Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Quick Trip Up North: Great Wolf Lodge & Mackinaw City

Hi Friends!

It's been a little quiet here on the blog and I thought I'd pop into to let you know why.  We've been on a mini vacay!  I could go into a lot more detail about each stop but I'll just give the highlights for now.  It was just two nights away but it felt really busy and jammed packed.  Then on Sunday Brad left for Columbia where he's doing a laser install so I'm pulling solo duty this week. ER's first summer camp started and LB's starts summer speech group this week, busy, busy, busy!
Back to our mini getaway, the first night we spent at the Great Wolf Lodge.  This was our second time staying at one, we stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge - Poconos Mountains previously. The location in Traverse City is smaller.  It didn't have the wave pool and the really little kiddie pool area wasn't as nice as I remember at the other one.  I think that most of the same things were there but they were laid out differently.  Nevertheless, we still had a ton of fun.  It was a good size for our family.

We splurged and booked a Wolf Den room that came with a cool sleeping area for ER.  She LOVED it.  You can't see it from this angle but there's a TV in there and she thought that was really cool, especially when her name popped up on the screen from playing MagiQuest.  She enjoys that game a lot, it's a nice way to keep her busy and active. 
We left the Great Wolf Lodge in the late afternoon, check out was at 11 but there are changing rooms with showers, and even a hair dryer so you can enjoy the water park for as long as you want even after checking out.

We were about two hours away from our next stop Mackinaw City but made a couple stops along the way.  We had to dip our feet into West Grand Traverse Bay, where the water was refreshing (translation: cold). 
We also had to stop at Benjamin Twigg's for some cherry goodies, cherries are what that area is known for.  Then we went next door for some sandwiches and my favorite chips - jalapeno!!!  We also made a quick pit stop at Charlevoix.
The second night we spent in Mackinaw City, checking out Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse and Fog Signal Station.  They were closed but we saw a wedding getting set up.  Imagine getting married with this beautiful backdrop!

We had the obligatory pasties and then, because it was still light out we took the kids across the Mackinac Bridge and to Michigan's upper peninsula for the first time.  ER asked if we were in a different country.  We laughed because while that might sound crazy most places, in Michigan you can also get to Canada and indeed be in another country via a bridge, but told her that no not this time.  St. Ignace is right over the bridge and we had a nice stop there, walking the boardwalk and giving the kids a chance to burn off more energy before the turning in at the hotel.
We were up in Mackinaw City and took the ferry to the Island last June.  While there ER enjoyed Fort Mackinac so much she wanted to see Colonial Michilimackinac.  So while we were so "close," albeit two hours away in Traverse City for the Great Wolf Lodge, we decided to add a quick trip back to take her.  Hence our needs for two nights away from home.

It's a nice stop, very scenic with views of the Bridge, rustic historic building, costumed cast members, and nicely done exhibits that are informational, interactive, and interesting to young children and adults.  Our visit was cut a little short when a downpour started but it was a good stop for a couple hours and is well worth the stop.
Mackinaw City and "Up North" in general are two of Michigan's touristy attractions.  We managed to fit in one more popular stop by having dinner at Zehnders in Frankenmuth, our own Little Bavaria.  A fried chicken dinner was the perfect way to end our adventure.


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