Camping at Tawas Point State Park

I just returned from 10 days of camping at Tawas Point State Park. It was a great vacation with my family! If you have been to Tawas Point State Park, you know what a little slice of Heaven looks like…and if you haven’t been there, you really should check it out. The campground is really nice and we had a great site that was frequented by many pairs of Orioles and many other beautiful song birds. The Lighthouse is open for tours and there is a small gift shop where you can pick up a shirt or a great picture frame by Michigan in Metal. Between the 2 playgrounds and all of the biking and swimming, the kiddos were exhausted each night.

Tawas Point Lighthouse

Tawas Point Lighthouse


There are beautiful sunrises over Lake Huron or if you are not an early bird (like me), you can watch the sunset over Tawas Bay.
Tawas Bay Sunset

Tawas Bay Sunset


The beach has beautiful sand and the lake is quite shallow along this part of the shore which makes for great swimming. The wind on Tawas Point is great and lures many kiteboarders who are seeking wind to fill their kites. I got to meet Mark Kuban, the owner of Motor City Kiteboarding and watch him, my husband, and many others ride the wind and waves. These guys and gals are really entertaining to watch and are such a friendly group.
Mark Kuban of Motor City Kiteboarding

Mark Kuban of Motor City Kiteboarding


Tawas Beach Kiteboarding

Tawas Beach Kiteboarding

And when you need a great meal and a friendly smile, just stop by to see Joe at The Tawas Beach Grill right there by the beach for great coneys and ribs!

So, it was a great vacation and we are already counting the days until we can go back for more sun, sand, wind, and water.

Holland Tulip Festival

The annual Tulip Time Festival in Holland is quickly approaching. Festival dates are May 5-12, but due to warmer-than-usual temperatures in Michigan this spring, the tulips are expected to be in peaking in mid April. The Tulip Time Festival website is encouraging Tulip lovers to “Come Early For The Tulips, Come Back For The Festival!”

During the Festival, there is a luncheon with Governor Snyder (tickets are still available) and the Art in Bloom Competition that is held by Holland Area Arts Council. You’ll also find a parade, lots of music, and Dutch Heritage festivities.

For more information, please visit: The Tulip Time website.

Visiting State Parks

Summer is not over yet, but now is the time to think about campground and harbor reservations for next year. The Michigan DNR allows reservations 6 months in advance for campgrounds and harbors. The campgrounds that are on or near one of the Great Lakes fill up extremely fast.

As an avid camper, I love visiting our State Parks. I am currently planning next year’s camping dates and locations. I know that at the 6 month mark – I need to be ready and waiting at the computer to make my reservations or I will not be getting into the park I wish to visit.

Here is a list of the parks I have visited:

Tawas Point State Park
Tahquamenon State Park
Lakeport State Park
Hoffmaster State Park
Sleeper State Park
Van Buren State Park
Newaygo State Park
Holly Recreation Area
Bay City State Recreation Area
Brighton Recreation Area
Straits State Park

They are all great parks, but my two favorites are Tawas Point State Park and Lakeport State Park.

Tell me, where you have camped and what are your favorite parks.

The Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad

I recently visited Fairview and stumbled upon this hidden gem – The Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad. This amazingly beautiful train ride sits on 40 acres of Jack pine forest and overlooks the Comins Creek Valley.

I had the pleasure of speaking to the owners, Howard and Joanne Schrader about the property. The idea of this railroad came from Howard’s love of trains and ground was broken in 1994 with the construction of the engine house. Over the next 5 years the Schraders built two wooden trestles (one is over 220 feet long), a tunnel (115 feet long), the depot and gift shop, and many more buildings to make this a complete experience for the rider.

There is a 1/4 scale steam locomotive as well as two F-7 diesel hydraulic locomotives. There are 7 passenger coaches each with a unique name.

The Michigan AuSable Valley Railroad is open on Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays from Memorial Day Weekend thru Labor Day Weekend. The steam locomotive runs on select Sundays and Holidays – you can call ahead for the steam schedule.

For more information and directions, please visit: www.michiganausablevalleyrailroad.com

Stop by for a great ride and have some popcorn too!

Royal Oak Outdoor Art Fair

If you are in the Royal Oak area this weekend, you should check out the 40th Annual Outdoor Art Fair. The art fair will be held at Memorial Park (Corner of Woodward Avenue & 13 Mile Road) on Saturday, July 9, 10am – 6:00pm & Sunday, July 10, 10am – 5:00pm.

One hundred artists will be displaying an exciting variety of art which include ceramics, painting/prints, fiber arts, jewelry, photography, sculpture, wood, glass, leather, and mixed media.

Arts Beats and Eats

Mark your calendar for September 2 – 5 because you’ll want to attend this year’s Arts Beats and Eats in Royal Oak.  Already known for its top-ranking art fair, organizers of Oakland County’s premier festival are hungry for more recognition. They plan to unseat A Taste of Chicago, which had 70 vendors last year, as the country’s biggest foodie event.

The festival moved from Pontiac to Royal Oak in 2010, drawing about 423,000 visitors. A couple times entry gates were closed to accommodate the crowds. The larger festival footprint should give everyone more room, Witz said.

For More Information on the Festival, visit: http://www.artsbeatseats.com

Grand Traverse Pie Company

Grand Traverse Pie Company’s Cherry Crumb Pie was just named one of America’s Most Unforgettable Pies on YAHOO! Travel today.

Their Cherry Crumb Pie is made with Northern Michigan Montmorency tart cherries—locally grown in Traverse City. Yum!

Great job Grand Traverse Pie Company – Keep up the good work!

To read the rest of the article, click the link below.

http://travel.yahoo.com/p-interests-37630360

Today in Michigan History

April 12, 1827

The village of Monroe was incorporated.

Monroe was first called Frenchtown by French-Canadians who cleared ribbon farms along the River Raisin in the mid-1780s. The settlement was renamed and made the county seat after a visit from President James Monroe in 1817.

Thank you Michigan Start Pages for this glimpse into our past.  See more here.

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Check out this week’s featured business: Trattoria Stella

Nestled in the old Traverse City Asylum, Trattoria Stella offers Traverse City residents and patrons from around the state delicious food made from the finest ingredients, quite a bit from area farmers, and a great wine selection, many from local wineries.  Many of the ingredients and wines come from within 20 miles of their kitchen door,  which supports their local area businesses while getting the freshest, most flavorful ingredients.  Nearly everything is made in-house: bread, desserts, pasta sauces, dressings, etc.

Paul and Amanda both grew up in Birmingham, Michigan and are passionate about great food.  Paul has managed some of southeastern Michigan’s most notable restaurants, including Sweet Loraine’s in Southfield, Big Rock Chop & Brew House in Birmingham, and D’Amato’s in Royal Oak and Ann Arbor. It was at D’Amato’s where Paul first worked with Myles Anton, Trattoria Stella’s Executive Chef.

Amanda’s passion for training took her around the world to open new restaurants with Dallas-based T.G.I. Fridays and Detroit-based Elias Brothers Corporation among others.  Amanda is a sommelier currently working towards her master sommelier accreditation.  Trattoria Stella has quickly earned the reputation as one of the best wine cellars in the region thanks to Amanda.

Trattoria Stella takes to heart the fact that the community supports them and their continued success. They, in turn, continue to encourage a healthy and happy community through education.  Last year, they accomplished their goal of giving back one percent of their gross sales to local charitable organizations.

For more information or to visit Trattoria Stella, please visit: www.stellatc.com

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