Last year we launched this “Favorite Things” series as a way to highlight some of the fun things going on behind the scenes here at The Touring Camper. We try to post daily over on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, but a lot of what we post on social media we never get a chance to share on the blog. So here are some of our favorite moments from July:
Pictured Rocks Boat Cruise (and fireworks!)
We’ve had some pretty epic Fourth of Julys in recent years (attending the Cody, Wyo., rodeo two years ago, and last year going to the Central PA 4thFest that is ranked the nation’s best fireworks show), and this year did not disappoint with our July 4th Pictured Rocks sunset boat cruise.
Captain Leo kept us entertained with his wit as he narrated our two and a half hour tour. (I know that seems long, especially with kids, but it went by really fast!) We had an absolutely perfect evening for the boat cruise, and the sunlight enhanced the beauty of the rocks–for which my camera was very happy.
Jarrett and I are now firmly convinced that if you are planning to visit Pictured Rocks, you must take a boat cruise to fully appreciate the national lakeshore. The day before we had driven the shoreline and it sort of felt like a whomp, whomp because there are only a few spots for scenic overlooks. Taking a boat cruise or doing a kayak tour is really the only way to fully appreciate and experience the beauty of this spot.
Around 10 p.m. we docked back in Munising, Mich. We hung out at the car for another 30 minutes or so waiting for the town to set off quite a fireworks display. (It doesn’t get completely dark up there until around 10:30-11 p.m.!) But the short wait was worth it: For a small city, it was a very impressive show!
Door County Wisconsin
After we left Michigan, we traveled down into Wisconsin and up into the peninsula known as Door County. Often called the “Martha’s Vineyard of the Midwest,” this region exudes a nostalgic charm that draws millions of vacationers each year.
We spent four nights camping in the region, and our “to-see” list was much longer than the hours available. We hiked along cliffs and shoreline, climbed lighthouse stairs, explored a one-of-a-kind nature preserve, watched waves crash on a pebble beach, experienced the “squeak” of cheese curds, saw goats on a roof, and walked away understanding the draw to the region.
We did discover, however, what others have also written about: What was once upon a time ago a non-commercialized and quaint vacation retreat, is now a favorite getaway for those from the big city. Thus everything (and I do mean everything!) was much more expensive than we have found in other destinations. Next month we will have our Door County campground review and a family fun guide to Door County (in which we will highlight how to have a blast without spending a fortune!), so be watching for those soon!
As we made our way home after our Michigan/Wisconsin adventure, we needed a place to stop to break up the trip. So we decided to drop down into Illinois to visit the Lincoln Home National Historic Site. We knew we weren’t going to have enough time to fully explore everything in the Springfield area, but our exploratory stop allowed us to get a quick overview so we can plan for a repeat stop down the road.
The timing of our visit on a Monday meant we didn’t have to contend with long wait times for a home tour. (Places like the Lincoln tomb are closed on Mondays, so visitor numbers are lower since most people prefer to visit later in the week.) Our ranger-guided tour wasn’t long, but extremely informative and the home displays several items of furniture that the Lincolns once used. It was pretty cool to be able to walk through the rooms where such a great man had lived.
She Speaks Conference
About a week after we got home from our summer adventure, I was back on the road again headed to Charlotte, N.C., for the She Speaks conference. This was Jarrett’s surprise Christmas gift to me (I know, isn’t he something!) and a rare chance for me to get away all by myself (which definitely took some getting used to!). I spent the weekend learning to hone my craft and getting a bigger vision for my writing career. I have several projects I am working on behind the scenes and one day when they are more fully developed I can’t wait to share them with you all here!
How about you: What were your favorite things of July? You can share in the comment section below.
Did you enjoy this peek into our month at home and on the road? To get more weekly updates like these, be sure to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter where we share glimpses into our everyday life.