We usually share a dozen uniquely Michigan events worth attending each month, but these are of course unprecedented times and events have been cancelled. Thankfully, that does not mean we can’t still enjoy some delightful entertainment born out of what makes our state so special. Here are 12 ways to have fun with Michigan flair this month.
Hunt for Morels
This is a glorious time of year, not just because grass is greener and flowers are blooming, but because certain delectable treats are popping up. It’s time to go hunting for morel mushrooms. If you’re a rookie, this guide from Cadillac, Michigan is a handy resource, though it’s best to go with a seasoned hunter to recognize the real thing. Because of shelter in place restrictions this year, the state is asking that we hunt close to home. To make that easier, the Department of Natural Resources has published lots of helpful information, along with a map of likely sites based on burnt forests.
Hit the Links
Our state is home to more than 800 golf courses, and they have now reopened, with some restrictions in place. To reduce travel, check out the courses closest to you. It may be time to try the one you’ve driven by a hundred times, but never played. Call or pop by the course first to find out availability and any restrictions you need to know about. Consider also having a meal in the clubhouse to help them make up for some lost revenue.
Take a Virtual Cooking Class
The culinary geniuses at Zingerman’s Bake have adapted several baking and cooking classes to be online including a virtual baking camp for kids. James Beard-nominated chef Lena Sareini, of Selden Standard, has launched a new Youtube channel teaching subscribers to make things like sourdough bread and cultured butter. Eastern Market has lined up chefs to do cooking demonstrations on its Facebook page every Friday afternoon throughout May.
Enjoy Local Performances
Many of our favorite musicians are hosting live concerts to raise some funds since their gigs have all been cancelled. Check out your favorite band’s Facebook or Instagram page to see if they have an upcoming virtual show you can attend and tip, if you’re able. Opera Grand Rapids launched a weekly series of live performances last month that continues into May. It features emerging artists giving short recitals from their homes. You can learn about the performers in the Singing in Place series online as well as viewing live or past performances. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra is hosting online watch parties of great performances. Bill Brown Ford is hosting a weekly at home concert series as well.
Plant a Vegetable Garden
There’s nothing like growing some of your own food, to ensure one’s food supply. During World War I and II they were called Victory Gardens. Many of us are again recognizing the value of growing some nutritious food at home, but that doesn’t mean we know what we’re doing. MSU Extension has an excellent Gardening in Michigan Facebook page, and is hosting a self-paced online course called Smart Gardening with Veggies 101. The roughly seven-hour course, is discounted 50% to just $15 now through May 15. It provides newbie gardeners with instruction from site planning and soil preparation to plant selection, composting, and even pest management.
Explore a Road, or Trail or Path Less Traveled
We still need to practice good social distancing habits, but this is an ideal time to slip on some comfortable shows and explore a path or trail in your area. Most of us are creatures of habit and tend to find a place or two we like and stick with it. Shake things up. Visit and read the historic markers on your area. Walk a trail in your favorite park that you haven’t ventured to before. Drive a few miles away and stroll through a neighborhood you’ve never been in. Visit a nearby park that has escaped your attention. County and city websites frequently have parks and recreation sections to help you find little, nearby destinations you may not have previously seen.
Support a Farmers Market
We’re all looking for fresh, healthy food to feed our families, and one of the best ways to get it, and support your local growers and producers is through farmers markets. Downtown Market Grand Rapids and Flint Farmers Market have curbside pickup. Eastern Market in Detroit has a drive-thru service during its open hours. We’re happy to report many seasonal markets are also opening up. Michigan Farmers Market Association has a map of farmers markets. Find one near you and then get in touch to determine open hours and what the process is for selecting and picking up goods.
Discover a Local Author
This much time at home has given many people a little more time to get lost in a good book. If you love to read, try out the work of some local authors. We identified a variety of options with books available for purchase online. When you find a local book you enjoy, please take to social media to help spread the word. If the book you are dying to read next doesn’t happen to be the work of a local author, at least consider purchasing it online or curbside from a local bookstore to help keep them going.
Contact a Senior Center
Nursing homes and senior living facilities around the state are facing an unprecedented challenge. Their population is among the highest risk group, and just when they could use some extra love, visitors are prohibited in order to keep residents safe. The crisis has left some directors at a loss for how to engage and entertain their residents. Many are seeking volunteers to provide virtual entertainment and education. Writing letters and creating drawings is a welcome option. Perhaps you can organize a performance or new art in a parking lot. Contact a center near you to find out how you and your community can help spread some joy where it is desperately needed.
Celebrate Graduating Seniors
Senior citizens aren’t the only seniors who can use a little extra love right now. Imagine what it must be like to have abruptly left for spring break and never returned. Think about no prom, senior banquet, class play, athletic season, or commencement ceremony. The Class of 2020 is experiencing an end to their schooling like no other. Seek out seniors in your area and send a congratulatory note or card. Make a sign to post on their lawn or use sidewalk chalk to leave a message. See if your local high school has a Facebook page with requests and suggestions on how to honor the kids in your area for their achievement, and if not, consider creating one.
Find a secluded spot, cast a line, and enjoy some serenity in our great outdoors. The new fishing season started April 1. You can get your license online and then either print it at home or download to your mobile device and carry that with you. Visit the Department of Natural Resources website for the 2020 Michigan Fishing Guide and recommended places near you.
Take in Some Art
We realize it’s not the same as being there, but many venues are offering unique opportunities to virtually experience impressive works. Detroit Artists Market is featuring 20 artists for 20 days. Grand Rapids Art Museum has an extensive list of digital resources to explore including artist interviews. The Detroit Institute of Arts has created a DIA at home section of its website to give patrons access to art online and even participate in a virtual version of its popular Thursdays at the Museum program.