Family Finding My Vacation Trial and Error

Traverse City was not just about the wine

Sisters are ready to swim!While I visited several wineries in Traverse City, that’s not all we did. We were in the town during the National Cherry Festival, so we took in some shopping, air shows and air show practices and we all went swimming–even the dogs.

We stayed at the state park in Traverse City. We arrived on the Fourth of July in early afternoon. After getting set up, we put the girls down for a nap and then my husband and I relaxed on some lounge chairs just outside the camper door. Once the girls were up, we went for a walk and then started dinner. That’s when we realized what we were missing: a spatula, our outdoor stove, paper towel and a lighter to light our indoor stove.

We made it work and had some tasty grilled hamburgers for dinner. After we ate, we let the kids play and before we knew it, it was time for bed.

The following morning, we got up, had some cereal and headed out for Walmart to pick up some paper towel and possibly a spatula. We score an entire grilling tool set for about $10 in the clearance section. We also picked up some plastic covers for our mattresses and we’ve been meaning to do that, but kept forgetting. Once we got the paper towel, we were on our way back to our campsite. We stopped and grabbed some firewood for later that night. After lunch and nap, we headed out for the beach. It was HOT. Near 100 degrees. We wanted to cool the dogs off, so we headed downtown.

There is a beach right in the city. With a marina on one side and a makeshift marina where people anchor their boats on the other, we figured we could get the dogs in the water with no issues. There were actually several people on the beach with their dogs. One local told me the city doesn’t really crack down on the dog on the beach rule the way they previously did. Not to mention we stayed toward the anchored boats side of things where no one else was hanging out.

Newfoundland swimming in Grand Traverse Bay.
Dogs love to swim too.

The kids swam. I swam. And most importantly, the dogs swam. It was super fun. And then we saw this:

 

 

We were totally treated to an air show on the water as the planes practiced for their weekend performance during the National Cherry Festival.

Once we were all ready to go, we used our magic powder trick to clean off the same, and then we drove around looking for a wireless Internet connection so my husband could send a few work-related e-mail messages. This was, surprisingly, not easy. We tried hotels, restaurants and even McDonald’s but most of the connections were locked and secured. We finally found a Comfort Inn that didn’t have a secure connection and he was a happy guy.

We headed back to the campground and found out we had no power.

This may not seem like a big deal. I mean, we were camping. But just FYI:

1. This was the second consecutive Fourth of July camping trip where the campground was without power. And it was not the same campground.

2. It was 100 degrees (well, at least 90 at night) and we didn’t have any fans, air conditioning or anything. I go camping in my camper because I like having those things. If I wanted to rough it, I’d sleep in a tent on the ground.

3. Our food isn’t packed on ice in coolers, it’s in our fridge. Our fridge that is powered by ELECTRICITY. There really wasn’t space for bags of ice. So we had to make dinner without our camp stove, without our indoor stove and limiting the time the fridge door was open. It took us a while to get dinner going so we ate and it was nearly dusk and still hot. I was getting frustrated. There were Traverse City Light and Power trucks in the park apparently trying to fix the issue, but hours dragged by and there was no relief.

Then, at nearly 11 p.m. the campground lit up. Everyone’s camper lights came on, air conditioning units clicked on and the people cheered.

Seriously, there was a cheer throughout the park.

Wahoo!

We went to bed in our air conditioned camper shortly thereafter.

Kid in a vat of cherry pits at Cherry Republic in Traverse City.
Playing in cherry pits at the Cherry Republic store in Traverse City.

The next morning, we headed to downtown early to do some shopping. It was supposed to be 105 that day so we knew we wanted to get out early. We hit up the shops, the dogs had ice cream and my youngest got to play in a vat of cherry pits. The planes were practicing again, so my husband watch as they flew overhead while I shopped. After we moseyed around town for a while, we headed back to the campground where the girls took some naps. My husband and I hung out in our lounge chairs, then I did some sewing (yup, I brought my machine camping) and he slept.

We got dinner going sort of late again, but that’s because lunch/nap was late. We had dinner, a campfire, s’mores and got to bed.

The next day was wine tasting day! You can read about those adventures separately.

My husband picked me up from a winery after he and my daughters finished at the air show. We all went to a park to let the kids run around. Our dog Simon wanted nothing more than to go swimming, but we weren’t really prepared to have a 150 lbs wet dog, so we had to tell him no. Several times. And then hold on tight to the leash so he didn’t pull us over there.

On our way out of the park, we saw a lost dog. We tried to find the owner, but he or she was not at the park. We looked around in some neighborhoods until we, by chance, found a man walking around looking for a dog. We drove back to the park and helped reunite the man with his dog. Sweet.

After our good deed for the day, we decided we needed pizza, so we walked from the campground to a local pizza place for dinner. After another fire and some s’mores, we settled in for our last night at the campground.

The next morning was pretty uneventful as we packed up in record time and were out of the park by 10 a.m. We had a nice ride home and unpacked pretty efficiently.

All in all, camping with a 4 and 2-year-old was much easier than camping with an infant and a toddler. They were far more interested in what we were doing and can play independently in the dirt. I hate playing in the dirt. They love it. They would get dirty, I would cringe and then clean them off.

It was a really nice family trip and I hope others are in the near future.

One thought on “Traverse City was not just about the wine

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