Heather Grace was recently named Buchanan city manager. Originally from West Branch, Grace comes to Buchanan to replace the retiring William Marx. She is a practicing attorney and former city manager of West Branch, which is located in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula.

Heather Grace

What do you think makes Michiana unique by comparison to other places?
The first thing that struck me was the trees, believe it or not. It is more diverse foliage than I am used to in northern Michigan. It is beautiful with a lot of flowering trees. Then when I learned that area is known as the “Red Bud” community I fully understood why. The beauty was just overwhelming.

What is your favorite place to visit in Michiana?
I went and checked out Fernwood Nature Center and Botanical Garden with my children. I found that to be absolutely gorgeous. I did the McCoy Creek Trail, and I was really sort of blown with how in a very short distance down the main trail, you get to where it branches off that go through some beautiful wooded areas with the creek meandering down, not into a valley, but a lower-lying area. It is really, really pretty how much variety there is out there to see. And so many different paths to walk and really explore. I thought that was really a unique opportunity to get out into nature.

If you were to meet someone planning a visit to the Michiana area for the first time, what places would you tell them or her not to miss?
I would actually direct them to the Fernwood Botanical Gardens because it gives you that flavor of the beautiful variety of natural abundances here as far as great amount of different type of flowers that bloom. They bloom so much larger here than they do in northern Michigan. I was really surprised at how spectacular they bloom here.

What is your favorite time of year?
My favorite time of year is actually autumn. I like to see the different colors of the trees. 