Took a day trip to Mackinaw City, and around the upper west part of Michigan, including the Tunnel of Trees. It was a beautiful day, but the haze from the Canadian Fires reduced the view across the water. Because of construction on the island, we decided not to visit this island this year, so we rode around Mackinaw City, walked the shops and had dinner. Pica was thoroughly loving her ride. :-)
This post is merely about our stay at this resort which is now owned by Outdoor Adventures; our campground membership.
I must say, we found this place to be outstanding. A stark difference from Lakeshore Resort, as this place is quiet, family-type atmosphere that is nestled among a previous ski resort. The resort was recently purchased by ODA and was left in disrepair by the previous owners, so the average person may not find it so appealing yet. However, we enjoyed it so much that we want a full 3 weeks here next year.
During our stay, we saw at least 12 staff members zooming around upgrading, mowing, painting & fixing. They still have a lot of work to do, but they have happy attitudes, and they're doing a GREAT job! Here is the list of their amenities (according to their website):
- 300' outdoor water slide - needs fixing, hasn't run since the previous owner
- Paddle Boats - there are none, but there are kayaks
- Horseshoes - they were all stolen & haven't been replaced
- Basketball - court is in same square footage as the tennis court
- Volleyball - Sand volleyball and at foot of putt putt
- Snowmobile rentals - we saw 2 run-down snowmobiles. Not sure if they run
- Putt Putt - we LOVED this course. Challenging, fun, and even good exercise!
- Tennis Court - next to basketball in same fence, but no net.
- Game room - locked off
- Fitness Center - locked off
- Playground - Large and very nice. Good view of lake as well
- Adult Lounge - beautiful and serene.
- Indoor Heated Pool - absolutely beautiful and large!
- Hot Tub - Large and great to have it in a separate corner. Loved the pool area!
- Dry Sauna - Closed until further notice
- Clubhouse - locked off
Campground: 60 sites all beautiful designed to give each camper a sense of privacy and good views. Sites on the south end (31-63) are mostly for larger rigs, but they have full hookups with 50a. They also have cement pads. Sites on the north end (1-30) are water and 30a with no sewer and no lake front sites. They are still nice and settled more in the woods. All sites are supplied with a picnic table and fire ring. These sites have gravel pads. There is a small laundry facility and shower house on the north side.
Cabins: The cabins are not rented out by ODA, they are rented by a 3rd party company that rents them through AirBnB. This means anybody can rent them, not just members. I think this is good, but it also means they charge a lot more. According to the website, a smaller cabin is $110/night, but the large house cabins are $375/night. There are a lot of cabins, and they are built aside the beautiful golf course.
Atmosphere: This is definitely worth noting. There was a sense of family here that we've never felt anywhere else. I can't put my finger on it, but everyone felt like they could talk to everyone else without tension. It's as if we all watched each others' backs. So many friendly folk, especially with the staff.
All in all, we were very pleased to see this campground is being upgraded and worked on. They have a lot of work to do, but we're hoping that when we return next year, more amenities will be up and running so we can enjoy them with the kids & grandkids. For now, we like it just fine, and it's a GREAT distance from the main U.P. attractions and Mackinaw Island!
Interlochen State Park is one of our favorite locations to return to. It's next to a music school which we can hear from the campgrounds, and the entire Traverse City area is full of things to do and places to see.
This visit, we rode the Boardman Lake Trail in Traverse City while our truck was getting worked on. Gorgeous and short, this trail provided us a bonus viewing spot of the youngsters' sailing school. It was really neat to watch those 7-yr olds navigate the mini sailboats.
The next day was a longer, more challenging ride on the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. Smooth, and 22 miles long, the northern side is mostly gradual slopes, where the southern side will give you 11% grade challenges, and the reward of speed on the other end. Having a picnic lunch at the dunes was definitely a bonus.
Stay details: Interlochen State Park; Interlochen MI
* This park is large and beautiful, and offers many opportunities for family fun near the lake. The sites come in all different sizes, but only has electric, so water fill-up is a must before parking. The park has a day use area for swimming, boating and BBQs, as well as nearby trails. The nearby music school is a nice ambience when enjoying your evening fire.
We were on site 95, but the next one over was facing us with his party and campfire, so it was rather intrusive. There are a LOT of large sites here, and a lot of family fun things to do. Recommended sites: 369, 371, 64, 414 & 193.
This time of year causes difficulties getting into state parks, so we needed a filler night on the way to Interlochin. So, we are using our last Harvest Host stay to visit this distillery and have dinner. We parked in the back near the woods right beside of their wheat fields. Very quiet place, and nice people. Dinner was pretty good, and the tasting of whiskey's were pretty awesome. Highly recommend this location if you have a Harvest Host membership.
Stay Details: Iron Fish Distillery; Thompsonville MI
* Note: You need to have a membership with Harvest Host in order to stay here, but you will have a wonderful, peaceful evening and an excellent outdoor dinner. If you get a chance to stay here, they have a nice path in the woods for their guests. :-)
It was difficult to find a campground on the west side of the state, so we settled for a lesser-known one, Orchard Beach State Park. I'm really glad we did though, because our site was absolutely beautiful and we found several treasures in the area.
- Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary: Just a few miles from our place, this little haven is home to the only 3 Giant Sequoia's in Michigan. They Grey family brought 6 of them from CA in 1938 and planted the seeds on their farm in Manistee. Three are left today, and all are here at this bird sanctuary/farm
- Arcadia Marsh Preserve. 15 miles north of Orchard Beach, this 305-acre preserve is home to 231 bird species (17 endangered), 28 fish species, and 201 plant species. It was a beautiful and serene boardwalk stroll in the morning before it was too hot.
- Orchard Beach Trail is a 2-mile trail just outside the campground. It was a beautiful walk in the woods and some meadows. We would highly recommend this walk for exercise and time to unwind.
- Manistee Bay and Lighthouses. Must take a quick tour through town and visit the lighthouses. To our surprise, the city beach here is a dog beach! Even though Pica chose to stay behind on this hot day, now we know where to take her for some fun. It was a fun walk with some cool shots for a night without the pup. There is also a Riverwalk on the south side of the river if you're interested.
Stay Details: Orchard Beach State Park; Manistee MI
*Note: This very large and active campground is a very well-kept campground with a lot of recent upgrades due to its beach erosion in 2019. They are still relocation the main pavilion and steps going to the beach, so don't expect the beach to be open yet. Most sites are tight and made for group camping. We were lucky enough to get a large pull-through site that gave us a pretty good view of the lake. Sites provide 50a electric only, so fill up your water before finding your site.
An evening event of Blueberry picking led to a bought of poison ivy. Not fun when visiting an area and you don't even want to mingle with anyone. I got it all over my face and neck, with the obvious leaf mark right across my cheak and ear. Mark's ivy turned up a few days later as spots on his arms. I had to visit the E.R. for some Prednisone and Hydrocortizone cream because it was so bad I was worried about my breathing.
For days, I stayed inside and didn't want to see anybody or do anything. It was awesome. Washing bedding & clothing every day, trying to sleep during the horrible itchiness, and trying not to touch anything that could cause contamination. All while staying away from each other as well.
So, our trip to the Outdoor Adventures in Grand Haven, was more of an inside quarantine stop. For me at least. Mark went to his brother's house each for fireside chat and to help with projects.
Stay Details: Outdoor Adventures, Grand Haven MI
* Note: This is a place that is connected with out campground membership. We love Grand Haven resort because it was wonderful amenities, wonderful people, and close to family & friends. The sites are not very big here, but they also offer a wide range of camping opportunities. From the dry-camp tent family, all the way up to the class-A retiree. We stayed on site #9 this time, which had 30a electric and water. However, it was in the front by the main road, so it was VERY noisy.
Though not the type of excitement one would hope for, this day was full of excitement and a quaint reminder that God is in charge..
Rainy days never make a good travel day, so we packed up the muddy equipment, double checked all points of packing, and left Davison. There were four events that stuck out as extraordinary.
1) After 30 minutes of travel through terrible Flint roads, another driver stopped us. We had been dragging our sewer hose. The hose was hanging on by the last hook from the cylinder that housed it during travel. The hose and the clear 90 degree connection were totally in-tact!
2) Another few miles down the road, we realized our coffee was not in the truck. Mark stopped again and checked inside. The full coffee mugwas still sitting on top of the counter! After the roads we just traveled, we thought for sure we'd have quite a mess in there!
3) Upon arriving to our 'resort' we found out that we could only park on grass sites. It had just rained, and most spots were only 15amp, so we preferred one where we could utilize our solar for power. We found a site in the sun, checked it out and it seemed good enough. However, once Mark began backing up, the camper sunk VERY quick and he couldn't pull back out of it. We were stuck good! Within minutes, 5 guys from around the park came over to help. They had done this 3 other times this week, so they knew what to do. They hooked up 2 more trucks in front of ours, and easily pulled us out. Whew! No harm done, just muddy tires and a very rutted lawn.
4) The campground host told us to park on one of the seasonal sites with a cement pad. Upon parking at the last one available, we found out the 50a electric outlet was only running on 20a. Mark almost plugged in the camper directly, but just felt weird about it so he used the EMS power supply. Thank goodness, because the low power could have hurt our electrical system or the solar system.
By the time we settled into our camper after setup, we thanked God for His protection. We don't know what we'll do in this mosquito-infested area, but we do know that we are very Blessed to have had several people help us out in our time of need, and not have anything serious happen on this journey.
Experiences aren't always fun, but they are experiences. How we handle them makes all the difference in the world. :-)
Stay Details: Heartland Woods Family RV Resort; Stockbridge, MI
* Note: This is a location that is a nice little get-away with a few ammenities, but is more geared to family weekend campers. The larger sites are 30a with water, and some of the outer sites even have cement pads. However, they save the padded sites for longer term residents, so they ask travelers to use the inside grassy sites. However, as you see, the inner grassy sites are not good for rainy days. Be cautious of where you park.
There is a playground, putt putt course and swimming pool, along with tennis court, horse shoes, and a fishing pond. Most of these were not usable because of the rain, but provides some fun options for the kids when it's not raining. There is also an activity/game room that is pretty large.
After a beautiful (and rainy) 3-week stay in Davison, we are ready to move on to our next travel adventures. The last few details of the month that I did not previously mention:
1) Had 4 doctors visits. We are good until next year!
2) Had a wonderful visit with church friends, Gerald & Priscilla. They fed us a delicious meal, and we played Mexican Train Dominos after dinner.
3) Maria made me another sticker for the camper! This time I put it on the main door. :-)
4) Pica thought she was hiding.. Ha!
5) We upgraded our coffee maker to a complete coffee bar. Now I can make my favored latte's!
6) Taking bike trips is amongst our favorite things to do. This time it was a 20-mile Flint River trail to Stepping Stone Falls. An absolute beautiful ride with awesome scenery.
Stay Details: Outdoor Adventures; Davison MI
* This is our home resort affiliated with our campground membership. It is getting very busy these days, but we love this resort because it has a lot of ammenities. We also love our new favorite site, #98, that sits in the corner near the exit.
This holiday has always been very special for us, mostly because it means time with the kids and grandkids. This year we reserved 3 weeks around this holiday and landed a beautiful corner site that allowed us to have that quieter privacy we enjoy, yet be close to the exit.
During out stay, we were Blessed to have visits from Maria & Joe's families and even some friends! We really enjoy taking the kids & grandkids swimming and enjoying the multitude of events going on around the resort. This resort has gotten very busy over the years, and we try to do fun things on less crowded days.
We saw fireworks on three different days, but Pica is more than ready to be over this holiday.
During the holiday week we also attended Katelyn's Open House.. Our first graduating grandchild!! The collage of photos below shows events during the week.
Sure have loved 'catching up' with family!
Mark and his siblings were Blessed to be able to celebrate Ruth's 60th birthday with mom & dad this year. We all had a great time at Red Lobster!