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Monday, October 30, 2017

Muskegon, MI / Shoreline Inn, Pigeon Hill, Boars Belly, Lakeshore Trail

October 2017, Weekdays, 2-days

Shoreline Inn, penthouse suite 1003

We loved this guestroom! You can see more photos of this fabulous suite in my Facebook album, as I could not fit them all in this post. We booked a penthouse suite with points, and received an upgrade to a lake view penthouse suite. Or, the upgrade may have actually been an error, since the front desk agent did not tell us it was an upgrade, and I had some difficulty making the reservation.

View from penthouse suite balcony #1003
This room is a corner suite with floor to ceiling glass windows on all of the exterior walls. There was a balcony with two chairs and a small table from the kitchen area, and the other glass doors could also be opened.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Grand Rapids, Michigan / ArtPrize, JW Marriott, Knickerbocker Brewing Co, CityBuilt Brewing, Fountain Hill Brewing Co, Atwater Brewery

October 2017, Weekday-weekend, 2-days

One of my ArtPrize favorites!
Not because I am a horse fan; because of the quality/how real it looked.

ArtPrize Nine

We visited on the last Friday and Saturday of ArtPrize, after voting had ended. In previous years (this was our 6th visit; not all consecutive years) when we visited on Friday during the day, the crowds had been minimal. This year, it was busy, busy, busy! There were many students and group tours on Friday, and Saturday became crowded after 11:00 AM. I think I preferred ArtPrize when it was smaller, and more centralized to the downtown area. This year, exhibits could be found as far away as Fredrick Meijer Gardens and Gerald R. Ford International Airport. We did get to see a lot of cool art, some of which I am sharing, along with additional information in this post.

Inside Gerald R. Ford Museum.
You may be able to read the artist's statement, if you click on the photo to enlarge it.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Northern Michigan: Traverse City, Lake Ann, Frankfort

September 2017, Weekday-weekend

We had an unusually warm weekend at the end of September in Michigan this year. I am sharing some info about new places we visited, as well as a couple of re-visits. You can find additional information about all of the following areas in previous blog posts. Rather than list all the links here, I suggest clicking on the labels at the bottom of this post to find the posts with information you are interested in.

Bryant Park Beach
One end was empty when we first arrived

Traverse City: Bryant Park Beach, Brewery Terra Firma, Monkey Fist Brewing Company, Food Court (The Little Fleet), Boardman Lake Trail

We visited Bryant Park Beach for the first time, as we wanted to try a new beach. I had read that there are not many parking spots at this park, which is true. Additionally, the spaces are quite tight. We were able to get a spot when we arrived on a weekday shortly before noon. Our parking space was not one of the better ones, and when we returned to our vehicle to leave, we wondered how the driver of the different car next to us had gotten out without hitting our vehicle. I had to wait for my husband to back out of the parking spot before I could get into our car. Vehicles were also parked on the street when we departed. There is no charge for parking, nor is there an entrance fee.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Sawyer, Michigan / Warren Dunes and Local Breweries

September/October 2017, Weekend, 2-nights, Campsite #37

Sunset from beach/swimming area
Photo taken by our son

Arrival and check-in

The office was staffed when we arrived; however, we were not able to check-in because the computers were offline (or something). After several minutes at both computers, the employee said I would need to come back and check-in later. She had our printed confirmation that I had given her, and I was hoping someone would just bring us our dashboard paper later. No one stopped at our site, so I walked back to the office a couple of hours later. There were campers checking in and campers waiting. Fortunately, the employee I had left our information with, had completed the check-in earlier, and was able to just hand me my dashboard paper without me having to wait.

Campsite #37

All of the campsites in this campground are fairly small, and most of them are not secluded. This site says it is 50' long; however, the mowed portion of the site is only about 35' long. The description says that it accommodates a camper up to 30', which is pretty accurate considering only 30 to 35' of the length is usable. (I guess they are counting 15', or more, into the woods behind the site in that measurement...)? Additionally, we had to park as close as we could to a tree on the edge of the site, in order not to be too close to the fire pit. The fire pit is labeled in the photo below, which can be enlarged by clicking on it. Even though we parked as far away from the fire pit as possible, we rolled our awning up one night when the fire was lit and it got a bit breezy.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Midland County, Michigan / Black Creek State Forest Campground, Pere Marquette Rail Trail, Midland Brewing Co., Pine Haven Recreation Area

September 2017, Weekday-weekend, 3-nights, Black Creek State Forest Campground, Site #11

You can find a previous review of this campground with more detail in my post from June 2016


We arrived, again on a Thursday, and our experience was similar to our first stay. There was one camper in the second loop, and one camper in the third loop (we did not check the first loop). The camper in the third loop happened to be on site 21, the site we had liked from our previous stay. We chose site 11 at the east end in the second loop. The check-in experience and cost were the same.

View from site 11

Site #11

Site 11 is a HUGE site with better water access than site 21. The path to the water was not as steep for getting a small boat in and out of the water, and there was room at the bottom of the trail next to the water for two chairs. 

If you have a camper, there is a steep downhill slope from the road onto the dirt/gravel pad. The rest of the site is level. We ran the front of our camper down as far as it would go, and it was barely level. We have never had to do that before! Fortunately, we were still able to open our flip-down steps without them hitting the ground.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Toledo, Ohio / Holiday Inn Express & Suites Toledo West

September 2017, Weekday, 1-night, 2 queen beds guestroom 526

Arrival and platinum perks

The front desk agent recognized my status, although, sadly, he did not initially meet any of my requests or profile preferences. My guestroom preferences are: high floor, away from elevator, king executive. I was not concerned about the fact that I did not receive an upgrade to a king guestroom, although I was displeased with the agent's attitude about my requests. I had written my usual requests in my reservation comments: prefer top floor corner in quiet area (and, I always add a "thank you," as well). The agent initially handed me a key for guestroom 410 without providing any information about the room. I asked him if my room was on the top floor, and he said no. Since the guests above me for the two nights prior to this stay had been quite loud, I asked if there was a room available on the top floor. As the agent then looked at the computer and read my requests, he remarked that there were already a lot of elite guests in the hotel who had been there since Monday. Apparently, I was unimportant since I had arrived on a Wednesday, and would only be staying for one night. After a few moments, he recoded my key for guestroom 526. I was glad I had inquired about the room location, because later I noticed that guestroom 410 is also located very close to the elevator.

Sunset view from guestroom 526

Guestroom 526

This guestroom is located at the north end of the hall. It was spacious, comfortable, and clean. I heard minimal noise from the hall, as the nearby neighbors were very quiet. There was quite a gap around the guestroom door, so I imagine hallway noise near the elevator could be disturbing.