September 25, 2023

Our Top 10 Stories from 2022

A look back at our most popular pieces
By Northern Express Staff & Contributors | Dec. 24, 2022

Want to know which stories the most Northern Express readers clicked on this past year? We present to you the Top 10 of 2022.

1. Spectator: A Letter from 2050 
“We thought the new year might be a good time for those of us living in the future to explain what is happening with the mess you left us. It's not as if you weren't warned…”

2. Cherry Capital of Nothing: Is Northern Michigan at Risk of Losing Its Global Cherry Crown?
“Northern Michigan’s biggest tourist draw and largest annual event remains that same grand celebration of the cherry industry held each July. But have a conversation with a local cherry farmer and you’ll likely come away with a much different portrait of cherry commerce than the festival suggests. Behind the scenes, the local cherry industry is struggling to fight off a slew of threats—from climate change to invasive pests to competition from foreign growers—and those issues are making the practice of growing cherries here a challenging business proposition…”

3. A “Prince,” His Castle, and the Many Ladies He Loved: An Ill-Fated Northern Michigan Love Story 
“Known as the 'Holy Waters' to trout anglers, the Au Sable River meanders some 140 miles from Frederic in Crawford County to Lake Huron. For decades the river has been a mecca for canoeists, kayakers, and anglers alike. Its green forested shores are dotted by cabins and homes of all sizes and shapes, but perhaps none are more impressive than the sprawling 54-room lodge-like castle built almost a century ago by Russell “Cliff” Durant, the millionaire sportsman son of William C. Durant, co-founder of General Motors…”

4. Grayling: The Little City That Could
“Grayling’s crossroads location has been a blessing and a curse. Located at the junction of I-75, M-72, US 127, and M-93, the small city at the center of northern Lower Michigan is a convenient stopping point on the way to many places. Yet it’s also that fact that has contributed to its transient nature…”

5. The Great Marijuana Miscalculation: Traverse City Was Supposed to Be Northern Michigan’s Cannabis Capital, but Years After Adult-Use Legalization, It’s Barely on the Map
“Rewind, for a moment, to the spring of 2019, when it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Traverse City would become the epicenter of cannabis commerce in northern Michigan. All the dominoes were falling, seemingly at the perfect time, to make that assumption a reality…”

6. Northerners to Know: Fascinating People 2023 
“Every year, Northern Express reporters scour the North to find 20 average folks dedicating themselves to a not-so-average existence—people who parlay their passions into something bigger than themselves. Here, our picks for the unsung but undoubtedly fascinating people…”

7. West Coast Fare on the Third Coast: The Burrow Finds Its NoMi Niche
“If you catch Adrienne Brunette—restaurateur, CEO, and co-founder of Honest Hospitality, which runs Mama Lu’s, Flying Noodle, and now The Burrow—on her phone, she’s not going to be flipping through Facebook or Twitter.

“People ask what I do in my free time. I'm like, ‘I literally troll restaurants.’ I don’t troll social media. I troll restaurant websites,” she says. “What they’re preparing, what their dishes are. What is Chicago serving right now? What is California serving?”

8. Meet the (Film)Makers: Local Creatives Are Making Their Mark on Northern Michigan
“While there may not be eight million stories in little ol’ Traverse City, there is a small but growing number of story-tellers living and working right here in our laid-back neck of the woods. Here are just a few of the fascinating folks of film who share their thoughts on how they view their own work and what they’ve learned about doing it along the way…”

9. Dredging in Paradise: Controversy Brews Around a Proposed Waterfront Property on Lake Charlevoix
“Who owns the lakeshore? That question is at the heart of a contentious debate in Hayes Township that could have huge implications for the future of Lake Charlevoix. On one side of the debate, you’ll find local residents, watershed protectors, and environmental advocates. On the other side, a private property rights claim and a wealthy family that has accumulated a large section of land near the lake. Somewhere in the middle are local officials and the pair of state and federal entities entrusted with deciding when and where shoreline development is allowed…”

10. Iconic Eats, 2022 Edition: Legendary Dishes to Put on Your Must-Eat List
“Sometimes, an entrée on a restaurant menu is just a meal, but every once in a while, it becomes mythic. You know the type of dish we’re talking about: the ones you tell all your friends and family about; the ones you try (and usually fail) to recreate at home; the ones that you’d drive 200 miles to experience again if you ever moved away…”


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