Week 12: Farewell to My Fabulous Fifties

Good morning from Michigan’s upper peninsula, where the drinks are cold and the internet is spotty. We are up in Cedarville for the week, renting cabins with extended family and friends. I hope to have more to share about it and a few more bucket list items to check off next week. Since I am on vacation, this will be short and sweet.

Prior to heading out, I did manage to check off item # 44 on my bucket list. I took Kobe to North Bay Park near our home for a nature walk. This is a lovely little gem on Ford Lake with a wooden boardwalk that goes through the lake and wetlands, perfect for viewing water fowl and wildlife. Kobe loved it and I hope to get back there with him at least one more time this year.

Kobe ready to tackle the trail!
Scenes from the boardwalk.
Loosestrife growing amongst cattails.
Ducks on a log
The boardwalk in the water. You can see a viewing platform in the distance which we didn’t climb as Kobe has difficulty with steps.

We also had our contractor Tony back out to replace some cracked thresholds and tiles in our foyer (Bucket list item #4). We were lucky to still have some tile stored from when we built the house 20 years ago. I was a little worried the new grout lines would be obvious but we thought we’d go this route first, and if we didn’t like the results we’d rip it out and select new tile. But we were fortunate and Tony did a masterful job. It’s hard to distinguish between new and old grout. Can you tell?

Can you tell where the replacement tiles are?

Despite our spotty internet connection, my Duolingo streak remains intact at 719 days. French classes restarted last week. Since I’m up North, this week, I’ll be following along remotely. I’ve finished John Grisham’s new book, The Reckoning. It was pretty good. Now I am on to the Pulitzer Prize winning book, Less by Andrew Sean Greer. I am on book #44 of my 50 book challenge, which puts me 14 books ahead of schedule, a comfortable enough lead to let me tackle the last book in the Poldark series after this. Update on skydiving, it’s been rescheduled for August 25th due to my daughter’s work conflict. We are looking forward to tackling this together.

If you’ve lived in Michigan for any time, you know “going up North” is what one does for vacation, or at the very least for a long weekend. We are at Spring Lodge, in some cute little cabins along the lake in the Les Cheneaux area. Les Cheneaux means “the channels” in French. There are a series of islands which form long channels, thus despite being one of the Great Lakes, these smaller channels are calmer, making them perfect for boating and water sports. Our family has been coming up since my girls, now in their twenties, were little. My daughter has even named her dogs Mackinac and Cheneaux. As we’ve been coming up to this area for so long, it can be difficult to find something new to do. Castle rock? Check. Mackinac Island? Check. Mystery spot? Check. Soo Locks? Check. The list goes on. But after widening the circle a bit, I believe we will be heading out sometime this week where I will tackle bucket list item # 25 -take a day trip to somewhere we’ve not been before while in Les Cheneaux. I hope to share some awesome photos with you.

Well that’s it for this week. I know I put down my cold drink down somewhere. I’m off to find it. Either that or a nice nap. Cheers!

View from our front porch. Notice the water level is so high, many of the docks are under water. Ours is o.k. because they built a second level above the waterline.
Lakeside view
Another beautiful sunset.

Week 9: Farewell to My Fabulous Fifties

Monday already? This week has just flown by! The highlight of our week was a long weekend in Mackinac Island. If you are not from Michigan and are unfamiliar with the island, you are missing out! This is a tiny island, with a coast of 8.2 miles, perfect for biking around the perimeter. It covers 3.8 square miles and much of it is preserved as Mackinac Island State Park. No cars are allowed and travel is done exclusively by bicycle or horse and carriage. It is an area rich in history and serves as a popular tourist draw, attracting both day trippers and those visiting for a few days. My extended family has been coming here for years. My parents stay in their boat at the marina and family members either stay with them or at nearby resorts. Once we arrived, I was excitedly looking forward to checking off a long-awaited item on my bucket. As many years as we’ve been coming here, we’ve never eaten at The Woods, which is a lovely restaurant associated with the Grand Hotel (another popular tourist destination). This Bavarian influenced restaurant is tucked away in the woods (hence the name) and requires a 30-45 minute carriage ride to get to it. My husband, myself and our daughters had six o’clock reservations on a Friday evening. After a leisurely carriage ride, we arrived right on time. Our waiter, Michael, was amazing. He has been working there for over 20 years and his experience and warmth made our evening even better. I ordered a grilled New York strip steak, done perfectly. My daughter Sam enjoyed her spinach Florentine ravioli and my older daughter, Jenna had roasted free range half chicken. My husband ordered the crispy maple duck breast. All of our entrees were delicious and even the sides were yummy. I especially liked the red cabbage. We ordered 3 desserts to taste, a mango cheesecake, chocolate hazelnut tart with dark cherry jubilee sauce and vanilla cake donut topped with Mackinac Fudge Ice cream. All were wonderful. It was a bit of a splurge, but the experience was memorable and worth it!

Cheers to another item checked off!

We were on the island from Thursday to Sunday morning, arriving by ferry and staying at The Harbour View Inn. It is possible to fly in, and we’ve done so if we are just staying the day. My husband pilots an older Mooney but the airstrip is even large enough to accommodate a small jet. We’ve stayed at various hotels over the years, but Harbour View Inn seems to be the one we come back to the most. It’s a short walk to the marina and depending on your room, you may get a little view of the harbor. We requested a suite which has 2 beds along with a siting area with a pull out bed, giving us plenty of space if we have an extra guest or two. Breakfast is included. I did manage to bike the island 4 times, in preparation for that ride to Lake Eerie. My husband Mike and daughter Sam actually ran the island, all 8.2 miles, while my daughter Jenna and I biked it as their support team. I was so proud of them both as this is not a typical run for either of them. This trip is always a memorable one and I am so grateful to be able to continue to make these memories with my family. If you ever have the opportunity to go to Mackinac Island, I highly recommend it. Hiking, kayaking, bicycling, shopping and dining, there’s something for everyone!

Mike and Sam on their run.
My family, (minus my sister and her husband). They only visited for one of the days this year.
Just a little bit of the Grand Hotel. Sadie’s is a family favorite for ice cream.
Another flower garden on the grounds of The Grand Hotel.

As for ongoing items, yes, I am still working out on my Nordic Track. I am at work out 22 with a goal of completing 50. I have maintained my 698 day streak on Duolingo. I always manage to get a lesson in, even on vacation. Our Florida home has broken ground and walls are up, so one step closer to decorating. (hurray!) I finished “Summer of 69” by Elin Hildebrand. It was a great light read. I always enjoy reading her books in the summer and this one did not disappoint. I think I particularly enjoyed the setting of 1969 as it was very reminiscent of my childhood. I am now reading “The Education of Dixie Dupree.” This is our book club meet-up book and I am looking forward to sharing insights. That puts me at book #40 out of my goal of 50 by December 31. I am 74% of the way there, 13 books ahead of schedule. I try to have a safety cushion in the summer when there is a little more time to read. Meditating via the Headspace App continues and weekly yoga is a thing, though just via Youtube this week.

Our bathroom is essentially complete, we are just waiting on some paint touch-ups, and some artwork that I’m having re-matted as well as the glass shower door that is currently being made. I will be excited to share the before/after when the project is complete!

And you guys…guess what? It’s happening and I am so excited! I’ve made my skydiving reservation for August 17th. I am doubly excited because my daughter Jenna wants to jump with me! If anyone else is game to give it a try, feel free to join us on the 17th. Absolutely looking forward to it! 

That’s it for this week. We head to Boston next weekend so I hope to have some cool things to share. If you’re curious and you want to check out my original bucket list, the link is below. Make it an awesome week! Geronimoooooo!