Saturday, April 15, 2017

Northern Michigan

There is so much to say about my home state… I am from Southwestern Michigan, but as a good and dutiful Michigander, I have taken my fair share of family trips up north to the Traverse City area and beyond. The furthest north that I have been was Sault Ste Marie, visiting the Soo Locks and learning about boating history in Lake Superior such as the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Driving over the Mackinac Bridge to the Upper Peninsula can be a little disconcerting, as gusts of wind can (and have) shut the bridge down due to a danger of lifting cars off the edge! Across the bridge, Mackinac Island offered an interesting new experience. Cars are not allowed on the island, so any visitors must take a ferry over, then find alternate transportation. The “alternate transportation” of choice? Bikes and horses! We rented bikes and rode around to various sights, including a stop at one of the famous fudge shops and a visit to the arch rock. We also chose to take a horse and buggy ride around the island, but our horse seemed to be stuck on the “slow” setting, which made it slightly less enjoyable. Further south, Sleeping Bear Dunes is another park that I have taken for granted each time that I went there as a kid. The dunes are impressive – tall and steep – and they stretch out along the distant coastlines. Some of them are completely protected and blocked off from climbing (for the safety of visitors as well as the preservation of the dunes), but there are a couple that are open to the public. Climbing hundreds of feet up steep banks of sand is no easy task, and the dunes are so big that people have gotten stuck at the bottom, without the strength to climb back up the mountains of sand. My favorite place to travel in Northern Michigan is not well known, despite it being a source of a significant amount of childhood memories. Paradise Hollow on Lake View is a small resort that my family spends a week at each summer, staying in small red cottages and enjoying the sights and activities of a no wake lake: fishing, kayaking, playing shuffleboard, and many other wonderful things. These vacations introduced me to another gem of Michigan, Moomers Ice Cream. With some of the best ice cream I have ever tasted, Moomers is a destination that I will never skip during summertime trips to the Traverse City area. Unfortunately, I have been unable to go to Paradise Hollow the past couple of years due to other obligations, but when I do have the opportunity to return, it will be a wonderful week in Northern Michigan.

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