Building Memories and Strengthening Family Ties

Not too long ago we got back from our family vacation with my side of the family. (You can read about last year's trip and see pictures here.)

For the past two years, our family, my parents and my siblings and their families have made a getaway to a little motel/efficiency room type set up in Northern Michigan. It has proven to be the perfect location for us.

We stay at Doll's Resort which is about 5 miles from Mackinaw City and the Mackinac Bridge. This makes it a great location because it is somewhat secluded and quiet and yet still near restaurants and shopping if people choose to do that.

There are also historical sites nearby in Mackinac such as the Mackinac Bridge,  Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse (where my husband and I were engaged) and Fort Michilimackinac.

My parents and all of their grandkids in front of the Mackinac Bridge
Being 5 miles from the bridge makes it 5 miles away from Michigan's incredible Upper Peninsula which is one of my absolute favorites places to go. This year we took a day trip into the Upper Peninsula to explore the Kitchitikipi Springs in the Palms Book State Park located in Thompson, Michigan.  As long as you have a state park pass, it is free to visit and is well worth the trip.

At the Springs

The springs are 45 degrees year round and are 40 feet deep. Because of their Limestone basin, they are an incredibly beautiful green color. Amazingly, 10,000 gallons of water gush from under the Limestone every minute and you can see straight to the bottom of the Spring.

Peering down into the Springs. Notice the large trout!

On our way back from the Springs we stopped along Lake Michigan to let the kids (big and small!) play in the water. It was so much fun!

Carlee with her Uncle Michael (my brother)

Caleb in his skivvies in Lake Michigan

We like staying at Doll's Resort because for the past two years we pretty much have had the place to ourselves. Each family has an efficiency room which comes with a small kitchen. I love this because we can all save money and eat healthier by fixing our own meals rather than eating out all the time.

The family still all ate together for the most part each day at the picnic tables outside and breakfast each morning was put on by all the families contributing something.

Doll's Resort is on Carp Lake and is at the top of this beautiful overlook. Pretty much everything you need is here. They have a couple bikes for kids, balls, shuffleboard, volleyball net, campfire pit, a paddle boat and a couple of rowboats. We like to bring fishing poles and bait because we have some kids that are crazy about fishing. :)

When we stay here we are only about 15 minutes from another beach along Lake Michigan. The "kids" took the kids there one day to play. It was pretty crazy with the waves (hence the lifejackets) but it was fun!

Carlee and her cousin

Poor Caleb was sick with a high fever that day so he stayed back with Grandma and Grandpa while I snuck away for about an hour. (I was bummed he got sick on vacation, but on the other hand, at least I had family around to help with the other two kids since he was pretty much completely attached to me while he fought off the fever.)

Carter was super excited about this really large dead fish he found.
We had such a great time and it of course went by too fast. I'm ready to go back already! Thanks Mom and Dad for such a great trip!

Car ride home...nice and quiet because the kids were exhausted
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