And… we’re back! We’re so sorry that we’ve been slackin’ on the blog posting over the last couple of weeks, but that’s because we’ve been out traveling to new (and old) places and really indulging in spending quality time with each other, sans computers. This little exercise in giving ourselves a break from being chained to our computers has definitely done wonders for our mental clarity, and energized us to really focus on the life and things we love, with unbridled passion. So thanks for continuing to check back to the blog and for following along on our Instagrams where we post tiny little tidbits of our adventures – we so enjoy sharing our lives and love with you!
Today we’re sharing pics from the first couple of days of our idyllic, week-long trip to Northern Michigan over the 4th of July. We spent the first two days in the breathtaking and endlessly charming Grand Traverse region, and one the of the things that made our time in the area so special was that we had one of my oldest and dearest friends, Art showing us around. This bearded gentleman also happens to be one of the best and most knowledgable unofficial Grand Traverse tour guides there ever was, so we consider ourselves pretty lucky to have had him around. Seriously… his passion for the region he lives in and loves so much, paired with his wealth of knowledge about its history and landscape made for a pretty incredible two days. You’re the man, Art and we’re so grateful for the hospitality!
The insanely gorgeous scenery that covers this region and the laid-back, slowed-down lifestyle there had us dreaming of life together “Up North”. Everywhere we looked there was unmatched natural beauty, unadulterated wide open spaces, friendly, smiling locals, fresh water in abundance and endless outdoor activity. We packed these two days full of adventures and Chris was completely blown away by how photogenic the area is and so happy to be surrounded by so much of his favorite thing in the world… water! Breathing in all that fresh air, sitting on top of the massive dunes looking out at the coastline and perfectly blue Lake Michigan got us thinking a lot about the future, the meaning of “home” and what we really want that to look like down the road.
So today we’re asking you guys one of those big “life questions” that Chris and I have been asking ourselves over and over again as we travel as of late: Do you ever find yourself thinking seriously about making a big change and putting down roots somewhere totally different than the place you currently live, for no other reason than the lifestyle you’d get in return? I know I know… we visited during the summer in Michigan which is warm and inviting, and as I know all too well from growing up in The Mitten, the long, dark, freezing Michigan winters can do just about the same damage on your mood as the long, blazing hot summers in Arizona. That said, Chris fell in love with the region and I was reminded of the special role Northern Michigan played in my life and upbringing, so what ensued during our visit were many conversations about what we wanted our life together to look like and what’s really important to us when it comes to where we live. Those requirements are different for everyone, so drop us a comment and tell us what your “must haves” are for the place you live, and what you absolutely love about living where you do.
Travel Highlights: The Grand Traverse Region
Seven Monks – (try a Short’s “Nicie Spicie”!)
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (and the many dunes and lookouts inside it)
Alligator Hill Trail (the view at the top is as gorgeous as the climb!)
Village Cheese Shanty (Try the “North Shore”, the “South Shore” or the “Log Jam”)
Art’s Tavern (Try their Whitefish Burger with some Famous Kream Mustard from brownwood farms)
My wife and I have had and been having some similar talks. In four years we’ve gone from Chicago to Boston to Duluth (MN). The transitions, all due to professional reasons, have inadvertantly made us think about our "must haves". Northern MI also holds a special spot in my heart and Duluth fulfills those feelings, and many other must haves…now. But now is not a decade ago, when the must have was big city life, tons of variety (in everything), and good old friends in close proximity, all for a reasonable price. Chicago fit the bill. Priorities shift though, as I’m sure you’re experiencing and feeling. I’ve realized through our transitions, in both geography and age, most people don’t take the time to reflect…to really know themselves…to know their must haves and that they change.
My current ‘must haves’…no particular order:
1) An engaged, thoughtful, and vibrant community (economically, politically, interpersonally)
2) Nature…with water
4) Airport access
5) Access to friends and family
6) Culture and education
7) Reasonable cost of living
8) Good eats and drinks
Duluth doesn’t give me all of those…or not all to the degree I’d prefer. However, perfect is the enemy of good and Duluth is pretty damn good. Swing by anytime…we’ll show you around.
Check out the following link to learn more about Duluth and other cool outdoorsy places.
Love and Specs says
We’re so glad it’s not just us that have these kinds of life talks, Sumair! It’s so refreshing to hear that you and your wife have had talks like these and revisit this question once in a while as you grow and your priorities shift, as priorities undoubtedly tend do over the years! Your list of must-haves is so similar to ours and Duluth sounds like such an good place right now for you guys, which we love to hear! "Pretty damn good" sounds just right 🙂 Thanks for sharing – we just loved seeing your list and hearing how you guys tackle this subject!