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:

THE TAWASES

Tawas Bay Tourist and Convention Bureau

Mr. Jack'ss Sport Bar & Grill

Tawas Point Lighthouse

East Tawas Junction Bed and Breakfast

ALPENA

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.