Cherries, parades, and air-dogs galore. We left Hannah and John for a few days to take part in the Traverse City National Cherry Festival.
We actually stayed in Empire, Michigan, and really enjoyed it all.
First of all, our camping spot was at a resort! It had a gated entrance with a remote control for us. The pads were stamped concrete and included a table, fire pit and two chairs. We even had a beautifully landscaped pond and small waterfall in our view. Very comfortable and not what we are used to.
From our resort, we were a five mile drive to Empire which is on Lake Michigan. We traveled there after parking and enjoyed dinner at Joe’s Friendly Tavern. It was a cool place and they even made their own root beer. We did buy a 6 pack to enjoy later. It is also the location of the famous Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore. More on that later.
We spent the next day in Traverse City attending the Cherry Festival. It is a pretty big town with a lot of restaurants and shops but it still has that small town feeling. The first thing we found was the Ultimate Air-Dog competition. We were captivated by how far these dogs would sail in the air after their toy. Even more fun was watching them on the ramp because they were so excited. We must have stayed there over two hours just watching them do their thing.
We also watched the parade through town. Again, it had such a small town feel, but there were over 100 entries. Each elementary school in the community and neighboring communities had their own float. There were high school bands and even an all steel drum band that was amazing. We got quite a chuckle watching the women cloggers dance their way down main street.
We ended this day with a walk along the lake and a drink while listening to a local band. Dinner was at Mackinaw Brewery Company.
Our final day in this area was spent traveling the coast from Empire to Northport. We spent quite a bit of time at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lake Shore. We watched a lot a people navigating up and down the dunes, it was unbelievable. The sign at the top warned people to not go down because there would be charged if they needed to be saved and it could take up to two hours to climb back up.
We saw a Life Saving Station in Glen Arbor which was one of the first of its kind. There are like fire stations that were used to save people whose ship or boat wrecked. This life saving station was in service from 1901 until world war 2.
Later the whole life saving service was absorbed by the Coast Guard. We also stopped at the Grand Traverse lighthouse and ended at the village of Northport.
Another full day.