Our first family vacation was to Michigan and we bounced around the state... so let's get started! This was our first family photo as we crossed the border.
We stopped first in Frankenmuth and rode on the Bavarian Belle steamboat, although it runs on diesel now.
We had a great time.
On the way to our hotel in Saginaw we tracked a storm. Summer was napping in the car so Dawn and I stopped in a parking lot and jumped out to get a quick photo. This is the only photo with just the two of us.
We checked into the hotel, I went for a five mile run, then we went back to Frankenmuth for dinner. We saw a beautiful rainbow heading back. Dawn took this photo while I was driving.
We stopped by Bronners Christmas store... and it is HUGE!
We didn't stay too long at the Christmas store, but grabbed a quick Ohio State ornament and headed to the Bavarian Inn to have dinner before it closed.
Sunday we continued north toward Traverse City. The countryside is absolutely beautiful.
We were going to arrive early so we went to Empire, MI and climbed the Sleeping Bear National Park Dunes.
We made it to the top!
Here is a panoramic view with Dawn and Summer.
Then on to Traverse City. Summer walked more and more while on the trip. We had dinner at The Filling Station then played in the park across the tracks from the train depot where the restaurant has taken over.
Then a quick trip to the West Bay to check out the beaches for the next day.
Summer took a little time to warm up to the water, but she was loving it more and more as the time went on.
And she kept walking more and more.
Family photo time!
Followed by nap time. We bought a sun canopy tent and it was a GREAT $40 investment so Summer could nap at the beach.
We ate more ice cream on this trip than the entire past year combined.
Do I have something on my face?!
And then CRASH! We stayed three nights in Traverse City and had a great time.
The food was fantastic. This was in Grand Haven, where we stayed two nights. This was a salmon BLT.
We checked out the beach again. See the pier behind us...
We went out to the edge of the pier.
A view the other way.
The waves were crashing up on the end of the pier.
And were fun to watch.
We tried doing a few more photos at the end of the pier. Summer loves being goofy.
I love this photo.
Here is one more photo from the end of the pier as a boat is heading out to Lake Michigan.
Another great view and meal at Snug Harbor.
Each day we made at least one castle. Our castle in Grand Haven was the best with even a tunnel for water to come in and go out.
I also love this photo that Dawn took. We had the beaches to ourselves early in the morning. So much great family time.
So this is our set-up. Stroller helped haul it all down to the beach and with the sea breeze it also came in helpful to anchor down the side that the wind was coming from in the afternoon. We also broke brought the umbrella and only used it once to add more shade...
So someone could get their beauty rest.
Grand Haven had a LOT more people than Traverse City. We went to the city beaches at both cities and it seemed less packed than the state parks. The view above is looking at the state park to the north of our location.
Grand Haven had an ice cream social to help raise money for their train renovation so we stopped for some ice cream and help out. This was our final family photo of the trip.
Summer fell asleep on the way home reading a book.
Saturday night there were a few storms with Tornado Warnings in the area so we went and tracked a few. All we saw was strong winds, heavy rains, and VERY ominous clouds.
Our bradford pear tree bit the dust... well halfway. I am going to take down the rest of the tree this week, so if anyone would like some wood... let me know. Seriously! I priced out how much it would cost to have the tree hauled away by someone else, but I might try to do it myself. All I know is that I will need to get ride of the wood and I will have to deal with the sticks and small limbs myself.
A beautiful start to the week with temperatures below normal. A few afternoon clouds Monday, but then hardly a cloud in the sky on Tuesday. More clouds Wednesday ahead of rain expected for Thursday. Our warmest temperatures will be midweek with highs reaching the mid 80s. We dry out and stay mild heading into next weekend. Have a good one!