The Art of the Twenty-Four Hour Vacation

 

My husband and I have atypical days off from most folks- I’m off on Wednesday and Friday, he’s off Fridays and Saturdays.  While I’m glad to have a full day to myself, it does make it a bit hard to do any sort of travel.  Last year however, we started a new tradition:  The 24 Hour Vacation.

We are so lucky here in Michigan, there are terrific places to go for any amount of time.  Especially in summer and fall, there are so many getaway towns and beaches.  It’s really quite amazing.  As much as I hate to give away my favorite secret spots, I’ll share my favorite vacation.

Step one:  Be willing to spend at least three hours in car.  I always pack fruit, cheese, nuts and a bottle of wine.  We also freeze two water bottles, which is great in the cooler and better for the beach the next day.  Packing for a 24 hour trip is pretty easy.  Suits, towels, and clean shorts for the drive home, bug spray and sunscreen.  My personal favorite destination is the beach.  And, don’t forget the camera.

Tawas is a pretty small town on Lake Huron, with its downtown right on the bay.  There are several good restaurants, and you can walk a bit on the pier afterward. .  We generally roll into town on Thursdays, sometimes pretty late.   Stopping to see the stars at one of the roadside parks is a must though.  Living in Southfield, we don’t see much of the Milky Way from home.

We have a favorite little motel, Bambi, which is a whopping five minutes from the state park.  It’s clean, inexpensive, and run by super nice folks from the Detroit area.  On game nights they have a fire pit going and a TV where everyone is rooting for the Tigers.  Usually we break into the wine, eat half of the next day’s lunch, and sit on the porch.  After the drive, that’s about all of the excitement we can handle.

Step two:  Wake up early to catch the sunrise over the lake.  Might not be fancy, but we always get coffee at Tim Horton’s in town.   The cool lake air begs for a good coffee and a sweatshirt, but the sun and sparkling water are worth it.  Making the first set of footprints on the sand is the goal.

There are several great beaches, in town and at the state park.  Tawas State Park has a great little old lighthouse to tour, and small gift shop, and a campground.  The beach has no rocks, and you can swim from sandbar to sandbar.  Every time I see a breaker, I holler “Whale!  You just missed it.”  I think the joke is getting old.

Step three:  Set up at the beach.   “Camp Sibley” is comprised of two beach chairs with umbrellas, towels and readers.   We always locate just beyond the swim areas, but not so far that you can’t lug your junk back and forth.  There’s a great local guy – forgot his name – who has a hot dog stand, with all Michigan products.  Faygo, Better Made chips, and Detroit style coneys.  Perfect for lunch.

After lunch, walk to the lighthouse.  Take the tour, grab a book about Michigan travel, and check out some of the trails.  By now, the sun should be high, and after another swim, it’s about time to head out.

Step four:  Stop in one of the antique shops on the way home.  There are several located along the main route, and are worth the stop.  I just got an antique writing desk last trip, which is all I need with a laptop anymore.  No trip is complete without at least some shopping.

Step five:  Don’t vacuum the car when you get home.  Sand on the floor is proof that we went somewhere, and instantly makes me smile on my way to work the next day.   What a terrific way to take advantage of the state where we live, and easy enough to do it often.

A perfect 24 hours!

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