Michigan Church Designated as a National Treasure

The First Congregational Church in Jackson, Michigan celebrated their 150th anniversary this month. In a report from the Jackson Citizen Patriot, the church earned a national historic designation in July. Getting a spot on the National Register of Historic Places is a fitting and wonderful way of celebrating their anniversary. If you’re visiting Michigan and can make it to Jackson during the trip, make sure to add it to your list of  things to do on vacation in Michigan.

For “Peace and Harmony”

Rev. Kerry Taylor-Snyder, the church pastor said in an interview that the news “is very exciting. It’s recognition of the history of the church and what people have done through the years in standing for social justice, peace and harmony.”

Its Rich History

Early beginnings of the First Congregational Church go back 169 years. It helps with the foundation of the city and those people who lived first lived the area.

In 1837, Jackson was barely thriving when the Congregational and Presbyterian founded their churches. Both churches hoped for a better society for the small population in the area. But the relationships between these two churches was anything than peaceful.

Displeased with the pro-slavery stand by the General Presbyterian Assembly, Rev, Marcus Harrison separated from the church. Along with 58 members, they rallied against the church on March 6, 1841. Harrison later became the first minister of the First Congregational Church.

At that time, slavery was a common practice in the south but still hotly debated. The church became one of the first churches to stand against slavery.  It later passed a resolution against the inhumane act.

Standing Against Slavery

Slavery was first brought to the country in 1619 to get manual labor in the production of tobacco.  Slavery was practiced throughout most of the the 17th and 18th centuries. While slaves helped build the economy in founding the new nation, they received worse than nothing in return.

With the making of the cotton gin in 1793, it called for more slaves to work in plantation farms. But by the mid-19th century the debate over slavery grew to a fever pitch. There had been a growing eradication movement in the North and the westward expansion that would tear the country apart. This started the bloody Civil War from 1861 to 1865.

The First Congregational Church in Jackson was among the first communities to take an open stand against slavery.

The Romanesque Revival designed building was dedicated in October 1860. Up to this day, the congregation still uses the building. For many years, it served as a community landmark, according to the church historian, Marilyn Guidinger.

The church first became a historic site in Jackson County in 1975. It was later placed on the State Register of Historic Places in 1897.  Earlier this year, the church submitted a 30-page application be accepted as one of the National Historic Places. Taylor-Snyder said that they waited for more than six months to receive the good news.

As one of the National Register of Historic Places, the government designated the church a historic location worthy of preservation and, certainly, your attention.

Usually, markers are placed to indicate that a place is included on the national register. However, the church does not have any funds for a marker at this time, according to Taylor-Snyder.

It’s spots and people like those with the First Congregational Church in Jackson that really make us love being from Michigan. Show some of your pride with a Michigan t-shirt or hat.

Source:  https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/michigan-church-gets-national-historic-designation_

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What’s Worth Checking Out in Escanaba

 Escanaba is a port city in Michigan’s Delta County and can be found on the banana belt of the Escanaba River in the Upper Peninsula. It is the third largest city in the region with 12,616 residents. Escanaba Township can also be found just north of the port city sharing the same name. Both are named after the Escanaba River, a name which was derived from the Ojibwa language.

Delta County Historical Museum

Make time to visit the Delta County Historical Museum to learn some interesting facts about the history of Escanaba. Back in the day, a WDBC radio station used the building but moved to a new location downtown during the 1950s. The city then acquired the building and let Delta County Historical Society leased it in 1956. The city government allowed the society to use the building as a museum for a total of one dollar a year.

Fayette Historic Townsite

Tourists often come to the Fayette Historic Townsite not because of its modern amenities but for its rich history. don’t miss your chance to experience the life of the pioneers back in the days. The town was once a thriving industrial community that is well known for its production of iron ore from 1867 to 1891.  However, when the industry fell because of the Great Depression, residents left the town.  It later became a ghost town. The city preserved the area and even introduced real life recreations of the 19th century. Actors wear era-inspired costumes and portray the daily life of the former residents. Visitors can get a real glimpse of Americana before modernization.

Sand Point Lighthouse

Located at the end of Ludington Street and Escanaba Municipal Marina is where Sand Point Lighthouse and Historical Complex stands. The lighthouse was fully restored and equipped with a Fresnel fourth class lens placed at the focal point of the tower. It has an interesting story, though.  According to urban legend, Mary Terry, one of the first women that served as a lighthouse keeper on the Great Lakes would occasionally appear on the grounds. Several years after her death, she was still reported to show up at the lighthouse to check up on things.

Upper Hand Brewery

To end a great day at Escanaba, the Upper Hand Brewery offers a unique blend of beers to tired tourists. They have one of the best-crafted beers in the North, which celebrated the flavors of nature. They have an onsite brewery where visitors can taste their hand-crafted beers fresh from the barrels. Relax in their cozy tavern while waiting for the sun to set .

William Bonifas Fine Arts Center

The name of the center was derived from “Big Bill” Bonifas who came to the Upper Peninsula in the 1880s from Luxemburg. He focused on the timber industry where he made his fortune. Meanwhile, his wife Catherine had another purpose in life – making donations in the cultural and educational matters for the city. Tourists flock to the center because of its unique exhibitions and art displays. Due of its contributions, the center was given the prestigious “Governor’s Arts Award” in 1990 and in 2007.

When you’re out walking around Escanaba, stay comfortable in one a Great Lakes Girl pullover.

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Everything You Forgot You Wanted to Know About Lake Michigan

The waters of Lake Michigan hide fascinating wonders that most of us can only imagine. Here are some questions about Lake Michigan we all ask ourselves but often don’t look up. Get a cup of your favorite beverage and join us as we tackle a number of  interesting questions about Lake Michigan.

Does Lake Michigan ever completely freeze over?

No, it has not, but it does occasionally come close to a complete freeze. According to the National Weather Service and Environment Canada, the closest Lake Michigan come to frozen solid is about 90 to 95 percent. The record which dates back more than a century ago reported that during the cold and harsh winters of 1903-04, 1976-77, 1978-79 and 2013-14 Lake Michigan was almost completely frozen over. Other Great Lakes like Superior, Erie, and Huron have had their time under the ice but not Lake Michigan or Lake Ontario.

Jump to about 2 minutes into this video to see our favorite lake in a fairly frozen state:

How much water is in Lake Michigan?

Lake Michigan is 3rd largest lake of the Great Lakes and the 5th largest lake in on earth. At its deepest, the lake goes 923 feet deep and stretches 307 miles long with 118 miles at its widest point.  It contains as much as 1,180 cubic miles (4,918 km³) of water. How massive is Lake Michigan? Every second, over 320,000 gallons evaporate off the lake and receives at least 400,000 gallons of rain or snow.

Why is the water in Lake Michigan so blue and pristine?

Strong winds bring particular sediments to the surface giving Lake Michigan its famous clear blue waters. In fact, Lake Michigan attracts thousands of visitors because of how surreal it seems compared to other natural lakes around the country. The lake probably has one of the most beautiful beaches in the country, too, because of how nice our water looks. Nevertheless, Lake Michigan water can be treacherous because of rip currents, proving once again that although our nature can be beautiful that doesn’t mean to not be safe.

Is Lake Michigan saltwater or freshwater?

The Great Lakes – Superior, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Erie – make up the the largest freshwater system on the planet. They account for more than one-fifth of the freshwater surface on the planet with more than 6 quadrillion gallons.

How clean is Lake Michigan? Is it safe to swim in it?

Anyone that’s been on the lake can’t doubt its cleanliness. Because of it’s clarity and purity, Lake Michigan is a popular swimming destination for locals and tourists alike.

How big are the waves on Lake Michigan?

Currently, Lake Michigan has small waves from the usually 1 to 2 feet. However, recent years shows that Saugatuck’s Oval Beach had 4-foot waves. The height of the waves is important to ensure safety on the beach. Lifeguards carefully monitor these waves as one of the swimming conditions for beachgoers. Lake Michigan has the most popular beaches in the country and hundreds of people would go here to take a dip in its refreshing water during the summer season.

Just for fun, though, check out these insane Lake Michigan waves from when Hurricane Sandy was nearby:

A bit of a reminder for beachgoers: pay attention to flags on the beach. A green flag means it’s a perfect day for a swim. A yellow flag means that it is still okay to swim and urge swimmers to use caution. But stay away from the beach whenever you see a red flag hoisted up.

And the next time you’re heading to Lake Michigan to spend some time around the clear blue water, make sure to show your state and lake pride with some of our cool Fresh Coast gear.

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Why Allendale Should be Part of Your Michigan Vacation Itinerary

Located within Allendale Charter Township, Allendale stretches two-thirds of the total township. It starts from the eastern boundaries of Grand Rapids to the western boundary of Lake Michigan. It was first named as Malta and later change to Allendale by state senator Pennoyer. The senator honored the wife of Hannibal Allen, Agnes Allen. The town was originally famous for being the main campus of Grand Valley State University.

Allendale might be an off-the-beaten-path for some, but others will love to come here for a bit of adventure, history, and a relaxing weekend with nature. Here are some of the best destinations in and around Allendale.

Coopersville Farm Museum

Built in 2001, the Coopersville Farm Museum is a non-profit organization keeping the tradition of rural life alive. With their mission, the museum has become an active part of the community, particuarly when educating people about the past. Here, children learn the importance of farming and how it was done before without technology or modern machinery. They also have exhibits from all over West Michigan covering topics like tools, barbed wire, and feed sacks.  There is also an old grange hall dedicated to all sorts of trinkets from rural towns around the country.  The museum may look small on the outside but is packed with goodies from floor to ceiling.

Gerald Ford Museum

This museum will take you back in time and get a glimpse of the life of President Ford and his wife. The museum honors democratic citizenship to instill an appreciation of the past. There are also temporary exhibits that display several artifacts from museums across the country.

The beautiful landscapes in this museum also leave people in awe. The layout is nicely done with friendly and very knowledgeable staff to assist guests. Short films show vital information about the former President’s politics and life. Another great thing about the museum is that the tours are very organized and easy to follow. Exhibits are well balanced, honest and very factual. Take a souvenir with you in their gift shop which features items relating not just to the Ford presidency but to other American Presidents as well.

Public Museum of Grand Rapids

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is one of the oldest history museums in the country. Founded in 1845, it still has an amazing facility and fascinating exhibits. The museum has three stories and is located just by the downtown riverfront. It houses some of well-preserved objects of the past and collections from more recent times. Some of the great features of the museum are the mystery puzzle and the planetarium. Family members of all ages will love spending time inside the museum. And if they get their tummy grumbling, the museum has a café with some great choices. Staff is also ready to assist guest as they’re all friendly in a way that you’ll only find in towns like Allendale.

Windmill Island Gardens

A few miles away from Allendale, you can find the picturesque beauty of Windmill Island Gardens. It’s not too big which makes it a perfect place to explore and enjoy all the scenery in one visit. They offer tours but the main attraction is their famous windmill. Let the kids enjoy a comfortable pace in the beautiful garden lined with different flowers in vibrant colors. Try to come to their Tulip Festival and you’ll truly experience Windmill Island Gardens in its most lustrous time. Spend the day taking pictures and you’ll definitely capture great frames in this scenic locale.

With the chilly season coming soon, if you spend much time in Allendale or Michigan in general, you might want to grab yourself one of our comfortable Michigan sweatshirts!

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Don’t Overlook Allen Park – There’s More than Meets the Eye

Allen Park is part of Wayne County, Michigan which was famous for their tree-lined streets brick houses. The town is also part of several communities known as Downriver. The town houses two of the most prominent brands in the country, Ford Motor Company and the Detroit Lions. Several Ford Motor offices and facilities are located within the boundaries of Allen Park.

Just recently, Allen Park gathered much of the state’s attention as it hosted the Made in Michigan Festival. Hosting the much-awaited state festival proved that this small community has a lot to offer and makes up much of why Michigan is so awesome.  

Made in Michigan Festival

Because the kick-off event went really well last year, organizers of the festival have made it two days long now. The last weekend of September was dedicated to food, wine, shopping and music in Allen Park celebrating pure Michigan-made excellence. From September 29 to 30, visitors to Allen Park had all day fun for everyone in the family. The festival featured many food trucks and the best Michigan craft beers. To get more into the festivity, live music played all day. There is always something for everyone in this two-day event, an open-air market of all Michigan-made surely inspires everyone to love our state. This event will always draws  some serious crowds, so make sure to plan ahead once you’ve decided to go.

But if Made in Michigan makes you crave for something else, Allen Park has some great eats to discover when festivities aren’t going on.

Moro’s Dining

For a taste of authentic Italian dishes, Moro’s Dining has a lot to offer. They are well known for their flamboyant table-side food preparation to make sure to only get the freshest dishes. Their portions are really generous and the taste even better. They serve great steak options with a perfect balance of seasoning bringing out the natural flavor of the beef.  Don’t miss out on their Strawberry Romanov dessert which is made at your table complete with extravagant preparations.

Angelina’s Mexican Restaurant

If you’re craving for some salsa, head on to Angelina’s Mexican Restaurant. They serve homemade salsas, Mexican sodas, and offer a variety of lunch specials. People would often order the restaurant’s legendary rice and beans. Because of the popularity of the location, it can often get rather crowded, so make a reservation if you know you’ll be heading there. Angelinas has great pricing for their food with large portions. Like any other authentic Mexican restaurant, you will be greeted with the warmest smile and fresh from the stove food. Also worth a try since Allen Park has several parks with great picnic areas is to take the food with you and prepare an alfresco dining experience in the open with your family.

The Glass Onion Griddle

This place takes an ordinary breakfast food and put a unique twist that everyone loves. For a small place, you wouldn’t expect they’d serve such amazing comfort food, but you’ll be glad to be proven wrong. The Glass Onion Griddle is a cozy place to bring your family and friends for an energizing meal before visiting other hotspots around Allen Park. Protip: Their eggs benedict are a must if you’re coming here for the first time as is their Great Lakes coffee.

Whenever you are planning to go to Allen Park, whether for a festival or get a feel of Michigan life, make sure to taste some of their local cuisines. And while you’re at it, make sure to cozy up if you head there during the upcoming winter with one of these great Michigan hoodies.

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Auburn Hills with the Family – What to See and Do

Auburn Hills is a city in Oakland County in Michigan that’s great to visit for a day trip or as part of a vacation in Michigan. It houses the world headquarters of Chrysler, Oakland University and the former home of Detroit Pistons. Back in 1908, the automobile genius, John Dodge bought a farmhouse in Auburn Hills and made it his retreat house. The city has a peculiar upside down “L” shaped which makes it one of the hardest to navigate through, so tourists may find themselves in and out of Auburn Hills depending on which way they travel. Nevertheless, the city houses a number of precious historic finds and natural wonders.

Oakland University

Tourists often pay homage to Oakland University which shares a border with Auburn Hills and Rochester. The university grounds hide a marvelous gem with scenic beauty. It also has an old yet very attractive clock tower, as well as landscapes with ponds and hammocks. Their food court even has a Chic-Fil-a, which is one of the few locations still left in Michigan and happens to be the first in the state. They have a different event going on throughout the year which makes it a bit more interesting for visitors.

Walter P. Chrysler Museum

The city is home to the Chrysler’s headquarters. It had its own building that used to be like Disneyland to car lovers. However, the museum is no longer available. Some visitors who visited the location described the museum as a precious place that brings back sweet memories. They had ‘one-off’ projects cars that a certified motorhead would appreciate. It’s worth a quick drive to this iconic place while planning your next stop in Auburn Hills.

Hawk Woods Nature Center

Camping is often seen as an integral part of father and son bonding moments. But for a fun activity, visitors come to the Hawk Woods Nature Center to experience a rustic kind of bonding for the whole family. The center offers a great family activity all year and everyone will find it enjoyable and interesting. People come here to teach their youngsters how to deal with the outdoors and spend some time away from all their gadgets. It is a great way to teach kids an old school way of living and tell camping stories they will hold dear in their hearts. The Hawk Woods Nature Center has well-groomed trails, boardwalks, and heated showers. All these amenities rest in the middle of 80 acres of scenic meadows and forested woodlands.

Sea Life Aquarium

Tourists come to the Great Lakes Crossing Mall not just to go shopping but to see the largest aquarium in Michigan. Sea Life Aquarium caters to families as their facilities are all child-friendly. It features over 5,000 sea creatures like sharks, octopus, turtles and much more. They have many interesting sea creatures swimming in their tanks that you won’t find in a regular aquarium.  They also have an aqua tunnel and an interacting area for some of the animals. For some, it’s a great diversion for kids to look through (with an older sibling)  while their parents do some serious shopping around the mall. Nevertheless, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon with the family. Sea Life Aquarium also offers educational tours discussing the ocean and the environment.

Does your kid love Michigan as much as you do? They’ll be more than happy to get a Michigan Antlers shirt.

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What You Should Visit While in Bay City, Michigan

Bay City is situated near Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron. Along with Midland and Saginaw, Bay City was formed in Central Michigan and the area was called the Great Lakes Bay Region. The city offers an array of tours, historic finds, and some interesting districts.

Sage Branch Library

Located in a historic building that has a matching Victorian, Gothic, and French Chateau interior design, the Sage Branch Library offers a large selection of books. The building was built in 1884 and the library lies on its second floor. It also offers some modern amenities like multimedia resources for the town.

Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum

Coming to Bay City, visitors are expected to drop in the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum. Visitors can experience real life scenarios of the sailors navigating through the tight spaces on the ship. The museum features important events in navigation history and the Great Lakes. It is a huge ship and may take over an hour to go through its spaces. This is a great excuse to visit the town all year long.

Wenonah Park

Walking in this park will let you feel like a local and experience Bay City as it is. People often come here because of the events held in the park. Wenonah Park plays host to several festivals throughout the year and numerous wedding and private events. It offers a nice relaxing ambiance to walk through. The park is well maintained, lined with great restaurants and bars. The city even hosts free concerts within the park that people flock to and enjoy the music while watching a lovely sunset by the river.

Dobson Antique Toy and Firehouse Museum

This museum boasts a huge collection of antique toys and firehouse, with over 12,500 model cars and trucks. They have rooms dedicated solely for Tonka, Coca-cola, Betty Boop and NASCAR. They even showcase a 9/11 Memorial and Snap-on tools. Some of the permanent exhibits include real firetrucks like the New York Super Pumper, the largest fire truck in the world. Visitors of all ages will definitely find their own favorite collection the in the museum. Dobson Antique Toy and Firehouse Museum is very accessible to all visitors; they have handicapped accessibility and motorized carts for those who need them. The staff is friendly and will be happy to assist in navigating this mammoth size museum. On good days, the owner will give a tour to visitors, giving them a first-hand look at the stories and facts about his collections.

Center Avenue Historic District

One of the most photographed areas in Bay City is the Center Avenue Historic District, which is an iconic spot to visit in Bay City. It is just a short drive but most tourists choose to walk to this location. Some homes will even allow visitors to come inside and take a look at some remarkable, picturesque houses. People also enjoy cruising along this historic district, letting them feel like they’re going back in time. Some houses may need some fresh paint or minor repairs but most are still in good condition. The Christmas season is a special time to visit the Center Avenue Historic District as it offers enchanting displays of holiday lights.

The next time you’re in Bay City or out and about anywhere in Michigan, make sure to keep your cold drinks cold or your hot drinks hot with this Great Lakes Girl Tumbler.

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