Vacation Memories – 1995

Although I took a break from writing earlier this year, I did not want to completely stop writing and was eager to begin again. Unfortunately, I am still not traveling much at all. My family rented a cabin in the Smoky Mountains over the Fourth of July weekend and my daughter and I hope to do a weekend color tour this fall – that’s it.

Looking Back to 1995

I started thinking about travel memories and one trip popped into my head – was it 2000? 1999? No, when I looked it up, I saw that it was way back in 1995. My husband was a great journal writer for all our trips, so I just had to look back through the journals.

Sleeping Bear Dunes, Michigan

What made 1995 special?  We did not travel to our usual spot on the lake in Minnesota. Instead, we traveled through Michigan and then spent a week fishing in Canada.  It was a great trip, but we did miss Minnesota that year.

A Little Background

I grew up on a farm in Northwest Indiana. My dad farmed grain crops and raised chickens. He later diversified by adding hogs. My favorite crop, though, was the Christmas trees he started growing when I was in junior high school.

Tree growing wasn’t much fun until the trees were tall enough that we could start selling them.  I had moved away for college, but returned with my husband when I became pregnant with our first child. I wanted to raise her near the farm.

I became more and more involved with the farm as the years went along. My parents often attended regional tree grower meetings. In 1994, my parents were asked to host the Mid-America Christmas Tree Growers (MACT) meeting at their farm the following summer.  They eagerly accepted and began planning.

Changing Plans

As the planning began, we realized that the chosen dates interfered with our  family vacations. The meeting was to be held from Thursday evening through Saturday afternoon during the second week of our planned two weeks at the resort.

My parents immediately decided they would leave the resort early that summer, coming home on Tuesday or Wednesday. Then, my Dad asked me to come home early also, although I wouldn’t have to be home until Friday morning.  My husband would not agree and I didn’t feel right cutting my family’s vacation short.

For several weeks, my dad tried to convince me that I was needed and there was no choice. As much as I wanted to help him, I knew it would be impossible.

I came up with a plan that I hoped would satisfy my dad and my family. I approached them with my idea. Instead of going to the resort, we should take a different vacation.  Maybe we could fish somewhere else. Or, we could do some traveling.

The New Plan

Although, as a family, we knew the new trip wouldn’t be the same as going to our beloved resort, we came together and carved out a new plan.

My husband was originally from Michigan, and although we visited his family often, we had not vacationed there with our children.  Also, by this time my husband was an avid fisherman and we knew there had to be a fishing component in the plan.

Tahquamenon Falls,
Upper Peninsula Michigan

We decided we would travel for one week through Michigan – Upper Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula – and Canada, ending at a good fishing lake where we would spend our second week.  If we started our vacation a week earlier than our usual schedule, we could be back in plenty of time for the MACT meeting.

Our Itinerary
  • July 6 – Leave after work and drive to Grand Rapids, Michigan. Stay with family.
  • July 7 – Drive along Lake Michigan by Sleeping Bear Dunes. Go to Fishtown in Leland. Hike in Leelanau State Park, see the lighthouse. Drive along the lake through Traverse City (bad traffic because of the Cherry Festival), Charlevoix, and Petosky. Continue to the hotel in Mackinaw City.
  • Mackinac Bridge, Michigan

    July 8 – Visit Fort Michilimackinac in the morning. Eat pasties for lunch, then go to Spring Mill Park. Drive across the bridge to St. Ignace, spend time exploring. Drive back across the bridge and through Wilderness State Park.

  • July 9 – Go to church at Church of the Straits. Have a picnic lunch in Wilderness State Park. Hike to Waugoshance Point (closed for bird protection). Hike other areas in the state park. Wade in Lake Michigan. Enjoy a Sunday evening Vesper Cruise on Lake Michigan.
  • July 10 – Take a Star Line Boat to Mackinac Island. Hike to Arch Rock, Fort Holmes, and Skull Cave. Shop downtown, buy ice cream and fudge. Return to the mainland. After supper, make a quick stop at Traverse Bay Woolen Company. Before bed, see the lights on the bridge.  Wade in Lake Huron.
  • Point Iroquois Lighthouse, Michigan

    July 11 – Drive to Tahquamenon Falls, take a rowboat to the Lower Falls.  Explore and have a picnic lunch by Upper Falls. Drive along Lake Superior on Curly Leaves Highway. Stop at a beach to wade in Lake Superior. Visit Point Iroquois Lighthouse. Arrive at the hotel in Sault Ste Marie.

  • July 12 – See the Soo Locks. Cross into Canada and exchange money. This is a long day of driving through Sudbury, Parry Sound, Barrie, and ending in Mississauga. (Also, had an hour and a half construction delay).
  • July 13 – Shop and eat lunch at Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga – 350 stores and a carousel. Drive to Niagara Falls. Look at the falls from hotel’s observation deck.
  • July 14 – Walk to Falls, view from the edge. (Boat trip is too expensive). Ride the tram back to hotel. Drive across Rainbow Bridge to New York. Ride the elevator up to the American Falls observation deck and down to the river level. Drive along the river to Buffalo, cross the Peace Bridge back into Canada. Go to Fort Erie, wade in Lake Erie. See the Welland Canal. Return to the hotel, eat supper, and then watch fireworks over Niagara Falls.
  • July 15 – Drive out of Niagara Falls with a stop at the Floral Clock. Also, see the gorge and whirlpool. Continue on through Toronto. Stop in Port Hope for lunch. Wade in Lake Ontario. Arrive at the resort on Rice Lake in afternoon.
  • July 15 – 21 Stay at the resort. Fish, shop, relax.
  • July 18 – Go to Toronto with our daughters (husband stays to fish). Take the train and subway to downtown. Shop at Eaton Center, World’s Biggest Bookstore (now closed), and eat lunch at Hard Rock Cafe.
My Thoughts Now
American Falls, New York

I know this is just a quick overview of our 1995 summer vacation. I’m hoping to give more details about some of the places in a future post – maybe next week.

Looking back on this trip and rereading the journal makes me want to do it again.  My daughters are all grown now, so I wouldn’t have to spend time taking care of them, although they would probably make great travel companions. I’m not sure I’d do the week of fishing, but traveling through Michigan and Canada sounds wonderful.




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