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Great Lakes Children’s Museum

February 2, 2017
  • 13240 S. West Bay Shore Drive
  • Traverse City, MI 49684
  • (231) 932-4526
  • Website

Our big plans for Saturday in Traverse City was checking in to Great Wolf Lodge.  L couldn’t wait, but we had a few hours between lunch and when we could actually get in.

In past trips up north, we have always found a lighthouse on our second day.  The first year we went, we went out to Mission Point Lighthouse.  Last fall, we headed out to Lealanau State Park to check out the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum.  It was pretty warm for being the  middle of January but we still didn’t want to be out in the cold, so we found something else to do.  A children’s museum.

The Great Lakes Children’s Museum over looks the West Arm of the Grand Traverse Bay in Elmwood Charter Township just outside of Traverse City.  It’s a short drive from downtown north on M-22.  The building is on the Discovery Center – Great Lakes campus in an old boat supply store and repair shop that was donated to the museum in 2006.

We pulled in to the parking lot just before 1:00 on a Saturday afternoon.  The small parking lot seemed pretty empty, but the “open” sign was lit up in the window.

The first thing you notice when walking to the building is the replica “Mighty Mac” on the outside of the building. It’s part of the Building Bridges exhibit which would be more fun in the summer time.   L wanted to run across the bridge a few times even though it wasn’t between us and the front door.  We let her because who wouldn’t want to run across that bridge.   Read more…

Taproot Cider House

January 26, 2017
  • 300 E. Front Street #104
  • Traverse City, MI 49684
  • (231) 943-2500
  • Website
  • Menu

We go to a lot of breweries.  Seriously, it seems like there’s a new one popping up all the time and they always have such great food, so we seek out breweries when we travel.

J doesn’t like beer quite as much as I do.  We’ve been pretty fortunate lately in that many breweries are either doing hard cider or partnering with someone to have it available on tap.  J likes hard cider like I like beer, so she’s always excited to try new things.

We woke up Saturday morning in Traverse City and had to be out of our hotel room at 11:00.  J gave B a nap while L and I played games on her iPad in an attempt to keep the room dark enough and quiet enough for B to sleep.  When he woke up, we loaded up the car and headed out on our day of fun before heading to Great Wolf Lodge.

J and the kids ate breakfast at the hotel.  I chose to sleep the extra 40 minutes or so that they were gone.  When we left the hotel, I asked about lunch.  J said she was hungry and I had a place picked out in downtown Traverse City that I knew she was going to love.

Taproot Cider House is on the corner of Front and Park Street in the main downtown business district of Traverse City.  The restaurant is in an easy to miss corner of the Radio Centre Development that turned an old gas station into a multi-use building in the heart of downtown Traverse City.

Easy to miss?  Yes.  Easy to miss.  Not the building itself but Taproot is a little hidden.  There is no visible signage on the facade of the building other than some square metal plates with the logo that sort of blend in to the building. Read more…

Paesano’s Pizza

January 26, 2017
  • 447 E. Front Street
  • Traverse City, MI 49686
  • (231) 941-5740
  • Website
  • Menu

Our adventure at Great Wolf Lodge didn’t actually start until Saturday night, but we thought we’d make the most of the long weekend we had planned and drive to Traverse City on Friday.  I hopped on Priceline and found a great deal on the Comfort Inn on US-31 just east of downtown.  The hotel had a pool so L could get an early start on swimming and it was close to downtown so we’d have something nearby for dinner.

I took L down to the pool for a while and asked J if she would order a pizza.  We timed it so J called would call in about ten minutes before L and I were supposed to be back.

Now the question, how to find a good local pizza place in a new city?  I could have done my homework but everything I pulled up was just chains.  I knew there had to be something nearby that was good.  Luckily, I noticed a flyer on the check-in desk for a pizza place, so I grabbed it and told J just to call that place.  Even better, it had a $3 coupon on the back of it.

Read more…

Cedar Springs Brewing Company

January 24, 2017
  • 95 N. Main Street
  • Cedar Springs, MI 49319
  • (616) 696-2337
  • Website
  • Menu

I know what you’re thinking.  One blog post in the Kalamazoo area then back on the road again.  Yup.  Sorry.  I have some Kalamazoo ones I really need to get to, but it’s going to be a little while.  I’m doing my best.

We took a trip to Great Wolf Lodge in October and my daughter decided then and there she was having her birthday in Traverse City.  We gave her the option of a weekend at Great Wolf with just our family or a party with her friends, grandparents, aunts, uncle, and cousin.  She chose Great Wolf.  J and I liked that choice because we love finding new places to eat in Traverse City and, in this case, along the way.

Our reservations at the water park were for Saturday and Sunday, but we decided to go up Friday and find a cheap hotel.  That way we could do some stuff in Traverse City during the day before check-in and we would get maximum amount of time in the water park.

J got off work at noon and L got out of school at noon.  We packed up the car and started driving.  We hadn’t eaten lunch yet because I had a plan.  A brewery along the way that has come highly recommended by several friends.

Cedar Springs Brewing Company is in downtown Cedar Springs.  The town is pretty small and the restaurant in the main business district of town about a mile and a half from the 17 Mile Road Exit on US-131.  The building, which is new construction, sits on the corner of Main Street (which is Northland Drive outside of the city limits) and East Maple Street.  It replaced a building from the 1890’s that served Cedar Springs as a flour mill, a grocery store, and finally, an auto supply store.

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Santorini Island Grill (Kalamazoo)

January 23, 2017
  • 1903 W. Michigan Avenue
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49008
  • (269) 387-0442
  • Website
  • Menu.

So…yup.  I’m one of those guys that likes to work on my off days.  Well, I don’t really like working, but I freelance every so often a job that I really love.  I just can’t make a living doing it, so when opportunities come up on my days off, I like to take them.

I’ve been picking up a lot of extra work at Western Michigan University.  At some point in the day, I usually end up with at least an hour for lunch.  Last week, it actually turned in to a two hour lunch.  I didn’t really have much I needed to do and I wanted to run by the Bookstore to look at t-shirts, so I made my way to the Bernhard Center to pick up dinner.

The Bernhard Center is home to the Bronco Mall which is a small food court located on the bottom level of the building.  You can access it from the main entrance by going down, but there’s also an access road that leads to visitor parking behind the Bernhard Center with another entrance.  I found meter parking in the circle drive near the access road, so I made my way in to the building that way.

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Jersey Giant Subs (Jolly Road)

January 19, 2017
  • 2546 E. Jolly Road
  • Lansing, MI 48910
  • (517) 394-3590
  • Website
  • Menu

Hey, I’m back in Michigan.  I’m still not in Southwest Michigan with this blog, but at least I’m back in the right state.  That’s a start, right?

My first week back in Michigan and I’m still on the road, but at least I get to sleep in my own bed at night and drop my daughter off at school in the morning.

A co-worker and I took the trip to Lansing and spent most of the evening running around.  We were actually on our way back to Grand Rapids when we got stopped and sent back to Lansing to pick up one more task.  We were about to Portland and this new meeting, of course, was on the east side of town.

I took I-496 through town and got off a the Jolly Road exit.  When I came to the intersection of Jolly and Dunkel Roads, I saw a familiar sign.  I wasn’t planning on grabbing dinner but when you see a Jersey Giant Subs, how can you pass it up?

Jersey Giant Subs got it’s start in the Lansing area and currently has eleven stores around town and in nearby communities.  I don’t remember this store being there when I lived in Lansing seven years ago, but I hadn’t got hooked on Jersey Giant at that point yet either.

The sub shop is part of a larger strip mall on the southwest side of the Jolly/Dunkel intersection just outside of the Lansing city limits.  The space is shared with a Biggby, a Verizon Store and two other storefronts.  There are entrances off of both roads, but if you’re coming off Jolly, like I was, you actually enter at the neighboring Tim Horton’s driveway and make your way back to the parking lot in front of the outlet.

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Skybridge Restaurant & Bar

January 19, 2017
  • 5600 Mannheim Road
    Terminal 2 Gate F15
  • Chicago, IL 60666
  • (773) 601-8445
  • No Known Website
  • Menu

Finally.  After eight long, but fun, days it was time to head home.  We worked until almost Midnight on Monday, but I still scheduled my flight home for 6:50 AM.  I wanted to get home as soon as possible, so I was alright losing the sleep if I could be home at noon.

I scheduled my flight to take me through O’Hare on the way to Kalamazoo Battle Creek International.  It was the cheapest option for my company and the easiest for me as well.    Things went alright in Dallas.  I had trouble checking my equipment, but I made it through security with about an hour to spare.  I picked up some souvenirs for the kids and grabbed a Coke then stuck in my headphones and listened to some podcasts as I waited.

The flight was on time in to Chicago and I only had a little over an hour to find my next gate.  I  was hungry and hadn’t eaten yet that morning.  After a quick stop at Garrett Popcorn Shop (I forgot to snap pictures to blog about this amazing popcorn, but here’s an old blog from a different location), I continued the long trek towards my next gate.

I passed a lot of dining options that were all pretty busy.  I didn’t exactly know how long it was going to take me and I had no way of knowing that my flight was going to get delayed, so I started looking for something that would be quick.

When I got close to my gate, I noticed a restaurant that didn’t have much of  a line and it looked like they were cranking things out pretty quickly, so I ducked and picked up a sandwich.

Skybridge Restaurant & Bar is a Greek joint that also serves up some Chicago favorites in Terminal 2 Councourse F of O’Hare.  The space is divided in to a bar area that’s fully stocked and open even at 9 in the morning and grill with pub tables.   Read more…