JUST THINKING: Visiting Michigan

Just Thinking | Julie Stafford

We had a friend visiting from out of town last weekend and it forced us to actually check out some of the cool places we have close to home. Having to think of things to do with our guest made me realize how easy it is to fall into a comfortable schedule of doing the same ol’ things, never venturing out to take in Michigan’s finest.

The highlight of our guest’s visit, I would say, was a trip to the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. I have a vague recollection of my mom and dad taking my oldest daughter and I there to see the butterflies one spring when she was really little and we lived out of state. I remember that the giant horse sculpture had just been placed. But I had no memory of all the other sculptures tucked here and there along the path for discovery by walkers and tram goers. Because we were on a schedule, we splurged for the $3 narrated tram tour and I’d do that again in a heart beat — schedule or not.

Another highlight of our friend’s visit was the food. We incorporated lots of Petersen Farm fresh peas and locally grown blueberries, as well as Michigan sweet cherries. We also took her out to a local restaurant where we could enjoy dinner on the deck. The thing that got in our way was the hour and 40 minute wait for an outdoor table, so we opted for inside instead. Thankfully, the food made up for the lack of view.

I know I’ve written a column about them before, but I was reminded during our guest’s visit of another magical part of Michigan: our fireflies. They don’t have fireflies out west where she is from. Not a day goes by that I tire of watching them flicker in the night. We both sat spellbound on our patio one evening as they began their soft strobe. You just have to remember to douse yourself in bug spray or the mosquitoes will eat you alive.

All of these things made for a wonderful visit with a good friend. Already, I’ve started a list of things to do when our next guest arrives.

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