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August 27th, 2008

Fairs and Affairs in Delaware

Aunt Sheila, Daddy and Matthew, 26 July 2008 in Delaware. Click to enlarge photo.

Aunt Sheila, Daddy and Matthew
26 July 2008, Delaware

Matthew, Amber and Andy, 24 July 2008. Click to enlarge photo.

Grandparents and Grandkids
24 July 2008, Delaware

Daddy and Matthew, 23 July 2008. Click to enlarge photo.

Daddy and Matthew
23 July 2008, Delaware

Mommy and Matthew at Delaware State Fair, 24 July 2008. Click to enlarge photo.

Mommy and Matthew
Delaware State Fair, 24 July 2008

Grandma and Matthew at Delaware State Fair, 24 July 2008. Click to enlarge photo.

Grandma and Matthew
Delaware State Fair, 24 July 2008

Our days in delaware were filled with fun, relaxation and good company. It was only three long days but they definitely count as a few of our most enjoyable days during this summer. Dear hubby met his sister Sheila after long years. The last time he saw her, she was still single. Now her eldest is 16 years old. So it was his first time to meet his niece Amber and nephew Andy. Well, it was the first time our families met. They were great host. They welcomed us into their lovely home.

We spent most of the time by their pool under the sun! Matthew has finally overcome his fear of the water. He did cry at first but seeing so many familiar faces around him by the pool calmed him down. He finally got comfortable at the water, playing with his cousins and laughing all the time.

Also, we were lucky that our visit coincided with the week of the Delaware State Fair. They took us to the fair where, thanks to his Aunt Sheila, Matthew enjoyed a few rides. There were issues regarding his height and age in some of the rides, but the fair-staffer couldn’t stop a grandma, an aunt and a mom wanting to give a baby a good time.

Dear hubby and I also got a few hours break. Sheila and Grandma took Matthew with her kids to the playground, giving me and dear hubby a chance to just relax and enjoy.

We left Delaware with burnt skin and heavy hearts. Delaware was our last stop for our Michigan-Delaware Trip. Our summer vacation was near ending.

Related Post:

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

August 7th, 2008

Alabama Bound But Back in Florida

Since we came back to Florida from our Michigan-Delaware vacation, we had been so busy! I mentioned that we were preparing to travel again and we did! But first we bought a new car, new celfons and a navigation system.

Photo taken on July 28, 2008

Photo taken on July 28, 2008

Dear hubby is so pleased with his black Saturn Vue that took him to his new job at a military boarding school in Alabama. With the new car, dear hubby drove from Florida to Alabama, while Mom-IL, Matthew and I followed him in my Mom-IL’s car. We arrived Alabama on Sunday and got a nice view of his place of work and the place we are going to live in. The apartment is obviously small, with only 1-bedroom, a living area, a kitchen and garage. We will be cramped in a place built for a single person,  but it’s rent and utilities free including cable! And more than that, dear hubby doesn’t need to drive to work since the apartment is within the school campus! I thought it’s a good starting point.

Photo taken on August 4, 2008

Matthew at the School Ground
Photo taken on August 4, 2008

Last Monday, it was dear hubby’s first day at work. On the same day, MomIL, Matthew and I cruised around the area. We found 2 big cities, Opelika and Auburn, just about 20 miles away. We also found probably the biggest University I have ever seen – Auburn University! We took our time exploring Opelika-Auburn area to seek out shopping possibilities, which didn’t come thin, and a few camping sites and attractions.

I have prepared myself that we will be living in the middle of nowhere since
the military school is located in a rural area. However I am so pleased that the nearby cities are well developed and packed. Auburn area is even the highest ranking metro in the State of Alabama.

We are definitely Alabama bound but Matthew and I came back in Florida. We arrived earlier today. Of course, dear hubby had to stay in Alabama. Our household stuffs and furnitures have not arrived Alabama yet, so we decided that Matthew and I would come back here in Florida. We’ll wait in Florida for our stuffs to arrive. And then, we’ll travel back to Alabama.

In the meantime, I will be busy preparing for Matthew’s birthday. He’s turning 2-years old on August 14.

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.]

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