March 1, 2016 by cathyfitz Michigan, United States 0

A Friendly Recommendation Led to a Bucket List Experience

Did you know you can go dog sledding in Michigan? While discussing plans for a trip to enjoy winter activities in the Upper Peninsula, a friend suggested dog sledding. Really? How cool! So thankful for this tip – it was the highlight of our trip! The adventure began with a good night’s sleep and hearty breakfast at Chamberlin’s Old Forest Inn. Only  a 30 minute drive to Nature’s Kennel, it’s the perfect place to stay. They even offer a package for lodging, breakfast, dinner, and dog sledding. It was also nice to be able to return for dinner by the cozy fire.   After breakfast we bundled up from head to toe. Be prepared – it is cold riding on the sled. You aren’t moving much and the wind is coming right at you. We were pretty well equipped with wind pants, warm coats, hats, gloves, and muffs. The kennel has a supply of extra warm boots to borrow – take advantage – they kept our feet toasty warm! The drive to the kennel was slow going, but beautiful. What a blessing to have such a gorgeous sunshiny day! It was thrilling to be greeted by the happy, well cared for dogs as we entered […]

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Fall in The Keweenaw Peninsula | Michigan

The time spent on the road during our fall road trip to the Upper Peninsula (UP) was amazing, but the Keweenaw Peninsula felt like we had entered another world. The network of wild nature preserves, parks, and beaches in the Keweenaw Coastal Wildlife Corridor are now protected for their scenic beauty and pure air in an area that once produced a large percentage of the world’s copper.   Our first stop upon arrival in Copper Harbor was at the Dapple Gray Bed & Breakfast. We were not disappointed in the beautiful log cabin as our hosts Ole, Ruth & Abe welcomed us to their home.           Once settled in, we took a quick ride through the town of Copper Harbor. What are the chances of seeing a line of vintage cars parked at a motel? It really did feel like another world or moment in time.     From there we headed up to enjoy the sunset view from Brockway Mountain scenic drive, stopping at the Copper Harbor Overlook, for a view of the little town we had just visited. The trees were just beginning to turn so the fall color weren’t what we had hoped for, but the views were […]

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Fall Road Trip in the Upper Peninsula (UP) Michigan

We left Traverse City on September 30 for a 4 day road trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (the UP). It was a little early for peak fall color, but the UP is beautiful in every season. The UP feels like you have entered another country. It’s hard to imagine this remote area surrounded by Lake Superior is actually part of the state of Michigan. We were heading for the Keweenaw Peninsula, the farthest point north. The destination was well worth the trip, but the stops we made along the way there and back were just as amazing. The best part of road trips is often taking the time to stop and smell the roses – or like we did, enjoy the whitefish and parmesan potatoes at the Weathervane Restaurant along the water in Charlevoix, stopping to stretch our legs along the beach shores of Lake Michigan, and spotting wildlife along the 7 mile loop of Seney Wildlife Nature Refuge.   There is a turn off to Seney National Wildlife Refuge along M77 just before you reach M28. On the way up we drove the 7 mile loop in the Refuge which takes about an hour. On the way back we hiked about 1 1/2 miles around the lake. Stop into the visitor […]

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ArtPrize Grand Rapids, MI

Yesterday we made a day trip to Grand Rapids, MI (about 140 miles south of Traverse City). The trip was for a business meeting, but the weather was beautiful and I was able to enjoy some time walking around the vibrant downtown area. We happened to be there just two days before the annual ArtPrize event. Even though we weren’t able to visit all the final works of art, it was pretty cool to get a sneak peak of works in progress as the diverse group of artists set up displays for the upcoming event.         According to the Art Prize website there are “more than 1500 works of art at 160+ venues across three square miles of Grand Rapids.” The seventh annual event runs from September 23 – October 11 with artwork in every space you can imagine throughout the downtown area. There are displays outdoors, inside venues, and on the windows. It’s a lot of fun to walk the streets meandering in and out of the buildings to take it all in. Anyone over the age of 18 can participate in the international art competition which gives a grand total of $720,000 in grants and awards. There are two grand […]

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Glen Haven, Leland, and Fishtown | Michigan

A scenic 30 minute drive from Traverse City, up the Leelanau Peninsula is the quaint village of Glen Haven off M-109. We took a leisurely Sunday drive to this area recently and enjoyed one of those “perfect end of summer days”. There is so much rich history in this little area. It’s a great place to stroll through the buildings of the village and get a little feel for what it must have been like back when it was a frontier port for passing vessels and travelers. We spent a little time in the Blacksmith Shop, getting a little insight into how the smithy was able to bend, cut and shape red-hot iron into the metal objects needed by villagers. The 1920’s blacksmith shop is set up reminiscent of it’s prime with objects that might have been sitting around waiting for repair. The volunteer working in the shop gave us a little demonstration of bending the iron into a candlestick, or as she referred to it, an old style flashlight.     From the main village, follow the signs to the left to the The Sleeping Bear Point Coast Guard Station Maritime Museum. The Sleeping Bear Coast Guard Station (open from 1902-1942) was moved to this […]

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What I Did on My Summer Vacation in Michigan

Labor Day weekend traditionally marks the “official” end of summer. It seems we were just celebrating Memorial Day, getting in swim suit shape, and looking forward to the long, warm days ahead. How does it fly by so quickly?   Maybe I’m just being nostalgic remembering the annual back to school writing of  “What I Did On My Summer Vacation”. So even though there’s still time to enjoy warm days and ease into fall I decided to share a few of my favorite things about summer in and around my hometown, Traverse City, Michigan. Just click on underlined items in the list to get more information from my blog. Hope you’ve been enjoying your summer! In no particular order the best part of summer . . . Having the windows open – letting the outside in – hearing the birds sing Sailing Lessons at Great Lakes Sailing Biking Hanging out in our Hammocks  with a good book from Traverse Area District Library Pizza & salad from The Filling Station Occasionally splurging on Ice Cream Yoga classes at Yen Yoga and Fitness Meeting interesting people Learning history and fun facts about my hometown of Traverse City Cherry Festival – air show & fireworks – from our balcony Kayak Crystal River (on […]

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Red Sky at Morning Sailor Take Warning

If you see me at the helm of a sailboat – you might need to take warning! Bill & I recently completed a 4-day sailing course at Great Lakes Sailing. It was one of the most exciting, challenging, difficult, exhilarating, and scary things I have ever attempted. With no prior experience sailing or driving a boat, the amount of information was a little overwhelming. When given the helm at the end of the first day to park (I mean dock the boat), my mind went blank and panic set in. Terrified and frozen at the helm, the wind moved the boat in directions I did not want to go. Crashing into poles, the dock or other boats seemed a real possibility. Thankfully Bill and our new sailing class friend, Bob, jumped to my aid. Have you ever had great anticipation for something only to find it is not what you expected, or in this case much harder to accomplish than you expected? I have wanted to learn to sail for years, and always enjoy a chance to photograph sailboats. The picture in my mind of just gliding across the water didn’t follow through to the actual skills involved. Leaving class that first day, wanting to give up and convinced I would never […]

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Microbrew & Music Festival | Traverse City Michigan

A warm summer evening in a beautiful outdoor setting with yummy local food, craft brews, and great friends, all while grooving to awesome live music – there’s nothing quite like the atmosphere at a summer festival! When we heard Robert Randolph, one of our favorite artists, would be there, we were excited to attend The 8th annual Traverse City Summer Microbrew & Music Festival at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons.       The relaxed outdoor atmosphere was alive with musicians like the Delta blues and old-time jug music of The Steel City Jug Slammers.       This was the first time we heard local artists Billy Strings & Don Julin. Their high energy picking on the guitar and mandolin bring an extra layer of fun to their bluegrass tunes – would love to hear more of them!       The Lowdown Brass Band had the crowd rocking from the side stage pickup truck. How can you not clap, smile and move with them – the energy is contagious!     Robert Randolph and The Family Band did not let us down. It was a stellar performance and we had a blast standing right up front – dancing, singing and loving every […]

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Mackinac Island | Upper Peninsula Michigan

Last week I posted the first four days of our road trip to the Upper Peninsula (UP). We finished the last night and full day on Mackinac (mak-in-aw) Island, a magical little island that’s actually a part of the State of Michigan. To reach the island from Interstate I-75 you park your car either in Mackinaw City (Lower Peninsula) or St. Ignace (Upper Peninsula) and take a 16-30 minute ferry ride across. That is unless you have your own boat for transportation.       When you disembark the ferry you instantly feel transported back in time. It’s the perfect place to sit back, relax, and move at a slower pace. The absence of automobiles gives a sense of quiet and calm. Modes of transportation are walking, biking, or horse-drawn carriage.     Most of the island came under federal government protection in 1875. When the U.S. army soldiers left Fort Mackinac in 1895, the federal land became Michigan’s first state park. Private development was limited, preserving the Victorian architecture of the bluff cottages. Many of these beautiful homes, as well as the Fort Mackinac structures have been restored to their original condition hosting period reenactments and guided tours.     Last […]

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Upper Peninsula (UP) Michigan

We recently did a whirlwind tour of the Upper Peninsula (UP for short) in Michigan. It’s a nice road trip from our home in Traverse City with beautiful views along the way. The remote countryside has shoreline touching Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. The Peninsula touches more of Wisconsin than Michigan and has some areas further north than parts of Canada. It’s a place to enjoy pristine nature, endless hiking trails, forests, waterfalls, lighthouses, and inland lakes. You won’t find shopping malls or even many street lights up here. The year round residents are hearty people often referred to as Yoopers ( “UP-ers” – a native or resident of the UP). They love the outdoors and make the most of the tough winter months doing everything from ice fishing to outhouse racing. They are very kind and fun-loving with their own unique accent (Or, if you are a Yooper, you think everyone else has the accent).  You get a little feel for their good nature reading some of the jokes on cards and souvenirs in the gift shops. A few of my personal favorites: You might be a Yooper if… The word “Eh” seems to find its way onto the end of every sentence. Your county spends more […]

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