1. Pasties, with an “ah” sound, are something we eat. These meat and vegetable hand pies were brought to Michigan by Cornish miners who ate the portable delicacies on their lunch break. Think of them as homemade Hot Pockets that actually taste good. Now pasties are a delicious part of our state’s culture.
2. Mackinac and Mackinaw are both pronounced the same with “aw” on the end, but they aren’t the same places. The island, bridge and straits are Mackinac and the city is Mackinaw. Why? The British and the French couldn’t agree on how to spell the Native American word.
3. If someone asks us where we live, we hold up our hand and use it as a map, since Michigan is shaped like a mitten. We even refer to parts of our state as appendages. The Thumb is in eastern Michigan, and the Leelanau Peninsula, over on the Northwest tip of the Lower Peninsula, is sometimes referred to as Michigan’s pinky finger. (Check out our Michigan shaped Oven mitt for a great example and it makes for a great gift…hint! Hint!)
4. Michigan is a big state with everything from major interstates running through metropolitan areas to two-tracks the lead through the woods to nowhere. So we don’t measure distance in miles, we measure it in time. “How far is it from Kalamazoo to the Mackinac Bridge?” “About four hours. Five if it’s snowing.”
5. Speaking of snow, six inches of the white stuff is just a dusting to us. We need at least a foot to have “a lot of of snow.”
6. When people in Michigan say they’re going on summer vacation, you’re almost guaranteed they’re, “going Up North.” Up North starts at Cadillac. If they’re going on vacation in the winter, they’re going to Florida.
7. You can’t drink apple cider in the fall without eating homemade donuts. That’s just the way it is.
8. The Great Lakes are not oceans. The water is unsalted and there aren’t any sharks. It’s always a little on the chilly side, but we just think it’s refreshing. (Check out our Michigan lake products!)
9. Sunsets are spectacular here, and the beach is where you go to watch them. Bonus points if there’s a lighthouse in the background.
10. With over 122 craft breweries in Michigan, you won’t find us drinking cheap beer. Everyone has a favorite they’re loyal too, and often it’s made right at their hometown brewery.
11. And with over 100 vineyards and wineries in Michigan, we know you don’t have to go to Napa or Italy to find a quality vintage.
12. Just like beer and wine, we have an abundance of locally made ice cream in Michigan. Red, blue and yellow Superman ice cream is a Michigan classic. It tastes exactly like what you would think red, blue and yellow tastes like, if colors had flavor.
13. Meijers is the one-stop shop for everything from groceries to socks to garden seeds, and they were doing it long before anyone in Michigan ever heard of Walmart.
14. You’re either a University of Michigan fan or a Michigan State fan, and you will defend your college team of choice fiercely.
15. There is one thing U of M and State fans agree on, their dislike of Ohio State.
16. Michigan’s sports fans are some of the most die-hard and dedicated in the country. We haven’t given up on the Lions yet! We have professional teams in all four major sports: football, baseball, hockey and basketball.
17.We drink pop instead of soda. If you order soda, someone may bring you a box of baking soda.
18. We call the top of the Lower Peninsula, Northern Michigan. But the Upper Peninsula, which is also part of Michigan, is actually farther north than Northern Michigan. Is that clear enough?
19. The Northern Michigan and Mackinac/Mackinaw things are really just attempts to confuse tourists from Chicago.
20. Hell freezes over every year in Michigan. Really. There’s a town here named Hell, north of Ann Arbor and the University of Michigan. Oddly, Hell is famous for its ice cream shop.
21. We really only have two seasons in Michigan, winter and road construction. We think of orange construction barrels as the first flowers of spring.
22. We have so much road construction, because the rough winters create potholes that are bigger than a Lion’s linebacker.
23. We have a saying in Michigan, “If you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes, it will change.” Our weather is unpredictable and can change in an instant. It may have been 90 degrees yesterday, but that won’t stop it from freezing today. Also, you can just drive down the road. Thanks to lake effect snow, it’s possible to be in blizzard conditions one minute and drive into sunshine and blue skies the next.
24. Almost every town has a shop where you can buy beer, pizza and bait. Just don’t order the anchovies.
25. Deer hunting season is a big deal here, and Opening Day is an unofficial holiday. A lot of adults and kids mysteriously become ill the night before and call in sick to work and school. Everyone pretends like they don’t know what’s really up.
26. Sometimes you have to turn right to go left. Known as a Michigan Left Turn, you continue through the intersection to a turn lane where you make a U-turn onto the opposite lane of traffic. Then you continue back to the intersection and turn right. Does that make sense? Don’t worry. It’s been confusing people from Ohio for decades.
27. When you go to someone’s house, it’s considered polite and customary to take your shoes off at the door. No, we don’t have a large Japanese influence. It’s because your shoes are probably covered in wet snow, mud, sand or all three.
28. We wear shorts and coats at the same time. That way we’re prepared for any kind of weather. It might be 50 degrees at 7:30 in the morning, but by afternoon is will be sweltering. Then it’s freezing again when the sun goes down. It’s just good planning.
29. Michiganders are friendly. Strangers will talk to you. A lot. For a long time. Go out for coffee in the morning at a local diner, and you’ll make friends with everyone in the restaurant.
30. We love living in Michigan, winter and all, because the it’s one of the most unique, beautiful places on earth. Summer is spent on the white sand beaches and in the sparkling clear waters. We spend fall taking in the Technicolor leaves in the forests. In winter, it’s a glistening ice and snow wonderland. Spring is soft and green, colored with tulips, daffodils and hyacinths. There’s no place we’d rather be. Except Florida in February.
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