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I know I’d promised a blog on Cane vs. Beet Sugar, but two things have come up to make me put that off until just a little later. The first being that there are so darned many mosquitoes (worst year in at least twenty for Michigan) that I can’t get outside long enough to take pictures of the hummingbirds (wish they’d eat the mosquitoes – in essence, handling two things at once). The second is that Good Morning America just named “The Most Beautiful Place in America.” I just couldn’t allow that to go by without jumpin’ on the bandwagon.
We’ve been to Sleeping Bear Dunes. It is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. The water in the Great Lakes is spectacular (unless the storms of November come calling – but that’s for a later blog about the ‘Edmund Fitzgerald’ – cue Gordon Lightfoot). It resembles or surpasses some of the clearest water I’ve seen in the Caribbean. Now, as for warm…it is NOT.
The boardwalk is a great way to see the Dunes. It’s also a good way to see the Manitou Islands and the Manitou Passage. The Passage was a busy corridor for commercial shipping in the 1800s. The whole area comes from the Native American Legend of Sleeping Bear (WARNING: it’s a sad legend).
“Long ago, along the Wisconsin shoreline, a mother bear and her two cubs were driven into Lake Michigan by a raging forest fire. The bears swam for many hours, but eventually the cubs tired and lagged behind. Mother bear reached the shore and climbed to the top of a high bluff to watch and wait for her cubs. Too tired to continue, the cubs drowned within sight of the shore. The Great Spirit Manitou created two islands to mark the spot where the cubs disappeared and then created a solitary dune to represent the faithful mother bear.”
Intrepid visitors can attempt ‘The Dune Climb’. This is NOT for the faint of heart (or legs, lungs, or any other body part). Kids seem to excel. Of course, this is just the biggest sandbox they’ve ever seen. It’s great fun just watching people attempt the climb.
The other great way to see the Dunes is from the water. The shoreline of Michigan is magnificent. Canoes, kayaks and tubes are available through private rental in the area. The Great Lakes also has some terrific fishing (more on this in a later blog). However, if you’re thinking about going fishing, a side trip up the coast around the Dunes would afford you some terrific views of the area.
Would you like a link to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore? Here it is!
I have to say that I’ve come to appreciate the great natural beauty of Michigan. There are so many areas where nature just takes your breath away. Sleeping Bear Dunes is one of them. Is it the most beautiful place in the United States? Some, even many in Michigan, think that there are prettier spots. I hope to tell you about some of these Michigan wonders in later blogs. Better yet, come to Michigan and find your own “most beautiful place.”