Category Archives: Road Trip!

Michigan 2012



It’s been almost a month since I’ve been back and I have been completely slacking with my posts.  I’m not going to apologize though, I’ve been living life and making some pretty big strides since my return… more on that later..




In short, Michigan was fantastic.  We didn’t spend too much time doing water sports, instead we spent a lot of time ‘off site’.    Here are some recaps from our trips.

Sand Dunes – What’s the most beautiful place in the USA?  It’s sleeping bear dunes national lakeshore in Michigan, according to a vote in 2011 by viewers of good morning america.  I’ve seen family photos of the place for a while and I’ve been secretly wanting to go myself.  This was my year!  We headed west to the sleeping bear dunes and much to my surprise, it was even better than I was anticipating.  First up we went to a smaller dune overlooking Lake Leland.  This is where we took turns running up and down the dunes and capturing some pretty fantastic photos.

Next up was the main attraction.  The dune everyone was warning me about.  The dune that was my ‘workout’ for the day.  Let me tell you.  They were not joking.  It took me just about a minute to run, skip and maneuver my way down this thing.  Thankfully it had rained that morning and it had packed the sand a little.  Thank you weather for a not so crowded and easier to climb experience.


The climb was amazing, but what really took my breathe away was the views.  It was blue as far as the eye could see.  Absolutely stunning.

Oh, and I just want to throw it out there… yours truly made it up the dune the fastest.



Paint Ball – This was my first experience paint balling.  Holy balls is it super scary and incredibly exhilarating!  Our instructor told us ladies, you will know within the first couple of minutes if you love it… or hate it.   Despite being the first one out in our first game (I swear the horn wasn’t even done buzzing before I got hit) and getting hit in the neck while I was in ‘the safezone’ I had an absolute ball.  We broke up into teams and played 3 different scenarios two times each.  Once was in the smaller space with big black tubes to hide behind, a more realistic field with old vehicles, houses , tires, sand dunes and other random objects to hide behind and the final course was just in the woods.  If I learned anything about myself during paint ball it’s that I am definitely more of a ‘guarder’ then a ‘run to the flag and get shot at allot’ type of person.  Again, after being hit in the neck (somehow I managed to get hit in the 1/2 ” of space where my neck wasn’t guarded) I was first to volunteer to be a guard. youillstayhiddenbehindsomewoodigotyoucovered.

group shot

garrison family shot


I’m not sure how or when the decision was to play family paint ball instead of our normal family put put, but I was a fan!

Sand Bar – If you were to ask me where I want to live, in a dream situation.. water would definitely be involved.  In fact, I may have changed my answer this summer and could just say Elk Lake Michigan.  Especially because we headed to Torch Lake this year (they are connected – about an hour boat ride to get there from the cottage) and hit up the sandbar.  So.Much.Fun.  We pulled our two boats up (yup, we had to get a second boat to fit everyone this year) and anchored right in the swing of things.  Booze, bathing suits, snacks and music.

sand bar, torch lake Michigan


What else could we possibly need?  A floatie.. for Grandma.  Marc’s cousins and I went on a mission to find a tube or floatie for his grandma.  It was a bit wavy and she was uncomfortable with the water height and it was way too hot to stay up on the boat all day.  Mission accomplished.


Not too much after this happened… we may have been out of adult beverages and on a mission.  again, after a few bizarre looks, a long walk, a few ‘mystery shots’ and almost selling me to some strangers… mission accomplished.

I’d say we had a good time.

 House painting – The warner’s bought the cottage next door and we spent allot of our vacation helping scrape and paint everything.  We took turns so it went by fairly quickly.  Many hands make light work.  In the end, it looked like a brand new cottage.  Teamwork FTW!


Washer Game – Each time I visit I try to do something nice for the warner’s.  I mean, they are letting me stay with their family for the week, it’s the least I can do.  This year, my dad and I made our family favorite game and sent it up to them.  Let’s just say… it was a hit.  I hope the game is used frequently and brings their family as many memories as it does my own.



Other Randoms –



what a stud 😉

paddle boating with Melissa and Tucker

just gotta throw it in there!



I realize this was a lot to read and if you’ve made it all the way to this point I am impressed and thankful.  A big thank you to the Garrison, Craig and Warner family for welcoming me into your lives and treating me as one of your own.  You truly have become family to me.  Looking forward to the years to come!!


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Necessary Detox

I have had such a great icfh alumni reunion weekend, I cannot even begin to explain! I got home last night around 6 pm, had dinner with the rents and found myself in bed around 9. No lies. I had zero ambition to upload any photos from my camera so I will leave you with a quick collage from some of my weekend iPhone shots. More to come later!



Starting today I am determined to eat clean, get lots of sleep and drink some quality h2o for a while…

Ps. Check back later tonight for my foodie pen pals post!!

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Definition of SMORGASBORD

1: a luncheon or supper buffet offering a variety of foods and dishes (as hors d’oeuvres, hot and cold meats, smoked and pickled fish, cheeses, salads, and relishes)
I’ve arrived in the great state of Pennsylvania! Actually, I arrived last night – no problems with the commute – it went nice and smooth…but not quickly.  7 hours later and I arrived at the Swink household and was welcomed by a great dinner!  After visiting for a while and watching some tv with Al, we headed up to bed.. for me, that meant a water bed!  It reminded me of my aunt’s water bed in grandma audie’s house when I was growing up.
We woke up this morning and headed to Lancaster County – Amish Country PA.  Apparently, there was some diner that we just had to go to.  I quickly understood why.  We arrived at our destination, Shady Maple Smorgasbord.  And a smorgasbord it was. This place was huge! We got a table, a headed up for the first of many plates. I tried a little of everything – chocolate milk, egg whites, over easy egg, bacon, turkey sausage, grapes, hash brown, and maybe even some soft serve ice cream to round out the meal.  I was stuffed.
As if the restaurant wasn’t impressive enough, we headed downstairs to take a gander at all of the knick knacks they had for sale.  My favorites included…
It was like they knew I was coming with all of the little spoons!!  Looking back, I should have purchased all the state spoons that I have visited.  What a great idea. Dang!
We headed next door to the Amish version of a grocery store.  I was most impressed with their bulk section.. and these shimmery sprinkles.  They was hard to resist..
After breakfast, we headed back to Ally’s house for a quick cat nap, took her two Red Setter dogs for a walk (ps I’m loving being surrounded by dogs again) and got ready to meet Ally’s friend Hayley.  We headed up to where Ally’s new house is to try out the local cuisine and found ourselves in The Flying Pig Saloon.  I am a fan.  None of us were really starving, so we ordered lots of appetizers, and by the end we were stuffed.

Get in my belly!

The food was great, the atmosphere was great and the company was great!  I would go back there on a weekly basis if I lived close enough.  Tomorrow we have big plans to visit one of my roommate/teammates at Ithaca and explore Philly a little more.  I’m off to enjoy my time with bell!  Hope everyone is having a great weekend!!
Question of the Day: What is your favorite thing to do when visiting a friend in their hometown?  I like going to places and doing things that that person enjoys doing most.  Hiking, eating a certain restaurants, seeing where they grew up, etc.
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