Tag Archives: vacation

Lumberjack Monument, Michigan

Today we awoke a bit slower and just started the day a bit slower recovering from the long day at Mackinac Island yesterday. Brent headed out around 9 to do some fishing with his parents while Maggie and I just hung around.

My parents seemed to have done the same because we didn’t hear from them until after 12. the only thing that we had wanted to accomplish today was to relax…check…and visit Lumberjack Monument.

Again, I had absolutely no idea what to expect. I was thinking hiking or something along those lines. But, wrong again.

Lumberjack monument is just that. A monument to Lumberjacks. They had a tough job and were paid 2 dollars a day. So a monument was erected to remember them.

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I’m making it sound less cool than it was. The scenery was really something to check out if you are in the area.

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Just to the right of this pretty outlook is a WHOLE BUNCH OF STAIRS leading to the bottom of this ravine. 272 stairs to be exact. Obviously we had to see what was awaiting us at the bottom. Going down the stairs is never the problem…and they didn’t have a problem putting up signs to warn you that you did have to make the trek back up. But, the park is kind enough to place some benches along the way for resting as needed.

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Mama C was slightly worried about making the whole trip down…but ended up braving the voyage.

At the bottom was a raft, with a wooden hut and small bench. What is it?? Nothing else but a traveling cafeteria!! Obviously! The lumberjacks needed something to eat when they were working such long hours.

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Put this on the list of things you didn’t know existed!

At the bottom you got a really great look at this large sand hill…that was really steep. What the lumberjacks used to do was put pickets that would hold back the logs on the slant. The logs would then build up behind them and once it was full, the pickets would be removed and all of the logs would roll down into the water below where it could be easily be transported.

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Then…starts the big climb up 272 stairs.

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I think the number 272 makes it seem like it’s much worse than it really is…because it wasn’t bad at all.

When Brent was younger, he had apparently been to the monument once before and climbed the big pile of logs. His mother even had the pictures to prove it…even though Brent had no recollection. So, we and to pose on the top of them again…for posterity. Made for some different pictures…

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On the way out, we grabbed a few more shots. One of the pretty flowers that my mom had planted at her house and the bunny rabbits ate within a week. Another of a hat Brent found at the gift store. And the last…the first picture of my family and Brent’s family together!

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The day has rounded out with a meal as Desi’s, a mexican restaurant in Oscoda, some playing with the puppies in Lake Huron, some boating, and some fishing. Really not a bad way to end the weekend.

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Overall, we had a FANTASTIC weekend in Michigan and we will definitely be back. It’s such a great place to just relax, enjoy the scenery, and not get too wrapped up in everything else. Life instantly becomes more simple.

I know Brent will just be thinking about the next time that he is able to make it up here and I can’t say I won’t either.

Have you ever been to a vacation spot that you feel you have got to go back to??


Mackinac Island

Let’s talk about it.

AMAZING. (Lots of pictures to follow)

The best way to describe it is to compare it to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard…but it doesn’t really do it justice. Ever since Brent and I had started dating, he had been talking about Michigan and going up to Mackinac Island. It was really easy to see that Michigan meant a lot to him and Mackinac was his favorite vacation place. I honestly was thinking that it was just going to be an island where you sit on a pretty beach and call it a day. WRONG.

The only way to get to the island is by ferry. Unless it is the middle of the winter and you can take a snow mobile across. For real. It was a 3 hour drive for us to get to Mackinac City, where we hopped on the ferry for the 20 minute ride.

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The ride takes you across the lakes and by Mackinac Bridge, which connects to the UP…or the hangnail of Michigan 🙂

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When we first pulled up to the island, the first thing you notice is the absurd number of bikes lining just about everywhere.

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WHY?? There are NO CARS on the island. The only modes of transportation at bikes, horse drawn carriages or your own two feet. It’s really kind of a cool feel to island. It’s noticeably more quite. There are no hums of motors, honking, cars starting up, trolleys. NOTHING. Bikes and horses.

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You never have to worry about parking. Mackinac Island is also known for their fudge. And you can’t really miss that when you are walking down the street. The smell of fudge just greets your everywhere. Just about every other shop is a fudge shop.

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Fort Mackinac

On the island is a military fort that was involved in the War of 1812. It was captured in an embarrassing fight by the English, which was one of the first confrontations that started the War of 1812. Embarrassing?? The settlers (US) saw the English Red Coats coming and thought there were so many that they literally dropped their guns and ran. Now. they have a famous race in England that involves dropping your rifle and running as fast as you can in the opposite direction. Funny.
The fort is just beautiful and the sights from them are just unbelievable.

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The Barracks

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The Grand Hotel

After walking around the fort for a while, we started walking to the other side of the island to grab lunch at the grand hotel. On the way, Brent and I posed for a picture in front of the hotel that his parents were married at 29 years ago to the day!

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Kind of crazy.
Now the Grand Hotel…is just that. GRAND.

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You have to pay 10 dollars to get into the hotel if you aren’t staying…but you can also grab some food there and put the 10 bucks towards it, which is exactly what we did. There is no way you want to miss out on this guy.

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It’s just beautiful. On the wall there, is pictures of famous people that have come and stayed at the hotel, and you can’t imagine why they would want to stay there.
The lunch is a buffet and it has a little of everything. AMAZING food.

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This was plate number 1.

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Dessert…I had to just have a taste of everything.
The food was amazing. Some of the best I have ever had. When we finished up eating, we started to walk around the grounds just to check out the views and work off lunch.

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Crocket? Or Bocci anyone?!
The hotel had such an old school feel with the lack of cars and motorized everything. It was simple. It really felt like it just gave you a chance to enjoy life in a simple sense. No fancy phones or technology needed.
Papa C had held out for some ice cream that he spotted on the way into the hotel and popped in to grab some while we just hung out on the porch. When he came out of the parlor, he had a full half gallon of ice cream piled onto a cone.

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How HUGE is that?!
After walking the grounds, we started back to town for some shopping. My mom has always love the Michigan Cherries and it didn’t take her long to find some stowed away in the stores.

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Maybe some Bourbon Body Scrub??

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Or perhaps some Michigan wines?? Made from Raspberries?? Or Blueberries??
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My favorite….this T-Shirt. America’s High Five!

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The Mackinac Arch and Mini Golf

When Papa C finished his ice cream, he was ready for the next adventure. We started the 1.25 mile trek out to the arches at Mackinac Isalnd. We really had no idea what to expect but it was definitely worth the walk.

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So pretty.
On the walk back, we stumbled upon a mini golf course that my dad just couldn’t resist. Maggie and I were more in the mood to sit, enjoy the scenery and enjoy a cocktail! My dad, mom and Brent took on the mini golf course.

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After mini golf, we all headed out to the Pink Pony for some quick eats before we jumped back on the ferry back to the main land. But, we had to stop by Ryba’s and pick out some fudge to take home.

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On the ferry ride back, Brent braved the cold and the splashing water just to snap a few final pictures on the way home. People were literally coming down soaked from the waves splashing on the top of the boat.

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Mackinac Island was amazing. Absolutely worth the trip out there and you can bet that we will be going back. It’s just beautiful. I absolutely understand why Brent loves this place. There really isn’t anything like it. If you can believe it…the pictures don’t do it justice.
Have you ever been extremely surprised on how amazing a vacation spot is?? Where was it??


On The Pontoon

This morning started with Brent heading to play golf with my parents and Maggie, Brent’s mom and I going to pick up the pontoon boat. We took a quick jaunt around the lake and then headed to pick up some groceries in town.

It wasn’t too long before the golfing crew had finished up and it was time for lunch. We met up with them at Wiltse’s, which is just down the road.

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There aren’t too many options when it comes to eating in Oscoda, but they make it count. I enjoyed a salmon salad with a raspberry vinaigrette.
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YUM.
After lunch…we headed out “ON THE PONTOON.” Anyone else singing the Little Big Town lyrics in their heads??
The water was really breezy, which made the 95 degree weather a bit more bearable. We also didn’t miss out on the opportunity to sip on some cold beverages.
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There are worse things in life. When the drinks ran dry we headed back in to hang out around the house for a bit and relax some more. Bacon and Oreo worked on their dock jumping some more, while the rest of us tried to stay cool. The heat finally hit us and Dairy Queen was a calling.
Bacon was a little tied up with dock jumping so Oreo just came along for the ride.
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The ice cream didn’t even stay cold long enough to cool you down. It was more like fishing your cookie dough out of a soupy ice cream. Not really what we were going for.
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Brent stuck with his usual soft serve twist in a cone, and because just the last bit of the cone is my favorite part….I could just eat a whole line up of the last bite of a cone…he usually saves it for me 🙂
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I have say…it makes me feel like a five year old that won the lottery every time.
Dinner
 
For dinner, it was a joint effort in making a large hamburger and hot dog spread…cooked on the first grill that maggie and I assembled. Surprisingly, no explosions!
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I opted for an open faced Boca burger loaded with veggies. There’s nothing like a big heap of veggies to round out the day.
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We just finished out the day with an attempt at fishing. As soon as we got out on the water the temperature dropped an easy 20 degrees and the wind started whipping around. The five of us sat on the boat for a total of 20 minutes before it seemed futile.
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Brent’s mom did catch one little guy!!
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Great success! Captain Oreo then took the initiative and steered us back into the dock while Bat Bacon gave direction.
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Tomorrow is an early departure to Mackinac Island. All I have heard is great things. And great fudge!

Michigan Travels, Day 1

Brent, Maggie and I jumped on the road on Wednesday around 4 and started our road trip to Michigan. It was expected to take about 13 hours to get there and I have to say, in comparison to the 23 hour long trips from Florida to Mass, 13 sounds doable.

Besides, I don’t drive usually…Brent just powers through the whole thing and I just sit back and relax.

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But no…Brent pulled out a co-pilot binder filled with everything neatly organized and in plastic sheet protectors. I lost it laughing.

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Seriously. He had mapped out he route, planned out the rest stops that we were going to break and fill up on gas at. Researched the gas prices for the stops to make sure we got the best prices and didn’t have to stop in Canada. He had the dogs’ rabies shot records, his fishing license for Michigan and a few other docs that may come in handy. Unbelieveably prepared.
Sometimes he just amazes me with how OCD he can be…in a good way. Because after laughing at him and making fun of his little binder I admitted that a few days ago I made up a Wedding binder…I’ll share it a little later.
We drove through the Berkshires in western Mass and the Adirondack’s, which is just some of the most beautiful scenery you’ll see.

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I snapped these pictures out the window with my phone and will definitely say that it doesn’t do it much justice.

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We hit Canada around 11:30 and didn’t have much trouble with traffic.

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The whole road trip went without a hitch. We arrived in Oscoda at 5 in the morning and just hit the beds…only slightly tired.
Day 1

When we awoke around 11 AM, we all headed out to Walmart to grab a grill and some other essentials. The lawn needed a little tending to, so we purchase a weed wacker and just went to town on everything.
I have to say…Walmart has some prime real-estate up in Oscoda. Water Front.

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Not too shabby.
For lunch we stopped at Subway because we were all craving something healthy. Too much candy snacking on the ride up. I had one of their chopped salads, which was delicious and hit the spot.

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The rest of the day involved putting together the grill, chopping some weeds down and relaxing by the lake. I snapped some quick photos of Oreo discovering dock jumping and just some nice scenery at the lake.

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Can Bacon be a little more photogenic??

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You really can’t beat the nice weather, the lake and a cold glass of wine in your hand. This vacation I can only foresee some quality relaxation and down time…exactly what we need!!
What is your ideal vacation?? Do you prefer to be active or completely relaxed??


Tampa Aquarium and St Petersburg Winery

FRIDAY!! I tried to look up some fun…Today in History…but didn’t find anything that jumped out at me. Then I looked for the National Food Holiday…and found out it was National Eat Something Bold and Pungent Day. Cool?? Pungent isn’t something that I really aim for when I’m cooking…to me that has a negative connotation.

So for some Friday fun…I thought I would share with you some St Petersburg Fun! About a year ago, one of my best friends from College came to visit and we stayed in St Pete for the weekend. I had been looking at all of the wineries in Florida and set it as my goal to visit each one of them! With Lakeridge Winery already on the list, I had seen the Florida Orange Groves Winery in St Pete. I didn’t really know much about the winery when we arrived but it was DEFINITELY not what I expected. The groves were not locate don site, so it was mostly a cute little store and the fermenting vats. We learned about the history of the winery and had a tour along with a wine tasting.

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The most notable fact about the winery is that their wines are NOT made from grapes for the most part. I think of wine and grapes automatically pops into my head. At the Orange Groves Winery they make wine from bananas, mangos, strawberries, coconuts, cranberries and anything else you can think of. They have champagnes, ports, vegetable wines, smoothies and more. It’s mind boggling the things that they do here. The tasting allowed you to select which wines you wanted to try, as well as a smoothie. Each wine tasted exactly like the fruit that was used in fermentation and varied from sweet to dry.

Each one was more surprising than the last. Brent and I bought the Festiberry Wine, which was a wine made from cranberries and Florida Banana, which if you can’t guess is made from Bananas. I brought both of them back with me for Thanksgiving for my family to try. The cranberry wine was extremely good, and went well with the Turkey dinner. I thought the Banana had a very surprising flavor. It wasn’t as sweet as you would have pictured but had a true banana flavor. And I just love things that aren’t typical. The more different the better 🙂

After the winery, we headed to the Tampa Aquarium. I had heard some great things about the aquarium and had some high expectations, especially with it being located on the gulf. They had a petting area when you first walk in where you can get your hands on some slimy sting rays.

And above they had some beautiful tanks with all different kinds of fish. One of the neatest things was how they lit the tanks up. It gave the fish a completely different look. Some creepier than others.

I know sharks aren’t particularly nice…but man does that shark look mean. The look in his eye isn’t something that I would want to mess with.

Oh HARROW!

They also had an area to check out a few UNIQUE little birdies. The different types of animals and their adaptations are really amazing to me. They’ve all got their different ways to survive and it’s so fun to learn about their habits because each one is so different from the other.

And clearly they aren’t afraid to get right up in your face. There’s no super zoom on my camera here. But then again, it’s probably better because otherwise you might be getting a close look at this guys nostrils.

CUTIES. It’s almost like they stop and pose for you.

Overall, the aquarium was a bit smaller than I would have thought and you can get through it in about an hour or 2. I’m still a huge Boston Aquarium fan. I haven’t met one that lives up to those expectations 🙂

To top off the day, we drove around a bit and headed towards Davis Island. Davis Island is right off the coast of Tampa and is where a lot of nicer houses are. It is also where my fav Yankee player has a house! Derek Jeter, whoot whoot! So I’m upping my creeper status by sharing a photo of his off season abode.

I wish I had a photo from the bay, because you can really get a sense of how large it actually is. It’s very…cement looking too.

Anyways, it was a fun little trip and something fun and easy for a Friday! St Pete is breath taking and all of the locals agree that if you are going to the beach, anything on the gulf side is the way to go.

NOW, OFF TO THE WEEKEND!!

Any big plans for the weekend?! What’s your favorite thing to do on the weekend?? Something low key or something thrilling?!