Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Michigan Made

We've added some new stores to the Made in Michigan list. If you are looking for Made in Michigan or Michigan themed products, these stores may have what you are looking for!

Featuring handmade and unique artisan food and gifts.

Local goods for local good. Capital Loop Gifts offers a wide range of Lansing and Michigan themed gifts sourced exclusively from Michigan-based distributors and artisans.

Gifts, Home Decor, Furniture, Michigan Made, Local Products, visiting artists & authors. See more about York Mercantile in our recent Meandering Michigan - Sturgis post.

Local goods - Plain and Simple. McPherson Local is part of the growing movement to support local small businesses and farms. We invite guests to our store to sample and learn about these local goods first-hand. We believe in simple ingredients and an even simpler shopping experience.

Crafted TC features all things Crafted! Beer, Artwork, Jewelry, Beer Soap, Apparel and more.

Made In The Mitten is a Michigan artist inspired marketplace, showcasing the work of Michigan artists from all over and their craft. The store primarily focuses on gifts that represent the state pride.

The Mitten State® is a brand inspired by Michigan's communities, natural beauty, and culture. Founded in 2009, incorporating vintage inspired design and graphic art from the 1970s and 1980s into their apparel.

Based out of the village of Romeo, MI, Mitten Made Co. is 100% focused on promoting our great state. Products are made for and by the good people of Michigan.

The Great Lakes Market celebrates the turn of the seasons with four unique events across the Great Lakes Bay Region. Come explore the creations of art, food, and crafts that make the Mitten State inimitable. Part architecture salvage hunt, part maker center, part culinary adventure; the Great Lakes Market has something for everyone.

Handmade Michigan products and more. 616 Mitten Market carries vintage goods, made in Michigan items,  and furniture. We feature over 40 makers from around the state of Michigan.

With art ranging from jewelry, clothing, photography, books, and Detroit sports, to pottery, painting and perhaps even a few things that can't be defined, that one-of-a-kind gift for every person, or occasion can nearly always be found.

Bumbles has a wide-variety of gifts, cards, purses, home décor, all made in the USA, many made in Michigan.

Phillips not only has cider and baked goods, but they also carry lots of Michigan Made products including mittens, bags, aprons, pottery, woven blankets, wood wall hangings and more.

The premier Michigan specialty shop located in the town of Frankenmuth. We specialize in products Made in Michigan ranging from food to art and more and themed souvenirs that represent the beautiful Great Lakes State.

Made in Michigan products, antiques, old time candy/candy bars, soda, coffee, spices, syrup, honey, jams, cheesecake, dog treats and more

Unique Handmade Goods: Rugs, Ceramics, Paintings, Wood and more. Handcrafted functional & decor items/gifts specializing in Michigan and US made.

Featuring antiques, repurposed, handmade, local artisans.

We are a gift store for everyone.  We specialize in having unique gifts in stock for all kinds of taste.

More to come from the mind of ...

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Meandering Michigan, Sturgis

Just north of the Michigan-Indiana border, is the city of Sturgis. If you are looking for a small downtown full of personality, history, and local businesses with charismatic owners and employees, this town is a must. Thanks to an invite from Amy York, of York Mercantile, we had the pleasure of spending the day meandering Sturgis. 

York Mercantile is a distinctive shop full of treasures offering home décor, furniture, custom quilts, soaps & other bath & body products, kitchenware and food, candles, and many items made in Michigan and Indiana. You can also find artwork and books by local artists and authors. As we visited the other stores and locations, the praise for Amy and her dedication to their town was a common conversation. She is responsible for some very popular events in Sturgis and organized a great visit for us as well.

When walking up to Great Lakes Chocolate & Coffee Company, you can smell the aroma before you open the door. We are tea and cocoa girls, so we had chai tea, some tasty baked goods and of course purchased enough chocolate treats for our ride home. Locals may be familiar with Great Lakes as they've been around since 2002 with small kiosks in local malls and stores in Michigan and Indiana. Owners, Paul and Jared Smith, opened the Great Lakes Chocolate & Coffee Company in Sturgis where they offer a large selection with most of their coffee grown on small farms, picked by hand, and all roasted in Sturgis.  You can also purchase their coffee and chocolate from their website: https://myglcc.com/collections

Willer's  Shoes is a long-time Sturgis staple, in business since 1934. There have only been two owners in that time, Harry Willer and Todd Maynard. While shopping at Willer's you will find shoes by Bed Stu, Brooks, Aetres, Taos and Pikolios just to name a few of their most popular brands. The boutique-style clothing is carefully selected  with a small but nice offering. They also carry jewelry by Brighton and Uno de 50.

We were very excited to find an artist's co-op in Sturgis. The non-profit co-op is located in one of the town's oldest buildings, that was home to Purdy Grocery Store in the 1940's. One of the most unique things about the building is an original pulley elevator, still in working condition. The co-op is located on the first floor. Renovations are being done on the second floor and the goal is to eventually renovate the entire building with artists work on every level. The gallery is completely ran and maintained by volunteers, as is the restoration.  There are currently over 20 local artists featured, offering pottery, paintings, jewelry, wood-work, videos, fiber - paper art, and more.

The Craftsman's Daughter, a charming boutique is a mix of new, vintage, and hand-crafted merchandise. Owned by Sturgis local, Ellie Patrick, Craftsman's offers stylish clothing, jewelry, home décor, and some locally made items as well. This store can't be missed when visiting Sturgis.

If you are looking for antiques, vintage items, or something unique as Laura Jean's store name suggests, you should stop by and see her. Laura Jena's has consigned clothing and accessories, a wide-selection of jewelry both antique and modern, furniture, and many other great finds as well as locally made candles, soaps, and lotions.

Before leaving town, we stopped at Boundary Waters for a late lunch. We had the spinach dip and a gyro. The food was excellent. The dip was cheesy and the gyro was authentic in flavor with well-seasoned beef and lamb and tzatziki sauce - my favorite. Their menu has a wide-variety of pastas, steaks, sandwiches, burgers, fish, and other entrees. Boundary Waters also features a large selection of craft beers and fine wines.

There were a few places that we were not able to make it to in town, but we will surely be visiting on our next trip back: Ringenberg Farm MuseumZus & Zo European Lifestyle, From Moments to Milestones, LLC, So Vintage,   and Lowry's Books and More.

An important piece of Michigan history, the Sauk trail, now US Highway 12, played  a large part in the establishment of the town of Sturgis as well as other towns in the area. Originally traveled by Native Americans, the trail started in the Detroit area continued through what is now the heart of downtown Sturgis and then toward Chicago. Sauk Indians, were part of the Eastern Woodland group, native to the area. The path they followed was used by wildlife, like deer, explaining some of the curvy, winding roads. 

The Sturgis Rail Depot, originally built in 1895, is a reconstruction of the original wood building from 1852. In 2014, the depot, weighing over 300 tons, was moved to it's current location. Construction of the site,  moving the building, and renovations were made possible from grants, donations and the hard work of volunteers.  The original design was kept with every section and detail of the Depot as it was moved and restored. The Depot is now home to the Sturgis Historical Museum.

While small in size, the museum is packed with history including interactive displays. We were greeted by Bonnie Mort, museum board member, for our tour. Bonnie's husband, Mike Mort, is the president of the historical society and has produced several movies about Michigan which can been seen and purchased at the museum.

We started with the Native American exhibition of authentic items including  hand-woven baskets and pelts. Next we moved to the civil war area, with a several interactive pieces including a mini-movie.  We progressed to an attractive construction of a full size setting -room belonging to Judge John Sturgis. Being one of the first to settle in the area, the city was named after him. The picture on the wall of the room, comes to "life" and "John" tells a story of the history of the town.

The tour continued with the railroad station master's office where the station master also appears to tell his story. The last room included Sturgis-area history with a piece of Sturgis's oldest tree, dating back to the 1730's, the story of a Sturgis women who was on the Titanic, and tickets from a 1974 Duke Ellington concert in Sturgis.  Each of the museum's displays included  well-maintained, original items as well as a great selection of photography. At the end of the tour, you can sit and watch short , rotating films  in the "The Electric City Theater." Volunteers are continuously updating displays and coming up with new ideas. This is by far one of the most interesting and unique city museums in the state.

The City of Sturgis was selected as a venue for the Detroit Institute of Art’s 2017 Inside|Out program. While visiting Sturgis, we had the pleasure of viewing some of the reproductions that were still in town. Hype Brand Management, of Sturgis, made a great video to show the fifteen pieces that were on display throughout town: Sturgis Street Paintings Movie.

While at the Depot Museum, we noticed a picture of a Hot 'n Now Restaurant. Hot 'n Now is a Michigan-based hamburger restaurant  chain that started in Kalamazoo in 1984. This was a popular lunch choice for some of us in high school … not to date myself! Sturgis is home to the last Hot n' Now in the World.

Langley Covered Bridge just outside of town, near Centreville,  is the longest remaining wooden bridge in Michigan.  Hard to believe this one-lane bridge was built in 1887. It is named for Thomas W. Langley and family, who helped establish the Village of Centreville in the ­1880s. In 1965, the bridge was designated as a Michigan State Historic Site. We loved the covered bridge, keep an eye out for more posts as we are continuing to visit other Michigan Covered Bridges - hopefully visiting them all eventually.

Sturgis - The Electric City
Going back to the early days of Sturgis, the city approved the construction of the Sturgis Hydroelectric Dam.  Close to Centreville and the Langley Bridge the dam is still in use. Sturgis was named the "The Electric City" because it was the first city in the area to have electricity. At that time, a city the size of Sturgis having electricity, was extremely rare.  The town celebrates with an Electric City Night Parade during Sturgis Fest.

We want to thank the business owners and volunteers in Sturgis for inviting us and welcoming us to their town. We had a great time and will surely be back.

More to come from the mind of ...

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Meandering Michigan, Port Huron

Port Huron is a beautiful, nautical town full of history and offering a variety of art, dining and shopping with the attractive, historical storefronts. Located on the St. Clair River, it is the connection to Point Edward, Ontario in Canada through the Blue Water Bridge. The city is located at the southern end of Lake Huron and is the easternmost land location in Michigan.  There several spots to walk and sit along the river, watching very large freighters and ships make their way back and forth to Lake Huron.
A Michigan site to see. Jointly owned by the USA and Canada, the bridge was opened in1938. It has gone through some changes and expanded in order accommodate more International traffic. Crossing from Port Huron over beautiful crisp blue water to PortEdward and Sarnia Ontario. What a great feeling watching large freighters close up, going under the bridge.

The Community Foundation of St. Clair County did a great job of restoring and improving the banks of the Blue Water River creating the Blue Water River Walk. The River Walk includes an observation dock, outdoor interactive classroom, pedestrian trail, a diner, wetlands park, fishing pier, and public artwork on display. Guided tours are available.

If you are going to spend the day and visit several places in Port Huron, you should consider the passport. You can purchase a passport that includes entry to the Port Huron Museum, Huron Lightship, Thomas Edison Depot Museum, and the Fort Gratiot Light Station. In addition to the passport there are also special admission prices for families. Passports are available at the Port Huron Museum.

The Andrew Carnegie Library, built in 1904, is home to the Port Huron Museum. The Museum is home to the history of the Lake Huron region and tells the stories of Michigan and the Great Lakes. There are many nautical and local eye catching items with a large, beautiful Ship Model collection. The first floor is home to rotating exhibits, with something different and interesting to see each visit from dinosaurs to NASA Space Programs.

The Huron Lightship was the last operating lightship on the Great Lakes, launching in 1920 and retiring in 1970. The ship is located on the Lake Huron, at the Pine GrovePark. Dedicated in 1990 the ship is now a National Historic Landmark. This was the last lightship for the area. Tours for this real, functioning lightship are seasonal and open in April.

The Edison Depot Museum is inside the Fort Gratiot Depot, built in 1858 by Grand Trunk Railroad. Truly a stone's throw from the Blue Water Bridge. At one time, Thomas Edison worked in the building as a news reporter. Full of information and child friendly hands on things to do, makes learning about Edison fun. A beautifully restored Baggage Car rests close to the building, on the rail tracks with easy access. Clearly, well taken care of and restored with alluring colors and charm.

Fort Gratiot Lighthouse is the oldest Lighthouse in the area. It's located at the entrance of the St Clair river from Lake Huron. Built in 1825, it collapsed and had to be rebuilt in 1829. Then the lighthouse was worked on again in1860. The height of the structure went from 65 ft. to 82 ft. It is a brick tower painted white and stands proudly at the waters edge. At this inviting area is a working Coast Guard facility, which is still being used. Lighthouse Beach and Park for families to enjoy are side by side. The lighthouse is closed from January through April. Tours are available, see the website for more information. Check Facebook for special, lighted, evening tours.
The lighthouse property also includes a gift shop with a variety of nautical, Port Huron, and Michigan themed gifts. The Fort Gratiot Hospital, currently under restoration, is also on the property. The hospital is Port Huron's oldest wooden structure.

Moved from Military St, to 16th St. at the Grand Trunk mainline is the First International Tunnel and as of 1993 is a registered National Historic Landmark. The Grand Trunk Western Railroad tunnel links Port Huron and Canada. Opened in 1891, this international submarine railway tunnel was the first in the world. The tunnel's total length is 11,725 feet, with 2,290 feet underwater.

Studio 1219 offers six galleries featuring paintings, pottery, jewelry, mechanical art objects and much more. It's a fascinating assortment of high quality art from local artists. If you are interested in classes, Studio 1219 offers classes in the very large studio upstairs, which is also a great space for art parties. Check the gallery's website for calendar of featured shows and events.

A big surprise in a small store, actually two connected stores. One store is focused on gourmet foods, kitchen, home goods, gardening products and recipe books. The other entrance brings you into a store with botanical soaps and lotions, handbags, towels, and quality clothing for  men, women and children.  Weekends has been in business since 1992 and recently re-opened the second, seasonal location in Lexington.  This store is a homemakers delight, with a large variety of Michigan-made items. Michigan products include Zingerman's baked goods and cheeses, American Spoon, Jessica's Natural Foods, Cherry Republic, Patricia's Chocolate , Dave's Sweet Tooth, McClure's, Germack, Detroit's Original Zip Sauce, Motawi Tileworks, Schuil Coffee, and more . In addition to food and kitchen items Weekends sells .

Step back into Port Huron' in the 1890's. What a great place to get ice cream, desserts and a wonderful menu for lunch and dinner. Rock and Gayle have made Port Huron locals proud by collecting local items to restore and decorate with. The Art Deco Room includes actual theatre seats at the tables, shows silent movies featuring Port Huron’s Colleen Moore and is filled with historic theatre memorabilia.

Gayle is responsible for the menu including fresh homemade soups and salads including an artichoke salad. For lunch or dinner, many sandwiches, burgers - including a stuffed pizza burger and stuffed jalapeno popper burger, gourmet loaded baked potatoes, and many dinner entrees including chicken wellington. For dessert in addition to ice cream, there is a wide selection of cakes, pies, and sundaes.

The Atrium not only offers great food, but a great atmosphere. Truly a one-of-a-kind dining experience.

With so many museums and historical sites, we had limited time to meander downtown Port Huron. We'll certainly be back to visit other restaurants, boutiques, and galleries.

To see all the photos from Meander through Port Huron, use either the Google or Facebook Link below:

More to come from the mind of...

Saturday, May 6, 2017

From the Mind of a Michigan Girl

When I started this blog in August 2015, I really had no idea what I was doing or where I was going with the blog. I knew I had a voice, something to say and lots to share. Almost two years later, Michigan Girl is more than I could have ever imagined. Thanks to my partner in crime - my mom, our friends, family, followers and Michigan Artisans and Business Owners, we are sharing our love of Michigan with so many.

Although we've lived here our entire lives, we find something or somewhere new every day. Michiganders are very lucky to have a beautiful state with so much to offer. We've met so many wonderful and interesting people with inspiring stories. We are loving this journey and excited to see where it takes us.

We often preview our Michigan Meanders through social media as we travel and before we post on the blog. So follow our Facebook and Instagram pages. You can also connect with Michigan Girl on Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, Flipboard, the Michigan Girl Email Newsletter, and LinkedIn.

If you have suggestions on where you'd like to see us Meander, be sure to share through the survey on our blog home page, or use this link:

More to come from the mind of...

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Summer Fun at Michigan Drive-Ins

With Spring, and ultimately Summer just around the corner, it's a great time to get outside and have fun. Michigan has several drive-in theaters for those that want to see a movie outside and enjoy the weather too.

119 W Chicago Rd., Coldwater
(517) 278-5628
In 2001, the Capri was listed as one of the Top 10 Best Drive-In's in America by USA Today. It's been owned and operated by the same family since it opened in  1964. The Capri opens today, March 24th.

28190 M-152, Dowagiac
(269) 782-7879
The "Fiver" was originally built in 1961. It is only open on weekends, with the exception of a few special shows on Thursdays. Five Mile is open Memorial Day through Labor Day. In addition to the theater, there is a children's playground.

9812 Honor Highway, Honor
(231) 325-3413
The Cherry Bowl Drive-In opened in 1953 and is named because it's in Northwest Michigan, the Cherry Capital of the world. The Cherry Bowl even has a 50' s style mini-golf course if you'd like to get out the car and have some fun. The popcorn is popped fresh in their original 1953 popcorn popper.  Open from the 1st weekend in May, thru September, on Fri/Sat nights only at first until mid-June. After mid-June, the Cherry Bowl is open 7 nights a week through Labor Day. After Labor Day, the Cherry Bowl goes back to
weekends only through the September.

3615 S. State Rd., Ionia
Danny Boys is a newer theater, instead of a traditional screen, Danny Boy's uses a high-tech inflatable water-resistant version that is 70 feet wide and 35 feet high. For $5 a car, you can purchase a snack permit and bring your own treats. In addition to the theater, Danny Boy's has special entertainment on the weekends like bounce houses, petting zoos, and celebrity appearances. Danny Boy's opens in the spring.

920 E Summit Ave., Muskegon
Originally the NK Drive-In, built in 1948. In addition to movies, Getty-4 also has a large playground and arcade room for all the kids, and a self-serve concession. Getty opens for the season on April 14, 2017.

E. Sanilac Rd.(M46), Carsonville
(810) 657-6684
The Hi-Way Drive-In is Michigan's oldest drive-in theater. It opened in 1947. Hi-Way Drive-In allows campers anytime for those looking for a place to camp.

5200 Fenton Road, Flint
The 23 Twin Drive-In opened in 1972. The theater will be open for the season on April 7, 2017.

10400 Ford Rd., Dearborn
At one time, the Ford Drive-In was the largest Drive-In Theatre in America. It's open for viewing year-round, has multiple screens and has in-car heaters available in the winter.

More to come from the mind of ...

Monday, March 20, 2017

Looking for Products Made in Michigan?

Looking for products made in Michigan? Look no further, these stores sell Michigan-made products (many have online stores along with the physical store).

Michigan Market, Williamston

One of our favorite stops in Williamston is the Michigan Market located in the Keller Building. This store offers a wide variety of Michigan-made gifts including jams, snacks. jewelry, cards, and scarves. They are always finding new items to keep you coming back

Heart of Michigan Store, Howell

So far, in all our Meanders, Heart of Michigan Store has one of the best selections of Made in Michigan products. Products include clothing, jewelry, home décor, bath & body, books, food, treats, pet products and one of our favorites, Lake Art.

If you visit the online store, they offer lots of fun Michigan gift baskets and boxes which include famous brands like Faygo, Jiffy, Better Made, Win Scheulers Cheese, Vernors or sports themed gifts with MSU, Tigers, Detroit Red Wings and others. You can also select sets that include Michigan cutting boards with cheese and sausage, nuts, popcorns, jams, jellies, or maple syrup. You can make your own gift box too.

In addition to selling Michigan Products, the store also bakes Pasties fresh daily and sell Michigan Brews and Wines from these Michigan vineyards:  Howell's Main Street Winery, Black Star Farms, Leelanau Cellars, Chateau Grand Traverse, Burgdorf's Winery, and Tabor Hill Winery.

The General Store, Hastings
We came across The General Store in Hastings on a whim, and what a surprise it was. Such a charming store with a wide-variety of local brands and products: Cherry Republic, Coyer Candle Co. handmade soy candles and air fresheners, hand-made wooden bowls by JM Woodworking, Jewelry by Lake Effects Studios, Detroit Coaster Company, Heritage Beard Company, Gee Dee Bee's Honey by Maple Leaf Farm, handmade wooden kitchen utensils from Clarksville, Michigan, Cellar Door Soap, vegan purses designed by Michigan State Graduate, Jenna Kator, books by local authors, University of Michigan and Michigan State items, and lots of products promoting Michigan. 

Absolute Gallery, Old Town, Lansing
The Absolute Gallery in Lansing's Old Town is a great spot to find art and jewelry by local artists as well as many other Michigan-made products including books, cards, and other unique finds. 

Keans Store, Mason
Kean's is Mason's oldest continuously operating business, founded in 1928 by Gus and Fern Kean. Kean's is still a family owned and operated by Teresa and Steve Wren. The first thing you see when you walk into Kean's is the old-fashioned candy counter, with an large vareity of traditional hand-made candies, as well as several Michigan-made selections. You can also find kids toys and games, clothing, jewelry, home decor, food and kitchen items, cards, and much more. As you stroll through the store, you'll also find the studio and shop of local jewelry artisan, Margaret Ross. Margaret makes beautiful, hand-crafted pieces.

The Artisan's Bench, Brighton

If you are looking for handcrafted artwork and unique pieces, you must visit The Artisan's Bench. About eighty percent of the items are made by local Michigan artisans.

The Eyrie, Ypsilanti
The Eyrie is a Michigan artisan market in Ypsilanti's historic Depot Town. It's a self-described cultural gift shop featuring over 180 Michigan artisans' work including photographs, greeting cards, jewelry & accessories, paintings, pottery, blown glass, unique home decor, candles, lotions and much more. Make sure to save plenty of time for this stop, even though it's not a large store, it's very much packed with must see Michigan work and products.

Old Town General Store, Lansing

The Old Town General Store not only offers a nice selection of Michigan handcrafted jewelry, candles, home decor, clothing, and more, it's also the place to go for wine, beer, dairy products, bait, ice, household good, bath and body items, and candy. You can also find Michigan-made natural skin care by one of our favorite companies, Integrity Pure& Natural.

Weekends, Port Huron

Weekends of Port Huron is a charming store with a nice offering of Michigan-made products including food and homegoods . This really is a homemakers delight, with a large variety of baby clothing, toys, gardening, recipe books, botanical soaps and lotions handbags, towels, men and women's quality clothing.

Made in Michigan Store, 4 locations - Grand Rapids, Grandville, Saugatuck, and Mackinaw City

Online Stores

We'll continue to update with additional places to purchase Michigan-made products. See the right side bar Made in Michigan Section. If you own or know of a business that sells Michigan-made products contact The MIchigan Girl at marketing@themichigangirl.com so we can visit and add to our list.

More to come from the mind of ...