Another great Michigan getaway: Interlochen & Mackinaw City.

I have been a fan of Leo Kottke for a long time. Almost got to see him once a couple decades ago, but had never experienced his playing live. When I found out he was going to be playing at the wonderful Interlochen Center for the Arts I knew Julie and I had to be there. If you have never experienced a concert at Interlochen, you should put it on your list - the campus has a great vibe and the setting in the woods of Northern Michigan cannot be beat.

Leo did not disappoint. His skill level on the 6 and 12 string guitars is simply amazing. Personally, I really enjoy it when he sings. His voice is like none other - and the stories he tells between songs are as interesting as he is.

Once the concert was over, we beat feet for Mackinaw City. Julie has a cousin there who has the Mackinaw City Bakery - (we availed ourselves of their great pastries, coffee, and chicken salad sandwiches). They also have a little no-frills motel right across the street from the bakery: The Welcome Motel. You can call the bakery to book a room. The room was spotless, the shower was powerful and we slept like bears. I walked a block and a half to a public park and cooled off with a dip in Lake Huron. (TIP: wear surf socks or water shoes - Lake Huron has a ROCKY bottom.)Saving money on the room is great in my opinion - just gives us a little more to spend on fun things. Like this:

Sunday night we took a sunset cruise aboard the 65 foot tall sailing ship Appledore V. What a fantastic entertainment value this was. For the two of us it was less than $70. They took us out of the harbor and into the shadow of the Mighty Mac bridge - then we headed toward Mackinaw Island before turning back. Passengers are invited, but not required, to help hoist the sails and bring them back down - I pitched in with a few of the other passengers who were so inclined. Not much compares to sailing under the big bridge. What a great experience.

By the time we returned to the dock it was late and we had not eaten dinner. Luckily for us the Nonna Lisa serves dinner until 11 pm. This restaurant is a hoot - if you are offended by stuffed animals, then don't bother eating here. But if dining amidst lions and tigers and bears doesn't bother you - the food is delightful and the people who work there obviously enjoy what they do. We had some of the best Brushetta we have tasted for an opener and then both went with a Whitefish dinner (not real Italian - but how can you NOT have Whitefish when you are up North?)

Walking back to the motel we were treated to a fantastic light show in the heavens - lightning was so abundant you could easily read by it.

The next morning we hopped aboard a Shepler's Ferry to Mackinaw Island. (Here is a tip - when you get your morning coffee and pastry at the Bakery, ask them for a coupon and save $3 a head on the ferry ride). Riding the ferry over there brings back pleasant memories of doing so when I was a kid. I would be content just to ride back and forth, but the Island is beautiful once you get a couple blocks off the congested Main Street.
Once we said our good-byes to the bakery (did I get one MORE oatmeal cookie? Yup - at .99 cents each they are great tasting and a great value!) we took the back roads to Cross Village and one of our absolute favorite restaurants in Michigan: The Legs Inn.

If you have never eaten there, you need to. The food is fabulous - Polish cuisine at it's best. (We had the sampler - little bit of a lot of things - yummy.) The view of Lake Michigan from their garden (you can eat out on the patio as well) is FANTASTIC. Plus, when you leave there you are headed south on M-119 the tunnel of trees. This is one of my favorite roads in Michigan - especially on two wheels. It is filled with wonderful curves and some of the best views of Lake Michigan anywhere.

Speaking of Lake Michigan, I had to take a swim before I went home, so we headed over to a great little beach we found last year: Arcadia Park. Just go to the end of Glovers Lake Road and you will find a little slice of heaven - BONUS: dogs are allowed on this beach if yours is so inclined.
We had a great week-end and we enriched the Michigan economy with a little under $700. Great time in a great state with Great Lakes.
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