For me, that “joy” list is quite long:
- Eating (at least I am honest)
- TV, OK… I absolutely LOVE watching TV, be it series or movies, documentaries or my favorite, Amazon Firestick’s screen saver (gives me travel ideas)
- TRIP PLANNING!!!!!! This should be number 1, wait no..
- Mosquito-killing (yes, that is a thing)
- #1, my girls.. just “being” with them is ultra-satisfactory and enjoyable
Notice I did not include visiting lighthouses on this list, because aside from visiting the St, Augustine Lighthouse in 2002, I am a mere dreamer… until this very fine trip, where I finally made my dreams come true. They came true in the lighthouse capital of the USA, Michigan – America’s left hand.
Now, this will be my first “official” travel blog post – Don’t get me wrong, I have travel notches on my belt, but turning around and writing about your experience is another experience all together. I may not hit the mark, but I will start and hope for the best. Your comments, reviews and criticism will help me along the way, so shoot.. I am not the “sensitive” type.
Ok, so… this dream began when my work counterpart pitched the 4-10 hour work week idea vs the monotonous 8 hour, 5-day workweek.. I was thrilled when our Chief said “sure”… 1 elevator ride later, I was in my office messaging my bff Sherry and scheduling the long-weekend trip to the Great North (Northern Michigan for you people). See, she has a cabin and a car, BINGO! The other winner-winner part of this trip was the travel points I had with Allegiant, enough for a round-trip ticket for myself and paying a little extra for Alessandra’s ticket. I think I will write a post about Allegiant later on.. see, overfloweth of ideas already.
I believe I had everything scheduled in less than 30 minutes, granted, I did not have to book a car nor a hotel, still, that is pretty good time.
“Michigan?”, was the one-word question we were asked about our trip. In other words, ‘why Michigan’? Honestly, I had no idea just how beautiful Michigan would be, but I am up for (usually) anything. Well Mr. and Mrs. So and So, Michigan was a treat, a delight, a beauty. And that we were able to experience an abundance of beauty (not even planned), was well, a was a cherry on top, since the main trip goal was to visit some lighthouses.
Ok, I’ll dive right into these babies. Since it was geographically impossible to visit some of my top-list-makers, I narrowed it down to 5 – felt guilty about Sherry racking up miles on her car for me (us), but she did it with JOY. I began my search on Michigan States’ website with Lighthouse information and an accompanying map (to plan) – I wanted to be strategic, I wanted the plan to flow.
But of course, plans sometimes change, and due to a Sprint store trip and purchase of a new Apple iPhone10, one of my top picks was eliminated from the Day1 lighthouse tour… must keep these millennials, aka Alessandra, happy (eeek). BTW, I am TOTALLY an Android user. The lighthouse tour I had so carefully “planned”, quickly changed and Sherry swooped in like a magpie and revamped the shiznit of Day2, incorporating one my faves, which I had not even planned on visiting (and making googly-eyes to).
Day1 was an absolute treat and also National Lands day, which meant, entrance fees to all National Parks was waived. This was amazing, because aside from lighthouse, I was determined to see a covered bridge and “climb” the sand dunes.. the latter did NOT happen. The entrance fee to Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore is a whopping $20, and COMPLETELY WORTH IT, as you can spend an entire day and not even realize it.
Although our time here was rushed, I was utterly content, my mind full of memories and my phone full of photos. Our next stop was to our first lighthouse, Grand Traverse Lighthouse. The $9 admission is quite reasonable and worth to tour the grounds and see those views. The docents were very friendly and knowledgeable – did you know you could stay IN the lighthouse and be a lighthouse keeper? NO JOKE. But alas, it is for adults ONLY, and I do NOT want to do this without Bella. (I’d feel soooo guilty). So, my first lighthouse experience left me hooked; not only was it a lighthouse, it was beautiful, the grounds were meticulous, the air was fresh and EXTREMELY aromatic. But because it was a weebit far from were we were staying, it was the ONLY lighthouse for that day. I am pretty sure she (Grand Traverse), made an appearance in my dream that night.
That very night, unbeknownst to me, Sherry was planning quite the keen itinerary for Day 2 – and it did not disappoint, as we visited 5 in 1 day!!! The first stop was going to be hard to beat: 40 Mile Point Lighthouse – and she was NOT on my list either. So much history – even a copy of the original keeper’s original and first journal entry. Although the actual Coast Guard is responsible for the light station (and light), volunteers give their precious time to nurture our (visitors) curiosity. This lighthouse too, has an Assistant Keeper’s program (18+ years old). (Please, this one is not to be missed or overlooked, put this lighthouse on your route).
The middle 4 lighthouses, all stout and poignant, were so very cool to visit and explore. All within close proximity to each other and sitting on either lake Michigan or Lake Huron. It was a very pretty drive from point a) 40 Mile Point to point e) Charlevoix. Most of that scenic drive was with views of the lake shore and trees (I could only imagine how picturesque when the fall colors come in).
The last however, gave me chills when I saw her, Charlevoix Light Station. To think that this once bright, bold beauty was white!!!! Unimaginable, but the pictures (and history) make it so. Well, my eyes laid upon this Lady In Red in its’ current state, and I will admit, I think my heart skipped a beat – may sound silly – but she is TRULY a a sight to see. Maybe it was the perfect weather, or that I had her allll to myself, but I was genuinely able to enjoy her for a good solid hour. I even recorded my first Instagram Live video – thank goodness it was only up for 24 hours ;). When I left, I felt a sense of peace and inner joy.
I sought out what brought me joy and I found it. I loved this long-weekend trip and I wish to do it again soon.