Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Who vacationed to Northern Michigan ...

Imagine Tim Allen's voice inviting you to explore Pure Michigan!

Last week, B and I and his family took Tim Allen's advice and fully immersed ourselves into Northern Michigan.
The whole group - B's parents, sister and her boyfriend

We left Wednesday morning and arrived in the KOA RV Campground in Petoskey right around lunchtime (4 hour drive from Ann Arbor). B's parents have an amazing RV that was our home for the week. We were "camping" ... but the RV may be nicer than some parts of our condo!

We hopped on our bikes right away and took the Little Traverse Wheelway bike path to Harbor Springs. The Little Traverse Wheelway is such a cool resource and amazing way to explore the area because it connects Charlevoix to Petoskey to Harbor Springs. We biked a lot on the trip - the area was so bike friendly, so we had to take advantage... it was also a great way to stay active!

On Thursday we drove about 30 minutes north of Petoskey and hopped on a ferry to Mackinac Island. We took one of the slower ferries and it was about 40 minutes to the island, but you had gorgeous views of the Mackinac Bridge the whole time.
As you can see - it was a bit chilly with the wind, but we layered up!
Mackinac Island is a small island off the coast of Mackinaw City and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. There are no cars allowed on the island ... this blew my mind! There were bikes everywhere and horse carriages everywhere. UPS even delivered their packages with a horse! If you plan to go to Mackinac Island, either bring bikes (way cheaper!) or rent them, because biking is the best way to get to see the whole island. There is an amazing bike path that goes all around the island and is 8 miles long - it has impressive views the whole way!

Amazing clear, blue water!

While on Mackinac - you have to go see the Grand Hotel! It has the world's largest front porch at 660 feet. It is also the world's largest seasonal hotel. We did not go into the hotel, but even when you are walking the grounds you feel like you are stepping back in time. They even have a dress code - after 6pm men have to have a coat and women have to be in a skirt or dress! I would love to stay at least one night there in the future!

One of my favorite adventures of the trip (and something I recommend to anyone!) is biking the Tunnel of Trees  - which is Highway M119. I know, I know ... all I am talking about is biking ... but it is such a fun way to see such a gorgeous area and sneak in activity!
Just north of Harbor Springs, we jumped onto M119 and followed it along the coast of Lake Michigan to this fun restaurant called Legs Inn. I cannot begin to describe how beautiful this bike ride is ... a forest lined road with cliff top views of Lake Michigan on one side of you and fun, huge vacation homes on the other side.

We started our bike ride in Petoskey and it was 30 miles to Legs Inn (we had someone pick us up at Legs ... our legs were not feeling 60 miles). It was a hilly ride, but it was sooo worth it. We all felt very accomplished after the ride, and the beer at Legs Inn tasted especially good!
Also, I loved that the road was not very busy ... it did not seem very touristy (it probably gets busier in the Fall with the leaves changing).

If you bike the Tunnel of Trees, you have to stop at Pond Hill Farm! It is a store, brewery, winery, restaurant, working farm, and flower garden all in one place! We tried some of their beer and wine, and it was all pretty good. I loved their cider! 

Random side note - if you stop at Pond Hill Farm, you should try the squash rocket! They sell their old, inedible squash at "ammo" and you can launch it into this field ... sounds so silly ... but it was so much fun! 

On the food front ... We had most of our meals around the campfire, and things just taste better when you eat them outside! It was vacation, so I definitely splurged on ice cream, s'mores, and some drinks ... but overall we ate fairly healthy (and limiting your meals at restaurants is always healthier).

The rest of the trip was filled with campfires, exploring all of the little towns, card playing (B and I were double deck euchre champs!), and eating ice cream! 

It was a great trip and I enjoyed soaking in the time with family and being able to unplug and just "play" outdoors. As a newbie to Michigan, I was constantly blown away by the beauty of Lake Michigan.

If you get the chance to explore Northern Michigan - jump on it! I would love to pass along any other advice or details too if you have questions.

Do you have any summer vacation plans?

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I am not a registered dietitian (yet). My blog is simply a snapshot of my everyday life. The views I express are mine alone, based on my own experiences, and should not be taken as medical advice. Though I am a certified fitness instructor, the workouts I post may not be right for you. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your current routine.