One of the most frequent question I'm asked by the new people -- Michiganders all -- I've met since moving: "Why did you move to Michigan?"
Other than its economic woes, which it shares with many other states, what exactly is wrong with Michigan? The state is beautiful. It has the second largest number of sustainable farms after California. It has more no-kill communities than any other state -- 11 total. It's full of lakes and parks and has a great vet school. It has endless farmers' markets, some of them year-round.
It has all these wonderful towns that have barely changed since the 40s, where you feel like you got into a time machine to get there, instead of a car.
It has Detroit, which believe me, is not even remotely as devoid of charm as people who've never been there think it is, even though it's also falling apart quite spectacularly. Still, I've had some great times and great meals there. And anywhere that has Belle Isle is okay with me.
So, come on, Michigan. Stop talking bad about yourself. Stop looking at me like I'm insane when I tell you I like it here and moved here willingly. I haven't even been to many of your most scenic attractions, have yet to go up north or to the Upper Peninsula or to Mackinac Island. And I'm from a city -- San Francisco -- and state -- California -- renowned throughout the world as major tourist destinations. Trust me, you have nothing to be ashamed of.
In other words: Nice place you've got here. Mind if I stay a while?
Photo: Belle Isle, in the Detroit River.