Off the top of my head, (and with no particular order in mind) here’s my short list:
Cherries. Sweet,tart, dark,light, cherries are Michigan’s signature crop and ubiquitous fruit. Come to Michigan for cherries in salads, cherries in salsa, cherries in bread, cherry lemonade, cherry wine, cherry picking everywhere you can possibly get ‘em. World’s largest cherry pie pan, with a 17,420-pound capacity is on display in Traverse City, home of the National Cherry Festival.
Fast Drivers own the road in Michigan. Watch for them. They know where they’re going, and they use colorful hand signals when vexed. Best to stay out of their way.
Michigan Turns. Where else but Michigan do you turn right to make a U-turn to go left? Drives my GPS crazy.
Coney Islands, the chili-dogs. What I would give right now for a coney smothered in raw onions -- not much. Coney Islands (known in New York as Michigan-style hot dogs) are legendary in Detroit. Coney Island restaurants, found in abundance, serve cheap and plentiful greasy-spoon diner food, Mediterranean-style, and according to Chowhound, are predominantly owned and operated by Albanians - and Chaldeans. (If you must go, order the Greek salad. It's still a pretty good deal.) Fancy Mag
Hitsville, U.S.A. Home of Motown Records and the world-famous Studio A, still stands on West Grand Boulevard, like oooo baby, baby, sunshine on a cloudy day. Motown Historical Museum - Detroit
The Ruins of Detroit Athens has the Acropolis; Detroit has the Michigan Central Station. There are the dreamers among us, who still believe that the city can rise out of its monumental urban decay, like the Phoenix out of the ashes. In its depth, Detroit may be just the place to show us the way for all cities to renew and survive. http://www.marchandandmeffre.com
The Mitten. A map of Michigan for dummies. Only in Michigan can you describe your location by pointing to spots on the palm of your left hand, uh, or is it the back of your right hand? Cartophilia: Maps and Map Memorabilia: Michigan Mittens
The Big House. The biggest, baddest, loudest stadium in the Big Ten, third largest stadium in the world. To be seated in the House for a U of M game is an out-of-body experience. Go Blue.
Zingermans Way beyond a heavenly deli, a mecca for foodies, listed among the Top Ten Food Markets in the World by Food and Wine Magazine. Artisan breads and cheeses, chocolates and munchies, kugels and killer brownies, holiday fare, name it and you can taste it there. You must go! On Kingsley Street, downtown Ann Arbor. www.zingermansdeli.com Zingerman's Deli
Rivera Court The heart, the soul, and very center of the Detroit Institute of Arts, Diego Rivera’s fresco masterpiece stands today, just as it did when it was unveiled in 1933 -- an iconic and haunting tribute to the industry and technology and workforce that built the city. For a panoramic view of the work, see DIA - Rivera Court
Detroit Eastern Market. One of the largest, one of the oldest, and one of the most entertaining places to be in the city as you shop for produce. On a busy summer Saturday, more than 40,000 people flow through the market sheds, and surrounding eateries, specialty food shops and retail boutiques, covering over 40 acres of prime real estate in midtown.
Note: for best BBQ and live jazz, take a seat on the street at Bert’s Market Place on Russell. Smokin' hot.
The Dream Cruise -- there are auto people, and there are auto people who own garages larger than their houses. For these people, there’s the Cruise -- a once a year rite of passage whereby their classic vehicles come off their blocks, to be driven with security escorts and displayed in guarded lots charging $200 a spot. For the rest of us, the Dream Cruise is one big tailgate party -- drivin’ and gawkin’ around Woodward Ave.
... to be continued from time to time.