One of the perks of being a ‘Michigander’ is that you basically live in a mitten. At least the trolls do. ‘Trolls’ are what the folks in our Upper Peninsula (aka, the U.P.) call anyone residing south of the Mackinac Bridge. Because, of course, trolls live under bridges…
Another perk is that when there is no map handy, we can just use our hands. No, they’re not the greatest substitutes, but in a pinch, they get the job. Yes, that’s the outline of my hand. And, for the record, when using your hand as the Michigan map, you have to kind of twist and bend your thumb to get it to sort of look like that part of the mitten, which is why my thumb looks short and fat.
Now, let’s talk Mackinac. Or Mackinaw?
Looking at the ‘map,’ you’ll find Mackinaw City, but we also have the Mackinac Bridge, Mackinac Island, the Straits of Mackinac, and Fort Michilimackinac all in northern lower Michigan. Except for the island. That’s in the middle of Lake Huron.
Northern lower Michigan is where you’ll encounter your first trolls, if you started out in the U.P. If you started out somewhere in the south, it’s where you’ll encounter the last trolls before crossing the bridge and meeting the Yoopers.
Anyway… Back to the Mackinac/Mackinaw conundrum.
From what I’ve gathered, everything up there started off as Michilimackinac, thanks to the Anishinabek – or Anishnawbeck, depending on who you ask – Nation. Early Michiganders shortened it to Mackinac, but somewhere along the line, the city came to be called Mackinaw.
If you want to learn more about that, there’s a short, cute video on Facebook titled ‘How Do You Pronounce It? Mackinac or Mackinaw.’
Or, to save you time, just pretend all of the names end in ‘aw’ instead of ‘ac.’
Now, for a little more information and interesting tidbits:
*U.S. 31 weaves its way from a few miles south of Mackinaw City all the way down to Holland, Michigan. This series takes place along a seventeen mile stretch of that highway, between Petoskey and Charlevoix.
*Weko Harbor, the main town in which my new series takes place, and Tulley Falls are fictional cities – to everyone but me. To me, they’re as real as any other cities in the United States, as are the people who live in that world. Hopefully, you’ll come to feel the same way as you meet and grow to love the stars of these books. (a quick oops – I forgot to add Tulley Falls to the map – it’s between Weko Harbor and Petoskey)
*Petoskey is pronounced puh-tos-key
*Charlevoix is pronounced shar-la-voy
*Cheboygan is pronounced sha-boy-gun (the ‘a’ sounds like ‘uh’). I added this one for those who have read the Royal Sweethearts series and wondered how to say it. And speaking of, Quinn’s book should be available in most online bookstores in January!
*Battle Creek is the home of Kellogg’s Cereals, Tony the Tiger, and Frosted Flakes, which are, according to Tony, Grrreeeeaaat!
*Except for Reluctant Guardian and the Royal Sweetheart series, I’ve never felt the need to leave Michigan – when it comes to my stories. We have it all – huge lakes that seem very ocean-like from our beautiful, sandy beaches. We have islands, a few mountains, waterfalls, sand dunes, forests, and even tropical (SO humid!) weather in the summer. You can snow ski, water ski, sail, scuba dive, and surf here. Yes, people can and do surf on our Great Lakes. Check that out by clicking here.
*Hell actually does freeze over in Michigan. It’s located between Lansing and Detroit. It’s also only an hour from Maybee. Hey! Do you want to make a quick trip to Hell? Maybee… Sorry. I couldn’t resist.
When my kids were in grade school, I always thought it would be fun to travel around the state, so when they went back to class at the end of summer, they could say they’d visited Brooklyn, Holland, Bangor, Washington, Newark, Billings, Frankfort, Sandusky, Christmas, and Paradise … which are all cities in the great state in which I live.
And this concludes today’s lesson on Michigan. 🙂
***Just so you know, I will probably be putting this in the front matter of all Weko Harbor books. Some people start in the middle of the series, or don’t ever see my website, and some of this information could come in handy. So, if you see it in each book, that’s why.