August 18, 2014

Lake Michigan Recreation Area

The Lake Michigan Recreation Area gained one of the spots on my top 5 favorite locations in Michigan.   As per usual Teddy and I decided with a free weekend we needed to put our backpacking gear to good use.   We called multiple hiking trails across the state and wilderness sites seemed to be rather full for the weekend.  Upon calling the office for Lake Michigan Rec Area we found there weren't designated campsites, but rather you could campout anywhere along the trail- our favorite!  

Off we went to the shores of Lake Michigan with our backpacks and tent.  We hiked a mile or so out from the parking lot and found a spot right along the beach before the sun went down on Friday.  We could see other campsites in the distance from ours, but it felt private enough.  We built a bonfire right on the beach (another favorite!) and settled in for the night.  Being so close to the shore gave us peaceful waves to sleep to, soft sand to sleep on, and gorgeous stars to gaze up at through our tent (no rain fly needed!) 

The next day we hiked the entire length of the park along the beach.  And yes we hiked directly on the beach rather than heading back up to the trails.  It was more of a leisurely stroll with our packs rather than a strenuous hike, which was a nice change of pace.  We stopped early to set up camp at the far end of the park.  We then headed off to continue our beach walk sans our packs.  As we walked and talked we turned a corner on the beach and looked up to see the Ludington Lighthouse.  At the time we had no idea how far we had walked, but looking back at the map we had walked at least 12 miles. 

The lighthouse was closed for the evening so there were no tourists to be seen.  We enjoyed having the space to ourselves and walked around the compound.  We headed back to our campsite for another beachside bonfire and relaxing evening. On Sunday we hiked back to our car, which we realized felt much longer on the way back! Lake Michigan Recreation Area, we think you are the best mix of beaching it up and feeling one with the woods.

Final Word: A great place to go if you want to hike out to your campsite, but don't want to be too far out into the woods (think no fear of creatures lurking behind trees.)  You can find a secluded campsite but then splash around in the surf during the day. It is the best of both worlds. 

April 21, 2014

Enjoying the Last Views of Winter

This weekend Ted and I were able to get away for a few days to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary (how did that happen already?!)  We spent the weekend in Petoskey at the Perry Hotel where we had our wedding reception and went to Easter service at Cross in the Woods where we were married, it was wonderful.  More on that later.

One thing we noticed this year is how many more signs of winter are still visible in Northern Michigan compared to the same time last year.  The weather was beautiful and we were able to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine, but the bay is still frozen over, large snow piles are still visible in most of the towns and buds certainly aren't popping yet. While we are reading for spring, it was fun to take in the winter sights without having to endure the unbearable cold.

{Happy Anniversary, Teddy! Thanks for always exploring with me!}

April 15, 2014

Sunflower Field

This post is completely inspired by a weekend with weather in the 70s, only to wake up to a blanket of snow 2 days later. Oh Michigan I certainly love you, but please bring on the warm weather, I am so ready for blooming flowers and unexpected sunflower fields.

Anyways, do you want to know something that was on my bucket list? It was so see a sunflower field in person. And then we saw this one and I almost cried tears of joy.  As we were driving along having a small argument over who forgot some very necessary items on our backpacking packing list (for the record, it was my fault, but I would never admit that at the time) we spotted this field and my whole little world stopped.  This is exactly what we did: stop, turn the car around, park, take in the beauty, photograph the beauty, take in the beauty for a bit longer, continue on our way, forget that small argument ever happened.

I don't even remember where the sunflower field even was.  Somewhere between Lake Michigan Recreation Area and Detroit, but lesson learned- if you see a Michigan sunflower field stop right there and take a few moments to enjoy it.  Fingers crossed we will be spotting summertime flowers before we know it ;)

April 4, 2014

Harbor Springs Winery at Pond Hill Farm

Getting ready for summertime adventures?  Be sure to add Harbor Springs Winery to your list! Two summers ago (wow, can't believe it has been so long!) during a wedding planning trip, we were driving along the Tunnel of Trees looking for spots to take photographs between our wedding ceremony and reception.  We stumbled across the sign for Pond Hill Farms and decided to stop in for lunch and a bottle of wine.  Don't be fooled, just keep following the dirt road all the way back to that rustic looking barn- and you've made it! 

The place is absolutely gorgeous.  We could have spent the entire afternoon on their patio overlooking the farm. The food was fresh from the farm, the store was full of homegrown goodies, the wine tasting was delicious and everyone who worked there was so friendly.  The whole experience was pretty much perfect in my opinion.  There is lots for families to do on the farm, or if you are like us and are just looking for some peace and quiet you can find that too.  Harbor Springs Winery at Pond Hill Farms is a must add to your next Northern Michigan adventure!

{It is certainly beautiful, wouldn't you agree?}

April 2, 2014


This week the weather got above 50 degrees and Ted and I have gotten a bit excited.  It is only Wednesday and we have already had two bonfires in our backyard this week.  We can't help ourselves! It seems a bit wasteful to be inside when we look back at how long we have been cooped up in the house because of snow this year.

The smell of the bonfire instantly makes me nostalgic for our summer camping trips.  To me, nothing says summertime in Michigan like a bonfire.  We are looking forward to lots of bonfires this year- with beautiful sunsets, good conversation, plenty of s'mores, and lots of friends.

Where is your favorite place to have a bonfire?  These pictures are from a trip we took to Lake Michigan Rec Area last summer.  This has to be one of my favorite spots for a bonfire- can't beat being right on the shores of Lake Michigan (and that sunset!)

{Such a manly man!}

March 26, 2014

Grand Rapids

Last week we had one of those rare days where I was traveling for work and Ted had the day off so he was able to join me. Those tend to be my favorite work trips.  We made our way into Grand Rapids for the evening to enjoy a few beers at the always fabulous, Founders.  On a Thursday night we expected to find a quite table where we could actually pull out our computers and do some research for an upcoming trip, but instead the place was absolutely packed (made for a very fun evening!)

Founders expanded this past year and there still doesn't seem to be enough space for everyone who loves their beer.  On this Thursday evening there was live music and of course incredible beers on tap.  Ted swears by the Backwoods Bastard.  I am a fan of the Breakfast Stout. And they now have a food menu- you need to try the pulled pork sandwich- I promise you won't regret it.

{Walking through downtown Grand Rapids.}

{We made it!} 

March 21, 2014

Johan's Pastry Shop

We are heading North this weekend! Ted's birthday is Sunday and that calls for a road trip, some skiing/snowboarding, and donuts for lunch.  One scheduled stop is a visit to Johan's Pastry Shop in Petoskey.  The morning of our wedding we had these donuts at the salon and between 8 girls we ate at least 2 dozen donuts, so needless to say they are delicious.  The bakery is quaint and friendly and in my opinion when you are on vacation there is simply nothing wrong with having a donut for lunch.  Hope your weekend is sweet!