Another overdue girls weekend away!

OK… so last weekend would have been a fairly decent boat weekend on Torch Lake.  But a good friend of mine had tickets to see Country Music star Brantley Gilbert open for Kid Rock in his Redneck Extravaganza tour in Tinley Park, IL, at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre.  Being a born and raised Michigan girl, I’ve never been to a Kid Rock performance, so I guess it was just kind of naturally on my bucket list, along with Bob Seger, and a few other big names…

So, we took the 5 hour drive from Traverse City, MI to Tinley Park, IL.  Not a terrible trip, until you get closer to Chicago at rush hour on a Friday evening.  But overall, it was a good day for a nice road trip.

Aside from the big concert, we did all the fun girl things.  Manicures, Lunch, shopping…  Oh yeah…  SHOPPING…  Not Amazon.com style.  We went old school!  The malls in our town are filled with empty store fronts.  But the Orland Park Square Mall was complete with Macy’s, Food Courts, Jewelry Stores, and so many other face to face shopping experiences!  KaChing… Jackpot!  We left with great finds… shoes, jeans, comfy clothes, work jackets, boots… the works!  Ohhhh… Amazon just has nothing on old school shopping, face to face with a real storefront where you can try before you buy!

Oh yes… back to the concert experience!  Kid Rock did not disappoint…  he put on a dynamic energetic show with all of his best, including “Summertime in Northern Michigan”.  I think he would be proud if he knew all of us Michigan girls gave up that weekend on the sand bar for him.  Brantley Gilbert also put on a fantastic show!  He has three new fans on his list (One of us was a huge fan already.) … especially after dedicating a song to veterans and cancer survivors!

The Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre is a good spot for a concert.  Bring lots of money if you go to a concert here, because drinks are $20.00 a piece, and plan out your transportation in advance, if you don’t plan on driving, because Lyft and Uber don’t pick up right at the venue.  You have to walk a mile after the concert to get your ride.

Transportation aside, none of us were too stressed about it… why?  Because we were having the best time, we were all together in a smaller suburb of Chicago, and our hotel was only 4 miles from the venue.

One favorite parting quote of the weekend from a passing van full of concert goers as we were waiting for our ride back to the hotel… “Hey ladies, wanna ride with us?  We have puppies and candy!”

Hmmmmm…  puppies… candy… tempting…  but, not this time.  We made it back to our hotel safe and sound, and all in our same group.  Sunday morning we hit the road back and laughed the whole way home!

Cheers to more girls weekends to come!  My next stop…  Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Sea’s cruise to Havana, Cuba and Nassau, Bahama’s in November!    In the meantime, it sure feels good to be home!

Slow down summertime… slow down, please!

Whew…  sometimes I have the hardest time coming up with a good blog subject.  But this week it dawned on me, as I slipped away from my desk at the end of the day, that we only have 10 more days left of August!  This summer is going by so fast, and soon I’ll be back to finding ways to survive the snow, and cold, with plenty of travel to new and interesting places.  But in the meantime, I’m going to look back and remember what is making this summer one of the best ever.

Glamping!  I’ve had my camper set out at Torch Grove Campground this summer (by Torch Lake, of course).  There’s such a fun group of people that spend the weekends here.  The new friends I’ve made are priceless and fun… Cheers to another month and a half of Glamping fun, campfires, and lake fun!  Oh… and I love the term “Glamping”  (Glamour Camping)…  It’s so much better than sleeping on the ground!  My dog agrees too!38693313_10157318141542069_1771094609921835008_o

Boating… Boating… and more boating… and lots of sand bar time on Torch Lake…  with a bit of swimmers itch thrown in.

 

The crew at the Torch River Marine has been a great one once again this year.  It’s almost mesmerizing to watch the boats come and go in and out of rack storage.  (Cheers to my favorites, Sabrina, Marlon, Shelby,  Phillip and Taylor, and of course Rebecca, John, Jason, Sarah, Jim, Rachel, Becky and a whole host of others that make the place hustle.)   I may be prejudice (My brother, John, and his friends, Jim Brewer and Jim Ennis make the place rock), but when I stand back and take a good look, they offer five star service, even under pressure of the busiest season of the year.

 

…  and lets not forget the small town fun, festivals and great friends!  The National Cherry Festival in Traverse City rocked, as usual.  Elk Rapids hosted a great 35th Class Reunion for my fellow alumni, and the Annual Torch Lake fireworks display was amazing, with a fantastic sunset and good fun!

 

All  that, and somehow, I missed my favorite festival of the year, Elk Rapids Harbor Days…  but I had fun with my visiting long lost sand bar siblings from way back in the 1970’s that week anyway…  I love these guys!

 

Ohhhhh… and summer’s not over yet.  I can’t give up on it.  There’s more to come for sure!  But I must admit, I’m looking forward to some fall adventures that I have planned.  Just a few places I have scheduled to travel for work and play…  Elmira, NY, Tunkannock, PA, Tinley Park, IL, Lexington, KY, Fort Lauderdale, FL, and Havana, Cuba… and that’s just for fall.  Who knows what winter holds… but I don’t even want to think about snow!

That’s all for now… keep enjoying those summer days as long as we can!!38422392_10157308032517069_878782731469717504_n

 

Happy Independence Day!

The 4th of July has always been a favorite of mine…  Wonderful fireworks all around Northern Michigan!  But there’s more reasons that its a favorite.

Happy Boat Dogs

img_6635My favorite wine and a sunset on the water!img_6637Boat time with friends and familyimg_6644Dinner served boatside

img_6656Beautiful sunsetimg_6659My happy place… the captains chair on my pontooon!img_6662Patriotic Boaters

Beautiful skylines and warm nights!

img_6673Beautiful clean clear watersimg_6674Splashing through THE Sandbar… yes…  It’s the world famous Torch Lake Sand Bar.  This is where I grew up… and where I celebrate the freedom of our country every year.   img_6676

Enjoy every minute, and appreciate whats around!  Never take these things for granted.  It’s all great!

Happy Birthday America!

Happy National Cherry Festival Week!

Last weekend it was 96 degrees, windy, and humid!  … and yes, after a bit of anxiety, I gave up my weekend on the boat to celebrate the opening weekend of the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan with no regrets.

First of all, the Blue Angels were in town!  Any time of day, you could look up and see them practicing performances.  I even saw a few of them fly over my house Saturday afternoon during their show. Such a thrill to see them again!

Once the excitement of the Air Show died down, we made our way from the Turtle Creek Casino, via Lyft driver, to the festivities at the Open Space.img_6592

What a great view from the backside of the Beverage Tent!  Ohhhh… They have a great selection of beers, along with wines from Chateau Grand Traverse, as well as Cherry Margarita’s, and refreshing Adult Lemonade, and bourbon cocktails.  (So glad Lyft and Uber have become a part of Traverse City’s culture… getting around is a breeze when someone else is driving!)

The opening concert of the week; Pat Benatar and Neil Geraldo, with Loverboy as an opener!  Wow…  what a fantastic night of my kind of music…  80’s all the way!

My very first concert I ever went to was in 1982 at Castle Farms in Charlevoix, Michigan…  Yes… it was a Loverboy concert!  They were just as good this day, as they were back then.  The aging rockers put on a great show!  (Of course, the audience, including myself, was equally as aging!)

Of course, Pat Benatar and her husband Neil Geraldo, put on a great show as well.  So much talent in one night!  Many of their songs brought back great memories and prompted the crowd to stand and cheer!  My “fun meter” was off the charts, and I woke up with a very scratchy voice on Sunday from all of the “woo hooooing!”

All this, in one night… and the festivities have just begun…  More big name concerts from Dan & Shay, Sheryl Crow, Dustin Lynch, along with a few more are in the lineup for this week.  Of course, any night of the week, locals congregate at the beverage tent for refreshing adult beverages and good company.

A visit to the Gibby’s Fries trailer is a must as well…  It’s a long time Traverse City favorite!

Other events this week, Cherry Pie Eating Contests, Cherry Pit Spit, Kids events, parades, and much more!  Check out the event schedule at www.cherryfestival.org!

Oh… and Sunday while I was at a family picnic on East Bay, the Blue Angels were visible in the distance once again during Sunday’s airshow!  Where is a good camera when you really need one?

So, if you are near the area this week, make sure you join the rest of the crowd to celebrate everything that is Cherry!  … and enjoy those Fireworks on the 4th, whereever you may be!img_6623

5 Reasons to visit Alden, Michigan this summer!

This little gem of a town in Northern Michigan often goes unnoticed… What people don’t realize is just how adorable Alden, Michigan really is!  Why?  Well, here are just a few of my simple reasons:

  1. Torch Lake!  Yes… this town is located on the east side of Torch Lake.  Beautiful views can be enjoyed from the docks at the boat launch.  You can visit by boat, or by car.  A quick 30 minute drive from Traverse City is all it takes.img_6524
  2. Alden’s Mill house…  This is a must stop for my favorite spice blends and fun kitchen gadgets.  It’s a quaint unique shop with something for the awesome chef in everyone!  Check it out at their website…  https://aldenmillhouse.com/  They ship anywhere as well, so treat your favorite chef to some Miracle Blend, or Big Dave’s Burger and Steak Blend.  No kitchen is complete without it!
  3.  The Alden Bar & Grill.  Burgers, Ice Cold Beer, and friendly locals gather here.  My personal favorite is the Alden Bar Burger.  They even have an outdoor patio for those warm summer evenings.  You just can’t go wrong.
  4. The Alden Depot Park and Museum.  Stop in for a visit and learn about the history of this beautiful little town, relax in the park overlooking Torch Lake, or play a quick game of volleyball in the sand courts. It’s the epitome of “Pure Michigan”.  You can check out all it has to offer at https://www.michigan.org/property/alden-depot-park-museum
  5. The Stroll!  Every Thursday in the summer it’s all about Alden…  Meet up with friends, Stroll the streets, listen to live music, and check out all of the shops.  Alden has so much to offer.

For more details on this great town, check out VisitAlden.com.  Enjoy  your visit… You will want to return for years to come!

Another Small Town Saturday Night… Bellaire, MI Short’s Brewing Company’s 14th Anni Party!

Oh boy!  Northern Michigan is all about everything craft beer these days, and a big part of the reason why, is a Northern Michigan guy from Bellaire, Michigan, named Joe Short.  14 years ago, he took his favorite hobby and turned it into a business that he’s kept his passion for through out the years.  Yesterday, the town of Bellaire shut down the streets and turned into a festival of all things Short’s for it’s 14th Anni party.  People lined up from all parts of the state to get into the big party!

7518834608_img_0240Performances by several bands from throughout Michigan happened here on this day.  In this picture, Braxton Hicks (aka…  Joe Short and Seth Bernard) and the Contractions performed their comical musical genius from the top of a  semi trailer downtown Bellaire.

7518834608_img_0260The Detroit Marching band showcased it’s Louisana style jazz, wowing the crowd!  I’m a new big fan!  These guys really rocked it!  The evening ended with Michigan’s own “Steppin’ in it” on the main stage.

7518834608_img_0238

My new favorite beer of the day (and of the summer for sure!) is Short’s Soft Parade Shandy; A lemonade infused fruit based beer.  7518834608_img_0247

Even though it was a brisk, sunny, 40 degree day, everyone kept warm until the sun went down!

Cheer to Short’s Brewing Company…  Happy 14th. Anniversary, and wishing you many more!

It’s Trout Friday in Northern Michigan!

It’s something that happens the last weekend in April every year… like clockwork!  Yes, folks… the first festival of the season UpNorth is officially underway.  The 82nd National Trout Festival in Kalkaska, MI, happens all weekend!

Trout Friday is somewhat like homecoming… Oh heck, that’s exactly what it is!  Any establishment that you may frequent this evening may be filled with Native Kalkaskian’s having a great time.

The places to be seen:

  1.  The KalHo Lounge…  Kalkaska’s original, longest standing establishment for cocktails, great pizza, and beer bucket specials!
  2. Trout Town Tavern and Eatery…  This place makes my hungry just thinking about it!  My favorite is the UpNorth Salad, but they have some wonderful barbeque dishes that will make your tummy very happy!
  3. The UpNorth Grill… aka, the Fireball Lounge, aka Whitetails…  This is where happy hour starts.  Go early so you can find a spot at the bar!  The place will be packed.
  4. The carnival… who can resist the rides, and the carnival food?  I hear there’s a pizza truck that is totally OFF THE HOOK…  And did I mention the Gibby’s Fries trailer is onsite?  Now that has “Northern Michigan Tradition” all over it!
  5. The big parade on Saturday!  They actually close down US-131 for the big parade.  It’s a great way to celebrate Trout season, and the beginning of Spring!
  6. The trout pond…  Make your way down to the trout pond and see how big of a fish you can catch…  It’s what its all about!

Don’t be afraid of this great little Northern Michigan town!  It’s not as bad as the news makes it sound.  There are some fun people to meet around this town that I work in!

… and while I won’t make it to Trout Friday festivities this year… I guarantee, from past experiences, its a gooooood time!

Meanwhile, I will be off to another favorite little town tomorrow, Bellaire, MI, for Short’s Brewing Company’s 14th Anniversary party…  Stay tuned for pictures and story’s, because there’s another great place to be!

This is what happens when the snow melts, and we can make it out of our houses!

HAPPY SPRING!