Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Explore Four Greater Lansing Communities

Written by Brooke Weatherford
Holt
         Holt, also known as Delhi township, is located south-east of Lansing.  Holt is a unique community because it effortlessly joins the warm, small town feel of a rural area, with the comfortability of a suburban community, while still maintaining the benefits of being located near the larger cities of Lansing and East Lansing.  Holt recently received a Gold status for the Michigan Green Community Challenge, recognizing the outstanding efforts to be an environmentally sustainable community.  Holt hosts a number of events, including the Farmers Market , and Music in the Garden, which is a free event occurring Thursdays in July at the Veterans Memorial Park.  Speaking of parks, Holt is home to 100 acres of parks, creating a beautiful scene for outdoor recreation.  The Holt Public Schools are among the best in Mid-Michigan, with the spotlight on the beautifully renovated Holt Senior High, which offer a wide array of sports, extracurricular activities and a top notch teaching staff.  Overall, Holt is a wonderful, balanced community.
 St. Johns
           Twenty minutes north of Lansing is St. Johns, also known as the Mint Festival City. St. Johns is, for the most part, a rural community; however, it is home to a few big attractions that bring in people from all over the state.  The first of these is the annual Mint Festival, which celebrates the town’s 100+ years of mint farming, held in early August. The Mint Festival brings together a variety of events, family activities, and vendors of food, crafts, and flea market items. The Mint Festival is a source of pride for the town as it is an exciting event for people from all over the area.  Another St. Johns attraction is Uncle John’s Cider Mill and Fruithouse Winery  Located on the primary artery to northern Michigan, Uncle John’s is an autumn destination for picking pumpkins, eating homemade doughnuts, drinking fresh-pressed apple cider and wagon ride orchard tours.  Visitors can actually watch the entire process of making  that delicious cider.  Family-oriented fun abounds with tons of fall and Halloween themed activities such as a haunted house, hayride through the pumpkin patch, playground and train rides. It provides fun for the whole family and brings great tourism to St. Johns.  Lastly, St. Johns is home to Sleepy Hollow State Park which provides a host of recreational activities such as camping, fishing, canoing and kayaking.  The park also features miles of marked trails for hiking, cross-country skiing and horseback riding.  So, although St. Johns is a small town, there are some big benefits to calling it home, or even just stopping by for some cider or mint!
Charlotte
              Charlotte is located 25 minutes south of Lansing and is the seat of Eaton County.  The town has easy access to interstates 69, 96 and 94, making for a comfortable commute to and from Lansing.  The “Frontier Days Festival” city has much to offer, including a healthy array of downtown shops, restaurants and businesses.  With both big chains, and small, family-owned businesses, the business district can cater to your needs. Charlotte has an abundance of high quality, yet affordable, houses as well as charming historic homes. The townspeople value their town’s heritage and preserving historic sites like the beautiful Courthouse Square Museum.  Charlotte is home to multiple parks; Bennett Park, Lincoln Park and Veterans Memorial Park are the largest. During the summer, free concerts are held at Veterans Memorial Park for all to enjoy.  The Eaton Country Fairgrounds are located here, the site for the annual 4-H fair. As for educational opportunities, Charlotte has an award winning public school system and state of the art facilities to make sure the kids get a successful education. The Charlotte Performing Arts Center is the crown jewel of the high school and regularly hosts regionally acclaimed artists.  Charlotte is only 15 minutes away from Olivet College.  Charlotte brings the community together for a number of festivals each year, including the Celebrate Charlotte! Festival held on Father’s Day weekend each year, the Wilder Bluegrass Festival, Frontier Days, and a few holiday events such as a Halloween costume parade, and holiday light parade.  So, if you’re looking for a small town with some big character, stop off the highway and visit Charlotte.
 Grand Ledge
                 Grand Ledge is located 13 miles west of Lansing, and is most commonly known for its 300-million year old sandstone quartz rock ledges that extend up the banks of the Grand River.  Grand Ledge is a great location for outdoor enthusiasts who still enjoy close proximity to city life.  The abundant parks and nature trails system, in addition with its residence along the Grand River, provide a multitude of outdoor activities. Oak Park is the gateway to “The Ledges” of the town, which provides some of the only natural rock climbing in Michigan. The most intense ledges run along the North side of the river, with more family friendly, scenic trails on the south side. Climbers come from all over the state to experience this landmark. Other parks in town include Fitzgerald Park, Island Park, and Lincoln Brick Park. At these parks you can find up to 3 miles of nature trails, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, volleyball courts, disk golf courses, playgrounds, canoe launches, picnic pavilions, swimming beaches, and cross country skiing trails. There is no shortage of recreational activity venues in this town.  Grand Ledge hosts a number of other attractions, including horseback riding at Sundance Stables, Ledge Meadows Golf Course, and the Michigan Princess Riverboat . Grand Ledge boasts a great public school system that provides students access to new computers, wireless classrooms, and advanced technology, along with award-winning performing arts and athletic programs.  The town’s close proximity to Lansing, East Lansing, and Michigan State University provides a number of cultural, social and entertainment opportunities just a short drive away.   Grand Ledge is a town that provides many ways for you to enjoy nature’s gifts, while staying close to the benefits of city life.

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