Wordful Wednesday ~ The Class Trip

Well… I’m back. Did you  miss me?

Wait…. did you even notice that I was gone? Never mind… don’t answer that one.

Last week I spent a wonderful two days with my daughter on Mackinac Island for her 4th grade class trip. For me (and probably her) it was a trip of a lifetime because as many times as I’ve been to the island I’ve never had the opportunity to actually stay on the island and it has been something that I’ve always wanted to do.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit the great state of Michigan I highly recommend taking the time to visit Mackinac Island. It is one of the most beautiful places to visit and full of history.

The Grand Hotel

The Grand Hotel

The Grand Hotel is the biggest, most beautiful (and most expensive place on the island) hotel with a strict dress code! The swimming pool at the stately Grand Hotel was built expressly for the 1946 Esther Williams film This Time for Keeps who happened to be an Olympic swimmer. Also, the Grand Hotel was the setting for the 1979 love story movie Somewhere in Time starring Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeves.

I have yet to even step foot on the front porch of that place, but it is a dream that I will one day be able to stay there. For now though I can look from afar, snap pictures, and dream of what it is like on the inside.

Lauren in a cave

Our trip included so many things to do and see! The first night there we biked the entire perimeter of the island on bikes that we rented… 8.2 miles total! I’ll be honest… it didn’t seem like it was that far because the road was flat pretty much the entire time. Of course we had to stop a few times when we found something that caught our interest… kind of like the small cave that Lauren is standing in.


We spent some time in one of two butterfly houses on the island. There are hundreds of butterflies there from around the world and the perfect opportunity to pause and take some pictures up close of the butterflies… that is when they held still long enough. I wasn’t able to get a picture of the large blue ones that were flying around us though… it was almost as big as the palm of my hand and a beautiful bright blue with black markings on it.

Arch Rock

Arch Rock

One of my favorite locations on the island is Arch Rock. It’s a huge arch carved into the rock surrounding the edge of the hill. On a clear sunny day the water is crystal clear close to the shore and a shimmering blue the further out you look and if you’re lucky you can see fish swimming in the water.

This was one of the places that I really wanted to visit again while we were there and share it with my daughter. I knew that it would be one of the highlights of the trip and I was right.. she thought that it was really cool! Score one for mom!

So here are a few fun facts about Mackinac Island.

  • Mackinac Island (pronounced Mackinaw) owes its name to the Anishinaabe-Ojibwe Native American tribes, who called it Michilimackinac, or “Land of the Great Turtle.”
  • The island located between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas, 7 miles east of the Mackinac Bridge, in Lake Huron. It is home to 500-600 year-round residents. Yes, they stay there even in the winter when the lakes have frozen over.
  • Mackinac Island prohibits all motorized vehicles (except for emergency and government vehicles) and is home to M-185, the nation’s only state highway that prohibits motorized vehicles. I’ve only ever seen one vehicle on the island and that was the ambulance and it was parking near the medical center.
  • The island has over 68 different kinds of lilacs on it and one lilac tree that has been estimated to be 200 – 300 years old by experts.

I’m pretty sure that the class trip was one that the kids won’t forget for many years to come! I know that I won’t.

Have you taken a memorable trip with one of your kids as part of a class trip?

Great Places to Visit in Michigan

A few weeks ago I was talking with a co-worker, who just moved to Michigan, about all the things that you can do with your family and it got me to thinking. I figured that I would share with you some of the places I love to visit and hopefully it will inspire you to come check them out too.

With as much negative that you hear about Michigan, it’s economy and crime in the news, there is little that is said about all the great things that there are to do with your family. You can drive almost anywhere in the state and find something fun for the entire family.

Michigan is a great state to come and explore!

I’ve always lived in Michigan… from Taylor, Lapeer, Flint, Traverse City, and my current home in the Owosso area (there are a few towns I left out to make this post short). And everywhere you go there are tons of things to do but I’m going to share with you some of my favorites.

Now these things are the must do’s in Michigan as far as I’m concerned especially if you live here.

Now on to the list in no particular order either.

Mackinac Island

Two of the modes of transport on Mackinac Isla...

Downtown Mackinac Island


I’ve been to the island and Mackinac City more times that I can count. I absolutely love going to the island and spending the day wandering around the small shops, tasting the amazing fudge, and enjoying the beautiful views of the Grand Hotel and the crystal clear lakes that surround the island. There are no motorized vehicles on the island and everyone walks, uses bikes or horses to get around and this helps to maintain the Victorian charm that the residents have worked so hard at. The only thing that I haven’t done yet is stay over night on the island, but it is definitely on my list of things to do.

Michigan’s Adventure

What better way to spend a sunny summer day than riding the great rides and splashing around the water park! That’s what’s so great about Michigan’s Adventure … you get two parks for the price of one! I was there a few years ago with my two older girls and we had a great time but the only thing that I would suggest it staying the night in the area because after a long day riding the rides, swimming, and playing in the sun a long car ride home isn’t fun.

Sunrise on Lake Huron and Sunset on Lake Michigan

Where else can you go and watch the sunrise over beautiful lake and then drive to the other side of the state and watch the sun set over another lake? I’ve done both of these.. not on the same day… and again the views are gorgeous and something that you can’t miss. Several years ago my daughter wanted to see the sunset so we took a trip over to Holland and spent the weekend there. In the evening we packed up and went to the beach and watched the sun change from yellow, orange, red, and shades of pink as it set over Lake Michigan.

Detroit Zoo

I love going to the zoo and wandering around and checking out all the animals. I know that it doesn’t change all that much but it’s still a lot of fun for kids of any age. From the petting zoo, feeding the giraffes, and watching the penguins dive and swim you won’t be disappointed. This year they have a dinosaur exhibit where they have over 30 animatronic dinosaurs that roar and snarl just like the real ones. We were going to go to the zoo on Mother’s Day weekend but wanted to wait till the new dinosaur exhibit opened this summer.

Binder Park Zoo

Binder Park is a bit different from your regular zoo in that it’s more like an African Safari type zoo. You can walk up and feed the giraffes, see various species of birds fly right in front of you, and watch animals in a  environment that is similar to their natural habitat. Last summer we took a trip down to Binder Park and we really enjoyed it especially feeding the giraffes and being so close that you can touch them.

National Cherry Festival

Like I said before I lived in Traverse City for a while and when I was there I went to the Cherry Festival the first couple of years, but after that the tourists started to get on my nerves. Lots of people driving around lost or just not sure where they want to go. Honestly, I could dedicate this entire post or two to the Cherry Festival to explain all the great things there are to do there. A couple of my favorite things though were the fireworks over the bay and the Blue Angels flying over the bay during the air show. If you ever get the chance go check it out… just know what you want to do & see before you get there!

Children’s Museums (Flint, Lansing, and Grand Rapids)

These places are a great rainy day activity with the kids. I will say that my oldest (a teenager) didn’t enjoy them as much as the younger kids did, regardless there is a lot of hands on activities and fun things to do.

Greenfield Village

The Wright Brother's house. It originally stoo...

The Wright Brother's House

Living history and seeing first hand how things were done so many years ago can be interesting and educational at the same time. I’ve been to Greenfield Village a countless number of times and will always revisit it. Some of the highlights are Noah Websters home, Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park labs, and the courthouse where Abe Lincoln practiced law. You can also take a ride through the village in a model T or take a ride on the old fashion carousel.

Henry Ford Museum

If you plan on going to Henry Form Museum make sure you plan on spending the day there! From planes suspended from the ceiling, to giant locomotives, and the car the JFK was in when he was assassinated I’m sure that you’ll find something that will peak your interest. We took the girls there a few years ago and all 3 of them really  liked it and there was something for each of the despite their age differences. I think that they all walked away having learnt something new.

Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes

These dunes run almost the entire length of the west side of the state along the coast of Lake Michigan. In Frankfort you can do the dune climb and then walk (hike) all the way to the lake. I did this one year and the view was very deceiving … I thought that the lake was much closer than it really was… I think that the walk is close to 2 miles. There are areas along the shoreline where you can walk, hike, or take a ride in a dune buggy. I’ve done it all too! There is legend to the name too.

“Long ago, along the Wisconsin shoreline, a mother bear and her two cubs were driven into Lake Michigan by a raging forest fire. The bears swam for many hours, but eventually the cubs tried and lagged behind. Mother bear reached the shore and climbed to the top of a high bluff to watch and wait for her cubs. Too tired to continue, the cubs drowned within sight of the shore. The Great Spirit Manitou created two islands to mark the spot where the cubs disappeared and then created a solitary dune to represent the faithful mother bear”.

Have you been to any of these places? Are you planning on going? Share your experiences with the rest of us!