Clearly I didn’t do the best job at participating in my self-assigned blog series. Oh well, I’m sure only 3 people were interested in it anyways. (By the way, I really do appreciate all 3 of you!) The main reason for not posting was because it’s a pain the ass to blog on my phone and as you know, I can get a little wordsy so it didn’t play out well for me. I figured I’ll post a short (who am I kidding, it’ll probably be a mile long) summary of each day. Also, if you’re not interested in reading, I’m going to weed through my photos over the next week or so and post some of my favorites on here so I can stop pestering the Facebook world. Thanks in advance for reading and I hope that you too are able to take a vacation sometime soon!
Day 5: Crossing The Bridge
I had planned for us to check out Castle Farm in Charlevoix, MI but we opted to just head straight for the Mackinac Bridge area. We saved about an hour of driving by skipping it and this was the day we were going to get over the hump of the second half of our trip. I’m actually not sure where we were but we came across this really awesome overlook in the middle of the interstate. With great reaction time, we slowed down and hung a right to find this sweet park type thing at the top.
Soon after we were officially in Mackinaw City. We stopped at the Alexander Henry Park before crossing the bridge. There were many moments on our trip thus far that made me stop and think “wow” but the water of Lake Huron was just beautiful. It seemed as if there were 3 different colors of blue going on. My mom explained to me that it probably has to do with the depth of the lake. Lighter blue closer to the beach and darker blue hitting the center and deepest parts. It was truly beautiful. No picture could do justice for how pretty it was.
Before leaving the park, we headed over to the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse. We did a semi-tour of the lighthouse and the grounds. They had just finished a museum of ship wrecks and artifacts. It was pretty neat.
Our hotel for the night was just over the bridge (which was super awesome to cross) in St. Ignace, MI. We stayed at The Breakers Resort with lakefront views and a balcony. It too, was beautiful. I feel like that is the recurring word for this trip. The layout of the hotel was a little weird but the room was very nice. Both my mom and I had fish at Mackinac Grille and it was delicious. I don’t have fish often because I’m “thrifty” but no time better than the present right?
Day 6: I May Never Come Home
Mackinac Island: There’s really no way to explain this one. I mean, when you talk about a place like Chicago people can relate to what your saying. They have an idea of what skyscrapers over skyscrapers means. But if they’ve never been to a place like Mackinac Island, they won’t get it. This is truly a bucket list item that I didn’t even know what a bucket list item until I was able to check it off my list. Mackinac Island is unbelievable in the best way possible. I did my research, I knew they didn’t use motorized vehicles. I knew about the bicycles and the horse drawn taxi’s. But the literature on the place doesn’t do it justice. When we arrived ashore off the ferry (yes, I was on a ferry how cool is that!?), I felt as if my dreams had come true. It was like I was in Disney World. All the buildings were bright and colorful. The little city was full of life. There was a fudge shop at every corner. We didn’t have to watch for cars or hear the sounds of honking horns. “Main Street” was one of the coolest things (next to Chicago in general) that I have ever seen. How come I haven’t taken a vacation until now? What’s wrong with me!
We took a carriage tour around the island. Other than it being kind of a pain to get in and out of, it was a great way to get the lay of the land. We visited Arch Rock and the Grand Hotel. You’ll definitely have to google the Grand Hotel and all it’s coolness. The entire place was decorated to the nines. From velvet pinstriped walls to circus tent ceilings to paint splattered to perfection floors. It was remarkable. At $30 a buffet plate and $300 a night rooms, you’d go broke in a New York Minute but hey you can’t take it with you right? I’m not kidding about the prices but I wouldn’t be able to throw that kind of money down unless I hit it big at the casino. One of my favorite parts was seeing the bellboys. They reminded me so much of the Grand Budapest Hotel movie that my mom and I watched.
I’m sure this will come off as ignorant and unaccepting or whatever but I wasn’t impressed with most of the staff at the hotel. They were clearly not of American decent (which is fine) but they didn’t possess the sense of professionalism that I would expect if I were to actually stay at a place like the Grand Hotel. Granted, we were non-hotel guests, but I found their demeanor less than pleasurable.
One tip if you ever do go to the island and take the carriage tour is that they won’t let you back on the tour if you get off. We were under the impression that we’d be able to get back on so we ended up having to take a horse drawn taxi back downtown which wasn’t the end of the world but it was annoying and it prevented us from checking out more of the hot spots on the island. Overall, I had a wonderful time there and I cannot wait to come back!
We headed back to mainland around 6:00 (I think) and made our way across the UP to Marquette, MI for that nights stop. On the way, we stopped at the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Munising, MI. It was one of my moms favorite stops and I can see why. The sun was setting and the sand on our feet was amazing. It was really breathtaking. The pictured rocks were off in the distance and there was an island in the middle of Lake Superior for the sun to set behind. I wish we could have spent more time there.
Day 7: Scandinavian Bland & Better Working Smiles
Our hotel in Marquette, MI was kind of odd. The front desk guy walked us to our room the night before and unlocked it. I’m sure it was nice gesture but ugh, get away. Total déjà vu moment typing this by the way. We went to the “Best Place To Eat In Marquette, MI” according to TripAdvisor. Wrong. As my mom put it so perfectly, it was “Scandinavian Bland.” She should coin that. The place was Donckers and it was exactly as my mom had described. The atmosphere is cool but the food was tasteless.
Day 7 was a long long drive. The best part of the day was stopping in Ashland, WI at a black sanded beach with a super long dock. I’m not sure what the park was called. I want to say Bayview but I could be wrong. We fed the seagulls the rest of our cheddar cheese popcorn. They LOVED it! Something about water makes everything in life so easy. All of your problems seem to briefly go away. As coined by one of my co-workers, Shelly: “That’s the beauty in taking a break — recharge the batteries and smiles work better!” It’s true.
Day 8: Spa Day
Neither my mom or I had ever gotten a massage until day 8 of our inaugural Mother-Daughter Trip of 2015. I was nervous as shit solely because of my body issues. Let a stranger touch your naked body? Fuck that. We went to Infinity Massage & Spa in Duluth, MN and I am now an official lover of massages. The massage therapist was excellent and I didn’t feel uncomfortable like I thought I would be. The only part I wasn’t a fan of was feeling dizzy and lightheaded when I got up and not being aware that that could happen.
I’ve never been much of a girly girl. I don’t really know why. I like being pampered, getting my nails done, and buying new clothes – all that jazz. I’m sure it’s a self-esteem issue but after having this massage, it gave me some real time to think about my self-worth and what it would take for me to be a truly happy person inside and out. I thought of other overweight people that I’ve encountered in my life and wondered how they can be so happy even though they probably don’t look like they wish they did. And it hit me, they take care of themselves. They probably don’t let their weight hold them back like I do.
Because of that revelation, I really want to begin to really take care of myself and my well-being. I want to treat myself to a rotating monthly schedule of massage, pedicure, and hair. It’s just as affordable if not more than eating out 75 times a week like it seems like we do right now. I felt so much more confident and refreshed after my massage (well after the lightheadedness went away) and I like that feeling. Just because I’m not satisfied with my current outward appearance doesn’t mean I have to let my internal self suffer.