Category: Project: State Parks (Page 1 of 7)
For the second year in a row we made our first trip to Ludington for the season on Mother’s Day. It is nice to spend time in our favorite park before the summertime crowds descend. We hiked the lighthouse trail and for the first half or so we didn’t see any other people. Walking through the Pines campground before it has opened for the season is much easier than having to dodge kids on bikes and people playing corn hole in the road. The weather was sunny and warm and was perfect for the 1.8 mile hike each way.
A trip to Ludington would not be complete without a visit to House of Flavors for a scoop of ice cream. If you are ever in town, you have to check this place out. I highly recommend their Michigan Pothole that comes with chunks of chocolate asphalt. Yum.
For more information about House of Flavors and they’re delicious ice cream, check out HouseofFlavorRestaurants.com. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
With all my talk of getting out there no matter the weather, this spring has really left me deflated. I took more photos in the coldest, bleakest part of the winter, than I did in March and April. This spring has been tough with its little tastes of sunshine and warmth followed by cold, snow, and ice. After mother nature’s latest episode of freezing rain and snow, I think its safe to say winter is finally behind us.
This past weekend, the sun was shining, the sky was blue, and I needed to get a healing dose of Lake Michigan air. We headed to Silver Lake State park and Little Sable Point Lighthouse. Before we left, I checked the weather and it said the wind was 0 mph. I did not believe it and I made to sure to grab a coat just in case. When we got there, the water was as still as I had ever seen it and the wind off the lake was barely a breath. There were still scattered patches of snow so I wasn’t brave enough to take my shoes off, but I saw a few people walking barefoot in the sand.
One of the most fascinating things about visiting the Great Lakes this time of year is the scattered debris and sand ledges show how high the water and ice got the past winter before all the summer sunbathers scatter it. On this visit we found this large piece of driftwood that made for an interesting photo subject but also a little bench to sit on and take in the glory of my favorite Great Lake. This time of year it is great to enjoy the beauty of Michigan without the crowds.
This impromptu journey did teach me a few little tips. Before you grab the camera bag, make sure to check your camera battery and it would not hurt to bring the battery charger with you. We got out there, I turned on the camera and discovered my battery was about to die. I was able to take two shots before it died completely and that was definitely a little lesson in and of itself, but it was in no way ideal. I am glad that one of the two was worth sharing.
Thank you for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
Winter on the shores of Lake Michigan can be harsh, cold, and windy. Lake effect snow is a big deal on the west side of the state with snowstorms seeming to blow in our of nowhere. As much as I love Lake Michigan, I tend to avoid it in winter. I’m not a winter fan to start with but the cold Lake Michigan breezes tend to be too much for me. Yet, this winter I was able to experience Lake Michigan twice in its harshest season (the other being to St. Joseph in January). Each time I was surprised with how many people flock to the beach in the winter. No, they are not sunbathing and swimming like they do in the summer. They were trekking out to lighthouses, sledding down sand dunes, and playing in the snow and ice.
As harsh and cold as it can be, Lake Michigan’s beauty is not seasonal. Ice on the shore and snow on the dunes really added something to the landscape that you don’t get in the summer. While there were more people out than I expected there to be, it was definitely not a summertime crowd, so it is much easier to capture a landscape without people in it (not that that’s a bad thing…I really should do a post on that one of these days). Although, winter skies in Michigan frequently leave something to be desired, I was very glad that I made it out to Muskegon State Park on a cold and blustery February day. Now, its March and I’m ready for it to warm up and be camping season, OK?
Thanks for stopping by! Are you brave enough to explore Lake Michigan in the winter? Let me know in the comments! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
Its that time of year where I get sick of the cold and the white landscape and start dreaming about the warm weather to come. With the warm weather this week, it does seem like spring may have come a little early this year. Only time will tell if the warm weather will stay or if we will be blanketed in snow again here shortly.
Either way, I am ready for the cold to be behind us and it to be summertime. I am looking forward to watching the sun set over Lake Michigan and sleeping in a tent. I am beginning to think about our camping trips this summer. As much as I love Ludington State Park, I am thinking about checking out new campgrounds this summer like Fisherman’s Island and Petoskey. Maybe we will go back to Straits State Park and camp at the base of the Mackinac Bridge. Oh, I can’t wait for another glorious Michigan summer.
What are you looking forward to when the weather warms up? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
In honor of National Plan for Vacation Day, I thought I would share some of my best tips for planning vacations.
Flight Deals: Everyone is always searching for the best deal on flights. Assuming you’re not loyal to a specific airline, I recommend you check out the Hopper app. You tell it where you want to go and when and it will watch for flight deals. Every week it gives you an update on prices and if there’s ever a great deal, it will notify you. If you don’t have a set date or destination, I recommend Skyscanner and Airfare Watchdog as well.
Look Outside the Hotel Box: Hotel rooms are small and expensive. Get more space for less money by renting a room or a whole house. HomeAway, and airbnb are great places to look for a hotel alternative for your next trip. HomeAway has been around longer than airbnb and is more sophisticated, HomeAway is great option if you are looking for accommodations for a larger group (castles and whole islands are available to rent on Homeaway). On airbnb you are able to rent a whole home, but you also have the option of sharing a room or even renting a couch for even cheaper travel.
Hotel Deals: That being said, sometimes you want to amenities and comfort of a hotel. There are so many different sites for booking hotels that it can be really overwhelming. I typically look at two site: Priceline and TripAdvisor. Priceline is great because it has the name your own price option and express deals if you’re OK with not knowing exactly what hotel you’re booking. I have used Priceline quite a few times and I have never had a bad experience. Its a great way to get a high end room for a discount. Since you can’t book through TripAdvisor, I find that their reviews are the most honest and accurate.
Plan a Road Trip: I absolutely love using Furkot for planning road trips. It helps space out stops and helps you find a place to stay along the way. It can even help find stops along the way to help break up the drive.
Take a Cruise: Want a vacation where you visit a tropical island, go to sleep and wake up in a new place while dining in Five Star restaurants and seeing world class shows? Take a cruise. Don’t know where to start? Check out Cruise Critic. Also, listen to cruise reviews on Cruise Radio.
Things to Do: You have arrived at your destination. What do you do now? Check TripAdvisor. As mentioned above, users of TripAdvisor rate experiences and allow them to rank restaurants and attractions in a designated area. I have found some hidden gems while traveling (in my home town) because of TripAdvisor. If you travel without TripAdvisor, you are really missing out.
Do you have any travel tips for me? I would love to hear them in the comments or on Facebook or Twitter! Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
The fort on the south side of the Straits of Mackinac was constructed by French soldiers in 1716 as a post for the great lakes fur trade. After visiting other early American settlements this summer (Roanoke Island and Jamestowne), Michilimackinac has a different feel. Maybe its that it is a newer settlement (Roanoke was first settled in 1585 and Jamestowne was 1607) but I think the biggest difference was Michilimackinac was originally settled by the French where the other two were British. The French at Michilimackinac had a better relationship with the Natives than the British on the East Coast. The Odawa tribe traded with the settlers and the native-settler narrative was much more positive than what was heard from the British.
In 1761, the fort was transferred to the British and the narrative changed. The local Ojibwe viewed the British policies as harsh. In 1763, as a part of Pontiac’s Rebellion, they formed a game outside the walls of the fort as a ruse to gain entrance. Once inside the fort, they killed most of the British inhabitants and they held the fort for a year before the British regained control and promised to change their relationship with the native people.
Eventually, the British worried that the fort on the mainland was not secure enough. So, in 1781, they built a limestone fort on nearby Mackinac Island. They dismantled and moved the buildings across the straits and whatever was not moved, they burned. In 1960, the grounds of the original fort was named a National Historic Landmark. Today, you can visit a recreation of the fort in Colonial Michilimackinac State Park. You can tour the buildings, learn about the history, and watched costumed reenactments.
To learn more about Fort Michilimackinac, visit MackinacParks.com. Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.