Michigan – A Trip to Remember!

August 24th – Sept 1st, 2019

Well it seems I’m really late in posting. The plan had been that I’d keep notes each day of the trip but alas, too much fun was being had to keep up! So I’ll have to rely on memory (that will be loosely accurate) and share some of the highlights of our trip back East.

 We headed out Saturday afternoon Portland to launch from the Radisson by the Airport. We grabbed a night cap in the hotel bar and hit the hay early so we could be up and at ‘em by 3:45 (yes – AM!) We hit the shuttle at 4:20 and made the airport in plenty of time.

We had a long layover between flights at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport and after walking a couple of loops to explore lunch options we decided on seaweed salad and a jalapeño sushi roll at a spot near our gate. Megan did wine and I experimented with a new cocktail. Cucumber Gimlets rock! 

We roamed around and took a gander at the airport’s dinosaur (because of course an airport needs a dinosaur). This baby is a 4 story high, 72 feet long Brachiosaurus skeleton and it  seems he is a perfect photo op.


We touched down in Traverse City and had a happy reunion with Kathleen who we’d been missing big time while she was back home in the East.

IMG_6552We stayed with Kathleen and her husband Steve at Kathleen’s mom’s summer house in Old Mission Township. It was lovely and comfy and had a great front porch with wicker rockers for our morning coffee, bird / butterfly watching and reading. Just down the road was a waterfront view of East Grand Traverse Bay We had some sunny skies and beachfront seats that couldn’t be beat. 

Home Waters 8


Traverse City was very cool! We did some downtown shopping and found all things Traverse City and some great boutiques and shops. IMG_6563We stopped in at the  Grand Traverse Distillery and Megan and I did some Vodka tasting. We even got to keep the glasses. Kathleen kept an eye on us since she was not only our hostess with the mostest, but our designated driver too. 

We shopped until dinner time and settled in at Sparks BBQ where we ordered LOTS of BBQ, yummy sides and an end of the day cocktail.

We loved Cherry Republic where everything is cherry, the salsas, jam, jelly, potato chips, and tons of ice cream flavors all named “cherry”!  We’d eaten plenty but I’d wished there had been room for dessert. I’m not sure how you choose with flavors like Chocolate Cherry, Cherry Waffle Chip, Sour Cherry Sorbet, Cherry Caramel Apple and Cherry Coffee Ice Cream with Chunks of Espresso just to name a few.


 We made a return visit to downtown Traverse City late in our trip to browse about, do some last minute shopping  and have side-by-side pedicures at Pavlova Day Spa followed by pretzels and bagels. Because gals have to keep their strength up!

We visited Leelanau Peninsula for shopping at Leelanau Cheese Shop and Hawkins Farm Wines for a tasting. I’m not a big wine drinker but ya know – you just shouldn’t let a friend taste alone, so I followed Megan’s lead. She has a little wine journal where she can record the winery, the type and name of the wine and all of it’s characteristics. Since I was pretty much a stranger to wine I was happy to rely on her judgement. 

There was plenty to do in Suttons Bay. We shopped and gallery hopped and shopped some more. The Bayside Gallery was really lovely and a good place to start our day.


Suttons Bay has a really pretty harbor at the edge of town.


We stopped for a snack at the Village Inn Grill and had a cold drink and some garlic aioli fries and sweet potato fries. I had the Leelanau Cherry made with Grand Traverse Cherry Vodka with fresh squeezed lemonade.

Refueled and refreshed we headed to Candy World for a to-go dessert(s). The thing is, its too hard to choose so we each got a chunk o’ fudge and one Steve liked too. It was DELICIOUS in every flavor!

The weather was great for our adventures. To make sure we had a well rounded day, we stopped at the Ice Cream Factory. It was a great last impression of Suttons Bay.

On the Old Mission Peninsula we visited the Old Mission Lighthouse. There was a lovely view behind the lighthouse of Grand Traverse Bay. If one of us had a longer arm our selfie would have been a bit more complete but this view is kinda “special”.

We did a short hike through the area and a fellow visitor got a great shot of us on the trail. 


We stepped back in time at the Hesler House built by Mary and Joseph Hesler in the mid 1800’s. It was hand built and later moved to this location where it still gets lots of attention from visitors.

A beautiful view and another wine tasting for Megan and I at Chateau Chantal. Megan got some wine to go for later on and made some more entries in her wine journal and I just tasted and tasted. 

I learned that wine has a lovely buzz even if you aren’t a wine lover.

WineWe finished up our time in the Old Mission Penninsula at the Jolly Pumpkin in Bowers Bay. We were plenty hungry and the waitress didn’t bat an eye when we ordered drinks and appetizers of Parmesan Bread Sticks, Corn Chowder, Truffled French Fries with amber ale mayonnaises and housemade chips for starters. We ordered pizzas too (we were apparently starving)!  We left feeling fat and happy with lots of to-go boxes!

We made a trip to the Visitor Center in the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore Park to check out the wildlife in the area.

There was a great view of Glen Lake.


We headed to Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes. It was crazy how steep the sand dune was to the Lake Michigan and even crazier all the people who were trotting down and huffing back up again. You have to look closely to see the tiny folks coming and going on the dune. Tiny Folks in Sand

They even warn you that you might not be up for the return trip. We decided against it, mostly because we’d rather spend our money on fun stuff and not on a rescue.  That would have been a story to tell though!

Tiny Folks Sand

We roamed around in the slightly windy but sunny day.

Every trip has its special moment and ours was no exception. On the last night we headed down the road after dark in our PJ’s, flip flops and sweatshirts and our phones as flashlights. We were on a quest to find the Aurora Borealis that was supposed show in our part of town. It was a little like being on a snipe hunt, searching for a beauty in the sky that alluded us no matter what direction we traveled in. The cloud cover kept it hidden but we had such a good time! It was the perfect way to end a trip full of great memories! 


I’m hoping there will be more adventures for us down the road. A week full of shopping, great food, sightseeing, relaxing and laughter is incredibly good for the soul.