Upper Peninsula

Winter Upper Peninsula Road Trip

Ted and I always try to celebrate our birthdays with some kind of getaway or fun new experience.  For Ted's birthday he wanted to take a winter road trip to the Upper Peninsula.  The Upper Peninsula is his favorite place in the world and he never passes up a chance to spend time in the wilderness.  We have been to the Upper Peninsula many times, but being there in the winter was an entirely new experience.  It was so quiet, most of the towns were shut down and we were the only people almost everywhere we went- which is really Ted's perfect vacation!

We started our road trip in Harbor Springs with our friends, David and Rebecca.  We stayed in the prettiest house right on Little Traverse Bay, explored downtown Petoskey and enjoyed the gorgeous sunsets over the lake.  From Harbor Springs Ted and I headed for the bridge.  After hearing about the blue ice in Mackinaw City we made a quick stop to see the phenomena.  It was really beautiful to see the blue ice piled up under the bridge against the blue sky.

From there we headed to Munising where we planned to snowshoe Pictured Rocks.  Unfortunately, we had a little setback and got our car stuck in the snow with no cell phone reception.  After 5 hours of digging we finally got the car out, but we missed our day of snowshoeing- oh goodness it wasn't the most fun at the time, but it sure makes for a good story! We stayed in a cute little yurt that night.  I woke up every night of the trip to look for the Northern Lights, but I never did spot them.  

The next day I surprised Ted with a day of dogsledding.  It was so much fun.  There are a few locations in the Upper Peninsula that offer dogsledding. We spent the day at Husky Haven and I highly recommend it.  We learned how to harness the dogs, run the sled and so much more.  It was so fun to try something new together, and those pups are so happy to be running out in the snow!  From there we ventured off to Marquette and snowshoed at some of our favorite parks.  It is so wild to me to see how different all of those parks look from summer to winter. 

One of the highlights of the trip for me was staying at a fully functioning lighthouse.  The Big Bay Lighthouse in Big Bay is both a functioning lighthouse and a bed and breakfast and is gorgeous.  The couple that runs the lighthouse was so kind and prepared the most delicious breakfast for us.  I loved that we could climb the tower whenever we wanted, and we caught the prettiest sunrise the morning of our stay.  

The trip ended with a stay in Copper Harbor.  There was no-one there and everything was shut down.  We spent the day snowshoeing around the harbor and taking in those beautiful views of the frozen beach.  Copper Harbor is one of my favorite summertime destinations, and seeing it in the winter felt like we were in an entirely different place.  

Theodore, thank you for loving the outdoors more than anyone I know.  And for encouraging me to go on winter adventures, even when I suggested more than once that we just head to the beach and be completely lazy!

Weekend Edition: Part 3

If you have been following along here or on my Instagram you already know I love lighthouses. Ted and I kind of stumbled into our love for lighthouses a few summers ago.  We had a free weekend and got in the car and started driving north.  Along the way we made an impromptu lighthouse visit.  During that visit the volunteer working in the gift shop convinced us that we should try to see every lighthouse in Michigan, and the rest is history. We have spent many summer days driving down dirt roads, taking boat rides, and hiking on beaches in search of all of Michigan's lighthouses.  

This summer we took our lighthouse adventures to a new level and were able to serve as volunteer lighthouse keepers at Crisp Point Lighthouse in the Upper Peninsula.   People have asked me, so I feel like I should clarify, we actually did nothing to keep the light on in the lighthouse.  The light is completely automated.  Rather, we ran the gift shop, opened the lighthouse to visitors and kept everything clean and ready for guests to enjoy.  Because Crisp Point is so remote we were able to camp right at the base of the lighthouse for the three days we were keepers.  And of course, we made a week long vacation out of the whole thing! 

We started our week in Frankfort.  My sister and her family met up with us two times during our trip, which was so fun.  I have spent a lot of time traveling with her family since they have had kids, and it is always so special to make these memories with my nieces and nephew.  During this part of the trip we saw two lighthouses, lounged on the beach, climbed the sand dunes and spent an afternoon tubing down the Platte River.  And thanks to my brother-in-law for being our personal paparazzi, he is insanely talented.  You can follow along with his work here.

Once we left Frankfort we headed to the Upper Peninsula and to our campsite at the Crisp Point Lighthouse.  We setup camp right along the beach and had the best time greeting guests during the day, grilling out in the evenings, watching the sun melt away into Lake Superior, and waiting for the Milky Way to make its appearance as the sky darkened.  Ted's parents joined us to help take care of the lighthouse and it was fun to have them along for the experience.  While working in the gift shop I loved listening to visitors chat about their favorite places to visit in Michigan.  I learned about a few spots that are off the beaten path that I cannot wait to explore.  

When our time as lighthouse keepers was done Ted and I spent a night camping at Wilderness State Park outside of Mackinaw.  We were able to take a lighthouse cruise to see a few of the lighthouses that are not visible from land.  This is the second lighthouse cruise we have done with Shepler's and we really enjoyed it, especially since it was 75 and sunny.  Perfect for being out on the water! 

On our drive home Ted and I chatted about our favorite part of the experience.  We both remember the same moment as our favorite.  After dinner one night we all went down to the beach to look for rocks.  We scoured the beach for the prettiest ones, and there was something so peaceful and sweet about being with a whole bunch of our family doing something so simple.  It is a memory I will cherish for years and it left me feeling so thankful for the experience. Oh that and you know, having this whole stretch of beach to ourselves each night, that wasn't too shabby either!