Friday, July 17, 2015

Trailer Boating trip to Northern Michigan (Elk Rapids)

Looking out at Grand Traverse Bay, with the marina pavilion to right
Last week, Ben and I were both feeling great so we decided to jump on the opportunity to get away for a long weekend.  Looking at our options for good launch ramps and marina availability, we decided on a port we had not yet visited with Seapickle - Elk Rapids, Michigan.  Elk Rapids is located on the East arm of Grand Traverse Bay, just 30 miles south of Charlevoix and less than 20 miles (by car) to downtown Traverse City.  It's about a 5 hour drive from our home port in Portage, IN, so we planned on leaving early Wednesday morning so we could arrive by the afternoon.

Finally arriving!
Launch Ramps at Elk Rapids Marina
We made reservations a few days in advance at the Edward C. Grace Memorial Harbor, which seemed to be a beautiful, relaxing port in the small, but tourist-friendly town of Elk Rapids.  When we arrived, we were not disappointed!  We were checked in by Jim, who was as friendly as could be, and a crew member promptly joined us at the launch ramp to help us launch.  As we finished, she radioed two other crew members to be at the dock for us when we were ready to tie up.  This was definitely the best and most enthusiastic service we've ever had at a marina.  The launch ramp, docks, and facilities were all top notch, but it really was the staff that made this marina stand out.

View from the swim platform
After tying Seapickle up in Slip 89, another crew member had us follow her to the locked trailer storage parking a few blocks away.  We dropped off the trailer and brought back the truck, since we wanted to do a little exploring by car during our stay. (Although the marina also offered shuttle service) Unfortunately, by the time we were all settled, we had just missed the Great Lakes Cruising Club (GLCC) Lake Michigan Rally deck party at Port Captains Tom & Barb Lyons home on the bay.


Wednesday Night "Evening on River Street" Elk Rapids
Dana, Baby Bump, and River Walk Grille
River Walk Grille- overlooking Elk Lake

We decided to head to town for the Wednesday night "Evening on River Street," which featured live music, outdoor dining, and activities for the kids.  There were a lot of people in attendance and it turned out to be a beautiful evening!  Hungry for perch (and pregnant, so getting my way), we walked over to the Riverwalk Grille for dinner on the terrace overlooking Elk Lake.  The perch was just as good as I remembered from a previous visit years ago (before the old building burnt down), and we loved the atmosphere.  

A Ben and a Seapickle

Ice Cream Peddlers, downtown Elk Rapids, MI
After dinner we relaxed on the boat until sunset, then walked back to town for some late night ice cream from the Ice Cream Peddlers shop - homemade frozen yogurt for me, and something cherry and chocolately for Ben.  
Sunset at Edward C. Grace Memorial Harbor - Elk Rapids, MI
All in all a wonderful first day in Elk Rapids!!  We would highly recommend a stay at this lovely little port. Part 2 coming soon...