And with that.. Our summer came to an end! 

Ryan and I are both Michigan natives, born and raised here. Well, my dad moved us around a lot growing up 17x exactly, but we always made it back “home”! I have finally been in the state since 6th grade, and that is a just a few years and counting!

Ryan and I have seen almost every side of Michigan… But….we haven’t seen Mackinaw Island. So what is better way to end summer on than a long weekend in Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island

We – along with thousands of other Michigan natives headed north on 75 Friday afternoon, for usually the last big trip of the summer. The traffic was unreal but we made it, setting up in the dark has become one of my favorite things 😛 and honestly Ryan and I rock at it. The system is flawless, and I am sure our neighbors enjoyed the quiet set up, well until the air mattresses needed to blown up. Some how one little machine can make so much noise.

The best part of this trip is this is somewhere new that we all are fortunate enough to experience as a family. Going new places, and seeing Emily’s reaction, along with taking it all in at the same time is just Priceless! I am so grateful for all these opportunities to experience as a family, we are so lucky!

We camped in Aloha State Park, somewhere new, and we totally lucked out. We ended up with a beautiful site on Lake Mullet, and plenty of shade for the unplanned hot weekend ahead.

Emily enjoyed her first ferry ride to the island! Star Line ferry, had an awesome family deal, and great ride across Lake Huron. This is something that I always get a little nervous about since I get nausea from the waves easily, but Saturday couldn’t have been any calmer of a boat trip. Thank Goodness!!

Em saw her first peak of the Mighty Mac, doesn’t look almost 5 miles long. We were lucky  enough to catch the right boat on the way home and actually ended up going under the bridge! Such a cool experience!
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First thing we did when we got to the island is head over to the butterfly house! I am not one for going into exhibits with flying things, but I did this experience, and was enjoyable, until the butterfly flies at your face, and your dodge them like they are the plaque. But I made it… The butterflies were so pretty, Em tried getting one to land on her, but it was a tad bit challenge. Ryan was the lucky one and had a traveler for a while, no big deal to him!

After enjoying the beauties at the butterfly house, we biked our way over to Arch Rock. It was a tad bit rough and I don’t know where the weather man stated it would only be 70 degrees and chilly.. We biked up hill to the darn Arch, and got in line with a million other people to get a picture. Emily was about over the hotness, and we had to go get a wardrobe change… darn weather man! Or we were possibly beginning to be Hangry.. Either/or we biked backed into town get buy some overly priced tanks, and eat lunch!

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We finished the day on the island, touring Fort Mackinaw, shopping for goodies and of course getting fudge!

I honestly never knew Emily’s love for history. I didn’t realize how much that is something she enjoys learning about. Where myself as a child would have been the most dreadful part of the trip, she LOVED it. We walked into every building, listened to the people talk about the fort, and watch the reenactments on the parade grounds and the firing of the canon!

There is so much to see and do on the island we plan on going back someday. I know Em is ready to rent a horse for the day to go around the island, we didn’t even make it to the other side!! Actually, horse back riding is probably really high on the list next time. I’d personally love to spend more time walking around the shops, and touring the Grand Hotel… Always nice knowing we have stuff to do when we return!

Sunday was spent, making a yummy pancake breakfast at camp then heading over the Mighty Mac, to show Em the bridge and become an Yooper for the day! Teaching her the new language, and the funny sayings was so cute and she just laughed at all the silly things the shops in the U.P have. Classic!

Everyone has to pay the $1 to go up Castle Rock, and count every last 168 stairs to the top!

On our way back down to the Lower Peninsula we stop to grab some snacks and get a view the Mackinaw Bridge from the U.P Side.

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We let Em choose where she wanted to go for the rest of the day, and since she had such a great time at Fort Mackinaw we headed over to Colonial Michilimackinac and played around the fort and enjoy the reenactments they had.

Here’s to the final weekend of Summer 2016 – Can’t wait to dig into fall and the family gatherings!

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