Camping at Tawas Point State Park

I just returned from 10 days of camping at Tawas Point State Park. It was a great vacation with my family! If you have been to Tawas Point State Park, you know what a little slice of Heaven looks like…and if you haven’t been there, you really should check it out. The campground is really nice and we had a great site that was frequented by many pairs of Orioles and many other beautiful song birds. The Lighthouse is open for tours and there is a small gift shop where you can pick up a shirt or a great picture frame by Michigan in Metal. Between the 2 playgrounds and all of the biking and swimming, the kiddos were exhausted each night.

Tawas Point Lighthouse

Tawas Point Lighthouse


There are beautiful sunrises over Lake Huron or if you are not an early bird (like me), you can watch the sunset over Tawas Bay.
Tawas Bay Sunset

Tawas Bay Sunset


The beach has beautiful sand and the lake is quite shallow along this part of the shore which makes for great swimming. The wind on Tawas Point is great and lures many kiteboarders who are seeking wind to fill their kites. I got to meet Mark Kuban, the owner of Motor City Kiteboarding and watch him, my husband, and many others ride the wind and waves. These guys and gals are really entertaining to watch and are such a friendly group.
Mark Kuban of Motor City Kiteboarding

Mark Kuban of Motor City Kiteboarding


Tawas Beach Kiteboarding

Tawas Beach Kiteboarding

And when you need a great meal and a friendly smile, just stop by to see Joe at The Tawas Beach Grill right there by the beach for great coneys and ribs!

So, it was a great vacation and we are already counting the days until we can go back for more sun, sand, wind, and water.

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Featured Photographer – Lj Long

Lj Long has always enjoyed photography and had a dark room in his parents’ basement as a teenager. Years later, with the coming of digital photography, he has renewed his passion for photography. Lj uses Nikon equipment exclusively and is currently enrolled in The New York Institute of Photography. Although photography is currently a hobby that sells the occasional print, Lj aspires to grow into a business later in life. Lj’s favorite things to photograph are nature, anything around the lake (Gun Lake) is good, Lake Michigan, lighthouses, beaches, motorsports, cars, and bikes. Lj had a blast with fall foliage last year and also enjoys photographing bikes racing on the frozen lake.

Gun Lake Studio - Lj Long

Gun Lake Studio - Lj Long 2

Currently, Lj’s full time job is working as a Field Service Representative for Square D Services, a nationwide service company in the Electrical Industry. Lj specializes in power distribution equipment, “things like transformers, switchgear, circuit breakers and other fun stuff like that. My job affords me a great deal of travel around the state which is good for my hobby. Other hobbies include British sports cars. I restored an old Triumph which is a lot of fun. Naturally, living on the lake pretty much demands that you enjoy everything about it all summer long [including] boats, swimming, and time with friends.”

Lj’s favorite thing about Michigan is the abundance that Michigan offers. It has everything anyone could ever want, four wonderful seasons, beautiful scenery, the lakes, and wonderful cities. “Lake Michigan is like going to the ocean, only better. The list goes on and on.” Lj describes Michigan, “Imagine a place with fresh water oceans, the most incredible dunes. Endless forests. Incredible inland lakes. Now picture a city that looks like it was ravaged by war, broken down abandoned buildings, burned out corpses of cars, urban blight and decay. All of these things offer incredible photo opportunities.”

Lj’s top 5 places to visit in Michigan are:
1. Detroit
2. Mackinac Island
3. Pictured Rocks Lakeshore
4. Silver lake
5. Grand Haven

You can view more of Lj’s beautiful work on his facebook page at:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gun-Lake-Studio/165970600193597

Featured Photographer – Neil Weaver

Twelve years ago, Neil Weaver ventured out to the lake with his 35mm camera. A few months later he purchased a Canon Rebel X and some Fujichrome Velvia 35mm slide film and fell in love with photography. In 2006, Neil reluctantly went to a digital SLR and became a believer almost immediately. Today, Neil uses a Nikon D300, go-to lenses include the Nikon 17-55 f/2.8 and Sigma 10-20mm and 70-200mm Lenses, and an Induro Tripod.

Neil is just as passionate about Michigan as he is about photography and he wants his photos to demonstrate that. Neil loves shooting wide sweeping landscape photos of our Great Lakes shorelines. “I am 100% self-taught, learning through trial and error and a lot of reading. One important thing I have learned is that you often have to experience some discomfort to get the best photos. What I mean by that is that I often get my best photos by getting out of bed early or staying out late past the sunset, shooting in freezing temperatures, standing in frigid water to get up close to a waterfall, or laying on my stomach in the wet grass to get the best angle.”

Regarding the choice to begin selling his prints, Neil said, “photography began as a hobby, but a few years ago I decided to start up a website and sell my prints and things went well. This year has been the best yet, even with the economy the way it is, more people are hanging my prints in their homes and offices. I love the business side of photography almost as much as taking the photos, I really enjoy working with customers.”

Neil was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie where he lived until 2005. Neil now lives in the capital area with his wife Kristina, two-year-old, Brady, and nine-month-old, Paige. Neil and his family love to travel all over our beautiful state and enjoy all it has to offer. Neil loves the diverse natural features in Michigan, its great lakes, thousands of inland lakes, beautiful rivers, dunes, sandy beaches, rocky shores, and waterfalls.

Neil’s top 5 places to visit in Michigan are:
1. Pictured Rocks
2. Porcupine Mountains
3. Sleeping Bear Dunes
4. Au Sable River
5. Ludington State Park

You can visit Neil’s website or facebook page to see many more of his beautiful images.

www.NeilWeaverPhotography.com
www.facebook.com/neilweaverphotography

Featured Photographer – Mark S. Carlson

Mark Carlson began photographing with Minolta (35mm SLR) equipment in the late ’70’s, but switched over to Nikon in the early 1980’s. Now Mark uses an assortment of Nikon lenses from wide to telephoto with a Fujifilm S5 DSLR body. Mark has honed his skills through photography courses at Lansing Community Collage, Larry West and John Shaw Nature Photography Workshops and “a lot of trial and error.” Mark has been practicing the art of photography for 40 years, 33 professionally – Great Lakes subject matter is his passion.

When asked about his favorite things about Michigan, Mark answers, “Michigan and the Great Lakes are such a unique eco-system in the world. I love everything about it!” Mark’s favorite places to visit are, “the natural beauty of U.P. waterfalls, native orchid habitats, and many, many scenic locations along the shores of every one of our Great Lakes!”

Mark resides with his wife, Debra, at “Looking Glass Overlook” their 30 acre private nature sanctuary along the Looking Glass River in Shiawassee County. Mark recently started Great Lakes Photo Tours and with his partner, Bob Grzesiak, they conduct tours throughout the Great Lakes region. For more information, please visit Great Lakes Photo Tours website. To view more of Mark’s photography, you can visit his website: www.markscarlson.com or his facebook page: www.facebook.com/MarkS.CarlsonNaturalistPhotographer

The Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad

I recently visited Fairview and stumbled upon this hidden gem – The Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad. This amazingly beautiful train ride sits on 40 acres of Jack pine forest and overlooks the Comins Creek Valley.

I had the pleasure of speaking to the owners, Howard and Joanne Schrader about the property. The idea of this railroad came from Howard’s love of trains and ground was broken in 1994 with the construction of the engine house. Over the next 5 years the Schraders built two wooden trestles (one is over 220 feet long), a tunnel (115 feet long), the depot and gift shop, and many more buildings to make this a complete experience for the rider.

There is a 1/4 scale steam locomotive as well as two F-7 diesel hydraulic locomotives. There are 7 passenger coaches each with a unique name.

The Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad is open on Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays from Memorial Day Weekend thru Labor Day Weekend. The steam locomotive runs on select Sundays and Holidays – you can call ahead for the steam schedule.

For more information and directions, please visit: www.michiganausablevalleyrailroad.com

Stop by for a great ride and have some popcorn too!

Grand Traverse Pie Company

Grand Traverse Pie Company’s Cherry Crumb Pie was just named one of America’s Most Unforgettable Pies on YAHOO! Travel today.

Their Cherry Crumb Pie is made with Northern Michigan Montmorency tart cherries—locally grown in Traverse City. Yum!

Great job Grand Traverse Pie Company – Keep up the good work!

To read the rest of the article, click the link below.

http://travel.yahoo.com/p-interests-37630360

Michigan’s Amazing People

Yesterday, we featured Kid Rock not only for his love of Detroit and Michigan, but for his giving spirit.  Do you know someone that is giving back?  If so, send us an e-mail at michiganisamazing@michaelflora.com and tell us about them.  It can be an individual, young or old, businesses large or small – anyone that is doing their part to make the community or a person’s life better.

Please tell us about your nominee and include your contact information in case we need more details.

We are going to begin featuring upstanding and outstanding citizens and businesses and would like all of the Michigan Is Amazing fans to tell us who is amazing to you.

Let all of your friends know, too!  Let’s celebrate all of the amazing people in this great state!