your home state. Heck, take in the moment for me as well. There’s nothing like the sun and the sand, Michigan style.
What do you think you’d miss most about Michigan?
–Kati Bethuy, Contributing Writer