I was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio; therefore, I never thought I would be so quick to say that Michigan wins. However, after celebrating the 4th of July on Torch Lake in the Lower Peninsula, I bow to you Michigan. Never have I seen fresh water so blue, so crisp.
It was a whirlwind trip. Somehow Google Maps doesn’t accommodate for traveling with a toddler so it took a little longer than expected but we made it just before dinner time on the 2nd.
Torch Lake Cellars was our first stop. Their unique tasting room is complete with a three story hand carved staircase leading up to a lookout point. Its back patio also holds a one-man driving range. You can buy a bucket of golf balls and practice hitting into gorgeous countryside as you sip on their delicious wines and ciders.
Dinner at Torch Lake Cafe was worth the wait!
As it turns out, Quinn LOVES being on boats as much as her Mama and Daddy! Though she was NOT a fan of the life jacket, she got used to the idea. The water is like no fresh water I have ever seen. It’s blue hues are what have given it the nickname “The Caribbean of the North”.
2 out of 3 of us looking…not bad!
Real life- sometimes traveling with babies is hard and exhausting and it looks a lot like a giant meltdown like the one pictured here. Overall though, considering how out of whack our schedule was, this girl really was a champ. That being said, I am super thankful for understanding and flexible friends that loved us all so well while we were visiting. Despite the sassiness, we managed to have a delicious dinner at Pearl’s New Orleans Kitchen, which I highly recommend if you are in the area and have a hankering for some good old down home cookin’.
That night, 4th of July Eve, we loaded up the pontoon boat and floated on the lake as we watched the fireworks and their gorgeous glow as it reflected off of the water. Letting Quinn stay up way past her bedtime was well worth the sleepless night that followed. We watched her eyes light up with each new “pop” as she called them. I am certain that Ryan and I watched Quinn’s reactions more than we watched the fireworks themselves. There is something so magical and pure about seeing things through a child’s eyes for the first time. It was such a precious reminder of the need to slow down and to appreciate the wonder that is around us.
The morning of the 4th, we ate the most delicious brunch at Trout Town Cafe before heading to the Cherry Street Market to stock up on fresh produce for our cookout.
The afternoon was complete with tubing (holy cow…can you say arm workout?!) and the most delicious ice cream from Higgins. Higgins is tucked at the back of a convenience store, making it a true hidden gem in the quaint little town of Alden, right along Torch Lake.
To break up our drive, we stopped and visited a fraternity brother of Ryan’s who was working at Zingerman’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor. WOW. Not only was the atmosphere so fun and inviting, but they raise, butcher and smoke their own meat and make everything else from their cheeses to their desserts from scratch. They seem to be the jack of all edible trades. There was not one thing that we had that we didn’t like, making it easy to understand why there are lines out the door when school is in session.
I’m so thankful for our awesome friends that hosted us. They are such a picture of hospitality and love. Bruce, Amy, Kelsey and Ryan put up with our crazy little family and let us be a part of a place that means so much to their family. What a joy for us! We were sad to say goodbye but so thankful for the fun long weekend that we had together in such a majestic setting! Though I will still always cheer for The Ohio State Buckeyes, I must say, I am now a fan of pure Michigan and the natural resources and fresh food that it boasts. It’s safe to say I would consider our visit to Michigan a win!