Thursday, October 9, 2014

Another Northern Michigan Excursion

Hello! My husband had a couple days off from work earlier this week, so we headed back to northern Michigan for another look around (we'd gone there in August for an overnight trip). 

Headed to Traverse City first - forgot to take photos, sorry about that. I would have liked some pics of the parking lot near the edge of the downtown area that appears to be the domain of the local food trucks. I know that in some cities there's been hassles over where food trucks should park, so having them all in one location seems to be a practical solution! We'd already had lunch on the way up north, so I didn't buy any food truck goodies, but it's something to keep in mind for another visit. 

Poked around the various shops in the downtown area; didn't buy anything but enjoyed window shopping. It was interesting to note what a difference seven weeks can make - that's when we were last there. At that time, pre-Labor Day, downtown Traverse City was swarming with people. Not so much this past Sunday, but most of the stores were still open. 

We drove over to Short's microbrewery in nearby Bellaire for dinner once more. Again, not as crowded as it'd been during the last visit, so we didn't have as much trouble finding a place to sit. Good food, good beers. 

We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Traverse City Sunday night. It's located across the road from the east arm of Grand Traverse Bay (part of Lake Michigan); how cool is that? We took advantage of the nearby pedestrian overpass to cross the road and walk along the beach for awhile. 

The pedestrian overpass is for the benefit of campers staying at the Keith J. Charters Traverse City State Park, down the road from the hotel. As we passed the park entrance on our way to the pedestrian overpass, we saw a sign advertising trick-or-treating at the park. It was to occur sometime that day, I think; nice bonus for families staying there that weekend!

We drove up to Petoskey Monday. More window shopping, although I did buy a used book at the Petoskey Public Library. (always good to support those institutions!)I was also intrigued by a particular category of items being sold at Meyer Home & Hardware: supplies for maple sugaring. That's not something I've typically seen in hardware stores. 

One year when our daughter was grade school, she learned about maple sugaring. As part of the lesson, she was told that although sugar maples are the type typically tapped, other maples can be tapped as well. We have a huge silver maple tree in our backyard, and I've thought from time to time that it'd be fun to tap it and make my own maple syrup. Was tempted to buy the supplies I saw at Meyer Home & Hardware, but decided I'd better read up on maple syruping before I purchased the equipment.

Did manage to take a couple of photos around downtown Petoskey:

This sign was outside a home interior store, naturally to encourage people to update their decors. In my case, a current remodeling of two rooms will give me a reason to "evolve our home". 

Fall decor was evident outside many of the businesses:

Also saw corn shocks, scarecrows and more. I admit, I'm too cheap to go whole hog when it comes to decorating with pumpkins, gourds, corn and the like, but I enjoy seeing others' fall displays!

Since we weren't too far from the Straits of Mackinac, my husband decided we ought to drive up there to see one of the enduring symbols of the state of Michigan:

For those readers not familiar with the above structure, it's the Mackinac Bridge, whose five mile length connects the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan (the land mass seen in the photo is the Upper Peninsula). Before the bridge opened in 1957, car ferries were the typical means of crossing the Straits of Mackinac. (and again, for those not familiar with the region, the Straits of Mackinac is a narrow waterway of Great Lakes Michigan and Huron). 

Here's a longer view of the bridge:

It's pretty awesome to behold! We've been on it many times, but didn't cross over to the Upper Peninsula this day. Instead, we walked around on the waterfront park, which is part of the Fort Michilimackinac State Park. 

The main feature of this state park is the reconstructed 18th C fort. Saw a banner near its entrance advertising "Fort Fright", two evenings of scary activities this coming weekend. It'd be a perfect setting for that sort of thing, I bet! If I lived there I'd certainly think it was worth checking out. 

Turning our attention away from the bridge, we saw this:

Also part of the state park is the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse. The fog signal dates from 1890 and the lighthouse was added a couple of years later. Deactivation occurred after 1957 after the Mackinac Bridge was opened. The bridge is lighted at night, so it became the "lighthouse" of the straits. 

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse became part of Fort Michilimackinac State Park in 1960. Like the fort, it's open for tours, but it was getting late in the afternoon, so we opted for photos instead. 

Headed back toward Cadillac and spent the night there. No lakeside view at the Hampton Inn there, but we were fortunate in that the local farmer's market was in operation the next morning. It's smaller than the one in our town, but we still got some great deals on broccoli and hot peppers. 

It had been a short trip, but still a nice one!

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