Pure Michigan | Exploring the Midwest Episode 5

Last Updated on April 29, 2021 by Jody Halsted

Today’s guest is Dave Lorenz, Vice President of Travel Michigan – better known as Pure Michigan if you follow the state’s social media accounts

Moderating the broadcast chat today is Amy Piper – publisher of travel blog Follow the Piper and author of the Michigan chapter of the new book Midwest Road Trip Adventures.

Pure Michigan

A brand is really just a reflection of a product in this case, a destination. Michigan is a place with natural abundant beauty, friendly people, and unique places and experiences to offer. So when you see an ad or you hear about Pure Michigan, you say, “yeah, that really is what it’s like.”.

Bond Falls

Michigan Misconceptions

If you were to ask somebody, you know, far, far away from the Midwest, maybe international audience somewhere about, what do they know about Michigan? They’re likely going to say Detroit.

Detroit Riverwalk

And it used to be, they might say bad things about Detroit but people are starting to understand that Detroit’s really turned it around in the last 15 years and it’s just a great place to live, work and play. It’s vibrant, really incredible to see what’s happening there.

Flint’s kind of the same way.

So that used to be the story that people would kind of think negatively about Michigan because the only thing they’d ever heard were bad news stories coming out of our biggest city, a city that had gone through, you know, decades of challenge and transition because of a change in the world economy. And we just weren’t prepared. Well, we got prepared and the people of Detroit said, we’re tired of this. We wanna turn this thing around and they did.

At the same time, the rest of the state probably was a little bit ahead of Detroit in kinda, you know, getting ready for that next, who we are. At the same time that most of the state has always been, you know, filled with natural experiences, you know, four seasons of fun. So it kinda all came together.

And today, I think partially because of the Pure Michigan campaign and partially because people have been traveling here, experiencing what we have in reality in that word of mouth gets out. And because of travel writers and such coming in here and telling the real story of Michigan, people now see Michigan in a different way.

They see Michigan in what I think is a truthful, you know really emotionally connected way. It really is a pretty unique place with incredible destinations and so much diversity of people and places.

Two Peninsulas, One Pure Michigan

If you look at the back of your hand, north of the knuckles is almost all small towns, beautiful natural experiences to offer.

Michigan has 11,000 lakes and many of them most of them are north of that line.

Dog Sledding in the Upper Peninsula

The upper peninsula (UP) is just a nature lover’s paradise.

And then the lower part of the state, still a lot of rural, a lot of small towns, beach towns, things like that. But most of our bigger cities are in that area. Like the beautiful city of Detroit, that’s gone through this great transition.

But because the state is two peninsulas, there are a couple of different personalities.

The UPers really pride themselves on independence and every so often there’s talk about breaking away from the rest of the state. And they’re really into celebrating the kind of the rustic nature of nature.

Where the lower peninsula, a lot of people like to go to the UP to experience the out of doors temporarily and then kind of go back to their city environments later.

Michigan’s Great Lakes

Michigan touches on four of the five Great lakes. Michiganders are the type of people who like to be on the water, in the water, under the water but whatever it is, we’re so connected to the Great Lakes.

Fishing here is huge. Boating. You’re never more than five miles away from a major lake or stream. Some of the best fly fishing that there is in the country.

Winter Activities in Michigan

Skiing: uphill, cross-country, downhill

snowmobiling, ice climbing, dog, sledding, snowshoeing, ice fishing…

Mackinac Island


Mackinac Island is right between the two peninsulas.

If you’re going north on the Mackinaw Bridge, the Mighty Mac, you look to the right and you see this cute little island and you will see Grand Hotel, this massive beautiful Victorian style hotel there.

The downtown area is just a fun little area for shopping and dining and such.

Most of the islands is a state park. It was actually the second national park in the country until it was gifted to the state by the feds.

It’s just an awesome place, set back in time. It’s the kind of place you need to be there for at least a couple of nights to kind of get the sounds of life out of your mind, to really take in the sounds of the clip plops of the horses as they’re carrying people down the roads. You know, take a bike around the island and into the interior, the forested part. It’s just an awesome place, really special.

Museums in Detroit

  • Henry Ford and Greenfield village- all about American innovation
  • Arab American Museum
  • the Detroit Institute of Art
  • Motown Museum

Order or view the travel guide – Michigan.org for all things travel

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