"If a year was tucked inside of a clock, then autumn would be the magic house." - Victoria Erickson
It's that wonderful time of year again! Where you can slip on your leggings, sip on a warm drink, and view all the glory that nature has to offer! I think we all have our special tree, we seek out every year, just to see the the vibrant colors it boasts during October. Now, don't get me wrong, I am 100% a summer fan. I enjoy sunshine, warmth, sand between my toes, and sunglasses. However even I cannot deny how breathtaking this time of year it is in Northern Michigan. So this prompted a much needed refresher of the Insiders Guide.
The majority of us have newer phones now a days, so why not try your hand at nature photography? Can you really take a bad shot of the Mighty Mac? Doubtful. So why not try your hand at a few sights in the area. I know we've all came across a few TikToks or Reels lately that is making you fantasize of finding those wild wonders. Let me help you get started!
1- Mackinac Bridge 2- Cheboygan Crib Light
3- Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse
4- McGulpin Point Lighthouse
5 - Headlands International Dark Sky Park
6- Cut River Bridge
7 - Ocqueoc Falls
8-Whitefish Point Lighthouse
9 - Tahquamenon Falls
10 - Mackinac Island
Whew! Okay so maybe this is too much nature and exploration. And that's okay. I'll admit I absolutely love getting outdoors but sometimes all I need is a quiet place to relax, have a glass of wine, and read a good book. Bonus..staying at a place with a view! Let's not forget the upcoming holiday season. Let this be the push you need to motivate you for a Monday off and travel for a much needed trip either solo, with a loved one, or a whole group! Immerse yourself in all the beauty Northern Michigan has to offer or simply find a quiet place to reset and breath in the fresh crisp air. You'll head home with energy ready to tackle the upcoming Holiday season.
With the holidays all past us, are you ready to start planning your vacation?
I’m a planner. I may not always have excel spreadsheets, but I do utilize my Facebook events calendar, google calendar for reminders, and jot down a list on my notes app for a quick go to guide. This REALLY helps when you are in an area you are not as familiar with.
Here are a few tips:
Note App: use your phone to jot down ideas, don’t forget to do, and must-see ideas
Lists: Make a few lists just so you stay organized. Meals – Clothing – Hot Spots
Meals: Make a short list of meal ideas so you can create a quick grocery list. Even better – order online and use the pick-up option at the local grocery store! Maybe you like to pick your produce out, okay then just order the aisle and paper goods! It WILL cut your time down drastically. Do you have a large party? Make this part even more tolerable by sending the kids down the road to the George Turner park and let them stretch their legs while you get the shopping done.
Clothing: It really does help making a general list just so you can check it off. You do not want to be running to buy swimsuits, socks, and yet another bottle of sunscreen after you JUST made it and getting settled in to start your relaxation.
Hope To Do: Think about what you may want to do or see. Maybe its simply to enjoy a nice meal while enjoying the sounds of Lake Huron and the sun-setting over the Mackinac Bridge. Maybe its traveling across the bridge to view some of the famous waterfalls. Or possibly you are needing a few ideas to help with the energy kids seem to have an endless supply of. Write down some of your “hope to do” and I can help point you in the right direction!
Bonus: Ask the host! With traveling it is always a great idea to bounce ideas off the host. Chances are they have some tips you are not going to find online.
With the start of the season being cooler compared to last year, we were soaking up every chance we could get being outdoors and enjoying the water! We also had family take the long trek from Texas all the way to Northern Michigan for a 4-day exploration of places we love in Northern Michigan. While we were unable to stay at Island View Shores during their time, that didn’t stop us from making the daytrip to Mackinac Island!
We had a larger group and with packing in A LOT of must see, fudge to eat, and places to go we tried to do our best on budgeting and at the very least find the best deals or discounts. Here is what we discovered this year on Mackinac Island.
How to survive the winter? Enjoying it, that’s how.
Okay, maybe you DO already enjoy the winter. You ski, hike, and ice fish to get you by until summer hits. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a new thrilling adventure awaiting your weekend escape. So, keep reading…
For everyone who either doesn’t live in the snow or prefers to stay snug under warm blankets with hot tea & a good book. Or maybe it’s a much-needed girls’ weekend getaway, a couple’s weekend. Maybe it is time to escape and surprise your better half & plan a relaxing and memorable weekend. Here are a few fun adventures you SHOULD add to your list this winter.
Have you truly enjoyed a winter wonderland hike? In this northern area you can slip away and enjoy snowshoes with lantern lit paths under the beautiful stars. Ending the hike with good people & warm drinks next to a fire.
Maybe you are more into a thrilling snowmobiling ride. Did you know you can rent a snowmobile and drive it right to the house? The home is across from the trail!
Have you ever wondered what Mackinac Island was like without all the tourists? The winter is the time to go. They have a popular Mackinac Island Winter Festival, Feb. 1st – 3rd. You can rent Fat Tire Bikes to tour around or bring the snowshoes from the house! It is fun for the whole family with cook outs, sledding, snow golf, snow volleyball and broom hockey.
While I have a long list of festivals, activities and just plain fun even if you are preferring indoor ideas. Here is one I didn’t even think about until I saw a photo and it had me start exploring. While I enjoy the hiking, sometimes you need to try something new. Dog sledding. Yes, dog sledding. Did you know you CAN pay to go on a DOG SLEDDING trip! I mean, this is a pretty neat and unusual surprise.
I have compiled a list to get you active, warm, and loving the beautiful north!
Nature’s Kennel Sled Dog Racing & Adventures – McMillian, MI
Treetops Resort – Gaylord, Mi – Weekends Jan/Feb
Cook Family Farm – Gaylord
Treetops Resort’s Wilderness Sleigh Ride Dinner
Thunder Bay Resort – Includes elk-viewing sleigh ride, gourmet dinner & wine tasting! http://thunderbayresort.com/
Straits State Park – St. Ignace
Indian River Sports Center – You can ride from there all the way to the house on trails! =)
SUMMER IS HERE!
Let’s chat Waterfalls! We all know of the famous Tahquamenon Falls in Paradise, Michigan. I have this recommended in the Day Trip section of the Welcome Booklet. Recently my Father-in-law told me about the Ocqueoc Falls. The more I researched it the more excited I was to share this with everyone!The Ocqueoc Falls is located in the Lower Peninsula near Rogers City. You are able to explore on the rocks, jump in the water, have a picnic and just enjoy the beauty of a smaller waterfall that Michigan offers but also be closer to home. Just a reminder, this is much smaller in scale compared to the Upper Peninsula Falls, however it is fun and less than an hour drive! Below is the link to the details of the Ocqueoc Falls as well as some photos!
If you are more into the scenic viewing instead of jumping in, the Tahquamenon Falls is the place to see. While there are many Falls in the Upper Peninsula, this is one that is closer to the lake house. We made the drive up (see photo above) to Tahquamenon Falls in June this year. The upper falls was beautiful and the walk to see it was easy. They have a gift shop, brewery and a large gathering place with chairs and picnic tables if you prefer to bring your own food. We skipped the lower falls due to many tourists complaining about the mosquitoes. While you are up in the area I suggest take the short drive to The Whitefish Point Lighthouse and Museum. It is about a 30 minute drive north from the Upper Falls. Before you head north, stop at Brown Fisheries Fish House for lunch! They serve only fresh fish caught from Lake Superior daily until it runs out! They are open for the summer season Monday – Saturday from Noon – 7PM.
We are always discovering fun new places to explore when we are up north. We welcome all suggestions if you have found a must see place!
It has been great receiving all of the fun photos being sent to us during your vacation! Don’t forget to post your favorite photos from your trip to Instagram using #islandviewshoresmi or to our Facebook page!
It looks like Winter Wonderland in Northern Michigan! I have found some exciting events to help you enjoy the colder months. As many of you know, we have 6 sets of snowshoes for you to use! If you have Cross Country Ski’s bring them with you! While you can Snowshoe & Cross-Country Ski on many trails all day long, they have quite a few events in January, February and March to get you outdoors in the evening and enjoy the beautiful stars at night!
Mackinac Island is open in the winter, in fact they even have a Winter Festival! They have a Twilight Turtle Trek once a month, but keep in mind, you’ll want to check times for the Ferry and or the Great Lakes Air schedule. You can snowmobile across on the Ice Bridge, when it is safe to do so from St. Ignace to Mackinac Island. They say it is an amazing adrenaline rush. If the Ferry is not able to make it to the Island due to the Ice they use Great Lakes Air to get people across. I’ve read they offer a round trip pricing or one way trips of $35 per adult and ½ price for kids. You will want to call to confirm pricing. Below is their website and contact information.
Below is a link for great tips if you are going to travel to Mackinac Island!
If you want to stay cozy and close to home, there is PLENTY to explore up and down the beach. There is a nature preserve near the home, plus it is more rural so there is a lot to see! Bring your snowmobiles or rent one and ride right from the house onto the North Central Trailhead. To rent a snowmobile check out Indian River Rentals. Their location is next to the snowmobile trail and you can ride it right to the house with ease.
While there are MANY more activities going on in the area this winter, here are a few bigger ones! I’ll be happy to help give tips and plan your fun weekend getaway this winter!
Mackinac Island Twilight Turtle Trek
January 6th, February 3rd and March 3rd
A unique Lantern-Lit cross country ski and snowshoeing event on 2-miles of the islands immaculately groomed trails. Trail begins at Greaney Grove with a bonfire and hot chocolate. No charge.
January 19th & 20th – Mackinaw City Winter Festival
Amateur Snow Sculpting competition, Sleigh/Wagon Rides, Outhouse Races, Poker Walk, Art Show, Euchre Tournament, Chili Cook off, Ice Fishing Tournament and many more fun things to see and do!
February 3-4, 2018 Mackinac Island Winter Festival
Join Mackinac Island’s winter community at Great Turtle Park for a bonfire cook out, sledding, snow golf, archery, snow volleyball and broom hockey. Mackinac Island School hosts food and Photo Contest to select pictures for the 2019 Mackinac Island Calendar.
Straits State Park- Winter Family Fun Day
February 10th & 11th & March 4th & 5th
Enjoy an afternoon of snow activities and games, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and a lantern-light hike. Warming bonfires, hot chocolate and s’mores will be available for your enjoyment afterwards. They also have some Snowshoes & Sleds available!
March 3rd & 4th, 2018 St. Ignace 33rd U.P. Ice Golf Scramble & Glow Ball Challenge
This just sounds like fun! Beer Tasting, Glow Ball Challenge, Prizes, Lunch & Dinner, Players Gifts.
March 16-18, 2018 St. Patrick’s Day Weekend – Mackinac Island
Snow, Fog, Ice, Water…makes for a typical March on Mackinac Island. Revelers are invited to play Snow Volleyball and the Annual Jamie Bynoe Street Hockey Tournament downtown. Oh…and there will be plenty of Irish Cheer!