Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Quick trip to Michigan

This past weekend, my husband and I packed our bags and left Indianapolis for the first time since last year for a cross-country skiing adventure on Mackinac Island.

Mackinac Island holds a very special place in our hearts. I've visited the island every year my entire life, William proposed to me on Mackinac Island, and we got married there.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn't want us to visit the island. It's only accessible by ferry or by air taxi. Lake Huron is frozen, so the ferries aren't running. We booked an air taxi, but right before takeoff, the pilots determined it wasn't safe to fly. They canceled all flights the following day as well.

The trek to the Straits of Mackinac wasn't a total bust because we experienced the spectacular blue ice on the lakeshore. Apparently, this natural phenomenon occurs in extremely cold temperatures when the lake freezes. The ice shards were 10 to 15 feet tall in some places.

After taking photos of the blue ice, we searched for a place to stay the night, which was easier said than done. It was Valentine's Day weekend, and apparently northern Michigan is a very popular destination. We finally found a hotel with one available room for one night in Petoskey.

Petoskey was a cute little community with a variety of locally owned shops and restaurants in the downtown area. We had a delicious meal inside an igloo at Palette Bistro, which was just a short walk from our hotel. We shared mussels, lamb, and duck. Everything was cooked to perfection and very flavorful. I highly recommend eating there if you're in the area. Dress warm if you plan to dine in an igloo. I wore several layers and my long winter coat plus a hat and scarf, and I was comfortable. I would have been cold had I not dressed warm, though.

The following morning we woke up early to use our cross-country skis at Petoskey State Park. The park isn't very large and there were no groomed trails, but that was okay with us. We're beginners, and we were just happy no one was around to watch us.

After skiing, we took a detour to Dearborn, Michigan for some incredible Middle Eastern food before returning home. The area has one of the largest Middle Eastern immigrant populations in the country, so it's guaranteed you'll find great food. We ate at Al-Ameer Restaurant, which (I didn't realize at the time I chose it) is a James Beard award-winning restaurant. We ordered the appetizer combo and the Al-Ameer platter, and it was SO MUCH FOOD. We had plenty to take home for dinner the following night. All the meats were so flavorful and moist, and the basket of pita was warm and fluffy. It was all outstanding.

Even though it certainly wasn't the weekend getaway we planned on Mackinac Island, we still had a great time together!

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