State #15 Michigan

You and I both know, we had to go through Michigan to get to Canada from Wisconsin and I talked about the Upper Peninsula and dinner already. But I wasn’t ready to write about Michigan because I knew the bulk of it would be after Canada.

We didn’t get to see the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum or Lake Superior, at least not up close (we did get a glimpse of it in the background on the train ride) but we did get to see Lake Michigan. If you’ve never experienced the Great Lakes, you should.

The Mackinac Bridge is over 5 miles long and it connects the Upper Peninsula to lower Michigan.

The bridge is the marker between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. These aren’t like any lakes I’ve ever seen. They’re massive. I mean, I know they’re called Great but I just thought – big. Oh no, they’re massive!!! It looks like the ocean, where you look out and it just looks like the water meets the sky.

Of course, the boys had to swim in it first thing. Our hotel was right on the ocean, I mean, lake.

I thought it was great. It wasn’t as sticky-hot as when we go to Florida, the water was clear, and you don’t have that fishy ocean smell. Tuck was like me. He couldn’t get over the fact that he wasn’t at the ocean. I’m not sure why my videos load sideways. I have removed them and added them back and they look fine on my end but when I publish them they’re sideways. Sorry. The video was too cute to leave out and yes, he is always like that.

Then off to dinner for some local caught-fresh-daily whitefish at Darrow’s Family Restaurant. I would recommend this place. Good food and pleasant service. And yes, of course, I had mine fried. No wonder my gall bladder needs to be removed. Just look at that plate of golden deliciousness. We were told by some yearly visitors we had to try their pie. So we finished it up by sharing some pie. No pictures of the pie, no time. You snooze you lose, especially, with my crew.

So we’re road tripping in our automobile, just took a train, and looked at some planes; the only thing missing is a boat, right?

Or so you thought. We couldn’t leave out boats. We stayed in Mackinaw City and got up the next morning and jumped on the Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry headed for Mackinac Island. (Mackinac is pronounced Mackinaw. This has something to do with the island originating from an Indian word that was shortened while the British were in charge of spelling the city).

I absolutely loved the island. No cars are allowed. Just feet, horses, and tons of bikes. It’s beautiful. I could have stayed. Well, at least until it got cold. This old gal doesn’t like to be cold.

Talk about Victorian charm.

First up was to see Fort Mackinac. Fort Mackinac was the second national park until the US military post was abandoned. It was then turned into a state park.

The Fort had demonstrations all day long. We attended the Canon Fire, Rifle Demonstration, the Walking Tour, and the video. The white structure in the background is the Fort and that’s the ramp leading up to it; make sure and wear some good walking shoes.

Solider Connor was in charge and happy to answer questions.

Solider Trevor operated the canon and was part of the walking tour and rifle demonstration.

Officer’s Wife Emma, I think.

The School House

The Island has also been the setting for a couple movies like This Time for Keeps with Esther Williams and Somewhere in Time with Christoper Reeves and Jane Seymour.

So, naturally, I had to get a picture of me at the gazebo from Somewhere in Time for my mom.

There are trails everywhere; bike trails, botanical trails, foot trails. Main Street gets crowded. But up away from town, behind the fort, is amazing. I think it is one of my favorite places so far.

We walked/climbed up to Fort Holmes, which is the highest point in the Island. The fort was a replica, which was ok, but the view from there were amazing.

Anyone else thinking Caribbean with more trees when you see that water?

Then down to Arch Rock. Arch Rock was a bit more crowded but we got our pics.

Then we hit the woods on the Manitou Trail until it intersected with Huron Rd to head back down to town and down Cottage Row. I loved this area too. The houses are so pretty. It’s like something out of a Hallmark movie. If everyday was like today, I could stay here forever. Probably going to need to make some serious money to afford the real estate, though. I don’t think our visit would have been as grand if the weather was rainy since we were outside all day. Just something to think about if you plan on visiting.

The Island is supposedly known for it’s fudge and there’s a ton of fudge shops. We sampled a lot of fudge but I can’t honestly say it’s any better than other fudge I’ve had back home but they did had a huge variety of flavors. My dad used to make THE best fudge, in my humble opinion.

After sampling from many of the shops, we decided it was only right to buy some. The boys were a little bit excited, if you can’t tell. Then we headed back to the mainland.

Mason was pretty excited about the next day. His friend, Gianni, moved to Michigan at the end of the school year. Fortunately, we were able to visit him and his family along our route. They very graciously hosted our family. Gianni LOVES cherries but the grocery store was all out of them so we grabbed some sugar laden frosted cookies instead. Not the same but it’s the thought that counts, right? If I had known we couldn’t get cherries, we would have bought him some of the Traverse County Cherry fudge Mason tried. He said it was delicious.

When we pulled into their driveway, Gianni came out to greet us and he and Mason gave each other a big old hug. Too sweet! Gianni had gotten a Minecraft Lego set for them to put together so upstairs they went.

Then to the pool for some swimming and popsicles.

What visit among friends is complete without a game of Bean Boozled where someone throws up?!? I’ll spare you the video of the latter.

The Russo’s are a super sweet family and they were such gracious hosts. The break from hotels and restaurants was much welcomed and Krystal made some yummy home cooked meals. The next day the boys finished their lego set, fed the animals, and said their good-byes. We have dreams of meeting up in the fall at Dollywood for some pumpkin spice funnel cake. 🙂

One of the things I love about traveling is that it can change your opinion about places. When someone would mentioned Michigan, I thought Detroit and only Detroit; kind of like how most people think of New York City when someone mentions New York. But it’s not like that. It was a lot of small towns and farms. The Russo’s have a great place on their own like piece of paradise and we were so blessed to be a part of it.

What’s next you ask, eh?

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