To say that we did a lot of traveling this summer would be an understatement. Like the understatement of the year. So we’re here again to talk about our first vacation as a married couple…!!!
After our final reception in Lansing, we stuck around a few days to relax and do some tourist-y things, that I absolutely loved doing! Yes, I am that girl who takes the camera everywhere trying to capture every-single-moment, and I love it!
Our first stop you ask? Why, Michigan State University of course! Since Josh’s brother was in town (from Shanghai!!) and is a graduate, we made it our first stop in our vacation.
And being the camera crazy gal that I am, I made sure to take plenty of photos…
Man, I have a handsome husband! So, for those of you who are wondering, that tower in the background? That’s Beaumont Tower, one of MSU’s landmarks. Apparently, someone told me that kissing under the Tower is a tradition to “prove that one is a true Spartan”, and that a Spartan is destined to marry a sweet heart if they kiss under the Tower. Cute, right? I love hearing stories and traditions like that.
While we were staying in Lansing, we made a special little trip to none other than Frankenmuth. It was my first time in Frankenmuth, and to be honest the first thing I thought of when I saw the main stretch the first thing I thought of was Epcot’s version of Germany. Seriously.
Of course, the main reason for the trip was to experience the world famous chicken dinner at the Bavarian Inn. And it certainly didn’t disappoint. I will say that if you get the chance to visit, get the noodles. Delicious! And if chicken isn’t your jam, go for the lederhosen… It’s a good laugh!
Who can go to Frankenmuth and not visit Bronner’s?? Certainly not us. Because there we were, in the middle of summer, browsing Christmas ornaments and Nativity scenes. We didn’t leave empty handed, and purchased a few ornaments to deck out our tree with in a few months… but shhh… they’re a surprise!!
After a couple more days in Lansing, it was time for us to hit the road again, although this time we were headed north! And let me tell you, it is completely worth the several hour drive north. I can’t say enough how beautiful this area is and I seriously have to restrain myself from planning our next trip up north already!
friends family who happen to have a home on the shores of Lake Michigan who graciously open their home to us year after year. We had tons of fun this year (as we do every year!), exploring the area and taking in as many sunsets as we can! Honestly, there’s nothing better that those sunsets in my book! I can never seem to get enough of them!
We were even lucky enough to grab this photo, a year later from when Josh proposed. And of course it was at sunset!
So much growing and changing has happened in the last year since this beautiful moment, but we wouldn’t trade it for the world!
Now that I’m all teary eyed with that walk down memory lane, we’ll get on with the rest of our vacation shenanigans!
Our first morning in Paradise (as I like to call it), we took a bike ride even further north to a small park that opened up to a beach area where Josh gave me a lesson in skipping stones- something he is quite excellent at, might I add. I’m so stoked that Instagram does video now! I’m a little addicted to it… (psst… follow along with us here!). The water is so calm here, it’s almost always like that. Smooth. And in the early morning, it’s just like glass! Which makes for the most perfect water-skiing! Not that I can get up on skis… but I like to think that someday I’ll be able too… Big dreams here, folks!
After spending much of the afternoon on jet ski’s (turbo charged jet ski’s, mind you…) and even taking a few kids on a ride, we were off to our next adventure! Sleeping Bear Dunes!
Now, this was also my first time here experiencing the dunes. And I’ll tell you something… they are nothing like the dunes you’ll find on the east coast (at least in my experience). These things are monsters. Monsters I say! I was not prepared for how gigantic they are! I think I told Josh to “shut up” when we drove up because I was so flabbergasted!!
We painstakingly climbed to the top of the first dune. We learned upon arrival from the park ranger that it was a good 3-4 hour hike to the shores of Lake Michigan across the dunes. Not happening. Not with us anyway! From the bottom of the dune, it seems completely manageable, but as you tread up, and up, and up, in the sand you really get your workout in! We were surrounded by families with small kids who made the trip up look like a breeze. Apparently kids have superpowers when it comes to running up dunes…
We made it! The lake you see behind us is Glen Lake, one of Michigan’s many, many, many lakes… In front of us would be another 3-4 hours of hiking across dunes to Lake Michigan, but we could see it from where we stood!
And then it was time to head back down. It was warm, and we were thirsty from our excursion up to the top. We would have liked to see the scenic drive while we were in the area, but the area of Sleeping Bear Dunes and Glen Arbor gets quite a bit of traffic nowadays since being named to someone’s top places to vacation… I am so glad that we made the day trip here, it’s one of those things that you just need to see for yourself! And I might have added the hike through the dunes to the lake to my bucket list as well….
The next day, we were on the hunt. On the hunt for what you ask? Well, if you must know, fresh smoked salmon. Being from Ohio, you just can’t get something like this every day, and it’s kind of a special vacation treat for us. Salmon is to us, what bacon is to most people…
With the help of our friends who were vacationing with us, they led us to Fish Town, a historic part of Leland that thrives on fishing. If you couldn’t guess from the name…
It was really neat to see all the fishermen bring in their haul of fresh fish that they had just caught that morning… We were able to enjoy some salmon on the docks as we watched the men tidy up their boats from that morning, something that us city folk don’t get to see everyday!
We did a bit of shopping while in Leland as well. We picked up some Grand Traverse Distillery cherry vodka made with Traverse City cherries… which are only the best cherries you’ll ever taste! And picked up a cool map of the area that we have something neat planned for…!!!
That night, we even did some cherry picking of our own! We don’t have many pictures of it, we were a little preoccupied sampling the work at hand… and boy was it delicious! In past years, we’ve made pies, jams, and other delicious treats from our cherry picking adventures… yum, yum, yum!!
Our last and final night, we went out to eat with our close friends and took in the sights and sounds of North Port and the harbor. We had some good BBQ at a place called The Garage, and took a stroll around town and the harbor.
We were able to catch one more sunset from the balcony when we returned to our home away from home. It was the most spectacular one of the trip in my book. Pictures don’t do them justice. Sunsets here are my absolute favorite. It was a nice way to say adios to our little piece of heaven!
The next day we made the trek back to Lansing for the night and to pick up our little fur-baby! The following day we made the final leg of our journey home. It was a fantastic trip for our first summer vacation, and we already can’t wait to get back up north!
That wraps up our vacation, but there is still MORE travel to cover for us! Next week it gets really interesting! Next Tuesday we’ll get on that story. This Thursday we’ve got some DIY planned for you guys! It was a real bummer last week to find out that I accidentally deleted a bunch of photos and a whole post for you guys! Still working on getting that restored, but until then, we’ve got some fun stuff to do!
What do all of you lovely, lovely, readers have in store in the DIY department? Or are you still living up the memories from your family’s vacation?! Fill us in, we love to hear from you guys (and gals!!)