Category Archives: East Michigan

2016: #16 Host a Michigan Backyard BBQ

Michigan Backyard BBQ - #MIAWESOMELIST
Photo courtesy of

#16 Host a Michigan Backyard BBQ

Region: All over

Location: Your backyard or a public park!

This one is pretty self-explanatory: invite some friends over to enjoy some delish Michigan food and beverages. Bonus points if you add in a late-night bonfire!

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Michigan Asparagus Recipes

Three Magical Recipes for your Michigan Strawberries

3 New Ways to Enjoy this Summer’s Zucchini Abundance!

Make the most out of juicy local Michigan tomatoes this summer

Five Mid-Michigan Food Items for which to Be Thankful

The Great Michigan Food Experiment

Great Michigan Food Experiment: The Sequel

A Simple Evening: Harbor Springs, Michigan

2016: #29 Taste wine from one of Michigan’s 100+ wineries

Wine tasting - #MIAwesomeList
Photo courtesy of Rachell Genesky.

#29 Taste wine from one of Michigan’s 100+ wineries

Region: All over

Location: Michigan

Traverse City is known for their wine, have two peninsulas (Old Mission Peninsula & Leelanau Peninsula) full of it, but did you know that southwest Michigan has the Lakeshore Wine Trail? And in Irish Hills you can find the Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail? Plus, if you’re not feeling up to the wine tasting adventure, and prefer to try something at home, stop by your local Meijer or wine shop to grab some Michigan vino.

Bonus: if you’re in the Metro-Detroit area, stop by and check out a Michigan By The Bottle location in Royal Oak, Shelby Township, and (coming soon) Auburn Hills. MBTB has eight partner wineries (2 Lads Winery, Bel Lago Winery, Chateau Aeronautique, Chateau de Leelanau, Domaine Berrien Cellars, Peninsula Cellars, Sandhill Crane Vineyards and Verterra Winery) that you can sample from. Plus, you can grab bottles to go or enjoy one of their fun events.

Related Articles:

Three Tips for Making the Most of Wine Tours

The Good Neighbor Experience

Tour the Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail

Take Your Time at Pond Hill Farms and Harbor Springs Winery

Michigan Made Gift Guide for Wine Lovers

How to put a Local Twist on a Tourist Attraction: Wine Tasting Edition

Longview Winery and Vineyard

The Leelanau Peninsula Winery That Will Make You LOVE Wine

2016: #25 Take a tour of one of Michigan’s 96 lighthouses that are open to the public

Michigan Lighthouses #MIAwesomeList
Photo courtesy of Shalee Blackmer

#25 Take a tour of one of Michigan’s 96 lighthouses that are open to the public

Region: All over!

Location: On the water.

Lighthouses in Michigan – where do we even begin with this category?! If you have never been to a lighthouse – now is a good time to go. If you’ve never toured the inside of a lighthouse – just do it. If you’ve never spent the night in a lighthouse – this is your chance. If you’ve never been on an epic roadtrip to visit as many lighthouses as you can – make it happen this summer.

Why the urgency? Because lighthouses are expensive to maintain, and each year we’re seeing fewer and fewer open to the public. But you can help save the lighthouses of Michigan by doing these things.

Related Articles:

6 Lighthouses Perfect for an Adventure

On Top of the World on Middle Island – Alpena #MittenTrip

Beginning With a Lighthouse: Lake Michigan Road Trip

A Summer Lake Michigan Road Trip, Ludington to Frankfort

Continuing a Winter Lighthouse Road Trip Along Lake Michigan

Beaver Island Bucket List from a Pro

An Upper Peninsula Road Trip – The Tahquamenon Scenic Byway

Continuing a Road Trip Up Michigan’s Sunrise Coast

A Must See List for Michigan State Park Camping Adventures

2016: #43 Ketchup or Gravy? Grab a pasty and sample both!

Eat a Pasty - #MIAwesomeList - Pasties
Photo by Beth Baerman.

#43 Ketchup or Gravy? Grab a pasty and sample both!

Region: Natively found in Upper Peninsula, but now all over the state

Location: too many to count!

One of our most popular series on The Awesome Mitten was called “Pretty Awesome Pasties”. Friends Beth and Julie selfless visited a number of pasty establishments, grading each one on a special KPI scale (pictures below). Check out their adventures below, and choose your destination! Or, feeling inclined to make your own? Julie and Beth have just the recipe!

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Michigan Cuisine: Enter the Pasty

Introducing Pretty Awesome Pasties

Pretty Awesome Pasties: “The Pasty Place” on Michigan’s Sunrise Side

Pretty Awesome Pasties: Cousin Jenny’s Cornish Pasties of Traverse City

Pretty Awesome Pasties: Suzy’s Pasties

Pretty Awesome Pasties: Hermann’s Bakery

Pretty Awesome Pasties: With Lehto’s Pasties, It’s A Good Thing Our KPI Score Goes To 11!

Pretty Awesome Pasties: Hiawatha Pasties

Pretty Awesome Pasties: Our Place in Lincoln, Michigan

Pretty Awesome Pasties: Weldon’s Pasties

Pretty Awesome Pasties: Pasty Central

Pretty Awesome Pasties: Wildwood Pasties

Pretty Awesome Pasties: Hunt’s Mackinaw Pasty Shop, Mackinaw City

2016: #50 Enjoy a sunrise or sunset on a shore of one of the Great Lakes

Sunset on Lake Michigan - #MIAwesomeList
Sunset on Lake Michigan on South Haven. Photo Shannon Sakowski.

#50 Enjoy a sunrise or sunset on a shore of one of the Great Lakes

Region: All over.

You have four Great Lakes (Lake Ontario doesn’t touch the Michigan border) and 3,288 miles of shoreline to make this happen. NO EXCUSES!

2016: #14 Take a different kind of tour of Michigan – on a Hot Air Balloon!

Hot Air Balloon Ride - #MIAwesomeList
Photo courtesy of Shalee Wanders

#14 Take a different kind of tour of Michigan – on a Hot Air Balloon!

Location: All over Michigan!

All over Michigan, Balloon rides are offered in the summer. We recommend snagged the coveted sunset or sunrise spot for maximum viewing pleasure. Not feeling great about going that high up in the air? Head to the Balloonfest in Howell and take in their beauty!

Our writer Shalee recently took a Hot Air Balloon ride instead of walking at her college graduation – read her account here.

2016: #44 Tour the Huron Lightship & Fort Gratiot Lighthouse

Tour the Huron Lightship & Fort Gratiot Lighthouse
Photo courtesy of Dale Merill.

#44 Tour the Huron Lightship & Fort Gratiot Lighthouse

Region: East

Location: 800 Prospect Place, Port Huron MI, 48060

The Huron Lightship was the last operating lightship on the Great Lakes, and served for over 50 years when she was retired in 1970.  For 36 of those years, she was stationed at Corsica Shoals, a sandy area 6 miles north of Port Huron.  She was permanently moored in sand, along the banks of the St. Clair River in scenic Pine Grove Park, Port Huron, MI.  There is an extensive collection of artifacts, including many model ships, as well as a live camera feed of the bottom of the river, taken off a camera positioned at the bow.  It was dedicated in 1990 as a National Historic Landmark.

Climb to the top of the tower for an awesome view of Lake Huron and the majestic Blue Water Bridges. After extensive renovation, the lighthouse tower is open for public viewing and climbing. Along with the restoration of the lighthouse tower, a splendid gift shop has been added as well as artifacts display. The Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, built in 1825 and rebuilt in 1829 and 1861, was the first lighthouse on Lake Huron and is the oldest working lighthouse in Michigan.

Related Articles:

Noteworthy, but Overlooked: A Guide to Driving Along St. Clair River

Want to Hike (or Bike) Coast to Coast? Great Lake-to-Lake Trails can make it happen!


2016: #11 Explore a Dark Sky Park

Michigan Dark Sky Parks - Alpena - #MIAwesomeList
Photo courtesy of Alpena CVB.

#11 Explore a Dark Sky Park

Region: Northern, East, Southeastern

Location: (see links below)

Have you ever been to a Dark Sky Park? It’s the chance to enjoy the Michigan night sky in a whole new way. Check out three of Michigan’s newest Dark Sky Preserve Parks (Rockport State Recreation Area, Thompson’s Harbor, and Negwegon State Park) in the Alpena area. On the northwestern side of the state? Check out the Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Emmet County. Southeastern Michigan? Visit the Lake Hudson Recreation Area.

Related Articles:

Dark Sky Park

2016: #12 Experience Christmas in July at Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland!

Bronner's in Frankenmuth - #MIAwesomeList
Photo by Jennifer Polasek.

#12 Experience Christmas in July at Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland!

Region: East

Location: 25 Christmas Ln, Frankenmuth, MI 48734

Spanning the size of two football fields, and located in Frankenmuth, Bronner’s is the largest Christmas store in the world! Visitors come from near and far just to get a glimpse of the magic within the store. Bronner’s offers everything Christmas from nearly any ornament you could think of (Need a bacon ornament? They’ve got it!) to beautifully lit Christmas tree displays, to stockings and more. Not to mention their amazing overhead holiday displays that greet you all throughout the store. Bronner’s is truly a one of a kind attraction found only in Michigan’s Little Bavaria.

Don’t forget to take a cruise down Christmas Lane in the evening to catch a glimpse of the brightly-lit drive, featuring thousands of lights, lit every night, 365 days a year!

Related Articles:

Michigan Bucketlist: Bronner’s in Frankenmuth

6 Ways Christmas is the Best in Michigan

Michigan’s Best Attractions (Question Mark?)

2016: #49 Sample of a flight at one of Michigan’s 200+ breweries

Michigan beer - #MIAwesomeList
Flight at Stormcloud Brewing. Photo by Erin Bernhard.

#49 Sample of a flight at one of Michigan’s 200+ breweries

Region: All over!

We like beer. We write about beer sometimes, but the real experts are the folks over the Michigan’s Brewers Guild and A few of smaller breweries are some of our personal favorites here at The Awesome Mitten: Brewery Vivant, Right Brain Brewery, and Greenbush Brewing.

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Beercation: A #MittenTrip Guide to Grand Rapids, Beer City USA

Michigan Beer Tour: Traverse City

Michigan Beer Tour: March

A Perfect Michigan Beer Gift Guide for the Holidays