My Pure Michigan vacay

31 05 2010

Ah – home again, home again.  After a long weekend up north, I’d like to say it’s good to be home, but really I’d be lying.  Am I looking forward to the short work week coming up?  Of course I am, but going back to work this week means giving up days in the sun on the beaches of Lake Michigan, wearing flip flops everywhere and four-wheeling through the woods instead of commuting through metro Detroit. 

If you’ve never been “up north,” let me give you the rundown of how to properly enjoy a Pure Michigan vacation – or at least how I enjoyed mine. 

John, Squirrel, mom and I left for Jim’s (mom’s bf) cabin in Mesick Friday afternoon after pit stops for food and doubling back home for forgotten softball mitts.  The traffic was pretty much how you’d imagine it considering everyone else was headed the same direction we were.  We passed the time with a few rounds of car karaoke (including John’s epic renditions of Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber), a random trip through Shepherd, Mich. past mom’s old stomping grounds and a late evening nap for me.  We didn’t do much when we finally got there except for listen to John hint about going back out for food.  He compromised by taking a bag of pretzel m&m’s to bed with him. 

John caught in the act: eating pretzel m&m's in the bed!


The next morning, mom and Jim made pancakes and sausage for breakfast before we left for Sleeping Bear Dunes.  The last time I made the 1.7-mile hike over the sand dunes to Lake Michigan was in 2008 with the team.  It was cool and overcast then and didn’t seem like a death march by any means.  This year, it took John, Squirrel, mom and I an hour and eight minutes to make the trek (one way).  I think at least one of us came close to a heart attack and all of our calves were sore the next day (except for mom in some unfair and bizarre twist of fate).  Before heading back, we relaxed on one of Lake Michigan’s many beaches.  This one was fairly private since not many people actually hike the whole way to the Lake. 

John on the beach after the death march over the Sleeping Bear Dunes.


When we finally got back to the car, it was definitely time to eat and take it from me, if an up north restaurant ever has beer-battered blue gill as the dinner special, you should definitely go for it.  Joe’s Friendly Tavern in Empire gets four stars.  before going back to the cabin for the night, we stopped to take in the sunset at one of the roadside parks overlooking the Manistee River.  We wrapped up the night by hanging out around the bonfire in the backyard, where you could see the stars like you’d never see them in the city. 

John and I at the roadside park a few miles away from the cabin. He's wearing his new "I climbed the dunes" t-shirt from Sleeping Bear.


Sunday morning brought another hot breakfast and a trip to the beach in Frankfort.  John only agreed to go if he wouldn’t be “marched over any dunes like an Israelite” which was hardly a problem in Frankfort.  We spent most of the day laying out in the sun, people-watching (and listening), walking out on the pier and lunching at the A&W drive-in.  We hit up the Dairy Maid for soft-serve before heading back to the cabin.  Jim grilled out for dinner and then John and I rode the four-wheeler until it got too dark. 

Squirrel jumping for joy at the Frankfort lighthouse.


On Monday, after some excellent French toast, John, Squirrel and I rode the four-wheelers to the dam and back before packing it up and heading back home.  

I can’t wait to go back up north.  There are so many places in both the upper and lower peninsulas that make great day trips.  The best part is, there’s no itinerary.  You don’t need to plan anything.  If you feel like going to the lake, you go.  If you’re too tired to wash the sand out of your hair before falling into bed, no one’s going to judge you.  And soft-serve two days in a row?  Perfectly acceptable.  Michigan is full of sandy beaches, inconspicuous roadside parks, majestic sand dunes and more dairy stands than you can shake a waffle cone at.  If you haven’t been up north lately, Pure Michigan is calling you.  Go get you some! 

The sun setting over the Manistee River.




4 responses

31 05 2010
Gwen Kato

Sounds like a “purrr-fect” weekend Danyelli! We had ice cream twice this weekend also (homemade!)…what wonderful weather for ice cream!!!

1 06 2010

I just picked up a brochure about the sand dunes…its nice to get a review from someone whose been. I’ve never been further north than Mio where we went canoeing on the Ausable River several years ago…that was quite an experience. We went for about 10 miles. I heard the fireworks at Mackinaw are amazing on the lakes…I’m thinking about doing that this summer.

1 06 2010
Dani M Tanner

I watched the fireworks from the beach in Mackinac last summer. That area is gorgeous in the summertime. You can get an awesome view from Castle Rock in St. Ignace for just 50 cents!

1 06 2010
Grandma Flora Bailey

Hi Danielle

Just read your blog on your Pure Michigan Vac. My sweet graqnddaughter and great writer has done another magnificant job. Keep writing honey. I love you so much and so does grandpa. Grandma

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