May 29, 2011

Michigan, My Michigan by Jane Toombs

In case you’re not aware, Michigan has always been separated into two peninsulas. A ferry was the only connection until they did the impossible--built the Mackinac Bridge over the Straits of Mackinac where the waters of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan meet. The Mighty Mac, as we call the bridge, led to those of us in the Upper Peninsula to be called Yoopers. Those below in the Lower Peninsula naturally became Trolls.
Back when the states were setting boundaries, Lower Michigan did not want the UP, they wanted Toledo. At the time Michigan was becoming a state, so was Ohio--who also claimed Toledo. In its wisdom, the federal government chose to give Toledo to Ohio and Michigan got the mostly unknown-at-that-time, and certainly unwanted by the new state--the Upper Peninsula. As a result, those of us who live up here have often felt like unwanted stepchildren as far as tax money goes.
While Lower Michigan has some beautiful areas, all of the Upper Peninsula is beautiful. From our ubiquitous woods to pristine Lake Superior beaches, to the Porcupine Mountain State Park stands of virgin hemlock, it’s truly a much underused vacation spot.
Think all weather fishing, hunting and skiing in the Porkies, a nickname given parks. My tiny village even has a golf course. Then there are the water sports. Swimming, boating, kayaking and romantic walks on sandy beaches christened by long northern evenings and camping near a driftwood fire and toasting marshmallows with a group of friends is a common.
The Lower Peninsula has Lake Michigan on one side and Lake Huron on the other while the UP has Lake Superior and the north shore of Lake Michigan, plus a tiny part of Lake Huron. If you’ve never seen the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, you’ve missed an awesome experience.
Oh, the food! Michigan residents bake delicious pastries. The Cornish brought them when they came to work in the copper and iron mines. The Finns arrived and their wives improved the pastries by adding carrots and rutabaga. Between the mines and the logging, men from every nation in Europe came for work bringing their delectable recipes with them.
For history buffs, there are remarkable mines to visit. We also have lots of lighthouses and almost every town has a historical society which includes lighthouse tours.
You can’t take a trip to Michigan without visiting Mackinac Island in the Straits or you’ve missed a great historical experience. Owned by the French, the British, briefly by England and finally the United States, this powerful defense now stands as reverence to history adding even more beauty an island now famous for fudge. I’m a Yooper and the Upper Peninsula is so special to me that I use it for many of my book settings covering a variety of genres.
From my paranormal romance stories like North of Nonesuch, an anthology, to my gothic suspense romances, like Null and Void or my Darkness of Dragons trilogy, and my releases coming this year, I’ve penned a record number of works. Perhaps the amount of books I’ve written lately is be due to winters in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula being too cold and snowy for this old bat to get out much. Whatever the case, I’m a prolific and eclectic writer, which means I have lots of books coming out every year in all sorts of genres--I haven’t branded to just one so I write something for everyone’s reading taste.
While I was growing up in the UP, praise was always enthusiastically given to me for good work but bragging was discouraged. Overcoming this ingrained behavior has made it difficult to promote my talent and say, “Hey, look everybody, I have a new book out. And is it good!” A sweet romance set in Alaska, Two Hearts And A Crow; a suspense romance novella coming out in a Christmas anthology plus two ghost novellas Taken In and Shadow On The Floor are just a few of my completed projects releasing this year.
You can check out my bio and all my work at my web site: http://www.janetoombs.com/
Thanks for visiting this week and as my thanks, I’m offering one winner in the US or Canada a print copy of North of Nonesuch, sent in the UP plus, I’ll also give one lucky winner from Michigan a download of Dragon’s Pearl, also set in UP. I’ll randomly choose the winners from the comment section.

16 comments:

Tina Donahue said...

Love the picture of the woods. I live in the desert Southwest and we simply don't have that many trees. :)

Great post.

Fran Orenstein said...

Thanks, Jane for your picturesque description of Michigan. I've been to Mackinac Island and it is lovely and unique. The drive up and the ferry ride were beautiful.

kayspringsteen said...

I'm from Michigan, spent lots and lots of time camping in the UP. I must say I truly miss pasties - I can make them but it's just not the same as the ones you can get along Route 2.

Pommawolf Emeraldwolfeyes said...

Thank you for the beautiful pictures of Michigan. I have met many people in the last 10 years here in Alaska that have come from Michigan. Very few have been disapppointed in Alaska, and perhaps they have been more prepared for the cold than most others too...*S*
I love that Michigan is a wolf state, and have done wonders more thanothers in learning to live with them. I love teh pictures of the wilderness in Michigan too cuase its still has lost of treees still...LOL Though your state is flatter than Alaska, the beauty is still inpiring...ISI
thank you for teh chance to win one of your books~

Darcy

pommawolf @hotmail.com

Heidiwriter said...

Michigan is another state I would like to visit! Lovely photos, interesting post. This is a fun series.

Nora LeDuc said...

Jane, I've never been to Michigan and always thought of cars when I hear it mentioned. It was great to hear about the trees and parks.

Debby said...

Good Evening, I was born in the UP but did not live there for long. i went back with my father in law and he gave me a tour of Sault Ste Marie., Beautiful place!!
debby236 at gmail dot com

Robin said...

Sounds wonderful!

Pauline B Jones said...

I did not know that about the upper and lower! Or Toledo, for that matter. LOL! Most interesting!

Pauline B Jones said...

I did not know that about upper and lower! Or Toledo, for that matter! Most instructive and interesting, thanks!

Susan Whitfield said...

I've never been to Michigan but I have family there. After reading this blog and enjoying the pictures, I'm packing my bags!

Barbara Raffin said...

As a life-long resident of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, I love that you use our unique corner of the state as inspiration for so many of your wonderful stories. Keep them coming! BTW, I'm not commenting to get free download. Save them for your new fans.

Jane Toombs said...

Michigan is all I've said and more, but I have to admit I'm partial to the U.P. Not only because I live here, but because we have more trees and wildlife. Although my niece who lives near Traverse City has seen a cougar with two cubs down there. Hard to beat that. Both peninsulas, though,are truly water wonderlands. Jane

Historical Writer/Editor said...

My parents are from Michigan, but they moved before I was born. It's a very nice state. -laura

Rochelle Weber--Author, Editor said...

My mother was from the UP and we went "Up Hoome" every chance we got. I never had a Cornish Pastry, but Mama made a mean pasty and I'd like to say I got her recipe down. I suspect a non-Yooper edited your article. We should find a way to get a pasty to Annette. Meat and potatoes and onion and celery wrapped in pie crust without gravy so you can take it for lunch. Yum! Gotta go eat. Gosh, I miss those trips "Up Home."

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