Looking for a last-minute holiday gift? A wealth of ideas for presents that involve the Great Lakes might be in a store not far from you or can be easily found on websites.
For the past year as I’ve travelled throughout the Great Lakes region, I’ve seen stores selling everything from jewelry, pottery, toys, glassware, clothing, quilts and much more with Great Lakes themes in stores from Duluth to Cleveland to Marquette to Buffalo. Some of them have charitable connections, or portions of the proceeds go to organizations that help protect the Great Lakes.
In the Detroit area alone, you can find several shops that emphasize Great Lakes products.
At City Bird in Detroit’s midtown, I found Great Lakes T-shirts, cards, trays, glassware, a Great Lakes necklace and cufflinks, the famous Great Lakes decals for your car or bike, and a wide array of products designed with Great Lakes themes.
Near Detroit’s Eastern Market along Russel Street, Detroit Mercantile Company’s Robert Stanzler sells what’s called the Haptic Lab Great Lakes Quilt, an original-design Edmund Fitzgerald shirt, books about Great Lakes maritime history, framed lithographs of Great Lakes vessels and Great Lakes antiques that include a lamp and bookends made from wood salvaged from the 1844 wreck of The Jacob Astor, the first US ship launched on Lake Superior
In Ann Arbor, Randy Parrish, owner of Parrish Fine Framing and Art sells a set of prints that represent each of the five Great Lakes.
In Lansing, Roger Nowland, Gallery Manager with Great Lakes Arts and Gifts, an artists’ cooperative featuring the work of 40 members, sells various Great Lakes-themed works of art, from photos of waterfalls, stars and water in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, to paintings of landscapes throughout the Great Lakes.
In Northern Michigan, a shop in Petoskey called Lake Affect features Great Lakes products like a candle and cologne that were designed to smell like the air coming in off of Lake Michigan.
And a store called Grandpa Shorter’s, also in Petoskey, sells many items with Great Lakes themes including this mug, below.
The foods of the Great Lakes Region are featured by quite a few stores that have a large following on their websites as well as in their brick-and-mortar locations.
American Spoon Foods, also in Petoskey, Michigan makes jams and jellies from produce gathered throughout the Great Lakes Region like wild blueberry and wild elderberry jam and sells dried morel mushrooms, too.
And Traverse City’s Cherry Republic specializes in selling the region’s famous cherries in various forms, from dried to chocolate covered to sugar coated, and also makes a mean cherry salsa.
But there’s another way to honor the Great Lakes in your holiday gift giving: by giving the present of a donation to your favorite organization that protects the Great Lakes. There are dozens of non-profit groups all across the region working hard to make sure the Great Lakes provide drinking water, recreation and jobs to millions of people for generations to come. (And remember: your gift is tax deductible, too.)
If you’ve seen a Great Lakes themed item or piece of art you’d like to share with us, or if you have a special Great Lakes gift-giving idea, please tweet it using the hashtag #GreatLakesGifts17 or share on Facebook (Link to FB post on this article).