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August 25th, 2008

Trip to Upper Michigan

All photos are taken on July 18, 2008 on our trip to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Background: Michigan is the only state in the United States that consists of entirely two peninsulas.

It was a chilly foggy Friday morning, chillier than the previous mornings in Michigan. We got up really early for the long drive to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We had been staying for quite sometime at Grandma Maxine’s house at West Branch at Lower Peninsula. It was the day we are going to explore the rest of Michigan.

Mackinac Bridge

Photo taken on 18 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge.

Going to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Now imagine all this fog while crossing a really long bridge.

To get to the Upper peninsula, we crossed the Mackinac Bridge. This bridge had got to be special. Afterall, it connect the two peninsula and divides two Great Lakes – Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. From shoreline to shoreline this suspension bridge is 5 miles long, but it still isn’t the longest bridge. It is, however, the world’s longest suspension bridge between anchorages (whatever that means). This is the longest bridge I’ve crossed to far.

The length of the bridge is not exactly the ‘scary’ thing about this bridge, but crossing it on a foggy day. The fog made it appear that the bridge is suspended on clouds. A few feet in front and back is just fog. We couldn’t even see the waters below the bridge. There was low visibility. It looked it we were driving in the midst of white clouds.

Cedarville

At Cedarville, Michigan. Click to enlarge photo.

At Cedarville, Michigan. Background: Lake Huron, At neighbor's dock

At Cedarville, Michigan. Click to enlarge photo.

At Cedarville, Michigan. The house of so many childhood memories.

Our first destination is to Cedarville, where Dear Hubby’s Grandparents used to live before West Branch. We visited the house his grandparents used to own where dear hubby spent a few summers in his childhood.

We don’t know who owned it at present but if they were looking outside, they must be concerned by this bunch of strangers tresspassing their property, taking pictures of their grounds and just talking about how different the house and everything surrounding it looked like, while some remained the same but now looks smaller.

Dear hubby spent a lot of good times in this property when he was still a child. He last seem the place with a child’s eyes such that he remembers some parts of it bigger than how he sees them now even though through the years they remained the same.

At the backyard, we enjoyed the sight of Lake Huron and its wildlife. There used to be a dock where dear hubby and his grandpa would go fishing every morning. The dock is gone. What’s there are overgrown weeds and a pile of wood that could probably be the dock.

Dear hubby was feeling nostalgic and he simply wanted to know how the place turned out. He was satisfied when we left the property but he couldn’t get over that, around the corner, the Piggly Wiffly store is not there anymore.

Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island was home to a Native American settlement before European exploration began in the 17th century. It served a strategic position amidst the commerce of the Great Lakes fur trade. This led to the establishment of Fort Mackinac on the island by the British during the American Revolutionary War. It was the scene of two battles during the War of 1812. [Read more.]

Mackinac Island is home to the Grand Hotel where the 1980 movie Somewhere in Time starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour was filmed. [Read more.]

From Cedarville, We went to St.Ignace where we took a ferry going to Mackinac Island. It was still foggy so from miles away we could not seethe island. As we were nearing, we were welcomed by the magnificent view of the harbor. They have preserved almost the original architecture such the place still looks like 17th century british colony. It’s a very nice tourist spot and it’s full of history.

It’s fascinating that this small island does not allow any form of automobile. Only horse carriages and bicycles can roam the entire island. Even the hotels or big establishments in the island had to use heavy duty carriages pulled by 4 horses to carry the luggages, produce, etc.

We climb Fort Mackinac. There we learnt about the island’s history and other intersting tidbits.

The most memorable part of the trip at Mackinac Island is when we did the 7-mile bike trail around the island. I can’t bike at all so we rented a three seater bicycle, while DadIL had a regular bicycle for himself so he can trail us.

So while we were biking, I felt Matthew’s cold feet in my back that made me jump off my seat. Dear hubby has to tell me to stop fidgeting. Then, Matthew did it again. Only then I realized that Matthew had lost his shoes and socks. I looked back and found out that we had lost DadIL, too. He wasn’t trailing us anymore.

We tried to get back and found one of the shoes. And then DadIL appeared with the rest of Matthew’s sock and shoes. He said he had to stop to pick up our stuffs. Apparently, Matthew was taking off his shoes and socks and throwing them in the air.

The rest of the trail was easy except for Matthew wabbling head since he has fallen asleep. I had to hold his head with one hand at my back while still keeping the bike balanced.

Throughout the trail, we enjoyed more sights of Lake Huron and a lot of seagulls. When it had started to clear up, we saw a little bit of Mackinac Bridge, too.

Mackinac Island Main Street. Click photo to enlarge.

Mackinac Island Main Street

The climb to Fort Mackinac. Click photo to enlarge.

The climb to Fort Mackinac

Inside Fort Mackinac. Click photo to enlarge.

Inside Fort Mackinac

At Fort Mackinac. Click photo to enlarge.

At Fort Mackinac

Our Bike Trail around Mackinac Island. Click photo to enlarge.

Our Bike Trail around Mackinac Island

Our Bike Trail around Mackinac Island. Click photo to enlarge.

Our Bike Trail around Mackinac Island

July 28th, 2008

Back in Florida

After three weeks of our continued vacation – to Michigan and Delaware, we are back in Florida.

We went to Michigan and spent less than two weeks there. Then last Tuesday (22 July), we went to Delaware to visit dear hubby’s sister Sheila and her family. (They had not seen each other for 18 years.) Last Saturday morning, our vacation has come to near end. We started our long drive back to Florida, passing by Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia. We did stop at KOA Campground in Florence, South Carolina and spent Saturday night there.

We had so much fun both in Michigan and in Delaware (which I will be blogging about in my next posts).

Heavy rains and a few lightnings welcomed us in Florida, but we are quite relieved that we have arrived home safely from almost 2-days of road travel from Delaware.

The next days we will be busy, cleaning up … and preparing for our next travel. *wink, wink, V(-_*)V

July 19th, 2008

Frankenmuth, Michigan’s Little Bavaria

When we arrived Michigan on 7 July, our first destination was at Frankenmuth. It’s one of Michigan’s tourist spot famously known as “Michigan’s Little Bavaria” for it’s Bavarian(German)-themed shops and attractions. We spent three fun days there. [Click here to view more photos.]

We enjoy these attractions:

Background:

  • Bavaria, with an area of 70,553 km² (27,241 square miles) and almost 12.5 million inhabitants, lies in the southeast of Germany and is the geographically largest state (Bundesland) of Germany. Its capital is Munich. Bavaria shares international borders with Austria and the Czech Republic as well as with Switzerland (across Lake Constance). Bavaria has long had one of the largest and healthiest economies of any region in Germany, or Europe for that matter.[Read more.]
  • Frankenmuth is a city in Saginaw County in the U.S. State of Michigan. The area was settled and named by conservative Lutheran immigrants from Franconia (now part of Bavaria), in 1845. The German word “Franken” represents the Province of Franconia in the Kingdom of Bavaria, and the German word “Mut” means courage, thus the city name Frankenmuth means “courage of the Franconians”. [Read more.]

Jellystone Park Camp Resort

We probably spent most of our time at the Jellystone Park. It’s a camping resort. They have grounds for almost all types of camping style – comfort camping – (camping with RV (recreational vehicle) or trailer homes) or the traditional – the one with tents and lesser comforts.

We were parked right by the playground, and a few walks away from the indoor pool.

On 9 July, my in-laws celebrated 42nd Wedding Anniversary. We were glad to have joined their celebration. It’s the first time in so many since their kids left to be on their own, that one of their kids (dear hubby) was around for their special day. At the campsite in Jellystone Park, we had wine and steak dinner that Dad-IL prepared and Matthew had noodles, that Mom-IL prepared.


At the Jellystone Park. Photo taken on 8 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge photo.

At the Jellystone Park.
Photo taken on 8 Jul 2008



At the Jellystone Park. Photo taken on 8 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge photo.

At the Jellystone Park.
Photo taken on 8 Jul 2008



At the Jellystone Park. Photo taken on 8 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge photo.

At the Jellystone Park.
Photo taken on 8 Jul 2008



At the Jellystone Park. Photo taken on 9 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge photo.

At the Jellystone Park.
Photo taken on 9 Jul 2008



At the Jellystone Park. Photo taken on 9 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge photo.

At the Jellystone Park.
Photo taken on 9 Jul 2008


Bavarian Inn Restaurant

We had dinner at the Bavarian Inn Restaurant, where we sample some german food and drinks. Dear Hubby sampled 4 types of german beer. He then concluded that he liked the American Style beer the most. (No surprise there). While we enjoyed a platter of 5 different meats cook in different styles, Matthew would only eat the noodle soup. The waiting staffs were entertaining in their german costumes and upbeat hospitality and the accordian player entertained us and Matthew especially.

Aside from the restaurant, the Bavarian Inn also has a few shops and bakeries.


At the Bavarian Inn. Photo taken on 7 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge.

At the Bavarian Inn
Photo taken on 7 Jul 2008



At the Bavarian Inn. Photo taken on 7 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge.

At the Bavarian Inn
Photo taken on 7 Jul 2008



At the Bavarian Inn. Photo taken on 7 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge.

At the Bavarian Inn
Photo taken on 7 Jul 2008


Frankenmuth’s Main Street

The main street is the location of most of Frankenmuth’s shops, where a variation of items are available from genuine leather, fudge to flavored coffee or some unique items. Cherry flavored coffee, colorful toys, genuine leather belts and personalized items are among those that we found interesting.

With its well-tended flowers and lush greenery and the authentic Bavarian architecture and landscaping, the Main Street is the area in Frankenmuth that reminded me of Huis Ten Bosch. Huis Ten Bosch is a tourist spot in Nagasaki, Japan. While Frankenmuth is built after a Bavarian town, Huis Ten Bosch is built after a mediaeval 17th century Dutch town. But unlike Huis Ten Bosch which is an amusement park, Frankenmuth is a business and residencial town.


Frankenmuth's Main Street. Photo taken on 7 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge.

Frankenmuth's Main Street
Photo taken on 7 Jul 2008



Frankenmuth's Main Street. Photo taken on 7 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge.

Frankenmuth's Main Street
Photo taken on 7 Jul 2008



Frankenmuth's Main Street. Photo taken on 7 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge.

Frankenmuth's Main Street
Photo taken on 7 Jul 2008


River Place

The River Place is a location of more shops. It’s an extension of the Main Street where architecture and landscaping is authentic Bavarian.


At the River Place. Photo taken on 9 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge.

At the River Place
Photo taken on 9 Jul 2008



At the River Place. Photo taken on 9 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge.

At the River Place
Photo taken on 9 Jul 2008


Bavarian Belle Riverboat

We took a riverboat cruise along Caas River, which flows through Frankenmuth. It was refreshing to feel the breeze and enjoy the sights while we listened to the narration of the history of Frankenmuth and its residents.


Bavarian Belle Riverboat. Photo taken on 9 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge.

Bavarian Belle Riverboat
Photo taken on 9 Jul 2008



Bavarian Belle Riverboat. Photo taken on 9 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge.

Bavarian Belle Riverboat
Photo taken on 9 Jul 2008



Bavarian Belle Riverboat. Photo taken on 9 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge.

Bavarian Belle Riverboat
Photo taken on 9 Jul 2008


Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland

It’s Christmas in July for us and Christmas everyday at the Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland! It prides itself as the World’s biggest chrismas store. Bronner’s building is the size of 5.5 football fields. I was simply overwhelmed by the really big selection of everything Christmas! What’s also amazing is that all year round, the half mile long lane around Bronners are decorated with Christmas lights and decorations. It didn’t surprise us to know that the electric bill costs a thousand dollars each night.

We also visited the Silent Night Memorial Chapel. It’s a replica of the original Silent Night Memorial Chapel found in Oberndorf, Austria. We walked around the chapel and browsed through plaques with the hymn Silent Night is different languages with the Silent Night hymn as background music.


Bronner's Christmas Wonderland. Photo taken on 8 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge.

Bronner's Christmas Wonderland
Photo taken on 8 Jul 2008



Bronner's Christmas Wonderland. Photo taken on 8 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge.

Bronner's Christmas Wonderland
Photo taken on 8 Jul 2008



Bronner's Christmas Wonderland. Photo taken on 8 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge.

Bronner's Christmas Wonderland
Photo taken on 8 Jul 2008


Mini Golf

I totally forgot the name of that place where we played the mini-golf! It really looked nice from the outside, the landscape, includig the falls.

Matthew joined in the fun by taking the golf balls from where it landed and putting them on the holes himself. When our strikes are getting too plenty, we always joked that we needed Matthew’s help. Of course, Dad-IL had the highest score. He is afterall a skilled golfer.


Mini-Golfing. Photo taken on 8 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge.

Mini-Golfing
Photo taken on 8 Jul 2008



Mini-Golfing. Photo taken on 8 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge.

Mini-Golfing
Photo taken on 8 Jul 2008



Mini-Golfing. Photo taken on 8 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge.

Mini-Golfing
Photo taken on 8 Jul 2008

[Click here to view more photos.]

July 15th, 2008

Chilling in Michigan

We have always planned to come to Michigan to visit dear hubby’s Grandma Maxine and other relatives. Summertime is a great time to go to Michigan – not too cold nor snowy and easy to travel. 

Click to enlarge photo.

Michael, Matthew, Dad-IL Leonard and Grandma Maxine
Photo taken on 10 Jul 2008

We arrived Michigan last Monday 7 Jul. We first stopped by at Frankenmuth. Then on Thursday (10 Jul), in time for Grandma Maxine’s 89th birthday, we came to West Branch. We have been here in West Branch for a few days now and a week in Michigan.

Matthew and I met Grandma Maxine for the first time on her 89th birthday. We also met for the first time dear hubby’s Aunt Colleen, Uncle Les and cousin Jon. They are very nice people, whom I write to once in awhile, receive from and sent cards for on every occasion. Including Grandma Maxine, I am so happy to finally have met them. For dear hubby, it has been years since he last seen them. Grandma Maxine is so delighted by Matthew, who keeps her entertained, and very glad to see dear hubby, her very first grandson!

Click to enlarge photo.

Charlotte, Mom-IL Sally, Michael,
Matthew,Dad-IL Leonard, Aunt Colleen, Uncle Les and Jon.
Photo taken on 10 Jul 2008.

We will be staying here until late this month. So far, it has been good. Michigan’s chilly morning, cool and windy afternoons and the long daylights (the sun don’t set ’til 9pm) are some things that I’m trying to get used to. While Aunt Colleen and Uncle Les are enjoying their much awaited yearly summer vacation, everyone here is keeping themselves busy. Dad-IL and hubby does house repairs and maintenance. Mom-IL takes care of Grandma Maxine. And Matthew keeps me busy and entertains all of us.

[Click here to view more photos.]

July 13th, 2008

From Florida to Michigan

First day in the RV. Photo taken on 5 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge photo.

First day in the RVPhoto taken on 5 Jul 2008

At a rest stop in Georgia.Photo taken on 5 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge photo.

At a rest stop in GeorgiaPhoto taken on 5 Jul 2008

KOA Kampground, Georgia. Photo taken on 5 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge photo.

KOA Kampground, GeorgiaPhoto taken on 5 Jul 2008

Kentucky Artisan Center. Photo taken on 6 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge photo.

Kentucky Artisan CenterPhoto taken on 6 Jul 2008

Kentucky Artisan Center. Photo taken on 6 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge photo.

Kentucky Artisan CenterPhoto taken on 6 Jul 2008

At the Cabela's. Photo taken on 7 Jul 2008. Click photo to enlarge photo.

At the Cabela

Our vacation continues…

We have always planned to go to Michigan. Michigan is dear hubby’s birthplace. His grandmother and most relatives are still in Michigan. So last Saturday (5 Jul), our long trip to Michigan began.

It’s so convenient that my in-laws own an RV. On Saturday (5Jul), with the RV, we started the long drive interstate from Florida to Michigan. We passed by Georgia, Kentuchy, Tenesee and Ohio to get to Michigan. We enjoyed the sights so comfortably. Except for a few traffic jams and RV breakdown, the drive was smooth. There was no unnecessary stops since the RV is equipped with a refrigirator and microwave oven for food and refreshments; a spacious bed for resting and a private room for added comfort.

On the first night, we stopped by KOA Kampground in Georgia. It’s for rest for the drivers (Dad-IL and Hubby) and recreation for the rest of us, Mom-IL and me and Matthew especially. At the campground, we enjoyed the playground and a quiet night with other campers, who were celebrating 4th of July weekend.

By the next day (Sunday, 6 Jul), the drive continued. We stopped by Kentucky Artisan Center where we saw a really nice view of Kentucky at a hilltop. At the Kentucky Artisan Center, we browsed through a lot of crafts and products made by local artists. We also stopped by Ohio. By very late evening, we were already in Michigan but still too far from our destination. Our first stop in Michigan is at Cabela’s. At the RV rest stop, we spent the night!

On Monday (7 Jul), our vacation continued from Florida to Michigan.

I’ve never heard of Cabela’s, but it’s supposed to be a really famous outfitter shop. Dad-IL loves outdoor recreation like camping, hunting, fishing and golf, so this must be his favorite store. He did browsed through a lot of stuffs and he literally got lost in the stuffs. Mom-IL browsed through the very few outdoor outfits. Hubby enjoyed looking at the guns and knives, while I enjoyed looking at the displays of stuffed dead animals, looking at the aquarium and taking photo’s all over. (I know, I’m such a tourist!) And Matthew, except for a few tantrum episodes, he was relatively behaved tagging along.

Later on, we went to Frankenmuth, Michigan’s Little Bavaria. It’s one of Michigan’s tourist spot famous for its Bavarian(German)-themed shops and attractions. It has so many attractions including the big Christmas shop. We stayed in Frankenmuth for three days before going to West Branch to dear hubby’s Grandma Maxine.

Kissing a Frog. Click photo to enlarge. Kissing a King. Click photo to enlarge.

At the Cabela’s, I kissed a frog
and it turned into a prince King.
Photos taken on 7 Jul 2008

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