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View Poll Results: Does the Midwest get short changed on people's perceptions of it?
Yes 22 73.33%
No 8 26.67%
Voters: 30. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-14-2019, 06:03 AM
 
Location: Chicago
6,314 posts, read 6,750,588 times
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Does the Middle West get short changed based on the perceptions people have of it? Particularly when it comes to natural beauty?

All regions of the US get stereotyped. But when it comes to topography and the nature of the land, none do as much as the midwest, IMPO.

It seems to me that the Midwest gets written off as flat and covered by corn fields when the reality is far different.

Look at the Appalachian Mountains. Eastern Ohio is within the Appalachian foot hills, but that is not the image people have of it. Those foot hills is also in Pennsylvania and West Virginia and will come across as feeling mountainous...but cross the line into Ohio and that changes.

The Great Lakes share so much in common with the oceans insofar as they reach to the horizons. Their beauty is undeniable. And the blue of the water and the spectacular beaches are not seen in comparison to coastal beaches. And parts of the lakefronts...in places like Door County, Wisconsin, and Mackinac Island, Michigan have a rocky, coastal look that might make them New England. And a nautical culture to go with it.

Hills abound in the midwest. Cincinnati has to be one of the hilliest of all US cities. Places like Galena, IL, have streets with a similar grade to San Francisco. The 30 mile drive from Bloomington to Nashville, IN, takes forever as it twists and turns through the hills.

Lakes and forests blanket the upper midwest. Obviously there is so much else beautiful about the midwest and I hardly could include even a fraction of it here.

Although natural cities were my focus, even the man-made, it seems to me, does not get the credit it deserves in the midwest. Our cities get short changed, often with the absurd "well, except for Chicago, of course" while we have exceedingly urban and urbane cities across the region. In so many ways, our cities are like those in New England and the Mid-Atlantic....they grew during the same time eastern cities did in the era of industrialization, immigration, and urbanization following the Civil War.

What are your thoughts about the Midwest and whether or not it is short changed in people's perceptions?
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Old 09-14-2019, 08:03 AM
 
Location: Maryland
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Yes, but also because we tend to focus on generally accepted beautiful locations: mountains, beaches, oceans. I personally also find beauty and serenity in wide open spaces, prairie, and stretching blue skies, which the Midwest has in spades, from Minnesota to Ohio and in between, and that isn't objectively "ugly," as there's no such thing.
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Old 09-14-2019, 08:24 AM
 
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Anyone who doesn't think Wisconsin is beautiful, has never spent time in Wisconsin. Same for some other Midwestern states. Michigan is beautiful, as well...along with northern Minnesota along Lake Superior. Illinois and Indiana, not so much, but every state in every other region is not stunningly beautiful, either.

Last edited by Enean; 09-14-2019 at 08:38 AM..
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Old 09-14-2019, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Chicago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enean View Post
Anyone who doesn't think Wisconsin is beautiful, has never spent time in Wisconsin. Same for some other Midwestern states. Michigan is beautiful, as well...along with northern Minnesota along Lake Superior. Illinois and Indiana, not so much, but every state in every other region is not stunningly beautiful, either.
I'm with you. I'd put Michigan right up there with Wisconsin...although Michigan gets a big edge based on its shoreline on Lake Michigan being nice than Wisconsin's (personally when it comes to Lake Michigan in WI, I find Milwaukee and its northern suburbs to be the most beautiful section on Lk Michigan; heck, even Door County clings to Green Bay, not the lake). That said, both states have spectacular scenery. Madison is one of the most beautiful capital cities in the nation.

Illinois is limited as you say, but northwest around Galena is beautiful. Southern IL and Southern IN are hilly and scenic.....although Indiana gets the edge easily over Illinois on that one.
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Old 09-14-2019, 12:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by edsg25 View Post
I'm with you. I'd put Michigan right up there with Wisconsin...although Michigan gets a big edge based on its shoreline on Lake Michigan being nice than Wisconsin's (personally when it comes to Lake Michigan in WI, I find Milwaukee and its northern suburbs to be the most beautiful section on Lk Michigan; heck, even Door County clings to Green Bay, not the lake). That said, both states have spectacular scenery. Madison is one of the most beautiful capital cities in the nation.

Illinois is limited as you say, but northwest around Galena is beautiful. Southern IL and Southern IN are hilly and scenic.....although Indiana gets the edge easily over Illinois on that one.
Yes, Galena is beautiful. That entire area in the corner of MN, WI, IL, and IA, is stunning. IL has Chicago, and that's definitely a win As far as Milwaukee....completely underrated. People who have never been there, don't have a clue.
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enean View Post
Yes, Galena is beautiful. That entire area in the corner of MN, WI, IL, and IA, is stunning. IL has Chicago, and that's definitely a win As far as Milwaukee....completely underrated. People who have never been there, don't have a clue.
absolutely right. And if they don't know that, they probably don't have a clue that two terrific cities, Milwaukee and Madison, are about an hour apart. Indeed with the connections between the three already in place and the degree of regional planning/connections, the triangle of Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison is pretty impressive (they sort of slip Rockford in as the fourth, but Rockford is not in the same ballpark as the other three)
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Old 09-14-2019, 01:49 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by edsg25 View Post
absolutely right. And if they don't know that, they probably don't have a clue that two terrific cities, Milwaukee and Madison, are about an hour apart. Indeed with the connections between the three already in place and the degree of regional planning/connections, the triangle of Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison is pretty impressive (they sort of slip Rockford in as the fourth, but Rockford is not in the same ballpark as the other three)
Yes, I agree completely. People who know, know. Others, on this site, find some way to throw shade at this, but their denying it, doesn't change a thing.
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Old 09-14-2019, 02:59 PM
 
Location: Get off my lawn?
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My 2 cents. I don’t think the Midwest overall gets perceptually shortchanged on natural beauty, as the topographies that most would consider “beautiful” are often tucked away from the major cities, and often are only discovered by the folks living there.

The cities themselves are usually vibrant, and the best ones leverage their natural waterways (lakes, rivers), but the flat “see forever” can dominate. I’ve lived in Chicago (on the lake) and in Indianapolis (near a river, but still eerily kinda in the corn...), and have traveled extensively by car, train, and plane throughout the area.

It’s only when I’ve gotten outside the major metros when (from my perspective) the real, natural topographic beauty kicks in ( e.g. Brown County, Indiana, or heading west, northwest from Madison, Wisconsin or the Dells over to LaCrosse, or to the north of Michigan, from Mackinaw to the UP). I could see the dunes on Lake Michigan’s southern shore from my apartment in Chicago, but only drove out there once (through lovely Gary...). Almost “hidden gems” that require an insiders perspective to find!

I’ll say that Cincinnati definitely doesn’t feel “Midwest” to me. Ohio River seems to be its own thing. I love those hills.

I think Texas suffers from a similar “natural beauty” perception, as not everyone makes it out to the Hill Country, or the western mountains, or the beautiful beaches of South Padre.
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Old 09-14-2019, 06:20 PM
 
Location: Chi > DC > Reno > SEA
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The bulk of what you see while driving through the most populous Midwest states (Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, etc.) is basically endless, flat farmland.

That being said I don't think the majority of land in the South or the Northeast is particularly beautiful (or hilly) either; the Midwest just gets singled out for it. And as pleasing to conventional aesthetics as the Western deserts, mountain ranges, and rainforests are, driving through that for hours on end kinda ruins the mystique.
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Old 09-14-2019, 06:36 PM
 
Location: Pacific NW
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I guess I’m biased as a born and raised Midwesterner, but I think Michigan is one of the most beautiful states in the country, and is probably overlooked as a general rule. The western coast of Michigan is one of my favorite parts of the country.

I do think the Ozarks are beautiful as well. Lots of beautiful hilly areas down there.
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