Enjoying Up North – Michigan: August 14 – 30, 2015

 

 

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My grandparents bought this cottage about 1957. Later it became my mom and dad’s and now I share it with my brother and sister. It really is a little slice of heaven. The area is absolutely beautiful and there are plenty of fun things to do. Besides claiming to be the cherry capitol of the world, the climate is also very good for wine production. We love to pick cherries and for the best cherry pie recipe ever CLICK HERE. It’s also fun to rent bikes in nearby Sutton’s Bay where there is a wonderful path that runs along several wineries. My favorite, Black Star Farms, serves a delicious salad. For that recipe, CLICK HERE.

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We spent four days enjoying the lake life, and then we headed north again. We spent half a day in Charlevoix before heading up to Petoskey.

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Northern Michigan is full of cute little beach towns and Charlevoix is one of them. The main street has plenty of shopping but what’s really interesting to watch is the draw bridge that allows large boats to travel from the harbor into Lake Michigan.

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We left Charlevoix and drove up to the Petoskey Motorcoach Resort. Frankly, this RV park comes off as just a bit snooty. When I made the reservations, I was asked for the make, year, and model of our motor home. Only class A RVs are allowed and when we checked in, I had a moment when I wondered if they were going to ask us to leave after they saw our back end! The facility boasts a lovely club house, nine hole putting course, tennis courts, swimming pool, and hot tub. A couple of the sites have outdoor gas fireplaces and freestanding small indoor kitchen. The grounds were beautiful, but I missed having a picnic table, a fire pit, and being allowed to dry our beach towels outside. It was an interesting experience though, and we enjoyed all the amenities the place had.

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The weather turned kind of crummy while we were in Petoskey, but we still had a great time renting bikes at the Bahnhof Ski Shop and riding along a portion of the Little Traverse Wheelway, a 26 mile bike path that runs from Petoskey, through Charlevoix, and ends at Harbor Springs.

 

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After bike riding, we ate lunch at Julienne Tomatoes. Roy and I gave it a definite thumbs up rating!

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Most of the time, we cook dinner in the RV. One evening we decided to go out.

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We wanted to eat at the Bay View Inn on the left. Unfortunately it closes at eight, so we ended up down the street at the Side Door Saloon. I enjoyed seeing the stuffed racoon even more than the food.

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To get to our next stop in the Upper Peninsula, we had to cross the Mackinac Bridge. It was rainy and windy on the morning we crossed it. For Roy, it was a hair raising experience and I know he was glad when we made it to the other side.

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We continued north all the way to the very top of the eastern UP to the end of Highway 123. There on Whitefish Bay, we visited the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. Remember the song “The Edmund Fitzgerald”? Well they have the whole story of it here along with a lot of the ship’s artifacts.

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We also toured a restored light house right next to the museum.  Then we moved on to Tahquamenon Falls State Park. The RV sites here had electricity only – no water. So we went from the lap of luxury to roughing it. But staying in a motor home is far from actually roughing it. We had a nice warm, dry place to bunk in. I felt a little bit guilty next to the people staying in campers and tents since it was rainy and 50 degrees the whole time we were there.

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The upper and lower falls are the main attraction here and they are easily accessible via paved walkways. We found the hiking was well marked and ranged from rugged to easy. The park also has a brew pub type restaurant that was surprisingly upscale.

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We ended the Michigan portion of this particular trip in Port Austin. We visited yet another of Roy’s cousins, Beth. Port Austin is right on top of the thumb of Michigan’s mitten. It’s another beautiful lake town and we enjoyed walking around and seeing the harbor and shops. Beth’s husband John has a huge heart and even bigger stories that I could listen to for hours. By the time we reached their house, the ropes and bungee cord’s on the back of the RV were beginning to loosen up and things were sagging. John, a retired iron worker, shored everything up and made it possible to continue on our trip back down south. We said goodbye to John, Beth, their daughter Lisa, their dog that loves to ride in their golf cart, their two huge Maine Coon cats, and headed to the Newmar factory for our next adventure.

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