Column: Why live, work, play in Delta County?
ESCANABA — First is the flavor of Delta County. You don’t have to travel far to taste remarkable cuisine from a variety of restaurants with an ethnic flare. Try a “pasty, grill your own steak at a local brewpub, take home a pizza or stop by the Farmer’s Market for fresh foods prepared to your liking. A Yooper bar is a must and s’mores cooked to perfection on a stick over a campfire is worth treating your taste buds to. Local coffee shops, vineyards and craft microbreweries are plentiful and popular throughout the area. I would also recommend a trip to a local sugar shack in the spring so you can taste maple syrup boiling or stop by a butcher shop for the taste of fresh smoked venison sausage in November.
The second reason I’ll give you is music to my ears. Summer concerts in the park, music festivals, headline entertainers and the local theater groups are proof that great entertainment is always nearby. The casino showcases a variety of performers and comedians weekly and if ‘dancing the night away’ isn’t your thing, maybe the ringing of a slot machine is. We have a lot of home-grown talent as well; there are consistently basketballs dribbling, skates scraping the ice, and kids practicing in the gyms year round. The bleachers are always full of cheering fans and children of all ages continuously laugh on the playgrounds. Fireworks exploding on the Fourth of July are a local favorite along with holiday parades projecting the sounds of fire truck sirens, candy landing on the pavement, little hands clapping, local and city bands marching in unison, followed by horses trotting along and antique cars roaring down the street.
How about the aromas of Delta County? Freshly cut grass in the park, old baseball gloves at the Little League game, blooming apple trees in the field, grilling in the back yard, cool rain on a hot summer night, walking down the midway at the U.P. State Fair and burnt rubber. Burnt rubber? — Yes! The Upper Peninsula International Raceway, the Bark River Off-Road Races or the Ice Races on the Escanaba River are available to thrill-seekers of all ages. We sure do love the smell of racing.
Next, let’s talk about ‘feelings’ and I don’t mean your emotional state. I want to talk about feeling the oil on a brand new knife blade, handmade right here in Delta County. The feeling of taffy stuck to your teeth, water beneath your paddleboard, the wind blowing your hair as the leaves fall around you or the feeling you get when you smile at a stranger in the store. The local shops are full of hand-made, unique items you can’t find anywhere else.
We touch every item, impressed with the craftsmanship and materials used. I want to talk about the crunch of snow beneath little boots as they wait for the bus, sand between our toes as the cool water washes it away and the experience of the perfect golf swing combined with a precisely hit ball at the golf course. Since I’m on the topic of ‘feelings,’ do you remember what it felt like to hold a fish in your hand after catching it ‘all by yourself’? Or how every animal you pet at the fair has its own distinct feel? You won’t hear me say, “You can look, but you can’t touch” because I know that’s impossible.
My fifth, and final reason, is as far as the eye can see. Surrounded by water, Delta County has over 200 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and is home to over 80 lakes, several lighthouses and beaches. You won’t have a problem ‘seeing the forest for the trees’ because Delta County is firmly planted in the forest industry and we enjoy the abundance of private, state and federal forests for hunting, snowmobiling, dog-sledding and frequenting the many trails. The professional fishing tournaments and annual trappers convention are something to see, along with the antique car shows, camper rallies and the occasional Logging Congress and Expo. Everyday life is filled with little faces with vibrant red cheeks building snow-families during winter breaks from school. Hot summer days are full of splashing at the beach or in the backyard under the hose.
Bright orange pumpkins compete with the vibrant colorful leaves in the fall and flowers become animated in the spring.
Thank you, Delta County. There’s no place I’d rather be.
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Pamla Lauscher is a Delta Chamber of Commerce board member and a Verso Corporation communications leader