Wednesday, 27 June 2012

A month in Michigan

Arrived home yesterday after nearly a month in Michigan with my family. 

I haven't sorted through all the photos yet, but when I do they will all be uploaded here:  Photos from Michigan holiday 2012

  • Arrived just a few days before my beautiful niece's (Kristin) fabulous wedding to an awesome guy - Jeff! We had a fantastic time at the wedding and reception and enjoyed seeing many relatives and friends that we rarely get to see. 
  • On June 1st, the day before the wedding, my nephew's wife, Angie, gave birth to their second child, a beautiful girl.  Angie was supposed to be a bridesmaid but her new daughter thought differently.  
  • On one Saturday we took my oldest granddaughter (nearly 7), Haylee, to see my niece (Grace) compete in horse shows.  She enjoyed having a day out with us - although it was a very hot day.  An ice cream cone on the way home helped both her and I cool off!
  • Went with son (Patrick) and his family (wife-Robyn, Jesse, Haylee & Allyson) to Greenfield Village.  Lost track of how many times Haylee rode on the carousel! Her wee sister Allyson (nearly 2) went twice.
  • The day after that Haylee and her dad and Danny and I visited the Toledo zoo.  The rain stopped about an hour after we arrived so was more enjoyable after that.  Time ran short though as we needed to get back for my nephew Ben's high school graduation.
  • A couple of days before we came home my son's family, Danny and I went to the cinema to see the animated film 'Brave'.  Loved it!
Haylee and I in a Model T in the village

South Haven & Kal-Haven bike trip

Danny and I spent two nights in South Haven, MI. The main purpose of the trip was to bike the 34 mile Kal-Haven trail. 
The Kal-Haven Trail is one of the many rails-to-trails projects in Michigan.  The trail itself is well-maintained and is mainly a finely ground gravel trail with a mile or two being tarred.  The majority of the trail is through woodland and is shaded.  Some of the trail goes through open farmland and in a few spots it crosses the road in a small town.  There were very few places to stop for lunch but several grocery stores were convenient.  We decided not to stop at all though and ate our snack bars and bananas.  Along the trail there are several water pumps and outhouses.  The ride is mainly flat so quite easy – it just got VERY long after about 25 miles. 

Covered bridge on the trail
We rented our bikes from Rock 'n Road in South Haven and rode about a mile to the beginning of the trail where we met the shuttle.  We took the 2 Valleys Shuttle to the other end of the trail in Kalamazoo and rode back to South Haven. 

Danny pumping the water on the Kal-Haven trail
South Haven was quite a pleasant, clean town with many charming homes and buildings.  I especially loved all the big porches.  The marina, beaches, and layout of the town with many nice shops, along with the sunny and not-too-hot weather made our visit quite pleasant. 

Our hotel, Lake Bluff Inn and My Tripadvisor review which was not positive. It was 2 miles from town which was convenient, the grounds were nice and the breakfast was fantastic. But I would not stay there again.

Sleeping Bear Dunes - Empire/Glen Arbor

Danny, my sister and I spent a week in a rented house in Empire in NW Michigan. This area was voted the most beautiful place in America by Good Morning America viewers last year.  This is the house we rented and were extremely pleased with it:  Bjorn Hus from Leelanau Vacation Rentals

Sister, Cathy, and I
While there we climbed the big dunes, took a ferry to South Manitou Island, canoed down the lower Platte River, and toured Glen Haven.  Lots of beach time and walks as well.  Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

South Manitou lighthouse
My sister bought the lifetime National Park pass for those over 62 and which is also valid at SBD National Lakeshore.  A great deal!!  When Danny and I do a tour of some US parks in a few years I'll get a pass as well.
See senior pass

Future trips

Our next trip is for two nights when Danny and I finally attend the spectacular Edinburgh Military Tattoo in August.

After hearing my brother describe his trip to Israel with his son (a graduation gift), both Danny and I want to visit.  So we've added this to our long list of future trips.

We loved visiting Michigan in the summer and will be skipping our usual Christmas trip (though will be sad to miss) and making our annual sojourns during summertime.  Next big trip is Uganda in January to see our 'daughter' Doreen graduate from university and to visit other friends there.

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