Vacation Part 1: the Midwest

We took a vacation! Two weeks of it in fact. After Olivia’s trip to Nicaragua and a week in Syracuse, we hit the road and headed to Michigan, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. for a somewhat random, yet exciting vacation. With plenty of interviews ahead of Olivia and surely more work assignments across the country for Kyle, we figured it would be nice to travel for fun together before a busy rest of the year.

The first leg of our trip was from Syracuse to Grand Rapids, which served as a brief pit stop before heading up to my (Kyle’s) family cottage on Lake Michigan in Ludington. The weather was a little cooler than we had hoped, but we still found plenty of time to hang out on the beach, do a little swimming, and walk around the beautiful property, increasing our daily outdoor time by 700 percent.

We enjoyed spending time with our four year old niece, Alayna, who is super cute but also super demanding on time. (Do not expect any kids from us for a few more years…). She loves making sand castles and painting rocks from the beach, which are two classic pastimes up at the cottage. My sister and her fiancé were also able to spend some time with us before going back to college, and it was nice to hang out with everyone together as a family. (click the left/right arrows to see more pictures of the trip!) 

After a few days in Ludington we traveled north to the Upper Peninsula (UP). Apparently people not from the Midwest are not trained in Michigan geography, but yes, the state is divided into two parts and is connected by a bridge. Anyway, we crossed that bridge and into the wilderness of the UP where there is basically no one and sparsely located little towns and spent a couple nights in my dad’s parent’s cabin in a town called Naubinway.

 

Part of the reason we went all the way up there (like 4+ hours) was to visit Mackinac Island, which is another Michigan treasure. The island has some residents but is a tourist hotspot, especially during the summer, which has no cars and only horses and bicycles. It was not really too busy since it was a week day near the end of summer, which made it nice for viewing some of the iconic buildings and spots on the island and taking a bike ride around the cost. As with any good trip to Mackinac Island, we ended the day snacking on some fudge.

 

The rest of our time in Michigan was spent back in Ludington (4 more hours driving), walking on the beach, painting rocks, going kayaking, playing tennis, and having a midnight campfire on the beach roasting marshmallows and watching the stars. We did spend a little time in Grand Rapids too and saw my grandma before repacking the car for week two. Next stop: Philadelphia!