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Second Anniversary of Picturesque Rocks & Isles

August 12, 2013

photo (5)Nichole put together a great island hopping, northern Michigan; Pure Michigan anniversary itinerary! We both love northern Michigan (mostly in the summer, but also for skiing occasions), so it was going to be great!


We drove up to Petoskey State Park where we would camp near the beach for the week. Our campsite was nicely located across from a water spigot and a short walk to the showers and the BEACH!

photo (6)We were able to sit on the beach along Little Traverse Bay and watch the beautiful Michigan sunset every night if we wanted. My little red Aveo was packed tight with all our gear and bikes on top. We set up camp and fell asleep to the sound of Lake Michigan lapping the shore just on the other side of the sand dunes.

Monday (2nd Anniversary!)

We woke up to the sounds of a more lively Lake Michigan. Thankfully sand is a nicer ground cushion than most other types of Michigan soil. Goal number one in the morning was COFFEE! I never drank coffee until I started dating Nichole and even then I would drink it only sometimes, but now I am a full convert. We went to the Roast & Toast in downtown Petoskey for fresh brewed coffee and breakfast plates.

Now we were all fueled up. When we returned to the campground we prepared to bike along the Little Traverse Wheelway (LTW) which goes all along Little Traverse Bay from Harbor Springs to the North down to Charlevoix in the South. Petoskey State Park is basically in the middle, so we headed South with water, snacks, and lunch. It was a beautiful day for biking and we thought it would be easy enough to make it to Charlevoix for lunch. The Little Traverse Wheelway was well maintained, but there were no curb cuts, every driveway or intersection was a jarring bump, especially if you were on a road bike. There were some beautiful stretches of Wheelway that could only be seen in northern Michigan and there were some more highway empty stretches. We hit 10.5 miles and decided to head down Townline Road to find the beach and eat some lunch.


After taking a long set of steep steps down to a rocky beach, we relaxed on some big rocks and ate our lunches. As Nichole took pictures of the rocks and the Bay, I noticed the sky turning darker gray over Charlvoix (which was still 10 more miles away). We decided to try to beat the storm and headed back to the campsite.

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We could see the rain going across Little Traverse Bay and hoped our campsite stayed dry. There was a rainbow before dinner, so obviously a great opportunity to pose. That evening we had our anniversary dinner at Stafford’s Pier Restaurant. We took some time to drive around Harbor Springs before eating and it seemed a bit creepy with all the segmented groups of houses owned by particular groups. At the restaurant we realized we were the youngest people there, except for some very wealthy looking families with teenage children.


We began out Northern Michigan island hoping with an early ferry ride from Charlevoix (we quickly hunted for coffee in town before boarding) to “America’s Emerald Isle” aka Beaver Island. Just a TWO HOUR ferry ride off the shores of the mitten.

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We had read about Beaver Island’s history: a authoritarian Mormon King assassinated by disgruntled followers and chased away, the large Irish population that over-fished, and the four museums. After making landfall we discovered that all we had read was basically all that was there. There is essential one main road where the docks are located and two of the four museums. We spent some time walking around town, visited the museums, and ate lunch at a small community beach area. Since we had neglected to bring our bikes and the next ferry wasn’t leaving for many hours, we decided to hike the island. Now Beaver Island is 13 miles around, but we had a map and planned to hike a small loop around the bay area. It was a nice hike with lake views all around.

We saw a lot of summer homes, grasshoppers, and trees. We walked past the Beaver Island clerk’s office (her home is the office) and ended up with some nice sunburn without realizing it. We returned to main street and found the only place to get food was the Shamrock Pub, which could have been a restaurant/ bar anywhere. I got a beer and we ate some fries before our ferry trip back. As soon as we returned (remember 2 hour ferry ride) we were super hungry. So we took our sweaty, sunburned selves to a quaint little Thai restaurant in Charlevoix just down the street from the ferry docks.


After our underwhelming, but tiring Beaver Island adventure  the rains came across Little Traverse Bay. We decided to just hang out in Petoskey for the day. We walked around town, bought a cool Lower Peninsula (Michigan) cutting board, and sampled the local food. My high school cross country camp was always based at North Central Michigan College on top of a hill just north of Downtown Petoskey. It was “fun” walking around and remembering all of the timed miles, hilly 8 mile runs, and water workouts. We ended our relaxing day with a movie at the Petoskey Cinema. We Are the Millers = hilarious!


Nothing beats the excitement of buying ferry tickets to Mackinac Island. We had our supplies and our bikes and were more than ready for some fudge. I didn’t even care that we had to wait in a long line to get the tickets. I don’t think I can even count the number of times I’ve been to Mackinac Island because there have been too many, but I have never had a bad experience. We took our bikes and food for the day and explored parts of the island that we hadn’t yet seen as well as some of the classic Mackinac spots.



Pictured Rocks are like another world. The UP is definitely like its very own country, but taking the ferry ride in Lake Superior to see the incredible rock formations and colors made me consider that we were no longer in Michigan.

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There really are no words to describe Pictured Rocks. So here are some great pictures (taken by Nichole):


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Elizabeth Hill permalink
    January 3, 2015 5:59 PM

    Wow! Awesome! Thanks for sharing. Will there be a detailed Taiwan travelogue also?

    Sent from my iPhone 5S


  2. January 5, 2015 2:16 PM

    Reblogged this on Alex B. Hill.

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