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Tag Archives: Michigan

“M” is for Maps

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Moving right along…I may not finish the A to Z Challenge today, but I will finish!

I love maps, particularly road maps. I love unfolding them on the living room floor, or the hood of the car, or a picnic table at a rest stop, and discovering not only how to get from Point A to Point B, but also what else I might see along the way.

I credit my mother for my love of maps. During a family trip when I was about 10, I was given the task of navigating from the passenger seat. I had to figure out how to get that little Chevette from Windsor,Ontario to Emo, Ontario. Was it quicker to go through Michigan to the Soo, or cut across the UP and come back into Ontario north of Duluth. How many days would it take? Where were the rest stops and interesting little towns located?

Putting me in charge of the map sure cut down on the “When are we gonna get there?” All I had to do was look at the map!

No one uses maps anymore. Most people plug an address into a GPS, and follow the computerized directions. Or they “Google map” something, and only ever see that tiny little portion of the terrain that immediately surrounds them. And yet, when I think about the things that can be discovered using a map! Some of the most interesting side trips might only be 40 miles out of your way, but you’ll never know it because the GPS just gets you where you’re going. I worry about an entire generation growing up with very little concept of where they are in relation to anything else, like, say, Lake Huron.

We’ve never had GPS, so that’s one of the reasons we still use a map. And a Google map you printed at home won’t do you much good if you need to take a sudden detour, or missed your turn and want to get back on track without backtracking. So we always make sure we’ve got a good map along with us. And I’ve tried to make sure the kids grow up knowing how to use a map too!

I also like things like attractions maps, etc. You can’t always rely on staff to give you accurate directions (though you mostly can!) I remember one time at DisneyWorld, a fellow traveller regaling us with the story of a Cast Member giving him directions to the Pirates of the Carribean attraction. The CM had a map laid out before her – she gave verbal directions, and placed her finger on the map to show the visitor where he should go. The visitor gently pointed out that that was Space Mountain. (WDW lovers will know that Space Mountain is on the opposite side of the Magic Kingdom from Pirates) Good thing one of them could read the map!

Do you still use paper maps, or do you rely on GPS?

Where it always feels like Christmas

If you live in Southeast Michigan or Southwestern Ontario, and need an extra boost to get you into the Christmas mood this year, I know just the place -Frankenmuth, Michigan!

Frankenmuth is a Bavarian-style village located not far from Flint, Michigan. It offers shopping, dining, accomodation and recreation – and of course, those famous chicken dinners! I never used to understand why everyone got so excited about the chicken dinner – until I had one myself. OMG, the food -awesome!

The town always has a Christmas-y feel, especially at Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. Larger than a single football field, the store is wall-to-wall ornaments, trees, decor, cards, wrap and more. It’s even located at 25 Christmas Lane, and at this time of year they pull out all the stops.

Just next door to Bronners is Zehnders Hotel & Splash Village. Offering family suites, an indoor water park and even family-oreinted movies in the lobby, we found it a great place to stay. There are always a variety of packages and special rates available. Zehnder’s also offers a free shuttle for guests into town, to their flagship restaurant, where you can have – you guessed it – their chicken dinner. Once you’ve landed at the restaurant, the rest of the downtown shops are an easy walking distance.

Even if you can’t get there before the holiday, be sure to check it out as an easy getaway!