Jamie and I have put together the following list to help those who plan on visiting Alpena (aka “The town that wouldn’t die,” “A warm and friendly port,” “Michigan’s Advenshore” — and our birthplaces) in the near future. You’re welcome.
1. Marvel at the Ice Tree. (This should only take 5 seconds.)
2. Attend a riveting theatrical performance at Thunder Bay Theatre.
3. Attend an equally riveting theatrical performance at Alpena Civic Theatre. Say hey to Carol Witherbee.
4. Steal a street sign.
5. Go in search of the phantom Broadway Deli.
6. Wander the Alpena County Library.
7. Climb on the cannon outside the Courthouse until someone kicks you off.
8. Get drunk at The Owl.
9. Get drunk at Latitudes. Say hey to Carisa’s parents.
11. Royal Knight Cinema.
12. Order a soup bowl at John A. Lau.
13. Play “What’s still in business today?” at the Alpena Mall.
14. Smell ABT Co.
15. Drive down Big Gay Blvd; be sad that it’s now paved.
16. Go to Walmart; See former high school classmates.
17. Get yourself some fast cash and guns at Fast Cash ‘n Guns!
18. Get a cosmetology degree at Alpena Hollywood School of Beauty.
19. Actually, the Hollywood School of Beauty isn’t called that anymore, which is a pity.
20. Make it a special weekend! Book a pool-side room at the Holiday Inn.
21. Try and play mini-golf at Lee’s, if it’s still open.
22. Go stand where Hunan used to be.
23. Two words: DUCK PARK
24. Yell something in K-Mart. See if it echoes.
25. Get amazing deals on used books at The Book Exchange.
26. Get a coffee at DD and get a glimpse as to the coffee of the civilized world.
27. Buy lawn ornaments at Big Lots.
28. Chili Dog/Coney Island
29. Get swimmers itch at Starlight beach.
30. Go stand in the mall and remember the glory that was Camelot Music.
31. Take a figure skating lesson.
33. Watch a Wildcat hockey game.
34. Laugh at those dorks who are taking figure skating lessons.
35. Go visit Alpena General Hospital, which is now called Alpena Regional Medical Center, after being cut by a pissed-off figure skating mom’s ice blade for making fun of figure skaters. (Sorry Palin, it’s a fallacy. Figure skating moms will kick hockey mom’s asses any day of the week.)
36. Day trip! Posen Potato Festival.
37. Looking for a truly local experience? Hang out in the 7-11 parking lot.
38: Drive on US 23 during a snow storm without careening off into the bay. Fun times.
39. Collect unemployment.
40. Time to get fancy! Spend unemployment check on cocktails at “Cork and Olive.”
41. Drive 75 in a 55 zone out by the quarry.
42. Attend a performance by the Alpena High School Treble Chorus.
43. Sneak into the playground at Ella White Elementary.
44. Get some deals at the Dollar Tree.
45. Get even better deals at Quality Farm and Fleet. You need a tractor. Don’t lie.
46. Ping pong at the youth club? I think so!
47. Experience down home cookin’ at…Kentucky Fried Chicken.
48. Is it the week of the Brown Trout Festival? If it is, you lucked out!
49. I’m sure there’s a mud bog somewhere.
50. Marvel at all the orange if it’s deer season.
51. Marvel at all the orange if it’s not deer season.
52. Buy a hot pink camouflage hoodie at Glick’s. Just for the irony of it.
53. Cage fights? Christian rock concerts? Painting classes? There’s always some goings on at the Alpena County Fairgrounds.
54. Order the garlic chicken at Mandarin Garden. And then go shopping at K-Mart across the street. See #24 for extra fun ideas.
55. Um…go back to Walmart?
56. Seriously – there’s a deal to be had there. I suggest the package enhancing underwear.
57. Um….oh, I know! Jesse Besser Museum. Where the displays are so old, they’re museum pieces unto themselves.
58. Go out back to the old buildings at the Museum. Put on an old-timey dress and roll down a hill. You’re Laura Ingalls!
59. Do some meth.
60. Drive aimlessly around the Walmart parking lot, eschewing all rules of driving. Preferably not after #59, but whatever.
61. Find Jesus at a local church. There are lots.
62. One or the other Dairy Queen has to be open.
63. Kick over “McCain/Palin” signs.
64. Get a stomachache at Hungry Howie’s Pizza.
65. Try BOTH Big Boys.
66. Pretend you care about the Maritime Museum.
67. Walk out on the rock wall.
68. Freak out parents by lurking around the kiddie park.
69. Go play on the band shell. No one but skateboarders uses it.
70. Get a Slurpee. Put alcohol in it.
71. Get another Slurpee. Say hey to your friends in the 7-11 parking lot.
72. Eat your leftover garlic chicken. What – your dad ate it? Drink a beer instead.
73. Start a bad habit.
74. Buy something fancy at Myer’s Furs And Fashions.
75. Get a lotto ticket.
76. Search for grammatical errors in The Alpena News.
77. Send said grammatical errors to the editor of The Alpena News.
78. Feel smug of having completed #77.
79. Back to Walmart.
80. A night out at the Bowling Alley!
81. Go to Pizza Hut. Remember the Book-It program too fondly.
82. Watch the singing vegetable sprinklers at Neimann’s.
83. While at Neimann’s, play “Spot Hal.”
84. Roll a marble down the hallway of the Alpena Mall.
85. Go back to Walmart. You forgot cheese.
86. Find Bob. Marvel at the pretty thing he got at Meyers Furs and Fashions.
87. Look at ALL the Christmas lights. If it’s Christmas. If not, doesn’t matter – they could easily still be up anyway.
88. Take a bike ride along the bike path.
89. Count how many trucks drive by you on your bike ride playing Country music.
90. Get a car wash.
91. Apply to be a guest on “Talk of the Town.”
92. I suggest Linke’s Flowers over the other ones. But it’s your funeral, man.
93. Feel bad that the local businesses are going out of business. Console yourself by visiting Walmart again. They sell liquor now!
94. Stock up on sweaters! JC Penny is going out of business – for the fifth year in a row!
95. TP a house on State Street!
96. Challenge for you: Try to find a cast recording of a Sondheim show – without looking in the library or going online. It’s a quest of Quixotic proportions.
97. Visit the site of the former (and real) Thunder Bay Jr. High. And now you feel old.
98. Final night: Bar crawl on Chisholm street.
99. Walmart’s got a sale on windbreakers? I’m there!
100. Start a nasty, dirty rumor about yourself – and FLEE! Congratulations: You’re now a legend on the Sunrise Side.