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Most beautiful place in America? My foot

Gerry Sell, Our Town: Antrim CountySometimes the thunder of the herd haring off across the cultural landscape gives me a headache. It turns out that a successful social media campaign has led to the election of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore as The Most Beautiful Place in America by viewers of ABC’s Good Morning America. The ones who voted anyway.

Plus all the Michiganians who don’t generally watch GMA but participated enthusiastically in the campaign to encourage more Tourist People to visit the Third Coast.

I am all in favor of telling the world about the very pleasant ways it is possible to spend a vacation in the Mittens. I am a big fan of Sleeping Bear, which is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been in Michigan. Looky here:

But how silly is it to vote for a place as the most beautiful in America? Seriously, have you been everywhere in America? You have not. No one has. So maybe it is the most beautiful place you have seen, but that’s about all you can maintain with any integrity.

And how silly is it to say that the heart-rending glory of Big Blue spread out before you as you stand on the dune rising 400 feet into the cloudless sky . . . how silly is it to say that is more beautiful than the soul-filling majesty of the Rocky Mountains? Or the mysterious shapes and colors of the great Southwestern deserts? Or the forested wilderness of the Boundary Waters? The green, green Pacific Northwest? New England in autumn? North Carolina in springtime? The Lost Coast of California?  It is very silly.

There is no one most beautiful place here or anywhere else. There is simply beauty, everywhere in the world, and to each eye one special place that is most beautiful. The song isn’t America the most Beautiful. It is America the Beautiful, and so it is, from sea to shining sea.

Might as well choose one child over the others.

  • Stonybarn

    I totally agree with you.  There are so many beautiful places in America and I have seen many of them.  It is hard to compare such different beautiful places against one another.  As they say, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”!!!
    stonybarn@yahoo.com

  • Canadianlynx

    Wow, your comment is so cool. I wondered about Sleeping Bear being the “most beautiful” but you have put my reservations into words so much better than I could.

  • http://torchlakeviews.wordpress.com Gerry Sell

     Thank you for commenting, folks.  I get impatient with new-fashioned boosterism, which seems to me pretty much the same old horse liniment in new bottles, but I also understand that people truly do love Sleeping Bear, and for good reason.  I love it myself.  It is worth protecting–all the beautiful places are.  And anyplace that gives us food and water is beautiful in my book.  The difficulty is always in the details, isn’t it?  We need a stable economic base, and a good quality of life, and good opportunities for all our beautiful children.  Not easy to accomplish all these goals, but we have a chance if we keep talking to each other. 

    • Mark

      Can anything ever just be left alone. Why does someone always have to go to the negative side. Of course there are thousands of beautiful places here, in the world for that matter. I think we are all intelligent enough to figure that out. So why come down on a fun contest. I think that’s the trouble with the world today, negative talk seems to always be a headline grabber, people just wanting to get attention. It was all for fun and should be left at that.

  • Megan

    I understand what you are trying to say, but this was poorly written and distracted from your intent. This paragraph was the worst offender: 

    “And how silly is it to say that the heart-rending glory of Big Blue spread out before you as you stand on the dune rising 400 feet into the cloudless sky . . . how silly is it to say that is more beautiful than the soul-filling majesty of the Rocky Mountains? Or the mysterious shapes and colors of the great Southwestern deserts? Or the forested wilderness of the Boundary Waters? The green, green Pacific Northwest? New England in autumn? North Carolina in springtime? The Lost Coast of California?  It is very silly.”

  • Annie Cahn

    Sure, it was a silly little poll, but really, not any sillier the the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce co-opting a photo of South Bar Lake, from the south bluff inside the Same Park, to use as thier addvertising to “Please visit Traverse City”. 

    Since Traverse City has decided to become a suburb of the park, you really should be gloating too.

  • Kathyb_upnorth

    Such a spoilsport!! It was just for fun, for Pete’s sake.

  • Splash of Sunset Photography

    well since it was a choice for only ONE to be the best then there is nothing wrong with the smokies, the rockies, the pacific or the atlantic coning in second place. I have been all over the world and I keep coming back to the Sleeping Bear Dunes area for a reason. While it may not be my favorite place on earth or in my opinion the prettiest, however, it is a GREAT thing for Michigan to have this tourism notariety since we’ve allowed all of our other industries to leave the country. Maybe you should take a break from your blogging, grab a bottle of Nice red from Chateau Chantel and head for sleeping bear for a day or two of relaxation

  • http://www.facebook.com/farlane Andrew McFarlane

    The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore certainly belongs in any conversation of the world’s most beautiful places.

  • Bigdawgs6

    Let’s not focus blame on Sleeping Bear Dunes. It is beautiful. If you have a problem with the contest perameters, write GMA.

  • long time camper

    Most beautiful?  Silly?  Aren’t these expressions of the same family?   These are things which only the individual can decide.  However, it may be a little “dumb” to be so concderned over the contest.  From my perspective, the Sleeping Bear dunes are beautiful and anybody offended by the honor of winning the contest is a little silly!

  • Debbie Maglothin

    I guess I dont understand why such a small contest gets the dander up in so many people. If people voted… so be it. You had the option of voting for somewhere else. If you did not that is no-ones fault but your own. To compare it to choosing one child over another… are you kidding? Sleeping Bear whether you like it or not is a very beautiful place. Very awe inspiring. Have you seen a sunset from atop that dune? What makes you the person to nay say about this. You had a chance to vote. If you did not then you should mind yourself. Why would you badmouth something so good for a struggling state? This has been very, very good for tourism. Have you gone & stood on that dune since the contest has ended? I have & more than once. Did you sit in the line to get in the entrance since the contest ended, because I have. Why on earth would some your age bad mouth something so good? Maybe you should address why this bothers you so much. Have you ever heard the saying, if you dont have anything nice to say than dont say anything at all. Quit being a spoil sport. It isnt hurting you!

  • Gene

    Wonder if anyone remembers before the feds commandeered Sleeping Bear and region, how people used to experience this beautiful place? Before the big deck was built on the private land to the south, the normal way was to climb up the back side at the parking lot. Most people would climb to the top to view Glen Lake, and maybe walk a little ways back. If you were more adventurous you would make the trek across to Lake Michigan. It seemed, as a kid, to be miles and miles, and you were always needing water. Once at the interior, you would see mirages. One of those mirages was a red and white 1956 Oldsmobile convertible, filled with happy tourists. A dunemobile. They operated from a little commercial area at the north side near the Coast Guard station on Lake Michigan. That was before enviro-wackos taught us the way people must, ie. MUST experience nature.     

  • jeff4

    yes Gene, thanks, i do enjoy it.

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