Lake Michigan Vacation of a Lifetime

Today marks the ending of my absolutely fabulous vacation from work. Vacation never lasts as long as we’d like, does it?West Coast Michigan Vacation 2012

My main squeeze and I hit the road July 14 with little idea of where our travels would take us. We knew that we wanted to make it to Saint Joseph, on the west side of Michigan, to an art fair I had been eying. Other than that, we planned to travel the coast as much as we could and explore towns along the way.

Our visit to the Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff was pretty lovely. I got to meet new artists and make some pretty purchases – all with a view of Lake Michigan. You really cannot beat it. That evening we quickly learned how popular small towns along the coast are and were forced to travel north to the Grand Rapids area to get a room for the evening.

The following day, we headed further north. We stayed at PJ Hoffmaster State Park, located between Grand Haven and Muskegon, for the next three evenings. The park was amazing with three miles of beach property, beautiful trails, a visitor center and gorgeous outlooks located at the top of sand dunes. We saw the sun set on Lake Michigan, watched shooting stars while laying on the beach and found deer during our midnight walk in the forest.

During our stay at the state park, we traveled to Grand Haven to see the lighthouse, visit the beach and enjoy the beautiful town. While trying to locate an inexpensive place to eat dinner, we saw an adorable sign mentioning art outside of a restaurant. Any place that writes that on their sign is worth a visit in my book. Dee Lite’s Bar & Grille had a great menu selection and full bar – plus, they weren’t overly priced. My boyfriend told me to splurge since we had been living on hot dogs and cheese puffs for the last two days. Everything was delicious! Especially the lizard tongues, a shaved potato appetizer with special seasoning and chili ranch. Following dinner, my boo and I went to a cute store and bought a kite. And not just any kite – a shark kite! It was delightful to fly “Nibbles” (the kite) on Lake Michigan!

Grand Haven, Mich. Bar & Grille Sign

Vintage Typewriter for sale in Traverse City, Mich.Antique Typewriter

We continued up the coast on the back roads. We traveled through farms, within forests and down adorable Main Streets. Along the way, we stopped at every nearby lighthouse. We found an adorable winery, stopped to view an enormous farm closer and had a blast. Finally, we arrived in Traverse City. Much to our dismay, Priceline had booked us a hotel room that didn’t actually exist. So after more than two hours of anguish and frustration, the general manager of the hotel set us up in a luxury condo for the price of a room. I felt so spoiled! Two bedrooms, a full kitchen with a living and dining room! The next two days we spent enjoying the downtown area and traveling up the Old Mission peninsula. We found Bubba’s, a delicious restaurant with a large beer selection and espresso bar. Then we discovered a 4-story antique shop where we got lost in history for nearly two hours. Just outside of downtown, I found a bead shop and I purchased supplies to make two pairs of earrings and a necklace with all Michigan pieces, such as Petoskey stones. Traverse City is brilliant and I’d love to go back.

Our trip was truly blissful and a real reminder of the simple pleasures in life. Small towns, beautiful coasts, brilliantly colored flowers, peaceful wildlife.. And everything in between. I feel so fortunate to have seen so much of my beautiful state. Michigan is amazing. Anyone that doesn’t agree must have missed our beautiful coastlines.

Have you traveled within Michigan? Where is your favorite location?

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