Holland gets high marks for quality of life

The Big Red by Ayman Haykal

The Big Red by Ayman Haykal

The Great Lakes Echo shares that Holland ranks first in quality of life for Michigan small cities:

This small city nestled off Lake Michigan ranks number one in the state for quality of life in “Best Small Cities in America,” a study published by WalletHub, a personal finance website that tracks financial and other trends. It is one of five measures the study used to rank the desirability of small cities. (The other measures are affordability, economic health, education and health, and safety.)

Quality of life was assessed by measures like average commute time, city walkability and number of bars, restaurants and cultural centers per capita.

Holland, Kalamazoo, Flint, Muskegon and Saginaw ranked in the top five of 39 small Michigan cities for the quality-of-life measure. The state’s lowest were Holt, Eastpointe, St. Clair Shores, Lincoln Park and Garden City.

You can read more in the Echo & see all the cities in the study at WalletHub. Also, Traverse City, Marquette, Petoskey – you weren’t in the study so continue thinking whatever you think about yourselves.

In all seriousness, “studies” like this are basically nonsense, but I’ll take any excuse for a banger photo of Big Red like this one! Ayman took this pic back in 2019. See more in their Lighthouses gallery on Flickr.

Lots more about Holland Michigan on Michigan in Pictures!

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Winter’s smile

Grand Haven Lighthouse & Pier by Chris Ahern Photography

Grand Haven Lighthouse & Pier by Chris Ahern Photography

Chris’s photo of the Grand Haven Lighthouse from last weekend really shows the power of winds off the Great Lakes. You can click the pic to follow him on Facebook, and also see his pics on Instagram and view & purchase prints & calendars on his website.

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Leland Blue

via Leelanau.com

Leland Blue Stone by Cortney Brenner

Leland Blue Stone by Cortney Brenner

In last week’s post about an unidentified blue mineral discovered at the Adventure Mine on the Keweenaw Peninsula, I offered my personal theory that the color is due to the same reaction that created “Leland bluestones”. A couple people asked what the heck a Leland blue is, so here you go:

In the Glen Arbor Sun, Sandra Serra Bradshaw shares that Leland Bluestones were born over 100 years ago in the fires of the Leland Lake Superior Iron Company:

Between the years of 1870 to 1884, the Leland Lake Superior Iron Company operated an iron smelter north of the mouth of the river. They supplied the voracious furnace with ore from the Upper Peninsula. The charcoal they needed was made from local maple and beech timber that was produced in 14 beehive kilns that were kept near the smelting furnace. It produced up to an amazing 40 tons of iron per day. In 1884, the plant was sold to the Leland Lumber Co., which operated a sawmill on the site. Other sawmills and shingle mills operated in Leland during the years between 1885 through 1900.

Back then Leland was a smog-filled industrial town, the main industry of which was anchored by the iron company. The smelting industry failed because of large overhead costs and the lack of a good harbor in Leland. Interestingly, the remains of the industry, including heaps of slag, were dumped into the harbor and today, that has resulted in something as a precious collectible for many. As raw ore was heated, the desired iron ore was separated from various natural impurities. When those impurities cooled, it resulted in a stone-like slag. Hence the Leland Blue Stones were born!

The Leland Blue is a bit of a misleading title to this little man-made gem as it is the mix of blue glass with other chemicals — but this varying chemical medley can also cause the slag to appear in colors of purple, gray, or in shades of green. Today, people relish finding this slag material on the shores of Leland’s beaches. It is not only collectible as a stone, but also sought for as jewelry.

More in the Sun.

This sweet photo was taken by Cortney Brenner on the beach in Leland back in 2017. See more from Cortney on her Flickr!

PS: I promise no posts from Leelanau for at least the rest of the week!

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City of Gold

City of Gold IX by Andrew McFarlane

City of Gold IX by Andrew McFarlane

OK here’s one of my pics of the frozen Lake Michigan shore of Leelanau County from back in January of 2009. I chose one with sun because I would like to see the sun! See more in my Frozen Shore gallery on Flickr and STAY WARM!!

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Into the Icebox

Broken ice on Lake Michigan shoreline by Tom Clark

Broken ice on Lake Michigan shoreline by Tom Clark

mLive shared yesterday that the coldest air of the season is blanketing Michigan right now, bringing icy temps & dangerously cold wind chills, according to the National Weather Service:

“The coldest air of the winter so far is surging into our area this evening,” according to the NWS meteorologists in the Grand Rapids office. “This is (going to) be the big story for the next 36 hours, how cold it will be. Wind chills will mostly be in the 0-degree to -10 degree range into Tuesday morning. Lows Sunday night will be (between) zero and 10 degrees, and tomorrow we have a secondary surge of even colder air coming in during the afternoon. That will limit our high temperature to the mid-teens.”

…Wind chills are expected to be especially brutal in the U.P. They could drop to 30 degrees below zero near the Wisconsin border tonight and into Monday, the NWS said.

This morning’s Michigan temperature map agrees with a toasty 18 degrees in Detroit dropping to 10 in Mt. Pleasant, 8 by the Mackinac Bridge, -9 in Marquette & all the way down to -15 in Ironwood at the western edge of the Upper Peninsula. Bundle up kids!! 

Tom took this back in February of 2018 near Mackinac City. See more in his Michigan Winter gallery on Flickr and view & purchase his work on his website.

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Surf’s Up … Again!

Surfs UpAgain by Julie

Surf’s Up Again by Julie

While the last weekend’s record winds were (and remain) a major headache for many Michiganders, there’s at least one group that’s all in favor of the current run of wild weather: surfers. Julie took this photo on Sunday & shares:

Yesterday woke up again to gale force winds. We clock 59 MPH here in town and the waves were churning again. I rode out north and there were 11 surfers. Never seen so many here. Temps rose to 59* and have never seen the likes. But the guys and girls out surfing were having a blast. I was talking to some and some drove over 50 miles to get here because of the way the waves were coming in. We still have so many that don’t have electric out and today it’s 26*. Lots of facilities open for them to come too.

I guess this is yet another reminder that every cloud may very well be someone’s silver lining. Head over to Julie’s Flickr for the latest & have a great week.

Head over to Great Lakes Surfing on Michigan in Pictures for lots more!

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Thoughts on beating Ohio…

View from the Top of the Mackinac Bridge by Ken Scott Photography.jpg

View from the Top … of the Mackinac Bridge by Ken Scott Photography

On Saturday, the Michigan Wolverines defied recent history and absolutely thrashed the Ohio State Buckeyes 42-27 in the Big House. While this is certainly a huge victory by Michigan over Ohio, it pales in comparison to one the greatest fleecings in history, the trade of the 468 square mile Toledo Strip for the entire Upper Peninsula. Not bad eh? Read all about it in Michigan, Ohio & the Best Worst Deal Ever on Michigan in Pictures.

Ken took this photo looking north at a portion of Michigan’s haul from one of the towers on the Mighty Mac with St. Ignace, Mackinac Island and Round Island on the horizon. See more in his Mackinac Stuff gallery on Flickr & for sure view and purchase his work at kenscottphotography.com

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Leonids + Lunar Eclipse = TONIGHT!

Lunar Eclipse by the Lighthouse by Sathya

Lunar Eclipse by the Lighthouse by Sathya

If the weather cooperates, tonight & early tomorrow morning hold a whole lot of skywatching potential for Michiganders! In addition to the peak of the Leonid meteor shower, NPR shares the details on tonight’s lunar eclipse:

West Coast night owls and East Coast early risers will have the best view of the upcoming lunar eclipse this Friday. Overnight, the moon will pass into the shadow of Earth cast by the sun, illuminating the gray orb with a red hue.

It will be the second and final eclipse of the year. NASA predicts the eclipse will last over 3 hours and 28 minutes. That would make it the longest partial lunar eclipse in 580 years, according to the Holcomb Observatory at Butler University.

…For U.S. viewers the peak of the eclipse — when the moon is the most covered by Earth’s shadow — will be at 4:03 a.m. ET.

But the moon will begin to pass into the Earth’s shadow much earlier, around 1:00 am ET. At 2:19 a.m. ET the moon will move into the umbra, the inner part of Earth’s shadow, and begin to look like a chunk is missing from it. It will turn red around 3:45 a.m. ET

Sathya shares the story behind this photo from April 2015, saying in part, “Witnessing the lunar eclipse was magical. Planning and shooting the same was a lot of fun. Out here, in the north east of US, the lunar eclipse was not total, so missed out on the blood moon, but it was still a scintillating experience. As the moon was getting into total eclipse, it set over the horizon … This shot is a mix of landscape and time slice – in an attempt to highlight the lunar eclipse in the context of the surrounding landscape. This was a panorama made out of a composite. Though it does not look like a wide view, that is what helped capture the moon and the lighthouse in context.”

See more in his Showcase gallery on Flickr & on his website Like the Ocean.

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The Legend lives on…

Grand Haven Fitz Storm by Carl TerHaar

Grand Haven Fitz Storm by Carl TerHaar

Most Michiganders of a certain age remember the furious storm of November 10, 1975, and 10-year-old me was no exception. I was enjoying re-creating the scene in the Wizard of Oz where the Tin Woodman leans at impossible angles by holding out my coat & leaning into the wind when the wind started ripping 4 x 8 sheets of metal roofing of our barn & driving them into the ground, ending that experiment in a hurry. 

The memory of the fury of that storm & the shock people around me has stuck with me all my life. I feel like the one video I watch every year by Joseph Fulton perfectly captures the impact, so please enjoy.

Carl took this shot way back on November 10, 1975 in Grand Haven where the storm also washed several people off the pier, killing 2. See more in his Lighthouses gallery & stay off piers in storms people!

Lots more about the Edmund Fitzgerald including these photos of the launch of the Fitz on Michigan in Pictures.

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Over the Edge

Feeling A Little On Edge Today by David Hoffman

I’m Feeling A Little On Edge Today by David Hoffman

David took this shot of the incredible edge at the Silver Lake Dunes overlooking Lake Michigan. See more in his Silver Lake Dunes gallery on Flickr! 

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