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Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Grand Rapids, Michigan / Judson's Steakhouse in The Bob

September 2017, weekday evening, birthday dinner

Advance reservations

We have been to most of the venues in The Bob several times, although this was our first visit to Judson's Steakhouse. It was my husband's birthday, and the free lobster dinner that Gilly's used to give customers had been taken over by Judson's.

I found this out when I called The Bob to make a reservation and confirm that Gilly's was still offering the free lobster dinner. I was able to make the reservation for the day after my husband's birthday, as his birthday fell on Labor Day, and The Bob was not open.

View out the window from our table

Dining atmosphere at Judson's Steakhouse

The atmosphere inside the restaurant was pleasant. We had a good view from our table, the acoustics were good, and the seating was comfortable.

Menu in the restaurant

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Frankfort, Michigan / Marina, Stormcloud Brewing Company, Betsie Valley Trail, and more

July 2017, Weekday-weekend, 2 nights

Sunset over the pier in Frankfort, Michigan

We stopped in Frankfort on our way south from Suttons Bay, as we wanted to visit Stormcloud Brewing Company and do some biking on Betsie Valley Trail. We ended up staying for two nights!

Frankfort beach, boat launch, and marina

It is about a half mile walk from boat slip #2 at the municipal marina to the beach. Lake Michigan was warm enough for swimming, and the water and beach were both packed even though we visited on weekdays. I took the photo below when we walked on Friday morning. We passed many people heading to the beach already on our way back to the marina. 

Frankfort beach in the morning
The cost to slip our 25' boat overnight was $40, and the launch ramp fee was not included. Most marinas we have stayed in comp the boat launch fee when staying overnight (Suttons Bay and Muskegon municipal, for example). When I asked about this, I was told that the boat launch is separate, so they could not do anything about that. I thought that was odd, since they are both run by the City of Frankfort. The boat launch fee is $7 per day. Frankfort municipal had the best price for gasoline on the water that we saw this week; $3.60 a gallon, and it had been closer to $4 a gallon everywhere else.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Suttons Bay and Traverse City, Michigan / boating, Leelanau Trail, wineries, breweries, dining...

July 2017, Weekend-weekdays, 6-nights

Beautiful clear aqua colored water in Suttons Bay and Grand Traverse Bay!

Suttons Bay Marina, north slips 

We made a reservation at the marina for Friday and Saturday night in advance. You can do this online, and then pay online, or you can mail in a check. We opted to mail a check because there is a service charge to pay with a credit card at this marina. Our home port marina (Muskegon) also charges a service fee to pay with credit card, which is new this year. We did not make an advance reservation for our next stay, as this was during the week, and we were not sure exactly which day we would be returning. Harbormaster Edie was very easy to work with.
View from picnic table in front of slip 68
We stayed in slip #34 for two nights when we arrived. This slip is located in front of the harbormaster office near the boat ramp. It was surprisingly quiet, although there is no view from this slip. When we returned, we stayed two nights in slip #67, which is located farther down on the north side. There is a nice view from this location, although the hike to the restroom is a bit farther. The marina facilities are located in the same building with the public restrooms next to the marina entrance from Front Street. The facility was always well maintained and clean.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Bicycle Trails in Michigan / Fred Meyer Berry Junction Trail, Little Traverse Wheelway, and more

May and June 2017

Little Traverse Wheelway ~ Petoskey, Harbor Springs, SW toward Charlevoix

The bicycle trails in the Petoskey area are some of our favorite ones to ride in Michigan. During this visit, we bicycled from Petoskey State Park to Harbor Springs one day, and from the state park to West Park beyond Bay Harbor the next. There is a short wood-chip trail from Tannery Creek campground to Little Traverse Wheelway. The information in this blog post goes along with previous blog posts about the Petoskey area: bicycle trails, brewery and winery visits, state park September 2015, state park May 2016, and KOA July 2013

View from East Park on Little Traverse Wheelway
It is a little over 20 miles from Petoskey State Park to Charlevoix. We rode as far as West Park, which was almost 11 miles one-way from our campsite. The ride was fairly easy, and there are several parks and benches along the way. You can enjoy a fabulous view of Little Traverse Bay from East Park where there is running water and flush toilets. There are not as many stops between East Park and West Park, as there are between the state park and East Park. West Park is located off the paved trail down a dirt road. This park has vault toilets, no running water, and no view. 

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Ocqueoc and Rogers City, Michigan: Ocqueoc Falls and underground river, 40 Mile Point Lighthouse, Huron-Sunrise Trail and downtown

June 2017

We visited the following sights from P. H. Hoeft State Park. You can find more information about the state park in my previous blog post

Ocqueoc Falls

Ocqueoc Falls and Little Ocqueoc [underground] River

It is just over 15 miles from the state campground to the falls. There is a state forest campground at the falls; however, we wanted to stay on Lake Huron and near the bicycle trail. Also, the road into the state forest campground is kind of narrow with low hanging branches - not the best situation, if you have a larger camper or 5th wheel.

Ocqueoc Falls

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Rogers City, Michigan / P. H. Hoeft State Park

June 2017, 4-nights, weekend-weekdays, campsites 21 and 121

Sunrise from site 21

Hoeft State Park  is located on Lake Huron about five miles north of Rogers City. There are a few campsites near the lake, although there is not much of a view from most of them. There are hiking and mountain bike trails in the park, and a paved bicycle trail in front of the park. The park also contains a playground, volleyball nets, a pavilion, and beach. You can find more information about amenities inside the park below, and I will have a separate blog post about some of the area sites: 40 Mile Point Lighthouse, Rogers City, Ocqueoc Falls, and Little Ocqueoc Underground River.

Arrival and check-in

The office was staffed when we arrived, and it only took a few minutes to get checked in for our campsite. We wanted to empty our holding tank and get fresh water when we arrived, and the sanitation station was easily accessible on the way  to our site after check-in.

Campsite 121

Campsites 121 and 21

When I made our reservation, I initially looked at the campsites near the water. It did not look like the water would be visible from any of the campsites, and these sites are mostly dirt, so I chose site 121. Campsite 121 is a good sized site, which is sunny, somewhat grassy, and private. There is a small patch of trees between sites 120 and 121. State Park Road runs behind this site, although traffic is not visible from the campsite. The traffic noise was minimal.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Ionia Michigan / Ionia State Park Recreation Area, Fred Meyer Grand River Valley Trail, Steele Street Brewing

May 2017

All kinds of last minute trip changes for us this year! We had not planned to stay in Ionia State Park Recreation Area again so soon. Since we did, I am sharing some new travel info about the area. You can find more park details in my April 2017 blog post

Ionia State Park Recreation Area, campsites 77 - 82

We chose a site in the northeast loop near the equestrian campground this time, because the lakeview sites had all been reserved. The sites in this loop are also larger than most of the sites in the lakeview loop.

Site 81
Horse trail behind trees
We stayed on site 81, which was mostly sunny, mostly grassy, and slightly secluded. There are trees/bushes between site 81 and site 79. Site 82 is sunnier than site 81. Site 80 is directly across the road from site 81, although it does not look like it on the campground map. Click on the photo below to enlarge it and see more site details.