Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Day 6: "Lake Charlevoix: Clean & Quiet"

The sign at the beach reads, "Lake Charlevoix: Clean & Quiet" (we agree)
Wednesday, July 31: As our time in Michigan winds down, we took advantage of a lazy day in Charlevoix to just relax. I always feel like the best days on vacation are those you accomplish nothing. :-) In the morning, Ben and I went for a 3 mile walk along the lake to the beach, and then took the main road back, stopping in a few stores along the way. Dennis & Christa were having an equally lazy day, but I still was able to convince everyone to take a ride out on Lake Charlevoix to grill lunch.

Lake Charlevoix
Ben playing navigator (my job)
Awesome boat lunch. Chili-cheese sausages, fresh zucchini, Michigan cherries!
We explored the lake a bit, then found a nice protected area to make an awesome lunch. Thanks for the zucchini dad! It was still very windy, and the lake a little to cold to swim in comfortably for us (about 66 degrees), so we spent a couple hours hanging out, then headed back to the dock to do nothing some more! :-) Well, I think what actually happened was Ben took another nap, while I went off exploring on my own (usual afternoon).

Charlevoix Library
Charlevoix "Mushroom" house
"Boulder Manor"
Postcard-perfect Charlevoix beach
My late afternoon exploration took me a few miles around Charlevoix. My favorite sights are above - the garden in front of the library (nerd alert), the Earl Young"mushroom houses," and then another mile or so away, another Earl Young design named "Boulder Manor." The sun came out for just a bit on my walk, so of course I had to spend some time at the beach before walking back to the marina.

Waiting for dinner at The Villager Pub
When I returned to the marina, it was pre-dinner cocktail hour. Dinner for the evening was across the street at the Villager Pub, where we ordered perch (me) and cod (ben). Delicious! Luckily for us, we were right across from the marina, so when a huge storm blew in, Ben was able to run back and make sure all the windows were closed on the boat. We ended up getting back to the boat right before the storm hit with very heavy rain, wind & lightning. Although I always prefer a bright sunny day, we love watching storms from the comfort of the boat!

View of the storm moving in, from the restaurant
Tomorrow will be our last day in Charlevoix, and our last day in Michigan for this trip. After some thinking, we decided to head up to Canada a day early to be able to spend the first night in the Spanish Marina. We will be sad to say goodbye to our friends on Wet Ink, but Seapickle still has another week of adventure ahead of her!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Day 5: Traverse City to "Charlevoix the Beautiful"

Cousin Jenny's Pasties, Traverse City
Our first pasties! French potato and steak & potato.
We had a relaxing morning in Traverse City while we waited for some thunderstorms to pass through Grand Traverse Bay. I took advantage of the wait to walk to Cousin Jenny's Cornish Pasties to try pasties (pass-tee) for the first time! (I've been wanting to try them since our last boat trip up here in 2010). It was a really cute, quaint little restaurant and I got 2 pasties, and extra gravy, to go.

Wet Ink on Grand Traverse Bay
Dana takes the wheel on Grand Traverse Bay
Welcome to Charlevoix!
Before leaving Traverse City, we added 15 gallons of fuel to the boat (at $4.79/gal) and enjoyed a great ride to Charlevoix. The 45 mile trip to Charlevoix took about 2 hours and besides the clouds, we had a wonderful trip! Hal, the friendliest harbormaster you'll ever meet, greeted us at the dock to help us tie up. And true to Charlevoix fashion, the sun came out as soon as we docked!

Hanging out on Seapickle in Charlevloix
Charlevoix Marina
After settling in, we walked a few blocks to Kilwin's to fill Ben's tummy full of ice cream (again). Then back at the dock, Ben & Dennis made friends with Tom and Susan from Holland, MI aboard Just Ducky. They invited us to join them for dinner at The Landings on Lake Charlevoix in a few hours.
Christa & Dana sunning on Wet Ink
Dana braving the water, after accidentally falling off the boat
Of course we accepted, and set off to spend a couple hours boating & swimming on Lake Charlevoix before dinner. The water was a cold 66 degrees, but we still enjoyed getting some sun and swimming (for me at least).

Boating up to the Landings
Dinner at the Landings
 It's always fun to be able to boat to dinner and dock right alongside the restaurant. The Landing's, along with having a great atmosphere, also has really good food! We enjoyed getting to know Tom & Susan, who recently retired and are "homeless" and living on their boat. We sure are jealous :-)

Charlevoix Community Band preforming right next to the marina
Cocktails aboard Just Ducky
 When we arrived back at the marina, the Charlevoix Community Band was performing next to the dock in the bandshell. Just can't beat live music and time with new friends in such a beautiful place!

Sunset at the lighthouse
Trip Details:
Left Traverse City at 12:15pm, arrived Charlevoix at 2:10pm.
Approx. 45 miles, and 23 gallons of fuel burned.
Weather: cloudy & rainy in the morning, followed by sunshine in Charlevoix
Light winds, south/southwest

Monday, July 29, 2013

Day 4: Traverse City, Beachin' and Cherry Pie

Good Morning Traverse City!

Monday: July 29th: We enjoyed a leisurely boat morning, with zucchini bread (thanks mom!) and cherry coffee for breakfast, followed by a scenic 4 mile run/walk on the TART trail along the lakefront and through downtown Traverse City. Early in the afternoon we decided to take a stroll downtown, and check out some shops and bookstores.

Creepin' on Ben in the bookstore
Studying up on bears in preparation for the North Channel
Dana serving up 2 slices of cherry pie
Cherry crumb pie ala mode from Grand Traverse Pie Company
 We really enjoyed the downtown area of Traverse City, with it's eclectic restaurants and shops. We stopped in most of the touristy places and picked up some tshirts and more cherry-related items. And of course, no trip to Traverse City would be complete without a slice (or two) of cherry pie from Grand Traverse Pie Company! We decided the cherry crumb ala mode was the best. 

View from Dana's beach towel
Traverse City beach
After we were tired of doing the tourist thing, we spent a few hours soaking up the sun at the beach right next to the marina. For such a beautiful day, we had the beach pretty much to ourselves. We walked the shore searching for seaglass and just enjoying the fact that it was Monday and we were not at work. :-)

Walking to dinner at North Peak Brewery
North Peak Brewery, just outside downtown Traverse City
North Peak Brewery - our favorite dinner of the trip
Dennis & Christa, and the first time we tried mussels (pretty good!)
After our relaxing afternoon at the beach, we finally mustered up the energy to walk a few blocks to dinner (rough life)! We were really excited to go back to North Peak Brewery, where we had a great dinner on our last visit to Traverse City. There was a bit of a wait, so we had a few beers at the bar. Ben tried (and loved) the Diabolical IPA, and I opted for a riesling for some unknown reason (who gets wine at a brewery?) For dinner Ben and I split the Blue Cheese dip appetizer (good), Cheddar Ale soup (awesome), and the Honey Porter Hanger Steak with Gouda Mashed Potatoes (AMAZING - I'm getting hungry as I type this).
Screen set up outside the marina for the Traverse City Film Festival
Walking back to the marina at sunset
 After dinner we walked back just in time for sunset, and watched a bit of a movie on the huge, inflatable screen set up for the Traverse City Film Festival. A nightcap on Wet Ink (Rumchata) rounded out the night, and we were soon ready for bed (after showing off our cool blue lights). Tomorrow we head to Charlevoix!

Side by side Four Winns showing off with blue lights

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Day 3: Petoskey to Traverse City, stopping at Power Island

Wet Ink under a stormy sky
Sunday, July 28th: Today we were scheduled to leave Petoskey and travel about 60 miles to Traverse City. The weather in the morning did not seem to be in our favor, but even worse weather was predicted to be on it's way, so we decided to start the journey anyway! We left the harbor in Petoskey and entered Little Traverse Bay to about 3-4 foot waves and a strong, gusty west wind. Not a warm welcome for our first leg of the journey!

Power Island ahead
As we neared Grand Traverse Bay though, the storm system seemed to dissipate over the lake and we took a chance on a detour to check out Power Island (about 12 miles from Traverse City). We were glad we did! The clouds parted to let through a bright blue sky, and the water was crystal clear and sparkling. Finally the beautiful Northern Michigan water we've been waiting for!

Wet Ink & Seapickle anchored on Power Island
Walking the rocky shore, Power Island
We still weren't fully trusting the weather or waves on Grand Traverse Bay, so after a few hours of playing on Power Island, we packed up at traveled the last 12 miles to Traverse City. It was a rude awakening as soon as we left the protected harbor of the island. The waves and wind had built even more, and even blew our front canvas right off! (I caught it)

At dock, Traverse City
Christa feeding the baby ducks
 We had a bit of a scare again while docking, and a strong west wind gust caught the boat just at the wrong moment. Ben had to throttle forward pretty hard to prevent our stern from hitting another boat. Not fun, but we recovered and got in the slip with the help of a friendly dockhand. :-)  Once we were both settled in, in side by side slips this time, we celebrated the fact that we made it yet again! The baby ducks also got to celebrate with us while eating goldfish crackers from Christa.

Walking to dinner at Mackinaw Brewing Company
Ben & Dana at Mackinaw Brewing Company
As usual, our first order of business when docking at a new spot is figuring out what's for dinner! There are many great options in Traverse City, but we opted for Mackinaw Brewing Company, just a short walk from the marina. Ben and I both loved the Peninsula Pale Ale and the fish & chips. We really enjoyed the atmosphere, and are definitely planning to return. Our experience so far in Traverse City is 10 times better than the last time we were here. They seemed to do a lot of improvements to the park outside the marina, and the tunnel to downtown was much brighter and more welcoming. We can't wait to explore some more in the next couple days.

Goodnight Traverse City
Trip Details:
Petoskey, MI to Traverse City, MI (with Power Island Stop)- 66 miles
Left Petoskey 9:30am, arrived Power Island 12:15pm
Left Power Island 2:00pm, arrived Traverse City Marina 2:30pm
 Weather: strong, gusty west wind, waves 2-4 ft. Storms on radar, but never did storm on us. Beautiful & sunny by the time we reached Power Island.
Fuel Burned: 38 gallons

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Day 2: Exploring Petoskey and the Search for Petoskey Stones

Ben and Dana on Seapickle II in Petoskey, MI
Saturday: July 27th: Our first full day in Petoskey started out a little cloudy & rainy, so I went for a long run/walk along the lakefront path, and Ben took advantage of my absence and spent the morning relaxing on the boat. In the early afternoon we finally got moving to check out the Downtown Petoskey sidewalk sales and the cute shops downtown. My favorite was Symons General Store - really cute little store with an interesting variety of ethnic foods, wine and lots of CHEESE! (yumm)

The path from Petoskey marina to downtown Petoskey
Sidewalk Sales - Downtown Petoskey
Symons General Store, Petoskey
After torturing the guys with a couple hours browsing the sales & shops, we headed to the grocery store down the road for food & supplies for the rest of the trip. Even grocery shopping is more exciting on vacation! And of course, no trip to the grocery store would be complete without a stop at Kilwins on the way back!

Dana with some delicious Kilwin's truffles, and Ben and his ice cream
When we got back to the marina, Christa and I decided to follow the bike trail to Magnus Park to hunt for Petoskey Stones, while the guys napped. It was a beautiful, yet rainy day. We really enjoyed spending an hour or so searching for stones on the rocky shore. The weather kept most people away while we were there, and it was really relaxing concentrating on the stone search. We didn't find the traditional type of stone that is usually seen for sale in Petoskey stores, but we found quite a few fossils and fossilized patterns on rocks. We continued the hunt everywhere we went that week!

Dark skies over Magnus Park, Petoskey
Christa Hunting for Petoskey Stones
A stone that Christa found - not the typical Petoskey stone, but has the fossilized coral pattern.
We were still easing into vacation mode, and we just didn't feel like even going out anywhere for dinner, so pizza delivered to the boat was perfect! Pizza, drinks, and a beautiful sunset rounded out our day 2 in Petoskey. While we didn't get a chance to play on Little Traverse Bay, we had a wonderful time relaxing and just taking in the atmosphere of this cool Northern Michigan town.

Sunset in Petoskey, MI