I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – one of the best aspects of workamping across the country is when family and friends visit. Such was the case this week when Bill’s daughter, Sarah, traveled from California to spend time with us in northern Michigan.
Fortunately, Bill and I were off for two days while Sarah was here and we really made the most of all of our time together, crossing off everything Sarah expressed interest in doing while with us.
Taking a closer look…
Monday night after picking her up at the Traverse City airport we stopped at Harrington’s By the Bay – cocktails and dinner overlooking Grand Traverse Bay. By the time we headed back to Empire it was time for the sunset, which we shared with others at the beach!
Bill and I had to work on Tuesday which actually gave Sarah time to relax, exercise and work a bit. That evening, we headed to Interlochen Center for the Arts. Interlochen is a magnificent academy, offering boarding school, summer camps, and arts programs for all ages set on beautiful Green Lake. Imagine sitting in a partially enclosed theater as boats sail by and and the sun sets. And who might we have gone to see, you ask? It was an evening with Reba McEntire with Ruthie Collins as her opener. It was a wonderful two-hour performance that traced her life and career through personal stories and her most memorable songs. I only hope I look that good at her age – oh wait, we’re the same age – darn it!
Wednesday morning began with a circuit training class for Sarah and myself, while Bill completed his 10-mile bike ride to meet us in Glen Arbor. We enjoyed a well-deserved breakfast at Good Harbor Grill, one of our favorite morning haunts! We decided to hike off our breakfast as we walked out to North Barr Lake and then completed a hike up Empire Bluffs Trail, which Sarah had actually done with us two years ago, but it’s a trail so beautiful you could hike it every day.
Northern Michigan is known for its vineyards, most of which are located on Leelanau Peninsula or Mission Peninsula. Since wine tasting was on Sarah’s list, we then traveled to Ciccone Winery on Leelanau, owned by Madonna’s father. He still shows up every day we were told but has stepped back from the actual wine making. We tasted and then enjoyed a glass and a cheese board outside on the porch as it was a beautiful day.
Back at the campground we regrouped and had a delicious dinner at Manitou Restaurant, our second time there this season. We were fortunate to have the owners’ daughter as our server, and we all enjoyed our meal.
After the gym and bike ride on Thursday morning, we decided to explore some additional wineries on Mission Peninsula. Starting with lunch at The Jolly Pumpkin, we visited and tasted at Chateau Chantal, Bower’s Harbor, and Mari Vineyards. Not only is the wine tasty but the views from these locations are amazing. Even Sarah, the California girl, said the vistas rival California wineries! Each vineyard is unique in its own right, with some offering ciders as well as wine, great gift shops, music on the patio, and even the resident dog!
On our way home we stopped to buy cherries which are at their height here in northern Michigan and were also on Sarah’s “must do” list! Back at the campground we grilled burgers and checked off another item on Sarah’s vacation list – a campfire! Bill, the Boy Scout, made a great fire which kept on blazing – that is until it started pouring rain!
None of us could believe Sarah’s time with us was coming to a close but Friday morning was back to work for me and Bill, while Sarah organized herself for her trip back to Los Angeles. There was one more thing on her list, which we accomplished on the way to the airport. We stopped for ice cream at Moomer’s – the most popular ice cream spot around located right next to the family farm where it all begins! A great ending to quite the fun-filled week – I’m exhausted just writing about it!
Sunset – Check! Cherries – Check! Hiking – Check! Vineyards – Check! Campfire – Check! Ice Cream – Check! Truly a great week!
Stay Calm and Travel On…