Good morning! I hope you all are coming off of a wonderful weekend filled with at least a little fun and relaxation.
Scott and I spent the last few days on the road to explore the Northern part of The Mitten. It’s absolutely stunning and incredibly colorful up there!
Longtime readers might remember that my grandmother actually lives in Michigan. Ironically enough, my dad grew up in Monroe, and then moved down to Florida in his mid-twenties before he met my mom and they started our family.
My grandmother still lives in the state in a small city just outside of Grayling called Lovells. Well, technically (over the last several years anyways), she has a cottage that she lives in for the summer months and flies down to Orlando with my dad every year to spend the winter months with my parents and family in a much tolerable climate.
She’s 98 years old now! Can you believe it?
Needless to say, a trip Up North to see my grandma and dad was much needed before they set off for home in the Sunshine State later this week.
Family Time in Lovells
I was thankful to get my only appointment at the gym on Friday covered in order to be able to leave for the weekend by the mid-morning. Scott, Roadie, and I packed some snacks for the car and headed out and up to the Grayling area for a planned lunchtime arrival.
It took about three hours to arrive in Lovells, and we were hoping to see a bounty of fall colors and foliage along the way. It appears as though we missed the peak season of the neon trees by a couple of weeks, but it was still a gorgeous welcome into her neighborhood.
While growing up in Florida, I remember entering the same road after a loooong drive up or even after a few hours of driving after flying. It’s crazy to now realize that her cottage is only a three hour drive from our home in Rochester Hills!
As soon as we pulled into her driveway, we were greeted by a chill in the fall air and familiar faces. My cousin Brett and longtime family friends of my parents’, Tom and Susie, came by to say hello to my grandma and dad. It was a full house, and most of us walked around with Roadie to catch up while he explored the grounds.
Roadie especially loved getting off of his leash to freely roam and enjoy the great outdoors!
Shortly after we arrived, Brett suggested that we take a trip down the river before the sunset. My family often takes the two hour ride in kayaks during the summer months.
I opted to pass and spend my afternoon inside catching up with our friends and my grandma, but Scott jumped on the opportunity right away! Considering the temperature was in the mid-forties, he’s a lot braver than I am.
Believe it or not, the North Branch of the AuSable River was the same exact spot American legends like Henry Ford and pioneers in the automobile industry used to frequent to fly fish. Pretty cool, right?
Scott got in first, Brett followed, and then Roadie sprinted off to follow next. I couldn’t believe that little trickster… but then again, I could.
He practically jumped in the cold water and disappeared into the woods around the bend. I was about two seconds from diving in myself when I eventually caught up with him after running through the woods. I’m sure my stern “Roadie, here” screams weren’t very welcomed by the neighbors, but I didn’t know what else to do to try and lure him home.
Luckily, he finally listened and turned around to run back towards me. Phew!
While the boys were making their way down the river, my dad and I stayed indoors and chatted with fellow company. We cracked open a bottle of wine and had a lot of laughs. It was so great to see them and unwind.
After about two hours or so, my dad and I drove down the road to pick the boys up from their kayak trip, and we were all ready to get back to the house and then get ready for dinner.
We drove into Grayling to try an Italian restaurant and had a great time chatting the rest of the night away.
The next morning, Scott and I woke up right after the sunrise to go out to breakfast with my dad and grandma. After we arrived at a small town hotel restaurant right down the road, it was clear that she is a popular lady that will be missed while she’s away in Florida. Many people stopped by to say hello and goodbye, and we even found her picture in the local calendar!
I just love her so much!
After a couple hours of helping her get the house ready to close up for the winter on Saturday, Scott and I said our goodbyes and headed out to our next adventure up to the Upper Peninsula!
Visiting the Upper Peninsula & Mackinaw City
Even though we have lived in Michigan for three years, neither of us had ever been to the Upper Peninsula of the state. Knowing we had Roadie in the car with us, we knew we couldn’t do much outside, but we drove the extra hour and a half to Mackinaw City anyways.
I remember visiting Mackinac Island with my family as a child, and you have to take a ferry ride over to it. It’s a neat place to see!
Cars aren’t allowed on the island, and everybody gets around by bikes and horse and buggies. There is plenty to do there, and we found out that there was a big Halloween party going on over the weekend. That would have been fun to check out.
We’re hoping to be able to eventually make another trip up and spend the night at the famous Grand Hotel. For now, we stuck to the main streets of Mackinaw City (Mackinac is pronounced the same way, but spelled with the “c” when referencing the island.) We had one clear mission in mind: fudge!
Both Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island are known for producing amazing fudge. They don’t claim to have created fudge, but it remains a tasty treat that many people (both local and tourists) travel near and far to experience.
There are several places to find fudge, and Joann’s Fudge came up as one of the top shops to get it when we pulled up a quick google search. Turns out, the reviews are spot on!
There were over twenty flavors to choose from including seasonal favorites like pumpkin. I obviously tried that one (along with an embarrassing amount of others). Eventually, we settled on taking three half slices of Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel, Chocolate Cherry, and Chocolate Turtle with us. They were all so good. We currently have them sitting in our refrigerator, and I can’t wait to dig in to them little bit each night. Yum!
Joann’s is closed for the season, but it will be back and open for business next summer.
The weather wasn’t quite cooperating, and it kept raining on and off throughout the remainder of the day. When we found a break in the rain clouds, we headed over to the Mackinac Bridge and entered Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for a $4 toll fee.
The scenery of the evergreen trees and beaches were beautiful! The water was a clear and sparkly blue, and we just kept saying how gorgeous it must look in the summer.
We attempted to stop by a few land marks while we were there, but everything was closed. Instead, we just drove around for a bit and took in the views.
Again, we would love to take a weekend and come back to visit some of the must-see spots!
Before we knew it dinner time snuck up on us, so we crossed back over the bridge and grabbed a bite before making the four and a half hour drive back home to the Metro Detroit area.
We had a wonderful weekend filled with lots of quality time with my family and even more nature. The chilly temperatures are most certainly rolling in, so my goal is to soak in as much as the fall as I can while it’s still around!
(Check out the yellow trees at a rest stop on our way home. Can you imagine how pretty this would be with all of the leaves still on the trees?)
I can’t get enough of this time of year!
I hope you all have a great start to the week. I’ll see you back in just a bit with a giveaway!
Questions of the Morning
• Have you ever been to an island?
• What is one of your favorite highlights from the weekend?