Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Michigan Vacay and 61 photos to prove it.

We just got back from a week in the midwest visiting my mom's family ini Michigan.  My husband who've I started dating over 15 years ago had never been.  For all the traveling we've done together I was pretty disappointed we'd never made it back to visit my mom's side of the family, last time I went I was 6 weeks pregnant with our second child and he couldn't get the time off work.  This summer no excuses. We made it!

Part of my urgency for finally booking this trip was my Grandma's well developed Alzheimer's.  I know she won't be around forever but even just her ability to speak and converse are fading and she didn't recognize us which was hard, although I was able to sit and talk with her a bit at least one of our afternoons. Anyway, it wasn't all depressing, we actually made quite the adventure out of it as you can see below...
Husband was adamant about heading into Detroit even though it's about an hour and a half from where my Grandma lives.  I agreed and we coordinated for the kids to do a craft project with my mom while we set off on our day date.  I wanted to find this Diego Rivera mural and husband was in search of iconic Detroit food. Food and Art are kind of our things. 
 Walking into this room was a little overwhelming if I'm being honest.  And in full honest mode, I'll even admit I'm not a big fan of Diego Rivera in terms of his personality especially his overshadowing of Frida Kahlo.  However, I can see why he has the fame he did with this piece.
If you zoom in on the photo above you might still be able to see the pencil marks into the mural which pulled out a surprising emotional response from me, like woah, someone actually drew and measured this to paint it, with modern art everything is so digital and I forget that hand sketching was a thing.  
As far as the food goes, we found out a Coney Island Dog isn't from Coney Island.  Instead it comes from Detroit.  The hot dog itself originated in Coney Island so this type of 'dog' with the chili over it was named in tribute to the orignal city of the hot dog itself. Confusing right?  We'll to make things more complicated the original restaurant serving and inventing the Coney Island Dog was Layafette Coney Island but the founding brother's had a split and one brother left and opened his own shop next door - American Coney Island Dogs.  And they're both still there today. Side by Side.  So we did what any foodie would and ate a both of them.
Layafette is old school diner vibe with orange seats and rumored to be cash only - although it looks like they might have finally updated to credit card processing on a device but just to be sure we paid cash and you probably want to too.
Husband taking his first Lafayette bite.
Next up, American Special, with a slice of coconut cream pie.
He said they tasted the same even though he ordered the original at one place and 'the special' at the other.  I guess there's only so many ways you can slather a hot dog with minced meat and chili top it with white onion and mustard. And there's only so many times you can eat a coney island dog before fulfilling that void in your life, for the husband it was twice. Enough for a lifetime. 

He also ordered a Michigan local beer called the Ghettoblaster.  

I was more interested in the cheese fries and pie but it was a fun dining experience.

 After my pie we walked next door to the community garden.
The bees seem to enjoy the space. 
blackberries not quite ripe. 
// detail of art deco window with spider web. 
 After walking around and exploring it was obviously time for more food and beer.  We headed to Vinsetta Garage since someone suggested it to the husband.
Cute former car garage turned into pizza + hipster hang out.  I got a salad and Husband got a pasta dish to absorb all the meat he ate for lunch.  
 oh and a side of mac and cheese duh.
 Back home at my grandma's house we enjoyed the cooler yet humid weather and my daughter snapped this above photo of stargazer lilies growing in her backyard.
With my grandma's health issues, my Aunt offered us her camper to avoid the extra chaos of 5 extra people in her house.  Could definitely do camper life long term.  As long as the kids had a field nearby to roam.
The next morning we set off to another one of my childhood favorite's Frankinmuth, a small german town just 20 minutes away from my grandma's house. 
Didn't remember pineapple's growing there when I was little but here are a couple growing happily along the sidewalk. 
We ate lunch at the Bavarian Inn, although I would have liked to check out Zehender's next time.  We got beer, brats and sour kraut, and then drove over to Bronner's Chirstmas Wonderland.  I'm not one for Christmas really but this place is ridiculous for ridiculous sake and it's Christmas there 361 days a year. 
Later that evening we had a family memorial BBQ for my cousin who passed away last year.
 forgot how nice those midwest evenings feel with a breeze and beer in hand.
 The only image I caught of my Grandma on this trip with my mom.
Vera's new stuffy; Lola Llama.
The field behind my grandmother's house where I used to run around when I was their size.
My aunt had sparklers for the kiddos.
So we played with some slow exposure photography.

The next day we went to a family birthday party and played, get this, outside.  If you're in the Phoenix area during summer you'll know what a treat this is for us traveling during the summer, like the only escape is to get out of town.
This girl and her twirl dresses and red boots.
Then back to Frankinmuth for a concert in the park with grandma and date night for the parents. Sonja snapped this photo of the horse drawn carriages.
We found an adorable wine bar called Prost and I obviously ordered the cheese board. 
Then we followed up with Ice Cream for dessert. 
La Luna.
And for one of our last activities, we drove up to Mackinac Island to show the girls one of my favorite childhood destinations.
Arch Rock from below.
The island has no cars, and is so small you can bicycle around it in about 2 hours or 45 minutes if you're quick.
We paused to toss some pebbles.
and to pull some cards. Full Moon spread available here.
After our bike adventures I decided I earned some coffee so we stopped at Good Day for more coconut ice 'cream' and a latte. 
Husband climbed on historic canons and we hiked up into the state park.
and got this view.
//Fort Mackinac.
Arch Rock from above.
200+ steps to get back down the cliff side.
Found these Bladder Campion flowers, technically still classified as a weed but I'm obsessed with them.
Grandma took the girls on a carriage ride, V. is obsessed with horses and could not be more excited, although after she did tell me she feels a little bit bad for the horses, because they have to work all day, and we can't ask them if they like it.  My little empath. 
helmets because I do not mess around with brain health.
Sonja captured a butterfly on Aunt Debbie.
and this cool wood moth type guy at the Butterfly house.
This photo was taken at 9pm at night before our ferry back to the mainland, it's so bright so late this far north!

Back at our hotel we tried to call it a night but the girls were too amped up so we put them in the jetted tub bath to get out their wiggles and they decided that the warm washcloths were the best thing ever over their faces. 

The morning we found a small cafe for coffee just over the Mackinac bridge on the Northern Peninsula.
Java Joes.

And apparently that's the last photo I took on my camera for the trip, because after this we drove back to my grandma's house, packed up and headed to the airport first thing in the morning.  It really was a dense quick trip and we're happy we got to experience a fun family adventure this summer, maybe next time we can do a road trip and stay longer.  There are so many amazing places to camp and see we didn't even get a chance to explore.