Friday, August 5, 2011

The Thumb

Going for another hole in 1
One of the first trips Chris and I ever took together was to Port Austin, in Michigan's thumb region. He had been going there his whole life and wanted to share it with me. Since then we've been many times with our kids, both to Port Austin and nearby Caseville. For maybe 4 or 5 years we stayed at the same cottages in Caseville, and we had a great time there but this year decided to do something different. 

Instead of the rather rustic, poorly furnished, non air-conditioned cottage, we rented a townhouse right in the heart of Port Austin. An air-conditioned, squeaky clean, nicely furnished, 4 bedroom/4 bathroom townhouse. Instead of having to drive miles to get to anything, we could walk to the beach, the park, the farmer's market, and the shops and restaurants in town. At the cottage, the beach was much closer and private, but honestly it was more than a fair trade for us. 
A grindstone in Grindstone City

Here's some of what I love about Port Austin:
  • two awesome public beaches, both with play grounds
  • the water is warm and shallow, the kids can walk out quite far and the water is never more than about waist high
  • the weekend farmer's market
  • The Farm - yummy restaurant (we did have to drive to this one)
  • The Bank - restaurant located in an old (1800's) bank building
  • Cherry sodas at the ice cream counter in town, a tradition from my mother-in-law's childhood 
  • Knoblock stables - we didn't make it this year, but usually we visit for pony rides and horseback riding
My good friend was also in Port Austin with her kids and parents the first couple days we were there, just down the street from where we were staying. It was fun hanging out with her family on vacation. She has two boys, so Connor was really thrilled to have guys to chum around with.

The kids and I went with my mother-in-law, but Chris, his step-dad, and his brother (from Florida) joined us for a couple days. We had a great time with them, and did lots of fun swimming in the lake (including a game of water catch involving a certain 2-year old), eating at The Farm and The Bank, going to the go kart track, having cherry sodas, fishing, and going putt putt golfing. A word about the putt putt golfing. First of all, there is a little cheesy place to putt putt right in town. Then there is another place a little outside of town. But if you drive a bit further toward Caseville, there is a really nice putt putt place, with hills and waterfalls and so on. Also, Lucy got a hole in one on her very first putt, the very first time she's ever been putt putt golfing. She actually beat all of us. My little golfer...who knew?

Without the guys we had fun too. We went to the farmer's market. We had a horse drawn wagon ride (free, courtesy of Knoblock stables) through town. We spent lots and lots of time at the beach. We drove into nearby Grindstone City for ice cream. We went to Caseville just to go to the thrift store. Leaving at the end of the week was really hard. We took the scenic route coming home, along Lake Huron. The drive was beautiful, and we made a few stops along the the Pointe Aux Barques lighthouse, lunch in Harbor Beach, and an evening stroll in Lexington.

As much as I love variety, change, and seeing new things, I have to say it is nice having a place to visit every year that we know well. I think it's fair to say our Port Austin tradition will carry on.

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