There’s something about living in the Great Lakes State that is kind of magical, especially in the summer months. You have beautiful, clear waters at your fingertips all summer long, you just have to find a way to take advantage.
After a stressful year of moving twice and building the little house that could, our whole family needed a little getaway. We needed a reminder that there was more to life than paint chips and hardwood samples.
All of our focus, energy and money (more than we ever expected) has gone toward this new house for the past 15 months. At some point, you have to take a break from it all – physically, emotionally & financially, which is why we set aside a little nest egg this past spring for a siesta, or two, up north.
When you’re building a home, or even moving into a new home, your priorities naturally shift to the house. We made a promise to ourselves that we would find balance this summer. We had a year of someday we’ll travel again answers to the kids, and we wanted to make sure that every extra penny this summer didn’t just go inside the 4 walls of our new home.
Now, I’m not going to go as far as to say it was the relaxing getaway I was craving, because I’m a firm believer in that anytime you take your kids, it’s not a vacation, it’s a trip. Nonetheless, it was an amazing time. One that I’ll remember forever, and one that I’m so glad we took.
Crown molding can wait, memories can’t.
FIVE TIPS for Northern Michigan travel:
(1) Stay on east bay in Traverse City. It’s so kid friendly. Super shallow waters, warm temperatures. We’ve stayed numerous times at The Beach Condominiums, but I would like to check out Tamarack Lodge or Sugar Beach / Grand Beach Villas in the future.
(2) Rent a boat! I’ve written about this before, but we love to rent a boat on east or west bay. This year, we did east bay again through Blue Sky Rentals. They have a lot to offer – boats, jet skis, water trampolines. If you do rent a boat, anchor out in Maple Bay (just off of Elk Rapids). Crystal clear waters (as you can see above!).
(3) Eat! Traverse City has some awesome culinary options. From higher end asian infusion at Red Ginger (don’t skip the red dragon sushi roll) or Stella Trattoria, there’s also some less expensive fare. Georgina’s is a great stop – super small place downtown, they have several food truck options at The Little Fleet or head out the peninsula to Jolly Pumpkin or Mission Table. A fun little after lunch or dinner treat in town is Morsels for mini cupcakes galore!
(4) Have a picnic! I know, more eating. A great spot for to-go sandwiches to take on a boat (seriously, do #2) is Chef’s In or Folgarelli’s.
(5) Explore the surroundings. Yes, the beach is awesome and you should spend some time in the bay, but take a drive and see downtown TC (shop on Front Street), or go to nearby’ish Suttons Bay, Elk Rapids, Glen Arbor, Harbor Springs, Petoskey, etc.
(6) Take a sip. Northern MI offers some great wineries. This year we stuck with Mission Peninsula and our favorites were Brys Estate and 2 Lads.
(7) Take flight. Let off paper lanterns late at night on the beach. One of my favorite memories, and I promise you won’t catch anything on fire if I can do it.
I know, that was 7 tips. That’s how much I love it up there, I can’t stop at just 5 ideas.
In a summer where most of us in Michigan are kind of baffled by the weather we’ve had – why did summer basically leave us in late July? – we lucked out and ended up having the best weather ever for our family vacation up north.
Fantastic memories made on the Great Lakes this summer; many more to come next year.