From Dan: We like ferries. On our vacation to Michigan and Ontario that we just got back from, we took the SS Badger both ways across Lake Michigan so that we didn't have to drive through Chicago or all the way across the UP. It's an old-fashioned steamship with cabins you can rent and bingo, which Abby and Riley loved. They make the four hour journey across 60 miles of lake pretty fun.
Anyway, one of the side effects of a ferry is the schedule. Our return trip didn't leave Ludington, Michigan until 8pm and we were staying only 2 hours away in Traverse City. Once breakfast was over, we had about 9 hours to make a 2 hour drive.
So, we took the scenic route, driving all through the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park and stopping at beaches and historical sights along the way. Riley and I talked to a blacksmith in the Park Service's Glen Harbor who made an iron wall hook and gave it to Riley. Then we played in the sand, drove some more, played at another beach, walked to a lighthouse, and had a great lunch at a tavern in Manistee.
Along the way, we discovered an asparagus farm and bought a few pounds of freshly cut spears. When we got a chance to cook it up, even Riley had to admit it was delicious. Way better than California asparagus. It turns out that Michigan is the third largest grower of asparagus, which is picked in April, May and June (we picked up a brochure). We really enjoy eating local foods as we travel. (Our last trip to Michigan was in late August, which is peach season. We found peaches at roadside stands that will always be the peaches by which all other peaches will be compared. We also learned that, because they're a mild laxative, children should not be allowed to each half a dozen peaches all at once on a road trip.)
Finally we arrived in Ludington with only an hour left to kill, which we spent at the playground by the marina. It turned out that this last day of our vacation, which we thought would involve a lot of boring waiting, turned out to be our best. Sometimes it's nice to have a boat to catch.