One of the nice advantages of the workamping lifestyle is that we work (at the RV park) part time in exchange for our site and utilities. “Part Time” is key for two reasons. First, we’ve worked full-time for forty years or so and don’t want to do that any longer … after all, we are “retired” in that we quit working full time, started collecting our Social Security and pensions earlier than most (at a reduced rate) so that we could change our lifestyle and explore this great country of ours.
Secondly, working part time allows us a few days a week to hit the road and explore what’s around us. If you’ve been following the blog, you’ve seen; the beach and state park at Ludington, the Pere Marquette River, the Village of Idlewild, Bitely, and more.
This week we headed out Thursday morning for a three day trip along the “baby finger” of Michigan bordering Lake Michigan where we enjoyed towns and villages like Manistee, Glen Arbor, Charlevoix, Petoskey, Cross Village, Mackinac City and finally back down through Kalkaska and Cadillac. The map of our three day trip is below.
If you’d like an interactive link to the map so you can zoom and pan on any specific area, here’s the link.
Day 1 – Manistee to Charlevoix
Our first stop was at Manistee. We didn’t walk the town, but we did head to the beach and on the way back through town, we stopped to admire the Ramsdell Theatre. Unfortunately we couldn’t get inside to see, but got a couple of outside pix. I wouldn’t have stopped there, but was curious about the large brick windowless tower poking up out the back of the building. Once we stopped and found that it was a theater, the tower to the rear made sense.
We continued north along M-22, often catching glimpses of the mighty Lake Michigan
It was a beautiful drive up M-22 along the lake. Since it was a weekday, very little traffic and almost nobody else on the beaches we stopped to check out.
We continued up M-22 out of Arcadia, through Watervale and Alberta and on into Frankfort where we were able to pull in to the public park at the marina, break out our cooler and have a light lunch of tuna salad on crackers along with some cottage cheese and washed it all down with a few gulps of ice cold lemonade while watching the boats bobbing in the water and the sea gulls dive for their lunch (in the harbor, not at our picnic table!).
Leaving Frankfort, we headed on up through Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore across Glen Lake into and out of Glen Arbor and into Leland where we knew from previous visits we would find the historic “Fishtown“. It’s mostly just a tourist trap now with lots of shops filled with collectibles and souvenirs, along with a few cafes but also is an active harbor for pleasure vessels and charter fishing operations as well. You can easily spend a lot of money in Leland.
Years ago we had continued north on M-22 all the way to the Grand Traverse Light adjacent to the Lelanau State Park at the tip of the baby finger. It’s a nice trip up with a wonderful little museum in the lighthouse and I’d recommend this to anyone visiting the area.
Now, I KNEW that Leland was a tourist spot, but we thought maybe we’d get a room there for the night and be able to walk the sidewalks and rub elbows with those further up the economic ladder from us. NOT! We found a motel online and our smartphone said that they had only one room left, so we darted up the street to get there and check in. The nice young lady behind the desk told us the rate was $391 (per night!) and NO, that did NOT include a few rounds of golf!
Soooooo, we headed out of Leland, through Sutton’s Bay and on to Charlevoix where we hoped to find a room for the night.
We found the Maple Leaf Motel (only 10 rooms) on the south end of town where our host Cindy welcomed us to the last room available, and as promised we found the room to be clean. I asked Cindy where we should have dinner tonight and she recommended the new “Cantina” restaurant located in an alley off the beaten track. She also told us about the 80th annual Venetian Festival going on in downtown this week. We decided that all sounded like a great night so off we went …
Some shots of folks enjoying the festival food at the harbor and listening to the live band in the amphitheater
Kathy wanted to go on the Ferris Wheel. But she also wanted ME to GO ALONG!
If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know that I’m “skeered of heights”. I can’t even climb up on top of the motor home. I can handle a six foot ladder, but that’s about all.
The video below shows a group of kids having a ball on the hill. It would be a really tough climb with a sled in the snow.
That’s it for now, the next post will be from Charlevoix through Petoskey, Cross Village and the Tunnel of Trees and then up across the bridge (and back) and then down to Kalkaska.
One thought on “Workampers Northwest Michigan Road Trip”
I truly miss Michigan and the beautiful sights and tolerable temperatures. I hope you guys liked it as much as we did.