Madeline Island, WI - Petoskey, MI

We were caught up in wind and rain as we drove to Bayfield dock to catch the ferry for our presentation at the Art School on Madeline Island for the Island Wilderness Preserve group.  This wonderful collection of people is protecting natural areas on the island and making sure that the one island that is not in the National Lake Shore still its natural beauty and ecology.

We had a large turnout for our presentation and the excellent food that was served by Ashland Baking Company was terrific and we loved the facilities.  We stayed there overnight and then led a morning hike in the wilderness preserve with a nice group of people.

The spring flowers were out, the stream was filled with water, black throated blue warblers and yellowthroats were singing and it was an excellent way to wrap up our visit. Back in Bayfield we had lunch with great friends Franklin and Gisela Crosby and their grand daughter Brittany.  We love this restaurant and all its various flamingos and this time I had the Rice Lake Bison Burger (I was born in Rice Lake, WI) and it was great with a really good spicy pepperjack melted on it.  The sweet potato fries were very lightly crisped - perfect inside and out. Unfortunately the whitefish suffered by comparison and disappointed Kate.  The saving grace was the creme-brule which Kate ate Before her main entree.  Somethings just can't wait. And it was superb.

Going from Bayfield to Marquette was mostly uneventful, but the red clay runoff in the bay at Ashland was the most dramatic we have ever seen.

We were disappointed to find Vierlings brewpub and restaurant - closed; and worse still, Babycakes - the best muffins in the world - closed; but luckily there we happened upon an excellent bakery on M28 that satisfied out morning needs and propelled us to Seney Wildlife Refuge which remains one of the best bird watching areas I know. Below are some pictures of the many trumpeter swans that congregate at the Refuge.

 And we enjoyed other birds like a Sandhill crane, Pine warbler, and Eastern kingbird.

We crossed the U. P. over to the Lake Michigan side, not good for photos in the humid haze - just great eye candy.  After crossing the Mackinaw bridge (I was at the opening of the bridge with my parents in 1957), we were ready for lunch but downtown Mackinac City is so touristy and artificial that we had to search until we found an authentic diner for a burger and fish and chips. Check out the Bridgeview All Nite Diner, next time you're in the area.

Our after dinner drink had to wait until we could get to Legs - a crazy restaurant with an excellent Polish menu.  I had a Short's brewing (Bellaire) ControversiALE - spectacular hops and Kate had Polish (bison grass)Vodka mixed with apple juice.

We next took the "Tunnel of Trees" road - M119 to Harbor Springs for coffee and finally to Petoskey where we are staying at Stafford's Bay View - a historic Inn with wavy floorboards in the hall that give you a feeling of being at sea and very nice bedrooms complete with my favorite amenity - cookies (on the bed).  Mike.

The bike trails are great here so we did 23 miles along little Traverse Bay and that justified our Gelato treat at Amercan Spoon.


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