Monday, July 15, 2013

Up North Vacay--Traverse City, Charlevoix, Sleeping Bears Dunes & more!

Blog hiatus is over...NOW!

4th of July week was spent Up North for vacation numbero uno.  A lot of Michiganders I know have a cottage/condo/house in Northern Michigan and frequent their second homes constantly so it was beyond absurd to everyone that we had yet to make the trek.  With a great hook up and only a four hour car ride later, we finally got to experience what’s in our backyard.   And let me tell you, it’s all incredible! The lake water is SO blue, like Caribbean blue, and crystal clear.  Beaches with the softest sand, boats out the wazoo, trees, sand dunes.  Still blows my mind that all this beauty is in our state. Now I totally get why everyone spends their free time on the northern shores. 

Why hello blue shores of Traverse City.
And hello gorgeous views!

Thirty minutes of water time later and Parker's lips were as purple as her suit.  Water temp of 60 balmy degrees!

Cold water? What cold water?

Wednesday morning we arrived at our condo, checked out the digs—complete with walk out access to the pool and  Jacuzzi tub that Parker and I both enjoyed—and we were off.  First stop—Charlevoix.  While nothing worked out like my type A personality planned, we actually still had a really nice time.  Strawberry picking was first on the agenda but the farm ran out of strawberries early in the day (??).  No harm, we still were able to frolic the grounds and spend some time on the playground and feed the goats.  The neighboring farm look promising but unfortunately they didn’t offer fruit picking.  However, they did offer wine tasting.  However, probably not the best idea at 1pm with two youngins in tow.  Sadly we passed but one day I’ll be back for you!

Double the baby wearing, double the fun.  Ergos for everyone!
Deep sisterly conversations have commenced.
Next we ventured to Castle Farms, this really cool castle that I actually looked into renting for our wedding.  I amped up this place to Parker, telling her that princesses lived there, yada yada yada.  By the time we entered the parking  she was ready to go.  Yupper, closed for the day.  THEN I realized that we had zero diapers on us.  ZERO.  One stop at Kmart and we were on our way to downtown Charlevoix. 

Parker is REALLY into her flamingo leg move. Gearing up for dance classes this fall.
The marina was gorg.  Lots of fancy pants, triple decker boats showing off, an outside stage for shows, plenty of rolling grass to kick back and relax, and a splash park.  Of course we neglected to bring the bathing suit along.  Parker is so not down with wet clothes but she made a friend that helped her run through.  Yeah, that ended with sobbing. 

Dinner was served at the Weathervane.  Seafood and situated on the lake? Yes please.  While somewhat pricey, the atmosphere was laid back thanks to so many vacationers.  I hesitated dining here because of the girls.  Fancy eats + two children under three just doesn’t equate to anything less than disastrous in my book.  Kris was more optimistic and the waiter was incredible.  He could see the hesitation on my face so he brought over a coloring pad and crayons for Parker and made our wait for a table not much of a wait at all.  Practically two hours later we were all stuffed and I still had two happy, well behaved little things on my hands. I have to say it was a very successful outing all around.

Thursday was devoted to Traverse City.  It was Cherry Festival week so we made that our first stop.  Parker LOVED all the rides.  I’m quite terrified of traveling carnival rides but Parker was on the other end of the spectrum.  So much so that she begged to ride the swings.  You know those crazy high swings that go round and round? 

 Yeah…those swings.  

 I took a deep breath, handed the carny man 8 tickets, and we both got on.  I must have uttered “hold on TIGHT.  DO NOT lean forward. DO NOT wiggle around” five thousand times.  I wasn’t sure how Parker would do once the ride got going but she was in heaven.  And honestly it was pretty fun for me too! The trampoline thing though? Not quite as enjoyable. 

Get her in the drivers seat though and she's cool.

After the carnival we ventured over to watch the dog show, played at the beach, and dined with my boss and his wife.  Parker made a little friend at dinner who was from Cleveland (imagine that!) and they had a great time running around in the fenced yard that was attached to the outdoor dining patio. 

Parker demanded to wear this at the Cherry Festival. Dee.Va.

Friday was started off with a hike but when you put a 2 year old to bed at 1030pm you’re in for trouble come sunrise.  Whine whine whine and lots of “pick me yuuuuuppp” and that hike was cut short.  So we loaded back in the car for another day in Traverse but at a different beach this time.  It was SO hot which made the water that much more enjoyable.  Baby Teagan loved sitting on the shore and splashing her feet in the water.  She’s also really into scooting on her butt in circles (I’ll get to her 9 month post soon-promise!) and of course she had to show this skill off at the beach.  The night was capped off with a party at a client’s house.

Saturday was spent at the Sleeping Bear Dunes.  Infreakingcredible to see sand dunes in Michigan! Once again we were greeted with pristine lake water.  The Dunes has a bagillion beaches.  We found a secluded one, unloaded the entire car (which is quite the task), and set up shop. Parker threw a ball in the water and freaked when it started to float away.  I ran into the water and I kid you not, my chest compressed from the icy temps and it was hard to breathe.  After chatting with some people we were informed that yes, Lake Michigan is freezing, obvi, and to check out this other beach.

Much more enjoyable on the shore.

The float-away ball and happy Parker.

 Good thing we did because it was so cool.  A lake surround by trees and dunes on one side, Lake Michigan on the other, and a big stream that was crazy warm and big enough yet not too big for little ones made this place our fave spot. Dinner that night was at a marina in Traverse.  Outdoor seating and watching the boats—doesn’t get much better than that! Unless you have a cucumber martini to the mix ;)

Ami right, T?? 

First lake surrounded  by trees...
...then the middle stream, then...
...hard to see but it's Lake MI over there, sand dunes, crash waves, and all.

 Sunday we laid low.  Took our time packing up, swam in the pool, and had a very long lunch at a local café.  Little did we know that all of SE MI goes Up North for the 4th.  The 3.5 hour drive turned into 6.5 of driving for a total of 8 hours with stops.  Argh! But it actually went really well.  Both girls were angels! A couple times Teagan started to fuss but calmed right down when Parker sang to her Teagan just eats Parker right up.  Everything Parker does makes her crack up.  Melts my heart I tell you!

We ended the night with pizza, Coldstone Cookie Dough ice cream cake, and presents for the birthday girl (ME!).  Hello 30 : )  What great fun we had spending quality time together as a family.  I’m looking forward to our next vacay in just two months. 

Wrong kind of bottle, Teagan.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful pictures! Looks like you guys had a wonderful trip, even if it didn't go according to plan. ;)