Sunday, August 29, 2021

Kate and Eric road trip to Michigan 2021

We had a great time on our road trip and would like to thank Grandmas and Grandpas for watching the kids. Kyle got RSV the Wednesday before we left and Cecilia picked up a bit of it while we were gone so they were home from school all week while Maeve attended gymnastics camp.

On Friday, we headed to Bayfield, WI - 4 hours - and stayed at the Old Rittenhouse Inn, breakfast was delicious but boat tour of Apostle Islands (Devils Island) cancelled due to high winds. Hiked for 4 hours to see sights on the Lakeshore Trail at Meyers beach of the Apostle Islands.

On Saturday, we headed out to Munising, MI with hopes to see Pictured Rocks - 5 hour drive. Overnight at Roam Inn and ate surf and turf at Tracey’s which was one of our favorite meals. Our room was above the restaurant and it wasn’t a good time to see northern lights due to low KP forecast (2-3 and needed to be above 5) but we enjoyed the night.

And then of course our Pictured rocks boat tour was cancelled on Sunday so we had breakfast at a bookstore- the Falling Rock Cafe and Bookstore and then explored Miner’s Castle by taking a very short hike to see it. Since we had extra time due to cancelled boat tour, we went to Tahquamenon Falls. We had a picnic lunch there and hiked to see the Upper Falls. They call it the root beer falls and we could tell why with the brown color. Then we drove 2.5 hours to Sault St Marie to see the Paul Tregurtha (queen of the lakes largest freighter) pass through the locks (45 minute process) and stayed at the Hampton Inn. We ate dinner at a cash only drive in burger place called West Pier which was amazing and minutes from the locks.

On Monday, we drove from Sault St Marie (1 hour) to Mackinac Island (boarded Shepler’s Ferry in St. Ignace as that was preferred Ferry for Grand Hotel) and spent the day biking around the island. We biked about 13 miles and saw the Arch Rock and many other historic sites. Stayed at The Grand Hotel and enjoyed pre-dinner drinks from the Geranium bar on the world's largest porch and took pictures on the front lawn. It was gorgeous. And then we took a horse ride carriage taxi to The Woods and enjoyed eating duck and elk. We later went to the rooftop bar, the Cupola, at the Grand where we watched the Saints pre season game and enjoyed the views. 

The next morning we had to wait in line to get breakfast and for the pool to open at 10am but wanted to check out the brand new pool before we had to check out at 11am. We could’ve spent a whole day at the pool. It was fun! We needed to shop and eat before we headed off the island so we biked some more and the hotel delivered our bags to the ferry and we stopped at Murdicks for world famous fudge and ate at Kingston at the village inn. We could definitely tell on this trip that there’s a staff shortage at restaurants so we were able to be patient and enjoyed mostly outdoor eating. 

We left Mackinac Island and headed to Traverse City. We arrived at our accommodations on a vineyard. It was lovely. At the Inn at Blackstar farms, they have happy hour and 10 rooms so a few people to talk to. Most couples celebrating anniversaries and they gave us some great recommendations for food, wine and excursions. We went to Hop Lot brewery (huge outdoor space with great contactless ordering) for dinner in Sutton’s Bay and biked around the hotel grounds afterwards. 

On Wednesday, we went shopping on Front street, the Grand Traverse Pie Company and Cherry Republic (all things cherry except pies for gifts) and shopped at the Village commons which was the old state hospital. It had great restaurants there but none were open for lunch and we knew we wanted to go to the wineries up in Sutton’s Bay that afternoon. So we headed back and went to Mawby that had great sparkling wines and Sutton's bay ciders but we didn’t buy anything since we biked there. We were thinking the bike trail was mostly flat (which it was) but to get to the 2 vineyards, you had to bike uphill. Eric was fine but Kate needed a break after those 2 biking excursions. We headed back to the hotel when Kate freshened up and relaxed and Eric headed into Traverse City to get dinner. Lots more people in town by that time so it was crowded and the restaurant we wanted to go to (Mamma Lu’s) wasn’t doing takeout. So we got some good tacos (Happy’s Tacos) from the little fleet food truck area and ate back at the hotel. From there we enjoyed the evening tasting wine at Black star and hanging out at the hotel. 

The next day we started out by shopping in Sutton’s Bay downtown area. Lots of cute little shops including a stop at Brain Pop toys where we bought some more jigsaw puzzles (Eric is obsessed) and games to play with our kids. By now it was 11 am and some of the wineries had opened (most were 12-5) so we stopped at the oldest winery in the area, Good Harbor. We tasted some amazing wines in their tasting room here and liked it so much that we decided to purchase 18 bottles. Now that it was 12:45 and we needed lunch so went to a quaint little fishing town on the water and had lunch at the Cove in Leeland.  We ate some good chowder on the water along with sandwiches. We heard from many people from the Inn that the way to see the Sleeping Bear dunes national park was to do the 7 mile scenic drive with the overlooks instead of hiking down and back up the incredibly steep dunes. So we spent about an hour-1.5 hours driving through the park before heading down to Ludington where we would spend the night at Summer’s Inn.  For dinner we walked from our hotel 1 mile to Jamesport Brewing Company which had very good food and beers.  Constant stream of people coming in and out of the restaurant as we sat inside eating.  The outdoor area was full, but they had socially distanced the tables inside as best as possible.  After dinner we walked down to the waterfront a short distance away to see the S.S. Badger ferry arrive back into Ludington from Manitowoc at 7 pm.  We didn’t even realize it was arriving back, but the timing was perfect as we didn’t have to wait long after dinner.  From there we walked to House of Flavors Ice Cream shop which is a very large ice cream shop with many flavors.  Eric got the Amaretto Cherry and Kate got Black Cherry.  

On the final day we took the 4 hour ferry ride (9 am departure from Ludington, boarding started at 8 am) with our vehicle aboard the S.S. Badger and then made the 5 hour drive home.  We didn’t have much luck with boats this trip, as we sailed in pretty extreme rain.  However, the Badger is able to sail in most conditions from the months of May - October.  We just primarily read while aboard the ship as we didn’t feel like partaking in the Bingo or other games aboard due to the Pandemic.  We were able to find a table in the aft of the ship with no major disruptions.  It rained for the 1st half of the journey pretty hard but then eventually stopped enough for us to walk around the deck a bit.  Mask wearing aboard the ship was required to get on, be then most seemed to take it off so it was about 5-10% compliance it seemed.  Overall, mask wearing was pretty minimal throughout our entire trip, however, a good percentage of our activities were either outside or on our own so most of the time we felt safe.  

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