7 Stories Of Unusual Michigan City Names

names | The Awesome Mitten

Have you ever wondered where some of Michigan’s weirdest names originated from? Using Walter Romig’s Michigan Place Names and the power of internet research, I learned seven fascinating stories. Bad Axe (Huron County) Located in the thumb, Bad Axe is a small town of about 3000 people. The name “Bad Axe” stems from Captain Rudolph […]

10 Little Known Facts About Michigan Agriculture

As you’re enjoying backyard barbecues this summer, do you consider where the cherries in your cherry pie were grown? Or perhaps where the beef in your burger came from? It’s likely that a large portion of the food stacked on your plate was grown or raised in the great mitten state. Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse […]

Polish Holiday Traditions From A Michigander

Polish Ornaments

Originally published on December 20th, 2015 Michigan’s climate and geography is very similar to Poland’s, which made it a prominent place for Polish settlers. Just a few miles south of Michigan, Chicago remains the largest Polish-speaking city outside of Poland. I’ve grown up with subtle traditions and reminders of my Polish heritage and, recently, my fascination with […]

The Awesome Mitten Team Dons Ugly Holidays Sweaters to Wish You a Happy Holiday

The holiday season is in full swing! Sometimes, crazy, busy schedules of holiday work parties, Secret Santa gift exchanges, awkward encounters with long-lost relatives (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, I’m lookin’ at you), absurdly long checkout lines, and mall traffic overshadow the greatness of a time meant to celebrate loved ones and the joy of giving. […]

Experiencing Christmas In the Frankenmuth Outdoors

Frankenmuth Holidays Outdoors - The Awesome Mitten

Frankenmuth, a small village in the middle of “The Mitten,” and the holiday season go hand-in-hand. Many people take in the Christmas-themed town during the colder months and holiday season by hunkering down in its various shops, eating establishments, and at the infamous Bronner’s.  Predominantly, these are indoor activities. I wanted to do the opposite, though, […]

The 12 Dates of Christmas: Michigan Edition

The best part about celebrating the 12 dates of Christmas is that they can be completed anywhere in the great state of Michigan. The ideas I present to you in this guide can be tailored to any city. There is no obligation to complete all 12, but your Christmas spirit will be roaring if you […]

Guide to Holiday Light Displays Around the Mitten

MichiganHoliday Light Displays - The Awesome Mitten

When the holidays near, The Mitten lights up in celebration. Colorful light displays can be found everywhere from zoos to private residences, making for plenty of places to spend an evening in preparation for the holiday season. Pay a visit to some of Michigan’s brightest attractions this December with holiday light displays around The Mitten! Christmas […]

December Events in Michigan for a Festive Holiday Season

December is here, and it’s calling for festive holiday events that the whole family can enjoy. The following roundup of events will provide you with the perfect amount of cheerful holiday fun to begin your traditions this year. Hold your loved ones close, and make the most of this season, with these December events in […]

Lansing’s Gift-Worthy Experiences

A delicious meal created at Le Chat Gourmet.

In my time so far with Awesome Mitten, I’ve written about mid-Michigan foods to be thankful for, our wonderful local libraries and the countless festivals that happen in Greater Lansing year-round. What can I say? I’m proud of the place I grew up in and have continued to call home all these years. Mid-Michigan is full of interesting […]

Top 5 ‘Must-See’ Christmas Attractions in Metro Detroit

Originally published December 5th, 2013, dates and prices have been updated to reflect 2016.  The Holiday Season is upon us once again. Not only is it my most favorite time of the year, but it’s also my most favorite time to call Michigan home. When it comes to Christmas, Michigan knows how to do it […]

A Tour Inside Michigan’s Little Bavaria at Frankenmuth

Frankenmuth: Little Bavaria - The Awesome Mitten

A place not quite like any other, where the norms include shopping for Christmas in June and taking a beach day in January. In a place like Frankenmuth, the seasons never slow, and the Christmas spirit never fades. 1-800-FUN-TOWN is situated two hours north of Detroit. A year-round home to some 7,000 residents, it welcomes millions […]

Rock your Ugliest Sweater for a Good Cause this Holiday Season

Ugly Christmas Sweater Charity Party - Awesome Mitten

When it comes to the holiday season, we all would like to focus a little more on doing some good in the world. Something about Christmas just puts us in the giving mood, and it reminds us that we have the power to improve the lives of people around us near and far. If you […]

How to Enjoy Nite Lites Jackson

Nite Lites Jackson

A big part of the holidays for me are the Christmas lights. Even though my family was never the biggest of decorators, I love to drive around the neighborhoods that always took it to the next level. I remember piling into the minivan to drive through the Nite Lites at the Jackson County Fairgrounds; at […]

Bronner’s: The Most Magical Place in Michigan

Bronner's Exterior

The magic of the holidays always begins with a visit to Bronner’s! This place is magnificent no matter what the season, but during the holidays it’s the absolute perfect way to get anyone in the mood to celebrate the holidays. Since 1945, the store has been a staple in Frankenmuth with over 2 million annual visitors. […]

Michigan Gift Guide for the Outdoor Adventurer

Rather Be Up North Stickers

Michigan is the most adventurous state with an endless array of seasonal activities! No matter which of the four seasons you prefer, there is always a reason to stay active. This guide is to help you plan your next adventure and to showcase some of the best products you’ll need when exploring The Great Lakes State. […]

Michigan Sports Gift Guide

Michigan Sports Can Holder

“We are the Champions!” Michigan is one of the most adventurous states in the country with such a large variety of sports to enjoy throughout the year. It’s also home to some of the most recognizable sports teams in history, making our pride overwhelming amazing. Sports is one of the many things that comes to […]

Making the Most of Lansing’s Silver Bells in the City

Making the Most of Lansing's Silver Bells in the City - Awesome Mitten

The 31st Annual Silver Bells in the City festival in Lansing is this Friday, November 20, from 5 PM – 9 PM. This event is held the Friday before Thanksgiving each year. Over 80,000 people come to the city to enjoy an electric light parade, music and dance performances, holiday shopping, the lighting of the […]

The Ultimate Michigan Made Gift Guide

Ultimate Michigan Gift Guide - The Awesome Mitten

Welcome to The Ultimate Michigan Made Gift Guide! Whether near or far, these amazing gifts will make you fall in love with Michigan all over again! This guide highlights the absolute best gifts for those who love to incorporate and share their Michigan pride in every aspect of their lives! Holiday Décor Michigan Hands Tee Ornament […]

Fit for Foodies: Michigan Gift Guide

It’s that time of year again to start searching out the best gifts for everyone in your life and we have compiled amazing Gift Guides to help you this season. Whether you’re shopping for those who specifically love all things Michigan or you’re trying to find a unique gift for the ultimate foodie in your […]

Why Christmas is Awesome in the Mitten

Why Christmas is Awesome in the Mitten - Awesome Mitten

For many of us, Christmastime is about bringing together family and friends, celebrating traditions, opening presents, finding out who was really on Santa’s naughty and nice list this past year, as well as enjoying the lights, cozy fires and fresh snowfall outside. Collectively as a state, we take this merry season to a whole other level. For many […]

Southerner Meets Michigan: Holiday Nights Dinner At Eagle Tavern

The Awesome Mitten-Holiday Nights Dinner Eagle Tavern

Although the tradition is fairly new to me, Holiday Nights in Greenfield Village is one of my very favorite Michigan Christmas activities. The carolers, costumes, fireworks, and old-time setting are magical, allowing anyone who visits to escape the “real world” for a night. Each year, I discover something I’ve never seen before—so the experience is always […]

Pop In to a Pop Up Art Gallery in Jackson

Original art makes for a unique personal gift that could become a treasured piece that lasts a lifetime. Pop-up art galleries are a win-win for the community, too. This holiday season they’re bringing people to Downtown Jackson. Now more than ever, shopping local is important for Jackson,  as we build a new and vibrant downtown district. […]

Durand Union Station

Union Station

The snow has already made an appearance in my small town of Durand, Michigan. When others might groan about this particular news, the citizens of our quaint town simply smile with the realization that the holidays are near. In small communities, the holidays are filled with traditions that bring us together. It’s just in our […]

How to Shop Small in Jackson: Easy as 1, 2, 3

Oh, Black Friday: where big box stores provide deep discounts on the hottest gifts which often results in trampling and general craziness. You may have even heard of Cyber Monday where online stores give you discounts on the things you may have missed on Black Friday. But have you heard of Small Business Saturday? In […]

Hunting Holiday Antiques

Awesome Mitten (Hunting Holiday Antiques)

November is traditionally the month where America remembers that now is a good time to start thinking of holiday gifts. The good news is that you still have plenty of time to come up with unique gift ideas for everyone on your list without rush ordering from Amazon. The even better news is that Grand […]