Sunday, August 14, 2011

It's not summer without this trip

Ahh, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in Leelanau County, Michigan. Recently the Dunes were a finalist in Good Morning America's Most Beautiful Place in America contest (see the video here. Sleeping Bear Dunes is featured in the second half of the 5-minute segment, and it looks just as beautiful as it truly is!).

We love it for so many reasons.
We have some things that we must do there every year, and other things are on an every-other-year-or-so rotation. We decide what to do when we are there, depending on the weather, and our mood.

This year we visited Northport and the Grand Traverse Lighthouse.

I love lighthouses, and all the furnishings in them.
Here is a photo of a photo of a shipwreck not far off shore from where we were:
View of Lake Michigan from the top of the Grand Traverse Lighthouse:
I love signposts! I keep wanting to make one for our yard! I like to think about what destinations my signpost would feature. The Dunes for sure.
The shore at Grand Traverse Lighthouse is rocky, so it's not really a beach-goer's paradise, but we like to walk the shoreline anyway.
This anchor is on display at the Northport harbor. It was discovered on the lake bed about 30 years ago, and is believed to be from a mid-1800s era ship.
Sunset over Sleeping Bear Bay:
We did our must-do hike up the Empire Bluff for this beautiful view of Lake Michigan, Sleeping Bear Dunes, and South Bar Lake:
Then we headed down to the beach and put our kayak in South Bar lake, and I took this photo of the bluff from the lake:
Most of the beaches in the area are remote and not developed at all. The beach in Empire is the most accessible, and therefore the busiest, and every year it seems we see something unusual there.

This year's oddity:
An amphibious vehicle! I felt like I was seeing Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in action!

Those guys had everyone's attention, that's for sure!

Another day we hiked to Pyramid Point. The weather was moody. We watched the rain sweep across the Manitou Islands, and the clouds and wind made the lake change color every minute. I was sad to see my favorite tree has fallen over:
(previous photos of this same tree here and here)

The kids found charred wood on the beach and left some fun rocks behind for other people to find:
I love it there so much, it's almost an ache.

Now that we are home again, I dream of it every night.

edited to add: more photos of this vacation in this flickr set


Glenda said...

What a beautiful place in which to vacation, Tracy. I see why you dream of it :-).

The amphibious car is all kinds of awesome. I bet your kids were over the moon about that!

Lynn said...

Looks like a great trip. We saw one of those cars in the fair parade on Saturday.