Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Wilderness State Park

Friday, July 22nd, 2016

Wilderness State Park is located on the northwestern tip of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. It is located about 45 minutes north of Petoskey and 15 minutes west of the Mackinac Bridge. The park features a wide beach, dunes and a series of nature trails. The park covers 10,512 acres, so there is a lot of nature to explore.

The trail system through Wilderness State Park winds through tranquil woods and quiet ponds. The sign posts at each intersection indicate which number point you are at and directions to nearby number points. The walks are enjoyable and are mostly on level ground, so they are easy and fun for everyone! Be sure to bring water, sunscreen and maybe bug spray for your exploration of Wilderness State Park.

Since Wilderness State Park is State owned land, it is necessary to purchase a Recreation Passport; however, it is possible to purchase one at the park headquarters for about $11 {the permit lasts for a year}. While Wilderness State Park is located off the main highways, it is accessible from Wilderness Park Drive that runs from Mackinaw City. If you find yourself in the Mackinaw City or the Straits of Mackinac area, be sure to check out Wilderness State Park; it is well worth the ride!

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Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids

Friday, June 24th, 2016

If you find yourself in the Grand Rapids area, the Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park is a MUST-SEE. Grand Rapids is the metropolitan population center of Michigan’s west side and is located just 30 minutes east of the shores of Lake Michigan. The Meijer Gardens are not simply gardens, but also includes outdoor sculptures and a full-size Japanese Garden with working tea house! Meijer Gardens was created through the generous support of the Meijer family, founders of Meijer grocery stores.

Of interest at Meijer Gardens is the indoor conservatories with plants from tropical and desert environments. Plants from as far away as South Africa and Australia grow and flourish in their recreated native environments. There are also indoor art galleries that feature rotating collections of sculptures as well.

The Meijer Gardens feature a variety of plants and trees that welcome visitors with a variety of sights and smells. The exhibits also feature something for everyone. If you find yourself in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area be sure to visit the Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.


































Whitefish Point

Saturday, December 26th, 2015

Whitefish Point is located along the southeastern shore of Lake Superior in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. While the area is 2 hours north of the Mackinac Bridge, it is well worth the drive through the backwoods. Whitefish Point boasts something for everyone from a national bird sanctuary, to a renowned shipwreck museum and spectacular views from a historic lighthouse!

At Whitefish Point, the most famous attraction is the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. The Museum itself is housed in a collection of buildings that comprised the Whitefish Point Light Station. The centerpiece of the museum houses exhibits on shipwrecks that occurred in the vicinity of Whitefish Point and the Great Lakes, as well the history of the Whitefish Point area. A recent addition to the museum that draws many visitors is the bell of the Edmund Fitzgerald, the most famous Great Lakes shipwreck; a ship immortalized in a Gordon Lightfoot ballad.

Another great part of the museum is the Whitefish Point Light itself. The climb itself is not for the faint of heart as one has to traverse a number of stairs in the interior portion of the Light while in a tight space. However, the reward is well worth the climb, but not for the claustrophobic; the views from the top of the Light offers glimpses of Canada, the sandy shoreline of Whitefish Point and the seemingly ever-present freighters. The views are something that must be experienced firsthand!

Lastly, there is the Lighthouse Keeper’s Quarters, which showcases life at the Whitefish Point Light Station at the turn of the 20th century. Exhibits explain how lighthouse keepers lived, though life was tough due to the location’s remoteness, inclement weather and constant danger to ships in the “funnel” of Lake Superior near Whitefish Point.

If you are looking for an amazing and historical attraction, visit the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point.

Welcome to Whitefish Point

Welcome to Whitefish Point


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Whitefish Point Lighthouse from the beach.

Whitefish Point Lighthouse from the beach.


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Looking up at the lighthouse


Panorama from top of Lighthouse


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A Great Lakes Freighter


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Looking westward from the lighthouse


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Caption for the Edmund Fitzgerald bell


Edmund Fitzgerald bell

Edmund Fitzgerald bell


Edmund Fitzgerald bell-2

Edmund Fitzgerald bell-2


The Fitz as she lies today


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Superior City exhibit


Vienna exhibit


John M. Osborn exhibit




Bell of the Cincinnati

Bell of the Cincinnati


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Salvage suit

Salvage suit


Focal Lens from the lighthouse

Focal Lens from the lighthouse


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Lego model of the Edmund Fitzgerald

Lego model of the Edmund Fitzgerald


Wax model of a lighthouse keeper

New Buffalo and Harbor Country

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

New Buffalo, MI and the “Harbor Country” of southwestern Michigan are the summer playground for Chicago-land residents looking to escape the city. The town of New Buffalo lies on the shores of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Galien River, a few miles north of the Michigan-Indiana border. While New Buffalo itself is a small town, it is serviced by an Amtrak station, making it a convenient day-trip from Chicago, northwestern Indiana or other parts of Michigan!

One of the best activities to do in New Buffalo is heading to the City Beach, which features a large, sandy beach and a dune walk. The views from the top of the dunes are spectacular as one can see not only the vast expanse of Lake Michigan, but also the skyscrapers of Chicago on a clear day! There are other activities as well, such as canoeing on the Galien River (there are several liveries nearby) or strolling along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Traveling out of New Buffalo along the tree-lined Red Arrow Highway (named for the famous 32nd Infantry Division, whose members hailed from Wisconsin and Michigan) allows a traveler to see quaint art galleries and restaurants. The Red Arrow Highway travels northeast from New Buffalo through the rustic towns of Union Pier, Lakeside and Harbert, each unique and appealing in its own ways.

Traveling along the Red Arrow Highway also affords the adventurous traveler one of the most picturesque Lake Michigan beaches, Cherry Beach. Cherry Beach is located at the end of W. Harbert Road (located in the town of Harbert) and is reached via a wooden set of stairs. The view from the beach offers glimpses of a sylvan shoreline to the south and Warren Dunes State Park to the north.

Next time you find yourself in southwestern Michigan, make sure to visit Harbor Country!

Another New Buffalo Overview

New Buffalo Overview




New Buffalo Dunewalk Panorama

New Buffalo Dune Overview 2

New Buffalo Dunes Overview 1

Lighthouse at New Buffalo Beach

Cherry Beach Overview 4

Cherry Beach Overview 3

Cherry Beach Overview 2

Cherry Beach Overlook 1

Looking north at Cherry Beach 2

Looking north at Cherry Beach

Panorama at Cherry Beach

Petoskey Sunsets

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

Petoskey…a town whose name means “rays of the rising sun,” certainly embodies its name. Ignatius Petoskey, the son of a local Native American chief, is the town’s namesake. Petoskey itself is a small town in northern Michigan that lies on the shores of Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay, some 50 miles south of the Mackinac Bridge. Petoskey is known for its “million dollar sunsets” over Little Traverse Bay, sunsets which produce amazing colors in the evening sky. It is not uncommon for dozens of people to gather in Sunset Park, located in Petoskey to watch the sunset.

While Sunset Park offers a great viewing area for the sunsets, the whole of Little Traverse Bay offers spectacular views of the sunset. In particular, Bay Harbor, a community located some four miles west of Petoskey, offers some of the best views. However, sitting in beach chairs anywhere along Little Traverse Bay’s shoreline or a restaurant terrace in the summertime offers viewers a spectacular performance. Every sunset is a new experience and no two are ever the same. Perhaps this is why sunsets here are called “million dollar sunsets,” not only for their sheer beauty, but also for their uniqueness.

If you find yourself in the vicinity of Petoskey or simply want to see something amazing before going to Mackinac Island or the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, spend some time in Petoskey and watch the sun set “into” Lake Michigan.


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Sleepy Hollow

Saturday, August 3rd, 2013

A quick trip from Lansing, Michigan is Sleepy Hollow State Park. It contains 22.5 miles of trails, some of which are horse trails. The trails themselves generally follow the outline of Lake Ovid, a feature created by damming the Little Maple River in the 1974. The best way to see the Park is biking [no bikes to rent there] due to the distances and terrain types involved (bring water and sunscreen because portions of the trails are in direct sunlight). Hiking is also a good option for those who want to see the park at a more leisurely pace. A striking feature of this park is sign posts at junctions that inform you of where you are in the park and locations of the markers in the immediate vicinity. What is striking is the serenity of the park and the ability to hear wildlife; considering that Michigan’s capital is less than 20 minutes away! Water and sunscreen are a must for this trip as it can get hot and parts of the trail are in direct sunlight. A campground and disc golf course are also features of Sleepy Hollow.

I recently went kayaking on Lake Ovid [thanks to my Meetup Group!]. There is a boat dock on the western shore of Lake Ovid to launch kayaks and boats. However, Lake Ovid is a “no wake lake,” so leave the speedboats at home! The lake itself is beautiful with an island in the middle; the lake itself is an easy paddle for anyone from beginner to expert. The only drawback is the abundance of weeds in the shallower parts of the lake.

If you find yourself in the Greater Lansing area, this State Park is a must see!



Here are some images and video from Sleepy Hollow from my two trips there:


Broccoli Island in Lake Ovid?



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Monday, November 26th, 2012

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