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Vacation in Petoskey

We stopped at Bob Evans for breakfast. I have to admit that it is one of my favorite places to eat. I normally prefer to avoid any sort of chain restaurant as a matter of course. However, Bob Evans is an exception. Their breakfast is great of course and that is what most people think of about the place. However, their other food is just as good. Melissa regularly gets the Wildfire Chicken Salad. I got the pot roast sandwich.

Paris, Michigan has a stone indian and small Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, it was on the grounds of an old fish hatchery that had been converted to a campground. This meant it was closed for the season. We drove through Kalkaska and saw the trout memorial and drove past the shoe tree. The trout memorial was kind of cool. The shoe tree was a tree with shoes in it, so not worth a side trip by itself. One place worth the side trip was the concrete statuary place. It included a mix of standard statuary and much larger life size objects, most of which were painted.

The Marian Center in Joy Valley was cool. We also stopped at the Cross in the Woods in Indian River. Either place is worth the stop but since they are close together you might as well do both.

The hotel was pretty basic. However, it had the standards, Wifi, breakfast, surge strip on bed stand. I was entertained by the fancy "clean remote". Breakfast was Jimmy Deans breakfast sandwiches. I am not sure if that is better or worse than the standard cereal and waffle bar. The downside was the Pool and hot tub. They desperately needed to be cleaned. Vacuum the sand off the bottom at least, but the chlorine was burning my eyes. It should not take that much chlorine.

We had dinner at the Grand Traverse Pie Company. Melissa had the chicken salad and and I had the french dip. Ironically, we did not have pie. The portions were large enough that we just did not have room. I understand that people often solve this by taking food home. However, we were on vacation and that was not really an option. I am sure large portions make it easier to raise prices but you lose out on selling me desert. Hopefully, we will get another chance so we can mark it off the list of places to try. The food was good though.

The next day was hitting a bunch of shops. First, was Charlevoix and the Apple Festival. They had a large number of artists between the regular shops and the Apple Festival booths. I do not like most of the art these places offer but I do enjoy looking. I did find one shop that had stuff I really liked. Unfortunately it was well out of my price range. The common price range was $1,000 to $3,000. One item though was $14,000.

One thing we got was free light bulbs. The local power company was giving them away. I almost felt bad that they wouldn't benefit at all. However, they didn't care so why should I?

We drove to Petoskey next. They had some art studios but it was much more,clothing and home decor. It also felt like there were three or four book stores which I thought was cool. We had lunch at a place called Papa Leo's. They had great stuffed mushrooms and their meatball grinder was great. One thing more restaurants need to do was slice he meatballs. Papa Leo's did it and it made the grinder much easier to eat and far less messy. Another thing about restaurants, why do so many people sit and eat in silence? Thirdly aimed at breweries. Sell food and put the menu on your web site. It makes justifying a trip easier for people like us. Have a cider or some other non beer on your menu. It makes it far easier to justify a trip when you are with people who won't or can't drink beer. Cider is gluten free and people who don't drink beer get something to try. I'd also suggest a perry. It would give you something even more unique to have on your menu. Beards Brewery had none of these things listed on their website or on the door menu outside so we didn't go there.

Harbor Springs was third. It was mix of art, small shops and businesses for locals. The highlight for me was the presence of an IGA, although we did not go into it, and a full service gas station. There was no sign the gas was just twelve cents gallon more than in Petoskey. I had initially chalked it up to being the only gas station for twenty miles. There was a sign warning you but it was not until a guy came out looking at me like I was an idiot did I realize.

Later, we watched the sunset over the bay and walked along the shore. It is not something we normally do but it was a lot of fun. We finished the evening with dinner at Petoskey Brewing. The fact that they had a menu was good since their website implied little food. They need to fix their website. However, the building itself was pretty cool. They had built it into an old brick brewery.

Day three was the Tunnel of Trees. It was a nice drive with a places to stop along the way. However, things got a little more interesting when we realized Mackinaw City wasn't very far away. We took the back way and stopped at a small farm market and enjoyed more scenery. The highlight was in a little town called Bliss. This place appeared to consist of a small fire department building, an old school house converted to community space and an old general store. This general store was great. They had a single gas pump out front with a big Vernors sign hanging from the building. Did I mention he place was tiny? It looked like someone converted their house's first floor front to a store. It didn't matter though, they had a variety of convenience store, hardware store and other items with groceries behind the counter on shelves.

Mackinaw City, however, was not nearly so exciting. We skipped the fort and toured the lighthouse. We enjoyed the lighthouse and the park portion of the city was nice. However, the downtown area was a bit of a disappointment. I haven't seen this many t-shirt places in one spot since we went to the Smoky Mountains. The tourist trap ran thick and we would have been far better off if we had checked out what the fort had to offer. The highlight was a place called Enchanted Knights. However, that is not exactly the reason we went north. Another disappointment was the pastie place we found, Mackinaw Bakery & Tea Company. They offered them both hot and frozen. However, that wasn't much of a distinction since it turned out their hot pasties were frozen ones that were than microwaved while we waited. The flavor was disappointing as well. I haven't had a huge number of pasties but this place wasn't as good as the others I have had.