Up North: Days 4 and 5

It’s about time we wrapped this trip up.

As I mentioned before, we woke up to the smell of breakfast downstairs. The reviews I had read online raved about the food at the Bellaire Bed and Breakfast. I was excited. We learned that there were a number of food allergies and dietary restrictions that our chef had to accommodate. My excitement started to dwindle when I discovered there was someone who was vegan and someone else who was dairy free. What kind of gourmet breakfast can you prepare with those restrictions!? Ross and I eyed each other as we tried to figure out who the culprits were.

Surprisingly, our chef rose to the challenge and we were presented with delicious food. The oatmeal bake, topped with raspberries and blueberries, was served along side vanilla bean ice cream (optional, of course). Ice cream…at breakfast. My favorite part of this meal, however, was the fruit salad which was served with coconut flavored balsamic vinegar. Yum! Our hosts told us they purchase the vinegars from Fustini’s in Traverse City. I wish I would have known about this when we were in Traverse City! Ross didn’t care for the coconut flavor, but I’m sure we could have found one we both liked.

Anyway, once our tummies were full, we headed out for our final excursion: Mackinac Island.

We took the advice of others and drove over the Mackinac Bridge to St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula and then took the ferry from there to the island. It was a chilly, but pretty ride across the bay. Once we arrived, I confirmed K‘s description of the island: it smells like poop and fudge. Yup.

Our plan was to rent bikes and do the 8-mile loop around the perimeter of the island. We stopped a few times along the way to see a few of the popular sites. Like Arch Rock:

This is Ross conquering his fear of heights (kind of) as we climbed the 300+ steps to see Arch Rock:

We took another breather along the shore that faced the Mackinac Bridge. Ross decided to get creative with his photography:

Once we finished the loop, we went off the beaten path to see some of the other famous spots of the island like Sugar Loaf  { below }.

We had a map, so we had an idea of where we were going and how to find our way back. I don’t think either of us expected to work so hard, though! Maybe I’m just out of shape, but my legs were killing me! We had a real workout and returned our bikes exhausted. But since we hadn’t seen the famous Grand Hotel, we continued our tour on foot. It really is a pretty hotel, but since we weren’t paying customers and were far from following the required dress code, we viewed it from a distance and made our way back to town to purchase some fudge and catch the ferry back to St. Ignace.

On our walk back to town, we passed this lovely home of a Hoosier:

I think we both took a quick cat nap on the 20 minute ferry ride. We were warned that everything on Mackinac is very overpriced, so we planned ahead and brought some snacks. We only purchased our bike rentals and fudge. By the time we returned to St. Ignace, we were pretty hungry. So, we decided to grab a bite to eat at a local dive, Java Joe’s. We had heard mixed reviews of this place. Despite the name, we had heard the coffee wasn’t very good. But we took a chance and ordered some food. Hit the spot. We felt a little reenergized to drive back to Bellaire.

By the time we got there, it was pretty late and we both felt pretty gross from a long day of riding bikes and hiking around Mackinac. So, we showered off { see tub below! } and walked around downtown Bellaire. Most of the shops were closed, but we managed to walk through a few quaint shops that were right up my alley (not so much Ross’s…).

We decided we needed more food. Moka is a cool, little, corner coffee shop in downtown Bellaire. We split a pizza and each got a local beer. This might have been my favorite dinner. It was unplanned and comfortable. We had great conversation. We thanked each other for a fun little vacation. I told Ross I purchased his 30th birthday present early…tickets to see the top 8 from “So You Think You Can Dance”. He was surprised…and excited!  I was planning to tell him the week before the show in October. Apparently, I cannot keep surprises a secret for very long.

Breakfast the next morning was a perfect start to our day of driving south to Plymouth! Michigan, you are a lovely state.

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