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July 31st, 2011 | in Photography, Scenic | 1 comment

Our last stop in Michigan was Mackinaw City. We stayed at an RV park that was right on Lake Huron, just down the road from the city and Mackinac Bridge. We could see Mackinac Island across the water. That was one of the reasons why we made this stop, to check out the island and to not be on the road for July 4th.

 

So, on the 4th, we took the ferry over to the island to check it out. Once we had enough, we came back to relax and wait for the fireworks. We could see fireworks from Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island, St. Ignace, and some other town on one of the other islands. It was quite a show, but I only took pictures from the closest, which were from Mackinaw City. I must have taken over 200+ pictures! Geez, but only so many turn out…  Here are a few pictures worth sharing.

 

 

We also checked out old forts, lighthouses, Nat’l Parks, and lots of waterfalls. More pictures coming, but here are a few:

 

 

We had a great time, we spent 10 days enjoying the weather and the scenery. We never did try the fudge, they are famous for it, but it wasn’t on my “menu”. It was really hard not to have any caramel corn, there were candy shops everywhere!

 

July 13th, 2011 | in Square Dancing | Leave a comment

Jim and I attended the 60th National Square Dance Convention in Detroit, Michigan from June 22nd thru the 25th. I worked out that we were going to be in the same area based on the original travel plans and we made it happen. For square dancers, it is a big deal normally, but I think since it was being held in Detroit, that many said, no way. There were about 4000 registered when it is normally around 6000. They come from all over, not just from the USA, but there were dancers from Japan, Sweden, England, Canada and other countries. Japan had the biggest contingent of dancers and they were really fun to watch in their dance apparel, besides, they were really great dancers!

 

I didn’t take a lot of pictures, I didn’t want to pack the camera around a lot because we wanted to dance. And dance we did, each evening for several hours. My favorite part was to dance when the Ghost Riders band was playing (yes, real instruments), while the different National callers did their thing. It was 99.9% singing calls which are fun, so you just dance.  Also, it was all Mainstream calls, so the squares would not break down very much (someone forgot how to do a move and didn’t end up in the right place).

 

On the day of registration, Jim and I took the people mover and rode around to check out downtown Detroit. It was a great way to see the different sections without working very hard :) The people mover tickets were part of the package, so it was an even better deal. We camped out at the Wayne County Fairgrounds with about 70 other campers that were square dancers. We had our own dance Wednesday night! It was a lot of fun and many of the other people camping came to watch. Maybe we will get a few new dancers down the road.

 

This video is of Wade Driver calling, another Texas caller that we love. I focused on one of the squares that was made up of several dancers from Japan. They were really fun to watch.

 

 

here are a few pictures while wandering around near the COBO Center where the convention was held:

 

fountain with GM/Chrysler Bldg behind

fountain with GM/Chrysler Bldg behind

 

sculpture in the same park

sculpture in the same park

 

Here is a picture of “our” call KO Jeanes (from Livingston Boots & Babes Square Dance club) dancing in a square right before he called the next tip. He was able to call several days including backup several times in the evening dances.

 

KO Jeanes dancing in a square

KO Jeanes dancing in a square

 

Dancers from Japan

Dancers from Japan

 

 

 

July 12th, 2011 | in Beer Tasting | Leave a comment

Ok, I know, there has been a lot about beer lately, but hey, it’s one of my new passions! And, well, Michigan has some excellent craft breweries! Here are some words to live by for the State of Michigan:

Brewery, Microbrewery, Brewpub, what’s the difference?

  • A brewery can sell beer both in their own tavern, as well as through retailers across the state. Breweries are limted to one tavern per company.
  • A microbrewery is limited to brewers under 30,000 barrels of annual production. Microbreweries can sell beer in both their own taverns or through retailers across the state. They are not limited in the number of taverns they may operate.
  • A brewpub can only sell its’ beer inside their own establishment including beer-to-go. It also may include a liquor license and offer a full-service bar.

These definitions are based on the State of Michigan licensing qualifications. These definitions may vary from state to state.

 

It seems petty and silly, but hey, all I care about is the beers. They can figure out what they are, I will try their samplers :-)

 

While in Michigan, we tried several different breweries (or what ever they were…) as we traveled around. Here is the list:

 

Round Barn Beer Barn

Round Barn Beer Barn

 

Bell's entrance in Kalamazoo, MI

Bell's entrance in Kalamazoo, MI

 

Bell's selections, too many to choose from

Bell's selections, too many to choose from

 

Our selection

Our selection

 

Jim outside of Paw Paw

Jim outside of Paw Paw

 

Paw Paw is starting small

Paw Paw is starting small

 

Livery Brewing

Livery Brewing

 

The Livery selections

The Livery selections

 

Our Livery selections

Our Livery selections

 

Jim entering Cheboygan Brewing

Jim entering Cheboygan Brewing

 

Cheboygan beer fermenting

Cheboygan beer fermenting

 

Tahquamenon Falls Brewery

Tahquamenon Falls Brewery

 

Tahquamenon Falls selection

Tahquamenon Falls selection

 

It was a lot of fun trying out different beers, Paw Paw Brewing (with only 2 beers to taste) was established in January of 2010 and Cheboygan (again only 2 beers) had been open only 5 weeks! The others were old hat, but worthwhile checking out, especially Bell’s. I even looked for a clone recipe for Bell’s Two Hearted Ale and found several. It’s really, really good.

 

If you are into beer, especially Ale’s (of all kinds), check out the Alehead Blog.

 

July 12th, 2011 | in Wine & Wine Tasting | Leave a comment

We had a week to kill (sort of) before heading over to Detroit, MI, so we stayed close to Lake Michigan where there is some decent Michigan wine to be found. We came up to this area from Elkhart, IN a few years ago when we were having the RV worked on, so decided to give it another shot. We stayed out in the boonies at a small RV park that we barely got our satellite to lock on. The important thing is that Jim had internet access for work, so all was good.

 

We tried wines along the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail. We went to my previous favorites and added one new one, but we also attended the Lake Michigan Shore Wine Festival along a beach of Lake Michigan. It was a potentially wonderful day, but the weather had other ideas, it wanted to t-storm. We stayed for a little while, tried a few of the wines at some of the wineries we hadn’t already visited, but nothing worthy. We stuck our toes (again) into Lake Michigan and then decide to try to find a brewery that wasn’t that far away for a little beer tasting and some food.

 

The wineries that we visited are:

 

Here are a few pictures, you know I like to take pictures 😀

 

Busy day at Round Barn w/live music

Busy day at Round Barn w/live music

 

Tabor Hill grounds

Tabor Hill grounds

 

Jim enjoying a glass of bubbly on the deck at Tabor Hill

Jim enjoying a glass of bubbly on the deck at Tabor Hill

 

Watching the yellow finches from the deck

Watching the yellow finches from the deck

 

Appeziter at Tabor Hill

Appeziter at Tabor Hill

 

Decks at Contessa Wine Cellars

Decks at Contessa Wine Cellars

 

Chocolate is this way!

Chocolate is this way!

 

Entering the shop to the glorious scent of chocolate

Entering the shop to the glorious scent of chocolate

 

Looking out the door of the Chocolate Garden

Looking out the door of the Chocolate Garden

 

Entering Karma Vista

Entering Karma Vista

 

Lots of Karma Vista wine

Lots of Karma Vista wine

 

Stepping into St. Julian

Stepping into St. Julian

 

Heading into the rainy wine festival

Heading into the rainy wine festival

 

Checking out the beach & watching the storm come in

Checking out the beach & watching the storm come in

 

I bought wine at Tabor Hill (both still and their wonderful sparkling that just happened to be on sale), Contessa and Karma Vista. We had dinner at Tabor Hill, it was wonderful as usual; the previous time we had lunch which was just a wonderful. This trip we got to stop at The Chocolate Garden, just a 1/2 mile down the road from Contessa. I was a really good girl and we bought 2 Raspberry/Dark Chocolate truffles and 2 all Dark Chocolate truffles. Jim and I would split one in half and that would be our treat for the day. Not so many calories (don’t the calories fall out when you cut them?) and they last longer too!