What makes a community feel like home?

What makes a community feel like home?

It is a simple enough question as we all have images and impressions that tend to make us feel totally comfortable about where we really want to be at this moment in time. Having lived in this community for as many years as I have has left some marked impressions on my brain of what says “Manistee County” to me.

Take for instance the countless times of sitting at Fifth Avenue Beach along with dozens of other people watching the last seconds of another beautiful summer day fade away in one the incredible sunsets. The sheer beauty of colors of red, yellow, orange as that giant ball slowly fades out of sight over the Lake Michigan horizon is second to none.

Or is it?

Slip across the Manistee River Channel and take a ride down First Street past the Armory Youth Project with someone in your car that has never viewed the area. As you break into the open view of the lake make sure you listen because the odds are good you will hear a “wow” or slight gasp come out of that person as they take in that view for the first time.

Too many of us take for granted all we have here, and when you actually look at it through the eyes of someone who has never seen it before brings a much different perspective.

Doubt me?

Watch the faces of the people lining the Manistee Riverwalk sometime when one of the huge freighters make a visit to our community. The twinkle in their eyes tell a different story, and last year I overheard one of them say “That was worth the whole trip here.”

What is sad is to some it is nothing more than an inconvenience as they wait to cross one of the bridges. If those freighters stopped coming in here, we would probably lose a little of what makes this home.

But its not just in the city that makes this area special to many of us. Think of the area just below Tippy Dam on a fall afternoon with the colors on the trees in full bloom and the water filled with fishermen trying to land that big one.

If that view doesn’t look exciting then someone better check your pulse to see if you have checked out or not. The images along the Manistee River at Sawdust Hole just up the road are just as moving. If you listen carefully you can almost hear the pull cut saws from a group of lumberjacks and see giant logs floating down the river to the sawmill.

Yes, Tim Allen to paraphrase you… it is “Pure Manistee.”

While the Big Manistee River has many majestic views that make us think of Manistee County so does it’s little brother the Little Manistee River in the area by the weir. Where else can you go on a fall day to watch literally tons of salmon so thick in the water that it gives the impression you could pull off a miracle and walk on water on their backs to the other side.

Toss on top of that the chance of spotting a bald eagle soaring down the river in search of some food for young tucked up away in a nest and it leaves you with a pretty good image. One that sticks in your mind over time and says this is a cool place to live.

Another thing that brings home that message is the Ramsdell Theatre that wraps history, elegance and a great place to watch a show or hold an event all into one. There once was a time many years ago when some thought the building should be torn down. Thank goodness that never happened.

Want to feel like Leonardo DiCaprio felt riding on the front of the Titanic being the king of the world? Take a ride up to the bluff just outside of Arcadia on M-22 on a windy day and stand on top of the stairs looking out into the beauty of Lake Michigan.

I guarantee you will feel like the king of the world.

Toss on top of that events like the Forest Festival and the Sleighbell Parade and guess what?  For most of us we are home and hopefully here to stay for many years to come. At least well beyond when I will… see you next Wednesday.

 

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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