Last Sunday morning was perfect. It was cool, there was a mix of clouds and sun and the Fall season was in full swing. A perfect day and time of year to venture up north in Michigan to see the changing of the leaves, to pass by and explore small towns and to enjoy the epic scenery and pictures that the Michigan coastline provides.
Traverse City, a popular tourist and summer destination, was my first stop after some hours of driving. I headed right for the park and the Grand Traverse Bay coastline. I immediately saw the harbor, beach, boats out on the water and blue everywhere. Amazing. After getting a lot of water shots, my thing it seems, I decided to head into town. This region has a lot of wineries and breweries so I decided to hit up one. Mackinaw Brewing Company was the choice. I enjoyed the beer of the season Oktoberfest with the best mozzarella sticks I’ve ever had. A perfect travelers meal in my book. Detroit and Minnesota were playing in both football and baseball so I decided to watch a bit of the action. I was amazed that it was about an even split between the Detroit and Minnesota fans as Minnesota borders the nearby Upper Peninsula.
I walked the main stretch checking out some of the main shops and then ventured off to the west side of the bay and up the Leelanau Peninsula. I took HW-22 north through Suttons Bay and Northport to the top of the peninsula and Leelanau State Park. I could now see Lake Michigan with no land as far as the eye could see. There I got to see the Grand Traverse Lighthouse as well. I just realized it would be fun to keep track of how many lighthouses I come across.
There was a sign there showing that the town of Charlevoix was only fourteen miles away. Of course that is how far it is if you go straight across the bay. To get there I had to head back south on HW-22 to Traverse City and then back north along the eastern lake shore of Grand Traverse Bay on HW-31. After about two hours I got there. I got some shots of the beautiful harbor and walked a few blocks to Lake Michigan getting a picture of the Charlevoix South Pier Lighthouse.
Venturing further north I went through Petoskey, another small tourist town. You could tell daylight was running short and I had not yet reached my ultimate destination, the Mackinac Bridge and Upper Peninsula. I reached Mackinaw City just in time and I walked along the water taking pictures and looking at the Upper Peninsula on the other side. I drove across the bridge being thankful that it wasn’t too windy. I hear they close the bridge during really windy times.
I made it to the Upper Peninsula. I was too young to remember being here before, so I was especially excited. I went to the park just west of the bridge and took pictures from the opposite side. By this time, the sun was setting. It was getting really cold and a little bit windy and I wasn’t really dressed for the occasion, but hey I made it this far.
After getting photos from every angle possible I stopped in nearby St. Ignace, walked the pier and got a closeup look at their lighthouse of course. Well it was completely dark now and it was a Sunday night so I reluctantly made the track back “down state” as they call it up here.
Northern Michigan is an amazing place. I just saw the tip of the iceberg. Definitely checkout Pure Michigan, Michigan’s official travel and tourism site and wildly successful campaign marketing Michigan before planning a trip here.