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Thank you for visiting Grandma's Briefs, where I write on the good, bad, humorous and heartwarming of being a baby boomer, grandparent, parent to adult children, wife and writer. Peruse the place, leave a comment or two, and feel free to email me any time at

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    The weekend I fell in love... with Michigan

    My home state of Colorado is where my heart is. Though I love to travel and see places big and small, metropolitan and rural, historic or brand-spanking new, I've never visited a place that felt like home to me, a spot that made me say to myself or others, "Hey, I could live here!"

    Until I visited Michigan.

    alpena and tawas michigan

    Pure Michigan, the mitten state's travel-marketing division, invited me to spend a long weekend visiting two special communities on the "sunrise coast" of Michigan: The Tawases (Tawas City and East Tawas) and Alpena. I honestly never considered Michigan as a travel destination but I accepted the offer... and immediately fell in love with both communities and the unbelievably warm and welcoming people.

    I began my journey in The Tawases, hosted by Shelley and Janel of the Tawas Area Chamber of Commerce. My time with them was unfortunately short (arrived late Thursday evening and departed first thing Friday morning), yet their quaint community made a lasting impression—as did they and the kind residents who were enthusiastic about my visit and sharing what they most love about their history-steeped home.

    Upon leaving The Tawases, my hosts from the Alpena Area CVB—Jessie, Nicole, and Mary Beth—kept me happily hopping about experiencing the highlights of their community, which carries the deserved tagline "Sanctuary of the Great Lakes."

    Every moment between Shelley and Janel picking me up at the airport to Jessie dropping me off to fly home was an adventure, an eye-opening experience that left me in love... with Michigan's sunrise coast and the people who live there. The following photos—just a small portion of the thousands I took during the trip—help explain why (go full screen for the best view):


    I plan to return to Michigan's sunrise coast as soon as I can as there's so very much I didn't have time to see. And because I want my husband to experience it. And because I already miss the people. And the lighthouses. And the food. And the sound of the waves gently splashing upon the Lake Huron shores.

    Thank you to the fabulous folks who made my Michigan visit most memorable, folks you'll surely want to turn to when planning your own vacation in Michigan—a destination I now highly recommend:


    Tawas Bay Tourist and Convention Bureau

    Mr. Jack'ss Sport Bar & Grill

    Tawas Point Lighthouse

    East Tawas Junction Bed and Breakfast


    Alpena: Sanctuary of the Great Lakes

    Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary Heritage Center

    Alpena Shipwreck Tours

    John A. Lau Saloon

    Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival Aerial Color Tour

    Dinosaur Gardens

    The Fresh Palate restaurant

    Nick's Southside Diner

    Old Presque Isle Lighthouse and New Presque Isle Lighthouse

    The Portage Restaurant

    Middle Island Lighthouse

    Middle Island Keepers' Lodge

    Court Yard Ristorante

    Cabin Creek Coffee

    Fossil Hunting at Rockport State Park

    Rogers City 40 Mile Point Lighthouse

    Knaebe's Mmmunchy Krunchy Apple Farm (with apologies for leaving off the Y in Mmmmunchy in the video!)

    The Sand Bar and Grill

    Days Inn of Alpena

    Disclosure: My press trip to Michigan was sponsored by Pure Michigan.

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    Reader Comments (12)

    Oh, how beautiful and what a wonderful trip you had! A childhood friend lives in Michigan and has stayed for over 30 years, always raving about it. Now I can see why!

    October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCathy Chester

    Thanks for this. I've been to Michigan once, in high school, but you have called to my attention some things I'd really love. Perhaps that should be a destination I consider soon!

    October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCarol Cassara

    Thank you for visiting our little corner of "heaven on earth". You have taken some amazing photos and did a remarkable job sharing what we all love about Alpena and northeast Michigan.

    I was your fellow passenger on the color tour and was surprised to see myself in your video. Jess from the CVB shared your site and I've been enjoying all of your postings since.

    Hope you get a chance to return to Alpena and spend a little more time enjoying the points of interest and beauty of the area.


    October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJeffssis

    I have not been to Michigan, but I hear it's lovely - and now I know for sure where I'll go if and when I visit! Sounds like you had a truly memorable experience.

    October 21, 2015 | Unregistered Commentersheryl

    Oh, I love the nature of Michigan. I grew up in Northeastern Indiana, close to Michigan I'm so glad you got to experience autumn there, it is wonderful!

    October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNancy Hill (@nerthus)

    Lots of beautiful places in MI! the state is so big, it takes a long time to see it.
    My mother lived the last 15 years in Charlevoix. It is amazing, I highly recommend visiting.

    October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLynn

    I LOVE Michigan! Check out Traverse City and Drummond Island next time for a beautiful experience.

    October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCheryl Nicholl

    Lisa, I am so glad you enjoyed your visit! Actually, except for your mountains and our lakes, a lot of what we have is similar - the bounty of trees, for example. It's wonderful to be outdoors in both states! And I hope your visit back is soon!

    October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

    Wow...your video was beautiful! I was born in Flint, Michigan. We moved to Tucson, Arizona when I was 6 years old. I do go back to see my family. Michigan will always have a special place in my heart. This blog made me feel like I was home. Thank you.

    October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterEllen Dolgen

    I'm so glad you had a fantastic trip in a beautiful state!

    October 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNonnieKelly

    Great pictures Lisa. It's always fun to travel and explore a new area of this great country of ours. So glad you had a good trip.

    October 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRenee Spindle

    You really did pick an ideal time to go and visit! Michigan really is pretty in the fall and the people really are very nice. Next time you need to see Michigan's other coast! Very different and just as beautiful.

    October 24, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc
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