Thursday, June 10, 2010

Northern Michigan, Day 1

With a nod to my friend Danielle and her recent New York City travelogue, complete with gorgeous photos...I thought I'd do a few posts on our Northern Michigan vacation. (Unfortunately I am not the photographer she is!)

Steve and I are celebrating our fifth(!) anniversary this July, and especially after we found out that a new baby was on the way, we really wanted to take the opportunity to go on a vacation, just the two of us. My mom had mentioned at Christmas that by the time I was Elijah's age, they had left me with Grandma to go on vacation (hint, hint). We'd never left him longer than one night, but we felt pretty confident that he would do well--so we began making plans.

I'll be honest, in the beginning I was picturing something a lot more glamorous than Northern Michigan. But once we started thinking about birth and new-baby expenses piling up, we realized it would be wiser to plan a less extravagant trip. As it turned out, God provided an absolutely wonderful vacation for us. For one thing, though "Northern Michigan" may not sound very exotic, the areas we visited are absolutely gorgeous! Plus, the parents of a college friend of mine own a lake cottage near Traverse City, and they generously allowed us to stay there for three nights. What a blessing!

The timing of the trip was truly providential in several ways. For one thing, we have been home a LOT this spring--basically every three weeks since the beginning of March. We don't normally make the trip that often, but since we had, Elijah felt completely comfortable and at home at both grandparents' houses. We left him in the care of Steve's parents on a Monday morning (my parents took him for the second half of the week), and he just gave us hugs and cheerfully called out from the porch swing, "See ya later, alligator!"

We arrived a few hours later at a charming lake house--quiet, peaceful, relaxing, yet with lots of things to do nearby. The house came equipped with two kayaks, which we loved taking out on the lake a few times. One morning we even spotted a huge snapping turtle near our boats.

(The little yellow spot on the left in the photo above is Steve in his kayak)

The house also came equipped with a grill, perfect for not having to eat out all the time. After we unloaded at the house, we drove into Traverse City to stock our kitchen. Our first stop was a dangerous discovery: Grand Traverse Pie Company. I don't even really like pie all that much (it's Steve's thing)--but this pie was AMAZING. We seriously went back there three times. It was hard to choose a favorite: cherry-peach, strawberry-rhubarb, blueberry-raspberry-strawberry-blackberry, raspberry-apple...oh my.

Besides pie, we also found some ridiculously rich cherry pecan bread and a delicious two-serving broccoli-cheddar quiche (quiche is also not my favorite, though I like egg casserole--so this place's crust must have really been amazing). We definitely dined in style for breakfast.

We then picked up the makings of dinner at Burritt's Fresh Market, since my friend had said that if we wanted to grill, Burritt's had the best steaks and ribs in town. Was she ever right. Steve grilled up the most melt-in-your-mouth New York strip steak (big enough to share *and* use in omelets later in the week--and grass fed, even) and the best asparagus I've ever tasted. Asparagus is not my favorite vegetable (noticing a pattern here?!) but apparently like most produce, it's totally different when it's fresh and local. It was in season up in Michigan, and it was WAY better than the stuff I've had around here. Grilled with some Gouda cheese melted over it...yeah. Needless to say we were stuffed on Monday night :)

The other great thing about the timing of the trip was that it was right on the cusp of tourist season up there. The weather was absolutely perfect all week, sunny and warm-but-not-sweltering...and there were no crowds anywhere, because the pace doesn't really pick up until Memorial Day.

Day 2: Sleeping Bear Dunes


Kelly said...

"Dreamy & Contented Sigh" :)

Kelly said...

PS. PLEASE tell me that at somepoint you also got "Doug Murdick's Fudge"!!!!

Danielle said...

Aw, thanks! Too kind.

However, your pictures are beautiful! Looks like a fabulous place! So glad you were able to get away, just the two of you!