Monday, July 1, 2013

Road trippin: Pure (Western) Michigan

So a little over a week ago, the hubby and I went up to Michigan for a long weekend away.

We started by driving to his parent's house after I got off work that Thursday nights. Friday morning we drove into Muskegon to go to Michigan's Adventure, an amusement park Chauncey had visited when he was a kid. We arrived right around lunch time and the park wasn't busy at all. We had towels and sunscreen we didn't want to carry so we walked back to the water park area to get a locker. We were almost there when it started raining. We decided that since it was raining we'd go ahead and play in the water park since we'd be getting wet anyways (it was raining but no threat of lightning). We started in the wave pool to get acclimated to the water temperature (the water isn't heated). Then we hit the water slides. The first slide we did was the Mammoth River, a slide where we shared a tube. The next slide was The Mine Shaft, a similar slide but enclosed. This slide we started with Chauncey's back facing the end of the slide, so when we hit the pool at the bottom his weight caused the tube to buckle and flip over. I went flying face first into the pool, water up my nose and I ended up hitting the bottom of the pool with my knee which I scraped up.

Taken several hours later

After a quick trip to first aid for a band-aid we were back to the slides. We played on several more slides then hit the lazy river for several laps. The rain finally let up and the sun came out so we decided to get dressed and play in the rest of the park. We left our towels and wet clothes in the locker and took the train to the other side of the park. We rode almost all of the roller coasters, but my favorite was Shivering Timbers, a mile-long, wooden coaster that reached speeds of 65 miles per hour!

Image via

Aside of the roller coasters, most of the other rides at Michigan's Adventure are your carnival style rides (Tilt-A-Whirl, Swings, Bumper Cars, etc.) which I loved when I was younger but these days those types of rides make me sick. 

Funny bathroom graffiti

Since the park is so small (compared to what I'm used to) and the fact that it was not busy (the parking lot was only about a quarter full) we did everything we wanted to in a short amount of time. So we packed it up and headed further north up to Hart where we stopped for groceries and a stop at an ATM. With groceries in hand, we finished our drive to Mears where the hubby's family has a vacation home where we would be staying. We unpacked and made dinner, a couple of steaks and sweet potato fries. Then we watched a movie (on VHS!) and went to bed.

The next morning was cool and foggy, but we braved the weather and headed out to walk on one of the beaches and see one of the many lighthouses.

We spent most of the morning/afternoon driving around, enjoying nature and being away from work and the real world.

The dunes are off in the background

We ended up in Pentwater where we stopped at a farmer's market, Fox Barn Winery, an antique shop and the Cosmic Candy Company.

Fog rolled in again which forced us back to the house. So we ate dinner and headed back out to another beach (Cedar Point Beach) where we tried to watch the sunset and shot off the hubby's potato gun.

The sunset got obstructed due to the fog so we called it quits and went back to the house. We settled in and ate dessert, angle food cake and fresh strawberries that we bought at the farmer's market and a glass of wine from Fox Barn.

Sunday morning we slept in, breakfast/brunch consisted of leftover steak, sweet potatoes and eggs. Maybe not the healthiest but really yummy!

I read some magazines and dozed off in the recliner while Chauncey worked on a project. Late lunch was at Tasty Creationz. I had the BLT wrap, Chauncey had the BBQ pulled pork and we shared an order of fried pickles (one of my favorite things in the entire world).

After lunch, we walked from the house over to Silver Lake State Park to walk on the dunes. Silver Lake State Park is huge, almost 3,000 acres and borders both part of Lake Michigan and Silver Lake. It includes several beaches and a 450-acre off-road vehicle area. Since walking the dunes (which is free to get in to as a pedestrian) is a workout and can be very sandy (I was covered head to toe by the end) I didn't bring a camera just to be careful. But I do have some pictures taken when the hubby was there with friends last month.

The dunes are very steep and walking in sand isn't easy so I got a workout. Thankfully the payoff was reaching the beach by Silver Lake, the water was cold but felt good after all that climbing. Of course we had to climb another steep dune to get out :-/ By then I was worn out but we had to clean up and get ready to head home the next day. So we turned on the radio and straightened up so we'd have less work in the morning.

Monday morning we were up a bit early to finish packing up to head home. The idea was on the way to stop in Holland so I could see some of the touristy things. Our first stop was Veldheer's Tulip Farm.

Unfortunately for Holland as a whole, we were about 4-6 weeks too late to see the tulips. They bloom in early-mid May and only last a couple of weeks. We did pick up some authentic Dutch cookies and some Wisconsin cheese curds, all of which made for a great snack on the drive home.

I told the hubby I wanted to see a windmill up close, so we ended up going to Windmill Island Gardens. We weren't sure if it would be worth the price of entry ($7.50 per person unless you are a Holland resident except during tulip time). Turns out it was pretty worth it. The windmill itself is over 200 years old and is the only authentic Dutch windmill in the entire United States. It was shipped over from the Netherlands in the 1960's as a way to thank the people of Holland (Michigan) for their support during World War II. The bottom of the mill is newer (built there in the US) but the upper part is original, and the mill as a whole is functional. They grow wheat and mill flour there by the only Dutch trained woman miller.

Working Dutch organ sent over along with the mill

Our tour guide

View of the grounds from the top of the mill

Working horses taking a nap

Grinding wheel

Time for some authentic Dutch dancing!

All of the millers who have worked the mill

Diorama of a typical Dutch village

Dutch carousel (for children only)

Our last stop was the greenhouse where they grew more exotic plants (some with funny names) and had a koi pond with some HUGE fish.

Overall I really enjoyed visiting Windmill Island, but I felt it would have been worth more if it had been tulip time, but I imagine that it would have been much more crowded as well, so it's a toss up. I can say I went and saw an authentic Dutch windmill is person.

After Windmill Island, we headed home. We packed quite a lot into one weekend and will certainly be going back to Silver Lake again.


  1. It sounds like a fun weekend! Sorry that you got hurt, but I'm glad it wasn't too serious and that it didn't keep you from playing. I don't do rollercoasters, but those other ones that you wouldn't ride are totally up my alley. I'd rather whirl in circles than go up and down steep things. lol

    There seem to be a lot of cool things near you and I think it's great that you're being a tourist in your own state.

    1. I love roller coasters, they just don't like me :-/ Those other rides, you go ahead and ride for me :-) I'm loving playing local tourist and hope to do more this summer!