Even if you aren’t looking for it, there’s plenty of magic in Michigan, aka America’s high five / the mitten state.  Whereas it’s been uncomfortably warm for over a month in Texas already, Michigan is just now seeing the beginning of summer.  Green shoots are starting peek out from freshly planted fields, and flowerbeds are newly blossoming for the first time this year.  The day stays light out until around 9:30 pm, and you can actually sit outside in the sun without roasting your skin off.  We had the most perfect weather while we were there - mid 70s to 80 degrees and slightly cooler nights.

 Last summer, we visited B’s parents on the east side of the state and made a short trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes and the wineries in the northwest portion of the state.  This year, we flew into the west side of the state and stayed in Grand Rapids.  We rented a car and a chic little airbnb and spent some time exploring the city.  We were able to squeeze in a few visits with B’s friends and family before heading off the grid for B’s brother’s wedding in Cadillac, where the bride and groom were married at a rustic ski resort in the national forest.  Zero wifi, zero cell phone connection, 100% peace and quiet.  Except for the whole family wedding thing.

However, even with a wedding thrown in the middle of it all, a trip to Michigan isn’t complete without a visit to Lake Michigan, which means sinking your bare toes into the warm sand and trying not to shiver when you dip your toes in the water.  Michigan is tiny compared to Texas.  It only took an hour for us to drive to the coast from Grand Rapids.  The iconic Grand Haven lighthouse and pier that we went to see were under renovation, so we peered at it through the chain-link fence and then rescued a poor lady who fell into the rocks surrounding the pier and couldn’t get up.

And because it’s Michigan, our trip was abound with creatures.  There were more dead deer along the side of the road than I’ve ever seen, and we even caught glimpses of a few live ones wandering around.  B’s friend had recently bought some baby goats for pasture management, so we made a special trip out to visit Jimmy and Jeffrey and their equine companions Apollo and Diesel.  During our afternoon at a brewery in Rockford, an unescorted neighborhood dog stopped by each of the tables to be pet by all of the patrons.  And a stopover by a small neighborhood lake was punctuated by a pair of gigantic mute swans and their baby, gliding amongst the lily pads.

The wedding was, as most weddings are, chaotic but fun.  B’s best man speech was a massive hit and had the entire crowd rolling with laughter.  He has three (!) other weddings in the Midwest this year and chances are that we won’t hit most of them.  But if you haven’t had a chance to visit the Midwest, I wholeheartedly recommend the summer season and spending some time out on or by the water.