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  • Writer's pictureKatja

Winter Weekend in Michigan

The weather fluctuates a lot in Michigan. There is the lake effect, a phenomenon where different parts of the state get greater snowfall and accumulation due to the proximity to the Great Lakes, and there seem to be areas of the state that get an arctic blast one day and a tropical air flow the next. Living here for several months now, I have learned to check the weather forecast daily and religiously check the temperature before venturing outside.

With such a variety to the climate, activities vary between being indoors and outdoors with several extremes. Some days, it is painfully cold and walking to the car is awful. Others, the sunshine beats on the windows so forcefully that the heater gets shut off even though it's the middle of winter.

So, how does one spend their time on a winter weekend in Michigan?

It depends.

For an indoor activity this winter, I visited the Zekelman Holocaust Center in Farmington Hills. The building is beautiful and the curators have done an amazing job of capturing the horrors of the Shoah, but also celebrating the resiliencey of the Jewish people and the amazing ways people fought back and worked to save lives, even at the cost of their own. There were several school groups being shown around while I was there and I appreciated what one of the docents said (the words may not be exact, but this is how I remember it): "We don't want you to try and imagine what it was like to live through these horrors because we don't want you to go through the trauma; instead, we want you to become witnesses to what happens when human beings stop fighting for what's right and discover for yourself why it is so important to never let this happen to anyone ever again."

Another indoor activity in the Ann Arbor area is visiting the Michigan Firehouse Museum in Ypsilanti. The facility is a large garage-type space adjacent to the original firehouse. The collection spans several floors and galleries and includes everything from collectible figurines to original wooden hose and ladder trucks. There are numerous interactive displays and the museum is suitable for all ages.

For outdoor excursions, the various areas provide ample opportunities for winter adventures. Close to home, local parks and trails are transformed by the snow. One family favorite for us is the local dog park; always a good time but even more so after it snows. Even the old dogs turn into puppies when there's snow on the ground.

Trekking out to the shores of the Great Lakes can provide quite an awe inspiring experience. Frigid temperatures combined with the natural forces of the wind and waves result in all sorts of frozen wonders. Even on a relatively warm day and not far up into the state, the frozen waves along the shore are amazing to behold. Please use caution when exploring the ice--many dangers exist and there is a very real risk of death.

There are many more places to visit and adventures to be had. Whatever the season, there's no reason to stop exploring the world around you.

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