Michigan is last stop for mother-daughter duo’s 50-state goal


Joan and Frances Parker have traveled the world together, but their latest big achievement was stopping in Michigan.

The mother-daughter duo have been to every continent except for Antarctica. And now, after crossing the state line into Michigan, the two can finally say they’ve been to all 50 states.

“It’s been an adventure,” daughter Frances said. 

The two have taught at the same school, where they’re known as Mama Parker and Ms. Parker. When Mama Parker retired, Ms. Parker took over her mother’s preschool classroom.

Frances obviously has great affection for her “little people,” but when the school year starts to get stressful, her escape is to think about summer vacation.

“I’ll get on the computer and start dreaming and planning and researching,” Frances said.

Given her July itinerary, she has the chops to be a professional travel agent. The Parker ladies visited Michigan’s greatest hits, from a boat tour of Pictured Rocks to a carriage ride on Mackinac Island to hunting for gnomes in Frankenmuth.

As Seventh-day Adventists, they came to Battle Creek to get a tour of Adventist Village. Joan and Frances stopped by the Battle Creek Welcome Center to take a photo with Tony the Tiger and pick up some souvenirs.

What comes next for the worldwide traveling duo? State capitols. 

While pandemic closures prevented them getting to add a Lansing stamp to their travel passport, they already have a good start on the collection.

Joan says the most impressive building they’ve seen so far is in Harrisburg, which has a very ornate, gilded state capitol. It was the opposite of the very stark Maine State House.

Located in downtown Battle Creek, the Welcome Center has a gift shop and staff members can answer your questions about the area. This summer we’ve helped visitors with everything from breakfast recommendations to RV park websites. We’re open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

We wish Joan and Frances many happy returns on their future adventures.

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