The Annual Do-Over

Have you made your resolution list yet? The start of the new year is always met with great enthusiasm with new goals, a chance to start fresh and hopes of making the new year better than the last one. It is the time of year for an annual do-over. The fact that most resolutions don’t come to fruition no matter how hard we try, is one reason why I never make New Years resolutions. Instead I look back on the great things of the past year and what I can look forward to in the year ahead.

The year of 2017 started a bit slow for me as I dealt with physical therapy on a major injury.. After a couple months it was business as usual starting with a trip out in Arizona. It was nice to get away from the colder weather here in Michigan and enjoy some warmth and sunshine. We were also able to see quite a bit in the limited time we had. When we got back from our trip I certainly made up for lost time with the knee injury. Between April and early November I was out exploring and seeing all the great things Michigan had to offer. I met some people with some interesting stories that made the place I was at more significant. Often we focus on the great landmarks of Michigan from lighthouses to waterfalls, but there is so much more to Michigan than these iconic places. I was fortunate to get a closer look at some of Michigan’s smaller towns and the people in them. I was fortunate to visit many scenic attractions, places of history and a few museums here and there. Occasionally I went out of state to get a gimps of some of our neighboring states natural beauty.  It was certainly a busy year.

As we start the year 2018, I have no idea what it will bring. I am excited to keep exploring our great state. I am looking forward to gathering the stories behind some of our states great attractions. It is what the Mitten Discoveries is all about; exploring the known attractions and features of our state as well as discovering treasures often undiscovered. There is always a story to unlock no matter where you are or what place you are at in the state of Michigan. That is what I look forward to in the New Year. Our first month here in Michigan is off to a very cold start. The roads have been pretty treacherous lately and it looks to stay that way at least through the first couple weeks. I would love to do some major traveling, but I think I will stay close and explore some of our parks here in Kent County. Even at the local parks there is a story to be told. It could very well be my own as I journey through some deep snow to discover nature at its finest. No one knows what the year will bring. The new year is not an annual do-over for me; it is an extension of of the adventure I had throughout the past year.

Discovering the Undiscovered

Sitting around a table with some acquaintances of mine we were generating conversation about places we wanted to go see in our home state of Michigan. The usual places that most people want to visit such as Mackinac Island and the bridge, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and summer resort cities like Grand Haven, Petoskey and Ludington were high on everyone’s list. In spite of knowing about these places, it amazed me how little people really knew about some of Michigan’s most frequently visited locations. It astounded me that several people did not know that cities like Marshall, Coldwater, Monroe, Bad Axe, Clare, Midland, Ironwood, Hancock and Copper Harbor even existed in the State of Michigan.

Mackinac Bridge, Mackinaw City
Mackinac Bridge, Mackinaw City

 

To be honest, while I have heard of these cities; there are a few things that I never knew existed within these cities. Earlier this summer I stopped at the Underground Railroad Monument in Battle Creek. Did you know that the monument is operated by the U.S. National Park Service? I would have never thought it was, but it makes sense in hindsight. They have a park ranger right at the monument to answer any all all questions about the fascinating history of the Underground Railroad and how it impacted Michigan. There are so many events and places that I have yet to discover in our great state. Don’t get me wrong, I love the lighthouse tours and the pristine waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula, but there is more to learn and more to discover.

The Underground Railroad Monument, Battle Creek
The Underground Railroad Monument, Battle Creek

This past year in photography has been a little bit of a transition for me. I have wanted to discover the unknown. I have wanted to get the experience of what is now known as our state’s famous tagline “Pure Michigan”. I have been blessed to see the Mackinac Bridge and many of the state’s famous landmarks. I yearn to see more and gain an understanding of what this state has to offer. To experience Michigan is to also converse with the people behind the scenes of some our cities annual events, or those running the museums, cider mills, and farm markets.

Skyline towers, Grand Rapids
Skyline towers, Grand Rapids

I have learned a great deal throughout this past year and I plan to pass some of this information along. Some of my posts will contain some facts and statistics about certain places as it is important to have some of the detailed information. However, a majority of the posts are going to be experienced based. I will not write as if I am an expert on various places within Michigan. Instead I will provide content about the journey to discovering new and exciting places. Those who are looking to find out what Michigan has to offer come with me on this journey. Let’s discover the mitten state together!

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