Roaming Through Michigan

The link to this charming vintage film arrived recently in an email from Michigan relatives.  It opens with views of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore and lovely Leelanau County, which we wrote about here.  The aerial view of Traverse City shows beautiful Grand Traverse Bay and the peninsula to the east of downtown where one of my two cousins who are lucky enough to live in T.C. resides today.

The first of the three girls picking cherries in the video could have been my mother; the resemblance really startled me, and she would have been about their age.

“Roaming Through Michigan” was filmed in 1949, before the Mackinac Bridge spanning the straits between the two peninsulas that comprise the state was built.  Construction on the five mile long Bridge began one month before I was born in 1954, and it was completed three years later.  The Bridge’s official site has a live webcam, showing a very snowy view as I write this, and there is a high wind warning in place.  Every Labor Day, the Governor of Michigan traditionally leads a walk across the Bridge.  I suppose if you needed to cross today, you’d want to take the center lane as far from the rail’s edge as possible.  🙂

Even nowadays with the Bridge making it easy to get to, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula remains just as unspoiled as the views in the film from more than 60 years ago.  Michigan is beautiful, and I am proud to have been born and raised there.


  1. says

    Hi Betsy .. loved seeing the film – the largest moving sanddune .. where does the sand come from? the last stand for horses – is it Mannitoulin Island .. looks like that’s in Canada? Loved the cherries too – another example of try and see what happens .. are the edible or are they all canned? Then there’s ship with its thick black smoke billowing out .. indicative of the time. That old chap with his bears – how wonderful .. makes me want to jump a plane and come over – think I’ll wait for summer though .. wonderful stories here .. thank you!! Hilary
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Rhinoceros chase – or how about a little rolling over with Hippopotami? =-.

  2. Dot says

    It’s amazing how easy it is to share historical things like this, these days. Very interesting!
    .-= Dot´s last blog ..Comment on Enough Already! by Hilary =-.

  3. Betsy Wuebker says

    Hi Lori – I know, right? Although the guy with the bears was a little whacked. 🙂

    Hi Hilary – The Native American legend of the sand dune is that there were a mother bear and her two cubs swimming east across Lake Michigan. She made it to shore, but the cubs did not. Instead they became the two Islands, North Manitou and South Manitou. She lies on shore facing the water, waiting for them. And the wind blew the sands over her to keep her warm. Or something like that, anyway. 🙂 There is a charming children’s book that is pretty popular in the Midwest with this legend. This area is off what would be the pinky finger of Michigan’s mitten shape.

    The Cherry Festival in Traverse City has everything you could possibly think of made from cherries – fresh, pies, canned, you name it. I did visit the Sault Ste Marie locks when I was a child. Yes, it was a very big ship going by, but I just didn’t understand why all the fuss. LOL Thanks.

    Hi Dot – Glad you enjoyed it. Knowing the places well, I thought it was amazing to see what had changed and what hasn’t. Thank you.

  4. says

    Mackinac Island is one of my most favorite places in the entire world. I think Michigan is simply stunning and I love how so much of it is still pristine and unspoiled. We are going there for a week long vacation this week. I am so excited now that I have my new digital camera. I’ll probably come back with thousands of pictures. I am a photo addict and a place like that? Turn me loose!
    .-= Wendi Kelly~Life’s Little Inspirations´s last blog ..For the Love of Rain =-.

  5. says

    I just adore those fawns Betsy; absolutely beautiful creatures they are. Got a kick out of the man and his bears too; I understand him 🙂
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..Take a Spiritual Bawdy Break =-.

  6. vikum says

    Wow.. Betsy, This is lovely ! I should find a link to download this .
    .-= vikum´s last blog ..Simple acts of kindness =-.

  7. says

    Hi Betsy!
    I bopped over from Lance’s – LOVE the film! We have a lake house VERY near the U.P. and we love it up there, bears and all! Although we do not feed them, or the deer, we respect and enjoy their presence. Our trips to Lake Superior are the highlight of every summer! Thanks for this peek into days gone by!

  8. Betsy Wuebker says

    Hi Vered – You really should visit! If you plan to, I’m happy to recommend! Thank you.

    Hi Wendi – I love Mackinac Island, too! Yes, lots of Michigan is still very unspoiled. I would love to see your photos when you return! Thanks.

    Hi Davina – In Coloma, Michigan there is an attraction called “Deer Forest” that was kind of a fawn petting zoo thing when I was young. Now it looks like they have even more exotic animals. All the deer were quite tame. Yelp reviews aren’t very positive, though. 🙁

    Hi suzen – Welcome to PassingThru! How lucky you are! The U.P. is on my favorite of the Great Lakes: Superior, although I was just thinking how much influence Lakes Huron and Michigan have had with my extended family. I love big water of any kind because of that. 🙂

  9. says

    Oh this was a lovely post Betsy and I so enjoyed the film and the other pictures. When I was 16 I went over that bridge when my Uncle drove me from Kenora, Ontario to Cleveland, Ohio. We were able to explore Michigan and Ohio quite a bit when we lived in Cleveland.

    I thought I would share with you a documentary I saw which end with a big segment on Michigan and water it is called FLOW: For the love of water. It fits well with Food, Inc. It is free for the watching on Documentarywire I found it on Evita’s site? FYI
    .-= Patricia´s last blog ..192 Books =-.

  10. says

    Hi Betsy,

    I just commented on your comment and said I need to triple up on my joy because I’m no where near my age! Then I come over and see MI where I lived until moving to AZ 2 and 1/2 years ago. We have a cottage by Torch Lake and I’ve got a framed photograph of the bridge my daughter took for my 50th birthday. I have such good memories of hiking the dunes with my kids, eating cherry everything, the sun, the water …thanks for the memories. I gotta go start tripling my joy!

  11. Betsy Wuebker says

    Hi vikum – Welcome to PassingThru! I just found you caught in Akismet. Thank you for your comment!

    Hi Patricia – I will have to check that film out; it sounds great! Isn’t it fun to remember back in the day. Thank you.

    Hi Tess – Welcome to PassingThru! Torch Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Michigan, in my opinion. Lucky you! Yes, we share similar memories. Thanks.

  12. says

    Hi Betsy,

    You knew I’d be commenting on this post, didn’t you? Even though I haven’t been back to my home state in nearly four years, thoughts of it are never far away, and the video, even though it’s an older one, was fun to watch.

    You know, Mackinac Island is one place I never made it to, but I’ve heard it’s truly a gorgeous place to visit. The porch of the Grand Hotel sounds like the “it” place to be, and the fudge they sell on the island, I’m told is some of the best. Yum!
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..Blog Sex – Is It A Reader Turn Off? =-.

  13. Betsy Wuebker says

    Hi again Hilary – LOL!

    Hi Barbara – Of course I knew! You’ve been away from Michigan for too long, haven’t you? Yes, Mackinac Island is fabulous. I, too, would love to stay at the Grand Hotel – haven’t yet. I have tasted the island fudge and you’re right, it’s to die for. Pete is joining my brother this fall on his annual fishing trip to Drummond Island – another great destination at the very eastern tip of the Upper Peninsula. I would like to go there, too. Thanks.

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