Sunday, July 28, 2013

Must. See. Michigan.

This summer, I've been overcome with the feeling that my family needs to get out and explore a bit of our great state.  Rumor has it that my older child will be studying Michigan history this year, so I thought it best that her experience include more than just a couple of trips on Detroit's People Mover and a dip in one of the many Long Lakes.

summer, 2011
Long Lake, near Alpena, MI, July 2012

So we piled in the car and headed north.

First stop, Suttons Bay to see my almost-93-year-old grandmother.  She is Pure Michigan, having left the state only once (to my knowledge) for a grandson's wedding in St. Louis about 15 years ago.  Having been an artist in her earlier years, we thought it would be fun for her to participate in the scheduled craft activity.  She mostly watched

as did my older daughter and Music Man.

These hands have created and cared for so much and so many over the years, but that day, they were still.

After that, we headed to Glen Arbor and the Sleeping Bear Dunes.  Here we are on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive.

Who can resist dipping your feet in Lake Michigan?

The next morning, there happened to be a 5K race, so Music Man suited up and joined in.  Luckily, he was one of the few wearing neon orange, so he was easy to spot!

The start and finish lines were at the Cherry Republic, a store devoted to all things cherry.

In the afternoon, we climbed the dunes.  The sand!  The breeze!  The views!  This is Michigan.

We also visited long lost relatives for a little farm tour and dinner at their sweet home in Northport.  Cousins!  Second cousins!  Horses!  Rabbits!  Bantam chickens!  Stop action movies!  Lasagna!  Acres of cherry trees!  This is Michigan.

Next on the itinerary was Mackinac Island, so we drove to Mackinaw City, caught the ferry to the island, and explored the downtown.  Within minutes, we were seeing fudge being made and strolling through the public library.

We decided to rent tandem bikes and spent about an hour training ourselves to maneuver them.

Our efforts paid off and we cruised around the island, viewing the water, the trees, the Grand Hotel, the Governor's House, the hills, the horses, the Arch Rock, the fort, and the little neighborhoods.  This is Michigan.

Tired and happy, we ate a fun dinner, and carried Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream cones onto the ferry towards the mainland.

photo by Josi, age 7

We spent the night in Cheboygan and explored a bit of Lake Huron's shoreline before driving back downstate.  This is Michigan.

can you see the Mackinac Bridge?

We stopped for lunch in Gaylord and I heard myself asking the restaurant's hostess, "We're looking for something to do in the area, and I heard there is ... elk viewing."  "Yes, there is totally elk viewing!" she exclaimed and gave me directions.  It turns out there is a large herd of friendly elk and a few fallow deer a mile or two outside of downtown Gaylord.  Michigan safari!

We were glad to return home after such a fun and unique view of our state!

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