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Posts Tagged ‘Traverse City’

PresqueIsleStateParkSo on my lunch break I decided to muse about since I forgot a book and my DS (I’m currently addicted to Plants vs. Zombies). I started looking up things to do in northern Michigan/the Upper Peninsula, and I always wondered about Marquette, MI. Last summer, my husband and I drove through the entire state of Michigan, stopping at Traverse City, St. Ignace, Sault Ste. Marie, Tahquamenon Falls, and Munising, I believe. We had to go to the other side of the U.P. to get through Wisconsin, though, and so we didn’t have enough time to explore the western side of the U.P.

I stumbled upon reviews from tripadvisor.com and saw everyone clamoring about Presque Island State Park north of Marquette. After reading so many positive reviews, I decided to Google it for images.

Um, yeah. I’m totally going there next time. Do you SEE all that gorgeous water? I adore Lake Superior and want to be super close to it, so I think this is a must-see place!

What do you think? Also, if you have any other suggestions about where my husband and I should go in Michigan, both the U.P. and the Lower Peninsula, I will be happy to take suggestions, even for places we’ve already visited! 🙂

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On my way to work the other day, I decided to put in one of my favorite discs, Greetings From Michigan, The Great Lakes State! by Sufjan Stevens. It’s one of those discs that when played, especially in nice weather, it takes me back to that wonderful place in time in which my husband and I visited the beautiful state of Michigan. One song particularly took me back to two of my favorite locations in Michigan – “Sleeping Bear, Sault Ste. Marie.”

I really feel as if Sufjan does a fantastic job capturing these two fantastic locations, places that I can never forget for many reasons. Since listening to the song, I long to stand on the warm, soft sands of Sleeping Bear, west of Traverse City. I desire to stand on one of those beautiful sand dunes to see the glorious Lake Michigan below me. I’d give about anything to slip silently into the lake once more and allow it to gently jostle and move me around in its undulating waves.

I’m sad that I didn’t get to spend as much time as I wanted to in either location. I would’ve scoured the western beaches of Michigan and stolen a few hours away to swim and lounge by the lake. I would’ve dug a bit deeper into the very old history of Sault Ste. Marie, and I definitely would have gotten my passport and traveled for some time into Canada, visiting the “other” Sault Ste. Marie. I would have taken more time to take in all of the smells, the hues of the sky and the lakes, and the feel of the wind blowing my hair in the breezy, mild July weather. I would give anything to go back.

But until I do get the opportunity to journey northward, I must allow myself to bask in the happy memories that I shared with my husband. I will look at the bottles of Lake Superior sand on my desk with great fondness. I will gaze longingly at the photos I took of the beautiful state. And I will listen to this disc again and again and again, especially to this song.

Take a listen to this tune and see what you think!

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Empire, MichiganExcuse me while I daydream about the Great Lakes State for a bit!

Sometimes when I’m driving to or from work (which is an hour-long commute one way), I pretend like I’m taking the back roads and Interstates of Michigan on the way to something more fun, somewhere like Traverse City, St. Ignace, Sault Ste. Marie, or somewhere by one of the beautiful Great Lakes. *sigh* One day I’ll go back. 🙂

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Happy Birthday, Michigan!So today is Michigan’s 176th birthday! Dang, Michigan, you’re old!

As many of you probably already know, my husband and I visited this beautiful state for the first time this past July, and it really turned out to be an even more beautiful state than I had imagined. So in honor of Michigan’s birthday today, I want to quickly recount 5 of my favorite Michigan experiences!

1. Climbing the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes Near Traverse City – This was probably the biggest event in my life thus far that really tested my physical (and mental) fortitude. My goal was to climb the giant sand dune, thinking that we’d see Lake Michigan right on the other side. Noooooope. Not even close. I dragged my poor husband up and down 3 more gigantic sand dunes, and I went on down and then up one more mountain-like sand dune by myself to see if the lake would be right there. It wasn’t, unfortunately, but I could see it. I think I was maybe half of a mile away from the shoreline. Instead of pushing onward against the setting sun, I stood still and took in my surroundings, letting the serene silence soak in everything around me. All that could be heard was the gentle breeze tangling through the grass and tree limbs and maybe an occasional buzz of a lazy insect.

Getting back, however, was so much harder. It was a breeze to clumsily trot down the sand dune, but the climb up was perhaps one of the most tiring thing I’ve ever done, especially since all I had in my stomach that day was half of a cheeseburger from McDonald’s and sparse amount of water, and of course, I brought nothing with me. My limbs were so weak and shaky as I crawled up the insanely steep dune, and I wondered for a short while if I would die. Luckily, I was able to make it back to my worried husband, and we trudged our way back to the car in the dying light.

Those dunes showed me that I am much more capable of doing pretty much anything I set my mind to, and I am forever grateful for that, especially since at that time I was suffering from a significant lack of confidence. I will forever love those dunes. 🙂

2. Crossing the Mighty Mac – Did I ever mention how afraid of heights I am? Well, if not, know this – I am TERRIFIED of heights. Even if it’s just a few feet off the ground, I feel really uncomfortable. When I learned that the Mighty Mac was 5 miles long and 199 feet above the straits, I got a bit apprehensive. What if the wind is really bad? What if there’s a traffic jam on the bridge and we’re stuck on it? I get so anxious when I have to sit on bridges over bodies of water, especially if it’s raining and I’m surrounded by semis.

When I first saw the bridge in the distance, I was in awe and fear at the same time. I was hoping maybe to stop in Mackinaw City to get myself ready to tackle the scary bridge, but before I knew it, we were traveling to the U.P. on the bridge, leaving the ground and hovering above the Great Lakes. The special radio station that talked about the bridge played tinkling, easy-listening piano music as the narrator softly talked about the features and history of the bridge. I got the courage to look around me, and what I saw was breath-takingly beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes. The bridge was a little scary, but I’m much, much less afraid than what I used to be and would be happy to cross it again if the opportunity ever arrives. 🙂

3. Staying the Night Right Beside Lake Huron – After crossing the Mighty Mac, we stopped in our next destination – St. Ignace – a place that was named after my patron saint (St. Ignatius of Loyola). Our hotel was located RIGHT on the shore of Lake Huron. Though it was near the end of the day and was a drizzly icky day, the view was gorgeous. The laps against the shoreline made it seem as if we were right next to the ocean. For hours, we were able to keep a window open as we watched the Tigers game and ate Yooper pizza, listening to the gentle Lake Huron lap a stone’s throw away.

4. Checking Out the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie (and Waving Hello to Canada!) – I’ll admit it. I was kinda unconvinced at the time about the Soo Locks. I thought it would be kinda lame to see them. I’ll have to say, though, that it was super cool to see tour boat and a huge ship come through the locks and travel into Lake Superior. My husband said that he really enjoyed seeing how the locks worked and was happy we stopped. It was also really cool to see Canada so close to us. I have never been to Canada before, and I hope to do so sometime! We also watched all of the cars packed on the International Bridge coming in and out of the countries. Before leaving the Soo, we stopped in a store across the street and grabbed a bunch of states magnets, grabbing all the ones we visited. Reluctantly, we left westward through the remaining peninsula, waving hello and then good-bye to neighboring Canada and vowing to be back someday to visit.

5. Finding Out the Detroit Isn’t Nearly as Terrifying as I Thought –Okay… I know I’m very inexperienced about cities, especially Detroit, so please don’t be mad at what I’m about to say. I think Detroit gets such a bad rap. Sure, some things are kind of sketchy there, and yeah, there’s a decent amount of crime, but I believe there are still many good things that happen in that city. When we were getting ready to visit Detroit on our 2nd day of being in the state, I was so apprehensive. I had never been there and didn’t know what to expect, worried that we’d be accosted by someone. Once we got there, though, we went to Comerica Park to just walk around and check out the store, even though it was the park itself was closed that day. It was great to see the giant tiger statue and all the cool baseball stuff. Though we didn’t stay very long in Detroit (let’s face it – we only went to Comerica, drove around downtown for a bit, and that was about it before we almost accidentally went into Canada), I would give it another shot. The city was quiet and clean in the parts we were in, and the people we talked to seemed really pleasant. It seemed a lot like St. Louis, a city that I’m pretty used to, and I would definitely come back. 🙂

Oh, and I definitely want to see a Tigers game in the Motor City.

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Happy 2013!Well, 2013 is finally here, believe it or not! I can’t believe how quickly 2012 came and went. It only seems like yesterday that it was July or something.

2012 was really a wonderful year for me. It was a year of personal growth, vanquishing my fears, and accomplishing a few dreams. Here are just some of the things that occurred in my life in 2012:

*I celebrated my 2nd year of marriage with my wonderful husband.*I followed baseball for the first year ever, cheering on the Detroit Tigers as hard as I could.
*My husband took me to visit Michigan for the first time. For a few years, I had wanted to visit the state so badly to see what it was for myself and to prove the naysayers wrong. I found that it is a very beautiful state full of wonder. I think I left my heart in the northwest corner of the lower peninsula. ❤
*I learned that Detroit isn’t as scary of a place as most people think… and the people I encountered there were pretty nice! I’d visit again.
*I got to swim in a Great Lake for the first time in my life – Lake Michigan in Kenosha, Wisconsin. For a good chunk of my life, I had wanted to swim in one of the Great Lakes. I gotta say, there’s nothing like the feeling of swimming in Lake Michigan. That day, a storm was slowly encroaching from the west, so the waves were a smidgen choppy, but I have NEVER seen such a beautiful body of water full of deep blues, turquoise, and greens. I’m so happy and grateful that my husband let me swim for the time that I was able, and I can’t wait to go back again! This girl loves her Great Lakes. 🙂
*My heart was stolen by the sparkling waters of sweet Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula.
*I climbed the sand dunes at Sleeping Bear near Traverse City, Michigan. It was a harrowing climb for me as I had hardly any food and liquid within and nothing with me besides my husband. The dunes were unbelievably steep yet gorgeous and worth every step. I didn’t get to the edge of the lake like I hoped I had, but I was able to go through 5 HUGE dunes and stand and see the lake in a distance, enveloped in silence.
*I proved to myself that I am much stronger than I think I am. I owe my thanks to the Sleeping Bear sand dunes for that one.
*I learned to let go of the haters in my life.
*I was able to see my favorite animal, wolves, for my birthday about 2 and a half weeks ago and hear them howl. It was one of the best experiences in my life, along with the Michigan road trip.
*Two of my close friends got married, and another set of friends gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. It’s the first birth in our group of friends. God, I’m getting old!

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like making resolutions for New Year’s. I used to do it, but like several people across the nation, I lose my resolution by about March or April. Instead, I’m trying to set goals for myself! Here are some goals I have in mind for 2013:

*Get back on the horse and continue to exercise. I was doing pretty well until about Thanksgiving, so I need to just get back to it. I didn’t fail; I only had setbacks.
*See the Detroit Tigers play somewhere nearby.
*Go on another great adventure somewhere with my wonderful husband.
*Figure out how I want my landscaping to look this spring/summer. Oh, and um, I’ve never done this before, so it should be INTERESTING.
*Donate to the wolves in Eureka, Missouri somehow this week. Or at least see them again!
*Keep up this blog and keep on writing.
*Be more fervent in reading, writing, and drawing and painting instead of sitting on my butt after work and goofing off online.
*Focus on being present in the here and now and less worried about the future.
*Go through my closets and drawers in the house and organize myself.
*Continue to be the best wife I can possibly be for my husband and support him in every way I can.

I’m very much looking forward to a wonderful 2013. I hope you are, too!

What are your favorite memories of 2012? Do you have any New Year’s resolutions or goals for 2013? Go ahead and leave me a comment! 🙂

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Pure MichiganIt’s mid-December now, and sure, it’s relatively cold down here in southern Illinois, though it could be much colder. Winter is silently, relentlessly approaching!

I was looking through a lot of my pictures from the road trip to Michigan that my husband and I took in July this year, and well…. I miss it. I truly do. Michigan is a little different from Illinois. The drivers are a little more aggressive than those who drive in southern Illinois (usually); there’s a LOT more water around (if you seek a pleasant peninsula, look around you!), and there were rainbows on signs nearly everywhere for whatever reason. While I enjoyed just about all parts of Michigan, I truly miss the northern lower peninsula and the Upper Peninsula. I adored Traverse City and its looming, tiring, stunning sand dunes. I loved traveling through the lovely town of Charlevoix. The Mighty Mac was the first BIG bridge I had ever crossed, and it didn’t even really scare me (I’m very much acrophobic.)! And the beauty of the Upper Peninsula is simply unmatched.

I’ll give you a few of my favorite pictures from my journey up north with my beloved.

Lake Michigan in Traverse City, MITraverse City: After visiting Detroit and Frankenmuth, we went up to Traverse City. It felt like it took years to get there; my anticipation to see the recently famous traveler’s destination was eating away at me. I hadn’t ever truly seen a Great Lake so up close, minus the handful of times I was able to go to Chicago, my absolute favorite city. I remember getting to Traverse City, and the very first glimpse of Lake Michigan absolutely stole my heart away. I had never seen a body of water such a beautiful shade of blue. I wish that we had spent more time in Traverse City; I would’ve totally swum in the lake for hours on end.

The Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes were a big reason I wanted to go to Traverse City. Since I had lain eyes on them after searching them for the first time on the Internet, I thought to myself, “I’m gonna get there, and I’m gonna climb those dunes.”

The only thing was that I thought it was just one huge dune that you climbed and that once you reached the top, you would be treated with the glorious vision of beautiful Lake Michigan below you. As the lyric to a Sufjan song goes, “Oh, Sleeping Bear! Ran to the top and got scared of what I could see.”

Sleeping Bear DunesInstead, unbeknownst to me, I had dragged my husband up the seemingly insurmountable dune hill climb and through 3 more huge dunes (and an extra one for me). It was an especially arduous journey because I had worn jeans and my Justin Verlander shersey over my two-piece, AND I hadn’t eaten really anything, nor did I bring water with me. By the time I had reached the top of the 5th dune, I was sad that I wasn’t right beside Lake Michigan, but it was such a beautiful sight to see the lake and the dunes surrounding it. There was such peace in that place. The only sound you could hear was the mesmerizing in and out of the waves of the lake below and the occasional rustling of leaves on the few trees beside you. I nearly had a panic attack when I attempted climbing up the dune from whence I had come to reach my exhausted husband. The sun was setting, and I hardly had any energy left in my limbs due to exhaustion and dehydration. I had crawled part of the way up the steep dune for 10 minutes straight, and I still had over half the dune to go. I remembered calling his name and nearly losing my cell phone, trying to determine if I had signal (nope!). I wondered if I’d just collapse in the cool sand and die. But the voice in the back of my head kept telling me, “Keep going. You can make it. You won’t die, and you won’t get sick; just keep going and face your fears!”

And what do you know? Here I am today, alive and well, and more courageous than I’ve been in a long time! I can’t wait to go back and try the different trails and actually GET to the lake, haha. 🙂

The Mighty MacThe Mighty Mac: Move over, Golden Gate Bridge. This bridge, in my opinion, is the most beautiful bridge in the country. I mean, c’mon. The Mac is 5 miles long and runs across two wonderful Great Lakes. What’s not to love? Well, okay, it was a little terrifying knowing that you’re 199 feet above the Great Lakes, but as far as I know, only 2 people had died on (or off) the bridge since it was built in 1957, and one was because he was driving too quickly for the conditions.

At first, I was terrified to cross the bridge. I have sorta inherited my mom’s fear of being on bridges over large bodies of water, especially if 1.) semis are beside you, 2.) it’s raining, 3.) you’re stuck on the bridge, 4.) all of the above. My husband assured me that I would be fine and that there was nothing to worry about.

He was right. He turned on the special radio station that talked about the bridge, its history, and all the facts about the bridge. The announcer spoke in a knowledgeable, soothing voice, and calming plinkings of a piano played in the background of his schpeel. I took several pictures of the bridge, cried, and kept saying, “Oh, my God, this is so beautiful!”

I also have to say, I cried quite a few times on the trip, almost all of it out of sheer happiness (only once out of fear).

Well, I could go on about Michigan and the Great Lakes all day, but I think I’ll stop for now. I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about the Upper Peninsula and beautiful Lake Superior (and maybe even Wisconsin!). I very well might recount my entire trip sometime as I still need to do that. I don’t want to forget a single detail! For those who think Michigan isn’t worth anything and is ugly, I can safely say that you’re wrong. It’s a gorgeous state and is totally worth visiting, and I can’t wait to go back! I miss it so much today and always! My heart belongs to the Great Lakes. 🙂

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