Monday, July 6, 2009

Cheap Thrills Road Trip

Do you remember my Cheap Thrills post? You can find all the details by clicking that link, but in short, the idea was to take a day trip to somewhere within a reasonable distance from home, enjoy the sights, have a picnic lunch and spend less than $20 (excluding gas).

For our first trip, we traveled up the east coast of Michigan, along the Lake Huron shoreline. Can you see why it's called "The Thumb Area"?


Although we didn't expect to run into any pirates, Mr. Willoughby wore this shirt just for the occasion.
We love the ocean, but since it's not possible for us to get to the Atlantic or the Pacific in an afternoon, we have to settle for the Great Lakes. Not a bad substitute, wouldn't you say?


This is the view from the shores of Port Sanilac. Despite the tranquil look of the water, this was once the site of a terrible maritime tragedy.

The road is quite a bit higher than the water along this stretch, so you have to take some stairs to get down to it.

Our next stop was in the small town of Forester where we spent some time on the beach......


climbed the hills.....


admired some enchanted scenery.......

had a tranquil moment (that's my son and Purple Hoodie Chick)......


and had lunch. I'm glad I packed foil in the travel bag because the grills at this park were really rusty. Mr. Willoughby cooked a few too many hot dogs and sausages!

There is a legend that the shores of Lake Huron are haunted by a young girl who committed suicide by jumping into the water and drowning herself back in 1876. Her name was Minnie Quay and it is said that she's been seen in the water, beckoning others to join her in the years since her death. We weren't able to find the pier she jumped from, but we did find her grave in the local cemetery. It's customary to leave a trinket at her grave, so Mr. Willoughby left the Hope stone he usually carries in his pocket. Rest in peace, Minnie.
At Harbor Beach we walked out on the pier....

and took in the view of the lighthouse.

Up the road, we enjoyed the scenery at Lighthouse Park in Pointe Aux Barques just before the rain rolled in.

While the rain came down, we toured the Lighthouse Museum. This is looking up the stairs of the lighthouse.


When the rain stopped, we were rewarded with a spectacular rainbow that started in the water and ended in the trees a few yards away from us. It was breathtaking, but I was unable to get a picture of it. I did, however, get a picture of this rainbow over the lake.

The last stop on our trip was Port Austin, at the tip of the thumb. Here, we got ice cream....

which we ate on the pier.....


viewed the military memorial.....

and the Purple Heart Garden.


We had a great time and felt like we were on vacation for the whole day. In case you're wondering how this measured up to my Cheap Thrills rules, we used less than one tank of gas, were home before nightfall and between ice cream and a donation to the Lighthouse Museum, spent a total of $14. I can say for certain that we gained much more from this trip than we spent. We're already planning our next one.

12 comments:

Chicago Mom said...

What a great day trip! The pictures are wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

Gracey said...

I loved your pics. Especially the lakes ones, as well as the one with the "enchanted" tree.

Oh, and I want some of the blue ice cream too!

Purple Flowers said...

That is an excellent trip! I love the rainbow photo. There's alot to be seen within a days' drive, and you are proving that point. Drive onward!

ChristineM said...

My goodness, what beautiful pics! We love road trips and are lucky enough to be able to go to the beach, mountains, city, farmland - all well within "day trip" driving distance.

Donna-FFW said...

Gorgeous photos. Love the lighthouse and my husband wants your husbands teeshirt.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Fantastic tour! You could be a guide for the chamber of Commerce! All beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing.

5thsister said...

Day trips are the best. Living where we do in NC we have the mountains a couple of hours to the west, the ocean a few hours to the east, the Yadkin River Valley an hour and a half to the North and Charleston or Savannah a few hours to the south. Love it!

PurpleHoodieChick said...

You took all the good pictures!! lol

L.B. said...

Awesome pics. That story about the girl was spooky!

Lissaloo said...

What a wonderful trip! I really enjoyed all the great pictures! :)

Clarity said...

Charming and beautiful idea - I've never seen such a giant lake. The lighthouse makes me melt as much as that icecream might have.

Deidra said...

Thought I'd pop over here and say hello.

I grew up in Michigan and one summer, my parents took us on a trip around the state. It was a blast! Now I live right smack dab in the middle of the country. What I wouldn't give for an afternoon on the shores of one of those Great Lakes!