Wander the United States This Summer

By Mary Simon

What have I missed the most during this COVID-19 summer? Traveling! A true Sagittarius at heart, I long to be driving the coast highway in Maine, biking over mountain ranges, or paddling through marshes and lakes. But I, like so many, comfort myself with great library selections to keep my wanderlust satisfied for now. We have plenty of films and books to help us as armchair travelers and we can savor our grand country through literature and movies. So, I will be writing about various parts of the country that I have visited or long to visit again. Second location is Michigan (my first was Montana).

  • Somewhere in Time


    If you haven't had a chance to visit Mackinac Island in Northern Michigan, this romantic feature will take you back in time to the Grand Hotel during the 1970s as well as the turn of the century. Time travel makes this wonderful movie come to life, and it was actually filmed at the Grand Hotel in 1972.

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  • American Pie


    One of the all-time best movies about Michigan, it still packs many laughs. When it came out in 1999, the film became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon and gained a cult following among young people. This sex farce/comedy spawned many sequels that range from good to mediocre, but the original is still considered the best. Much of the film is based on the writer's days at East Grand Rapids High School in Michigan. In the film, the town is called "East Great Falls."

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  • Beverly Hills Cop III


    The third film in the Beverly Hills Cop series, with Eddie Murphy as the lead and directed by John Landis. The action takes place in Detroit, includes a chop house, and elicits laughter and cheers! Eddie Murphy is outstanding in his role.

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  • Detroit


    This film, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, is based on the Algiers Motel incident during Detroit's 1967 Riot. Difficult to watch because of the raw brutality, it is nevertheless an important work that portrays actual police behavior and treatment of unarmed black men. Still timely and important.

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  • Flint


    We recently learned that residents of Flint, Michigan, will be entitled to compensation from drinking lead-poisoned water as part of a $600 million settlement announced by the state. The vast majority of the funds are earmarked for children who were exposed to the tainted water supply, many of whom have developed learning disabilities and some of whom have died. This film features a star-studded cast and insights into what took place in Flint, Michigan.

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  • The Lake Michigan Cottage Cookbook: Door County Cherry Pie, Sheboygan Bratwurst, Traverse City Trout, and 115 More Regional Favorites

    2018 by Levin, Amelia

    Cherries and cherry festivals define Michigan--especially the Traverse City area. But Lake Michigan is home to many delicious meals, pastries, pasties, and other delectable treats. If you're lucky enough to be on the open road, stop in at the roadside fruit and vegetable stands, restaurants, and fishing coves that line the shores of the lake. This beguiling book reflects all four seasons, and each season's flavors, around Lake Michigan.

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  • The Heirloom Garden

    2020 by Shipman, Viola

    Lake Michigan is the set for this wonderful story of how two very different women, scarred by wars, overcome trauma and grief to move on with their lives after difficult times. And best of all, gardens play a major role, just as they have for so many communities after wars and strife. The author states that she wanted this novel to answer two questions: “What makes us isolate ourselves from the world? And, what gives us hope?” During COVID-19 times, this book seems extremely important.

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