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Trip Report Two Week Michigan/Wisconsin Highlights, Part 1

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We (husband and 2 friends) returned last month from a two week road trip in and around the UP of Michigan and Wisconsin. With the help of many of your suggestions, I think we saw many of the sights, given our amount of time. I’ve never done an extensive trip report before, just a lot of Q&A’s. However, I’ve always found them to be an invaluable tool when I’m planning our next trip especially when trying to figure out how much can be done in a given day. So, I thought I would give it a try in the hopes that maybe one person would get some benefit from it. I didn’t go into detail about the restaurants and lodging and instead put that information on TA. So as not to bore too many, I’ll divide this into three installments.

We flew into DTW from South Florida and returned home from Milwaukee. We picked up our Yukon SUV at the airport upon arrival and alternating drivers, put on about 2,500 miles before returning the vehicle. It might have seemed a bit rushed for some, but worked perfectly for us.

After arrival at DTW, we drove to Ann Arbor for lunch enroute to Saugatuck. Our friends both sons had graduated from U of M so they wanted a bit of nostalgia. AA was a very pretty college town and plenty of restaurants to select from.

Continuing on to Saugatuck, we arrived late afternoon and checked in for one night at the Hidden Gardens Cottages and Suites. The location was perfect, just off the main street and the suites were roomy and comfortable and provided an in room continental breakfast. After walking and shopping around the town and marina, we ate at Phil's Bar and Grill on Butler St. I love casual dining so this was right up our alley. Since it was the week after Labor Day, the town was fairly quiet and the wait was only 10-15 mins. Since we didn't feel liking driving anywhere the location of Phil's on Butler St (main street) was perfect. We shared the Broasted Wing appetizer and also ordered the Broasted Chicken entree to share for two, flash fried fish, and the ribs. Dessert of course was across the street at Kilwins.

The next morning after breakfast we drove on Hgy 31/22/72 to the Old Mission Peninsula area, just outside of Traverse City where we would stay for two nights. If anyone is looking for peace and quiet and the best breakfast you'll ever have, stay at the Tesoro Inn. This is a wonderful B&B run by Jane and her husband Les. He is a professional cook by trade and my suggestion would be, don't stay here too long unless you want to gain lots of weight. His breakfast's are delicious and you'll also find baked goodies in your room and common living area in the evening. They really are a great young couple. For dinner one night, we also ate on the Peninsula at the Peninsula Grill. The servers were friendly, the atmosphere casual, the food good, and the prices reasonable. I had the Jumbo Seared Scallops (they're not kidding when they mean jumbo), my husband had the smoked pork ribs, and our friends had the hanger steak and seafood pasta with lots of lobster. The second night we went into TC and stumbled upon Pangea's Pizza on Front Street. If you're in the mood for pizza, we had four and liked each one.

On the day of arrival, we drove to the end of the Peninsula to see the Old Hessler Log Home, the lighthouse, and walk along the beach. On our second day, we drove back on Hgy 72 to Empire where we stopped at the Visitor Center. From here, we drove to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore Park to do the Dune Climb. To be honest, we didn't do the entire climb but did enough to see the beautiful views. We left the car in the parking lot and walked the 2 miles each way to the historic logging village of Glen Haven. The walk wasn't too exciting but the exercise was great. We visited in the blacksmith shop, rested a bit and returned the 2 miles back to the car. We drove along the 7.4 mile Pierce Stocking Drive and admired the scenery from the overlooks. Then, continued onto Glen Arbor, walking around the town and visiting the Cherry Republic store. Continued up to Leland and onto Northport, the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula, returning on the east side on Hgy 22, thru Suttons Bay and back to the Old Mission. Long but beautiful day.

Leaving the Mission Peninsula, our next destination for two nights was Mackinaw City. Enroute, we drove to Charlevoix, walked along the water and saw the beautiful mushroom houses. Continued to Petoskey SP where we did some of the shorter trails and stopped in the beautiful scenic town of Harbor Springs. Beautiful homes and a nice downtown for shopping. Had lunch at Mary Ellen's place on Main Street which is an old-fashioned soda fountain newsstand serving fresh soup, sandwich's etc at reasonable prices. They've only been in business for 80 years. Then went onto the family operated Pond Hill Farm and picked up some goodies. From here, we stopped at the Old Good Hart General Store and then walked around the boardwalk trail at the Nature Center at Thorne Swift Nature Preserve. This drive took us along the beautiful Tunnel of Trees.

We then continued our drive to our final destination, The Deer Head Inn in MC. The hosts, Nancy and Barry were very nice, warm, and welcoming. The location was great and in walking distance to the ferry, stores, and restaurants. Our room was spacious and comfortable. If you’re a fan of taxidermy, you’ll love this inn. If not, you might be a little frightened if you have to get up in the middle of the night. There are animals mounted all over the room and the Inn. We had dinner the first night at Darrow’s Family Restaurant. I would describe the food as “comfy and plenty” at reasonable prices. The place stays packed right up to closing. My friend had the Pecan Crumb Cherry Pie a la mode with mouse track ice cream for dessert that she’s still talking about. Another plus, if you’re in need of a laundromat, there is one down the block. The second night was at the Chippewa Room in Audie’s Restaurant. This is fine dining in a casual setting. The food was good and it starts with a basket of a collection of different crackers and breads along with a marvelous cheese dip. Salad bar is extensive and the entree’s are varied.

Of course, while in MC, we took the bridge ride ferry operated by Shepler’s across to the island. We took a two hour private tour aboard one of the livery carriages for the four of us ($120 per hour) and really enjoyed it. Our driver, Jeremy was a local and new everyone and everything along the way. Afterward, we walked quite a bit around the island and had lunch before returning to MC. The next day, we left MC heading toward the next destination of Paradise. To be continued...

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