Traveling the World Without Leaving the State

For the past five years at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park — recently ranked as one of the top 100 most-visited art museums worldwide by Art Newspaper — master designer Hoichi Kurisu has been transforming an eight-acre expanse of marsh and wooded valley into an international four-season attraction.
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Japanese Teapot
Japanese Teapot – Photography courtesy thinkstock

For the past five years at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park — recently ranked as one of the top 100 most-visited art museums worldwide by Art Newspaper — master designer Hoichi Kurisu has been transforming an eight-acre expanse of marsh and wooded valley into an international four-season attraction.

It’s also a tribute.

The new Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden, which opened in June, stems from a great affinity the late Fred Meijer and his wife, Lena, shared for the beauty, tranquility and contemplative nature of this globally-revered gardening style, expressed by writer Cindy La Ferle and photographer Johnny Quirin in this issue of BLUE (page 52). 

An even better way to uncover what’s special about the Japanese Garden’s scenic bridges and rushing waterfalls, cloud-form trees and textured boulders is to experience them first-hand.

This Travel & Adventure edition of BLUE invites you to explore the world, without leaving the state: A wondrous tapestry of rich cultural discoveries is woven within Michigan’s borders.

“We live in such a globalized community,” observes Mark Stone, associate professor of world music and percussion (page 29), “but without experiencing the music, art or cuisine, we don’t make those deeper connections.”

While the Mark Stone Trio beats percussion traditions of India and Africa at Oakland University, other cultural rhythms resound this fall at the Great Lakes Folk Fest in East Lansing, Odawa Homecoming Pow Wow in Harbor Springs and GrandJazzFest in Grand Rapids, which features international as well as regional and national acts (starting on page 80). 

Catch the African World Fest with vendor goods and foods from the “villages” (page 32), Oktoberfest in Frankenmuth and the Greek Fest in New Buffalo for authentic ethnic fun and fare. Or savor an array of world cheeses in Muskegon (page 30); rich flavors of Michigan-brewed equatorial beans (page 90) and inventive global tastes created especially for Restaurant Week Grand Rapids (page 94).

Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park
Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park – Photography by Cindy La Ferle

You can take your pick, too, of intriguing boardwalk journeys winding and unrolling throughout the state, leading to both sweeping scenic views and views less seen that will sweep you away (page 58). 

Being swept off by a burgeoning new book project and writing roles linked to his primary venture, michigantrailmaps.com, this edition of BLUE features the last “Michigan Top 5” round-up by 10-year columnist Jim DuFresne. We’ll much miss our insightful and inspiring long-time contributor, presently enjoying the revised third-edition success of “50 Hikes in Michigan” (2014; The Countryman Press), and wish him well.

In the spirit of adventure and making more time to pursue creative new experiences and long-held goals — after an amazing decade of personal growth and professional collaboration — this issue of BLUE also marks the end of my own journey as Editor. 

I’ve treasured every step and story along the way; the skill, talent and camaraderie of BLUE’s valued contributors and in-house team; the support of our equally valued advertising partners; and the privilege of contributing to the creation of this special publication. But most of all, I’ve treasured you, who opens it.

With heartfelt thanks for reading, and this greatest of adventures,

Lisa M. Jensen,

Editor, Michigan BLUE Magazine

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