Category Archives: Midwest

What Makes the Fall Season So Special in the United States?

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Meeting people from around the world, I have noticed that they are often surprised by how much Americans love the fall season. To many people (at least in the northern hemisphere), fall means the end of summer and the beginning of winter. In the United States, fall is arguably the best season of the year. Why?

1. Throughout the fall season, tree leaves change colors for some of the most beautiful natural views of the year. Along with the brightly colored trees, the air is crisp and sweet, making it very inviting for you to go outside and explore.

Source: Picstar

Source: Picstar

2. Fall flavors are warm and comforting. In the United States, you will find pumpkin-flavored everything. Pumpkin pie is typically a family favorite, but you will find pumpkin-flavored coffee, pastries, and more! Apple flavor is also popular. The flavors of Thanksgiving are some of the most memorable, including turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, and sweet potatoes.

Source: bpkwesthartford.com

Source: bpkwesthartford.com

3. Fall activities bring your family and friends together. Apple picking is a great way to get outside with your loved ones and pick apples that you can eat right off the tree or use in recipes, such as apple crisp or apple pie. Common in the Midwest and Northeastern United States is visiting cider mills, which serve fresh apple cider, homemade donuts and pastries. They also often have farm animals and outdoor activities for you to enjoy while eating your treats. Carving pumpkins is another fall favorite, as you can make a jack-o-lantern to decorate your porch and you can bake the pumpkin seeds for a nice snack!

My favorite cider mill in my hometown, Rochester, Michigan!

My favorite cider mill in my hometown, Rochester, Michigan!

4. Halloween (October 31 every year) provides the perfect opportunity to disguise yourself as your favorite character or silly costume that is guaranteed to make your loved ones laugh. Along with wearing costumes, you can eat your favorite candies with little remorse, visit haunted houses, experience hayrides, and go to Halloween parties. Children also have the opportunity to go trick-or-treating, where they visit their neighbors and ask for candy while dressed up in adorable costumes.

One of my favorite personal pumpkin carvings!

One of my favorite Halloween pumpkin carvings!

5. American football, played in the fall, has more spirit than any other sport in the United States. You will see football spirit at all levels, from middle and high school to college to professional football. Americans enjoy tailgating before football games, which involves eating barbeque food, drinking beer, playing games such as cornhole, and cheering for your favorite team. The spirit exists every weekend and has created tremendous rivalries across the United States. I have had an interesting experience with football having moved throughout the Midwest and now to the Southern United States – my loyalties have shifted, but I will always root for my alma mater (University of Michigan) first!

University of Michigan Football Stadium - holds the largest crowd (over 114,000 people) in the United States!

University of Michigan Football Stadium – holds the largest crowd (over 114,000 people) in the United States!

I hope this gives you a taste of all the special qualities of fall in the United States. Just writing about it makes me grateful that fall is here. I would be grateful to hear why fall is (or is not) your favorite season and how it compares to other seasons throughout the world!

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Cherries and Sand Dunes and Wine, Oh My!

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InspirNational will be spending Memorial Day weekend in Traverse City, Michigan. I look forward to spending time in the cherry capital of the world, wine tasting in Old Mission Peninsula, and exploring the sand dunes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. It will be wonderful to spend quality time with my mom and our loves in my mom’s new home!

Flashback to 2013: Visiting 2 Lads Winery in Traverse City with my mom!

Flashback to 2013: Visiting 2 Lads Winery in Traverse City with my mom!

Learn more about Traverse City, Michigan and other beautiful places to visit in the Midwest in my post, Why More People Should Visit the Midwest in the United States.

I hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Why More People Should Visit the Midwest in the United States

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What is the Midwest? “There’s no place like home” is one of the most famous expressions from Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz who resided in Kansas, one of the states in the Midwest. The Midwest is one of four regions in the United States, including 12 states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

View of Lake Michigan from Traverse City, Michigan

View of Lake Michigan from Traverse City, Michigan

Most known for its farmland, family-oriented nature, and football spirit, the Midwest has great charm, unlike any other place in the world. Why should you visit the Midwest?

  • For those of you who are learning to speak English, the Midwest is the home of the traditional American accent. News broadcasters in the United States are generally trained to have accents like Midwesterners. You will gain great exposure to the American accent as you are completing your English studies and traveling through the states in the Midwest.
  • Drive through the origin of the automobile assembly line (Ford Motor Company) and the Motor City (name based on the large automotive influence) in Detroit, Michigan. You can learn more about Detroit’s automotive heritage at the Greenfield Village Henry Ford Museum. Your ears will be delighted to hear favorite tunes from the past, as Detroit is also known as Motown for being the home of Motown Records, with famous musicians such as Stevie Wonder, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Diana Ross & The Supremes, the Jackson 5, and Marvin Gaye.
  • Swim in the largest source of freshwater in the world, the five Great Lakes! Surrounding Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Illinois, the great lakes host several fun beach towns. Given my Michigan roots, I am biased towards the beautiful beaches of Lake Michigan, particularly in western and Northern Michigan. As a new Clevelander, I have also become fond of Lake Erie, and especially the Cedar Point amusement park, which has some of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the world.
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth in the Cherry Capital of the world in Traverse City, Michigan. Also climb and explore the Sleeping Bear Dunes, which were recently called “The Most Beautiful Place in America” by ABC News. The lakeside soil also caters to beautiful wineries, comparable to Napa Valley, California in scenery with sweeter flavors. While you are there, go back in time with a visit Mackinac Island, a charming island with bicycles and horse carriages replacing automobiles, delicious fudge, and nineteenth century history including forts from the War in 1812.
  • Rock and roll throughout Cleveland, Ohio, the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Cleveland is experiencing a revolution, with young professionals (like me) moving downtown to explore the diverse restaurants, trendy bars, and breweries. Cleveland is the home of Great Lakes Brewery and offers free brewery tours.
  • Stroll through the Windy City of Chicago, Illinois, which is known for much more than its strong wind. Great shopping, restaurants, and site seeing make it one of the best cities to visit in the United States. Some highlights include the reflective bean in Millennium Park, Navy Pier, and the Magnificent Mile.
  • Shop in one of the world’s largest shopping malls at Mall of America in Minnesota. While you are there, make sure to stop in Minneapolis, which is considered a global economic city. Minneapolis is famous for its seven miles of glass-enclosed skyways, perfect for walking around in the winter.
  • Try cheese in Wisconsin, the largest cheese producer in the United States, making over 600 cheese varieties.
  • Wonder why American children get excited that they can spell Mississippi? Besides that it is a long word to spell, the name is significant for the Mississippi River, which is the chief river of the largest drainage system in North America. It rises in Northern Minnesota and passes through 31 states and 2 Canadian provinces. You can learn more about the river’s significance at the National Mississippi River Museum in Dubuque, Iowa.
  • Explore the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, which was named after President Theodore Roosevelt. According to the National Park Website:

“When Theodore Roosevelt came to Dakota Territory to hunt bison in 1883, he was a skinny, young, spectacled dude from New York. He could not have imagined how his adventure in this remote and unfamiliar place would forever alter the course of the nation. The rugged landscape and strenuous life that TR experienced here would help shape a conservation policy that we still benefit from today.”

  • Learn American history at one of the nation’s most famous memorials: Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota. As the memorial website says:

“Symbolizing the ideals of freedom and democracy, it is a tribute to four presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln and their invaluable contributions to the United States.”

  • Cheer loud at a Big Ten college football game (originally rooted in the Midwest) for a taste of American football. The nation’s first college football league was founded in 1895 in the Midwest, first known as the Intercollegiate Conference of Faculty Representatives, and later called the Big Ten Conference. I cannot give this recommendation without a shout out to my alma mater and a member of the Big Ten Conference, the University of Michigan. GO BLUE!

If you have any questions about visiting the Midwest, feel free reach out to me in the comment section below, on Facebook or Twitter (@brittanyvb). I have proudly lived in the Midwest for my entire life and traveling the world has made me proud to call the Midwest my home.

Also view this post on One World 365.