Pure Michigan Road Trip – Day 9

On Friday, 9/10/22 my friend Sherry and I walked (I rode my bicycle) less than 10 minutes from our hotel in Mackinaw City to the Star Line ferry that takes you to Mackinac Island. The ferry ride takes about 20-30 minutes. There are two ferries to choose from, the other is Shepler’s. They’re about the same cost. I took my bicycle on the ferry for an extra charge of $14 and Sherry rented one on the island for 5 hours. We cycled 8 miles around the island. We both agreed it was the best cycling experience we’ve had because the island is car free, the paths are wide and flat. You do need to watch out for the horse dung and the multitude of horse drawn carriages close to the main areas of town.

We passed beautiful homes.

We both agreed the parents of these children shouldn’t have allowed them to climb these rocks.

We walked up lots of steps for this view.

Back in town…

About two-thirds of the way around the island, we stopped for lunch at the Grand Hotel. They had a buffet for $75 (nope), so we opted for sitting in the bar area and had their sliders which were good.

The inside is quite colorful and pretty.

Down by the docks…

Leaving the island…

Later that evening, the view of the moon was beautiful from our hotel room…

Suddenly there was a beautiful display of fireworks which was quite unexpected…

My 10 day Pure Michigan road trip was everything I had imaged!

Pure Michigan Road Trip – Day 8

On Thursday, 9/8/22, my friend Sherry and I drove three hours from Marquette to Mackinaw City for a two-night stay. We arrived around noon and since we couldn’t check-in to our hotel until later, explored the town a bit and had lunch. Of course we purchased some of the famous fudge.

Me being silly…

We drove 5 minutes to our hotel, the Best Western Plus Dockside Waterfront Inn and checked in. The view of Lake Huron from our balcony was lovely.

After settling in, we relaxed at the shore…I even went swimming for a few minutes.

We made our way to the pool/hot tub for more fun and had the place to ourselves.

After showering we walked less than 10 minutes to the Hook Lakeside Grill for a drink and dinner.

Pretty views…

Tomorrow I’ll post about our trip to Mackinac Island

Pure Michigan Road Trip – Day 7 – Part 2 – Pictured Rocks Cruise

Continuing from Part 1 of Day 7, we arrived at the Pictured Rocks Cruises and boarded the 2:00pm cruise that lasts 2 ½ hrs. There’s an open-air top deck and enclosed bottom deck. Originally, I was planning to hike at Pictured Rocks, but with more research discovered the best way to see the beautiful cliffs/rocks was by boat.

The rock formations were beautiful!

My friend Sherry

The Captain took us into a small cove

We drove back to the Airbnb and walked across the street to Blackrocks Brewery and split a flight of beer and then walked 5 minutes to a pizza place for dinner.

Another beautiful and fun day in the UP.

Pure Michigan Road Trip – Day 7 – Part 1

Wednesday morning, 9/7/22 my friend Sherry and I drove 50 minutes from Marquette to Munising Falls. It’s only a ½ mile round-trip walk to the falls.

Back in the car, it’s only 10 minutes to Wagner Falls

Next, I drove 20 minutes to the Upper and Lower Overlooks near Miner’s Beach. The view was beautiful from the Upper Overlook.

The Lower Overlook view is nice also…

Lastly we drove 20 minutes to the Pictured Rocks Cruises, arriving at 1:20pm and waited in line for the 2:00pm departure to see Pictured Rocks from the water. I’ll post about that tomorrow.

Pure Michigan Road Trip – Day 6

We started our first full day in Marquette driving to Laughing Whitefish Falls State Park, where we had a short hike to a waterfall.

Next, we drove to Sugarloaf Mountain and walked up 304 steps to the viewing platforms. Wow!!

Lake Superior is large enough to fit five states in it.

Our last stop was Presque Isle Park. We drove around the one way loop and stopped a couple of times to view the lovely scenery.

After stopping at our Airbnb to freshen up and have a drink, we walked to The Vierling Restaurant and Marquette Harbor Restaurant.

We shared a smoked whitefish appetizer and had a delicious Whitefish entree (it looked so good I forgot to take a photo 🙂

Another wonderful day!

Pure Michigan Road Trip – Day 5 – Marquette

My first morning in Marquette, I cycled 8 miles on the multi-use path along Lake Superior.

I cycled in to town and saw some interesting sites.

My Airbnb was right across the street from Blackrocks Brewery.

I went from there to the airport in Marquette to pick up my girlfriend Sherry who was spending three nights with me at the Airbnb and then our next stop was Mackinaw City for a couple of nights. After she settled in, we walked less than 10 minutes to The Iron Bay Restaurant for dinner. We shared the Whitefish tacos and we each had a bowl of the Whitefish chowder…yum! The flight of beer was also delish!

We walked down to the shoreline and then back to our Airbnb, it was a full day!

Pure Michigan road trip – Day 3

The only outing I did on Day 3 of my Michigan road trip was hiking a few miles at Grand Traverse Natural Education Reserve. The trails are along the Boardman River. It was only a 20 minute drive from my Airbnb.

It’s always fun to hike somewhere you haven’t been. Afterwards I packed for my departure the following day to Marquette in the Upper Peninsula, aka the UP.

Pure Michigan Road Trip – Day 2

On my 2nd day in Traverse City I drove my bicycle 10 minutes from my lodging to Boardman Lake and cycled the four mile loop around the lake. If you missed Day 1, it’s here.

It’s a relaxing and pretty ride.

Then I cycled into Traverse City and the waterfront to explore a bit.

This is one of the waterfront beaches.

I’d read about a very short hike to see the “hippie” trees so I drove about 10 minutes to check it out. Here’s the beginning of the hike.

Within a few minutes I was there.

I love to see eclectic things. So colorful and unexpected.

Less than three minutes away is The Village at Grand Traverse Commons. It’s a complex of buildings filled with shopping and dining.

I had brunch at the Red Spire Brunch House, located there.

I drove back to my Airbnb and took a nap. To finish my day I went to see a movie …Where the Crawdads Sing. I’d read the book and the movie was very good.

Pure Michigan Road Trip and Sleeping Bear Dunes

The morning of August 31, 2022, I left home (Northern Kentucky) and drove 7 and 1/2 hours to an Airbnb in Traverse City. I had three days to explore Traverse City and the surrounding areas. I stayed with a couple who have a beautiful view of Michigan Lake from their deck. They were very helpful giving me tips to tweak my itinerary. One of my followers Phil (and I follow his beautiful blog https://philperkins.photography/ ) was very helpful with ideas of where to visit on my Michigan trip.

The following day I left early, drove to Suttons Bay, and took a few photos.

The weather was perfect.

Then I drove to Good Harbor Bay Beach.

My next stop was Glen Arbor, where I had breakfast before driving to Empire Bluff Trail.

The trail is two miles round-trip and there’s a gorgeous view of Lake Michigan and Sleeping Bear Dunes.

My next stop was Mission Point Lighthouse.

On the way back to my lodging I stopped at Mari Vineyards for a glass of wine. There are lots of wineries to choose from. I drove a little over three hours total. There wasn’t much traffic and the scenery was beautiful.

I was surprised by how pretty Michigan is and how Caribbean blue the water is.

Four nights in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland

Originally, I was going to take seven scenic train rides (a section of it known as the Golden scenic route) from Zermatt to Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland, but after having been on 70 trains in the past 10 weeks, I decided to take the shortest route which only took a little over three hours on three trains. Upon arrival in Lauterbrunnen, I had a five minute walk to my lodging. The view of Staubach Falls from my balcony was stunning (photo below)!

I walked towards Staubach Falls taking photos along the way.

The Friedhof Lauterbrunnen cemetery is adorned with flowers and so well kept.

Staubach Falls drops 974 feet (297 metres) from a hanging valley that ends in overhanging cliffs above the Weisse Lütschine.

The falls are lit up at night.

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Glacier Express from St. Moritz to Zermatt

On June 13, 2022 I boarded the Glacier Express panoramic train from St. Moritz at 8:50am and arrived in Zermatt, Switzerland at 5:10pm. The train ride was dramatic! Big cliffs..deep valleys..rushing streams.. quaint hillside villages! The Glacier Express is a direct train and is also referred to as the ‘slowest express train in the world’. It navigates through narrow valleys, tight curves, 91 tunnels, and across 291 bridges.

Scenery from the train

I sat next to a lady from Germany who works for the train company, traveling with her son and husband (they’re pictured below) and we chatted off and on throughout the trip. She gave me her contact information and invited me to come and visit. I pre-purchased the lunch which was average and not worth the 40 Francs.

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Muottas Muragl Panorama Trail to Alp Languard

On my second and final day in Saint Moritz, I took a 10 minute bus ride to Punt Muragl and purchased a ticket for 39 francs for the funicular, which dates back to 1907, rises to an elevation of 8057 feet (2456 meters) above sea level and covers a distance of 7221 feet (2201 meters) at a gradient of 56% to Muottas Muragl. I then hiked 7 km on the Panorama Trail to Alp Languard. The views were incredible! There were only a handful of people on it and one lady I briefly spoke to said it was the perfect day for it weather wise and also that the crowds hadn’t arrived yet. I had an egg sandwich for breakfast and took a sandwich with me.

At one point in the trail you walk thru a short metal structure, pictured below. There was a hole in it which made a perfect picture frame.

The funicular ride to Muottas Muragi…

Down in the valley the five Engadin lakes were sparkling. The Bernina Massif mountain peaks and glaciers are beautiful!

The trail was mostly flat and well maintained. I had the trail to myself for two of the three hours it took to hike.

There were a few benches on the trail to take a break.

This man was calling for his dog, down on the left, but he came running towards me and then ran to him.

Here’s the chair lift to go back down.

I’ve been on plenty of chair lifts snow skiing, but it’s entirely different hopping on a fast moving one at the top to ride down! Yes, those are La Sportiva hiking boots…love them!

The chair lift ends in Pontresina. I then took the train back to Saint Moritz.

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Two nights in Saint Moritz

After disembarking in Saint Moritz from my wonderful Bernina Express train ride, I had a 15 minute uphill walk (with luggage) to my lodging for two nights. After checking in I went to the grocery around the corner. Restaurants in Switzerland are very expensive. I walked down to Lake St. Moritz, which is smaller than the main lakes of the Upper Engadin valley, but very beautiful! It was mid-June and the weather was glorious.

These were the views from my accommodations.

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Bernina Express

After spending three glorious days at Lake Como, I boarded a train in Varenna, Lake Como and arrived 90 minutes later to Tirano, Italy.  This is where the Bernina Express train departs and one of the stops is in St. Moritz, where I stayed for two nights. It actually begins in Lugano and ends in Chur, Switzerland. It’s the highest railway across the Alps.

The views from the train are amazing!  I took a sandwich and cannoli with me for the ride. You pass glistening lakes, majestic mountains, and quaint villages.

Looks like a heart

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Villa Monastero, Varenna, Lake Como

It was early morning when I left my place in Varenna to explore and my last day at Lake Como. Before leaving I was zooming around on Google Maps to see what might be of interest in Varenna and came across the Villa Monastero, a Villa and botanical garden. It’s only €10 to see both and a little less for just the gardens. It’s another magical place! I arrived when they opened and had the Villa to myself for a while!

The views were stunning!

The inside was interesting also…

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.