Isn’t it amazing how quickly the time goes?  I ‘t think I only managed one post all last week, and it wasn’t for lack of trying either!  I think I’m going to have to come up with a better routine for blogging, perhaps I should write out more general posts when I have the time and schedule a few here and there to compensate for the really busy days, then you might have seen the rest of the holiday posts from Northern Michigan a bit sooner!

So without further ado…. this is how we spent our wonderful days on, and in the vicinity of Lake Charlevoix.  Just to refresh your memory (as it’s been so long), here are the first two posts I wrote:

Post One

Post Two

My favourite type of holiday, isn’t one full of sightseeing, or just sitting on a beach all the time, or a crazy activity break, I really like a little bit of everything…. so we spent our days hiking, kayaking and biking, visiting charming towns, messing about on the beach, eating!, relaxing by the water, wildlife watching ( which included an American Eagle and watching a female black squirrel move three little baby black squirrels from one nest to a new one!), chatting with old friends who came up for a few days too, and making some new ones at the campsites we stayed at, oh, and cooking up some great camp meals too.

On our hikes we spotted the most amazing bark on a tree that I think I’ve ever seen (top photo) as well as lots of lovely wild flowers.  Early September is a great month for them, I’ve been trying to identify the white flower without success, so if anyone knows what it is please let me know!

One afternoon we headed up Avalanche Peak in Boyne City for the wonderful view all the way down Lake Charelvoix.  Avalanche Peak was a little bit of a mis-representation as there are no mountains in Michigan, but there are some large areas of wooded hills, which is what this “Peak” is!  Actually a disused ski run that has been turned into a lovely recreation area with lots of hiking trails and what looks like a great mountain bike trail…. along with that breathtaking view from the top.

We stayed at Young State Park in Boyne City for most of our trip, moving to a smaller park in East Jordan when our friends arrived in the area as they wanted full hook up for their caravan, and we generally prefer something more natural and rustic.  This was our pitch at Young.  Right behind us through the trees was the beach, and just to the left was Lake Charlevoix, it couldn’t have been better for us, especially when it came to launching the kayaks.

I won’t bore you with too many kayaking photos…. I tend to take a lot of photos when we’re out on the water, especially in really calm weather as I just love the amazing reflections in the lake.  We were blessed with very calm kayaking weather after the first day and loved how accessible the lake was, so we got out at every opportunity.

[Launching from the beach]

[Wonderful old, nostalgic wooden boat.  Even the name was perfect.]

There are some beautiful and interesting little towns in this part of Michigan, most of them quite affluent due to the folks from the cities owning second homes along with all of us tourists who like to visit.  Two of the nicest have to be Charlevoix itself and Petosky, although there are others that people told us were really nice (like Harbor Springs that we didn’t get too).

[Charlevoix harbour.]

[Charlevoix’s amazing “mushroom” houses!  There’s quite a few if you know where to look, there’s even a lovely pictorial book you can buy.  Don’t know about you, but I think there must be Hobbits living in those houses!]

[Views in and around Petosky]

We biked to Petosky one day, 15 miles each way from Charlevoix, all the way along the coastal path were stunning views over the huge expanse of Lake Michigan… out there, if you keep heading West is Wisconsin!  These shots though show the sweep of the bay as you come into Petosky. There’s a superb cafe in Petosky called Roast and Toast, highly recommended if you’re ever out that way.

We did do a bit of relaxing though, it wasn’t all go you’ll be glad to hear!  We spent a fair bit of time beach combing with our friends, and we also found plenty of time to just soak up the sun and enjoy the beautiful beaches, we also managed to make friends with a few ducks at Young State Park (or maybe they made friends with us?), we couldn’t sit down and relax without them joining us!  We also parted with some pennies at Otis Pottery, both Andrew and I have a weakness for hand thrown stoneware.

Another little trip out was to Castle Farms on the outskirts of Charlevoix.  An amazing place built by Sears Roebuck of all people as a working model farm in the 1930’s!  As you can see it’s based on a typical, albeit much larger, farm in Normandy, France.  Over the years it has passed into private ownership and has hosted rock concerts among other things.  It fell into disrepair and was finally bought up by a couple who restored it beautifully and now promote it as a stunning venue for parties of all description, but mainly weddings.  There’s an entire wedding planning department right on site that can cater to your every need, and they have wonderful rooms for all sizes of wedding function from 30 to 300, along with beautiful gardens and water features.

Finally, to finish up, a little more kayaking.  We moved from Young State Park to East Jordan to meet up with our friends who had booked us all into this park and decided to explore the Jordan River one day.  There are parts of it that are very fast flowing and there are a few rafting companies who specialize in white water trips, but we were told the first two or three miles was slow and very easily navigated by kayaks.  After the openness of the main lake (18 miles long and 3 miles wide) we were quite taken aback by the serene beauty the river offered, the wildflowers that lined the banks in particular were absolutely outstanding, and the route took you right past the high nesting platform of a pair of American Bald Eagles, and yes, mum and dad were home!

[Golden Rod and Joe Pye Weed]

[Wild Asters]

[There’s mum guarding her nest, and just look at all those beautiful flowers lining the banks for miles and miles.]

[We wondered where dad was and kayaked on.  Rounding a corner we suddenly saw him right in front of us on a dead branch over the river, most likely on the lookout for lunch.  We watched him for a little while before he lazily opened up his huuuge wings and flew in land.  What an amazing thing to be privileged to see in it’s natural habitat.]

[East Jordan from the Jordan River]

And finally!  Really!  What could be better after a morning on the river than home made blueberry and pecan pancakes for lunch?  Rounded off the trip nicely!

I have one more post to regale you with… the sunset post, and I’ve got some stunners to share with you so please pop back again later in the week.