When our friends Sarah and James announced that they were getting married this summer in Michigan, I immediately said we’d be there.
The Upper Peninsula of Michigan was a very important part of Arann’s (pre-Paige) life and yet in the eight years we have been together I still had never been there… so we decided to make a trip out of it. We decided to actually take a vacation.
That statement is misleading because we do take lots of wonderful vacations, but usually the trips we take are with my family because I live thousands of miles away from them, so we happily spend our free time with them. But every once and awhile it is nice to get away alone, just the two of us, so we decided July 2011 it was Michigan or bust.
The plan for our 10 days in Michigan… was not to plan. Or so I thought.
As far as I knew, the only thing on our schedule was that we had to be in Cross Village by Thursday for pre-wedding prep. Other than that we had no reservations, no route marked on a map, and no prearranged accommodations… except for two nights with friends of friends in Detroit… because I definitely wanted to go to Detroit.
From all of the media hype over the last few years, it sounded to me like Detroit was becoming the renewed frontier. It is the place to be for artists and farmers because old industry is gone and land is once again cheap, so if you can make your own job and grow your own food then you can have a pretty good life in Detroit.
Unfortunately we weren’t there long enough to say if all that is really true, but in the 48 hours we were there we did see lots of big beautiful houses for sale and lots of wide open vacant lots, we met lots of very friendly people and we went to the largest and most crowded farmers’ market that I have ever been to.
So I can say that Detroit made a good first impression on me and I would love to go back and spend more time getting to know the communities and the people who are making it work in this new version of an old city.
After Detroit, we headed north-east along Lake Huron, at what I thought was going to be a leisurely pace… but this is when Arann started to get antsy. I soon discovered that while I was thinking we had all the time in the world to wander and explore this big beautiful state… the only thing Arann could think about was getting to The UP.
So we hurriedly passed through several very random small American towns…
Stopping only to succumb to basic needs, but happy to discover that the Cheese Capitol of Michigan was one of those stops…
…and we had a cheese picnic, of course.
When we finally made it to The (one-and-only) UP, Arann immediately ate his first pasty and slowly started to breathe normally again.
And when we arrived in Marquette, I finally understood the reason for Arann’s anxious behavior. It turns out that Arann knows a wonderful community of people from when he lived there 10 years ago. Word spread quickly that “Arann Harris was back in town,” so we spent the next 24 hours reminiscing with his long-lost friends.
On our memory lane tour, I finally saw the log cabin that Arann “helped” build.
We met Russel, the crow.
We reunited with more friends, and their children who really loved Russel…
…although I can’t say that Russel really loved meeting them.
And then finally… we made it to the place of many legends, The Huron Mountain Club…
aka: the place where Arann Harris found his calling in life…
Arann likes to tell people that he is a professional camp counselor, and now I can happily say that I got to see The Bridge where it all began so many years ago… and now the new generation of campers can say that the original Pizza Man really does exist.
We were only there for 48 hours but we managed to do a little bit of everything… including donate a significant amount of blood to the local mosquito population.
And after serious exploring and serious relaxing, we were on the move again…
This time we headed south-west to meet our California friends who had descended upon Cross Village, on Lake Michigan, my third Great Lake of the trip, where we…
Helped our dear friends get married and celebrated by playing a whole lot of very cut-throat lawn games.
It was the perfect ending to a well-balanced and carefully planned trip.
And just the kind of recharging we needed before we start our next big adventure…
About the author paige green
Paige Green is a documentary and portrait photographer, whose storytelling approach to photography frequently addresses issues involving agriculture, land use, and food. Her work is featured in nine books and has been published in Glamour, National Geographic Traveler, New York Times Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler, GQ, Country Living, House Beautiful, and Culture. Paige lives in Petaluma, CA with a house full of boys.
Give me Louisiana
My Brain On War… (And FREE Photo Shoot for those who match my donation to relief efforts in Ukraine)
When the World Feels Upside Down… Together We Can (plus: bonus photo of me in middle school)
I feel the way you do when you have finished a captivating book or watched a movie that swept you away. Your photos coupled with your storytelling are extraordinary. I don’t even know you and yet I am so happy for you. All the best.
Paige you just made me cry- you are so talented!
Paige! As always you amaze me with your keen eye for capturing unique moments. Love the cheese picnic-Tina’s electrolysis photo. It busted me up.
Incidentally, my wife Lori was born in Flint, MI. Her family owned King Arthur’s Pasties which had three locations at one time. We’ve been to Mackinac Island and I agree that mosquitos of the upper peninsula are exceptionally hungry.
One last tidbit – I always enjoy visiting the little Baveria of Michigan, Frankenmuth. Beer and Brats.
Paige, this is beautifully done and totally moving. Wow. I’m so happy for you two! Love, Georgia
I am always amazed at the smallness of the world. I stumbled upon your blog from a blog I stumbled upon from another blog…and here you are vacationing in my homeland. I love your pictures.
What a wonderful advernture! My first picture of you pregnant. Glad you had this time together.