If you want to see some wonderful old shipwrecks and some gorgeous scenery too then you must visit Munising, Michigan on Lake Superior. Here you will see three different wrecks via a glass bottom boat during your two hours ride aboard Shipwreck Tours. Perhaps the most impressive is the wooden ship built before the Civil War that sits only a few feet down on the bottom of the lake. Because of the perfect cold water temperature of Superior the wrecks have been preserved naturally and are amazingly intact and easy to see.

Over 30 ships have gone down in the bay around Grand Island and the Picture Rocks. The natural beauty of the rocks, caves and waterfalls are spectacular. You might even spy a Bald Eagle or two like we did on our visit.

And if you are into lighthouses the historic Grand Island East Channel Light is worth the cost of the trip.Opened in 1868 is was used to get ships from Lake Superior into the harbor of Munising . Its a rare wooden lighthouse and with fundraising from the community it will be saved as a lasting treasure of the area.

Admittedly, tickets for this little adventure are a bit pricey at $32 per adult and children under 12 are $12.00. But this is a very different and rare excursion that cannot be found just anywhere.

After the ride we drove 5 minutes to the U.S. Park of Munising Falls. With a paved hiking trail to this 50 ft. waterfall.; it is a great way to spend a little time before or after your boat tour. Waterfalls are plentiful around this area so I recommend you take some time to explore these natural wonders.


This area of the UP is unique so pack a lunch or stay in the area awhile.Either way you are sure to come away with some amazing memories of a great time and some beautiful scenery that can only be found in this unique area of the Mid-West.

OH HECK YES! The New Pengiun Center-Detroit, MI


Okay, I’m cheating. Big time. Why? Because I have never been to the Penguin Center at the Detroit Zoo although I have been to that particular zoo when I was a child. I remember watching the polar bears in awe and my fascination with the penguins when I was a kid; so I was stoked to read about this new edition to the struggling city of Detroit.

Yesterday, the Detroit Zoo opened it’s new state of the art penguin center which now holds the title of “Largest In The World.” Known as the Polk Penguin Conservation Center it features a multitude of penguins living as they would in the wild. These four species of birds are living the high life as they swim at breakneck speeds, nest, and rear their chicks in conditions that mimic the wild.

The Center is inspired by the Antarctic crossings of explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. According to zoo officials visitors will experience 4-D effects while watching the adventurer’s exploits in a wrap around movie.

Visitors can see these aquatic wonders from all sorts of vantage points including an underwater walkway. Along the way icebergs and ice sculptures can be seen.

On the Detroit zoo’s website you can take a walk through the center. While I have not yet visited I plan to someday soon. Take a look here and you will see this amazing exhibit for yourself:




Mushroom Houses-Charlevoix, Michigan

In the beautiful resort town of Charlevoix, Michigan lie an amazing array of “mushroom” homes designed by Earl Young (1889-1975). For a span of 52 years this insurance man/realtor spent time designing and/or building over 30 homes in the area. Following Frank Lloyd Wright’s philosophy that a home should fit into the landscape of the area; Young crafted his “hobbit” or “fairyland” houses of local stone many with “hidden” doorways. He refused to remove trees in order to build, instead, incorporating them into his designs. He also employed the use of multiple curved lines in his masterpieces foregoing the traditional use of straight lines and angles.



Many of Young’s houses can be found in the Boulder Park area of the city. Each home is unique; some large and ornate while others are more mouse-house sized. During the summer there are occasional tours of these homes but brochures which offer a self-guided walking tour can be had at the Charlevoix Chamber of Commerce.

But if visiting the inside of a Young building is on your bucket list  you can always head over to the Weathervane Terrace Inn and Suites. Located on the Pine River overlooking Round Lake it is the perfect place to explore Young’s sense of play in his creations.

Today, new houses are springing up in the area reminiscent of the ones designed by Young. Below is a beautiful example that I saw being built last summer (2015). Utilizing thatch like many of Young’s early homes, it gives this unique and stately beauty the sense of being an old English manor located somewhere on that great Island.


While there are many other things to do in Charlevoix  besides house gazing there are few places you will ever visit that has such a wonderful legacy available to anyone on a drive-by. So slow it on down and head into town. It’s definitely worth a stop.




Where For Art Thou… Cider Mills-Michigan

Since I live in California fall is but a blip on the seasonal weather screen. While most places have four seasons we have two: hot and hotter. Usually we can count the number of days on both hands that we have experienced the seasons of spring (5 this year) and fall (8 days) each year.For a Midwest born girl it truly is a sad state of affairs.

I confess that I miss the changing colors of the leaves. The chill in the air when fall arrives. The first frost on the grass and trying to ward off freezing temperatures under a blanket during the football games at the local high school. But what I really miss is cider. The fresh crisp and oh-so-sweet taste of those just pressed apples as the juice first tickles your tastebuds on the way down. And of course, you cannot have cider without the perfect chaser…a steaming cinnamon sugar donut right out of the bubbly hot oil. To me the smell of fall is warm cinnamon donuts and apples.


(The Cider Mill As I Remember It)

When I was a kid my parents used to bundle my sister and I up and make the annual pilgrimage to the Franklin Cider Mill in Franklin, Michigan. I can still remember watching the water wheel going round and crushing loads of apples right before my eyes; the golden brown nectar spilling into the trough on the way to being bottled. There was something magical in seeing the process of those just picked apples turning into something so sweet and delicious. I loved everything about it and still do. Recently, I was fortunate to re-visit the Franklin Mill and it still has the same charm that I remember even though things are done quite differently now. And if under oath I would swear that the building seems to have shrunk since I was 8 years old but the special flavors of fall are still exactly as I remember.


Two years ago on a trip to see my dad he took me to a cider mill in his area. With hayrides, fresh donuts, a zip line and all the cider you could possibly drink it was a fun way to kill a little time. VerHage Fruit Farms & Cider Mill sits just outside Kalamazoo and besides your typical fall fare they celebrate Christmas in a big way with elves, reindeer and pony rides. They even have a tractor driving school complete with

Its a place I would love to create memories with my own kids if only we lived nearby.


So this fall, search out your nearest Cider Mill and take the kids. You’ll never regret the time you spend together sippin’ on cider and munching on donuts.