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1O Great Ways to Spend Time with Mom in Michigan

by Lisa Diggs

The world is filled with jokes about mothers waiting for a call from their kids, so this Mother’s Day, why not up the ante by spending some quality time with mom? While out enjoying each other’s company, consider asking her some questions that you may not have ever thought about before. Here are some great Michigan ways to celebrate with the mothers in your life, and gain some new insights too. 

 
Visit Her Old Neighborhood or College
 
If your mother or grandmother grew up in Michigan, then perhaps the best place to start is with a walk down memory lane. Returning to a place where your mom or grandma once lived can be an incredible experience. Sure, you may hear a story or two that you’ve heard a thousand times before, but you may also prompt one or two that are new to you. Talk about the changes to the neighborhood, and find out what her neighbors were like. While in the area, have a meal or a beverage in one of her favorite places, or try a new spot just for fun. Ask her a few questions to spark conversation like: What was your favorite subject in school and why? Who was your kindest neighbor or best friend when you were little? What is your earliest memory?
 
Shop ‘til You Drop
 
Some mom’s love to shop. If yours does, then join in on the fun, either holding her purse or trying things on right alongside her. Skip the mall, though. Head to a local downtown filled with unique, and independently-owned boutiques and eateries. It’s especially fun if you go somewhere you haven’t been before. If you’re looking for suggestions, consider: Ann Arbor, Clawson, Holland, Lansing’s Old Town, Marquette, Midland, Milford, Northville, Petoskey, Rochester, Saugatuck, St. Joseph, or Tecumseh, just to name a few. While browsing and buying, try asking her: What was your favorite outfit when you were a kid? Do you remember the first thing you bought with your own money, and if so, what was it? Who were your favorite celebrities when you were my age?
 
Go Winetasting
 
Michigan has hundreds of wineries and tasting rooms, where you can sample and savor some of the state’s most impressive fruits of the vine. Make a weekend of it at one of the state’s glorious wine trails: Bay View Wine TrailLake Michigan Wine ShoreLeelanau Peninsula Wine Trail, Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail, or Wineries of Old Mission Peninsula. If you’re looking to stay closer to home, Michigan Wines can help you find an option near you and/or plan a trip. Sipping wine provides an ideal atmosphere for chit chat with queries like: What were you like in high school or college? If you could do something else for a living what would it be? What wine region of the world would you most like to visit?
 
Stock Up at a Farmers Market

This time of year, Farmers Markets are starting to open all over the state, and the Michigan Farmers Market Association (MIFMA) provides an excellent resource for finding one near you. There are few things more delicious than fresh produce, but sometimes we get more than we can use. If you shop together you can split your bounty and have fun as well. Food always makes conversation flow so this is an ideal time to ask questions like: What was your favorite meal as a kid growing up? What’s the best meal you’ve ever had in your whole life, and what made it special? Who do you most wish you could share a meal with now? 

 
Take a River Cruise
 
The weather is warming up so it’s a lovely time to get out on a boat, especially one on a scenic route. There are several river boat cruises available around the state. You can book a private event and bring the whole family, or join in on a public voyage. Consider the Detroit Princess along the Canadian border, Michigan Princess in Lansing, or Bavarian Belle Riverboat in Frankenmuth. You can also glide down the Kalamazoo River on Saugatuck Boat Cruises or meander along the Crooked River all the way to the mouth of the river at Burt Lake with The Riverboat Experience. Cruise and chat with questions like: How old were you when you went on your first date and what was it like? How did you and dad meet? What did the two of you do on your first date?
 

Ride in a Model T and Explore Greenfield Village

If you really want to go back in time, make a visit to Greenfield Village in Dearborn. Yes, you can ride in an actual Model T, and also see the Wright Brothers’ Cycle Shop, Edison’s Lab, a variety of historic homes, and so much more. You can even venture inside to The Henry Ford Museum and sit on the bus where Rosa Parks took her famous stand, see Lincoln’s infamous theatre seat, and JFK’s fateful limo. Being surrounded by so much history is bound to stir some unique thoughts and memories. Take advantage of the atmosphere to ask her questions like: What do you remember from a bygone era (World War II, Vietnam, the 60’s, September 11, etc.)? What do you think is the greatest invention of your lifetime so far? Where in the world would you most like to visit?

 
Get Out on the Golf Course

It seems like golf courses are almost as prevalent as lakes in this state. Did you know that there are over 800 public golf courses in Michigan? With that many from which to choose, it should be easy to find a course to tackle together. While you’re out there, consider asking her something like: What was your biggest athletic achievement? How did girls' sports compare to boys' sports when you were a kid?  Who first taught you how to golf?

 
Hit the Road

Whether out of boredom or genuine interest, there are few activities more conducive to conversations than a good old fashioned road trip. You can head back to somewhere familiar, or explore new territory together. Pure Michigan has a bunch of suggested routes for different themes, as well as six scenic routes worthy of a look. Be sure to grab a bite in a local café, grille, or restaurant that you can only find along those roads less traveled. While on the journey ask some thought-provoking queries like: What trips did you take with your family as a kid? What was the first trip you ever took with just your friends and where did you go? What’s your favorite memory from trips we took when I was a kid?

 
Take in a Museum

If your mom or grandma has an interest in the arts, then take a stroll through one of the state’s many incredible art installations. The Detroit Institute of Arts and Grand Rapids Art Museum have world class collections, and the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is absolutely beautiful. If she’s into history, check out the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, the Detroit Historical Museum, or any number of local historic sites and museums in your neck of the woods. While there ask her something like: What was the first concert you ever went to with your friends? How did you get so interested in art or history? If you could travel through time and witness an event first-hand, what would you like to see?

 
Cross Something Off Her Michigan Bucket List

There is so much to see, do, taste, and experience in the Great Lakes State, that the chances are high you can find something she has always wanted to do, but hasn’t yet. Perhaps it’s trying to spot the Northern Lights…dipping a toe in Lake Superior…walking across Mighty Mac on Labor Day…or walking in the footsteps of legends at Hitsville USA.  Ask her about the places she’s always wanted to visit, and the things she’s always wanted to do, and then make one of those happen as your Mother’s Day gift. Don’t forget to take advantage of the time together to ask the questions you’ve always wondered about, and listen to the stories she wants to share.  

 


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