Michigan vs. Massachusetts

Fenton Travel Blog

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August 13-Sept. 3, 2007:  Michigan


            After saying goodbye to Boston and the state I called home for 5.5 years, I drove for 12 hours to reach my Dad’s house at 3:15am.  I immediately went to sleep.

            It took me about four days to get over the culture shock of being back in Michigan.  The culture around Boston is much different from any areas of Michigan, especially Livingston County.  Even though I spent the first 22 years of my life mostly in Michigan, being in Boston changed a lot about my outlook and demeanor. 

For example, hunting is a major past-time in Michigan with some public school systems allowing the first day of deer hunting season to be taken off as a holiday.  So, you can imagine the outlook toward guns is much different than in Massachusetts where it is a lot more difficult to get  a gun license, and much more difficult to obtain a permit to carry a concealed firearm on your person.

Another example of the differences is the percentage of American cars on the road in Michigan compared to Massachusetts.  Since The Big Three automakers have their headquarters in Michigan, and hundred of thousands of people owe their incomes to those three companies you can imagine that people would drive the vehicles that they had a hand in putting on the road.  Therefore, I would say the percentage of American cars driven in lower MI is around 90%, with an increasing percentage the farther you go north.  I’ve heard stories that if you park a foreign (or even a rival American car company) car

There are many more examples of the differences.  I’ll touch on just one more since I was very shocked to learn this when I moved to MA.  They only legalized tattoos and piercings in MA in the past four years.  It astounded me when I first moved to MA that they were not legal.  Of course one could just drive 30 minutes north or south to get their septum pierced, but to not have it legal?  Crazy it seemed to me, especially when MA is supposed to be one of the most liberal states in the country.  Why would they care if people want to pierce their flesh with metal objects or paint their flesh with ink?

Ok, I can’t help myself; here are some more differences:

-         Gay marriage:  legal in MA, not in MI

-         Beer and liquor in grocery stores and gas stations:  legal in MI, not in MA

-         Smoking in bars, restaurants, etc.:  illegal in MA (thank God), not in MI

-         The following are statistics not validated by any scientific study, but just approximations.  Take them with a grain of pepper:

o       Percentage of people who own a pickup truck or van:  MI = about 40%, MA = about 20%

o       Average distance to the nearest dirt road:  MI (at least where I grew up) = about 10 minutes, MA = are there dirt roads in MA?

o       Speed limits: 

§         MI

·        Expressways:  70mph

·        Highways:  55mph

·        Unmarked roads (lots of roads do not have speed limit postings):  55mph

§         MA

·        The rip-off turnpike, I-90:  65mph

·        Non-turnpike expressways:  55mph


Ok, I haven’t touched on the differences in people!  The biggest difference is the hurriedness that people in MA display compared to the relaxed state of most Michiganders.  A person in Michigan may beep their car horn at someone who hasn’t moved for 5 seconds after the light turns green, whereas a driver in MA would beep after 0.00001 seconds. 

Michigan and Massachusetts are both blue states; they vote for Democrats for Presidents.  But, many counties in Michigan are Republican.  The few large and democratic cities in Michigan (Detroit, Flint, Grand Rapids, Saginaw, Bay City, Ann Arbor, suburbs of Detroit) offset these Republican counties.

Which state do I prefer?  Well, I’ve come to realize it’s not the location you live, but the people you live around that make life enjoyable.  Since my family and long-time friends live in Michigan, I prefer Michigan.  It took me a few years to realize this, but the saying is true; “There’s no place like home.”

After about four days I was adjusted, and just in time too; I bet my parents were starting to get tired of me saying things like “I can’t believe how many American cars are on the road”, or “People are so slow!!”

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photo by: TabithaKirschbaum