I've been thinking about vacation a lot lately. It's that time of year, the planning stage, the dreaming stage. Not sure where I'm going, but if I had to rely on ads to help me make my decision, I'd be in Michigan right now.
The state of Michigan began an ad campaign a few years ago with Tim Allen (of Home Improvement fame) as the narrator (he's a Michigan native). The ad campaign is called Pure Michigan and despite all the wonderful places I've been, I've never seen a better ad for any location. Every time I see or hear one of those, I just want to go straight to my closet and start packing.
The funny thing is that I live within an easy drive of Michigan. I can be there in less than 2 hours, and I have been there frequently over the years. Michigan has its charms. It's bounded by 4 of the Great Lakes, so it has sandy beaches, wildlife, cities, forests, a fantastic island (okay, more than one island) and it's made of two peninsulas, so it is unique. It's the location of the Holland Tulip Festival I wrote about not long ago.
But fantastic as it is, even Michigan probably isn't as wonderful as the Pure Michigan ads make you think that it is. I think it's because when I see these, my first feelings are ones of nostalgia, longing for a world that never existed anywhere outside of books and movies (and the ads). Nonetheless, I give the creators full credit for launching the ads. They're very effective.
And yes, Michigan is worth the visit. I especially recommend visiting the Upper Peninsula, Mackinac Island, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Grand Traverse Bay, the many lighthouses (about 150, the most of any state) and Tahquamenon Falls. There are numerous areas overseen by the National Park Service (including Isle Royale, which I have never visited but want to) and the biggest state park and state forest system of any state. It's worth seeing, and...okay, maybe it does live up these ads in some ways. Here are some of the ads. Some of these still make me get a lump in my throat even though I've seen and heard them many times. (Note: The music is Main Titles from the movie Cider House Rules).
And finally, a radio ad that gets me every time:
So...if you lived close enough, would you be on your way to Michigan right now? And, since I know that many of you don't live anywhere near here, what is your weekend getaway, the place you go to just kick back? What's your version of Pure Michigan?
Dreaming of vacation and simple times,