Pure Michigan moments linger as summer fades

Hard to believe summer is over.
Just a few weeks ago, the promise of hot, sunny days and weekends inspired thoughts of Up North and West Michigan getaways, long bike rides at metro parks and strolls through Greenfield Village.
But summer slipped through my hands like sand from a Lake Michigan beach. The weather was unfriendly and most of what I had hoped to pursue fell by the wayside.
Even so, I experienced a few Pure Michigan moments while roaming the Lower Peninsula. You know, those instances when you stop and realize you’re seeing something special. Maybe it’s the sun reaching over Lake Huron or the breath-taking glimpse of the Mackinac Bridge and the Upper Peninsula from Wilderness State Park.
A few of mine stand out:
* Riding Amtrak from Detroit to Chicago, the heightened perch of the railroad car offers a sweeping view of woods, farm fields and the gentle hills of southern Michigan. They look especially beautiful in the golden hue of late August. Seeing the tidy towns, college campuses and farms awaken for the day feels a bit like watching a Terrence Malick film; intimate yet distant at the same time.
* A long afternoon at the Grand Haven beach reveals rhythms beyond waves lapping against the shoreline. The pace of life slows, generations of families come and go, some camp for the day, spreading blankets, popping umbrellas and arranging coolers. It’s a joyous feeling to watch kids splash in the water, fathers and sons toss a football, and brothers and sisters help younger siblings build sand castles.
* I won’t argue the beauty of Sleeping Bear, but the scenery from the deck at Chateau Chantal winery on the Old Mission Peninsula is one-of-a-kind. Sip a glass of wine and enjoy the panorama: A rolling landscape of woods, orchards, vineyards and the glistening waters of Lake Michigan. You’ll be hard-pressed to leave. It’s a view that rivals anything in Napa or Sonoma.
Do you have any Pure Michigan moments to share?

Greg Tasker
Greg Tasker is Detroit News Arts and Entertainment Editor and has been writing about travel for more than a decade. His travel stories have appeared in AAA Living, Frommer's Budget Travel, Scouting, AMC Outdoors, Vermont Life and Island Life.