Let the past sleep, but let it sleep in the sweet embrace of Christ, and let us go on into the invincible future with Him. (Oswalt Chambers)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Where Do I Live? Our Area

I live on a very rural dirt road near several communities.

Map showing Paw Paw locationKalamazoo is a good sized city about 15 miles to the east.

About ten miles to the east there is a major shopping and fast food corridor in Oshtemo Township.

Our mailing address is Paw Paw, Michigan, a quaint little village in SW Michigan halfway between Chicago and Detroit. It is named after a tree that grows along the area river banks.

There is nothing fancy about Paw Paw. The 3,700 citizens of Paw Paw tend to be very casual, down to earth, and (mostly) pleasant.

Picture of downtown Paw PawTourists and summer home owners flock to Paw Paw in the summer to have a completely different experience than their life in the city.

On summer weekends, half the license plates in the food market parking lot are from out-of-state. These people drive hours on Friday to come to Paw Paw to enjoy the small town life. They seem to love that fact that Paw Paw is a very uncool, relaxed little village.

Thanks to the local weather, friends and strangers alike have an instant conversation starter that everyone is knowledgeable enough to discuss.

This quote from the Paw Paw website attempts to turn our volatile local weather into a tourist attraction:
"Paw Paw is located in Southwest Michigan, so it possesses the infamous 'Michigan weather'. It sees exaggerated examples of each of the four seasons, with winter being the most extreme. It is not uncommon to have snow one day and sunny, 50 degree weather the next. The weather is definitely interesting and keeps residents and visitors alike guessing on what tomorrow will bring!"
Yes, that's what it's like here. There's a local saying, "If you don't like the weather, wait ten minutes."

Picture of Maple LakePaw Paw is the heart of Michigan's wine country. The main industry is grapes. Paw Paw has two winneries, St. Julian Winery and Warner Wine Haus.

The second weekend in September is the Annual Wine and Harvest Festival. It's a heavily attended event with a grape stomp competition, winery tours, wine tasting, carnival, quality craft show, games, hole in one tournament, parade, community breakfast, music, tournaments, and, of course, local merchant specials.

My favorite part of the festival is the fireworks on Friday night. They are shot off over Maple Lake, a large shallow lake in the middle of Paw Paw. All around the lake are grassy banks where the spectators bring blankets to sit outside on a beautiful late summer evening.

Those last few days of summer are always extra special because we know that a long, cold winter is coming soon.

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