Thailand had invaded the US and Michigan was the tip of the spear,
Amy's family was in town for a week and they wanted to go to Niagara Falls for a few days. I said that was a stupid idea. Nothing against The Falls, it is cool for 1 hour and Niagara on The Lake can extend the trip to a full day but I felt their time could be better spent appreciating the great state of Michigan. I put my foot down (Their visa for Canada was not approved).
The first couple of days in town we did downtown Detroit, Ann Arbor and Frankenmuth. We saw Greektown (flaming cheese), walked the riverfront and sat at Campus Martius. We checked off all the local spots and it was time for our great Michigan adventure.
Here is the rough itinerary:
We left Ann Arbor around 9am with our first stop being the Frederick Meijer Gardens. I had been there once before and felt it was a good break in the drive and a target rich environment for trigger-happy Asians (cameras). I should say that there were 5 of us and 2 dogs on this voyage of discovery. Amy rented a van for the occasion and I brought the music.
Amy's mom had hurt her foot and we wheeled her around the exhibits in a wheelchair. Amy had gone to check on the dogs in the car when I dropped my phone and shattered the screen. I was speechless. I had dropped this thing hundreds of times and not so much as a scratch and this little 2 foot drop and the screen was a razor sharp catastrophe. It ended up costing way too much to fix, but oh well, the trip must go on.
After the Garden we ate lunch in Grand Rapids at Marie Catribs. It was ranked as the top spot for TripAdvisor. We shared a few sandwiches and continued our trip towards the beach.
Night one was Saugatuck. We checked into the Starlite Resort a mile out of town. Our lodging was dictated by who accepted pets but on all three nights we enjoyed the locations regardless. After checking in we headed to Oval Beach. The Asians were not used to this freezing 60s temperatures and were all bundled up on the shore.
After getting our toes wet in the 3rd largest Lake in the world, we drove back into town to do some shopping before nap time back at the hotel. I took a quick dip in the pool and played with the dogs. I should say that it was me and the dogs in one room and the 4 Asians in the other.
Dinner that night was at Mermaids Bar and Grill.We sat outside and as soon as it was getting close to sunset we climbed back in the van and headed back to the beach. Both dogs were rescue dogs and had no exposure to the lake. I took the more aggressive (obnoxious) one and ran down the beach. You never know how a dog will react to water. The older one could care less about water. Anyway, we were running along and a duck was standing in the sand when a wave went out. Max ran out after the duck just as a wave was coming back in. He got hit hard with a 2 ft wave and did not have a clue what happened. It was pretty funny. But he took it like a man and was forever after a water dog. Now he was not swimming and playing but he would go out up to what I guess would be his waist.
After sunset we went back to the hotel.
The next day we drove up to Grand Haven for another walk on the beach. I like this beach because you can camp right on it.
Stopped for lunch at the Jamesport Brewery in Ludington. I was trying to have fish with every meal on the trip. The perch was up and I accidentally got it fried, but still came out ok. They had a great blueberry wheat beer. Me an my effeminate choices.
After Ludington we entered Sleeping Bear Lakeshore and stopped at Inspiration Point
Our next stop was the Great Dune Climb. At first no one was up for the challenge, but when I told them Lake Michigan was just over the ridge, Amy's aunt and mom made the accent.
Once they got to the top, they found out what everyone finds out; you are still an hour or so from seeing the water and they turned back.
Our lodging that night was The Homestead. I had stayed there before as a child. It is basically a small town. We were in the Fiddlers Cove right behind the welcome building. After checking in, Amy and I took a golf cart to the beach club. I swam in the water, which was a bit chilly. It was a really nice place. Maybe too nice for me. I prefer my trips a bit more natural, but for a family it is pretty cool as the kids can wander the complex all day and still be safe.
After the family napped we went into Glen Arbor for dinner. We stopped at Cherry Republic. We were originally going to eat dinner here, but instead we basically bought out the store for anything cherry related and ended up eating around the corner at Art's Tavern. We had some smoked whitefish and whitefish sandwich. The Asians would buy a few meals and just turn it into a family style serving. It worked good for me because they never finished their meals so I had tons to eat.
We went back to the Homestead with the dogs and a bottle of wine and made our way out to the beach to watch the sunset. The flies were all over but it did not detract for a nice end to another perfect day. We had great weather the whole trip.
Day 3 found us with a short drive over to Traverse City. I was all for taking the long way on Route 22 and then hitting the wineries of Old Mission Peninsula but the ladies wanted more shopping. We cut across Leelanau Peninsula at stopped for lunch at Martha's in Sutton's Bay.
A little bit of shopping and then on to TC. We were able to check into the Holiday Inn early. We dropped the dogs at the room, I had a beer on the deck and we were off for 2 hours of uninterrupted shopping.
After shopping the ladies walked the beach and I settled in with my 1900 copy of Le Mis. The water was much better for swimming here as it had time to warm up in the bay
After a couple hours we headed to Apache Trout Grill for dinner. It was a perfect end to a perfect trip. The view from the restaurant was impressive and all the different fish we shared were delicious
After dinner we were in bed, but not before saying our prayers that the gods would bring us luck tomorrow at Turtle Creek Casino on our way home.
We made the casino at 10am and with the first $20 Amy's mom had won $150. And that is all it took. We had breakfast and we were on our way. What discipline out of this group! Maybe I should start doing this money prayer before I gamble
3 Hours later we were back in Ann Arbor. The trip went flawlessly. We had great weather, friends, meals and entertainment. I was glad to be apart of this trip and hoped the Asians would speak highly of Michigan when they returned to Thailand
Until Next Time,