Tag: sunset Page 1 of 6
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After our day at sea, we made it to San Fransisco. Since our previous stop was in Mexico, we had to have an immigration check before we could go ashore. We were assigned a number and were asked to bring our passports to the dining room when our number was called. For U.S. Citizens with a passport, it was no big deal. We were off the ship and heading to our wine country destination in no time at all.
When our port stop in Monterrey was canceled and they added back the overnight in San Fransisco I was excited. That was one of the reasons we booked this cruise and it gave us time to leave San Fransisco and get into wine country. We had a trip to Napa and Sonoma planned for 2020 but obviously, it was canceled so this trip allowed us a little taste of what we missed. With only one day to explore the area we decided to spend it in Sonoma because it is a little closer and from my research, Sonoma seems to be more focused on the wine, whereas Napa wineries are more for the experience.
When planning our day in Sonoma, I relied on a book that has served me well in the past, Wine Trails of the U.S. and Canada. We chose to visit Gundlach Bunschu and Laurel Glen Vineyards. Gundlach Bunschu is the oldest family-owned winery in Sonoma. With the German heritage, it reminded me a lot of the wineries in northern Michigan with outdoor seating around fire tables. It was a very laid-back experience and all the wines we tried were wonderful! Laurel Glen was a much more intimate experience. We had reserved the last tasting of the day and we had the downtown tasting room to ourselves. Laurel Glen has a much smaller repertoire, being known for their Cabernet Sauvignon. In general, I am not a fan of California Cabernets, but what we tried at Laurel Glen was spectacular. I also loved their rose which is made from old vines on the edge of their property that they don’t know (and don’t want to know) what they are. They combine them every harvest into a delicious rose that they sell out every year.
We chose to rent a car and do this winery tour on our own as opposed to using a ship tour or another organized tour because we wanted to be in control of where we went. As I mentioned above, we were looking for good wine, not the best views or winery experience. A lot of the organized tours of Sonoma stopped at Sutter Home, which has free tastings but is mass-market wine that you find on the bottom shelf at the supermarket. If you’re not that picky, one of those tours would be fine, but I am very happy that we chose to go our own way because we tried two fabulous new wineries that we will probably buy more from in the future.
We decided to come back to San Fransisco on the Pacific Coast Highway and we were rewarded with a phenomenal sunset over the Pacific (top). We couldn’t have timed our drive any better. We ended our day back in San Fransisco at an Argentinian Restaurant called Lolinda. Afterward, we headed back to the ship for the night to prepare for another day in San Fransisco in the morning. Be sure to stop by next week as I detail our day to explore San Fransisco and our tour of Chinatown.
Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, check out the Cruising the Pacific Coast Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! For my list of gadgets to make your travels easier, click here. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.
In the Summer of 2021, my camping goal was to try less-popular campgrounds in Michigan State Parks that would allow me to get a waterfront site without having to fight for it six months out. This would allow us to launch our kayak right from our campsite! What I didn’t realize when booking this site is that the campground is located on a cliff and it was impossible to launch our kayak from our site. But, it was a great place to watch the sunset over the lake!
Interlochen State Park borders the nearby music camp so peaceful music floats into the campground in the summer. Leaving the park, you are sometimes stopped by a crossing guard helping the students cross the street. The state park is home to two campgrounds: a modern campground on Duck Lake and a rustic campground sits on the shore of Green Lake on the other side of the road. For this trip, we chose the modern option.
We had site 385 and when we arrived I was shocked this was such an easy site to get! It was HUGE! Probably the size of the four sites across the street combined. I think at one point this was a communal area to look out at the water, maybe there were even stairs going down because there was not another site in the campground that was remotely this big. Our little tent and cooking setup maybe took up 10% of the site. If you are thinking about camping at Interlochen, this is the site to get!
One of the best things about Interlochen, and the reason we will probably return next summer, is the proximity to my favorite Michigan town, Traverse City. It’s only a 26 minute drive into Traverse City from here. Yes, there is a campground in Traverse City with a gorgeous beach on Traverse Bay, but it is much more of an urban park. The beach is on the other side of a busy road and the sites are much closer together. I have heard reports that jet engines warming up at the nearby airport wake campers up early. If you want to day trip to Traverse City but still have the quiet, natural campground experience, I recommend Interlochen State Park.
Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.
After our journey across Lake Michigan, we made our home for the final night of our trip at Ludington State Park. Ludington is easily one of the most popular parks in Michigan, with the campground filling up six months out. With a beautiful Lake Michigan beach, a lighthouse, several inland lakes, a river for paddling or tubing, and miles of hiking trails, it’s no question why this park is so beloved.
As I mentioned in my last post, it was late by the time we finally got our car off the ferry. We stopped for dinner and ice cream at House of Flavors and by the time we made it to the park, the sun was setting. There is something special about watching the sun go down on those dunes along Lake Michigan. The sky really put on a show for us that night.
It began to rain early the next morning causing us to get a late start. We were going to hike to the lighthouse, but by the time we finally got going, it was about time for us to check out. Oh well, just an excuse to get back to one of our favorite Michigan state parks!
As I mentioned above, this park is really hard to get into. We got lucky and were able to book this site about a month in advance. The Beechwood campground was scheduled to be closed in 2020 for a bathhouse renovation. Because of COVID, the DNR got a late start and decided to open the campground up for the season, allowing us to get a site only a month or so in advance. The downside of that, of course, is that the bathhouse at this campground was very outdated, but for only one night, it wasn’t that big of a deal. Beechwood is open for reservations for 2021 as well, so they must have decided to put that plan on hold for now.
One thing to note about camping at Ludington (and many Michigan state park campgrounds, honestly) is that all of the campgrounds are pretty much located in a big open field. The sites on the inside of the loop are pretty small and lack privacy. The sites on the outside of the loop back-up to woods and dunes giving them much more privacy. The inside loop is great if you are camping with a group and reserving multiple sites, if it’s just you, try to get an outside site. You will feel much less cramped.
Thanks for stopping by! To read more about our summer road trip, check out my Great Lakes – Great Summer Road Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
During our time in Door County, we kept comparing it to our favorite Northern Michigan destinations like Traverse City and Leelanau. Both Leelanau and Door County are peninsulas jutting into Northern Lake Michigan. They both are dotted with parks and lighthouses. Both are popular summer destinations with a winery scene.
Door County has the wineries and the food but one thing it is missing is the accessibility of the water that surrounds it. A few of the towns on the Door Peninsula have a downtown on the water but it just didn’t feel the same as on Leelanau. We drove to Northport, on the tip of the peninsula, and all that was there was a line of cars waiting for the ferry to Washington Island. Northport at the tip of Leelanau is home to Leelanau State park with a lighthouse, campground, and hiking trails.
Maybe my love of Northern Michigan is clouding this judgment, but I just don’t think Door County lives up to what I was hoping it would be. It is a beautiful place and I would definitely like to go back when things are back to normal and take the ferry to Rock Island, but its not a place that I feel like I have to rush back to. If you are in Wisconsin or the Chicago area, it is a beautiful place to visit. Is it worth it for someone from southeast Michigan to make the trek around Lake Michigan to see it? I’d say save the milage and go to Leelanau instead.
Thanks for stopping by! To read more about our summer road trip, check out the Great Lakes – Great Summer Road Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.