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11 Family Portrait Photographers in Ann Arbor You’ll Love

family and newborn photography Ann Arbor Michigan

It’s not every day you have a newborn baby or a pair of laughing toddlers, and these moments certainly don’t last forever. But when your family comes together to capture those moments, those laughs and those hugs, the memories can last forever, and they can even hang on your walls for generations. The right photographer can make that process easy and comfortable for you, for your baby and even for the shyest kids.  

To help you hunt down the best in and around Ann Arbor, we put together up a top ten we think you’ll love. Each photographer has a unique style and a distinct personality, so flip through a few galleries before you decide on the artist that’s right for you. Enjoy!

 

Amanda Dumouchelle

Facebook | Instagram

family and newborn photography Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Amanda Dumouchelle

Amanda Dumouchelle has been a professional photographer since 2008 when she was living in Japan. Now, she’s home right here in Ann Arbor and specializes in maternity, newborn, family and lifestyle photography. Her modern approach highlights the real-life moments more than the stiff poses so you can remember your family and your relationships exactly as they are: filled with laughter, surprises and plenty of hugs.

 

Amanda Eskridge Photography

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family and newborn photography Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Amanda Eskridge Photography

Amanda Eskridge was born and raised in Ann Arbor and is now raising her own family here—a teenager and two toddlers—with her husband. She specializes in natural light lifestyle photography of families, children, newborns and expectant mothers. We love her intimate lifestyle approach to photography because it shows your real family in your real surroundings and can even take place inside your own home. Because she doesn’t photograph inside a studio, her images are honest and naturally beautiful.

 

Amy Kimball Photography

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Amy Kimball has four kids of her own and quickly learned just how important it is for families and children to have room to roam. Bringing that insight into her professional photography, she offers a unique studio experience on 70 acres of farmland in Chelsea. After backbreaking work, she and her family have turned the land into a dreamy destination for family photos and exploration. The lands include wildflower meadows, a 25-acre wood, a spring-fed pond and buildings in various states of repair. And after your family is done playing and exploring, you’ll get stunning professional photos to remember the day and the honest relationships you all share.

 

Bak Photography

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Bak Photography was founded in 1980 by Mark Bak right here in Saline. Today, the award-winning studio offers a staff of ten photographers and six DJs available for events and entertainment. Mark himself has been known as one of the state’s most notable photographers for several years and has more than 35 years of experience. He has also studied with 37 master photographers and now teaches other professional photographers. To meet the team and see their impressive lineup of services, check out the Bak Photography website here.

 

Christina Maria Photo and Design

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family and newborn photography Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Christina Maria Photo and Design

Based in Brighton, Christina Maria Photo and Design is run by professional photographer, mother and wife Christina Kafkakis. Through her business, she gets to explore her passion for photography and focuses in maternity, newborn, baby, children and family portraits. As a mother herself to three boys and a girl, she definitely knows how to make kids laugh. And since 2011, she has photographed more than 350 newborns, including several sets of twins, triplets and even a set of quintuplets.

 

Lori Page Photography

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family and newborn photography Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Lori Page Photography

Lori Page is an Ann Arbor-based photographer but travels to Ypsilanti, Saline, Dexter, Chelsea, Plymouth, Northville and our surrounding communities. Throughout her life, she has gained experience as both a mother and a teacher; she is a member of the Professional Photographer’s of America; she was accepted through application into the National Association of Professional Child Photographers, and she was accepted as a ClickPro. In summary, she’s one of the best people to make your family comfortable and to capture those comfortable smiles, big laughs and huge hugs.

 

Melissa Cozart Photography

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family and newborn photography Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Melissa Cozart Photography

Melissa Cozart is a mother, wife and professional photographer specializing in newborns, maternity, family, children and senior portraits. Her flexible style and personality offer a combination of posed and lifestyle portraits in the location of your choice or even in the comfort of your home. Because her passion for portrait photography is heavily influenced by her own children and her desire to freeze her favorite moments, she strives to provide the same for you and yours.

 

Meredith Allyn Photography

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family and newborn photography Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Meredith Allyn Photography

Through global travels, big moves, career changes, marriage and motherhood, Meredith Allyn has always had a camera in hand, and she has always had a desire to capture every moment: both the laughter-filled and the tear-filled. Through her powerful conviction that images matter, she has developed a stunning, honest style of family and newborn photography we love. One session, the day in the life documentary, chronicles the simple interactions and everyday happenings we all wish we could capture every day. 

 

MJR Photography

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Mary, the artist, owner and wizard behind MJR Photography, travels all over Southeast Michigan and Northwest Ohio to prove real photos matter and that they can and should last for generations. Experiences with her three children and husband have given her plenty of experience in making families and kids comfortable in front of the camera so she can capture the candid moments, the authentic smiles and the playful instants in between standard shots.

 

Photography by Trae

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Trae is a mother, an artist, a knitter, an entrepreneur and one of Southeast Michigan’s best photographers. Based in Belleville, she uses both studio light and natural light to photograph newborns, new mothers, children and families. Her passion is in capturing the moments you can’t capture yourself, the memories you’re wrapped up in but still want to remember forever. If you want to see her work for yourself, here is a direct link to her online galleries.

 

Tara Droz Photography

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family and newborn photography Ann Arbor Michigan

Photo courtesy of Tara Droz Photography

Located in Howell, Tara Droz specializes in newborn, baby and family photography in the Brighton area, Metro Detroit and the Ann Arbor area. Her studio is located in Howell, and some of her best photos have been taken during outdoor sessions all over Southeast Michigan during all seasons. Completely self-taught, we especially love her style because it offers a balanced combination of posed photos and candid moments so you have the perfect image for your holiday card and the perfect capture of genuine moments.

 

Do you have a favorite local photographer?

Give them a shoutout in the comments below!

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Michigan-Inspired Art You Can Buy from Michigan Etsy Shops

Michigan art Etsy shops

As the headquarters of handmade and vintage goods, Etsy is a great place to start your search for one-of-a-kind art whether you’re shopping for home goods, gifts or even apparel. Their marketplace provides a place for artists, collectors and creatives to offer their best work, and our home state provides some spectacular inspiration.

We rounded up the Etsy shops that are helping us show off our mitten pride, our #GoBlue pride, our Ann Arbor pride, our Ypsilanti pride and, of course, our love for the #PureMichiganLakeEffect. Next time you need a handmade piece of art, start your search here.

 

37prime

DeWitt | Etsy shop

Michigan art Etsy shops

Photo courtesy of 37prime

Emily Frushour has been pursuing her passion for art and creativity since she was a child coloring in Care Bear coloring books. After studying graphic design at the University of Michigan School of Art & Design, she started her own small business, taught children’s art classes out of her home, and worked as a graphic designer for schools and other small businesses. Now, you can shop her watercolor and mixed media prints on Etsy! Her inventory includes art inspired by the Wolverines, paintings of the Great Lakes, and customizable options.

 

Beneath the Sail

Charlevoix | Etsy shop

The map art at Beneath the Sail is unlike any other map art you’ll find on Etsy. Each topographic creation is locally designed by their team then laser-cut and framed in a Baltic Birch wood frame. Maps in the shop include travel destinations like the Grand Canyon and San Francisco, as well as Michigan-inspired pieces that represent the Great Lakes, interior lakes and even Mackinac Island. Check out this Great Lakes Topographic Cribbage Board!

 

Blue Dot Maps

Ann Arbor | Etsy shop

Michigan art Etsy shops

Photo courtesy of Blue Dot Maps

Ahmed and his team craft wooden, 3D and 2D maps on wood blocks and even live edge wood pieces. Their inventory includes everything from minimalist coasters and serving trays to detailed city maps you can hang on your wall. We love this Ann Arbor map etched on a locally harvested and milled round of Ash tree! Click here to see even more on their website. 

 

Brush and Timber Co.  

Grand Rapids | Etsy shop

What began as a tiny booth at Changing Thymes in Grandville has transformed into a brilliant, family-run Etsy shop offering handcrafted wood signs that can add warmth to any home. The designs begin with Karen Kemme’s daughter, then Karen paints them by hand, and her husband frames. Heavily inspired by their home state, you’ll find signs that represent the Michigan country, lake life and more. We love this Michigan Wood Sign that defines what it means to be a Michigander.

 

Cruz Creative Co.

Detroit | Etsy shop

Michigan art Etsy shops

Photo courtesy of Cruz Creative Co.

Owner, designer and maker Susi Cruz is a graphic designer and painter who also likes to dabble in drawing, screen printing, letterpress art and block printing. In her shop, you’ll find colorful and quirky designs that show off pride for the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Detroit and specific local landmarks.

 

Dilly Dalian

Ann Arbor | Etsy shop

Right out of Ann Arbor, Caili Dalian crafts hand illustrated paper and fabric goods that show off her love for the mitten. From greeting cards and save the date announcements to art prints and gifts, her designs are as colorful as our beautiful state. If you don’t believe us, check out this fun Ann Arbor Map Art Print.

 

For the Love of Maps

Rochester | Etsy shop

Michigan art Etsy shops

Photo courtesy of For the Love of Maps

For the Love of Maps is a huge shop on Etsy with an inventory of more than 200 items that includes local, national and international maps, state and city-inspired artwork, quirky prints and more. We had a hard time choosing a favorite example, so we rounded up a few Ann Arbor-based pieces: I Left My Heart In Ann Arbor, The History of Michigan Football, Ann Arbor Is Where The Heart Is and Live Every Day Like It’s An Autumn Saturday in Ann Arbor.

 

Jeff Joseph Art Prints

Brighton | Etsy shop

Artist Jeff Joseph creates original works of art using oil paints then offers high-quality prints in his Etsy shop. Heavily inspired by his Michigan home, prints include representations of Yost Ice Arena, Tiger Stadium, University of Michigan landmarks and Wolverine celebrities. And, though we hate to mention Michigan State, Jeff’s Spartan art is impressive, too.

 

jenQ

Grand Rapids | Etsy shop

If you want a bit of Michigan art that isn’t as obvious as a map, we recommend shopping jenQ. Her nature-inspired abstract art is pieced together from collected wood bark found on the ground right here in Michigan. Beautiful either alone or hung as multiples, these framed works of art will add warmth and a statement piece to any room.

 

Jodi Lynn’s Emporium of Doodles

Detroit | Etsy shop

Artist Jodi Lynn Burton has been doodling her whole life, but she only realized she could sell her doodles as one-of-a-kind artistic creations a few years ago. Now, thankfully, we can all shop her cartoonish pins, illustrations, prints and cards. With more than 100 illustrations to choose from, you can celebrate your love for camping, your love for Ypsilanti, and even your love for David Bowie.

 

KUHL Art 

Milan | Etsy shop

Michigan art Etsy shops

Photo courtesy of KUHL Art

Owners, creators and married couple Kristen and Chase create prints, paintings and wood art available in their Etsy shop. The inventory includes uniquely designed and hand-pulled screen printed tees, tanks, towels, posters, koozies, wood cutting boards, coasters and screen printed wooden wall decor. Check out this colorful Hand-Pulled Ann Arbor Screen Print Poster.

 

Lilac Pop Studio

Detroit | Etsy shop

Janna Coumoundouros is an artist and photographer based out of Detroit. Popular for taking photos of places and moments that other people might overlook, her renditions of Ann Arbor landmarks like Nickels Arcade, Graffiti Alley and Michigan Stadium would add character and color to any home.

 

Michigan Imagery

DeWitt | Etsy shop

Michigan art Etsy shops

Photo courtesy of Michigan Imagery

The team behind Michigan Imagery, creates Michigan-inspired metal artwork for the home, the car and even the man cave. Their Michigan lake maps come in various inland lake and Great Lake shapes, and can even be customized to represent your favorite lake. To show off your Wolverine pride, check out this section in their Etsy shop.

 

Midwest Coast Studios

East Lansing | Etsy shop

At Midwest Coast Studios, the team hand makes historic map prints directly on wood. Images are transferred to the handmade pine base stained with the stain of your choice then sealed with a polyacrylic sealer to preserve. The map design and the wood base are both hand-distressed so no two maps will be the same. In addition to custom creations and international maps, the inventory includes historic Michigan maps and an Ann Arbor map.

 

My Michigan Memories

Livonia | Etsy shop

Artist Sandi Oliverio was inspired to paint scenes of her favorite state upon returning to Michigan after living in various other states throughout the country. Now, she cements her love for the mitten in original, realistic paintings available as prints and as original pieces in her Etsy shop. See which landmarks and scenes she’s recreated here.

 

Paper, Yarn, Love

Ypsilanti | Etsy shop  

Michigan art Etsy shops

Photo courtesy of Paper, Yarn, Love

Lydia Pinkham is a Coast Guard veteran and student by day and a crafter at all other hours. Her Etsy shop displays that passion for art and craft through paper, fabric and knit goods she hand makes in Ypsilanti. Check out her layered paper art to see work inspired by Michigan and the Great Lakes.

 

Printed Marketplace

Grand Rapids | Etsy shop

Derek Bleyenberg’s massive Etsy shop is where he comes to combine his love for photography and graphic design, canvas art and travel. In the shop, you’ll find detailed maps, minimalist state outline pieces, travel illustrations, wood art prints, game boards, vintage-inspired travel posters and so much more. The inventory includes just about every state and major city you could imagine, including Michigan and Ann Arbor.

 

Wish You Were Here

Traverse City | Etsy shop

Kate originally opened her Etsy shop as a hobby where she sold a few needle felted pieces, but in 2013, she created a cut-canvas map of Michigan and people were clamoring for their own. Now, Wish You Were Here sells handmade maps cut from canvas with a hand-painted heart in your favorite place.

 

Happy shopping!

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The 11 Best Places to See Michigan’s Fall Colors Near Ann Arbor

Michigan Fall Color Tour Ann Arbor

Michigan is famous for its fall foliage thanks to the kaleidoscope of color found in our state’s open spaces, along the shores of our lakes and rivers, across rolling hillsides, and even in our tree-filled cities. And no other city could be more tree-filled than Tree Town.

Though the state’s Gold Coast rates as one of America’s Best Color Drives, according to Travel and Leisure magazine (and we definitely recommend doing it at least once), you don’t have to travel outside of Ann Arbor for a Michigan fall color tour of equally epic proportions.

Right in the city, you can meander the sidewalks and parks of the Old West Side, Huron Parkway or the University of Michigan campus. But if you have a little extra time and a stronger craving for brilliant reds, oranges and golds, we recommend hitting up these regional parks, recreation areas, and even one railroad!

 

Gallup Park | Ann Arbor

One of the best ways to see Michigan’s changing leaves is to hop on a canoe and cruise down the Huron River. Ann Arbor’s canoe liveries—located in Gallup Park and Argo Park—are open through the end of October so you don’t even need to buy your own canoe or kayak! While you’re in Gallup Park, you’ll get the opportunity to explore the 69 acres that make up the town’s most popular recreation area. Amidst the trees, you can enjoy scenic walkways that traverse small islands and pedestrian bridges as well as more than three miles of asphalt trails available for biking, rollerblading, walking and running.

 

Nichols Arboretum | Ann Arbor

Michigan Fall Color Tour Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum

The University of Michigan Nichols Arboretum began in 1907 and has developed into miles of trails and land home to collections of both native and exotic trees and shrubs. These plants transform during the fall to showcase some of the best colors in Southeast Michigan, including golds, reds and even inky purples.

 

Furstenberg Nature Area | Ann Arbor

Furstenberg Nature Area is a 38-acre park containing wetlands, woodlands, prairie and oak savannah just west of Gallup Park. Owned and maintained by the city since 1971, the open space offers a half-mile paved trail that loops through the park and a granular trail that goes through the prairie and woods then connects to a quarter mile of wetland boardwalk. The heavily wooded lands boast a huge variety of oaks, maples and other types of colorful trees.

 

Riverside Park | Ypsilanti

Michigan Fall Color Tour Ann Arbor

Located on the Huron River in the center of Ypsilanti, Riverside Park consists of 13.8 acres and connects downtown Ypsi with Depot Town. Whether you’re fishing on the river, riding your bike, or walking along the trail during the fall, you’re guaranteed a glimpse of our state’s famous seasonal foliage.

 

Delhi Metropark | Ann Arbor

Located just five miles northwest of Ann Arbor, Delhi Metropark offers 52 acres of mature oak trees, open, grassy lawns, playgrounds, softball diamonds and more. Because the park is nestled against a bend in the Huron River, it has become a popular fishing and canoeing destination—both great activities during the fall! While you’re there, you may even spot a great blue heron, turtles or a white-tailed deer.

 

Southern Michigan Railroad | Tecumseh

Michigan Fall Color Tour Ann Arbor

Photo courtesy of Southern Michigan Railroad

Each year, the Southern Michigan Railroad hosts Fall Color Tours, seasonal events that explore the area’s changing foliage from the comfort of a train car. Because the rides sell out every single year, the railroad is offering even more seating options now, including the open-air car for fair weather, the historic interurban coach and the entire Memorial Caboose available to rent. Rides depart on October 6th and 7th, 13th and 14th during the Appleumpkin Festival, 20th and 21st, and 27th and 28th. You can get more details on the website here.

 

Pinckney State Recreation Area | Pinckney

Covering a whopping 11,000 acres, Pinckney State Recreation Area is one of our favorite outdoor destinations in the Ann Arbor area. Known for its extensive trail system and chain of excellent fishing lakes, the park also offers over forty miles of multi-use trails, picnicking, playgrounds, beaches, a concession stand, boat launches and rowboat, canoe, paddle boat and kayak rentals.

 

Waterloo Recreation Area | Chelsea

Michigan Fall Color Tour Ann Arbor

The largest park in the Lower Peninsula, Waterloo Recreation Area consists of more than 20,000 acres. Across these grounds, you’ll find two modern campgrounds, a rustic campground, an equestrian campground, swimming beaches, several picnic sites, 11 fishing lakes, eight boat launches, 12 miles of interpretive nature trails, 47 miles of hiking trails, four rustic cabins, a yurt, equestrian trails, mountain biking trails, and the Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center. While exploring these grounds during the fall, keep your eyes peeled for russet red and blazing oranges.

 

Brighton Recreation Area | Howell

Covering 4,947 acres, Brighton Recreation Area is a hilly, outdoor paradise interspersed with a number of picturesque lakes, 19 miles of trails and a full-service riding stable open through early December. When you reserve a trail ride with Brighton Recreation Riding Stable, you can explore Michigan foliage on horseback!

 

Hudson Mills Metropark | Dexter

Combing serene woods with the calm waters of the Huron River, Hudson Mills Metropark offers 1,536 acres of land home to an 18-hole golf course, two 24-hole disc golf courses, a three-mile, paved hike and bike loop, and the nearly five-mile West River Trail which connects to the Hudson Mills loop and takes hikers and bikers on a journey that ends in downtown Dexter.

 

Independence Lake County Park | Whitmore Lake

Independence Lake County Park is one of Washtenaw County’s favorite open spaces thanks to 360 acres, 3.5 miles of hiking and biking trails, two miles of paved trails and, of course, fishing, boating and swimming in Independence Lake. Stroll along the lakeshore to get accustomed to the bright, changing colors then head to the edges of the Indy and Woodcock prairies to see the best color in the park!

 

Do you have a go-to fall foliage destination?

Tell us about it in the comments below!

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9 Guinness World Records Held in Michigan

Guinness World Records Held in Michigan

Home to 11,000 inland lakes and bordering four of the Great Lakes, we think Michigan could claim a couple unofficial records all on its own. And thanks to the residents of our beautiful state, we do have a handful of official Guinness World Records to call our own, too. And we’ve held others throughout the decades which have unfortunately been broken, including the world’s tallest dog and the largest rubber chicken toss.

To celebrate everything from the cool and empowering to the strange and quirky, we rounded up Michigan’s world records as of 2018. Do you think you can break one?

 

Largest attendance at an ice hockey match

It’s no surprise to hear Ann Arbor holds a hockey-related record. On December 11, 2010, The Big Chill at the Big House between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University hosted an audience of 104,173 people. Though that is the official number recorded by Guinness, the stadium estimated 113,411 people inside the stadium for the match.

 

Longest tail on a domestic cat and tallest domestic cat

Both Cygnus and Arcturus passed away in a tragic house fire in 2017 and, therefore, no longer hold their world records. However, their story is one to be celebrated. Farmington Hills residents, Lauren and Will Powers, adopted Cygnus and Arcturus in 2015 and were shocked to find they had two record-breaking pets. Cygnus’ tail measured 17.58 inches and Arcturus, a Savannah cat, stood 19.05 inches tall with a weight of about 30 pounds. Lauren and Will originally applied for the records to raise awareness for the Ferndale Cat Shelter which they still help to run today.

You can learn more about Ferndale Cat Shelter and their Catfé Lounge on the website here.

 

Largest gathering of people dressed as Rosie the Riveter

Guinness World Records Held in Michigan

In Ypsilanti in 2017, 3,755 people gathered at the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center to beat the record of 2,229 Rosies previously set in Richmond, California. These two gatherings — in Ypsi and in Richmond — have been battling for the record for several years going back and forth nearly every year. When they took the crown in 2017, the Ypsi gathering had 58 original Rosies who worked in factories during WWII.

And the reason this group gathered to set a new record was to support the Yankee Air Museum’s effort to save, preserve and renovate Rosie’s historic World War II-era factory: the Willow Run Bomber Plant. You can learn more about the record and the Bomber Plant here.

 

Largest commercially available hamburger

Though this record is frequently combatted by chefs and culinary teams all over the world, the most recent record breaker was Mallie’s Sports Grill & Bar in Southgate, Michigan in April 2018. Steve Mallie and his team have held the record multiple times and their most recent winner weighed a whopping 164.5 pounds. The Absolutely Ridiculous Burger is available with 24-hours notice for $350 but you can get less expensive 6- and 12-pound hamburgers, too.

 

World’s largest cherry pie pan

Guinness World Records Held in Michigan

For over a decade, Charlevoix, Michigan claimed the record for the world’s largest cherry pie weighing in at 17,420 pounds. But, in 1987, Traverse City — a town also in cherry farm country and just 50 miles from Charlevoix — took the crown with a 28,350-pound cherry pie and a Guinness Book of World Records certification. Though this record was broken in 1992 by the small town of Oliver, British Columbia, the bakers in Oliver failed to keep their pie pan. That makes Traverse City the home of the world’s largest cherry pie pan and you can see both this pan and the Charlevoix pan on display in each city.

 

Youngest professional drummer

Julian Pavone was born on May 14, 2004 in a Detroit suburb and was just 4 years 10 months and 15 days old when he performed in his 20th concert on March 29, 2009. That makes him the youngest professional drummer on the globe! You can learn more about him, his talents, his albums and his inventions on his website.

 

Largest snowball

Guinness World Records Held in Michigan

Rolled by students attending ASME Michigan Technological University in Houghton, the largest snowball in the world measured 10.04 meters in circumference — that’s 32.94 feet! On March 29, 2013, this ice cold ball of snow measured 10.45 feet wide and 9.28 feet tall. Think you can beat it?

 

Longest fingernails on a pair of hands (male) ever

On May 30, 2009, Melvin Boothe had his record-breaking fingernails measured in Troy, Michigan for a combined length of 32 feet and 3.8 inches. Though Melvin passed away in December 2009, he still holds the record for the longest fingernails on a pair of male hands.

 

Do you know a record-breaker?

Tell us about them in the comments below!

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9 Weekend Getaway Hotels on Lake Huron

Hotels near Lake Huron Michigan

With a surface area of 23,007 square miles, Lake Huron is the second-largest of the Great Lakes and the third largest freshwater lake in the world. It sits between Michigan and Canada and covers nearly the entire east coast of our state. Thanks to its size, its islands, its unforgettable sunsets, and its sandy beaches, Lake Huron has become one of the best getaways in the region — whether you’re looking for a family vacation or a romantic escape.

To help you plan your waterfront stay, we rounded up several of the shore’s best inns, bed and breakfasts, hotels, resorts, and cottages. All have access to beaches, sunsets, waterfront fire pits and experiences you’ll come back for again and again.

 

The best Lake Huron getaways include:

 

Huron House Bed & Breakfast | Oscoda

Get directions | Facebook

Located on the beach of Lake Huron between Tawas and Oscoda Michigan, Huron House is an award-winning, luxury, lakeside escape. Your customizable stay can include in-room massage packages, a signature breakfast delivered to your room, romantic moon rises over the beach, majestic Great Lakes freighters passing in the night, and a private hot tub under the stars. To learn more about the amenities, rooms and rates, check out the website and book your stay!

 

Grand Hotel | Mackinac Island

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Grand Hotel Mackinac Island Lake Huron Michigan vacation hotels

Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel

This landmark, family-owned hotel on Mackinac Island offers a coastal resort atmosphere and eight eateries, including an ice cream parlor, a sushi restaurant and a tea room. Open throughout the warm summer months, you can enjoy packages suitable for a romantic escape, a family vacation and everything in between. Packages this summer include Summer Wine Appreciation Weekend, the Grand Hotel Lilac Festival Package, the Grand Princess and Superhero Package, and more.

 

The Inn at Stonecliffe | Mackinac Island

Get directions | Facebook

A beloved getaway on Mackinac Island, The Inn at Stonecliffe offers historic charm and beauty, featuring on-site dining, an outdoor pool and jaw-dropping views of Mackinac Bridge. The story of Stonecliffe begins at the turn of the 19th century with Irish immigrant and original owner Michael Cudahy. Throughout its more than 100 years, the property has preserved all of its history, grace and elegance. Learn more and book your stay on the website.

 

Purple Martin Inn | Rogers City

Get directions | Facebook

Located on the shores of Lake Huron and nestled in the quaint community of Rogers City, Purple Martin Inn is owned and operated by Cindy Vezinau who turned this laundromat into one of the region’s most charming inns. Boasting a tranquil beach atmosphere and unforgettable waterfront sunsets, it’s the perfect choice for romantic getaways of all kinds. And, when you stay at this inn, a portion of the funds are donated to the local non-profit, Purple Martin for Kids!

 

Grand Lake Resort | Presque Isle

Get directions | Facebook

Grand Lake Resort Lake Huron Michigan vacation hotels

Photo courtesy of Grand Lake Resort

Grand Lake Resort is locally owned and operated and has been one of the region’s premier getaways since the 1950s. The property offers 200 feet of frontage on Grand Lake, which is located immediately west of Lake Huron. When you book your stay, you can choose from 15 different suites or the luxurious, 900-square-foot cottage. Check out the options here and get ready for your waterfront escape!

 

Gold Coast Family Cottages | Oscoda

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Open year-round, Gold Coast Family Cottages is suitable for a summer beach vacation, a fall color tour, a winter wonderland and a spring escape. Located right on the sandy shores of Lake Huron, the single building offers four separate units each with a full kitchen, two bedrooms, a bathroom and a relaxing living room.

 

The Enos Homestead Inn | Cheboygan

Get directions | Facebook

The Enos Homestead Inn Lake Huron Michigan vacation hotels

Photo courtesy of The Enos Homestead Inn

Situated on 170 acres in the Black River area of Cheboygan, The Enos Homestead Inn is a turn of the century, remodeled farmhouse nestled between Mullett Lake, Black Lake and the enormous Lake Huron. Unique for its farm atmosphere and because it’s surrounded by nature, this getaway will leave you refreshed, relaxed and in love with countryside charm.

 

Presque Isle Lodge | Presque Isle

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Originally built in 1920, Presque Isle Lodge has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 2008 and is located directly across from Grand Lake in a scenic, wooded setting. Today, the Spencer family owns and operates the lodge. Offering nine cozy, lodge-style rooms, an outdoor theater and wedding packages, it’s a getaway unlike any other.

 

Oakapiney Beach Cottages | Ossineke

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Located on four acres along 200 feet of pristine, sandy beach, Oakapiney Beach Cottages offers five cozy and rustic cottages. Each accommodation boasts a knotty pine interior, one or two bedrooms, showers, and a full kitchen. Though you’re asked to bring your own sheets and towels, the beach firepit, jaw-dropping sunsets, beach vacation and luxury setting are provided with every stay.

 

Do you have a favorite getaway?

If you have a go-to lakeside escape, give them a shoutout in the comments below!

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The 6 Essential Weekend Getaways Near Ann Arbor

Weekend trips from Ann Arbor Michigan

Ann Arbor is our favorite place in the entire country and we’re definitely not shy about sharing that, but we all need a little vacation now and again. We think our region’s proximity to some of the country’s and the continent’s most famous landmarks and attractions makes it even better.

Today, we’re helping you nail down your weekend getaway itinerary by sharing the best restaurants, cafés, breweries, museums, hotels, experiences and landmarks in the top six road trip destinations near Ann Arbor. Hop in the car and get ready for a quick trip you’ll never forget!

 

 

Detroit, Michigan

Drive time: 50 minutes | Visit Detroit

Weekend vacation to Detroit, Michigan

Rusted Crow

Where to stay

Detroit Foundation Hotel | Showcasing true Detroit character, this hotel features local collaborations in art, design, food, drink and experiences.

The Inn On Ferry Street | Get the hotel experience in this historic inn featuring four restored Victorian mansions and two carriage houses.

What to eat

Sister Pie | Nontraditional flavor combinations, rustic preparations, local ingredients — you’re going to want one of these pies.

Rose’s Fine Food | As Detroit’s ultimate diner, Rose’s offers made-from-scratch food prepared with top-quality, local Michigan ingredients.

La Feria | This must-try Spanish tapas spot brings a taste of authentic Spain right here to Michigan.

Wright and Company | This dinner destination is run by cocktail expert Dave Kwiatkowski and James Beard award-winning chef Marc Djozlija.

Rusted Crow | This downtown gastro-lounge offers menus of artisan craft cocktails, local beer and American bar eats in a rustic space accented with steampunk decor.

What to do

Baker’s Keyboard Lounge | It has a piano key bar and is the world’s oldest jazz club — you need to go.

Batch Brewing Company | One of Detroit’s best breweries, Batch offers a Feelgood Tap which goes to help Michigan-based nonprofits.

Detroit Institute of Arts | DIA exhibits 65,000 works of art, one of the largest and most significant art collections in the entire country.

Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory | This 982-acre island park located in the Detroit River is the oldest continually-running conservatory in the United States.

Automotive Hall of Fame | Founded in 1939 this museum and hall of fame showcases over 800 worldwide honorees.

 

 

Kalamazoo, Michigan

Drive time: 1.5 hours | Discover Kalamazoo

Weekend vacation to Kalamazoo Michigan

Photo courtesy of Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Where to stay

The Henderson Castle Inn | This picturesque bed and breakfast is worth the trip on its own!

What to eat

Old Dog Tavern | Offering brunch, lunch, dinner, late night food, free ping-pong and pinball, live music and a neighborhood vibe, this is a must.

Fuze Kitchen & Bar | This downtown dining experience is about art, people and local, seasonal food.

Crow’s Nest | A cornerstone of Kalamazoo culture, you’ll find this eatery in the heart of the historic Vine Street Neighborhood. There’s a reason it’s always busy!

Olde Peninsula Brewpub & Restaurant | Featuring food, cocktails and in-house brewed beers, this was Kalamazoo’s first ever brewpub!

What to do

Black Owl Cafe | This downtown café is home to Kalamazoo Coffee Company and was named Michigan’s best coffee shop by MLive! It’s worth a stop.

Rupert’s Brew House | Located in the historic Oakland Pharmacy building, this bring-your-own-food brewery features handcrafted beers and entertainment five nights a week!

Kalamazoo State Theatre | Originally opened in 1927, this historic theater is Southwest Michigan’s best venue for concerts, shows and entertainment.

Kalamazoo Valley Museum | Offering free general admission, this family-focused museum has exhibits in science, technology and history.

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts | This stunning, nonprofit art museum and school has been exhibiting artworks since 1924. With more than 4,700 fine artworks in its permanent collection, you’ll have plenty to see and plenty to love! 

 

 

Cleveland, Ohio

Drive time: 2 hours, 45 minutes | Destination Cleveland

Weekend vacation to Cleveland, Ohio

West Side Market

Where to stay

The Kimpton Schofield Hotel | This landmark hotel in downtown Cleveland is a great option for a luxurious stay.

Glidden House | Boasting historic charm and luxury boutique style, this is one of Cleveland’s best.

What to eat

Mabel’s BBQ | Renowned chef Michael Symon has developed a BBQ Cleveland can finally call its own.

The Greenhouse Tavern | When Chef Jonathon Sawyer came home to open The Greenhouse Tavern, he brought a local sensibility; he uses only local produce, protein and grains.

SeeSaw Pretzel Shoppe | This casual stop offers just Sawyer’s Signature Bretzels, Sawyer’s Signature Rolls, Sawyer’s Signature Sausage and plenty of craft beer!

Cowell & Hubbard | Zack Bruell reinvented Cleveland’s historic jewelry store and now offers outstanding, upscale food in the turn-of-the-century space.

What to do

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame | Located on the shore of Lake Erie, this national landmark is perfect for music lovers.

Playhouse Square | This downtown theater district is the largest performing arts center in the United States outside of New York.

The Cleveland Museum of Art | Internationally renowned for its substantial holdings of Asian and Egyptian art, this museum, this museum offers free admission to everyone!

A Christmas Story House | If you’ve seen the movie, you need to see the house. You can even stay overnight!

West Side Market | This jaw-dropping market is the oldest operating indoor/outdoor market space in Cleveland and features over 100 vendors.

The Cleveland Orchestra | This 100-year-old venue is one of the five American orchestras informally referred to as the “Big Five”.

 

 

Chicago, Illinois

Drive time: 4 hours | Choose Chicago

Weekend vacation to Chicago, Illinois

Navy Pier

Where to stay

Freehand Chicago | This hostel-style hotel is housed in a historic 1927 building in Chicago’s River North neighborhood.

The Kimpton Hotel Allegro | This boutique hotel shows off the glamour and pageantry of America’s Golden Era in downtown Chicago.

What to eat

Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder | You have to have deep dish pizza in Chicago and this is one of the city’s best!

Topolobampo | This gourmet spot won the James Beard Outstanding Restaurant award in 2017.

Mortar and Pestle | At Mortar & Pestle, every globally-inspired meal is made by hand with the best ingredients available.

Band of Bohemia | This gypsy-inspired Chicago landmark is the first Michelin-rated brewpub!

The Original Rainbow Cone | This summer destination is home to the layered cone that features orange sherbet, pistachio, Palmer House, strawberry and chocolate ice creams!

What to do

The Art Institute of Chicago | Founded in 1879, this is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States.

Navy Pier | This famous landmark is a 3300-foot-long pier on the Chicago shoreline of Lake Michigan.

Millennium Park | You have to snap a photo and prove you were at The Bean!

Chicago Greeter | This free experience pairs you with an enthusiastic and knowledgeable resident for a walking tour of the city!

The Field Museum | One of the largest biological and anthropological museums in the world, this is a great destination for education and for families.

Wrigleyville | Wrigley Field is the centerpiece of this neighborhood. Come through for a taste of Chicago nightlife!

 

 

Mackinac Island, Michigan

Drive time: 4 hours + Shepler’s Ferry | Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau

Weekend vacation to Mackinac Island Michigan

Photo courtesy of Grand Hotel

Where to stay

Grand Hotel | The island’s destination hotel houses eight eateries, including an ice cream parlor, sushi restaurant and tea room.

What to eat

The Pink Pony | Thrillist called this pink-accented, nautical-themed restaurant Michigan’s most iconic bar and grill.

The Chuckwagon | This diner is the locals’ favorite and offers breakfast and lunch in cowboy-inspired diner decor.

Seabiscuit Café | This year-round eatery features an appropriate horse theme from the 1938 true life story of the famous horse, Seabiscuit.

Millie’s on Main | The island’s favorite homestyle pub, Millie’s serves comfort food and cocktails for lunch and dinner.   

What to do

Original Murdick’s Fudge | The home of Mackinac’s famous fudge, you can shop 23 flavors in this charming store.

Fort Mackinac | This namesake fort was built by the British Army during the Revolutionary War.

Mackinac Island Bike Shop | Here, you can rent bicycles to tour the island like a local!

Jack’s Livery Stable | Take a carriage ride through town or learn how to drive the carriage yourself!

Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry Cruise | Offering a few of the island’s best lighthouse and night sky views, these trips are an essential excursion.

 

 

Toronto, Ontario  

Drive time: 4.5 hours | Visit Toronto

Weekend vacation to Toronto Ontario Canada

Nathan Phillips Square

Where to stay

The Drake Hotel | This boutique hotel is the city’s epicenter of cool, offering one of the best rooftop terraces in Toronto along with funky dining and cocktail spaces.

Gladstone Hotel | This boutique art hotel 37 unique rooms — each one designed by a different artist!

What to eat

Antler | This hyper-local and hyper-Canadian restaurant offers cocktails and meals, both created using local, seasonal and wild, foraged ingredients.

Rose & Sons | You can come for lunch or dinner any day, but you need to come for weekend brunch.

Patria | This stylish eatery offers authentic Spanish tapas that are as Insta-worthy as the decor.

The Hot House Restaurant & Bar | Since opening in 1994, this has been one of the city’s favorite places for comfort food and live jazz.

What to do

Amsterdam Brewhouse | Though they have three different Toronto locations, the 14,000-square-foot lakeside brewhouse is the best place for patio beverages!

The Distillery District | This historic pedestrian-only neighborhood draws crowds of art lovers, boutique shoppers and foodies.

Massey Hall | This internationally famous venue holds 2,765 guests and hosts the best shows and acts in the country!

Art Gallery of Toronto | With a collection of more than 90,000 works of art, this museum is among the most distinguished art museums in North America.

Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada | One of three Ripley-owned aquariums, Canada’s location houses 16,000 aquatic animals!

Casa Loma | This historic, Gothic Revival home offers decorated suites, secret passages, an 800-foot tunnel, towers, stables and beautiful five-acre estate gardens to explore.

 

 

Safe travels!

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Five Components of Your Credit Score – Amounts Owed (Part 2)

We continue to work our way through the five factors that impact your credit score. This week, I continue the discussion about amounts owed.

Whether you’re showing an amount owed on certain types of accounts
In some cases, having a very small balance without missing a payment shows that you have managed credit responsibly, and may be slightly better than carrying no balance at all. Having a low credit utilization can be better than having a high one, or none at all. For example, closing unused credit accounts that have zero balances and are in good standing will not raise your credit scores.

creditsmaller

How many accounts have balances
A larger number of accounts with amounts can indicate higher risk of over-extension.

How much of the total credit line is being used
Someone who is close to “maxing out” credit cards has a high credit utilization ratio and will see lower credit scores than one who exercises moderation.

How much is owed on installment loans compared with original amounts 
Paying down installment loans is a good sign that you’re able to manage and repay debt.

Click here to read part one in this six part series.

Click here to read part two in this six part series

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Ann Arbor Remains One of the Most Generous Cities in America

money

For the third consecutive year Ann Arbor has been ranked one of the most generous cities in the United States for online giving by Blackbaud. The report tracked 265 cities with populations of more than 100,000 based on per capita online donations given between January 1, and December 31, 2013.

A ranking of large cities (based on per capita online giving in 2013:
1. Seattle, WA
2. Alexandria, VA
3. Atlanta, GA
4. Washington, DC
5. Cambridge, MA
6. Ann Arbor, MI
7. Arlington, VA
8. Cincinnati, OH
9. Bellevue, WA
10. San Francisco, CA

Online giving continues to grow with other studies finding that donors in the U.S. gave more online last year than ever before.

Want to know more? Read the full article

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Ann Arbor is Michigan’s No.1 Most Exciting Place

Movoto Real Estate, a real estate blog, recently published a list of the 10 most exciting places in Michigan.

Main Street Ann Arbor

To determine the top ten cities, 56 cities with populations over 20,000 people were evaluated on:
• Nightlife per capita (bars, clubs, comedy, etc.)
• Live music venues per capita
• Active life options per capita (parks, outdoor activities, etc.)
• Arts and Entertainment per capita (movie theaters, festivals, galleries, theaters, etc.)
• Fast Food restaurants per capita (the fewer the better)
• Percentage of restaurants that are not fast food
• Percentage of young residents ages 18 to 34

What makes Ann Arbor so exciting?
Ann Arbor stood out due the young population and college town atmosphere. We ranked extremely high in multiple categories including but not limited to: best arts and active life, young residents, and music venues.

Click here to read the complete list

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Ann Arbor Again Named Top College Town

For the second year in a row Ann Arbor has been named one of the Top 10 College Towns by Livability.com. To determine the top college towns, Livability identified cities with a high quality of life based on a range of factors from cost of living and walkability to cultural amenities and pollution levels.

To rank the cities, they looked at student-to-resident ratios, educational attainment, college-led community outreach programs and the percentage of 21- to 34-year-olds (to show that people stick around or move in after graduation).

Ann Arbor ranked highly due to the tree-lined streets, independent restaurants and book stores, bars, parks, world-class museums and stimulating atmosphere. Livability also highlighted Ann Arbor’s high concentration of college-educated residents.

Click here for the list of the Top 10 College Towns.

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