Well, I suppose it isn’t technically my first week off in 7 years since I took 10 months off to be a mom, but I don’t feel like that counts, because being a mom is work 24/7 that you don’t get paid for. Anyway, I digress, this is the first time that Bobby and I have taken a week vacation from work since we got married on that beautiful last day of summer in 2008, and only our second trip to celebrate (3rd if you count our trip to NYC in October last year). We went to Chicago for 4 days to celebrate our 2 year anniversary. This year, we opted to go up and spend 4 days in beautiful Bellaire, MI. We chose Bellaire, because we knew we wanted to go to Shorts, probably at least almost every day, and we were willing to make the drive out to Traverse City and Glen Arbor. This plan was just as amazing, awesome, and perfect as we thought it would be. I only somewhat regret not planning a little bit better, but the unknown and the planning as we go ended up being a lot of fun, so I really don’t regret it. It just means we have more stuff to do next time we go!
Thursday, in preparation, I dyed my hair orange and pink. I say in preparation, because I wanted to have freshly dyed, pretty hair for the trip. Random fact, but sort of worth noting, I guess. Bobby was super geeked for me to have orange hair, so I wanted to have it done before our anniversary.
Friday, we both worked a half day, I worked a little over half, and then rushed home to throw all our things in the car and head out. The drive was uneventful, we listened to a hilarious book about a group of gamers who are actually sent to the fantasy world they’re playing in, and then we got there around 7:30ish. We checked in at the Stone Waters Inn, took our stuff up to our room, poked around the hotel and hotel grounds for a little bit to check it out (it’s absolutely gorgeous), and then went to have food and drinks at Shorts. When we were getting into our room, the woman who was working told us that the slightly bigger room across the hall would be available Sunday night, and that we’re welcome to take it at no extra cost our second two nights. Not only was it a slightly bigger room, but the balcony overlooks the river. Our room Friday and Saturday had a balcony, but it just looked out at the road. We gladly accepted the offer. Shorts was pretty busy, it was Friday night and there was a huge kayaking event going on, but we put our name in, and then went down to the merchandise shop to buy stuff. By the time we got back, we only had to wait a little bit to get a table. They asked us if we minded sharing a split booth with another couple, and us being the friendly sort we are said no problem, we’ll make new friends! We sat with a lovely older couple who were just stopping for a bit on their way up to Charlevoix. We chatted a lot about jobs and interests, she told me I remind her of her son’s girlfriend, they asked what brought us to Bellaire and we told them it’s our wedding anniversary. They asked if we planned to come back to Shorts because they’d pay for us each to have a beer, we said yes and thanked them, and they were on their way. Upon letting the waitress know we were ready to go, she told us we were all set, the other people had paid for our entire bill! That was an unexpected and nice surprise, I was a little sad that we couldn’t thank them more for that. So, pretty fantastic way to start the trip. We bought some of Shorts new Starcut ciders and took them back to the hotel. There was a nice little couch right next to the river that we sat at and drank our ciders out of our new pint glasses. After that, we went in the hot tub for a bit and then called it a night.
Saturday, we decided we wanted to go to Traverse City. We slept in a little late, because of course. We leisurely had coffee and breakfast, and then sat down by the river for a while. The hardest part of this trip was peeling ourselves away from the hotel to go do things because the weather was perfect, and the grounds of the hotel are absolutely gorgeous and sitting next to the river was so relaxing. After a while, we decided it was time to go. On our way into Traverse City, we noticed a bunch of kite boarders, so we stopped to watch them for a bit. After that, we went into downtown Traverse City and poked around the different shops and got delicious Mexican coffees from a wonderful coffee house called Brew. I would have never thought tequila in coffee would be good, but it was pretty amazing. The drink had coffee (of course), tequila, kahlua and was topped with whipped cream and garnished with an orange peel. When we were done there, we took a walk along the riverfront for a little while. We kind of wanted to find out where we could go for a winery tour, or what vineyard would be cool to check out, so we were going to head back to the car to figure that out. We saw a cool looking candle shop during our walk, so we stopped in there to check things out. We both love candles. The vibe of the place was awesome, and we found a couple of candles that we liked. While paying, we asked where we should go if we want to check out a vineyard. There was a guy working who was very awesome and very helpful. He told us if we love breathtaking views that we should go to Chateau Chantal on Old Mission Peninsula. He recommended another that we didn’t make it to, and also told us we should drive all the way to the end to see the lighthouse. Chateau Chantal was gorgeous and the wine was very good. When we first got in line, an older woman chatted with us and recommended her favorite white wine (which was very good, by the way). She told me she loved my hair and that she dyed her hair pink back in the 60s when no one did that. She was pretty awesome. We got our wine samples and headed out onto the patio. The guy at the candle shop was right, the view was gorgeous.
After sitting for a bit, we wanted to get pictures and we were getting hungry. We noticed a group of people who could use help getting a photo, so we offered to take theirs if they’d take ours for us. They were hilariously tipsy. One of the guys in the group told us we should kiss for a photo, so we did the photo kiss, and he said “Don’t kiss like you’re taking a photo! Kiss like you mean it!” So, we did.
It was so fun. We left after that to drive down and see the lighthouse. We only spent a little while there because the lighthouse was under construction and it was a little chilly, but we did get to see it, enjoy the park, and learn about the history of an old cabin that was there. We left there and drove back to Traverse City for dinner at Mackinaw Brewing Co. It was getting on toward nightfall by the time we finished eating, so we started on our hour drive back to Bellaire. We wanted to go to Shorts when we got back, but the wait was 45 minutes and we didn’t feel up to hanging around, so we bought one of their new beers and went back to the hotel to just relax and have a beer.
Sunday was the start of the active part of our trip, we took our bikes with us because we wanted to make sure to take advantage of the awesome trails up there. We had a decent breakfast at one of the diners in town, relaxed a bit at the hotel and then made the drive out to Glen Arbor. We stopped in Traverse City on the way because I saw a super cute cycling jersey at M22 that I really wanted, and Bobby really wanted me to get it, so I did.
We also bought Lukas a t-shirt. On our way to Glen Arbor from Traverse City, we stopped in Fishtown, because Bobby’s mom told us how awesome it is. We went to the restaurant there to have some lunch, and we poked around for a little while to check it out. Bobby saw a salmon jump up the dam, I was bummed I missed it. When we got to Glen Arbor, we stopped at the cycling shop to get Bobby’s bike a quick check, and went on our way. We rode the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore trail for 7 miles from Glen Arbor to the Pierce Stocking Drive trailhead and back. There were some ridiculously intense hills, but I climbed them, and the best feeling was getting to zip back down them, I felt like I was flying. That made the climb worth it. During that ride, we stopped for a few at the dune climb, but decided sand + bike ride probably wasn’t a great plan. We made the drive back to Bellaire and had dinner and beers at Shorts. This time, since it was Sunday night, we got right in. We relaxed at the hotel for a while, and then changed into cooler weather clothes, and went for a walk through the town. Night time walks were an almost nightly thing for us for a long time, so we like to take them whenever we have the chance to. We found some shops we wanted to check out when they opened the next day, made up stories for what we thought people were doing, and then went back to the hotel to turn in.
Monday was our anniversary!! Happy 7 years of wedded bliss to us!! We didn’t really have anything planned, we were pretty sure we were going to go back to Glen Arbor to do the dune climb and potentially go for a bike ride, maybe. We got coffees at the coffee shop and went to check out the shops that we had seen the night before. We bought some delicious jerky from the jerky shop, we got salmon, kangaroo and snapping turtle. The only one we didn’t care for was the snapping turtle, but I’m still glad I tried it. Then, we went to the bike shop just to check it out. We talked with the guy a lot, Bobby asked him some questions. We learned that we really want to get the bike extension for Lukas that basically turns your bike into a tandem so your kid can ride, too. I don’t think he’s old enough yet, but I think he definitely will be next year. We also learned that there is a really cool trail that goes through Traverse City that starts in Acme and goes all the way to Sutton Bay. On that trail, there is a stretch where there are the sun and planets that are to scale distance-wise, it’s a 6 mile stretch. We thought that sounded like a lot of fun, so we decided that’s what we were doing for our anniversary. We drove to where the Pedal the Planets part of the trail starts, changed and were on our way. I thought it would be fun to document the ride by taking photos with each planet sculpture, and I’m so glad I did. The sun and the planets up through Mars were super easy because they were all pretty much next to each other.
Jupiter, however, was very elusive because the trail isn’t clearly marked and it jogs a little. We went miles in every which way to find it and couldn’t. We got so incredibly frustrated trying to find it even after asking people for directions that we gave up because we were hungry. We rode to Right Brain for waffle sandwiches and delicious beers. Right Brain did not disappoint. My sandwich and beers were so delicious, and the vibe and decor of the place was so awesome. After a full belly, we decided that we were going to ride back and probably just go back to the car but maybe ride around for a bit. We were still pretty frustrated at not being able to complete our quest. We rode back, and were near some tracks and saw that it looked like a trail picked up, so we followed it. Sure enough, there’s Jupiter. We were excited, relieved, and pissed off, all at the same time. However, the excitement really took over as we realized we could now complete our quest! We took our irritated photo with Jupiter, and then turn around and headed down the rest of the trail to take our pictures with the rest of the planets.
We met a really nice guy along the way who warned us that the trail jogs around a little bit and told us that if we had time after we were done that we should ride out toward Suttons Bay. It was getting on toward evening, so we decided that would be something we’d look forward to another day. We got to Pluto, and then rode the 6 miles back to the car. After we passed Jupiter on our way back to where the car was, we were hit with more frustration as we realized how close we were to hitting that part of the trail much earlier in the day, but because the trail wasn’t clearly marked, we totally missed it. From just past where Jupiter was, we rode right by the bike shop that we stopped at earlier to get my brake pads fixed. It was so maddening, but so funny since it was all in hindsight and everything ended up working out. We rode back the rest of the way, changed, and headed back to Bellaire to have our last beers of the trip. We decided on the way back that we should have a new anniversary tradition of completing some sort of quest. As frustrating as that got, it was so fun, and it was so us, which is a perfect way to celebrate our day. I felt bad that my burning desire to complete the trail was ruining the day, but Bobby assured me that it did the opposite of ruin the day, that it was perfect. It’s kind of our MO to get lost in a city that we’re unfamiliar with and then eventually everything works out. That’s how we have fun little adventures to shake things up. We got back to Bellaire and went to Shorts one last time. We decided to sit at the bar and have beers. We were sad that the kitchen was closed, but we still had leftover pizza back at our room. We complimented the bar tender on his awesome t-shirt. He was wearing a shirt that had an 8-bit picture of a pint of beer that said +4 Charisma -2 Wisdom -2 Dexterity. I need that shirt. Right now. Anyway, he was cool. There was a girl sitting at the bar who had some sweet earrings that looked to be laser cut wood and were old english D’s. Bobby complimented her earrings and that opened the gateway to an awesome conversation, we ended up making a new friend. She lives in Southfield, she crochets, and she made some awesome geeky references. We ended the night by hugging the cool bartender and our new friend, and then going back to the hotel to relax and enjoy our last night by chilling on our balcony and looking out at the river.
Tuesday, we went to get coffees and breakfast snacks, we bought a cool set of magnetic trains for Lukas that are the letters of his name from the local toy store, and then we went back to pack up our stuff, enjoy sitting next to the river a little while longer, and then make the trek back home. The hotel was so beautiful that we already know we want to go back and stay there again.
The staff was also super friendly and amazing. We loved everything about it. It was hard to leave. When we got back home, we unloaded the car, picked up the dogs, and went to have dinner with Bobby’s mom and pick up our little guy. He was very excited to see us, and we missed him so much. That evening after he went to bed, we finally watched the new Mad Max movie and then went to bed.
Wednesday was relatively uneventful. We got up, took Lukas to school, made coffee and watched the new Muppets show and the season premiere of Doctor Who. Both were really good. Then, I went for an almost 6 mile run. Bobby cleaned the house a bit while I was gone, but after I showered we decided to go get lunch in downtown Royal Oak and didn’t end up getting much done at all since we stayed out almost until we had to pick Lukas up from school. We had dinner, went for a walk, and ended up going to the park with our neighbors and their kids. Bobby started reading Lukas How to Train Your Dragon as his first chapter book and I went grocery shopping. Then, he worked on his game and I just poked around on my computer after answering emails because I was sleepy. We’ve gotten to sleep with the windows open every night this week, which has been glorious. My favorite weather is sleep with the windows open weather.
Today, we went to IKEA!! One of our big goals this week was to get Lukas’ room straightened up, and we desperately needed better storage for his toys. We found the perfect storage solution, of course, we looked ahead of time. We had their Swedish meatballs for lunch, wandered around the displays, found the things we were looking for, found some things we weren’t looking for, and that was it. Bobby’s mom drove us, so I got some nice knitting time on the way to work on Bobby’s lobster claw mittens. Bobby built one of the storage units while I worked on cleaning up Lukas’ room, which was no small task. We got the first one set up and I continued working on cleaning up while Bobby went to get Lukas and dinner. After dinner, Bobby helped Lukas put together the second storage unit. It was so awesome to watch Lukas, he did way more than I would have guessed a three year old could to build it. Bobby put the large pieces in place and told Lukas which pieces he needed and where to put them, and Lukas placed all the small pieces and impressively used the allen wrench with the screws. After he was all done, Bobby tightened all the screws all the way down. So, Lukas basically built it with Bobby’s help and guidance. Pretty amazing.
Bobby read the book to Lukas again tonight. Lukas remembered what happened in the book yesterday, which is awesome. I cannot believe how fast he is growing, he’s such an awesome kid. He had a rough day at school today, but that seems to happen whenever we switch up his routine. We were gone for 4 days, and we switched up his bedtime routine last night so Bobby could start reading to him in his room. I’m hoping he feels better after he adjusts.
Tomorrow should be really good day of productivity, we have nothing else planned during the day but to work on getting things in order.
I’ve been posting a lot about life happenings lately, but a lot has been going on. I really want to mix in thoughts that I have on things, and maybe some writing snippets, and more about my knitting now that I’m on to other things aside from a never-ending chevron infinity scarf. Ha, I made a funny and I didn’t mean to. Anyway, I wanted to make sure I got the trip down in writing because there was so much amazingness, and we encountered so many cool people, that I wanted to make sure I remember it all. I’m sure there are details I’m missing since it’s already been almost a week since our vacation began, but I hit all of the super memorable stuff.