Enjoying: Last of Michigan

The suitcases are packed, and we’re about ready to say goodbye to Michigan. We’ll slowly make our way home, stopping for a few more adventures with friends and family along the way, but we will be good and ready to reenter our routines when we’re home. It’s been a summer without hustle, the most valuable feeling I’m protecting and taking home with me.

I haven’t done a lot of writing here–pausing the exhale for more inhale. But I’ve read books, taken walks, floated on my back in the lake at high noon, kayaked as the sun sets, sipped my morning coffee from the hammock, held my kid’s hand as she braved her first jump off the dock and driven on long winding roads framed by nothing but cornfields and forests for hours–and  I’d like to think that all equals something, as Extreme would say, More Than Words.

The last of our Michigan adventures enjoyed:

Hartwick Pines State Park
…a majestic sanctuary of trees, many that are fallen providing a natural playground for the kids. We hiked a path that led to a tiny chapel in the woods, and though it was all I could do not to call in a rescue (two of four kids were crying and asking to be held), we found the chapel, arriving at the most magical light and yes, it was worth it.

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Thank God I thought to bring the Boba.

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“I Goin’ to the Yake.”
He likes me to follow several paces behind him to prove he can make his way there all by himself.

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This red barn and field of Queen Anne’s Lace that sang its siren call on our drive the other day.

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Petoskey, Michigan.
…hugs Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay and offers the charm of its historic Gaslight District with shops and restaurants. The kids love the playground at the bay where, if you look closely, you can watch people jumping off the breakwall in the distance, which is apparently a rite of passage for vacationers.

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The Park Dinosaur
May I introduce this T-Rex that was running around the park in Petoskey the other day. No kids’ party. No reason. Just a random guy who got bored Sunday afternoon and decided to turn off Netflix, grab his dino costume and head down to the park to chase kids. Part creepy but mostly hilarious because I don’t think he realized the big kids would chase him with the intention of, what appeared to be, killing him. He was BOOKING it. So much that Nella’s initial cries at spotting him turned into straight-up laughing because yes, watching a T-Rex sprint and weasel through the park with a trail of kids screaming and chasing him is indeed a knee-slapping event.

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3 in Stripes at once.

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Isaac the dinosaur who comes with us everywhere.

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Summer reading.
There’s a stack of old kids’ books from the 70’s at Gary’s family cottage. The Sesame Street one doesn’t have Elmo in it because he wasn’t born yet.

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Not giving a hoot about how filthy they get. I think I’ve washed their hair sll of maybe 4 times on this entire trip.

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Watching my dad love my kids.

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The way-past-bedtime cereal bowl she talks my dad into giving her.

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Switching clothes.
They wear the same size, and I love it.

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The girl who caught 15 fish on her own the other day and now has a slight obsession with fishing.

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Lake swimming.
I love the ocean but don’t have the overwhelming urge to dive in and swim. Here? I want to go under. I want to canon ball off the boat, somersault under the water and swim until I’m too tired to tread water.

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Breakfast bagels in the garden.

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Tucking an entire month of memories with these guys in the books.

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Looking forward to going home and all that the horizon holds.

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Leave a Comment
  1. This feels so warm…so right…so magical! Thank you taking me with you Kelle! I feel like I got a double vacation this summer. xoxoxoxoxo

  2. Love!! <3

    Safe travels home…..

  3. I’m depressed that your vacation is over! I loved everything about it!
    You rock,,,Your family rocks!
    Love, all the way from Wisconsin

  4. Jennifer B. says:

    Wow. Outstanding pictures! I always think the Michigan Tourism Board should be paying you for your summer photos. They are amazing, and I’ve had a trip there planned in my head for at least three years now. Next summer might be it.

    Glad y’all made such wonderful memories. I would love to spend my summer this way!

  5. I am already looking forward to your Fall and christmas posts 😄

  6. You have given everyone a beautiful summer to remember♥
    i think you are a wonderful loving mom..3 isnt’ easy:) we have 2 arms:)
    My daughters are wonderful loving moms too.

  7. We were just in Petoskey and Charlevoix last Friday. As we sat with our feet in the water, my husband was on his phone looking for jobs there so we could just pack up and move there….your dad’s property looks magical…just what “up north” and lake living should look like.

  8. I second what Susie said. Also an ode to home post & a back to school post & new year in September post…I love the way you write & how your pictures tell a story. Everything about this post was perfect. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Thanks for sharing your delightful vacation with us. ♥️

  10. Thank you kelle. What a fab summer. That photo of your dad, gary and your 3. Just perfect. Such a great composition. Have a safe journey home xxx

  11. I am so jealous that you get to be a stay at home mom and have these memories! I mean that positively and sincerely, I would give anything!

  12. I have a somewhat random question. Is there not a gator risk in lakes up there like there is down here? So many stories of it happening over the summer, it just made me wonder.

    • Nope, we don’t have alligators and no poisonous snakes either. Water snakes and biting insects might be as bad as it gets here in Michigan. That’s is if you don’t mind the winters 😉

      • Tanya Smith says:

        That’s the best part of lake life in Michigan! No real threats, unless you count touching some seaweed with your toes or getting bitten by a horsefly on a particularly still summer day. Last summer, my daughter was convinced there was an alligator in the lake in Traverse City and would.not.go.in (it was a bit of driftwood underwater). We have lived in Michigan my whole life, and my kids have never seen a real alligator, shark, or any other predator but she still got that idea in her head!

  13. Katherine Smith says:

    Divinely beautiful …. and is it a bit weird that i’m quite excited for the reunited with Brett/Daddy post!!?? :)

  14. Your trip was perfect. I love your Dad. His post about you driving away made me cry. Kaish came out to the car after his shift and he said, “Why are you weeping?” I told him ‘Kelle is on her way home with the kids.’ He said “I don’t even want to know.” Then he told me to get out of the seat because he wanted to drive. They grow up quickly.

  15. All the best to you for your journey home & what lies ahead. Still love you & your work here, but I am so sad to discover we are polar opposites on the lake v. ocean issue. 😜 No worries. All water matters. 😘

  16. Kelle,
    Oh my gosh I don’t even know where to start…
    I love your blog so much, you have such a magical way with words, your such a great story teller, sincerely.
    I’m born and raised in western Michigan so I love reading your posts of coming home and sharing all the beautiful things about summer in northern Michigan. Such a treat for your family and for us lucky folks that you have shared just a snippet of your life with.
    Wishing you safe a safe journey home.

  17. Beautiful. Special memories. And your photography is spectacular.

  18. My parents are both from Detroit area so we spent our summers growing up at Higgins Lake. My cousins all have houses “up north” & your summer posts always bring back great memories for me. I still tell my kids about going to Mackinaw Island where there are no cars. Thanks for memories!

  19. I loved everything about this post. Beautiful pictures and story. Your summer posts have made me excited about summer since before I had children. And I am not a summer girl!

  20. Auntie Mip says:

    Isn’t it funny how what we love and desire most is shaped by what we know? I specifically reference your preference for lakes over the ocean. I grew up on Puget Sound. I would sooner swim in the Sound 24 hours straight than a lake. Lakes skeeve me out!

    Glad you had such a lovely trip. It is good to be itching to go home. Travel is wonderful but how his home. And, per Laura Ingalls Wilder, “Home is the nicest word there is.”

  21. Thank you for your corner of the internet. The place I come to be inspired, to feel less alone in parenting and to remember to find the magic in these childhoods I’m helping them navigate. Your words, your pictures… they speak to me.

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