This July, Laura and I were fortunate enough to be invited to go on vacation with our son Jon and his family. That makes Momaw, Popaw, Jon, Carrie, Rex (2 ½) and Brooke (8 months). He wanted to go somewhere cooler and within driving distance with the two little ones. He and my travel agent, Laura, decided on Traverse City on the lake in that state of the same name. This was a 7 hour drive and it was a great choice.
The rental house was on the lake and had plenty of space with a big deck, private beach, and beautiful sunsets. The weather couldn’t have been better. It was 80 by day, 65 at night, and a breeze was always blowing. We had the screened windows open the whole time we were there and it didn’t rain until the morning we left. A good time was had by all.
Laura and I spent most of the time with the kids doing something but we did manage to get to a wine tasting tour, Mackinaw Island and Hartwick Pines by ourselves.
We all enjoyed the beach, the house, Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes. Jon and Carrie did bike trips with the kids and went to a splash park. It was a great vacation and very enlightening as to life up north.
Did you know that Traverse City claims to be the cherry capital of the U.S? There were cherry orchards and vineyards everywhere. This and tourism is what their economy turned to after most of the timber and fishing industries dwindled.
We were there 2 weeks after the Cherry Festival but they were still pickin’ cherries. There were roadside stands everywhere with Bing sweet cherries. Some had Montmorency (sour pie) and Queen Anne cherries. All were good.
They still have plenty of timber. I saw thousands of acres in white pine, blue spruce, Norway spruce, red pine, jack pine, hemlock, and northern white cedar. There’s a lot of maple and some oak, birch, aspen, but both the Lower Peninsula and the Upper Peninsula is predominately coniferous evergreen.
Hartwick Pine State Park is some of their old growth white pine. They have white pine and hemlock there that date back to the 1600’s with 150 foot height and 4 feet D.B.H.(diameter breast height). The logging museums were very impressive. Laura tolerated that trip and I tolerated another day of wine tasting tour on the old mission peninsula at Traverse City. She couldn’t tell a white pine from a wing nut and I don’t drink wine. Opposites attract – right?
Sleeping Bear Dunes is a very unique, steep (200 foot) sand bluff located between the shore of Sleeping Bear Bay (on the lake) and Glen Arbor Lake and the quaint little village of Glen Arbor through it. It’s a national park and you can swim, hike, camp, bike, or climb sand dunes there.
Keep in mind throughout this “Up North” series of articles that I’m there in July. It’s 15 degrees cooler there than in Scioto County. Traverse City is on the 45th parallel. That’s equidistant from the equator and the North Pole. Mackinac Island, Mackinac Strait, and the U.P. are all several hours farther north. Yes, the ferrys and horse-drawn carriages are running on Mackinac Island and Grand Hotel will accommodate 140,000 guests in their 390 rooms each season and serve 4000 meals per day but guess what? This party only goes from June to November. The island is filled with large, fragrant lilac in
June and celebrate Christmas early. The population will be about 10,000 in season with the fudge and horses going full blast but when November hits, this all comes to a halt and the population goes to about a thousand.
There aren’t any motor vehicles on Mackinac Island. You can walk, bike, or take a horse. The ferrys make their last pick up at 10 P.M. and if you miss it you had best have a room, like to sleep in the great outdoors or be a real good swimmer.
Other “Up North” articles will be about forestry, wineries, The Great Lakes, etc. This is all camo to cover the tracks of a subversive Buckeye mission to spy on Harbaugh. It will all sound like fun and games but by November 28th that all changes.
Dudley Wooten is the owner/operator of Wooten’s Landscaping and Nursery and can be reached at 740-820-8210.