Our Up North Adventure – Nothing is Normal in 2020!

When I went to set my Out of Office Message for our trip last week, it indicated that the last time I had taken more than a day off was January! So although this was not the trip to Arizona and the Grand Canyon I had planned with my daughter in April or the trip to Portugal I was supposed to take next week with my husband, it was still a welcome escape.

The Plan

Living less than 4 hours away from Traverse City, we have taken many trips there over the years. But this is 2020 and nothing about this trip up north was normal. This trip we planned our stay at a Resort in Glen Arbor, instead of the busy tourist destination of Traverse City, because it allowed us more opportunity for social distancing. We also figured going up during the week after Labor Day, it would be less crowded.

But First Detroit

We began our trip on Tuesday by first traveling through heavy rain to Detroit Metro Airport in order to finally have our Global Entry Interviews! This was our 4th scheduled appointment and I was surprised that it did not get cancelled. It was a huge relief to be able to complete our Global Entry Saga that started back in January. However, it put us going an hour in the wrong direction from our Glen Arbor destination. Since the Resort has a 5pm check in (which is kind of late) we forged ahead with our plans because we couldn’t check in even if we arrived earlier anyway.

DTW for our Global Entry Interview

Last Labor Day, I spent a whole day at the beach floating on my rafts and soaking up sun. Unfortunately, this year the weather was rainy, cloudy and there was a big drop in temperature to the mid 50’s. Not exactly beach weather. Because we were counting on a lot of outdoor and beach activities, we had to move on to plan B. But we were still determined to make it work!

Labor Day 2019

Pasties

It’s a little less than a 4 hour drive from our house so we usually leave early and eat lunch when we arrive in Traverse City. Since we left from DTW after our interview instead, we stopped near Cadillac to grab a traditional Michigan Pastie for lunch. I was pleased that the little restaurant had drive thru service for Covid-19 safety. I ordered mine with ground beef, rutabaga and gravy. They were served piping hot with the rich mushroom gravy on the side. The crusts were outstanding. The pasties were enormous and I could only eat half of mine.

Pastie with Gravy

Pasties, the “pot pie without a pot”, pasties have become a northern Michigan staple. Not only are they a flavorful handheld pastry but are also rich in Michigan history.

The pasty came to the United States when Cornish miners immigrated here in the 1840s. The dish can be dated all the way back to 1150 in England. The pasty gained popularity with miners because it was easy to bring into the mines, kept them full throughout the long work days and could stay warm up to 10 hours.

per A Healthier Michigan

Because we would still be too early to check in at the Resort, we set our course for Traverse City where there would be plenty of things we could do. We drive a lot when we visit this area, so we also wanted to fill our tank before heading deep into the countryside for the next few days. We discovered a new brewery, so we relaxed with a pint to kill a little time. This was our first chance to see how the local businesses were dealing with Covid-19 safety protocols. I was happy with the distance between tables and that our Server was wearing a mask. This pleased me since we would be doing more indoor activities than I had hoped during our cool rainy trip.

Silver Spruce Brewing – Traverse City, MI

We finally arrived at the Homestead Resort just before five. The property was gorgeous and our room was beautifully appointed for the perfect Up North vibe (Resort Review Post coming soon). Our room was on the ground level and the porch looked over the pool and also sported Lake Michigan views. Steam was rising off the pool water which meant that the water was warmer than the air temperature. Even though it was a brisk 55 degrees out, Mark couldn’t help himself and took a short dip in the heated pool. Not this girl!

Heated Pool

Not only does this resort have it’s own beautiful stretch of Lake Michigan beach, a local river also crosses through the property. We had hoped to be able to at least rent a kayak during our stay, but were disappointed to find out Thursday that we could not. So although we liked the Resort, we really weren’t able to use many of the amenities during this stay.

When I made our reservations, I was only able to book 3 nights because the resort was already full for Friday night. Most of my go to hotels in the area were also fully booked for Friday. Of course, on Friday the weather cleared up and the sun came out just as we had to head home. Bummer.

Final Thoughts

Staying safe from the corona virus was an important part of this trip for us. We did our best to plan things so that we would be able to social distance and chose dining locations where they had outdoor seating areas when possible. All of the places we ate or visited had safety protocols in place and we always did our part by wearing our masks and washing our hands.

Even though no part of this trip went exactly as planned, we had a wonderful time. Especially with me working from home since March, we really just needed to get away! Circumstances required that we do a lot more on the fly, which meant we had to agree to go with the flow and take things as they came. Sometimes that is hard for an over-planner like me. Fortunately we are very familiar with this area and even when the weather doesn’t cooperate, there are lot of things to do.

Look for these upcoming posts featuring a Homestead Resort Review, M-22 Life, Unpacking Covid-19 Safety Protocols and Our Foodie Experiences

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