Some of us live a lifetime in Michigan and never see a loon; we may have heard their calls on some late winter day, noting their return to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula or most northern parts of the Lower Peninsula, but it is an elusive find.
In this issue of Michigan BLUE, photographer Tom Haxby shares the result of two summers of work, photographing one family of loons, giving readers beautiful and exciting up-close images of this “bird of the north.” Michigan Breeding Atlas estimated just 500-775 breeding pairs can be found after their winter migration from the south.
“Exploring Henry Ford’s northern Michigan” also became a year-long endeavor, as writer Dianna Stampfler found one discovery led to another … and another, as she researched the automotive pioneer’s love of Michigan outdoors. The first fascination centered on Ford’s purchase of an entire island off Bowers Harbor, now called Power Island. The outdoorsman also spent much of his time in the Upper Peninsula and established several property and business interests, making him the largest taxpayer in the U.P.
Readers are likely to understand and share his reverence for the natural beauty of these regions, at a time difficult to imagine, save for the historic images accompanying the story on page 48.
The final weeks of the winter season offer last call to Michigan’s ski trails and resorts where warming up is half the fun. Excursions listings are peppered with events to embrace your polar self, take time for romantic interludes and celebrate the green of the Irish. For those in serious need for sights of spring, Michigan home and garden shows dot the state and offer a feel for the upcoming season.
Michigan BLUE offers an overview and some pointers for cottage owners in the Waterways story on natural shorelines. Writer Marla Miller notes, “Many of the reasons people are drawn to lakefront living — healthy fish, abundant wildlife and clear, clean water — also depend on the individual decisions homeowners make.” She reviews the practical solutions various towns are using to curb erosion and notes for homeowners: Native plants create attractive shorelines and reduce maintenance costs and erosion. Another story focused on “low-maintenance” gardening is a key to simplifying the coming spring and summer seasons — no matter the weather swings.
Something for everyone: The craft beer industry has a firm hold on the Wolverine State, and “craft” is increasingly a term used for a resurgence in craft cocktails and the pre-Prohibition recipes used by some of Michigan’s famed underground distilleries. The newest cocktail creators add Michigan’s natural flavors with “made from scratch” mixers and homemade syrups. Recently opened distilleries dot the entire Lower Peninsula with unique products and food offerings that beckon a new type of connoisseur. A sampling is highlighted in the Dining Destinations!