I have lived in Michigan on and off since I was 15 years old, but I rarely ventured out of my neck of the woods in the Southern most part of the state. In the summer of 2015 my family and I finally made the journey out of the south and into the north. I had heard many stories of “up north” which is what people in Michigan refer to when talking about the upper peninsula. Michigan’s upper peninsula is a rural area of land accessible by the Mackinac Bridge. I didn’t take the picture below and I don’t know who did, but I couldn’t leave a photo of the bridge out of this post, it’s impressive!
Last summer was so much fun, we decided to do it again this year and rented the same exact cabin in the upper peninsula in a very tiny and remote town called Republic, Michigan. But, before we went north we had to make a small detour to another favorite destination! P.J. Hoffmaster State Park. We had some friends camping at the park and decided to join them. Two days of tent camping with 6 children of our own not to mention all of our friend’s children. It was an amazing adventure by itself! The park has an area to set up tents and there is electricity to hook up to as well as bathrooms and showers. But the real beauty of this place is the beach!
After two days of camping it was time to begin the almost 10 hour journey to our cabin. This cool guy did all the driving!
The drive was long but worth it. The next morning we awoke to this beautiful scenery.
I’ll be honest, being way up in rural Michigan is not what our kids are used to, although if we had our way this is exactly how we would live all the time. There is no cable, the internet is sparse, and that is exactly the way we wanted it. It took some adjusting but once the kids realized all the adventures waiting for them it was hard to get them to come home for dinner.
As I mentioned before, we drove 10 hours to rural Michigan to get to this spot. Every once in a while we would manage to get a signal on our phone and one night after being at our cabin for a couple of days, my husband saw that his best friend for over 20 years had posted a photo from the same exact town we were in. How could this be?? A quick text confirmed that indeed his friend and his family were staying at a cabin 2 miles away! We made plans to have dinner the next day at their cabin which was situated on a tiny island, it was absolutely gorgeous!!
After dinner we had dessert and the kids wanted to have a bonfire. Bill chopped wood and Christian watched. Of course he needed to help too!
Now, time for a bonfire!
One of my favorite things about photography is the magical effects that can be created and I love sharing that with my kids. While sitting at the fire I started playing with the shutter speed and taking photos of the sky. Sophie wanted to know what I was doing and I showed her how you could get incredible images of stars by keeping the shutter open for a long time and keeping the camera very still. I love how quickly kids pick up on things and she immediately was curious what would happen if you moved the camera around while the shutter was open. I would have never thought to do that but she did and the result is below. The circles are the result of the light from the stars in the sky and Sophie moving the camera around in circles.Then of course, what would happen if you moved the camera around with a slow shutter speed while pointing at the fire? Some pretty cool stuff, that’s what! Finally it was time to say goodbye and head back to our own cabin. We made plans to have our friends over for dinner the next night so it was only goodbye for now…The next day we headed to Marquette, the largest city in the U.P. (upper peninsula) to do some cliff jumping at And for the finale, a back flip off the cliff by my amazing hubs.
Sophie almost went for it but decided against it, after all that water was still pretty cold.
After a long day of cliff jumping a kid has to relax and dry off.
And do some exploring…Although the cliffs are the main attraction at this park, there are still a lot of other things to see, everywhere you look there is beauty.And if you know me you know I got my start in photography chasing seagulls around at the beach as a child, so I can never pass up the opportunity to snap a photo when I see one.A couple more of Sophie and Christian before we left the park for the day. We’ll be back! Our friends came back over for dinner and we had a blast!! The kids first wanted to show our friends the bridge they found that was low enough to jump off of. Over and over, jump off….climb back up…..jump off again.How about we see if we can hang one handed from the bridge?? Of course we can!!Afterwards we headed back to the cabin and the kids played and the grownups played Bocce Ball and it was a very beautiful and special time. We can’t wait for next year!Happy Adventures!!