The Famous Sleeping Bear Dunes. TC Part II!

Hey hey! Okay, so this may be one of my favorite blog posts ever. I am absolutely thrilled to share one of my favorite places on the entire planet with you guys- the Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan! In 2011, it was voted the #1 Most Beautiful Places in America and then last year voted one of the 25 most beautiful beaches on earth.

The Dunes growing up were our treat of the whole year- we loved (and still love) running down them at full force, getting air as we jump, and taking in the vast views. There is something about them- an energy, yet calmness, in the air that is unlike anywhere I have ever experienced.

We took my Aunt and Uncle’s RV so we could all hang together during the 50-ish minute drive from Sutton’s Bay to the Dunes. Time for pics!

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Aunt Terry with Stout, her Portuguese water dog <3

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Restin’ up for the dune climb, lol.

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The girlies in front of the dunes!!

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Here they are! *All heart eyes*

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They overlook serene Lake Michigan too

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Climb, climb, climb

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Hanging at the top of our first stop!

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Time to frolic alllll the way down! The best part!

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After, we drove to THE large Dune! It’s a famous large Dune with a 450 foot drop. It is the ultimate climb and test of your grit. I couldn’t even capture the bottom from standing at the top — it’s that steep! It takes about 5-10 minutes to run down, and can take upwards two hours to hike up (per the sign). When we were younger it would take us about an hour, now it takes us half the time.

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It’s so so picturesque here. I cannot even describe, and these pictures do not do it justice.img_0913img_0886img_0891img_0887img_0889img_0908img_0890

At the bottom!

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Cuties!

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Time to climb back up!!

((25 minutes later)) *said in Spongebob voice* come n’ you know you were thinking it.

We made it! We joked that it should be initiation in the family to climb the dune. (Deej had to do it too when we were dating 😉 ).

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Also, we totally didn’t plan to match. WHOOPS.

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Momma bear and Pete

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Time to eat! We headed into the heart of Glen Arbor to get some grub.

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Pop? Soda? Soda Pop? Which do you say?!

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The little shops and boutiques along the way were so doggone cute!

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At the Boone Docks, my mom and I split some fish n’ chips and a yummy salad with the best dried cherries you will ever find.

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They also had burgers that the others grabbed!

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We went back to Aunt Terry & Uncle Pat’s to shower, then headed over to Grandma and Grandpa’s again for dinner.

Cocktail hour first, ya know the drill! My grandma and grandpa make the best Texas Caviar (kind of like salsa with some sweetness), and I dream about this when I get home. *peep the cute Christmas napkins*. Eating this food is seriously like Christmas.

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Their backyard is gorgeous and they maintain it so beautifully!

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We had dinner full of grandpa’s famous chicken wings (my mom and I had our leftover seitan and tofu), coleslaw, rolls, bean salad (yummmmo), and grandma’s potato salad. Not sure my mouth could water any more right now!

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Had to snag a pic with my Grandpa. <3

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To conclude the evening we went to Bardon’s, a classic ice cream shop that actually my Aunt even worked at growing up.

Look how cute these two are deciding what to order!!!

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I couldn’t decide between soft serve or the cherry ice cream. Kevin told me I could have some of his cherry so I ordered the soft serve. Oh. my. GOSH. If you never read my blog ever again- let me leave you with these words of wisdom: GET YO’SELF SOME CHERRY ICE CREAM FROM BARDON’S. This was the BEST ice cream I have EVER had. EVER EVER EVER EVER. So yeah, uh… it was pretty good..

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This was the best soft serve ice cream I have ever had too. All around Bardon’s is where . it . is. at. okur?

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Happy Fam <3

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Anddd a pretty sunset for a cherry on top. You can see the traces of a rainbow trying to make an appearance too)

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In the morning of July 23rd, my mom and I grabbed Aroma’s Coffee & Tea. I actually loved this coffee shop from the last time we were here and remember spending a few hours here studying for my NCLEX!

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We drove to my Gma and Gpa’s in TC and said our goodbyes to our Uncle who had to head back to NC.

My sister and I went for a nice run, one of my favorite parts of the trip. It was like old times being able to just jog & chat together. Love love loved it.

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We then went with my Aunt, Mom, Hal & Kevin into downtown TC to window shop and hangout.

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I just love this downtown. It’s the definition of quaint.

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Moomers is another famous ice cream spot too! It was a bit chilly- so we didn’t get any (and nothing tops Bardon’s anyway), but gosh it’s also a must! Either this or Kilwin’s if you are in town! And if you like fudge, Kilwin’s has some of the tastiest. My grandparents actually call tourists “Fudgies” because you can spot them based on their box of fudge from Kilwin’s walking around. Haha.

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And my favorite store in downtown…… Cherry Republic!

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They have a sundry of free samples in their shop- you could make a meal out of them.. and trust me.. we do!

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Before Kevin and Hal had to get on the road to head back to Cincinnati, OH, we popped into Espresso Bay… one of the other famous coffee shops in downtown.

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Worst part of the trip: Dropping my sunglasses into the Espresso Bay toilet. I was bending over to put the paper lining on the toilet and “plop”. Gosh darnit. Good thing they were like $5… so I just tossed them, and then thoroughly scrubbed my hands for like 10 minutes. Sheesh, none of you are gonna wanna shake my hand if we meet based on these posts. Bahah. I swear I’m not that much of a train wreck… just a small train wreck…

Late in the afternoon we came back to Aunt Terry’s where we split some of the MOST INCREDIBLE wine from Napa, munched on crackers & cheese (and vegan cheese- but I bet you can’t spot the difference!), and soaked up these last moments together before heading out in the morning.

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Aunt Terry also made calamari from SCRATCH. I have never ever had home prepared calamari- it’s always been from a restaurant. Well, this surpassed any restaurant calamari. This was tremendous, and it was fun to watch her prepare it too!

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I craveeee this stuff.

Also how cute are these?!

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#TRUTHBOMBS

But that’s not all! We’re talking three course meal here. We were even treated to dinner out on their deck overlooking the Bay <3

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We split some avocado corn salad & perfectly cooked whitefish.

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Aunt Terry & Bocci boy!

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Can you tell these two apart? This is Bocci..

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And this is Stout!

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We ended the quintessential summer day & stupendous weekend by watching Bachelor (Thanks for being such a trooper, Uncle Pat 😉 ). I have never laughed so hard during a Bachelorette viewing. The commentary from the peanut gallery had me rolling.

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This wraps up a memory for all time. Thanks for sharing in it with me .

Question for you:

  • Do you say Pop or Soda?

xo <3

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67 thoughts on “The Famous Sleeping Bear Dunes. TC Part II!

  1. Just love to read your posts – the right combination and words and photos make me feel I am almost there 🙂 And on dropping anything on accident into a toilet? – well i dropped my favourite sock in one once…

    nataliesdailylife.wordpress.com

    1. Aww Natalie, you have no idea how much that means to me!!! Thank you for reading- and girl, not the favorite sock! haha. Have a fabulous week, love! XO

    1. Hi Fallon! Always so excited to see your name pop up.

      OKAY you are speaking my language!!!! I am gonna share this with my sister- she’ll appreciate your response too, hah! We both were DC addicts growing up (somewhat have broke the habit, but sometimes just need it- because I CAN , right?!)

    1. Hey girl!! Thanks for stopping by <3 I love your name by the way. Oh my gosh, so fascinating about Danish Soda!!! Love that!!! Are you from Denmark?!

      1. I’ve heard that! I love it. There is a chance my husband and I will be moving there in a couple years- but not 100% sure yet. I’ve heard such great things!

  2. Those dunes look absolutely breathtaking!! Both in beauty & the height. I think once I got acclimated to the height, I’d have a blast, but heights have been known to cause me to have a panic attack…like on the high dive at a country club in junior high. Bahahaha

    The water is SO beautiful!! I’m obsessed with the blues. It is stunning.

    Little quaint towns are my favorite! I love the store front off Imagine That. 😍 That soft serve, ohmygosh! I’d be torn between getting it or that cherry ice cream. It looks & sounds like a dream.

    The cheese & olive board, homemade calamari, the full meal – everything looks perfect!

    I’m in awe of that lovely waterfront view off from the deck. Just magical.

    I hope you have the best Sunday, doll!

    1. It’s a different kind of heights I think because it doesn’t feel like you are about to just fall over ya know? I think you would enjoy them 🙂 You are just swallowed up by the sand, it’s a wonderfully comforting and secure feeling actually!

      The high dive is sooo different- I am not a big fan of that either (although I used to cliff dive in high school illegally- but that’s a story for another day). bahah.

      You would LOVE LOVE LOVE downtown Michigan. I wish we all could just meet there this weekend. It’s a super fun, quaint, unique, and special town. I have never been anywhere just quite like it <3

      Hope you had a great weekend, and have a wonderful week! Eagerly awaiting your next post because I'm actually caught up for once in my life 😉

      1. Oh, then I bet I absolutely could handle them! One day I hope to experience the rush that is climbing them and then running down them full force! 🙂

        Hahahaha I’d love to hear this story!

        I just know I would! Gosh, so darn quaint and precious. <3

        It was such a fabulous weekend, thank you! I hope the same for you and a beautiful week ahead! XO

      2. Yes for sure!!! Add it to the list!

        So basically we had these cliffs in a part of town that everyone loved to dive into. Being the invincible teenagers we were, I would go with friends a ton. Then one time Dj and I went to the cliffs, but they had cut down most of the trees we used to get there and had giant signs no diving allowed. We ignored them and dived anyways- then we hear a whistle. Look up and a cop is standing there motioning for us to walk up. Scariest walk of my life! He just gave us a warning… but good times. Haha.

      3. Hahahaha I would’ve been terrified to walk back up to the officer!! Thankfully he just gave you all a warning. I bet he saw the fear already building in your eyes & facial expressions. What a funny story to tell now, though!

    1. It truly NEVER gets old, running down those dunes like a child! And yesss- Myra, you and my Aunt could put the best restaurants out of business together 😉 Tehe!

  3. You must be listening in on my conversations lol my childhood friend moved to Lansing & she was just telling me yesterday that she wants to visit sleeping bear dunes soon!!! Looks so beautiful!!!

    1. No way!! That is too funny!! We are seriously on the same wave length. We’ve gotta meet sometime, gf! I do hope you get to visit the dunes- they are absolutely incredible.

  4. Pop all the way! Kilwin’s has the best fudge hands down. I wish I could make it at home but then I remember I would weigh 286598 pounds from eating it all the time lol. That dune is massive!

    1. Shoot, girl! This got caught in the Spam que again. Hate when that happens! But AGREED- Kilwin’s absolutely has the best fudge. Definitely something I have ZERO self control around. Do y’all have one by you?!

  5. Where do I start?! This trip is like out of a storybook. I mean, who can say they ran up & down dunes?! They look incredible, and I cannot imagine the freeing feeling of being in the vast sand covered openness overlooking such stunning views.

    All.Of.That.Food *insert drool face emoji* I LOVE a good cheese platter (I have been known to overdo it without enough water, or, err, fiber, but ya know, you gotta live bahahaha)

    That town is precious! We have a Kilwin’s in downtown Knox now! I assume it’s the same thing? It has sweet goodies: fudge, dipped pretzel and Oreos, and ice cream. “fudgies” hahahahaha

    Those pups are so cute! They do look a lot alike!

    I say soda!

    I hope you have a splendid Monday!

    1. Girl, add them to your bucket list!!! That’s exactly how I would describe the experience- freeing, it’s seriously unlike anything else!

      Oooo I am weak when it comes to cheese- just weak!! I have zero will power with it- so I HEAR you!

      Yes! I bet it is the same Kilwin’s. I think it’s a chain- but the only place I’ve ever had it is in downtown TC. So fun you have one there too.

      I wonder where it switches from soda to pop. Because everyone in our area in Ohio say pop (But it’s not too far from Knoxville!). Too funny. Hope you had a great Monday too, Kaci! 🙂

  6. Fabulous post and the pictures are amazing, as usual! I so want to run down the dunes. I really want a cherry pie from up there as cherry pie is my absolute favorite, maybe next to pumpkin! I do call it pop, and very funny about pop is on ice but where’s mom!! Great fun blog my dear! So happy you have all these amazing memories now!

    1. Thanks, Mom!!! <3 <3 Ooooo their cherry pie is the BEST. Ok next time I will bring you back one :) I didn't know it was your favorite! You would LOVE TC!!

  7. My goodness, I have so much to say about this post! First of all, that looked like SUCH a fun trip! I had never heard of those Dunes before (how?!) but I definitely am putting a visit to them on my bucket list now! I can hardly even imagine how steep that large dune is!! Your pictures captured it all! It is just so obvious how much fun all of you are having.
    Also, all of your food photos look absolutely incredible! I’ve only had calamari once, at a Mongolian BBQ, and it was tough & rubbery, but that homemade calamari looks AMAZING.
    Those dogs are way too cute!
    Oh and I always say “soda.” I think it’s a western thing, though, because all the people I’ve known in the midwest typically say “pop” and maybe “soda pop.” I think it’s so interesting how people can live in the same country but grow up calling one item by different terms simply because of their region.
    Thanks for sharing, girl!! <3

    1. Hey, girl! It was suchhhh a blast. I have a new appreciation for this place as an adult that I didn’t as a child too. It’s just magical. You will not be disappointed if you make the trip!

      Calamari can definitely be somewhat rubbery- but if the flavor is good then is masks the texture a bit!

      I totally think Soda is western too! It’d be interesting to figure out when it changes. So funny!

      Thanks for stopping by!! xoxo

  8. Awww I love that photo of you & your sister asleep on each other, so precious. The photos of the beach are out of this world, wow! It’s so beautiful! I love that you guys have been going since you were little & that you included the fact it takes you half the time it used to climb. That’s really so cute!!!

    Yess!!! Me & my boyfriend always do that Spongebob voice when things take long. 😂 & are you sure you didn’t mean to match?!? That is too funny! Hahaha.

    When I was a kiddo I used to say pop but when I lived in WA, everyone was like that’s a sound not a beverage. I was mind-blown like “omg they’re right” so I’ve been saying soda ever since LOL. Which do you say?!

    The fish & chips look fantastic & so do your grandpa’s chicken wings!!! Mmm!!! Him & your grandma win the award for cutest couple ever! 😍 & that cherry ice cream!!!! Need need need it. Oh wow, you caught the sunset at such a perfect time with that rainbow, sooo pretty!!

    I’d love to visit that downtown & especially the Cherry Republic!! I’d eat all of those samples right up lol.

    Hahah I dropped my phone in the toilet and had to dig it out so I will still shake your hand, if you’ll still shake mine?!? 😂

    Ahh is the vegan cheese the pepperjack looking one or the super yellow one?! Lol I can’t tell!!

    I’ve never had homemade calamari either!!! That looks soooo good! Gimme gimme. 😫 & I can’t believe that’s her deck, how beautiful is that view & her pups!!! Aww Bocci is more curly haired but they do look a lot alike! I wanna hug em both!

    Thanks for sharing with us, Mackenzie! ♡♡♡

    1. Hey, girl!! That car ride was like old OLD times when we would sit in the back seat on trips together!

      YAASS. I am telling you- let the similarities between us continue. I love that you guys have SB in your life still to this day too. Haha.

      That’s so funny about the pop! TRUE. I say pop- definitely a Midwest thing I think, but if you said that in WA that’s so interesting!

      Ohhhh my goodness hahahhahah yesss I am SOOO glad I’m not alone in dropping something in there- and heck ya girl, I at LEAST have a few hundred hand washes under my belt since 😉 but dang- I hope your phone ended up being ok!

      It is both the pepperjack and super yellow one I think! They were tasty tasty!

      Everything about staying with her is seriously like staying at a resort. Just love it. And thanks for reading, Hunida!!! <3 Have a great hump day, gf!

      1. Hahahah I think Spongebob will be ingrained in all of us for life! Like, they still make freakin’ new episodes of that show!!

        I am surprised you haven’t transitioned into saying ‘soda’ living in CA!! People give me so much crap when they hear a tiny bit of my Minnesota accent – I’ve tried my hardest to diminish it hahaha.

        LOL I think I’ve washed my hands quite a good amount of times since, too. 😉 My phone WAS okay and I was like ‘what the hell?!’ I didn’t even know it was waterproof until I looked it up on the browser – I was thinkin’ I had mere seconds before it shut down but it never did!! 😀 Still works normally, thankfully!!!

        OOH YAY! I love winning guessing games LOL. 😀 Do you happen to remember the brands of those vegan cheeses?

        <3 <3 LOL, hope you had a great hump day too, Mack & an even better Thursday & upcoming weekend!!! <3

      2. Yes exactly !

        WAIT WHAT?! They still make new episodes ?! I had no idea 🤣🤣

        I will say I think I have transitioned somewhat. I guess I don’t say it often enough to really know haha.

        And that’s awesome it all turned out okay. I’ve had to put my phone in rice far too many times !

        I don’t remember darnit! My mom actually got them from the store and diced them up so I’m not sure :/ but I discovered THE best brand a couple weeks ago. I’ll include it in a Friday favorite. I don’t know what it is off the top of my head and I’m sitting in a restaurant waiting for dj to park the car haha.

        And girl you toooooo! Can’t wait to catch up on your happenin’s soon! 💕💕💕

  9. You know I can’t comment on a blog post with a dog in it without saying how cute it is! Stout is adorbs!! I’ve heard such great things about that breed!

    Okay, onto the actual content. THE DUNES! Wow! I had never even heard of them before, but I totally see why they top lists of most beautiful places! They look like so much fun, too!

    1. Tehe- aren’t they cuties? They are loveable, but they are counter surfers so beware hehe.

      They are SUCH a blast- maybe you can take your little one one day? Such a great place for a relaxing family vacation with children! XO

  10. What an incredible day filled with so much exuberance & fun-ness!
    Thank you for sharing this awesome outing in a stunning setting!

    Your extended family is lovely, and your grandparents are simply adorable!

    Are Bocci & Stout Kerry Blue Terriers???

    P/S We say neither pop nor soda in Singapore – we call them soft drinks (basically, anything non-alcoholic!!!)

    1. Awww thank YOU for sharing in these fun times with me too 🙂 And they are actually Portuguese water dogs!

      Ohh yes I have heard soft drinks in general! I see that on menus a lot I think, but don’t hear many people say it. Language is so interesting!

      Have a great rest of your week, Ju Lyn!

      1. They are! Just be careful if you wanna ever get one because they are counter surfers !

        Hope you have a beautiful weekend as well my friend ❤️

  11. Girl you know I love a good beach spot and oh my lanta! i am obsessed!
    Ahhh I LOVE these pictures! It looks like so much fun!
    But girl I got to laugh…I think my uncle might disagree that lake Michigan is serene; p :p LOL.
    Oh my lanta that is crazy but sounds like SO much fun! I have to ask him (and my cousin about these dunes now)
    Ahhh I LOVE these pictures! You guys are the cutest!
    And what a cute downtown! I am obsessed! it reminds me of the lake version of Tybee in Georgia with the way the buildings are designed!
    What is it about grandparents who have that green thumb and WHY did they not pass it on to us? Lol. My grandma is a gardner to and always had beautifully landscaped yards we would love to play hide and go seek in!
    Girl you know I love me some ice cream! and your grandparents are adorable!
    Ahhh I LOVE me some local coffee shops! If it isn’t Peets, gimme local!
    Aweeee I love that! So happy you got to spend time with your sister!
    Oh girl you POOR thing! My sympathies to you! RIP sunnies! Also I would do the same thing lol.
    ALL that food is making me hungry! And I LOVE that sign! I always say that! It is so true! Age is definitely how you feel not your actual age (maybe that is why my nephews and nieces always think I am like eighteen? ;p)
    And girl WHAT did you think of the bachelorette? WHAT team were you on? DID you watch last nights?
    Okay important question aside, I loved this! I am so happy you got to see your family and visit with them! What an amazing time! So much love to you sweets! <3

    1. I actually was thinking of you when writing this post. You would LOVE TC (especially their little downtown!) . Hahah- true true- he knows lake michigan very personally, and has seen the rough sides I’m sure!!!

      SERIOUSLY (about the green thumb). I can’t keep one single plant alive. It’s unfortunate. Lol. Love that about your Grandma too though- maybe it was also a generational thing? Like something they did more often?

      AGREED- #goPeetsorgoLocal

      OK bachelorette! I was team Blake for sureeeee. Basically everything that came out about Garrett turned me from him, but also he talks so slow… I can’t deal. Haha. And I loved Blake for Becca better too. I’m interested who is going to bachelor… I think Jason (but they would have announced it I feel like so maybe they are waiting until after BIP).. are you watching BIP?! You HAVE to! I like BIP even more than bachelor/bachelorette!!!

      What are your thoughts?!

  12. I enjoyed this blog immensely Mackenzie and I am ashamed to say I have been to Traverse City but did not have 1/100th of the fun that you did – I think we just passed through. And I’ve not been to Sleeping Bear Dunes either and did that look fun. Interesting they have warning signs so you know what to expect. What a workout … if you did that everyday, you sure would stay young. I sure enjoyed looking at all this good food and all the treats – especially after having a rather lame dinner here. As to Bocci and Stout – Bocci had a perm and Stout likes a more relaxed look for his hairdo. 🙂 I say pop – how ’bout you?

    1. Aw, thank you so much, Linda!!! It means so much you took the time to read & enjoyed. I think you are due a trip back then once the weather settles 🙂

      It was SUCH a workout! We were all sore the next day for sure.

      YES! You nailed it with the Bocci & Stout distinction. It took me much longer to figure them out haha.

      I say pop as well! Hope you have a great (and safe) Wednesday <3

      1. Well Mackenzie, reading your post I wondered how I could live here for 56 years and not ever have visited the Sleeping Bear Dunes – some Michigander I am. (But I am Canadian actually – never became American, but I’ve still lived in the state of Michigan all these years.)

        It sounded like a good workout for the legs. Walking in the sand is supposed to be good for leg muscles/calf toning.

        I thought I nailed it – curly perm like a poodle versus a smooth blowout! 🙂

        Thanks for the well wishes and I am so late reading this that Wednesday will soon roll into Thursday. 🙂

      2. Aw well it’s never too late 🙂 and where from in Canada? I realized I say a lot of words similar to Canadians and I think it’s because MI is so far north and my mom was raised there.

        Yes! The calves were definitely sore the next day !

        Hope you have a beautiful evening 💕

      3. That is true – I will visit again one day. I started to read your San Fran post and decided to wait until today to re-read it. I was there in 1980 and loved it – such a beautiful city. I will go back and re-read it again. I was born in Toronto, but we moved to Oakville, Ontario (25 miles from Toronto) when I was a baby – we lived there until I was 10 and my father got transferred to Ford-Woodhaven Stamping Plant. I am off to walk in a few minutes – another gray day unfortunately, but no rain, so off I go.

      4. Aww, I am honored you took the time to even read it twice!

        I have never heard of Oakville- but definitely know of Toronto! Do you go back often?

        Hope the gray day ended up okay 🙂 thanks for chatting!

      5. Hi Mackenzie – I have not been back to Canada, my homeland, and that is because I no longer have family there and worse than that – I have not got a valid passport. Since 9/11 you have to have a passport to cross the border. I live fairly close to the Windsor/Detroit border and you can cross either by the tunnel or the Ambassador Bridge. But they require a passport, even my green card won’t do it. The gray day did end and I got my walk in – had a busy day at work, and finally landed here late and decided to do a post. I usually post more than I have this Summer, but we’ve been busy at work. I do work from home, so I don’t have the commute though, so that is nice. I’ve enjoyed chatting with you too.

      6. Oh my this is so fascinating. Thank you for sharing- that had to be so frustrating, but it sounds like you have made a beautiful life despite it all!

        I look forward to your future postings. Hope you are having a great weekend 🙂

      7. Yes, one day I will get another passport and go back and pay a visit for old-time’s sake. 🙂 I look forward to your postings and in fact I think you did a part two today. I’m behind in Reader … have been working on a brief and left work late again.

      8. Please let me know when you do 🙂 And no worries! I never expect anyone to keep up, it’s just a treat whenever you stop by!

      9. Thank you Mackenzie and I don’t know how you keep up as you have a lot of followers … I am not usually this busy at work and my boss is ready to head to the UP for a few days – he usually goes for 10 days, but we are busy and working on a brief, so he is only going for five days and plans to work on it up there – ugh! I have worked from home for 9 years – usually when he is on vacation and it slow time for me, but not this year. A few years ago my boss was ready to shut down the practice as we were so slow – not now as we are so busy.

      10. Aww, I just love this community so very much and do my best to stop by and keep up when I can! Wow- that is quite the gig! How wonderful that things are going so well, I’m happy for you! Even though it’s busy at least it means things are going well 🙂

      11. That’s is true Mackenzie – a few years ago we were going to close up shop as there was not much work, so we got a boost of new work which is good.

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