Guys!! Where do I even start? We had the busiest, best week in the Traverse City area!! This might turn into a really long post…I’ll try to keep it to a reasonable length…no promises though.
The first thing we did when we got to town was head to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore where
the boys did some Junior Rangering. We had a new experience at this visitor center. For the first time in…I honestly can’t tell you how many National Parks/Memorials/Monuments/Battlefields/Forts/Historic Sites we almost left without getting the badge/patch. The boys were finishing up the booklet and one of the Rangers told us it was closing time and we needed to leave. When we asked about the Junior Ranger books he was very unapologetic and completely uncaring. It was time to go…we needed to get out. So, on our way out we quickly mentioned it to another Ranger there and she very nicely and quickly gave the boys their badges/patches. It didn’t take long. We didn’t insist on the swearing in ceremony that usually accompanies the badges. But, it left a bad taste in our mouths. If this had been the first time doing a Junior Ranger Program…we might have just quit. I would hate to see someone stop doing the Junior Ranger Program because of a Ranger’s bad attitude. The boys have learned so much through this program! All of the other Ranger’s we’ve ever met in all of our travels were the complete opposite of this one Ranger. I hope he has better days ahead. Now, that being said…check out the cool patch/badge!
I’m not sure what you picture when you think of Michigan..this is not what I pictured. This gorgeous blue lake was a shock to us.
The day we went it was super windy. I think we all came away from our hike a little smoother from being buffed out by the sand. We had sand everywhere, but none of us minded. The views were too pretty and it was a wonderfully sunny day!
We were surprised by how much green there was covering some of the sand dunes. During our hike we learned about the whys and the whats of it all. I’m trying to keep this post semi-short…so I’ll not go into the details.
It was tricky getting pictures with the sand blowing so hard. If you look closely at the edge of the sand in the picture above you can see the sand blowing away. I had to wait to snap a quick picture in between the gusts of wind.
We could have stood there and taken in this view for hours even with the wind, blowing sand, and the cold temps. We kept saying, “Look at the color of the water!”
If you can believe it, there were people in the lake surfing! Guys, it had to be close to freezing in the water. I’m getting hypothermia just thinking about it.
It looks like some forgotten island somewhere. It’s hard to believe that’s Lake Michigan! I do believe Lake Michigan is our favorite of the Great Lakes! The lake was beautiful in every single view we got of it!
If you like lighthouses
and beaches then Michigan is definitely a state you need to visit!
Green coffee beans waiting to go in the roaster.
We found a coffee house called Higher Grounds Coffee who roasts their coffee in store. We went in for a tour not really knowing what to expect. We’ve toured distilleries, breweries, tea plantations, chocolate houses, cheese factories, chip factories…but we’ve never had the opportunity to tour a coffee roaster. Our tour guide, Jennifer, was super nice and extremely knowledgeable about the entire process. You can see a bag of green coffee beans in the photo above. This is how Higher Grounds gets them from several different growers.
The coffee roaster Higher Grounds uses.
Jennifer explained how the founder (Chris Treter) of the company went to Mexico as part of his post-graduate internship. He worked closely with and became good friends to a community of coffee farmers while in Mexico and really got a good look at the poverty these growers live and work in. When it was time for Chris to leave he wanted to find a way to keep helping the coffee farmers. When asked, the farmers told Chris that he could sell their coffee to help.
Roasted coffee beans.
Chris went back to his home in the US and started selling coffee, but he didn’t stop there. He wanted to help his friends back in Mexico get out of poverty. He wanted to make their lives better so he found ways to give back. Higher Grounds has helped bring water to communities that had to walk miles each day to reach a fresh source of water. That might not sound like a big deal, but can you imagine what you could accomplish if you suddenly had an extra 5 hours a day? Can you imagine having to walk a few miles to get a glass of water, brush your teeth, or bathe?
After Jennifer walked us through the entire process from getting the beans to roasting them, she brewed us two different kinds of beans. So, here’s the thing…I don’t drink coffee. Not even a little. The two members of our family who do drink coffee enjoyed the coffee tasting immensely. Jennifer taught us how to properly brew coffee to insure we get the same taste every time then she taught us how to slurp. Yup, you read that right! Slurp. You need to slurp your coffee so you can taste all the coffee has to offer.
We had a great time learning about and trying coffee! Higher Grounds Coffee is a great company. You can find it in some stores, but don’t worry…if it’s not offered in a store near you, you can also order it online! This company is actually making a difference in the world. Our world would be a better place if more companies cared enough to change the lives of those who can’t change it themselves. Go to their website and order some coffee!!
We love to hit spots like this!
Those are cherry trees. I was shocked by the sheer number of cherry trees in this area…until I found out that the National Cherry Festival is held in Traverse City.
It should come as no surprise that the World Record Cherry Pie was made here. Littlest was in cherry heaven.
You could pretty much find cherry anything here. Cherry jelly, cherry salsa, cherry popcorn, cherry candy, cherry ice cream, cherry cake, dried cherries, spicy cherries…I kind of feel like the shrimp guy on Forrest Gump.
We walked away with a few yummies!
Speaking of yummies…let’s talk foodies! We found a place called Slabtown Burger. It has this burger that’s stuffed with
cream cheese and jalapenos and…bacon. It’s my new favorite out of all 40 states! Y’all…this burger is ah-mazing!!
Littlest has a thing for flavored popcorn. We love to support local shops so we ended up with a couple bags!
We snuck in a date night! This fried pickle was an appetizer. It was surprisingly good! It’s a pickle spear wrapped in Swiss cheese, ham, and a wonton wrapper then deep fried. It was sooo good! I think we’re going to make these ourselves!
Its a six layer cappuccino cake with mocha frosting. You can’t tell, but it’s huge!! Jerl and I got half of it down before giving up. Don’t worry…we took the rest home where the boys happily devoured it. We were really surprised by all the foodies we found here!
I think all we have left are the pretties!
There were tons of pretties around!
This one was a tree in the RV park we stayed in.
We enjoyed the park we stayed in. It was mostly empty and was big enough to get some descent walking in!
That’s it Guys!!
See y’all down the road!!