But of course, there are better reasons to see the "Mitten State" next summer, particularly these Northern Michigan treasures:

Grayling, Michigan is one of the most clean-cut petite cities in the Rust Belt. Home to Camp Grayling, there are always plenty of big fellas in cammies for the kids to wave at. There isn’t a place in the Midwest that I feel safer in.
Grayling is a great town for a lazy Sunday. After noon mass we browse the local art galleries then inhale a half-pound burger at Spike’s Keg-O-Nails (washing it down with a local brew from Belle’s) or if we’re feeling a bit more civilized, an outdoor picnic-table brunch at Gate’s Au Sable lodge. Gate’s is one of the most famous old school fly fishing establishment in the Midwest. The fact that they have an on-site pastry chef and great coffee makes it the ideal spot for telling fish tall tales.
In July, Grayling hosts the Au Sable International Canoe Marathon, a grueling 120 mile race chartered in 1947. Riverside spectator accommodations can be had on Homeaway.com but should be made a year in advance. After the race, grab your fly rod and lucky baseball cap (mine’s yellow with "White Bear Lake" embroidered on the side) to try and snag a legal brown trout.
The Au Sable River
Mackinac Island : A historic fort only a short ferry ride from the mainland of Michigan’s lower peninsula. Famous for being a rather cushy yet remote post for revolutionary officers. Unfortunately, she fell fast…the whole of the island hadn’t been privy to the fact that The War of 1812 had even begun until the British were knocking at the front gate.
Today, the fort is maintained with the help of Eagle Scouts, who are shoe-ins for future officers…their cadence akin to the Swiss Guard. There are no vehicles on the island, only horse-and-buggies and enough bicycles to make Boulder blush.
Summer weather at Mackinac Island has no equal…75-80 degrees and low humidity almost every day in August, although evening temps do necessitate use of a sweater and jeans. Below is a shot I took from the tea room porch operated by The Grand Hotel.
Legs Inn : Polish Beer Garden on a Bluff Overlooking Lake Michigan
The fact that I’ve never met a Pole that I didn’t like may be a factor. But the food here is Old World, from scratch, and seriously stellar. Try the pierogi, stuffed cabbage rolls, and Polish beef stew…then of course, eat a whole Szarlotka by yourself. The restaurant is at the end of the famed "Tunnel of Trees" that skirts cliffs overlooking Lake Michigan.
Torch Lake is located in Elk River’s "Chain of Lakes" watershed and ranked #3 on National Geographic’s most beautiful lakes in the U.S. list (yes, you are reading correctly). The same state that produced Madonna, Kid Rock, and Eminem, also happens to have the most pristine waters. Hard to believe, but here’s a photo to prove it.
There is much more to mention but this post is wordy enough already.
The trek to The Mitten is a lengthy one from Maryland, but it’s one of the few places I’ll tolerate a truck ride with four kids for twelve straight hours to visit.
If the natural beauty and family-friendly hospitality of Michigan doesn’t appeal to you, consider all the cute Polish waitresses at Legs Inn…who you might even have a shot at, unlike Kate Upton from St. Joseph, Michigan.
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