‘Breathtakingly beautiful’: How faculty and staff enjoy their time in Pure Michigan

May 23, 2022  //  FOUND IN: Our Employees,

A peaceful cottage on a river in the Upper Peninsula. Enjoying Mackinac Island after the hustle and bustle of tourists have left for the day. Walking among millions of tulips in Holland. Visiting an historic drive-in theater.

These are just a few of the things faculty and staff love about living in Michigan.

As road trip season heats up over the next few weeks, there’s no doubt you may be looking for new and exciting ways to spend your time in “Pure Michigan.”

Here are the favorite destinations your colleagues enjoy and why they make these locations a must-visit whenever possible:

Tayler Hemmes, executive assistant

I’d like to talk about one of my favorite spots in Michigan, which is Munising. You can kayak along the Pictured Rocks National Shoreline. This all-day trip will test your endurance — but you are rewarded with being able to get up close and kayak under the famous “Lover’s Leap” arch that is the landmark Pictured Rocks is most known for.

Munising also has one of the many waterfalls you can find in the Upper Peninsula, just a short hike near downtown Munising.

Finally, Log Slide Overlook — located in Grand Marais about an hour east of Munising — is a historic and breathtakingly beautiful spot off of the North Country Trail. Around this area, you will find rustic camp sites you have to hike two-to-three miles to get to, but you are rewarded with tons of privacy, horrible cell phone service, and almost zero light pollution which makes it possible to see the Milky Way and more stars at night than you can imagine.

Lamia Marouf, senior project manager, Department of Radiology

One of my favorite spots to visit is the Tulip Festival in Holland. Few places can match the beauty of Holland in the spring with this annual festival celebrating the Dutch heritage and showcasing Holland’s dynamic community and its spectacular tulips that burst forth with amazing colors.

I was so happy to see Holland busy with visitors again this year enjoying the millions of tulips, eating in the local restaurants and shopping. The tulip plantings along the city streets and in parks were just amazing and everyone was so nice!  Polite locals were also happy to provide visitors with a festival map, shopping, parking and dining information.  

Allison Romanowski, program manager, Faculty Development

Heading down to Detroit on a Saturday, going to Eastern Market and getting some good homegrown flowers, fruits and veggies or getting some homemade popcorn, jerky or desserts. It’s also great to walk to the Dequindre cut and take that all the way down to the river and then walk around the downtown area and maybe hitting up a Tigers game!

Liz Rodriguiz, administrative assistant, Department of Learning Health Sciences

I grew up on the “sunrise side” of the state, so I’d like to promote a couple of cool places:

Brian Zink, M.D., senior associate dean for faculty and faculty development

Lelanau State Park and Cathead Bays is a wonderful place to hike out to a pristine beach on the northern tip of the Leelanau Peninsula. A pretty easy 1.5-mile trail through an amazing dune forest brings you out to sand dunes that lead down to the beach with its crystal clear, blue water. And there are no crowds here — you will have lots of space to relax and explore.

Katie Gryzb, continuous improvement specialist, Department of Internal Medicine

We love the Leelanau Peninsula in northern Michigan! The scenery is beautiful and there is so much to do with Traverse City so near. We always take a hike at the Leelanau State Park that has an amazing path that leads right to the water. We are big fans of making pitstops at the many wineries and breweries that the peninsula has to offer. Highly recommend!

Rocky Graham, guest services specialist, Michigan Medicine Security

What I love about Michigan is the Shiawassee National Refuge area located in Mid-Michigan (Saginaw County – near St. Charles and Chesaning).

It is beautiful, flat farmland where thousands of geese, ducks and deer run wild. There is so much wildlife and so many folks have no idea that it is there. We love to watch the migratory birds fly through and watch the brown fields turn to green soybeans, corn or sugar beets. It is the salt of the earth.

Julie Balk, clinical research coordinator, pediatric nephrology

We love Mackinac Island. We’ve been going up for a few days every summer for the past 25 years and now our daughters are enjoying it with us. It’s the perfect spot to get away and relax. The late evenings and early morning are the best — when all the “day visitors” have left and all you hear are the horses in the streets and the sounds of the island winding down and then waking up.

Jean Fisher-Blythe, radiology customer service

My favorite destination spot is Mackinac Island. I love the boat rides that take you under the Mackinac Bridge with the dark blue waters and the wind in your hair.

My favorite part on the island is taking the horse and carriage rides up past the Grand Hotel and stopping at the Butterfly House. It’s really peaceful to just sit and watch all the different butterflies fly around.

Sarah Dix, patient services assistant, Adult BMT

I love having all four seasons here. I can spend summer at the lakes, fall at the orchards, winter on the ice and spring in the parks. People might not like the winter, but we have the nicest summer around. I’m looking forward to going up north and spending my days swimming and boating. Plus, if people haven’t done it yet, biking around Mackinac is a treat.

Carmen Calkin, clinical manager, neuropsychology

Ludington is at the top of our list. The white sandy beaches of Lake Michigan, stunning sunsets, and of course, House of Flavors ice cream make it a must-visit!

Lorie Crimmins, dialysis access coordinator

My favorite spot in Michigan is South Haven. We own a place there and can think of nothing more perfect than a summer night on the lighthouse pier watching the sunset!

Grace Wu, managing director, Taubman Institute

Our family loves northern Michigan! We love the lakes, the fresh air and the adventures. Last summer we visited Lavender Hill Farm in Boyne City, Old Presque Isle Lighthouse in Presque Isle and Raven Hill Discovery Center in East Jordan. We had an amazing time!

Shannon Horne, QA coordinator, Cancer Registry

I love Lake Superior — and I love looking for geological treasures along the shores of Lake Superior!

Linda Haglund-Hazy, genetics lab

We go to the off-road vehicle (ORV) park in Holly, Michigan! It’s great to run around without the three or four hour drive up north for a quick test of a new ATV or Jeep.

Deirdre Fidler, administrative manager, Michigan Medicine Laboratories

I love my cottage in Au Train in the Upper Peninsula because it is so relaxing to sit on the deck and watch the river go by (and to eat lots of delicious, fresh whitefish).

Maria Krohl, administrative assistant, 5B acute care medicine/surgery

There are a few places I love around Michigan:

  • The Bluffs of Elberta
  • The Cherry Bowl Drive-In Theater in Honor
  • Spending the Fourth of July in Frankfort
  • The Sheltowee Trace Bed and Breakfast in Concord

Rachel Miller, patient services associate, cardiovascular medicine

Michigan has an unrivaled number and variety of state parks, Metroparks and recreation areas accessible to people of all ages and abilities and economic status. Because it is so close to Ann Arbor, our current favorite is the Waterloo Recreation Area — but we love exploring them all! Add the park pass to a vehicle plate or literally walk into any state park or state recreation area for free.

Our Michigan lands are beautiful and offer beaches, rivers, dunes, mountains, sunsets, sunrises, wildlife, skiing, kayaking, peace and quiet, hunting, birding, photography, interpretation, history — something for almost any interest. Michigan’s past leaders had the vision to preserve and conserve those lands for us today.  I hope we appreciate them and make them accessible for future Michiganders!