3 Islands Worth Visiting this Summer

With average temps in the upper 70s and low 80s, ample amounts of sunshine, and an abundance of freshwater coastline, you can’t go wrong visiting Michigan in the summertime. It’s my favorite season, favorite place to explore, and (if you aren’t lucky enough to live here) makes a great vacation destination.

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With our 3,000+ miles of coastline, Michigan has many, many islands only a short ferry or plane ride away from the mainland. Last summer, I explored three of the more remote ones, and had a great time on each trip.

To celebrate my 27th birthday, we hopped on a ferry and went to North Manitou Island, off the coast of Sleeping Bear Dunes. We were there for 3 days and 2 nights, and backpacked the perimeter trail. It’s a great first backpacking trip to test your mettle and/or get your body in shape for a longer trip. The views from the West side of the island can’t be beat! Next time we go, we’re making a beeline westward, hanging our hammocks, and staying put for the weekend.

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Later in the summer, I explored Beaver Island with two dear friends. We stayed at Saint James Campground, only a mile walk from the ferry. If camping isn’t your thing, there are a bunch of hotels and vacation rentals on the island. Several homes on airbnb.com look great!

St. James, the town on the North side of the island where the ferry stops, is very walk-able or bike-able. Alternatively, there’s public transportation and cars available for rental. Pay attention to hours of operations–they’re limited! If you’d rather have your own wheels, the ferry will haul your car for a hefty fee. One afternoon, we rented bikes (with baskets!). We pedaled to the beach to sunbathe, did a loop back to town, and then out to the lighthouse.

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Close to the end of summer, Bob and I took a week off, packed our hiking backpacks, and flew (on a sea plane!) to Isle Royale. What an amazing trip! After 7 days of backpacking our way from West to East, we arrived in Rock Harbor, and spent the night at Rock Harbor Lodge. If possible, get a room with a killer view of the water and a balcony. You won’t get bored. There are plenty of hiking routes around Rock Harbor, kayaks and canoes available for rent, and guided tours to different places near Rock Harbor.

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Have you ever explored an island? Where did you go and what did you do?

If you’re interested….Backpacking in Virginia and the Smokies.

Peach Cobbler

It’s August in Northern Michigan, which means we have local produce galore these days!

20140810_195559When presented with the opportunity to make a summer dessert, peach cobbler was tops on the list! My mom used to make cobbler when we were kids, and I haven’t had it in years. It was high time!

20140810_195620Peach Cobbler

Based on allrecipes.com

You’ll need:

  • 8 peaches–peeled, pitted, and sliced
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. corn starch

For the topping, you’ll need:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbs. butter, cold, and shredded
  • 1/4 cup boiling water

1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

2. Peel and slice the peaches and put them in a large bowl. Add sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon juice, and corn starch. Mix. Pour into 8×8 baking dish and bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes.

3. While the peaches bake, make the topping. Mix dry ingredients. Add shredded butter, and mix in with fingertips or a pastry cutter. Add boiling water, and mix until it’s just combined.

4. When the peaches are done, drop clumps of dough onto the top of the peaches. Sprinkle on top a mixture of 3 Tbs white sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon.

5. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

6. Serve warm, topped with whipped cream.