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 2)

Great Lakes – Great Summer Road Trip

Lake Michigan on Fire at Sunset

I am back from another epic road trip around the great lakes. Due to COVID-19, we had a difficult time planning our summer vacation. I believe this was our 5th or 6th different vacation plan. From canceled flights to mandatory quarantines, it is not easy to plan a trip in 2020. Because of this, we ended up staying close to home.

Here’s a look at our itinerary and the trip report to come:

Day 1: Straits State Park – exploring St. Ignace, Manistique, Kitch-iti-Kipi

Day 2: Fayette State Park – exploring the historic townsite

Day 3: Heading west – Laughing Whitefish Falls, Canyon Falls, Lake of the Clouds

Day 4: Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park – Adventure Mine, Presque Isle Waterfalls,

Day 5: Porcupine Mountains – paddling Lake Superior, Union Bay Campground

Day 6: Heading south – Agate Falls, Bond Falls

Day 7: Door County – Peninsula State Park, Cana Island Lighthouse, Wine Tasting

Day 8: Back to Michigan – Bailey’s Harbor Lighthouse, SS Badger, Ludington State Park, White River Light Station

As with our other big road trips, this was a very busy trip, but it was good to get out into nature after so long being stuck at home. We were not the only people to have this idea, though. Everyone near the Porcupine Mountains area told us that it was much busier than the typical summer. The campgrounds we stayed at were packed pretty much every night we were out. If you are heading into nature this summer, just be aware that you are not the only people doing this. Prepare to be around people and be sure to take the necessary precautions to keep you and your family safe.

Thanks for stopping by! 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: Sunset Over Mackinac

Wordless Wednesday: Round Island Light

Fort Holmes

A few months ago, if you would’ve asked me how many forts the were managed by the Mackinac State Historic Parks, I would’ve told you two: For Mackinac on the island and Fort Michilimackinac near Mackinaw City. On our recent trip to Mackinac Island, I learned of a third fort, Fort Holmes. Fort Mackinac is one of the most popular attractions on the island and at $13.50 per person to visit, it can get expensive for a family to visit. If you’re up for it, head to Fort Holmes (top), at the highest point on the island, instead. While there aren’t demonstrations or a tea room, Fort Holmes is free to visit.

The fort was constructed by the British during the War of 1812 to protect the vulnerable backside of Fort Mackinac. This blind spot allowed the British to take the fort from the Americans during the first battle of the War of 1812. When it was built in 1814, the British named it Fort George after King George III. After the Americans won the fort back at the end of the war, it was renamed to Fort Holmes in honor of of American Major Andrew Hunter Holmes who was killed in the 1814 battle of Mackinac Island.

Shortly after the war, the fort was abandoned and went into decay. Fort Holmes, along with Fort Mackinac was made the 2nd National Park after Yellowstone. In 1895 the land was transferred to the state and became Michigan’s first state park. In 1935, as part of the WPA, the fort was reconstructed but once again went into decay. In 2015, The Mackinac State Parks completed a historic recreation of the building and now it looks the same as it did 200 years ago. Hopefully this time it will be better preserved for future generations. Being the highest point on the island, this is also a great spot to take in a beautiful view of the Straits of Mackinac.

Thanks for stopping by! 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: Boat & Bridge

Hidden Gems of Mackinac

Mackinac Island is a popular summer destination and the ferries to and from the island each day are bustling with tourists. Its very popular for visitors to rent bikes (or bring your own) and pedal M-185, the car-free state road that circumnavigates the island. This summer, M-185 is under construction near Mission Point Resort and Arch Rock due to record high water levels in the great lakes. This year, visitors will not be able to take the 8.1 mile long journey around the island. Instead, I propose bicyclists head inland, away from the crowds (social distancing, right?) and to some lesser-known spots.

Crack-in-the-Island

Sugar Loaf (top) was something I did not even know existed before this trip. Towering at 75 feet tall, this limestone rock formation is the tallest on the island. Geologists believe it formed this way when the waters of Lake Algonquin began to recede, eroding the surrounding rock. Native American legend is much more verbose and dramatic. You can read about it at MackinacIsland.org. The rock is very easy to see from Point Lookout on Sugarloaf Road. The adventurous can even hike down to the rock, just remember, all the step you go down, you have to climb back up!

Cave in the Woods

Near the Mackinac Island Airport are two more hidden gems of the island, Crack-in-the-Island (left) and Cave in the Woods (right). They are pretty self-explanatory, one is a cave in the woods and the other is a big crack in the island. After biking up hill for a while, it feels good to get off the bike and hike on your own two feet and see these unique geological features. And of course, Crack-in-the-Island makes for a great photo-op like you’re stuck in the crack! Cave in the Woods is one of several caves on the island. It could be a fun journey to try to find them all!

Of course, since the interior of the island is quite hilly, getting to these sites requires more work than just biking the flat road along the water. But, getting away from the people and seeing sites that not everyone sees are definitely worth it! MackinacIsland.org has a great map to help you find these and many other worthy sites on your next trip to the island!

Did I miss your favorite hidden spot on Mackinac? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for stopping by! 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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Last Minute Island Getaway

As I’m sure you know by now, we had to cancel our spring break trip due to the pandemic. So, after three months of being stuck at home, when the Governor of Michigan announced the end of Stay at Home, I quickly booked a last-minute trip to Mackinac Island! We had talked about staying on the island in the spring before it gets busy, but because of coronavirus the hotels opened a few months later than planned. We ended up staying at the Chippewa just days after they opened for the season.

We have wanted to stay at the Chippewa for years now. Its right on the water and is home to the Pink Pony, our favorite restaurant on the island. If you take Star Line Ferry to the island, The Chippewa is just around the corner from the dock. Because of the last minute nature of our booking, the waterfront rooms were all booked up, but our main street view room was great, very clean, and much more modern than I expected from the pictures on the website.

Enjoying a drink at the Pink Pony

This was my first time staying on the island, unless you count my 8th grade class trip, and since we weren’t allowed out of our rooms after dinner, I don’t think we got the full island experience. The best thing about staying on the island is that you get the place to yourself after the day visitors leave on the last ferry of the day. And since the two biggest resorts on the island (The Grand Hotel and Mission Point) weren’t open for the season yet, it was even quieter in the evenings. You can see the deserted Main Street in the top photo.

If you have never experienced evening on Mackinac Island, I highly recommend spending the money to stay on the island. Even if its just for one night, having the island to yourself after the day guests leave is totally worth it. And I highly recommend the Chippewa as well. It is one of the less expensive options and you can have breakfast on the water at the Pink Pony. It doesn’t get better than that!

Thanks for stopping by! 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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Flashback Friday: Silver Lake Sand Dunes

Silver Lake State Park

Flashback Friday: McLain Sunset

Superior Sunset

Michigan Bucket List

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Download a Printable PDF Version here: MichiganBucketList

Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen these location-based “ultimate bucket list” graphics floating around Pinterest. I’ve even pinned a few of them for future trips. I searched and searched for a Michigan one (I was curious how many “bucket list” worthy things I’ve done in my home state) but when I came up empty, I decided to make one myself! Some of these are attractions and others are cities, but they span both peninsulas and are definitely the highlights of the Great Lakes State!

Ultimate Michigan Bucket List:

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Empire Bluff Trail at Sleeping Bear Dunes

  1. Sleeping Bear Dunes
    Located in Northwest Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore covers 35 miles of Lake Michigan coastline. In 2011, the area was named “The Most Beautiful Place in America” by Good Morning America. The Dune Climb is one of the most popular hikes in the park, but the Empire Bluff Trail (above) has amazing views of the crystal blue water!
  2. Grand Rapids
    The Second Largest City in Michigan, Grand Rapids is known for its food and its art. In 2011, Grand Rapids tied with Asheville, North Carolina for the title of “Beer City USA”. Grand Rapids was also the childhood home of US President Gerald Ford and is home to the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum.

    Tawas Point Lighthouse

  3. Tawas Point Lighthouse
    An iconic Michigan landmark, the Tawas Point Lighthouse is located on Lake Huron in Tawas State Park. The lighthouse was built in 1853 to prevent shipwrecks on the point.
  4. Pictured Rocks
    Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is located on the southern shores of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. 1966, congress named Pictured Rocks the first National Lakeshore.
  5. The Henry Ford
    Located in Dearborn, The Henry Ford is an indoor and outdoor history museum started by Henry Ford himself. In 1929, President Herbert Hoover dedicated the museum to Ford’s longtime friend, Thomas Edison, on the 50th anniversary of Edison’s successful incandescent lightbulb. On display in the museum are The 1896 Ford Quadricycle, the limousine where Kennedy was assassinated, George Washington’s camp bed, the bus where Rosa Parks was arrested, and the chair from Ford’s Theater where Lincoln was assassinated, among many others. The Village is home to Henry Ford’s Birthplace, The Logan County Courthouse where Lincoln practiced law, Noah Webster’s Connecticut Home, along with many other historical buildings.

    Lower Tahquamenon Falls

  6. Tahquamenon Falls
    Located in the Upper Peninsula, Tahquamenon Falls State Park is home to two waterfalls on the Tahquamenon River. The Upper Falls is more than 200 feet across with a drop of 48 feet. Located four miles downstream, the lower falls are actually a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island. The Tahquamenon is also known as being the land of Longfellow’s The Song of Hiawatha, which contains the line: “by the rushing Tahquamenaw”, where Hiawatha built his canoe.
  7. Frankenmuth
    The name Frankenmuth translates to “Courage of the Franconians”. Frankenmuth wears its German Heritage on its sleeve with Bavarian architecture, German Food, and the first Oktoberfest to be recognized outside of Germany. Frankenmuth is also home to Bronner’s, the World’s Largest Christmas Store, as well as dueling chicken restaurants.

    Big Sable Point Lighthouse at Ludington State Park

  8. Ludington
    Ludington is located on Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Pere Marquette River. Ludington is home to the SS Badger, a car ferry that will take you across the lake to Wisconsin. Nearby Ludington State Park is one of the most popular parks in Michigan and is home to the iconic Big Sable Point Lighthouse. In 1675, French explorer, Pere Marquette died and was laid to rest in Ludington.
  9. Drive M-22
    Running from Manistee to Traverse City up breathtaking Leelanau Peninsula, M-22 is so popular, people steal the road signs to hang up in their homes. The Michigan Department of Transportation has redesigned the signs in hopes of reducing the number of thefts. In 2015, readers of USA Today named M-22 the best scenic autumn drive in the nation.
  10. Mackinac Bridge
    Connecting St. Ignace to Mackinac City, the Mackinac Bridge is the longest suspension bridge between anchorages in the Western Hemisphere at 26,372 feet long. The bridge officially opened to traffic in 1957 after three and a half years of construction. Once a year on Labor Day, the bridge is open to pedestrians for the annual bridge walk.

    Scott Fountain on Belle Isle

  11. Belle Isle
    Belle Isle, the 982-acre park on the Detroit River, was designed by urban park designer Frederick Law Olmstead and is the largest city-owned park in the United States. The island is home to the Belle Isle Conservatory, Belle Isle Nature Center, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, The James Scott Memorial Fountain, and Belle Isle Aquarium. Before it closed in 2005,  the aquarium was the oldest operating aquarium in the United States. It was reopened in 2012 as part of the Belle Isle Conservancy.
  12. Traverse City
    Traverse City is located in Northwest Michigan on Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay. Being the country’s largest producer of tart cherries, each summer the National Cherry Festival is held in Traverse City. Known for vineyards, freshwater beaches, downhill skiing, and breweries, there is much to do and see in TC.
  13. Detroit Institute of Arts
    The Detroit Institute of Arts has one of the largest and most notable collections of art in the United States. The collection includes works of art by Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, Cezanne, and many more. One of the highlights of the museum is the huge fresco-style murals by Diego Rivera known collectively as Detroit Industry, or Man and Machine. Built in 1927, the Italian Rennaisance inspired building the museum is housed in is beautiful as well.
  14. Whitefish Point
    Whitefish Point is a cape in the Upper Peninsula that marks the entrance to Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior. For visitors, Whitefish Point is great for rock hunting, birding, and ship watching. It is also home to the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum and Whitefish Point Lighthouse.

    Kitch-iti-Kipi

  15. Kitch-iti-Kipi
    Located near Manistique in the Upper Penisula, Kitch-iti-Kipi is Michigan’s largest natural spring. Early Native Americans referred to it as the “Mirror of Heaven”. The limestone bottom of the spring gives it its unique emerald green color. The water in the spring is has a constant temperature of 45 degrees so even in the middle of winter, it does not freeze.
  16. Houghton
    Located on the Keewenaw Peninsula in the Northern Upper Peninsula, Houghton is home to a lot of wilderness and is a great place for outdoor exploration from hiking and biking to snowshoeing and snowmobiling.  The Keewenaw is home to the Copper Mining boom and you can experience that history today at Quincy Mine near Houghton. Houghton is also where you can catch a ferry to Isle Royale National Park.
  17. Porcupine Mountains
    Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is located in the Northwestern Upper Peninsula and is made up of a group of small mountains. As a wilderness state park, Porcupine Mountains has a large system of backcountry trails for hiking and backpacking with the North Country Trail running through the park. Seeing Lake of the Clouds should be on everyone’s Michigan bucket list.
  18. Mackinac Island
    Located in the Straits of Mackinac, Mackinac Island is a popular summer tourist destination. The island is closed to most motor vehicles so most people travel by foot, bicycle, or horse-drawn carriage and stepping off the ferry is like taking a step back in time. One of the biggest attractions on the island is the Grand Hotel, a Victorian-style hotel with the world’s longest porch. The island is also home to a British fort that was built during the American Revolution and saw action during the War of 1812.

    Tulip Garden in Holland

  19. Holland
    Where Frankenmuth was settled by Germans, Holland was settled by the Dutch. Located in the western part of the state on Lake Michigan, Holland is home to Tulip Time, the largest Tulip Festival in the United States. Located in Windmill Island Park, De Zwaan was supposedly the last windmill that was allowed to be removed from The Netherlands. Dutch culture is pervasive in Holland; wooden shoes are available in all of the gift shops.
  20. Eastern Market
    Eastern Market is a historic commercial district located in the city of Detroit. Covering 43 acres, it is the largest historic market district in the country. The market changes on different days of the week. Saturday Market is a big event with over 225 vendors selling everything from produce to tacos. The Sunday market features a taste of Detroit with the work of local artists, jewelers, cooks, musicians, and more. A more traditional farmer’s market can be found on Tuesdays and every third Thursday in the summer Easter Market offers a unique night market with food, drinks, music, and shopping.
  21. Turnip Rock
    Located in Lake Huron near Port Austin at the tip of the thumb is Turnip Rock, a unique geological formation. The water of Lake Huron has severely weathered this small rock so that the top is much larger than the base with trees growing out the top. The rock is located on private property so the only way to see it is by water. The trip to the rock is a 7 mile round trip paddle along the Point aux Barques trail with several local companies that will rent you a boat for the trip.

    Chapel in the Woods at Hartwick Pines

  22. Hartwick Pines
    Hartwick Pines State Park is one of the largest parks in the lower peninsula. Located near Grayling, the park contains 49 acres of old-growth pine forest, one of the few remaining in the state. The Hartwick Pines Logging museum pays tribute to the 19th-century logging industry when Michigan led the nation in lumber production.
  23. Motown Museum
    Motown Records was founded in Detroit in 1959 by Berry Gordy. Hitsville USA, once the home of Motown Records is now the home of the Motown Museum, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeastern Michigan. Visitors to the museum will walk through Studio A where many Motown Stars recorded their hits including The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson 5, and many more. Michael Jackson’s white glove is on display as well as countless other Motown artifacts.
  24. Headlands Dark Sky Park
    Located near Mackinaw City, Headlands Dark Sky Park is a 550 acre park including 2 miles of undeveloped Lake Michigan shoreline. It was only the 6th park in the US to receive the Dark Sky Park designation and is one of the best places in Michigan to view the night sky.
  25. Soo Locks
    The Soo Locks provide ships with a way to bypass a waterfall on the St. Mary’s River and gets ships adjusted to differing water levels on Lake Huron and Lake Superior. The Locks are located in Sault Ste. Marie, in the northeastern upper peninsula. There are four American Locks and one set of Canadian Locks. Visitors can watch ships go through the locks from the observation deck, or can take a Soo Locks Boat Tour and experience the locks first hand.

    Meijer Gardens

  26. Meijer Gardens
    Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park is a 158 acre botanical garden located near Grand Rapids. The Gardens are home to more than 170 sculptures from sculptors such as Alexander Calder, Auguste Rodin, Dale Chihuly, and many more. At five acres, the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden is one of the largest children’s gardens in the country. In 2009 the Gardens were named one of the 30 “must-see museums” in the world in the book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.
  27. Silver Lake Sand Dunes
    Located on Lake Michigan, bordering Silver Lake in Mears is Silver Lake State Park. The park is best known for its 2,000 acres of beautiful sand dunes. The Silver Lake Sand Dunes are known for ORVs and dune buggy rides, but there is a section of the park that is closed to vehicles for people to climb. Also within the park is the beautiful, brick, Little Sable Lighthouse.
  28. Isle Royale National Park
    The crown jewel of Michigan and the least explored is Isle Royale National Park. Established in 1940, the 894 square mile park is located in northern Lake Superior and can only be accessed by boat or seaplane. Camping, hiking, and fishing are popular on the island. Isle Royale is the only known place on earth where moose and wolves cohabitate without bears.

So far, I’m at 22/28. What’s your number? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments! Feel free to share this on Social Media to show off to your friends!

Download a Printable PDF Version here: MichiganBucketList

Thanks for stopping by! 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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