I would be embarrassed to say how long it’s been since I’ve been on a vacation. I do know the last time I stayed in a hotel was more than ten years ago in Tennessee when my father died.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy vacations, I just don’t think about them very often. And when I do, there are so many interesting things to see that are close enough to do in a day that it works for me.
But late this past summer, my daughter and I were talking about how cool it would be to visit northern Michigan in the winter – specifically Mackinaw City, one of my favorite places in the world. If you’ve read my novel, Laying Low in Paradise, you might recall that’s where the story began. Most of the story took place on Bois Blanc Island, but it’s still the same area of the state. And it’s beautiful.
So, since we both really wanted to do that, and I’ve had the outline for a mystery that will take place in Mackinaw City collecting dust for too long, we decided to try and go up after Thanksgiving.
And we did! It was a short trip, only about thirty hours between the time we left home until we pulled back in our driveway, but we got a lot of sightseeing done. More importantly, we got some videos and a boatload of photos.
Once you get ‘up north’ in Michigan, you begin to see things you won’t see in the lower part of the state – like ‘Elk Crossing’ signs. And one of the first things we saw when we drove into town was this (and it’s on every single one we saw, too)…
Actually, it was my daughter who spotted it first, but we both got quite a giggle out of it. Especially considering there wasn’t a whole lot of snow. I didn’t get a picture of this one until we were on our way home … but I’m glad she remembered to remind me.
It was getting close to dark when we arrived, and we nearly missed the Christmas parade. I’m glad we didn’t. I’m not a huge fan of parades in December, but this one was perfect. Seven or eight vehicles and it was over. Minimal freezing and shivering.
They are a great bunch of people up there. When I spoke with a woman at the Chamber of Commerce earlier in the week, I was invited to put an ornament on my van and join the fun. I declined the offer, preferring to watch rather than participate.
Next on the agenda was the bridge. By the time I got some videos of the downtown area, it was pretty dark, and I was hoping it was decorated with colored lights. My daughter, great sport that she is, got out of the van and headed closer to the beach to get this shot (and a few others), so this one is a little blurry, too.
And now, I’ll leave you with a few videos. Shortly before we left for home, we stopped at McGulpin Point Lighthouse. It was listed on the calendar of events that it would be decorated, and we could tour it if we liked. Once again my adventuresome daughter braved the cold (and the spiral stairway that probably would have made me dizzy enough to faint) and took a video from the catwalk. What a beautiful area!
As far as I know, this is the narrowest place in all of the Great Lakes, and is where Lakes Michigan and Huron meet under the bridge. It’s still an impressive expanse of water.
I wasn’t going to put this one up, but then I thought I can’t be the only one who gets lightheaded looking at the way she goes down the stairway. Did you see how frosted the windows were? Brr! The poor girl was freezing!
I put my favorite video up on my Facebook page earlier tonight if you want to watch that one. It had been a long day and we were in a giggly mood when we lost the Mackinaw Bridge. 🙂