I grip the handle tightly in borrowed mittens. Through thick ice fishing boots I feel my feet wobble on the tire-treads of the sled runners. Breathe. In and out. Ahead of me five dogs pull their lines taut and stare intently at our guide, Kyle’s, sled in front of us — they’re waiting for his signal. My friend Mary sits as a rider in Kyle’s sled. But me, I’m driving my own sled. I didn’t expect to be this nervous for Michigan dog sledding. But here I am, quite literally shaking in my (giant) boots. The long list of Kyle’s instructions swivel through my head: Feet on the tire treads. One foot on the drag pedal to slow. Stomp on the claw brake to stop. Keep the dog’s lines tight. And whatever you do, don’t let go if (when) you fall.
When in Grand Rapids, Michigan, you need to stay somewhere grand. And really, in Michigan’s second biggest city, there is no better option than the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. This historic and luxurious riverside hotel is well known among us Michiganders. Personally, I’d wandered its halls at Art Prize festivals past, or walked the skywalk that connects the Amway Grand to neighboring buildings (it’s useful in a Michigan winter… trust). But I’d never actually stayed at the Amway Grand… until our recent visit to Grand Rapids with Experience Grand Rapids!*
You all know by now that one of my favorite places to travel in Michigan is Traverse City, a small city located on Lake Michigan. I’ve spent years coming to Traverse City in the summer for swimming, boating, paddle boarding, farmer’s markets, and quintessential Michigan summer experiences. Turns out Traverse City is equally wonderful in the winter, though… it’s the perfect cozy destination and Cherry Tree Inn was the ideal place to escape the cold.
I have big news, everyone. I got all my Christmas shopping done before December 1st this year. I know, right? No, I’m not a super organized person (ha!). What I do have to thank for this feat is a little coastal town in Northern Michigan: Traverse City. I’ve loved Traverse City for years, from childhood visits to my cousin’s destination wedding a few years ago, but always viewed it as a summer town. What I discovered during my most recent visit, though, is that the Traverse City shopping scene is another reason to love this town.
Ahh, Detroit! Motorcity, Motown….. Gluten Free Heaven?! After spending years growing up and living in Michigan, I finally made it to Detroit (twice in the last month!). It’s definitely a city that gets under your skin and keeps you wanting to come back. The huge variety of gluten free Detroit options may have had something to do with that!
Oh my friends, it has been a lazy month of blogging for me, but I just needed to pop by and share about my birthday weekend in Detroit! This was my first birthday back in the USA and I really wanted to use it as an excuse to get my friends together in one place. However even among my American friends, we are spread out all over the place! A couple months ago I got my wheels turning about a good location that could be a halfway point for everybody and I settled on…. Detroit! Luckily, when I pitched it to my friends, they were keen too, and the plans for my birthday weekend in Detroit began.
As you guys know, I moved back to my home state of Michigan in December, and since then I have been exploring and appreciating it as much as I can. One thing I’ve wanted to do for years is attend Grand Rapids ArtPrize…but the whole living in another country thing kind of got in the way. Each year my mom would go and then send me photos of her day, and I was just so so jealous! This year, though, I made it happen. We drove over to Grand Rapids for the first full day of ArtPrize and it was really everything I dreamed it would be.
I did a poll on Instagram the other day, and I was so surprised to see that 98% of you want to see more Michigan content! One common thought among Americans, especially those of us hailing from the Midwest, is that you have to travel far away for any kind of excitement. Michigan is certainly a different pace than I experienced living in England, but it is special in its own way, and so close to my heart. Michigan is a stunning state, home to more coastline than any other state in the USA! But so many travelers (both international ones and those who live in MI!) still don’t know what our state has to offer. Which is why I’m bringing you my Michigan bucket list.
This past week I scooped up the last of summer, and witnessed the switch from summer to fall in Old Mission Peninsula Michigan. Seriously. One day it was 95 degrees and sweaty, and when I awoke the next morning to the patter of rain, I had to bundle into my sweater. The leaves outside had bloomed into orange patches.
Mackinac Island is one of the most unique places to visit in Michigan… but it also has all the makings for a gluten free traveler’s nightmare. A remote island, only accessible by ferry, with one main road, no cars, and hours from any large grocery shops? That sounds like the kind of place where a gluten free traveler could waste away on limp salads and cross-contaminated side dishes. Could being the operative word. I am so pleased to say that my gluten free Mackinac Island experience was incredible.