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Above all holidays the 4th of the July is my favorite holiday and I very much anticipate it every year. Now most people may not understand this completely because they have not experienced a Harbor Springs, Michigan 4th of July in their life.
I never knew how much Harbor Springs has been instrumental in my 4th of July experience until this year when I am sitting on the shore of West End Beach in Traverse City, which is only an hour and a half away and still on the same body of water. I just felt like everything was wrong. It could have been the amount of tourists or the couple bickering throughout the whole fireworks show I am not sure.
So let me put this in perspective a little bit. I grew up believing the only way you can shoot fireworks was over water on a boat. I had no idea that you could shoot them on land until I lived in southern Michigan and for the first time I experienced this. I automatically realized that even if people do do that it is not how it was intended to be. I also quickly realized how spoiled I am. To see the fireworks soar to the sky and see the reflection on the water takes your experience from OOOO to AHHHHHH in a matter of seconds. Now if you up it a little more by overlooking Little Traverse Bay on the Bluff so you can see three different cities’ fireworks and not only are they lighting up the sky but lighting up all the boats below you who are honking it will seem like life should always be that way.
To continue on that, I also grew up believing that EVERYONE knew you had to bring your best game for your red, white, and blue outfit. My grandmother always set the bar high and more or less has found the best ways to make an American Flag stylish. Tommy Hilfiger would be overly impressed with her use of the colors of freedom and how she sports them at her age. So it never fails that I try to find the most stylish way to pull off the three colors. But this is almost an unspoken competition when you go to the 4th of July parade in Harbor. It seriously looks like a Tommy Hilfiger ad that was styled by J.Crew and I am so glad that is not an exaggeration.
I just never realized how abnormal this level of unison and patriotism was until I brought Mike up to the 4th last year. Growing up in Texas he never saw such a love for America than what happened in Harbor. I remember him just being shocked and saying there is no way we won’t ALWAYS spend the 4th here.
Mostly I think I love the idea of the unison of the people coming together as one and there being this hometown feeling. Everything feels at peace for once in your life like America is truly great and so are the people. It knocks out all your doubt of where we are going and reminds me of where we have been and how simple life can be if we let it. And I love that so when I did not get the 4th experience this year I felt slightly sad and couldn’t figure it out until I was reminded by these photos from last year.
So I thought I would give you a little slice of the place that made me fall in love with our nation’s birthday.
Hello! I’m Megan Gilger,
A strong believer that nature and the seasons are our greatest teachers. We live on a hill in Leelanau County, Michigan just a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan. This land we are responsible for is where we are focused on building a life around the seasons and intention. We spend our days here building a regenerative model of living and focusing our garden on native plants and intensive polyculture planting styles. My focus is less on self-sufficiency and more on community-sufficiency through how we grow and connect through the seasons. Learn More