The Great Up North
This past week my dear friend Alexis and I decided it was time, time for
that drive that we had talked about for over a year. So we each packed
2 bags, one with clothes and the other bag brimming
with camera gear, then we headed to the great up north.
The original plan was to drive slowly throughout the trip, but as usual, we
were running late that initial bon voyage day. As we pulled away from our
beloved Ann Arbor, we could feel all stresses being left behind. We were
on our way to the island, Mackinaw Island. Now we just needed to make
that last ferry of the day, or we would be losing our reservation at Mission
After driving 4 hours and 23 minutes, or 285 miles, our plan to drive
directly up 75 hailed us a front row seat (if we had chosen) on the hydroplane
ride to paradise. Okay, so it’s not the Caribbean, but it is our island,
Michiganders little slice of the slower life.
The first day was spent soaking up the sites, but in a quieter, slower version then a day-tripper would. The slow walk from Mission Point to the downtown area provided us with many beautiful photo ops of flowers, a sweet old lab resting in a big chair, architecture and of course horses and the quaint fudge-filled village. It was still early on Friday, so the weekend crowds were only beginning to arrive. We headed down a back street and discover a new coffee place and possible job opportunities for next summer (for my friend, not me!).
Once again, we realized that an appointment made earlier was upon us, so we
dashed back to the resort to enjoy some much needed spa treatments. You
may wonder what this has to do with photography. Well, I believe to find
ZEN in this world, I must be in a Zen place myself. So this was our treat
before leaving the island that afternoon.
Onward to the Mighty Mac and beyond. Next stop the other paradise, Paradise,
Michigan. The drive up highway 2 was stunning with the setting sun
catching the yellows, oranges and red on fire! We were surprised at the
low availability of rooms once we arrived in the sleepy town, but finally found
a place to rough it for the night. Let’s just say we were inside…I
think. A quick trip to find some food and the shoreline to view
the amazing starlit sky, then off to sleep. Another 69 miles for the
The next day was filled with a lot of travel. We completed the 15
minute drive to Whitefish Point to catch the strong winds blowing in some nice
sized waves, then back south to view the Taquanamum falls and across the bridge
to the Lower Peninsula before a big storm was predicted to hit.
I love the northwest side of Lower Michigan. Its beauty is like an oasis. To end the day we traveled through the tunnel of trees, catching the sunset on the beautiful tree lined winding road. The plan was to find a place in Petoskey to relax for the night, but we found what seemed like the entire southern half of MI occupying every hotel room in the northern hemisphere! Sigh, this was not a part of the plan, but we are flexible, and the drive down to the thumb area just gave us new destinations to photograph the next day.
Our last day was spent touring the countryside to Port Austin and lunch in the German town of Frankenmuth. I live in such an amazingly beautiful state, from the rolling hills and farmlands to the rocky, pine tree filled Upper Peninsula, to our gorgeous shoreline that surrounds us. We are very lucky to have the 4 seasons and over one fifth of the world’s fresh surface water.