Archive for Michigan

Mackinac Island, MI

Sometimes this is spelled Mackinaw Island.  NO matter what, it’s pronounced mack – in – AWE.  Do NOT pronounce the “c”!

If you are in Northern Michigan or the UP [Upper Peninsula], you have to visit Mackinac Island.  Park your car and take the ferry…in fact, you have to park your car…NO cars are allowed on the island [except emergency vehicles].  People get around the island by walking, cycling or horses.

The island is about 8 miles around and renting a bike and cycling around the island is the thing to do.

Probably the second thing people do is: eat and shop.  Seems like downtown is full of:

* Tshirt/hoodie/sweatshirt shops

* Fudge/candy shops

* Souvenirs

* Hot dog/soda/pretzel snack stands

There seems to be NO national chains, except for a Starbucks.

We rented a tandem bike and had a blast.  Ralph would shout “Tandem Rules!!” as we passed others on tandems, but they didn’t seem to join in his exuberance. [HINT: Rent your bike at a place away from where you get off the ferry…the lines are shorter and it’s less expensive.]

There were more people than I’ve ever seen on the island.  That said, I haven’t been there in probably 20 years, and certainly NOT in the middle of summer, on a Saturday!

I remember that there were only 2 ferry companies: Sheplers and Arnolds, but we took the Star Line Ferry, since we dug the plume of water behind the boat.

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St. Ignace, MI

We needed a place to stay the night before taking the ferry over to Mackinac Island.  The choices are small, quaint St. Ignace, or the bigger, touristy town of Mackinaw City.  The cities are on each side of the Mackinac Bridge: Mackinaw City is on the southern/Lower Michigan side, and St. Ignace is on the northern/UP side.

We were on the road, so I called the visitor center of Mackinaw City, and NO one answered the phone.  I then called the St. Ignace visitor center, and a nice, older lady answered the phone…thus prompting us to stay in St. Ignace.  We had a lovely, relaxed evening and a great dinner at The Galley.

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Moran Bay Motel – St. Ignace, MI

We stayed at the Moran Bay Motel in St. Ignace.  I would recommend staying at this locally owned motel.  FYI – the bathroom has hand painted flowers on the walls!

500 South 2nd Street
St. Ignace, MI 49781
(906) 643-9790

NOTE: There are coupons for all the ferrys in the lobby of the motel.

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Coffee & Connect Coffee Shop in Petoskey, MI

I was in the Coffee & Connect coffee shop in Petoskey, and thought it was cool that they not only have an honor system re buying self serve drip coffee, but they also give the customer a price break if you bring your own mug!

301 East Mitchell Street

Petoskey, MI 49770-2615

(231) 347-4755

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Charlevoix, MI


Check out Charlevoix’s  beautiful harbor!

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Michigan – Back to the Land of “Pop”


Growing up we called that colored carbonated beverage: Pop.  Then I moved to Oklahoma and the beverage was called “Soda”.  In Texas I was introduced to the generic term “Coke”, as in: What kind of Coke would you like?  Umm…I’ll have a Dr. Pepper.

My favorite pop growing up is probably a brand most people are UNfamiliar with: Faygo.  It’s still around in Michigan, but harder to find. 

My favs: Faygo Red Pop [yep, it’s red].  Also Faygo green pop…which is really called Frosh.  Try it…if you can find them!

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The Old Mission Lighthouse

Is about 30 minutes from Traverse City, MI, at the end of the Old Mission Peninsula.  The lighthouse was built to warn ships away from the rocky shoals of Old Mission Point, and was completed in September 1870.  It sits exactly on the 45th parallel, halfway between the equator and the North Pole.  Hmmm…I cross the 45th Parallel on my way from Bend to Portland…the 45th Parallel is everywhere!

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Food: Pasty

Growing up, my mom made pasties [pronounced PASS-tees].  My dad is from the UP [Upper Peninsula of Michigan] where pasties were commonly eaten by workers in the mines.

Pasties originated in Cornwall, UK [some people call them Cornish Pasties]. In essence, it is a pie crust that is filled with meat/potatoes/veggies and then folded over, and baked.  They look like an empanada.

I’ve tried several in the UP and Traverse City, Michigan.  I get the veggie pasty, and even though it sounds blasphemous, I eat it with ketchup.  Tradition.  The best place I’ve found is Cousin Jenny’s, in Traverse City.

Cousin Jenny’s – 129 South Union Street
Traverse City, MI 49684-2519
(231) 941-7821 

NO Website.

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Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes – Lake Michigan

The Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, along Lake Michigan is about a 40 minute drive from my hometown of Traverse City, MI.  Growing up, it was the place to go … climb the sand dunes, and then go swimming in Glen Lake.  Going to the dunes was even a field trip each year when I was in grade school.

I haven’t been to the dunes in probably 20 years, and there were changes!  Imagine that?

* There wasn’t a wooden pole to mark the official “top” of the initial dune

* NO concession stand.  Building is now a gift shop.

* There seemed to be more grass growing [less sand] than what I remembered

* NOT FREE.  There is now a $10 admission fee.

* NO “old timey” water well pump for drinking water.  Now they have regular drinking faucets.

* Glen Lake, which I remembered being about a foot deep for hundreds of yards, thus making it my ideal water temperature: warm.  It is now “officially” a picnic area, with tall grass growing in the water.  Ralph and I still got in it and waded around.

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Turtle Creek Casino – Traverse City, MI

I was recently at a party at Turtle Creek Casino, and received a $10 voucher to play at the casino.

I received my plastic Players Card and we headed to 25 cent video poker, which is what Ralph likes to play [usually with a spending limit of $2 a day/time]. 

On our second hand, we got four 5’s and won $12.50!!  I told him to Stop Baby Stop, but unfortunately, we still had $9.75 to play!

All in all, we won $17.50!

NOTE: The 3 yr old casino doesn’t have any NO smoking areas!!  It stunk in there.

NOTE: When first using a machine, it automatically defaults to betting 5.  So…watch out!

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