Greetings from Glen Arbor, Michigan, home to America’s Most Beautiful Place according the Good Morning America! Let me tell you, they weren’t lying. Funny thing is that I grew up about an hour from here and as a child I couldn’t wait to get out of this place. It was too quiet and slow and sleepy for me. I’ve lived in various cities since I was 14 years old when I moved away from home. It took me until I was in my late twenties to finally recognize this area for what it really is. Filled with beautiful lakes and rivers, forests and sand dunes, this place has beauty spanning for miles upon miles.
When I first moved to New York City years ago and was finishing up my college degree I met my husband. He first introduced himself to me because he heard me mention I was from this area in Michigan. Unbelievably, he spent many summers of his childhood vacationing practically in my back yard!
So here we are spending a week with our awesome family and enjoying the lakes and everything else that this area has to offer. The fun began Saturday evening when we arrived after our early Saturday morning group run with the team. Since then just about every hour has been filled with fun.
Sunday night was our turn to host dinner and we had a pretty sweet trick up our sleeves. My aunt is the manager of a fabulous grocery store about 30 minutes from here in Suttons Bay. Her son, my cousin, also works there and is a local celebrity butcher. The two of them are an awesome duo. In fact, Mario Batali vacations up here and he contacts my aunt before he arrives to put in his order for everything he will need during his stay. If it is good enough for Mario, then why not?!
We decided to mix it up a little bit and host a Greek night. My cousin made us skewered seasoned Greek chicken kabobs and lamb meatball kabobs. Holy smokes! These bad boys were delish! Paired with some pitas, onions, tomatoes and some tzatzaki and you have yourself some unbelievable gyros. We had a chopped vegetable salad with Greek dressing and a light pasta salad to complete the meal.
If you are ever looking for a great and simple dinner for several people, I highly recommend this dinner.. It was very easy, especially if you know a great butcher, and you can make it as light (or not so light) as you want. This meal was a real hit!
And then we hosted bingo night…..I’m telling you the fun never ends.
Yesterday I woke up and after taking my sweet, slow time to get ready I finally headed off on one of my favorite things to do; the vacation run. Lately I have been logging about 50 miles per week on average. While it feels great to be doing this again, it can get pretty monotonous running those same old routes over and over each day. Heading out of town and trying new runs can really add a new spark to your running relationship.
So I left the house and took a run around Little Glen Lake. It was a challenging and hilly run with some sprinkles of rain along the way. It was perfect in my book.
I took a route that I knew very little about. I checked out the route on Google Earth and was pretty glad I did because there were some unexpected twists and turns along the way. To make sure I didn’t get lost, I wrote my route out on my run. I felt like a big tough quarterback.
The run went through some beautiful tree lined roads and I came across these three barns. This is an iconic scene for this area. These barns were part of the original scenery around here. They were the former National Transport Company, best known today as D.H. Day Farm. This 400 acre farm was recognized as one of the best in the country back in 1903. People come from all over to photograph the barns and you can find paintings in many local galleries.
My run took me past the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes which is one of the main reasons this area was voted the most beautiful place in America. Trust me, this place is gorgeous. Climbing these dunes is both incredibly picturesque as well as a great work out. Fun can be had by everyone, no matter what your age is. I remember summer days as a little girl climbing to the top with my cousins. We found some pretty silly ways to barrel back down at the end.
I saw several large hawks as I wound through wooded roads and finished back along the water. In total I got 9 hilly miles in. It was a perfect workout and a fantastic way to get my bearings and find even more appreciation for this area.
My apologies this week for sporadic posting and neglect in reading all of my favorite blogs. As you can see there is just a ton of great things to do here and honestly not enough time. I will keep updating when I can.
In the meantime, happy running!