I never ran into a person that doesn’t love the Pure Michigan campaign. The radio, print and televisions ads are amazing and every time I hear or see one I smile and realize how lucky we have it here in Michigan and how beautiful this state really is. 

A few months ago, Pure Michigan’s travel blog put out a post about a competition for people to create their own advertisements for the Pure Michigan campaign, focusing on what we as fans of this great state would like to see in an ad and why we love Michigan so much. The submission deadline was Feb. 28. 

If you know me personally, you know our favorite vacation destinations are here in Michigan. It was only in the past nine years since meeting my wonderful husband, Tim, did I realize how many beautiful places Michigan has to offer. We spend almost every Summer weekend on our boat in Traverse City, Leland, Grand Haven, Torch Lake, and more. Our Winters, we ski and snowboard at Boyne and other Michigan ski resorts. Our Falls we like to spend the weekends at the family cabin in Remus. It really doesn’t get any better. 

Which leads me to the Pure Michigan campaign. Before I met my husband, I never really knew these places existed. I considered this the perfect opportunity to share some of our favorite places with others that may not even know this beauty exists. 

So, I called our good friend Dave Oberlin. Dave and his family share this same passion and love of Michigan. They also have a boat and on most weekends in the summer you will see both of out boats docked up next to each other at the marinas. Dave is also very passionate about photography. From our journeys and his own, he has captured some incredible photos a long the way.   

Grand Haven, Michigan. Photo by Dave Oberlin

Talking it over one evening with our families and a glass of Michigan wine from Leelanau Peninsula, we decided to choose Leland’s Fishtown for our ad. 

Here is the ad we submitted (click ad for larger view): 

Pure Michigan 'Create Your Own Ad' Campaign Submission

A little background: Leland, Michigan has been a family favorite for the Oberlin family for years and they would always talk about it to us. Just in the past year did I get to visit this beautiful town on our boat, and by that one visit I was ‘hooked.’ Sitting on the patio at The Cove restaurant overlooking the water…you can’t help but feel completely at ease.  Leland is full of unique shops, restaurants, and museums all in walking distance. This past summer, it just got done revamping its full-service marina….something we are really looking forward to. It also is full of history too. I can’t wait to pick up the book about this town . It will be perfect summer reading on the boat. Another article to learn more is, The Fisherman Who Saved Fishtown

But I am going to have to say the best part about Leland… are the people of Leland.  They make you feel so welcomed. My first conversation was to the Leland Marina Harbor Master last year. I called prior to our arrival during the busy construction of the new marina and even though they were practically shut down, he was bending over backwards to accommodate us. Even providing his cell phone to us so we could call him after hours if we needed him.   

I came across a blog post from 2007 (before the new construction) when they didn’t provide a laundromat at the marina. The Harbor Master had one of his staff members drive them 20 miles to Sutton’s Bay to do laundry and then came and picked them back up.

Here is another thing I read about Leland’s customer service from a writer from the Chicago Tribune, Kevin Pang: 

We pulled into the gravel driveway of the Whaleback Inn, rang a bell and walked into a gorgeous lakeside cabin that encapsulates, in so many words, Northern Michigan: woodsy, serene, friendly. We were greeted by Scott Koehler, ever warm and helpful, who runs the inn with wife Tammie. We asked what there was to do around town, and he enthusiastically handed over enough maps, brochures and pamphlets for a startup tourism board. 

I figured I had to end the ad by saying, ‘Your neighbors are waiting to greet you.’ It was the perfect fit for this perfect Michigan town. 

Thank you, Leland. 

At this time, voting is still open for the Pure Michigan competition. Feel free to click here and see over 50 beautiful ad and video submissions. Our Leland ad is the first one in the Spring/Summer collection. The winning ads will be featured on the official Michigan travel web site, www.michigan.org. Wish us luck!