Gosh it was great to get away for a little while, it’s seemed like forever since I’ve had any sort of vacation, so I was well overdue for one, and I had such a wonderful time with my sis and my daughter on our little mini vacation.
I’ve spent the past few days decompressing a bit and catching up on things since returning home, and after having had a chance to look through all the snapshots taken by the 3 of us during our trip, I thought I’d share a few. Okay, well, maybe there will be more than just a few. 😉
We took off for parts unknown without much of a plan other than knowing that we wanted to be near water. All 3 of us have been longing for the Pacific Northwest in the most terrible way, but taking a trip out there just isn’t possible at the moment. So with Minnesota being the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” we chose the biggest body of water and headed straight toward it ~ Lake Superior! It’s sort of like a mini ocean. In fact, I believe it’s considered the largest freshwater lake by surface area in the world. And it’s glorious, I’m so thankful to live only a few hours away!
I’ve been up along the North Shore of Lake Superior billions of times over the years, it’s one of my favorite places to go in Minnesota, but this time I was feeling like doing something new and thought we should check out Lake Superior’s south shore to see what adventures could be had. So off we went with no real plan or any idea of where we’d end up. My inner organized planner was a bit panicked at the thought of not having any hotel reservations anywhere and just flying by the seat of my pants, but sometimes it’s good to step out of your comfort zone and let life just unfold as it wills…
My mom snapped this of the 3 of us in the car as we were leaving…
Even though I fear for my life every time my sis gets behind the wheel (I’m kidding… sort of ;)), I was very grateful to her for doing all the driving so I could just take in all the sights. But I was the navigator so I had my face in a map or looking at the GPS some of the time. And despite what she may say, I’m a great navigator. We only took a few wrong turns along the way. 😀
We also snapped a picture of my Mom as we were leaving…
She may be smiling and waving, but she was also crying. 😦 Sad to see us go, but also happy for us to be going on an adventure at the same time. My mom stayed home to hold down the fort, watching over the pets and watering my garden for me. Thanks so much Momma! ♥
The first thing I did when we got on the road was cover up the digital clock on the dashboard in the car so that our trip wouldn’t be ruled by whatever time it was. I had read in my devotions that morning how time can become a sort of tyrant that controls us, so I thought I’d just nip that in the bud right at the start. I had a pink sticky-note handy so I tore off a piece and I used it to shut that tyrant right up. 😉
Except… as we went along, we realized that we weren’t that free spirited after all and ended up taking it off so we could see what time it was. But we left it posted there just above the clock as a reminder to try not to be too swayed by what time it was when deciding what to do during our trip.
After a brief stop at my sis’ cabin so she could water her garden, we made our way north to Duluth where we would take in our first sights of Lake Superior before heading east to travel along it’s southern shore. We were really surprised to find it was extremely hot there, even near the water. Never in all the times that I’ve been up there can I ever remember a time that is has been so hot. I believe the temp was 93 that day, and I think the average high is like 77, so it was quite unusual. We didn’t stay there and frolic by the water or spend as much time there as we thought we would, we just stopped for ice cream made our way out of town.
Our next stop was Amnicon Falls…
The sound of the falls and the scent of pine was so refreshing and such a wonderful delight to my senses. ♥
It was lovely from a distance, but we were all wanting a more up close experience, so when we found a little trail that wasn’t too steep, we went down to dip our feet into the iron colored water. It was wonderful!
My sis got a bit more of an up close experience than she had bargained for when she found a wood tick on her leg the next morning. We’re pretty sure this is where she got it as this was the only wooded area where she got out and explored. Ew wood ticks are so disgusting! Glad it wasn’t me, I would have completely freaked!
I suppose perhaps it could have hitched a ride on either my daughter or I here…
This was on one of those “wrong turns” I mentioned earlier. After we left Amnicon Falls I got a little confused as to the exact way back to the road that ran along Lake Superior and we ended up on a road where we came across this old abandoned house. We both wanted to get a closer look so we asked my sis to pull over so we could check it out.
As we were making our way back to the car, we saw a man pull over and get out of his car and walk over toward my sis. We got a bit nervous as to what his intentions might be, but apparently when he saw us pulled over there looking at the house he thought that we might be relatives of his, as this was the house his mother had grown up in. The thing about road trips is that there always seem to these old abandoned houses scattered along the way, and you wonder about the history of them. I do, anyway. He told us that his mother had grown up in this house along with 11 siblings in the early 1900’s. It was such a cool coincidence because we were only stopped there for about 5 minutes and this man himself wasn’t even from around the area and just happened to be passing by at the same time as we were.
Another cool thing that happened during our “wrong turn” was that we saw some baby coyotes on the side of the road. Of course by the time we had passed by them and turned the car around to go back and try to get another look they were running away.
My daughter snapped this before the last one had disappeared out of sight…
Being a huge canine lover, she was floating on cloud nine from seeing these coyote pups. They really were adorable! And even though this photo isn’t anything to speak of, it does provide a nice little remembrance of a very cool encounter that happened along our travels.
Sometimes taking a wrong turn can bring you unexpected joys…
Evening was approaching as we reached the lovely town of Bayfield Wisconsin, so we decided to look for a place to sleep for the night. Being a bit of a tourist area with The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore also situated right there, we were a bit concerned about finding a place to stay, and the first place we inquired at was booked for the evening. The next place we stopped was at the Bay Front Inn and they were also booked, but luckily for us they had just received a cancellation. And they offered us the room at a considerably discounted price! What a wonderful surprise and it was a gorgeous, spacious room!
With a huge deck and a wonderful view…
We stayed two nights, and I snapped this next shot from our room’s deck on our second evening as dusk was settling in. It was absolutely beautiful! Hi moon! ♥
On our first day in Bayfield we took a 3-hour boat cruise to tour The Apostle Islands. My favorite part of the tour was the sea caves on Devil’s Island, they were amazing! The color of the water, and the color of the rock formations was stunning!
I wish I could have captured a decent shot of them, but unfortunately, I didn’t have a very good vantage point on the boat for photographing them and the lighting was bad too, so these pictures are not even remotely close to a true representation of how remarkably beautiful it really was. You’ll just have to take my word for it. 😉
It was so wonderful to be out on the water, and when there wasn’t anything of particular interest going on during the tour I went out and wandered around on the boat a bit. I ended up talking to an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife, he was a friendly fellow, but clearly sad. He talked about his wife, what a great cook she was, and how they had been married for 65 years. I never caught his name, but I remember him saying his wife’s name was Dee. Bless his heart. Chatting with him made me miss my pops.
Also while wandering around, my daughter and I went out to the rear of the boat and I snapped this picture of her looking out at our wake.
Later that day we took the ferry over to Madeline Island. We had heard it was sort of a big deal, but when we got there, we couldn’t figure out for the life of us what all the hype was about. We made the best of it though.
We had a cute, friendly dog being playful under our feet on the 20 minute ferry ride over…
I actually enjoyed that very much, got my dog fix in. 😉 I loved her different colored eyes, so unique!
And we made friends with another dog while on the island, she was a precious little thing named Mabel. She reminded me of my dog Junior who I had a long time ago. I couldn’t get a decent photo of her, she was constantly moving about, but I took this of her paw prints that she left on the beach…
We had a nice time there just dipping our feet in the water and listening to the waves lap against the shore…
That evening we had dinner at a great little pizza and pasta place, Ethel’s at 250. It was busy and the place was so small that it was an hour wait to be seated, but the people were friendly and the food was yummy. I loved this sign they had hanging over the door, what a great reminder…
Before turning in for the night, we went down to the Desert Dock for ice cream. It was a little sidewalk type of ice cream place that was directly below the deck of our room. It was going to be my sis’ treat, but when she tried to hand the guy the money he wouldn’t take it and said it was on him. What a wonderful surprise! It was funny too because I was playing around with him and giving him a hard time about not having my favorite flavor (mint chocolate chip) and he said “don’t hate me” and wanted me to try another flavor. But it had peanut butter in it and I thought that was weird for ice cream, so I just got chocolate. Anyway, he was fun. I told him I didn’t hate him anymore because he gave us free ice cream. 😀
The next morning we checked out and packed up the car, but we stayed in the area and went to a few of the shops and art galleries in town. My favorite place was a beautiful art gallery called Stone’s Throw where they featured all types of various art from local artists in the area.
My sis snapped this picture of my daughter and I standing out in front of it. Even the outside of this gallery was lovely…
After leaving Bayfield we wanted to stay along the coast of Lake Superior, but when looking at the map we discovered that there were no roads that continued along the coast, so we wouldn’t be able to do that. Plan B, we decided to take one of the main roads across and then cut back up to Lake Superior again in Marquette Michigan.
This was the most unexciting (boring) part of our journey and we were forced to find other ways to entertain ourselves while on the road. Upon entering a town called Covington which seemed to only contain a gigantic white church, we made up a story about the town being the center of a religious cult. The story got more and more inventive as we went along and started noticing some of the names of the streets (like Section 16 Road and Cemetery Road), and rivers (like Parent River) that ran through it. Not to mention that the town didn’t show on any of our maps. There were also old abandoned train box cars with grass growing on top of them that went along the entire stretch of road before and after the town. At the end we saw a sign for King Lake and decided that the town was something from out of a Stephen King novel. Oh how the imagination can run wild on the road ey? It was lovely countryside along there though. Of course… that’s where all the creepy cult stories take place. 😉
Somewhere along the leg of that journey we stopped at Wolf Mountain, which ended up not really being a mountain at all. My daughter has a thing for wolves and so when we saw a sign for Wolf Mountain we had to check it out.
It ended up being a beautiful little detour. My daughter snapped this at the “top” of Wolf Mountain…
It was lovely there, but we weren’t able to get out and explore because there were swarms of blood sucking flies surrounding our car…
After battling killer flies and a harrowing escape from an imaginary religious cult, we finally made it to Marquette in one piece. 😉 It was a great little town and we found a nice hotel to stay at.
The next morning we headed down to the lake and found a perfect spot to just sit and enjoy being by the water. It was an absolutely gorgeous day!
Well, my sis and I sat, my daughter “played”
Technically I played too ~ I played my new little Piano Board…
I picked up this little gem of an instrument at Eckels, one of the art galleries in Bayfield, and it makes the loveliest sound ~ like wind chimes. ♥
There was some sort of event/festival going on at the other end of town, so we basically had this whole portion of the beach to ourselves ~ except for the visit of an occasional seagull…
Once we left Marquette that meant we would be saying goodbye to Lake Superior because it was time to start heading back south for our return trip. I was really wishing we had more time, I wanted so much to go to all the way to Sault Ste. Marie.
We did continue along the coast a bit further to Munising, and on the way we found the most beautiful scenic roadside area…
It was this spot along Lake Superior made me feel the most like I was at the ocean. It was chilly and windy and the waves were crashing onto to the shore. It was breathtaking, I loved it. ♥
I wish we could have stayed there longer, but it was onto adventures in haunted hotels for us…
On the last night of our trip we had no idea where we were going to end up. We had headed south from Munising and thought about staying in Green Bay, but I really didn’t want to stay in a city type of atmosphere, and I still wanted to see Lake Michigan, so we pressed on and went a bit further east until we reached the coast of Lake Michigan and ended up in a little town called Kewaunee.
It was well into the early evening as we pulled into town to find that there were all of two places to stay in Kewaunee, and one of them was reported to be haunted. Well there was no way in heaven or hell that my sis would spend the night in a haunted hotel so we chose the other. And it was icky. 😦 It may not have been “haunted” but it was oppressive and kinda creepy just the same, and it was a bit of a disappointment to end our trip staying in such a place. But as per usual, we tried to make the best of it. And one fun memory I will take with me from there is when my daughter and I had a silly (sleep deprived?) giggling fit together at 3 a.m. when both of us were awoken in the middle of the night by my sis’ snoring. I was laughing so hard that I needed my inhaler, and when I went to get it out of my bag and walked back to the bed shaking it up, my sis waved at me in her sleep. She said later that she was awake, and thought I was waving at her, but she was still snoring, it was hilarious!
We didn’t spend the night at the haunted hotel, but we still went over there that evening and ate at their tavern. My daughter was absolutely beside herself with excitement at the possibility of being in someplace that was reportedly haunted, so we went there to inquire about it all and ended up staying for dinner. The people there were so wonderful and the atmosphere and decor of the hotel was gorgeous. It may have been haunted, but it had a better vibe than the place we were staying at. I still wouldn’t have wanted to spend the night there though. 😉
But I do want to share what happened to me while we were there having dinner. Think what you will about it. The entire time at the table there was a strange sense of static electricity on my shins. When I mentioned it to my sis and my daughter, my sis said that she was feeling it a little bit too. My daughter was disappointed that she wasn’t. Then all of the sudden I felt a tapping on my left thigh. It was playful like fingertips tapping out a melody. It was obvious and not my imagination. It didn’t scare me, but it startled me quite a bit. I wasn’t expecting anything like that, and it was shocking. I consider myself to be sensitive to spiritual things and I get vibes about certain things sometimes, and I felt no sense of malice from whatever it was that touched my leg, but it did freak me out a little. Still does when I think about it.
The story goes that one of the spirits said to inhabit this hotel is a young boy who was the grandson of the original owner and died of meningitis at the age of 5. My daughter says I’ve always been a kid magnet, so it was probably him who touched me. I don’t know what to think. I do love and adore children, but I don’t know how I feel about the thought of a ghost one touching me…
Here is a photo my daughter snapped of the place from the car.
And here’s a link to their website’s about page The Kewaunee Inn
After our ghost adventures we went out to be by the water before going back to our hotel. There was a beautiful, nearly full moon shining over Lake Michigan that night, but between the 3 of us we all failed to get a decent photo. This was the best I could do…
Hi again moon! ♥
In the morning instead of heading straight home, we took a quick drive up the peninsula to Door County. It’s supposed to be a pretty big deal, but we were flying blind and didn’t really know what to look for, so we didn’t get a whole lot out of it. Plus we were short on time and were starting to switch out of vacation mode by then too.
It was a pretty drive though and I saw a sign with my name on it along the side of the road, so that was fun. 😀
I also saw a cool rustic gate at one of the places where we stopped to use the bathroom, but I didn’t go and see where it led to…
On the previous day on our way to Kewaunee, I had seen a sign for a vineyard called Parallel 44 and thought what an interesting name. It sounded sort of sci-fi to me and the inner nerd in me wanted to know the story behind it. We stopped there for a wine tasting on our way out of town and I left there a bit tipsy, along with 2 bottles of red and a bottle of white. 😉
The story behind their name… not so much sci-fi, but still very cool.
I’ll just copy and paste what it says on their website about how they got their name…
Our geographical location was the inspiration for the name of our winery – Parallel 44. We are situated on 44° North Latitude – which circles the globe, and is renown as the world’s finest grape growing and wine making region. This latitude includes the great wine regions of Bordeaux, France and Tuscany, Italy. Unlike our European counterparts we endure winters of subzero temperatures, inspiring the name of our Frozen Tundra wine. We do, however, share many similarities with these regions such as seasonal growing climate, annual rainfall, and length of daylight. It is our inspiration to share this latitude with our counterparts, while celebrating our own unique tradition of growing grapes on the “Frozen Tundra” of Wisconsin.
It was their “Frozen Tundra” wines that I bought. It’s quite tasty! 😀
All during our drive we admired the many varieties of wildflowers growing along the roadsides, and on the way home my sis thought we should pick some. These were real pretty, but I wasn’t willing to go and pick them because they were a bit too far into the ditch and I was afraid of the bugs, so my sis went in and picked them.
No wonder she gets wood ticks. 😉
In all it was a really great trip and I’m so thankful for everything. I am glad to be home though, I missed my bed, and my garden, and my cat. ♥