This week the air has a different feel. It's darker when I wake up, darker when I go to sleep and the air is fresh and crisp. The weather is turning, fall is upon us. As a Michigan lover, I can't help but get excited for autumn. I deeply apologize to my friends who are still hanging on to summer but don't worry because it's still 80 degrees occasionally. This crisp, clean air inspired me to write this, knowing that at least half of you somewhere out there will catch what I'm throwing down.
I believe Michigan is the BEST summer place to be, but part of Michigan's appeal is four seasons. It always seems that you are "ready" for the change. It's like mother nature taps into our hearts and gives us what we need. She knows that if your heart is honestly in Michigan you love every season. This late summer air has inspired me to reminisce about my favorite Michigan places and why I love this state. This post is dedicated to my family, for bringing me up in a state beautiful enough to inspire this website. I can't imagine my life anywhere else. So this post is to share my favorite childhood and adult moments.
1. The Entire U.P.
Sometimes I get confused in the Upper Peninsula because it feels like Utah or Colorado... with water. Last year we took a trip up to Pictured Rocks, starting in Lake Michigan in Petoskey, stopped in Mackinac and dipped our toes in Lake Huron, and finally ended our trip in Lake Superior and all in one day! Yep, that's right. It doesn't get any better. You find incredible natural beauty in the U.P including rock cliffs, sandy beaches, thick wooded trails, pleasant summer weather, and SERIOUS winters. If you think the snow you have to shovel outside your house in Grand Rapids is tough...try scooping through 5 feet of snow to dig out your vehicle. The U.P. has so much to offer, with Pictured Rocks, Isle Royale, Mt. Bohemia and Tahquamenon Falls, to name a few. Endless experiences are to be had here, head up this weekend and have some good old fashioned family fun. Guess what...it's cheap too!
2. Kyaking HPA (Harbor Point Association) in a hat and winter jacket
There is something about headed out into Lake Michigan when it's under 60 degrees outside. Maybe it's the daredevil in me, maybe it's the skier in me screaming ski season is coming, either way I love it. Layer on your fall clothing and enjoy. The sky feels, the air is colder and best of all it's quiet. No jet skis or motor boats fly by, you'll hear the water ripple, the wind, and your breath. Kayaking on the big lake is the most peaceful place to be in the Fall. I love to head out to the beach at the tip of HPA in Harbor Springs and enjoy the scenery. It's also a good time to watch the sailboats breeze by. They also have the right idea. The air feels good, you work up an appetite on your trip out, have a picnic, and lay down for a mid afternoon fall snooze. It's awesome. Please try it!
3. Riding the Chairlift at Boyne Mountain in Summer
Of course I love riding chairlifts in winter, but there's something foreign and fun about riding the chair in the summer. You get a completely different view with lush, green trees and a cool experience. Summer at Boyne Mountain is loaded with families, kid's with ice cream, parents with adult beverages, golfers, and friends. As a child my sister and I used to beg my parents to let us ride the chairlift in June and July, we loved it. I'm not sure they ever understood what was so fun about it, but we did, and it's stuck with me. Maybe that's why I love it, it's full of memories and good times. That's what Northern Michigan is all about. Creating memories, good times, experiences...you know...things we call life.
4. Avalanche Mountain in Boyne City
Every time I'm home for the weekend at my parents' home in Boyne City, I wake up early and run the trails at Avalanche. It's an unwritten formality in our house. It doesn't matter how tired you are, how long you stayed out visiting with old friends, or making new ones... you get up at 8am to run. We run up the trails behind mountain instead of taking the stairs. I've been to the top of Avalanche over 500 times, but I still stop and smile every time. It's the most beautiful view of Lake Charlevoix, and it's my home. Running at Avalanche reminds me of everything good. Training for ski races, training for track, running for fun, our family dog Iza (miss you!) and most importantly, family. My mom, sister and I share a special place in our heart for this place.
5. Young State Park in Boyne City
I don't know if love Young State Park because I learned to play volleyball like Maverick and Goose on beach courts or because the park was the only place 25 high schoolers could hang out for a whole day without being bugged by adults. The park has a large beach on Lake Charlevoix with camping and it's friendly to public boaters. The beach is not spectacular, but it holds our memories and lets anyone enjoy beautiful Lake Charlevoix with family and friends. As kids, we spent our entire summer baking in the sun, playing volleyball and hanging out in the water. Why didn't we have jobs? Yikes. Boyne City is an easy place to get to and it has a lot to offer. Check out our full post on our Boyne City Tour.
6. Mackinac Island in the Winter.
For Christmas a few years ago Dylan took me to Mackinac Island in January. It was awesome! We drove up to St. Ignace and hopped on a four-seater plane (Great Lakes Air) and made the 5 minute flight to Mackinac Island! Looking down you can see the path of Christmas trees on the Lake Huron ice leading the snowmobilers across the channel. Speaking of snowmobiling, Mackinac Island full of snowmobilers. We were shocked by the number of snowmobiles on an island that doesn't allow cars! A horse drawn sleigh met us at the island airport and drove us to our room. I won't divulge too much, because we plan to make the trip again this winter to share with all of you! We stayed in a waterfront apartment for the chilly weekend. We snowshoed, hiked, ate, and enjoyed the island's quiet winter beauty. Do it this winter, we dare you!
I hope you are finding new destinations through this website and creating your own memories to hold with you and share for the rest of your life. My favorite places are not five star resorts or restaurants... they are the places with pure, natural beauty surrounded with love. It's a simple as that.