Friday, August 7, 2015

A Reunion in the "Mitten"

Michigan might be my very favorite state.  My friends who are die-hard Ohio State fans are cringing right now, I know.  #sorrynotsorry

Spotted these adorbs chairs on Mackinac Island

My childhood was spent in southern Michigan, and I spent a good amount of my young adulthood in central Michigan visiting my dad after we moved to Ohio.  The last time I was there was in November 2009 for a good friend's wedding, and I've been hoping for a chance to return.

You can imagine my excitement when we found out last summer that our big family reunion was going to be in Harbor Springs, Michigan in July 2015.  Sign. me. up!

Every three years, my maternal grandmother's side of the family has a huge family reunion somewhere in the US.  My grandmother was the oldest of 11 children.  These reunions include all of the "original siblings," their kids, their grandkids, and now their great-grandkids (I don't think there are any great-great-grandkids yet).  It's an enormous gathering and requires extensive planning.  Since the family is so huge and spread all across the US, the reunion location alternates between the west side and east side of the country.  We've reunited at Lake Tahoe, Myrtle Beach, Cocoa Beach, and Breckenridge, among many other places.  The reunion week always kicks off with a big family mass, dinner, and dance.  There are other activities sprinkled throughout the week, as well.

I always love attending these reunions.  I adore seeing my extended family and catching up with everyone.  I especially love seeing my mom and her siblings together (she's one of 7), and it's so fun to see them all reminiscing with their cousins about their childhood.  Everyone has such a fabulous time at these reunions and we leave looking forward to the next one.

Since we were in my childhood home-state and we didn't know when we'd return, we took advantage of our time there and visited my step-sisters as well as the town where we grew up.  Here are some photos from our trip to The Mitten!

We stayed at the beautiful Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs, MI

Gorgeous flowers

The Lodge

Riding the chair lift!  This resort is great for skiing in the winter and golf in the summer.

The Lodge from the chair lift
Dinner (my cousin Sydny took this photo).  We always have matching family shirts for the dinner/dance.

It was quite sunny at dinner and Mommy didn't bring a hat, so we fashioned a do-rag out of a napkin for Max!

My blue-eyed ham!

I was too busy dancing with my cousins, so this is the only picture I took at the dance.  I took some videos, though.
We had a cookout at the park across from Walloon Lake

Notice the bunch of cousins congregated in the top left corner.  Lots of catch-playing and lake-talking.
Bocce baby

Walking around the bocce field waiting for dinner

We took a big family trip to Mackinac Island one day.  You can only get there by ferry in the summer (in the winter, you can snowmobile across the frozen Lake Huron).  There are no cars on the island.  Transportation is by foot, bike, horse, or horse-drawn carriage.  There are 500 year-round residents on the island and it is considered a Historic National Landmark.

On a carriage tour with 31 of our family members

The Grand Hotel

Arch Rock

Looks like the Bahamas, no?

Our carriage horses

After the day at Mackinac Island, we headed south to Mt. Pleasant to have lunch with two of my step-sisters and their kids.  Then we headed to Quincy, where I went to elementary school.  We drove by our old houses and I showed Victor and Max where I used to ride my bike and play when I was younger.  The town seems so small to me now, but it was immense when I was little.

Of course we had to stop by the Quincy DQ for a chocolate-dipped cone.  We used to ride our bikes here when we were kids.  They're only open in the summer.

Max loves DQ!

In front of the Jennings Elementary sign.  I attended K-5th grade here.

Our babysitter, Lee, saw us taking pics next to the sign and stopped to say hi!  It was so great to catch up!  We used to walk to school from her house and had so much fun playing in her yard, putting on "Kids Incorporated" shows and making leaf and snow forts.

Of course, I had to get some Michigan gear.

It was a wonderful week!  If you've never visited Michigan or any of the Great Lakes, I highly recommend it!  #puremichigan

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