Go See Do Photography

A Lot of Travel, A Little Bit of History, and a Whole Bunch of Photos

Tag: Great Lakes (Page 1 of 4)

Wordless Wednesday: Watching the Sunset

Wordless Wednesday: Sunset Watchers

Camping at Ludington State Park

After our journey across Lake Michigan, we made our home for the final night of our trip at Ludington State Park. Ludington is easily one of the most popular parks in Michigan, with the campground filling up six months out. With a beautiful Lake Michigan beach, a lighthouse, several inland lakes, a river for paddling or tubing, and miles of hiking trails, it’s no question why this park is so beloved.

As I mentioned in my last post, it was late by the time we finally got our car off the ferry. We stopped for dinner and ice cream at House of Flavors and by the time we made it to the park, the sun was setting. There is something special about watching the sun go down on those dunes along Lake Michigan. The sky really put on a show for us that night.

It began to rain early the next morning causing us to get a late start. We were going to hike to the lighthouse, but by the time we finally got going, it was about time for us to check out. Oh well, just an excuse to get back to one of our favorite Michigan state parks!

As I mentioned above, this park is really hard to get into. We got lucky and were able to book this site about a month in advance. The Beechwood campground was scheduled to be closed in 2020 for a bathhouse renovation. Because of COVID, the DNR got a late start and decided to open the campground up for the season, allowing us to get a site only a month or so in advance. The downside of that, of course, is that the bathhouse at this campground was very outdated, but for only one night, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Beechwood is open for reservations for 2021 as well, so they must have decided to put that plan on hold for now.

One thing to note about camping at Ludington (and many Michigan state park campgrounds, honestly) is that all of the campgrounds are pretty much located in a big open field. The sites on the inside of the loop are pretty small and lack privacy. The sites on the outside of the loop back-up to woods and dunes giving them much more privacy. The inside loop is great if you are camping with a group and reserving multiple sites, if it’s just you, try to get an outside site. You will feel much less cramped.

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about our summer road trip, check out my Great Lakes – Great Summer Road Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! 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.

Wordless Wednesday: Manitowac Light

S.S. Badger

Ever since our first trip to Ludington, I have wanted to take the S.S. Badger car ferry across Lake Michigan to Wisconsin. But, at $131 per person round trip (not including a vehicle), it was always too expensive for us to justify for a short trip. Not to mention, without a vehicle, there is not much to do in Manitowac, Wisconsin on the other side of the lake. Well, this summer’s road trip allowed us to finally be able to justify the expense of this experience.

The S.S. Badger is a historic steamship car ferry offering service from Ludington, Michigan to Manitowac, Wisconsin. Built in 1952, the Badger is the last coal-fired passenger ship operating in the United States and is a National Historic Landmark. Originally built to move railroad cars across the lake, in the 1990’s the Badger transformed into a passenger ferry for cars, RVs, and commercial trucks. Running from May to October, the Badger takes about 450 trips across the lake each year. The trip takes about four hours and is a good way to relax and enjoy the beauty of the great lakes while immersing yourself in history.

In a year without cruising, this was a good way to get a little bit of that cruise experience, laying in a deck chair watching the water. They were even playing trivia and bingo inside. It was easy to forget that we were on Lake Michigan and not in the Caribbean.

Taking a trip on the S.S. Badger fit in perfectly with this trip and I am very glad that we did it, but I’m not itching to do it again. The four-hour crossing is long and waiting to get our car probably took an additional hour. It was late by the time we got into camp that night. Nowadays, there is a faster (albeit more expensive) option that runs from Milwaukee to Muskegon in only two and a half hours. If you’ve never taken the Badger, it is an experience I highly recommend. Just pack your patience and make sure you have nowhere to be that evening.

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, check out our Great Lakes – Great Summer Road Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! 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.

Wordless Wednesday: Lake Michigan Wake

Looking Back on Door County

During our time in Door County, we kept comparing it to our favorite Northern Michigan destinations like Traverse City and Leelanau. Both Leelanau and Door County are peninsulas jutting into Northern Lake Michigan. They both are dotted with parks and lighthouses. Both are popular summer destinations with a winery scene.

Door County has the wineries and the food but one thing it is missing is the accessibility of the water that surrounds it. A few of the towns on the Door Peninsula have a downtown on the water but it just didn’t feel the same as on Leelanau. We drove to Northport, on the tip of the peninsula, and all that was there was a line of cars waiting for the ferry to Washington Island. Northport at the tip of Leelanau is home to Leelanau State park with a lighthouse, campground, and hiking trails.

Maybe my love of Northern Michigan is clouding this judgment, but I just don’t think Door County lives up to what I was hoping it would be. It is a beautiful place and I would definitely like to go back when things are back to normal and take the ferry to Rock Island, but its not a place that I feel like I have to rush back to. If you are in Wisconsin or the Chicago area, it is a beautiful place to visit. Is it worth it for someone from southeast Michigan to make the trek around Lake Michigan to see it? I’d say save the milage and go to Leelanau instead.

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about our summer road trip, check out the Great Lakes – Great Summer Road Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! 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.

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Wordless Wednesday: Bailey’s Harbor Lighthouse

Eating and Drinking in Door County

Fish Creek from the Peninsula State Park

When planning our time in Door County, I found lighthouses, parks and outdoor recreation, restaurants, and lots of wineries. If you’ve read this blog before you should be familiar with our love of food and wine tourism. When we travel, we love to eat the local food and try the small local winery, even if they aren’t always great.

One thing that was interesting the learn is that most of the wineries in Door County use grapes from California or other parts of the country. Some of them are starting to grow their own grapes, but the production is not where they can make wine exclusively from estate-grown grapes.

Goat grazing on the roof at Al Johnson’s Swedish restaurant in Sister Bay.

We enjoyed most of the wines we tried in Door County and came home with more bottles when we expected to.  Door Peninsula Winery was one of our favorites. They are the biggest wine producer in all of Wisconsin producing inexpensive, quality wines. The Door County Distillery is also on-site, producing spirits you can’t find anywhere else. Von Stiehl Winery was another one of our favorites. The oldest operating winery in Wisconsin, Von Stiehl was the last winery we visited in Wisconsin and the quality of the wines really outshined all the others.

After scouring TripAdvisor for where to eat in Door County, I settled on Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant (left). It’s not often you encounter Swedish Food outside of the IKEA cafe so I was excited to give it a try. One thing that surprised me when we got to the restaurant was the goats grazing on the grass roof. That was unlike anything I had ever seen before for sure. When we got home, we discovered you can watch the goats from the comfort of your home from Al Johnson’s goat cam. The goats are not on the roof in winter, so be sure to bookmark that page and check it out in May when they come back for the season.

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, check out the Great Lakes – Great Summer Road Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! 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.

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Cana Island Lighthouse

When planning our trip to Door County, I kept hearing that we HAD to check out Cana Island Lighthouse. The Cana Island Lighthouse is the most iconic lighthouse in the area and is a popular tourist attraction even during Social Distancing in 2020.

The name Cana Island Lighthouse implies that it is not on the mainland. You can’t drive to it and you don’t take a boat to it. Instead, you leave your car at a parking lot in Bailey’s Harbor and ride a haywagon pulled by a tractor over the water to the island. Obviously, this practice was started before the Great Lakes water levels were as high as they are today. Our driver told us the deepest spot she droves us through was three feet deep this summer. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never ridden a wagon over water before so I thought this was super cool.

You can also walk/wade out to the lighthouse. If we had more time in Door County and proper footwear, we probably would’ve done that. As we were leaving, we watched a family wade across the water to the visitor’s center with the children splashing the way.

Being 2020, we were not able to go inside the lighthouse and maybe that is why the lighthouse was not as impressive as everything I had read in advance said it would be. Maybe I’ve been to too many Great Lakes lighthouses. But, that was my first time riding a tractor across Lake Michigan and that was super fun!

If I was in Door County again, I would definitely visit Cana Island again. I will have to go back when the lighthouse is open for climbing. I have heard that the view from the top is unbeatable. Maybe we will be brave and walk across the water. If the water levels keep rising, they are going to have to trade that tractor in for a boat.

Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, check out the Great Lakes Great Summer Road Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! 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.

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