We believe the Newaygo story is best told by those experiencing it first hand. Our site content is developed in collaboration with local contributors that love to Go Exploring. Have a something you would like to share? We would love to hear from you!
Wendy Sinicki has been checking out the trails, paths and scenic dirt roads in Newaygo County since she was looking for a way to tire out her kids when they were toddlers. They are now out of college and she has more time to explore, but instead of running, she just walks. When not outside, she enjoys writing and reading.
Esther Jiran finds joy creating comfort for others, either through writing romantic comedies with happy endings or sewing fidget quilts that calm restless hands and minds. In between these moments, her time is occupied keeping her children’s minds and bodies busy and their bottomless tummies full or by running as much as she can.
Samantha Breza is a life-long native of Newaygo County. She recently graduated from Grand Valley State University with a B.A. She enjoys reading, writing, and taking long walks.
Nick Smith moved to Newaygo County in 2016. As a kid Nick developed a passion for the outdoors while camping in West Michigan every summer with his grandfather. Nick enjoys hunting, camping, snowmobiling and ice fishing.
Gabe Schillman is a full time working portrait artist and the owner/operator of Studio 37 Arts & Culture Center in Newaygo, MI. Gabe Schillman spent 13 years in Nashville, TN as a contract singer/ songwriter and has written and published 5 books including the 5 star critically acclaimed young reader’s novel, ‘Gabriel and the Woodlings’. As a full time working artist and studio owner, Gabe spends his days offering classes in a range of mediums including music, writing, drawing, and painting. Additionally, Gabe’s commissioned oil on canvas portraits are wildly popular and sought after.
Katie finds the outdoors rejuvenating: the bird songs, the breeze, the warm sun (when it’s here), and the smell of pine and damp soil. She even enjoys the winter when she can get outside and play. Newaygo has been that place of rejuvenation for her. After 32 years of teaching 6th grade, she is looking forward to this next phase of her life. She is a proud mother of two and grandmother of one. She and her husband plan to hike Newaygo County, work with others on the NCT, and just plain enjoy all the riches we have here.
Chris Kuebler lives and works in Newaygo County. He and his wife, a public high school art teacher, have lived in Grant for over 25 years. He works as the Communications Director for TrueNorth Community Service where he has been for about 20 years. In his spare time he enjoys playing the tenor guitar and writing & recording original music, biking, hiking and camping, yoga, tai chi, photography, traveling, swimming, kayaking, and working out. A former bow hunter, he prefers hunting wildlife with his camera these days and loves calling West Michigan home.
Being raised in the small Village of Roscommon, there wasn’t much to do other than to discover new things around you. Some of my favorite times, as a child, were right in my own community. Hiking through the State Parks, swimming in the lakes, fishing in the ponds, visiting the library, walking through small shops, tubing down the river, and visiting community festivals, are just a few things I enjoyed.
After High School I attended the local community college and then transferred to Central Michigan University, where I later graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Resource Management.
I relocated to Ohio, and found myself working long hours, weekends and Holidays. During my time in Ohio, I met a lot of very nice people, visited some awesome places, and found work as a hiring manager. Things were all heading in the right direction. The thing was, everyday I still missed Michigan.
A friend onced mentioned how, in my photos, from vacation to Michigan, I looked so much happier. That is when I decided that I really wanted to get back to Michigan. Life gave my significant other the opportunity for a dream job, and we relocated to Newaygo County.
After moving back to Michigan, I was lucky enough to find a job where my work hours are regular, with most weekends, and holidays off, and during the week, I am out early enough to go places before the day is over. This year I have made it my goal, to get up, get out, go adventuring and go exploring. Newaygo County is my new home, and I am determined to explore it’s many treasures, and to make new favorite memories.
Life is a highway… I want to ride it…Those are the words to a song from the movie “Cars” It’s about a famous road in the USA that few have traveled but many have longed for, they long for the simple times, and closer family life that was so common during the days of Route 66.
That’s my love. A time in the past… A place you can time warp back to and see how life was at a slower pace. There’s not much of that you can still find in the world today. But that’s why I travel… To see the world and how it is…… and what it was like.
I was born and raised in Newaygo County. I went to Newaygo Public School and graduated in 1981. (Don’t tell anyone I’m that old) I started with photography in the 80’s with and old film camera and fell in love with taking pictures. I worked for Kodak in the early 2000’s as a sales rep selling digital cameras and had some training over the years with them. Most of what I’ve learned has been over the internet and practice, practice…
I got the travel bug at an early age and have traveled with my family over the years. I have worked in the travel industry for different companies and that has given me the chance to travel the world. It has opened the door to many places and given me a new look on life. There is a big wonderful world just past Newaygo County. The people are different, but… a lot alike… and that’s not a bad thing.
Some of the places I love to visit in the past few years have been the National Parks, Route 66, and most recently Cuba. I hope you enjoy my photos as much as I have enjoyed taking them and talking about my adventures. What’s next… Who knows… Iceland, Brazil, China, the 7 wonders of the world…. Maybe Newaygo County and the rest of Michigan. Life is a highway, Don’t run out of gas on this adventure.
We want to hear from you.
If you are a Newaygo enthusiast we would love to hear your story idea or see your photography. Let’s talk!