Photo: Suzanne Tucker/Shutterstock

You Don't Know the Real Michigan Unless...

by Cathy Brown Aug 25, 2016

You’ve played drunken euchre.
Bonus points if its in a shitty cabin in a forest that looks straight out of the Blair Witch Project, while drinking PBR and it happens to be deer hunting season and you’re dressed in Carhartt.

You’ve been invited ‘Up North’.
And you’ve sat on a Coleman camp chair watching the sun set over a lake, ‘shooting the shit’ with new friends. You’ve doused yourself with OFF, you’ve built a campfire and you’ve gorged on more S’Mores than you should ever admit to anyone.  If your new friends happen to have a homemade potato gun that they’ve somehow tricked out for extra force, they’re friends to keep.

You’ve spent fifteen minutes feeding sticky pop and beer cans into the machine at Meijer. 
You watch the count go up and up and you get super psyched when you realize that all of those ten cent refunds are enough to fund your next party.

You’ve jumped off of a pier into Lake Michigan.
The water may be bone-chillingly cold, the waves might kick your ass, but if Abercrombie-wearing teenagers in Holland can do it, so can you.

You’ve had to shovel, then ice pick, your way into a car. 
And spent at least a few moments completely hating on every single person in the world that has a garage. Or who lives in Arizona.

You’ve crossed that bridge. 
The UP is has dense, gorgeous forests, waterfalls, ice climbing, Lake Superior and Huron, laid back people who are more hard core in their lifestyle than you could ever hope to be, and your new favorite food item, pasties.

You’ve gone on a date that includes sledding and/or ice skating. 
Forget high heels, suave business-casual suits, fancy sushi bars or opera. This is Michigan. If you can’t throw on some flannel and fleece and show that you know how to have fun in the cold weather, we know we’d be in for a long, miserable winter with you whining. No thanks.

You’ve washed down apple cider donuts…with apple cider. 
Your backdrop being crisp autumn leaves of gold, blaze red, maroon and bright orange.

You’ve been to Detroit to see firsthand how it’s making a pretty sweet comeback. 
Let’s get something straight. Royal Oak is not Detroit.  Birmingham is not Detroit.  Farmington Hills is not Detroit.

You’ve bought a large quantity of blueberries or cherries from a roadside stand. 
And somehow ate them all before you got home.

You’ve been to a U of M vs. Michigan State football game in the Big House.
So you can finally understand what intense rivalry looks like.

You’ve gone tubing down a river. 
The tube being one of those patched up old black ones with the air valve dangerously jutting out, of course. It should preferably have a floating cooler tied to it.

You’ve tried wine from the Leelanau Peninsula.
It may not be Napa, but what we lack in big reds we make up for in charm and some great Chardonnay and Riesling.  Here’s looking at you, 2 Lads.

You’ve drank a microbrew or three or twelve in Grand Rapids. 
Here’s a to-do list of breweries to get you started: Founders. Brewery Vivant. PerrinGrand Rapids Brewery. Harmony Brewing Company. Elk.

You’re welcome.

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