Friday, October 08, 2010

UP trip: Part 1. Ann Arbor to Mackinac Bridge

After trying to narrow down the 1,000-plus photos we took on vacation to a reasonable amount for a blog post, I decided to give you little tastes, rather than the whole thing all at once. So here's a glimpse of our trip from Ann Arbor to the Mackinac Bridge. We drove west through Grand Rapids and then up along the coast of Lake Michigan, passing through Traverse City. We continued to hug the coastline as closely as possible, including M-119 — the Tunnel of Trees — that runs north of Harbor Springs to Cross Village. This was my favorite part and where most of these photos were taken.

The boy was in charge of provisions for the car. Not only did he roast a chicken for some tasty sandwiches,
but he made several snack trays like this one of ham, cream cheese and scallion rollups.

This was the first of several dream homes we saw along the way.
It's absolutely perfect, right down to the tree swing. Sigh…
We knew we were officially on vacation when we hit no service!

Welcome to the Good Hart, MI General Store. Home of pot pies and good old fashioned charm.
The baked goods looked amazing.

They even let me have a look into the kitchen at the day's batch of pot pies!

At the General Store, they tipped us off to this beautiful old Mission church and Native American burial ground.
With high winds and sweeping clouds, it felt exciting to explore the beaches along the way.

The reason why this is called the Tunnel of Trees.

The winding scenic drive leads right to Legs Inn in Cross Village.Built in 1921 by Polish immigrant Stanley Smolak, the Inn is filled with handcarved curiosities and bits of naturein every nook and cranny. We didn't eat there, but it had an impressive Polish menu that sounded divine.
Even the landscaping at Legs Inn — looking right out over Lake Michigan — is whimsical and filled with curiosities.
And so we reach the end of Leg 1 and crossed on over the Mackinac Bridge into the Upper Peninsula.
Stay tuned for part two: Manistique to Marquette!


  1. Lovely pictures! My family is completely in love with the U.P. We took our kids up for the first time this summer (they are 3 & 6) and they loved crossing the bridge. Can't wait for part 2 (I have family in Marquette). :)

  2. You really know how to appreciate everything life has to offer! I love your posts, Nicole. Simplicity, serenity, happiness. Beautiful.


  3. Leggs Inn looks so cool! That floor is SO Twin Peaks. Nice pics, friend.

  4. Thanks so much, Shannon! This was my first trip to the UP, too and I absolutely love it. Marquette is such a great own — I would certainly visit often if I had family there.

    Thank you, thank you, Crystal, for such kind words.

    And yes, Amanda, the entire Legs Inn is very Twin Peaks! You would love it. See you soon!

  5. Thanks for enticing us to visit. but we have to go to Portland first- once Austen gets settled.

  6. You hit all of my favorites! We like to go up to the Tunnel of Trees the third weekend of October-- the color is just a little past its prime, but that's the first weekend of "off season" and you can find a hotel room on the lake for $60!

    Can't wait for the next installment-- Route 2 is magic. :)

  7. BE — make it a road trip and stop here on the way!

    Marcy — I'm headed back to the Tunnel of Trees area with my parents next week — any other recommendations? Where to stay? eat? etc?

  8. We usually stay in Mackinaw City at the Comfort Inn Lakeside-- the windows are about 5 feet from where the water meets the sand (ok, maybe a little more than that, but not much) and the rooms are on the updated side. Legs Inn also has cottages, we haven't stayed there. Stayed in Harbor Springs one year, but I can't for the life of me remember the name of the place and it wasn't super memorable. If you're super adventurous you could get a cabin in Wilderness State Park-- we just did that over Labor Day weekend and it was phenomenal! They're $60 a night for your own slice of private beach and distant lake views-- they're rustic though.

    Sherri says that if you're in Mackinaw City you should check out Mama Mia's for a really good cornmeal crust pizza.

  9. Marcy! Thank you so much for all the advice and tips! I'm definitely saving your comments fir future reference. I ended up renting a little cottage on Lake Leelanau and exploring that area with my parents — mostly because I hadn't been over there yet. It was beautiful! I'm so glad I'm finally getting to know little bits and pieces of MI and can make plans to go back!