Well, actually I wasn't. Our payroll person at work told me I wasn't using my vacation days fast enough and told me I had to take a day off this week. Wow...twist my arm.
So a friend and I headed up north to my favorite part of the state, the Benzie-Leelanau area along the coastline of northwest Lower Michigan. Actually, I wouldn't tell my travel companion where we were going, which added to the fun factor, especially because she's a flatlander for whom this was all new. ("West Branch?...Mackinaw City?...you're not going to tell me, are you?...")
It was a beautiful day; no rain, no bugs, not too hot, not too cold, not too many fellow tourists. We had lunch at the Phoenix Cafe in downtown Beulah; drove around the lovely Crystal Lake, oohing and ahhing over the aquas and azures of the water; then headed north to the Sleeping Bear Dunes in Empire, where, en route along the winding Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive through forests and cottonwood-dotted dunes, we enjoyed a terrific view of the Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands; backtracked down to Frankfort; and made a stop at Beedazzled/Sleeping Bear Farms, which sells star thistle honey, the best honey in the world, as well as all manner of soaps and candles and sundry gifts. It really is a parallel universe, this part of Michigan; Planet Mellow, land of sand and seagulls, cherry orchards and woodlands, home of old hippies and young artists, boaters and bikers and hikers, denim-clad organic farmers and Izod-clad retirees, yuppies from Chicago tooling around in their Mercedes and good ol' locals in rusted pickups; the travel equivalent of a comfortable porch swing on a sunny, breezy summer afternoon.
The Frankfort light (photo taken last year, but you get the picture, so to speak)...one of the many stops on our itinerary