Ludington State Park
It was the last weekend in September and my kids finally had a three day weekend off from school. This mini break happened to coincide with my birthday. As a consequence, the kids skipped a weekend of soccer games and crew for something much more valuable. They were able to enjoy an early fall trip to the Lake Michigan coast and an opportunity to just be kids. With all of the pressures of school and the demands placed on them, they need some down time. I would be hard pressed to find a better place to relax within a short drive from home than western Michigan. Ludington is less than seven hours away and the weather forecast was looking good. We hit the road after work and Lucy's soccer game. Our destination for Thursday evening was the Cracker Barrel in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I recommend the RV parking spot under the tree. It is so choice.
After a large breakfast for the kids we were off to Ludington State Park. Shortly after our arrival in Ludington, we spied a food truck with an S.S. Badger Steamship shaped smoker. Well we just had to stop for that. I am a sucker for a good food truck. The S.S. Badger is the pride of Ludington. It is the last coal burning steamship and ferries passengers across Lake Michigan daily.
I have written about Ludington State Park so many times that I will try to refrain from the same old descriptions. This was our sixth trip to this park in as many years. If you count Sleeping Bear Dunes, Hoffmaster State Park and other western Michigan destinations, we are well into the teens. Suffice it to say the Ludington is about simple pleasures.
I spent some quality time with Maggie.
When she wasn't following the big kids around or fishing with Ethan, Lucy enjoyed doodling at the picnic table.
We spent some quality time telling stories and laughing by the fire. Jack chose to hang with the adults on this trip.
We hiked through the forest and dunes to the Big Sable Lighthouse.
I cannot take enough photographs of the fog signal building. The white tower with the red roof is contrasted by the blue sky, aquamarine water, golden sand and green grasses.
The views from lighthouse were particularly inspiring after a long hike on Saturday morning.
Jack is growing at an alarming rate. He can now carry Lucy on his shoulders when she runs out of gas on a hike.
I spent my birthday hanging out with my family and friends. We had six kids in our group. They all loved getting out on the water in kayaks. The water was perfect on a hot September afternoon. The refreshing water was perfect for an afternoon dip.
|Lucy loves rowing her own mini kayak|
|Jack and I on Lost Lake|
They also have these really nice sunsets here over Lake Michigan.
After a few nights away we made our way south. We finally visited the charming town of Saugatuck, Michigan. This gorgeous town on the Kalamazoo River and Lake Michigan is the most charming coastal town we have ever visited. It is full of great architecture, fantastic restaurants and beautiful scenery. It is apparently a gay mecca and a destination for weekenders from Chicago. We will definitely be returning to this town. The camping options are limited and a bit far away so we may have to rent a house. Why did I wait so long to visit?
We also were treated to yet another brief visit from Sam and Jess Curren along with their three children on this trip. The Currens are a full time family traveling in an Airstream. They have a blog called Currently Wandering and are also active on Instagram. We will be spending much more time together in the coming weeks as they move south.
After our return trip, I sat on my back porch and watched the lunar eclipse with a cold beer in my hand. The large trees behind my house framed the supermoon perfectly as it transitioned from bright white to blood red. Jack and I took turns looking at the moon through the binoculars. He is fourteen now. This is a point in his life where many kids push their parents away. Jack sat next to me and reflected on our trip and commented on how nice it was to get away this weekend. He is beginning to mature and appreciate the time we have together. I cherish my time with him and am grateful that he still enjoys the Airstream adventures. Being together as a family is what it is all about. That is the best birthday present of all.