Fall Fun at Crystal Mountain

fall foliage

This past weekend, we had the opportunity to go up north to our parents’ vacation home at Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville, MI.  You might have read about the resort in another post here.  We used to go up at least once every Fall, but since the kids are older and so busy with sports now, it doesn’t always happen.  Those were the days…getting to take off on the weekend with nary a thought to a child’s schedule.  Well, you’ve heard this sob story from me before, so I’ll stop now.  Anyway, four out of five of us headed up with my parents and sisters.  Chris had to work, plus he was painting our bedroom and I would never dream of slowing down progress!

Crystal Mountain Resort

Hayrides at Crystal Mountain

It really was a beautiful fall weekend.  The colors were unbelievably gorgeous and it was mostly cloudy and wet, which is perfect for lazing around in front of a toasty fire.  If it were nice and sunny, I would have felt compelled to go outside maybe and do something productive…or maybe not.  I don’t know what it is about going up north, but I turn into a slug the minute I get there.  So the rain was not a problem.  Well, not a problem until I took the girls trick-or-treating.  Crystal Mountain had all kinds of special activities planned for the weekend.  There was pumpkin carving, hayrides, a petting zoo, trick-or-treating, a spooky trail, a pumpkin seed spitting contest, and more.  The girls had a great time trick-or-treating in their costumes (Fynn just loves any excuse to wear a costume) at the lodge, the adventure center, and other stopping points.  I had to follow a map, which I confess was a little tricky, but we managed to find all the candy and didn’t get too wet.

fall fun at Crystal Mountain Resort

fall fun at Crystal Mountain Resort

fall fun at Crystal Mountain Resort

But best of all, the wifi wasn’t working, which was great because my girls played games, did puzzles, colored, and even got a little bored.  And I felt like Super Mom because I not only brought them trick-or-treating, but I also did puzzles and brought them to the pool.  Now notice I said “brought” them to the pool.  I sat and watched since my children are fully capable of swimming alone now, praise Jesus.  So maybe I’m not exactly super mom after all, but hey, they were happy and I was happy.  Win-win situation.  Mardi wasn’t quite so lucky…she got to hang out in the exercise room with the boys who wanted to work out.  They needed parental supervision, so she walked on the treadmill while they lifted weights.  Maybe she should get the super mom/aunt award.  As you can see, our standards are pretty low either way.

I have to apologize for this boring post that pretty much offers you, dear reader, nothing.  So please accept my apologies for rambling, but do consider a trip to Crystal Mountain one of these days.  And if Crystal Mountain isn’t in your plans, just spend a day depriving your kids of wifi and enjoy some time together.  Novel idea, I know.


How do you love to spend a free Saturday afternoon?

Cherries! Cherries! Cherries!

As you probably know, we had an amazing Independence Day.  The weather was beautiful, the company great, and the food, plentiful and delicious.  The fireworks display outdid all previous years, which was no easy feat.  The only snafu on that gorgeous day was Manon’s fall off the tube.  While boating, her sweet brother Sander flipped the tube and her leg got caught underneath her.  It was not serious, but she sprained her knee (or meniscus?), as we found out the next day.  On the 5th, Manon and Kimball were to go home with our Aunt Lynn and Uncle Tom.  They live in Brimley, in the Upper Peninsula.  For those of you not from Michigan, that’s the part above the mitten.  Thankfully, after a visit to the doctor and borrowing crutches, Manon and Kimball left on their six hour journey.

Our whole family goes up north after the 4th.  In Michigan, ‘up north’ is anywhere north of where you live, I think.  On Wednesday afternoon, Megan, her girls, and I left for our parents’ house at Crystal Mountain.  B-u-t, we took a three hour detour east to look at miniature horses in Millington.  As Megan told her girls as we pulled into the driveway of the farm, “just because we’re looking, doesn’t mean we’re going to get one.”  Famous last words.  Not only are we getting one, we’re getting two.  A mama and her baby.  But I’m getting ahead of myself…..that’s another blog post.

Crystal Mountain is a ski resort in Thompsonville, about 30 minutes from Traverse City.  In the winter, we go there every other weekend.  Only once or twice do we visit in the summer, so we wanted to pack in some northern Michigan fun.  One of our favorite places to eat is The Cherry Hut in Beulah.  It’s been in business for 95 years and is famous nationwide for, you guessed it, cherry pie.  We ate there twice, it was so good.  We went to a neat store called, “The Miser’s Hoard,” where Megan made a small purchase.  Then it was on to Glen Arbor, which is so beautiful and quaint.  We love the little stores there and always go to a restaurant called “The Cherry Republic.”  Needing a snack, we each got one of their amazing dark chocolate cherry boomchukka cookies.  Trust me, if you go there, you have to get one!  I bought their Confiscated Cherry mix to “share” but sadly, ate it in three sittings by myself.  Yes, it’s that good.

On Saturday, Megan and I met our Aunt Lynn and Uncle Tom in Traverse City to pick up Manon and Kimball.  They went to Sault Ste. Marie to see the Locks, made cookies and ice cream, went to the lighthouse, and played several rousing games of ‘back-up.’  I’ve never heard of ‘ back-up’ before, but the kids can’t wait to show us.  Yay…Megan and I love games – NOT.  It’s a well-known fact in our family that Kendal is the game-player and is always playing them with our kids.  We aren’t fun-haters, we just don’t like games, puzzles, bowling, and all kinds of things Kendal likes to do with them.  Ok, maybe we are fun-haters?  Anyway, Manon and Kimball were so excited and wound up on the way back to Crystal that we almost drove them back to Brimley.  Oh, and guess what else they did?  They went cherry picking before we picked them up!  And lucky for us, Uncle Tom and Aunt Lynn let us have their pickings!

We couldn’t wait to go to the Cherry Bowl Drive-in because we hadn’t been there in a few years.  It was voted #1 drive-in in Michigan.  We saw “Despicable Me 3” there on our last night.  The Cherry Bowl is like a time warp.  It reminds us of the show “Happy Days” if you’re 80’s chicks like Megan and I (ok, we’re 70’s chicks, but we remember the 80’s better than the 70’s).  It’s a nod to the Fabulous Fifties.  Our Dad says it’s just like he remembered the drive-in as a kid.  The last time Megan was there with her family, it stormed, she got hit in the head with a hockey stick, and their battery died.  It’s always a great time.  The girls were in Megan’s car and the boys sat outside in chairs.  We can’t ever get pictures of the boys anymore because they say, “Mom!  You can’t put this on Instagram!”  Megan insists it’s ok, none of their friends are following her on Instagram.  No matter.  Well, we had fun and the movie was great.  But Megan’s battery died again and an employee had to give us a jump.  Luckily he said it was a common occurrence, and it only took a second!


Needless to say, it was a fun week filled with lots of time on the road, exploring some of our favorite Michigan towns.  We made it back home Sunday, and now we are enjoying our own little slice of paradise on our parents’ beach.   Be on the lookout for the next post for a little more detail on some of our favorite northern Michigan destinations!