Midwestern Getaways

We’ve had a lovely time staying at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island this week. It was a terrific place to spend our anniversary and the weather was fantastic. The Victorian island experience here with no cars – only carriages & bicycles to get around – is really enchanting.

As I wrote recently, staying at this hotel has long been one of my wife’s Bucket list experiences. She loves the 1981 ‘Somewhere in Time’ movie with Jane Seymour & Christopher Reeve.

When we early retired in 2016, midwestern getaways like this were a part of our travel framework. Despite the pandemic, we’ve largely stayed on track with our original plans …

Related: Free Travel Planning Framework

Here’s Where We’ve Been: Chicago (2016), Door County (2017), Toronto (2018), Michigan’s Sunset Coast (2019), Minnesota’s North Shore (2020), Duluth/Superior (2021), Oak Park, St Louis & Springfield (2022), and Mackinac Island (2022).

Most of these have been driving trips, although we took the Amtrak train to Chicago and flew to Toronto, Canada. The weather is so nice at home in Minnesota, we don’t go away for too long in the summer. Just 3-4-5 nights away.

I have to say that this trip to the Grand Hotel was MUCH more expensive than our typical budget. In fact, I think it’s the most expensive night’s stay I’ve ever paid with my own money, but an amazing Victorian experience.

Related: Unique Stays & Splurges

What ‘close to home’ trips have you taken this summer?

Image Credit: (c) MrFireStation.com

4 thoughts on “Midwestern Getaways

  1. We love local trips sandwiched in between our bigger trips. We’ve done at least a dozen days trips of local wineries and breweries in our area this year. Also two short (3-4 days) RV trips to a beautiful state park in Virginia, a short week long RV trip to Kerr Lake, NC and 4-5 day trip to Oak island, NC. As I type, we are driving to Myrtle Beach, SC for a week. We rented a large beach house for the whole family to come and enjoy. We also have trips already booked to Virginia’s Eastern Shore (Cape Charles) for a week in Sept and a week back at Kerr Lake, NC in October with the RV. Our next longer range trip is back to Islamorada in the FL Keys this winter for a few weeks. We are loving the freedom that retirement brings to just pickup and to take those short 1-5 hour trips that are closer to home!

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    1. That’s sounds like a pleasure-packed summer of travel fun! We have a group of friends that all have big RVs and use them all summer. We’ve stayed with them before and I would like to rent one and try it. How big is your RV? I’m thinking of maybe going to the UP of Michigan in the spring and catching some waterfalls and lighthouses. Enjoy your beach week!

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      1. So we own a 2019 Keystone Sprinter Limited 320MLS. It’s a 38’ long travel trailer with three pull outs, that I pull with our Ford F-250. It’s fantastic for longer stays for two people. It’s our home away from home on most trips now. It’s way nicer than a hotel room and it’s really nice to have your own bed, food, etc.. We aren’t really campers though. (We are more destination glampers! 😜) Most RV parks are super nice resorts these days. We used to do mainly hotels, AirBNB’s, and VRBO houses for the first few years after retiring, but grew tired of packing and unpacking. Our RV stays packed and ready to go at all times (we just duplicated a few things like clothing and dishes, that stay packed in the unit and ready to go), so we really just hook up and go now! We chose a travel trailer over a diesel pusher, so we could drop it at destinations and still have our Ford F250 to drive around locally to dinner or wherever we are visiting. It is easy, and now we get to take our 13 yr old golden retriever with us everywhere. Before it was getting harder to find houses or condos that allowed a 90 lb. dog! He a big bear and absolutely loves traveling! He acts two years old again when he knows we are going somewhere…tail wagging like crazy and starts bouncing!

        You should rent a couple of times and see how you like driving them. Try a few different types and sizes. You (..ok..your wife!) will quickly come to know what you (she!) likes/dislikes. We love ours, and we go a lot more often since buying it. Not everyone is comfortable pulling or driving something that large, but after a few trips it becomes very easy. I can even back it into the smallest spots now! (Feel free to PM me if you have any detail questions or want any specific advice on RVs.)

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      2. That sounds HUGE! I have a MegaCorp friend who bought a Fifth Wheel RV and used it just as you say – as a home away from home. Having to only unpack once – and bring your dog – would be very nice. (We like cruises for that reason too)

        We took two extended road trips this summer for 11 nights total. That was 6x check-ins, 6x unpacking, 6x figuring out the wi-fi codes, and 6x different beds & pillows. Some of the spots like the Grand Hotel were definitely “worth it”, but most of them … not so much.

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