Category Archives: Multi-State Trips

Dow Botanical Gardens and more

While we had plans to explore some of the small towns and touristy things in the area, the misses was a bit tried so today will be spend around the area.The Dow Botanical Gardens fit the bill. A short drive from the hotel which was good in case she had enough early, we could get back to the hotel quickly so she could rest up.

As should be expected from a family garden created by the Dow (chemical) family. Which is about a $26 Billion Dollar company. The grounds takes up about 110 acres which includes a pond or 2, a few overlook bridges as well as kids gardens and so much more.

They do a very good job of labeling a the plants on display and they encourage folks to walk anywhere- they just ask that you are respectful of others and the grounds.

They were having a blown glass flower art display while we visited, which adds a nice touch to the area.
Another one of the fine pieces of Blown Glass Artwork
One of the last pieces we found of the Glass Artwork

Ok so you get the idea, tons to see and appreciate. I’d say 2 or 3 months earlier in the year would have been a lot prettier but anytime is a good time

After this we went back to get ready for our special night. A (hopefully) great meal and evening celebrating our 45th Anniversary. This was hopefully going to happen at my choice of restaurants- a fair amount of research went into this. While there are a lot and I mean a lot of restaurants in the area, this one seemed to be the best choice. From making the reservations, to arriving, to being seated and everything else it was easy, pleasant and looking like the right choice.

I had requested that if possible could we be seated away from folks and any traffic- they did it.

Our waitress was very helpful, pleasant and attentive. She helped with recommendations on both appetizers and our meal choices. For an appetizer we went with fried raviolis-perfect choice. For our meals we went with veal on top of fresh ravioli for me and she had eggplant with fresh made spaghetti My plate was clean, as in nothing left on the plate clean, a rarity for me. She had one whole eggplant left and was stuffed, so the rest came back for us.

We proceeded to check out desserts and got a wonderful surprise

We ordered the limoncello bar and our waitress did a great job of designing it as a surprise for us, very sweet

Frankenmuth here we come

This is one of the stops planned, glad we are going to get to do it.. This is quaint little tourist town with a German flair to much of it. A great cheese shop, got a few pieces there, and several other shops (ok dozens of other shops). After visiting many of them we went on lunch at the largest family restaurant in America.

I had their famous chicken pot pie (great choice) and my wife had the hot chicken sandwich. Which she said was a great choice as well. After lunch we went downstairs to their award winning bakery, which was incredible and yes we got a few things to go. We spend more on gifts for the holidays, again we help someone with this months overhead:) The bottom floor has a cafe, a gift shop, candy store, bakery, jewelry store and more, all under one roof, ok all in the cellars albeit a BIG cellar.

After leaving here we continued on down Main Street to a few more shops. One much like Zeps in Conway, NH, and a fudge shop that specializes in toffee toppings (her favorite) (fudge shops or places selling fudge are on every corner and in between each other. I’m guessing in this section of Main Street there are 40 shops and more than 25 sell fudge and yet not a 1 of them has Apple Fudge or Rainbow Sherbet fudge, and this in some shops with 20 plus favorite of fudge?

A stop or 2 later for some clothing and wine for Christmas gifts and we were ready to call it quits and headed back to our hotel.

The streets are lined with great flowers … very pretty.
Cute water fountain in the center of town
What a great way to see the area.

Tomorrow should bring some new adventures to write about, stay tuned.

What day is this

Boy we are having so much fun, and getting a bit tired, heck I’m not sure where I am in the blog. Ok so we have been in Midland, mi 2 days, so I guess this is the time table I need to work with.

So we are staying at Springhill Suites by Marriott. a very nice hotel near the downtown area, so there are many things to do, and places to eat very close- heck lunch today came from Lucky’s Steakhouse next door, but that’s 2 days from now, so back up a bit.

We got in about 5:30 or so Friday after a nice all be it long drive, about 5 – 6 hours from St. Ignace. On our way here we stopped at Fort Michilmackinac

A wonderful place to start our day. A very nice, well done, informative Fort. The grounds are very easy to travel, and it was an awesome day weather wise. I’ll see if I can get any of the photos with my camera off it and onto the iPad.

Looks like the picked the right place to put the fort. They can see if the enemy is coming across the bridge with plenty of time to prepare

As you can see from the few photos it’s a great place to stop, stretch your legs, take a few photos and learn something new.

From here we stopped for lunch at:, my wife had a cup of corn chowder and a grilled cheese / tomato sandwich with onion rings and I had a roast beef au jus with mashed potatoes w/gravy and this to was awesome. We caught dessert to go, which was a peanut mouse pie for her and a strawberry / rhubarb pie. Great choices on both account’s.

From here it was onto Midland, MI. Nice, uneventful drive. Nice at 75 +- mph (75 mph speed limit). Clear blue skies and not many vehicles on the road. We got into the area and our hotel around 5:30 and were happy to call it a night – after we checked out the local grocery store for some lunch meats and bread.

It’s our first visit to a Meier, which turns out to be 2 brothers version of Walmart- just a bit cleaner and maybe a better selection of white goods, electronic’s, clothing food and more.

Tomorrow has a German village in our travels, see you then.

Headed to our next stop St. Ignace, Mi.

So this was a pleasant interesting part of the trip. Let’s start with, for those of you who travel and use the nav in your car or likely the same with a cell phone, at different times it will say things like, 12 miles to your next turn and so in. Well on our drive from Sturgeon Bay to St Ingnace, we were told our next turn was in 1.5 miles, which I took, and the surprise after that was, it said our next turn was 199 miles and at that point we would be at our hotel. NO more turns, just one long road that went along the shores of Lake Michigan- which by the way is 307 miles long.

We stopped for lunch and to stretch our legs, but other than that, one LONG drive, with NO side streets to speak of, no gas stations not much of anything for a LONG way. A bit scary had we not filled up the gas tank before we got on he road.

Lunch was at a very nice place, but the food, well that wasn’t so nice. My wife chicken sandwich was so hard she couldn’t bite into it, and while mine was a lot better, it was still saltier than I like my food, ebilble just salty. After this is was back on the road for a bunch more miles before we started to come into small towns.

Wonderful area and had we known enough about the area, and if we would have known about our hotel room, we would have stayed a week here. A simply wonderful place and our room was freakin awesome, with views to match.

Not sure if there is a map showing where our room was . . . We were in the front right corner of the Ontario building, with a view second to none. A few photos below of the room and views from within it. The pictures don’t tell the story. 2 big beds, a nice size TV and couch, table with 2 chairs, all in a room about 30’ x 24’ in size, yes a big room, and then there was the bathroom which was real nice, and big as well.

That night we went out for a walk on the beach, and one more time, it seemed more like the ocean than a lake, yes a BIG UCKING LAKE but a lake none the less.

We didn’t do a big dinner, just not real hungry. We got a sandwich and breadsticks with dipping sauce. Both items were very good and tasty, and filling enough that’s for sure.

a few photos of the sunrise we got to enjoy (lake Huron).

Right from our bed

Boy after seeing and enjoying this, it was hard to leave, but we had to as we had our next stop waiting. So we packed up and headed on our way to Midland, Mi.

Now I should point out there is a fair amount to see and do here and staying a few days would be a wise choice.

As we headed out of town I did stop and got a photo of one of the many lighthouses that dot the shores of the Great Lakes (some 200 in all).

Here’s an interesting tid-bit (sort-of a “did you know” for my BNI partners, you could drive from Auburn, Maine to New York City, with water outside your window the whole way and that’s how long Lake Michigan is, and that’s not the longest lake. You could drive another 50 miles and that’s how long Lake Superior is (350 miles LONG). Now a friend pointed out so, it’s like driving along route 1 to NY, and while the answer is yes, that trip would be with the Ocean outside the window, not a freakin lake.

Wow , I’ve missed a few days

Boy we have been having so much fun I’ve forgotten to update the site each night. Ok so some nights I’ve simply been to tried, alright already, to lazy.

I think I’ll just have to talk about what we did that I can remember. All done

ok so I can remember some things. One day we got up and decided to tour the many quaint harbors in Sturgeon Bay. We had done most, but drove through them because they were simply to many people out and about without mask, and well we didn’t want to push our lucky. We have managed to do all this traveling with minimal contact with folks, ok by this I mean, minimal contact without masks or 6’ distance between folks. YES we have on occasion been with more folks than we liked but with masks on. In any case. The many harbors and quaint shops really are wonderful places with so much to see and do.

There are a surprising number of wineries and distilleries on the island, like more than 15, who knew. The distilleries are mostly whiskey. The wineries were a mix, and let’s not forget the cheese outlets.

We did a few cheese outlets (get ready family and friends to be invited over to try them out with us). There are so many wonderful things we picked up. Oops almost forgot the high number of coffee roasters here was well and Christmas shops, ok so you get the idea. Plenty of places to visit and see.

We were in Sturgeon Bay for a week, and that was just enough time, to see damn near everything.

here are a few pictures of what we’ve seen.

The goats are on the roof of a well known restaurant in Sister bay. Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant
The question is, hockey player, hockey fan, hockey team owner?
In case you can’t read the name from the other photo
These folks have awesome sunsets just about every night
Boats, yeah a ton of them from small to large to x-large or another way to look at it is, from $5,000.00 up to $5,000,000.00 boats ‘ yachts everywhere.
And wonderful parks all over and all (6 plus) these wonderful parks are within walking distance of downtown.
3 drawbridges within about 1/3 of a mile. This one the middle one.
Last sunset from Sturgeon Bay

Let’s see, we haven’t yet had any outstanding meals, which is a bit disappointing. Some of this is our fault. We, ok I haven’t gone out to eat much and we haven’t picked the best places ( this is by accident) nor have we picked the right meals. I do some if this has to do with the help or lack there of at many of these places, and the fact they cook differently? Our best meal so far, except for the extra salt / spices was at a german style restaurant;

I had a great tender well cooked steak, just way to much seasoning for my liken, which by the way, wasn’t noted on the menu, and my lovely wife had Wiener schnitzel which she said was tasty just way to salty for her tastes. We start with an order of cheese curds and it looks like I’ll have to finish this tonight, time to check out of the hotel and head to our next stop, midland, mi. So after dinner we went down to the really cool park with the game tables and such, all of which is right on the waterway, which is where I took the photo of the draw bridge from as well as many of the boats, ships, yachts (not sure what these folks classify their crafts as). After this it was back to the room for the night. See you all tomorrow.

Sunday and done

Hi folks. We ended up with another easy day, some of this because we wanted to and some because some of the things we wanted to do are closed. That’s fine, that’s what tomorrow and Tuesday are for.

Our day started with a visit to the local marine museum.

A fine museum and a great tour of a tug boat with an amazing history.

Here are a small handful of photos from today / tonight.

Here is a interesting fact. The largest Great Lake is Superior at 31,700 sq. Miles, and the WHOLE state of maine is only slightly bigger at 35,310 sq miles. Just images driving from York Maine to Limestone, Me by boat! And that’s how big that Lake is.

One of tonight’s sunsets. It’s like this every freakin night, damn these folks
Weird but this is the scene behind me while taken the sunset shots
This bird was just sitting there looking for fish. I got within 4’ away from him and he never moved
10 story tall tower that is part of the local marine museum
Pictures above are from the top of the tower and are of the area
They have an amazing ship building history here and still,build ships and some damn big ones too. Big like 1004’ long, for those not good at math, that a bit longer then 3 football fields. That’s some damn big ships . . . On a freakin lake!
The following images come from our tour of the John Purvse tug boat with an incredible history

So as you can see from the photos we had a full day and a good day. Tomorrow has us visiting some of the harbors we drove thur Saturday, because they were to busy to stop at, and were hoping most folks will have gone back home tonight.

The day may not start until I got a massage. I’ll call first thing in the morning and see when I can get an appointment.

So for now, “that’s all folks” have a great night and week.

Oh, supper was at

She had a Ruben sandwich with onion rings and she said they were both great. I had a cheeseburger with an egg and bacon, with house chips, or so they said, I think they seemed like they came right from a bag of chips? The burger was good, tasty, and cooked as I request it- somewhat or a rarity these days.

Saturday and exploring

Hello folks. I hope you all have as great day planned as we do. We will be exploring the island and several of the harbors / village’s.

One of the 4 harbors we got in today. They are all small but damn are the beautiful. A few were real crazy with everything from car shows to shopping there seemed to be something for just about everyone. I will say they were all way busier than we expected. Yes it’s Saturday and everyone is out and about but it seems like the tourist season had past and was going to be slow, nope not the case.

So these are a few pictures of the areas we stopped at. One was baileys harbor, which is where the car show was. Unfortunately it was REALLY BUSY and my wife wasn’t comfortable around all those folks none wearing masks. Yes I could have gone, explored and taken more photos but I decided to stay with my wife, it’s the right thing to do.

from here we went on to egg harbor and 2 more. While all were very scenic and all I didn’t take pictures of all the places we went today. We may go back Monday when it shouldn’t be so busy and we can explore more and more comfortably.

for tonight’s meal, we went with Thai from Dan’s kitchen😂 Come on, that’s funny.

My wife went with Drunken Noodles with shrimp and a few Crab Rangoon’s and I went with, drum roll please, sweet and spicy chicken with A pile of white rice.

She said it was real good, for me it was ok . . I’ve had better😂 After we eat we went out for a nice walk and a few photos.

After this we called it a night. Night J’fer, night Swana, night Bud, night all. See you all tomorrow.

Day? Friday, right?

Boy when you don’t have to know what day it is, it’s pretty easy to forget. We weren’t sure what today would bring. My wife was looking forward to some down time, but it turns out not the whole day in the hotel.

I started my day off with a brisk 20 minute walk to a local bakery to get some breakfast. Well that didn’t turn out as i planned. The bakery recently closed their retail space down for good (and hadn’t yet up-dated their web site noting this change). They were still baking and had a sign on the door exposing the changes and were you could get their goods.

As I headed back to the hotel I stopped at a gas station and asked were locals now got fresh baked goods. The young lady gave me the names and general locations for a few she knew of, so back to the hotel to get the car and search them out.

This was the first (and only one I went to), it had an awesome selection of baked goods to choose from. I went with a pecan roll / bun, a raspberry white chocolate scone, a Bavarian filled long John and a blueberry danish. This seemed like enough for now. So the scone got 2 thumbs up, the long John got 1 thumb up (as I suspected it wasn’t real Bavarian filling) but it was still good. The others we’ll have later.

So later happened and so far the blueberry danish gets thumbs up.

After this I got freshened up and went out for awhile and checked out the area some more. I was also told that she decided not to stay in the room all day and she would be ready to go out exploring with me whenever I got back. I drove around a bit to get the lay of the land and such, and headed back some hour – hour and a half later to see if she was ready . . . She was.

She asked if I found anything fun or exciting while out and about. I said downtown look very quaint, clean and appeared to have enough stuff to check out, so we did.

A very nice downtown for sure. About as long as Lisbon street (maybe 5 or 6 blocks) with all kinds of stores and not many vacant store fronts, maybe 3 or 4, which is outstanding compared to many other areas and COVID and all.

All this looking and shopping made us a bit hungry so we started looking around for a place to get a late lunch, we ended up at

I asked out waitress what was great, popular with the locals, she said everything- I asked her to narrow it down a bit. She did, and we went with an oversized pretzels / cheese to start with and had a pizza to split. Pretzel good choice, the pizza that folks rave about, not so much for me. It was a Ritz cracker like crust with a sweet sauce and fun cheese. While both were good, the pizza was just different enough for me to be . . Ok but nothing I’d order again, my wife said she liked it just fine.

After her lunch we headed back to our hotel. Oh I forgot to mention we did all this within walking distance of the hotel, which, yes, we did, and that meaning, walked all of this. While a bit harder for my wife, it’s good for she to walk just as much as she can to help with her stamina and all. She’s real good about saying “enough is enough”. She knows her limits and tries not to exceed them, as she is the one the pays the price when she does push a bit to hard.

Back to place for some rest and discuss what was next. She mentioned while looking through the local tourist guide she saw a coffee roaster or 2 she would like to visit, along with a few shops near them. So after 30 minutes or so rest, we headed out to check them out. Damn you’d think we’d be better at phoning to check and see if things (like their hours) have changed (knowing many folks don’t get to their web sites with these changes) but no not us / me, we just head out and find out when we get there that they “close early now” “until further notice”, good thing there are generally other shops in the area to visit. These coffee roasters and yarn shops will just have to wait until tomorrow, along with an Apple Orchards and winery or 2.

In any case back to the hotel for the night- after a walk around the area with my wife. I had done some of this walk myself over the past few days and decided to show her the town, she like it a lot, both the waterfront and side streets.

See you all tomorrow.

Day 8

Boy the days are starting to run together. This morning started out pretty slow with no real agenda other than getting to our next stop . . . Sturgeon Bay. We will be here for a week, so this will be nice send easy on us. A good time to relax and still get in plenty of sights. Easy because it’s about an hours drive to the other end of the island, so getting in multiple stops per day should be easier and less tiring.

We did stop along the way to take some photos of a wild Lake Michigan. Out there on the horizon you can see the local ferry coming in from the storm. It’s much bigger than it looks here, the ferry that is.

If I had been better at taking these photos I think I could have
convinced folks we were at the ocean
Top photo was before wave crashed the pier and the next one is after.
There are 3 photos but I’ll be damned if I can find the first one

Just went for a short walk and here are a few photos from the area near the hotel.

You can’t tell but this tugboat is massive, like 3 trailer trucks long . . .massive

Tomorrow will be a lazy day for the Misses and I’ll likely go exploring a bit. Try to get some good photos and see what the area has to offer in general.

7 with many more ahead

Good morning everyone. I hope your days have been fun, pleasant and plentiful. Day 7 brings us to Beliot, WI. And a few stops for more fun. These will include Mars Cheese Castle and Holler Apple Orchards for sure. So lets get started.

First stop will be Mars Cheese Castle about an hours drive southeast from the hotel.


Yes this is another one of those thousands of tourist traps that pop-up along America’s highways and byways. Just the kind of place we love. Here you’ll find a good assortment of cheeses both local, regional and some from away. A better assortment of jams, jellies, crackers, honeys, candy, soft drinks and more, and a Much bigger selection of wines than I would have expected. Many of the wines had great little signs with them telling you about the wine, what it will taste like, what it goes good with for a meal as well as dessert, all very helpful information for my wife (I don’t drink wines). Helpful in picking out wines for friends and family. Yeah, we help with their daily overhead costs before we left. From here we went on to Holler Apple Orchards- here we weren’t as happy. This was the 3rd or 4th place that has had to scale back big time because of lack of help and in some case local and state rules about what they can and can’t do or offer. So here the kitchen was closed because of lack of help, which was real sad because it gets 5 stars for their oversized and delicious sandwiches. They had NO apples in crates to pick them and only frozen apple cider, who in the hell sells frozen apple cider at an apple orchard (besides these folks).

They did have an awesome fresh bakery with Apple fritters, turnovers and other pastries that looked incredible. I say looked because we didn’t buy any. I surprised myself and didn’t get any, yes folks even I can eat only so many pastries- which is sad. The other thing going on, or not going on as the case might be, was apple picking – not. They did apologize to folks for the lack of things to do, and they let us know that it was in-part because of 2 tour buses that had stopped by and stretched them thin on customer service and what they could cover or offer with the current staffing. Disappointed and ready we decided to head back and see what we could find along the way back to our hotel.

I did find a couple of interesting things to take photos of (I’ve got to figure the easiest way to get photos from my camera to the iPad so I can share). We also found a vegetable stand along the way and picked up some tomatoes for sandwiches. This turned out to be the end of the day for us as far as sightseeing which was fine. A big week ahead in Sturgeon Bay and this also gave me time to clean and organize the car a bit more.