March 3, 2024

50 Voices of the North

Locals share what northern Michigan means to them
By Northern Express Staff & Contributors | Oct. 28, 2023

What makes northern Michigan special? Why do folks move here…or stay here to put down roots in the community? What might our future look like in the next decade, for better or for worse?

These are the questions we asked 50 people from across the region. We talked to retirees, nonprofit directors, business owners, teachers, municipal leaders, and more to find the answers. And along the way, we found countless new reasons to love, enjoy, protect, and invest in this beautiful place we call home.

What originally drew you to northern Michigan and/or why have you stayed?

Anna Dituri, President of Up North Pride and City of Traverse City Planning Commission Board Member | Traverse City
Traverse City has been my home my entire life. In recent years, the region has become a destination for bachelorette parties, weddings, and vacations. I’ve watched it become an ideal place for retirees to live seasonally. I dream of policies and planning that supports viable lifelong residency opportunities for those of us born and raised here. We’re just as important to the makeup of this community, and without us, northern Michigan would not offer the same experience. It’s disappointing and disheartening to watch your neighbors deprioritize a sustainable way of life for those of us from here.

Amanda Holmes, Executive Director of Fishtown Preservation Society | Leland
I was born and raised in Wexford County but went to high school at Interlochen Arts Academy. When my parents visited, we’d explore Leelanau County, and one fall day, they decided to retire here. I considered Leelanau home, too, even as I traveled, studied, and worked elsewhere. My husband and I have been permanent residents since 2004. Everything I do here further attaches me to this place, but especially my work as the executive director of Fishtown Preservation Society. I do worry about the pressures of growth on the small towns, farms, and special places like Fishtown.

JT Olio, Chief Architect at Storj Labs | Traverse City
Everywhere will be severely affected by climate change, but northern Michigan will be less affected than others. After downloading the geospatial climate projections out through 2090 from leading research institutions, my wife and I narrowed in on three areas in the U.S., rented a van, and explored them. We concluded that the Traverse City area is a top-tier “climate haven,” and is perhaps one of the best places in the United States to raise a small child. We are building an ultra-efficient home and are proponents of affordable housing initiatives. We can’t believe how perfect everything is here.

Paul Gunderson, Executive Director of Gaylord Chamber of Commerce | Gaylord
In 1982 my wife Robin, our six-month-old daughter Melissa, and I moved to Gaylord. I started my new job as general manager of a newspaper production facility. Fast track 41 years in the future, we’re still here and we love northern Michigan. The people are so honest, friendly, and caring. There has been a lot of change in Gaylord since 1982. Our community has grown both in population and geographic size. For the most part that growth has been for the better. Just like most places in northern Michigan, we have a housing and staffing shortage due to growth. But in the end, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

Susie Janis, Community Volunteer | Traverse City
My intense love of northern Michigan started because it is my birthplace. I left as a young adult, then returned to raise our family. Huge growth changes had occurred while closely maintaining its Hallmark welcoming feel. The beautiful mix of generations living and working here has allowed me to personally grow, interact, and expand my knowledge base. I often state that TC is like a suburb of a major city with every amenity sized to fit our needs!

Brian McComb, D.O., Chief Medical Officer for the South Region of Munson Healthcare | Manistee
When I first moved to northern Michigan, it was the natural beauty that drew me here. I of course still love that part, but I have grown to love the people. The sense of community and the “hometown” feel is amazing. When you add the seasons, the natural beauty, the myriad of fun things to do, and the incredible people, you have a special place. I am proud to call northern Michigan my home.

Elise Crafts, Founder of Placecraft | Traverse City
I moved to Traverse City from Kalamazoo for work. My interview team suggested I check out Haserot. I was nibbling a sandwich from the general store on the beach when they called to offer the position. I took it, my toes wiggling in the creamy sand. Years later, my prior firm in Kalamazoo offered me another job and I nearly moved back. I missed the energy and creativity of a city with a diverse community of people. But I stayed, and today am proud to support our community inclusivity so everyone can be here, wiggling their toes in the sand.

William McKenzie, Left Coast Holdings CEO | Manistee
I moved to northern Michigan to grow cannabis. The farmland here grows amazing food that nourishes American families, and now we’re able to cultivate cannabis in that same soil. Things have changed a lot since we moved here in 2020, some for the better, some for the worse. I think overall the area is developing nicely, and I look forward to being a part of that growth.

Courtney Sumpter, Founder of Northern Michigan Equine Therapy | Boyne City
I have put my roots firmly into northern Michigan for many reasons: the pure beauty, supportive community, and ability to create a therapeutic equestrian facility in my own backyard. I am blessed to serve the community and those in need both physically and emotionally, while adding my passion for the healing nature of horses. I love hard work and having the ability to utilize the land and soil to its full potential. I have been able to raise my family in a safe environment while enjoying nature’s best. Northern Michigan has made my dreams come true!

Michele Howard, Executive Director of Traverse Area District Library | Traverse City
A handsome boyfriend lured me to his hometown of Traverse City in September 1990. We finally made our permanent return in the fall of 1999. I fell in love with the year-round natural beauty and outdoor recreation and the wonderful sense of community found in TC. In 24 years, many things have changed for the better! A few of my top items are the amazing TART Trails, the vibrant downtown, the network of nonprofits, the food culture, and more arts and entertainment opportunities. If I could change one thing, I’d wish for more snow! (And housing.)

Mark Randolph, District Manager Kalkaska County Conservation District | Kalkaska
In 1985, I looked at a map of Michigan for a place to settle. I chose an area with lakes, rivers, lake effect snow, and no cities: a nearly blank triangle between Traverse City, Gaylord, and Charlevoix, where there were ski hills and small towns I’d never seen or heard of. I felt this would be a good place to live and recreate. I swim, hike, bike, and ski at a moment’s notice. Traffic increased as the area has grown in the decades since, but the lakes, rivers, hills, and trails still welcome those who seek wilderness and beauty.

Camille Colatosti, PhD, Provost of Interlochen Center for the Arts | Interlochen
I have been an educator for more than 30 years. When, in 2018, an amazing position became available at Interlochen Center for the Arts, I was thrilled to apply and honored to be invited to serve. At Interlochen, I have the privilege of working with amazing colleagues and incredible students, who are focused and passionate about their art. They are young people full of potential, dedicated to a life’s purpose, who inspire me every day. It is a magical place, and I am so honored to be here.

Karen Simpson, Elk Rapids Village Council President | Elk Rapids
We moved Up North from downstate originally for a better quality of life, and we could work remotely. It is much easier here to make family, health, and wellness a priority. Now my kids and grandkids are here for the same reasons. Great schools, outdoor recreation, access to natural resources, and endless activities and entertainment. I feel optimistic about our future here. With thoughtful strategy and strong state investment in rural communities, we can continue to offer this amazing northern lifestyle to others.

Alicia Rutkowski, Head of Digital for Branded Bills | Traverse City
My husband and I were a part of the urban exodus in 2020, leaving Los Angeles to call Traverse City home. It felt like a bit of a gamble, but we had a good gut feeling which has been confirmed many times. The pace here just feels good—you can find peace walking through the woods and sitting on a quiet beach, or you can enjoy community at numerous venues and events year-round. I am grateful to be a part of the area’s growth and believe that thoughtful development will keep our bustling sanctuary a unique place to live.

Julie Rubsam, Executive Director of HeadWaters Land Conservancy | Gaylord
For almost 20 years, my family made frequent trips to Michigan from our home in northwestern Indiana. We greatly enjoyed our visits and made wonderful memories. A couple of years ago, I had an opportunity to relocate to northern Michigan for a new job and I jumped at the chance. It has only been two years, but I honestly cannot imagine living anywhere else. The wild places of northern Michigan have captured my heart and touched my soul. There are an infinite number of places to lose yourself in the natural world, each one as enchanting as the next.

Kathy Morin, Executive Director of Cadillac Area Visitors Bureau | Cadillac
My experiences in northern Michigan first began as a child traveling to many parks, lakes, and the family cabin. Sleeping Bear and Hartwick Pines were always (and still are) favorites. After many years of living around the state for education and work opportunities, I wanted to move back “home,” and it has been home (again) for the past 15 years. I love my job and am passionate about promoting the Cadillac area. I appreciate the laid-back vibe we have here. As a family we enjoy four seasons of outdoor recreation opportunities, and there’s no shortage of things to do!

Katie Jones, Executive Director of Friends of The Garden Theater | Frankfort
I spent my summers in northern Michigan growing up. The dunes, woods, and lakes were all my playground. The nature and all that it offers is what brought me back. As a mom of three littles now, it is a gift for them to experience the beauty of northern Michigan and all the outdoor activities that come with it on a regular basis.

Paul Beachnau, Executive Director of Gaylord Area Convention and Tourism Bureau | Gaylord
I grew up in Gaylord, went to Michigan State University, and upon graduation was offered a job back in Gaylord. I have never wanted to leave. With my job I have gotten to travel quite a lot. The beauty of northern Michigan and the lifestyle is as good or better than the many places I have visited. Our abundance of high quality outdoor recreation at our small lakes, hiking and biking trails, wildlife, and being surrounded by the Great Lakes is as good as it gets. Throw in the fact that we are a mere three hours from a “big city” experience, and northern Michigan can’t be beat—anywhere!

What are you especially optimistic or concerned about for northern Michigan’s future in the next 10-20 years?

Rev. Dr. Wendy von Courter, Unitarian Universalist | Buckley
As we look ahead to the next two decades, I’m full of optimism. Recent years have been polarizing, and that has harmed us all. One of my Unitarian forebears, Francis David, wrote, “We need not think alike to love alike.” I think as a community we’re moving toward that understanding. I see people coming together to impact how we are going to live here, together, regardless of differences of opinion on national governance. We all care about housing, safe drinking water, local policies and economies, and the health and well-being of all of our children. That’s hopeful!

Sally Van Vleck, Innkeeper, Yoga Teacher, and Longtime Peace/Environmental Activist | Traverse City
My main concern in the near future for northern Michigan is the polarization of people and lack of diversity. We need to improve our communications skills, to listen deeply to each other even (and especially) when we disagree, and seek peaceful conflict resolution when differences arise in all areas, including our schools. An attitude of respect for all opinions is essential so that everyone feels welcome and valued. Our goal should be a diverse community based on peace and mutual understanding. With greater diversity and many different viewpoints, our community will be enriched, strong, and resilient.

Candy Crowley, Former CNN Anchor/Author | Glen Arbor
From a discouraged optimist: An expanded economy, fueled by continued population growth, will force changes in the literal and political landscape, the infrastructure (roads, bridges, transit, schools), and the cost of living. Most troubling—a widening income/wealth gap between the rich and everyone else will change the Up North culture. My optimism is in the tenacity of conservation groups, the reach of federal/state parks, and all the Up North OGs.

Suzannah Tobin, Architect | Traverse City
I am optimistic that people who live in and around Traverse City will step up. I know people feel frustrated and powerless. One of the great things about living here is how easy it is to get involved and make a difference. This area has a rich history of citizens who have protected what they believe is valuable. It “recently” happened at a critical period in the 1970s/80s, and I think we are living in a similar moment. We have an incredible opportunity to shape the future. We can all pick something that matters to us and start right now!

Larry Mawby, Founder of MAWBY | Suttons Bay
Northern Michigan is becoming a climate change refuge area, attracting people from all over who find this a good place to live, avoiding droughts, wildfires, hurricanes. This is both a blessing and a curse for us living here. We will have to adapt to climate change, and the influx of people will bring with themselves new skills, new resources, and new needs. While I am concerned about our ability to absorb those coming here, I am optimistic that we can adapt and will thrive with the input of new people and ideas.

Holly T. Bird, Co-executive Director of Title Track Michigan | Traverse City
I am most concerned about the state of our water and environment. We have the amazing privilege of living next to and with some of the most beautiful bodies of water, the Great Lakes. Along with that privilege comes a huge responsibility to care for and protect the lakes and all the water that flows from it. Currently, our Great Lakes are at great risk from oil pipelines, pollution, and indiscriminate taking. I am optimistic that the citizens of our state also recognize that water is life—meaning, we cannot live without clean, drinkable water—and will join in the efforts to protect our greatest source of pride and life.

Sam Bailey, Northern Lakes Economic Alliance Strategic Initiatives Manager | Harbor Springs
Like many areas, northern Michigan is facing systemic challenges like housing, childcare, and climate change. In my role, I have the fortune of meeting many of the individuals and organizations working to address these issues. The energy, passion, and ingenuity they bring to these challenges is inspiring and a cause for optimism. However, I am concerned when local stakeholders resist change. As time goes on, it’s undeniable that our communities are going to change and evolve. It’s our responsibility to ensure that change truly benefits the entire community by taking an active role in shaping the future.

Yarrow Brown, Executive Director of Housing North | Traverse City
I am concerned about the affordability of everyone being able to live here. I am also concerned that if we don’t plan ahead and consider ways to concentrate the growth near our existing urban centers or create new growth areas, we will see a huge impact on our economy, community, and natural resources. I am also concerned about raising my daughter in a region that is 90 percent caucasian. I hope we can continue to be welcoming, open minded, and a place where everyone can afford to live. I hope we can continue to work together to embrace the changes, to not live in fear, and to protect our natural resources.

Kate Redman, Project Director and Cofounder of Commongrounds Cooperative | Traverse City
Growth and change are inevitable in our special region where many would like to live. It is said “America is great because America is good; if America ever stops being good, it will stop being great.” I hope our region stays good: that it stays a place where people care and work for each other and our community, not a cloistered, exclusive enclave accessible only to the wealthiest or luckiest. Let’s support growth that preserves our natural resources and quality of life while remaining welcoming, affordable, and accessible for a diverse community of existing residents and newcomers alike.

Nick Nissley, President of Northwestern Michigan College | Traverse City
I’m optimistic that northern Michigan will continue to develop the new blue economy, an economy that is focused on preserving, protecting, and enhancing our region’s water resources. I believe that NMC and our Great Lakes Water Studies Institute will play a leadership role sustaining the Great Lakes for future generations.

Bey Alejandro, Grand Traverse Academy teacher/coach/trainer | Traverse City
I am concerned about the rapid development that Grand Traverse County is experiencing and how it will affect housing for low-mid income families, transportation, road systems, and quality of schools. Having lived in multiple areas in this country, both rural and metropolitan areas, I understand the effects of population growth, and to be honest, it typically affects communities in a negative way. I feel Traverse City can only grow so much before it gets overpopulated. Being a person of color, I love seeing the diversity that Traverse City is experiencing; however, with more people, there is always a cost to quality of life for everyone in the community.

Jill Sill, Executive Director of Norte Youth Cycling | Traverse City
I am optimistic about our region’s focus on physical activity, social connections, and community as they relate to individual and collective wellness. It is empowering to see families, schools, employers, businesses, and local non-profits working collaboratively. At Norte Youth Cycling, we are the connector between people and places. We directly benefit from built environments such as TART Trails and Palmer Woods. These initiatives are enhancing our region and making northern Michigan an appealing place to live and visit. At every turn, there are opportunities to work together, to strengthen social connections, and to build community.

David “DJ” Jones, Executive Director of Petoskey-Harbor Springs Community Foundation | Petoskey
We live in an incredibly beautiful area, a place where people want to live, work, raise their families, visit, and vacation. Yet the lack of affordable housing options available to our local workforce remains a deep concern in Emmet County and throughout our region. We understand that there is no single solution to the housing crisis—the solutions are varied and equally complex. When I see the growing number of partners, both public and private, that are working to create innovative solutions to our housing crisis, I’m optimistic for the future.

Trevor Tkach, President/CEO Traverse City Tourism | Traverse City
My optimism and concern are wrapped into one issue: population growth. We are already recognized as a desirable destination by many. More recently we have seen a significant influx of retirees. Further, we are destined to be a destination for many climate migrants. Growth will happen here; we can’t stop it.We need to continue to prepare for it. We must continue to welcome everyone; it’s at the core of who we are. While growth will create challenges, it will also create tremendous opportunity.

Senator John Damoose | Harbor Springs
Like so many places throughout our country, northern Michigan is facing some serious challenges that will take years to address—from affordable housing to mental health to building a year-round economy. But, even in the midst of such struggles, we must take a moment to count our blessings. As long as we remain diligent, northern Michigan will always be a place of respite, where we can take a breath—and a break—from the intensity of life in other parts of our country. Even as we strive to tackle the major issues, let us all derive great comfort from the region we affectionately call “God’s Country.”

Michael Sutherland, Owner of TCTowBoat.com | Traverse City
There didn’t seem to be this much whining going on in Traverse City 20, 30, 40 years ago. Owning businesses was fun, and we all helped each other. We have grown into a culture that is more isolated and less communal. Copycat businesses pop up daily, and cutthroat competition for the tourist dollar has become cannibalistic. Leadership at the government level is ill defined as well. It seems to be a CYA culture, where no one wants to lose their job or piss anyone off. We just need to figure out how to silence the whiners and elect government officials willing to put their careers at stake for what made Traverse City so special in the first place.

Casey Cowell, Principal at Boomerang Catapult | Traverse City
Over $22 million has already been raised for the Freshwater Research and Innovation Center that will be built at the Discovery Pier campus. This will make Traverse City the go-to for everything freshwater—research, technology, innovation, commercialization, policy. We have top-tier regional academic talent partnering with NMC and its standout water studies faculty, students, and facilities. We can also leverage existing local nonprofit expertise from 20Fathoms and water-focused organizations to attract state, national, and global interest. This is powerful for the future of our own freshwater resources and freshwater systems everywhere, and the innovation and implementation of products and services focused on fresh water can be a huge economic generator for our region.

Julie Clark, TART Trails CEO | Traverse City
I’m optimistic about the significant role northern Michigan can play in addressing some of the most pressing challenges we face, including climate change, community health, housing shortages, and long-standing issues of inequity and exclusion. While it’s clear that these complex problems won’t be solved overnight, our region is blessed with an abundance of remarkable individuals and organizations who possess the creativity and capacity for solution-oriented approaches. If we continue to invest in and prioritize the well-being and sustainability of our community’s physical and social infrastructure, I believe northern Michigan will be a national example of resilient and inclusive communities.

What makes northern Michigan special to you?

Mark L. Wilson, Traverse City Commissioner and Owner of New Leonard Media | Traverse City
Northern Michigan holds deep significance for me due to its natural beauty, ancestral ties, and my citizenship in the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa Indians. The region’s pristine landscapes, the fresh water, and lush forests captivate, offering a connection to my ancestors, whose perseverance allowed our children to thrive here today. Kchi-Wiikwedong (around the big bay) is a spiritual homeland, intertwining rich traditions and a strong sense of community. The blend of Anishinaabek heritage with migrated cultures makes northern Michigan unique, embracing the past and present. This place is not just geography but a profound part of my identity.

Benjamin Maier, Artist | Leland
Traverse City is truly home. I was born here, got married, started a family here, built a business. I went searching in my 20s to cool places: Aspen, Denver, Maine, Bozeman. I have enjoyed exploring the country and world over the years, but Traverse is just the place. If you get that, you get it; if you don’t, you won’t understand. What makes our area one of a kind has always been the natural beauty, the land, the water. The older I get, it’s also the community, people living intentional lives here, and the willingness for people to come together and support each other.

Kat Paye, CEO of The Festival Foundation | Traverse City
What makes northern Michigan a magical place is the outdoors. The trees, trails, and breathtaking West Grand Traverse Bay! The cherry orchards which still produce the best tart and sweet cherries in the region. Our region is known as the Cherry Capital of the World, as it produces 70 percent of the nation’s tart cherries. The peninsulas and the rolling orchards take you into deep trail systems for hiking, mountain biking, and exploring. We have an all-season playground that I am blessed to live and work in daily.

Kevin Rhodes, Artistic Director & Principal Conductor for Traverse Symphony Orchestra | Traverse City
In my field of classical music, it is usually a given that one has to be in an urban center to be able to work in our industry. While bigger cities have lots to offer, living in them for many decades can be tiring. The TC area is an incredible anomaly in that it combines unsurpassed natural beauty with a well above average interest in the arts in a community that feels in all the best ways, like a village. This combined with world class eateries and an incredible orchestra (if I do say so myself) makes TC a dream.

Brandie Ekren, Executive Director of Traverse City Light and Power | Traverse City
Northern Michigan is more than just a beautiful landscape; it’s a breeding ground for innovation and leadership, especially in clean energy resiliency. I’ve witnessed our region’s capacity to lead the way in sustainable energy solutions. We’re not just creating a cleaner, brighter future for our children here; we’re setting an example that has the potential to influence change worldwide. This synergy of natural beauty, community, and innovative spirit makes northern Michigan truly one of a kind.

Jürgen Griswold, Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation Board Member (youth representative) | Ellsworth
For a 17-year-old boy, northern Michigan is the greatest place to grow up. Its beautiful scenery and water make it into a natural playground and allow a range of activities throughout the seasons. From skiing to golfing to swimming, this part of the state is a great place to be. On top of this, the small towns located only a few minutes apart create a network of people willing to help each other at any given time. Personally, I would not want to live anywhere else, because right here I can truly experience the meaning of community.

Christine Crissman, Executive Director of The Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay | Traverse City
Without a doubt, northern Michigan is exceptional because of its healthy waters and natural areas. No where else can you stand at the top of the tallest sand dune in Michigan overlooking one of the largest bodies of freshwater in the world, or paddle 55 miles through 14 interconnected lakes and rivers, or watch thousands of birds take refuge on their migratory journey each spring and fall. The unprecedented magnificence and splendor of our water and land provides limitless opportunities to explore and enjoy the remarkable landscape I am fortunate to call home.

Matthew Kacergis, Executive Director of Great Lakes Center for the Arts | Bay Harbor
After first coming Up North as a camper at Interlochen Center for the Arts more than two decades ago, I feel so grateful to be a part of the arts and culture community here. Artists who come here are inspired by the region’s natural beauty and warm, supportive audiences—and they always want to return. There’s truly no other place on earth like northern Michigan.

Maureen Hautz, Charlevoix County Community Foundation Senior Youth Advisory Council Member | Boyne City
Northern Michigan has always been special to me because of the unique childhood I had from living in Boyne City. I’ve always had more freedom living in a small town. After school, I can go skiing at Boyne Mountain, jump in Lake Charlevoix after sports practices, or study at my favorite coffee shop. Northern Michigan has all of my favorite places surrounding my hometown. The life I live in Michigan can be as simple as visiting Lake Leelanau or as fancy as stepping back in time on the porch of the Grand Hotel.

Kevin Kline, CEO Cherry Capital Airport | Traverse City
Born and raised in Saginaw, northern Michigan has always been special to me. I joined Cherry Capital Airport in late 2002, moving with my wife and our two sons. Having lived in Grand Rapids, Teterboro, New Jersey, and St. Louis, Missouri, we felt fortunate coming back to our Michigan roots. We welcomed our third son in 2007. We continue to make memories with our families and friends. We enjoy cherry blossoms, cherry picking, bonfires, lake life, apple picking, visiting our vineyards, downhill skiing, ice skating, and fishing. We are fortunate to live and raise a family where we vacationed as children.

Amy Millard, Executive Director of Greater Mackinaw City Chamber of Commerce | Mackinaw City
Northern Michigan holds a special place in my heart—it’s home. I grew up here, moved away, and then returned after 30 years. Northern Michigan offers a one-of-a-kind experience that’s hard to find elsewhere. The crystal-clear lakes and miles of shoreline, rolling hills, and fall foliage are beautiful. Outdoor enthusiasts can find an abundance of opportunities for hiking, biking, skiing, golfing, boating, fishing, and access to miles of trails. Four distinct seasons make for extraordinary experiences. And the small-town charm, hospitality, and friendliness of the people give it a strong sense of community spirit.

Jack Baird, Traverse City Central High School Junior | Traverse City
Northern Michigan is where I grew up, and I’ve seen many seasons change and enjoyed much of what they have to offer, such as sailing on the inland lakes in the summer or skiing down the snow-covered mountains in the winter. Having the four seasons makes Michigan a true delight to experience. It has a lot to offer, but only if you take advantage of what is there.

Glen Chown, Executive Director of the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy | Traverse City
Surrounded by 21 percent of the planet earth’s surface freshwater, there is no more beautiful place to live than right here in northern Michigan. We are also blessed with a relatively stable climate compared to other regions. Moreover, our globally-unique fruitbelt agricultural landscape provides us with access to an abundance of fresh, locally grown food by skilled farmers who are our neighbors. I must say that I love living in a community where people don’t take northern Michigan’s beauty for granted and are willing to put their money where their hearts are in protecting our land and water for future generations.

Mary Bevans Gillett, Convener/Director of Northwest Michigan Arts & Culture Network | Traverse City
I love the term “terroir.” Terroir is the combination of unique characteristics rooted in place that can’t be reproduced elsewhere. Isn’t that what northern Michigan is all about? The natural beauty is breathtaking—but it’s more. It’s the synergy of passions, people, purpose, and place. Whether it’s the arts or business, agriculture or healthcare, food or learning, we come together in a creative dance unique to northern Michigan. There’s an entrepreneurial spirit here and a willingness to roll up our sleeves together to build community. Infused by nature, powered by people, inspired by creativity and art—that’s our terroir.

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