We had such a wonderful time on our vacation to northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. It's difficult to condense it all down to a single blog post so this is Part One. We traveled up along the coast of Lake Michigan passing through the beautiful towns of Holland, Muskegon, and Ludington. A picnic lunch was called for and the sugary sandy beach of Ludington was just the place. After lunch we continued up U.S. 31 and stopped at the Dairy King in Beulah for one of the best ice cream cones I have had in a long while. You read that right, it's Dairy King - not Queen and the ice cream was far superior to the Queen.
I was hoping to have time to swing up to Sleeping Bear Dunes and stop in Glen Arbor, but time was running short and we still had to set up our tent for the night so we pushed on through Traverse City (looking beautiful as always) and by recommendation camped at Barnes Park in Antrim County. If you are in the area I highly recommend camping there. The sites are all shaded and Lake Michigan is a short walk away.
Just up the road a bit from Barnes Park is Friske Orchard and Farm Market. The kids were excited by the animals and playground and the wife and I were enticed by the delicious aromas from the bakery and outdoor grill. A morning snack of super yummy chocolate chip cookies with cherries was enjoyed by all. After a quick time of feeding goats and playing on the playground we packed up the kiddos and headed on our way once more.
Just north of Petoskey on 31 is the little burg of Oden. It's home to artesian wells and one of the best fish hatcheries in the state. We picnicked at the Oden State Fish Hatchery and then hiked the paved pathway to the trout viewing window (you can watch trout at stream level through a glass viewing area) and on out to the trout ponds where you can feed the huge fish.
After Oden, it's just a short jog up the road and if you watch through the trees in front of you - you might be lucky enough to be the first one in the car to spot The Bridge. For those not in the know, The Bridge is the Mackinac Bridge. The most beautiful suspension bridge around as far as I'm concerned. Of course I'm a bit partial being a native of Michigan and all.
I would not trade jobs with these guys for all the money in the world:
Upon entering Michigan's Upper Peninsula the first stop we made was Java Joe's Cafe in St. Ignace. It's my favorite coffee shop in the whole U.P. I had a wonderful Caramel Apple Latte and the only disappointment was that Joe and Sandy (the owner's and simply nicest folks you'll ever meet) weren't in at the time.
Here's a great mural on the back wall of the cafe -
Well, that's as good a place as any to end Part One. The way this is going it's looking like a three part post :). So much fun, though!