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Hello everybody!

Glad to be back from a very pleasant relaxing 4-day vacation in beautiful Beaver Island. It is known as America's #1 Emerald Isle and cannot wait to show the pics to prove it. The island is exactly what my fiancee described it to be: right out in the middle OF THE MIDDLE of nowhere. Was he right or was he RIGHT. It is surrounded by nothing but sand, beach on Lake Michigan, orchards with apples in bloom, and woods full of thick, tall trees. With not very many places to shop, stores were open until 5 p.m. if we were lucky. However we were right down the street from the few little shops, art galleries, market places, and deli bars that were available. Between the restaurants where we ate, the homework assignments Benjamin took with him, and our beautiful hotel window view of the beach, this all kept us busy.

The only way to travel to the island is either by airplane or ferry boat. We decided the latter was most affordable so we got to enjoy a relaxing 3-hour ferry ride from Charlevoix to Beaver Island and take pictures of some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable.

Benjamin had a great time, got his homework done and only had to miss 3 school days. He just went crazy on the ferry ride. Definitely made me nervous some of the time but he sure learned his way around on the boat and he was in perfect heaven.

We were pleasantly surprised to find a very large playground on the beach, just several blocks away from the motel where we stayed. The closer you were to the Lake, the windier it was so we wouldn't hang out there very long without getting all wind blown, which made being up there feel like we were visiting Chicago (lol).

We got to celebrate my birthday at the Shamrock Restaurant located across from our motel and enjoyed the best seafood dinner I had in ages! We spent some time hanging out on Mike's property where we hope to build a cabin in the next several years. We still have plenty of time to work out the details before that happens, but we both love it up there enough where the idea just randomly popped up in our heads.

As I would be sitting in the backyard of our motel staring at our beautiful view, big ideas just flooded through my head about things I could do in the next 20 years if we did decide to live up there during summer time. The biggest challenge would be getting adjusted to the colder weather in the winter. The island, which is still part of Michigan, is 10 degrees colder then the main land. If it's 80 degrees here in the summer time, it is only 70 up there. Only because ferry boats don't run during winter, flying would be the only option if one decided to visit up there that time of year,

Because Mike hadn't been on the property in 7 years, he was pushing to stay until last Monday to try to get more work done on the property, but I was anxious to get back home Sunday, so Ben wouldn't have to miss any more school and I didn't have to be late for work. (no stress there LOL). Needless to say, Mike was understanding and went along with my idea. All in all the 3-4 hour driving and ferry ride ads up to a solid 7-8 hour trip. We left at 6 a.m. last Wednesday morning, arrived in Charlevoix around 10, took off on the ferry ride at 11:30 and arrived in Beaver Island about 2 p.m. Ironically, the nicest days spent there was the day we arrived and the day we left. Never mind the days in between (lol). If you think the weather down here is unpredictable, go up there because if you don't like it, wait 10 minutes - it changes!

We actually went for a drive on the south side of the island, hiked on that part of the beach, and ended up getting stuck in the friggin sand dunes! Not too happy at the time but we can look back on it and call it our spontaneous, adventurous part of the trip. To make a long story short, we were lucky enough to get help - even while we were out in the middle of the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE! On all levels, all ended well and most importantly it was good to get away because we made it worth our while:)))) We really hope to do it again soon.

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