I love Petoskey, MI. They have the cutest downtown area that's right on the water. My husband and I love to have lunch in the downtown area, then bike around a bit, and wander down to the waterfront. It's a really relaxing place to be. They have a beautiful waterfall system that runs straight through the town and empties into Lake Michigan! And, I don't have any pictures of it! Can you believe that? The picture above is actually of the clock tower near the waterfront.
Unfortunately, I can't remember where this is along the Lake Michigan coastline! It could be Grand Haven, but it could also be Pentwater. Who knows? I've taken so many pictures along Lake Michigan, and I've done a terrible job of cataloging them! Oh well. I love sand fences. Don't ask me why . . . I just do. I think seeing these in Michigan reminded me of the sand fences you see along the Alabama Gulf Coast—where I grew up vacationing. The Gulf Coast is almost like a second home for me, and seeing these in Michigan was nostalgic for me.
On a quiet back road in Benzie County in Northern Michigan, there's a hidden cherry tree orchard, and in Spring it pops when the trees bloom. This area of Northern Michigan is well-known for its wine and cherries. The climate is ideal, with the warm Lake Michigan breezes. When I noticed this orchard in bloom last spring, I had to stop and take some photos.
Queen Anne's Lace
Just this past weekend, we visited Raven Run Nature Sanctuary (just outside of Lexington, KY), and went on a nice hike. Part of our hike included a beautiful meadow. We stopped so my husband could do some birding, and I snapped wildflowers. I've always like Queen Anne's Lace, so capturing this image was a treat. I don't have a camera with the kind of resolution I would like yet, but this one does the job for now. Wildflowers are so beautiful, aren't they?
I love how the sand has covered parts of this bench on the Lake Michigan beach at Point Betsie. This was such a gorgeous day in April 2008. The sky and water were amazing, and I was there with my husband and some wonderful friends and family. I'll always love this spot in Northern Michigan.
We took a short hike into Grotto Falls in the Smokies. We spent quite a bit of time here, playing in the water, snapping shots, looking for salamanders (there are tons!), eating lunch, and relaxing.
The falls are fairly easy to get to (some list the trail as "easy", others as "moderate") from the Roaring Fork Motor Trail. It's well worth the short trip in.
I love the Point Betsie Lighthouse! It's one of my favorites along Lake Michigan. This particular photo was taken in April 2008, while my husband and some family members were in the area for a weekend getaway. We took a long walk on this beach, and this shot was taken on our way back toward the lighthouse. Yes, the sky was actually that blue that day! The water was really that color. It was an amazingly beautiful day!
According to The Friends of the Point Betsie Lighthouse Web site:
"The Point Betsie Lighthouse, Benzie County's most famous landmark, is located on the Lake Michigan shore of the county just south of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and just north of Frankfort, Michigan. Point Betsie is the second most photographed lighthouse in the USA, and likely the most visited attraction in Benzie County. Watching the sunsets from Point Betsie is a long-standing tradition."
A barn along the Cades Cove loop in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
I don't know much about this barn. If you do, please fill me in. I did read somewhere that it's a bit newer than some of the other older buildings along the Cades Cove loop, because it has a metal roof and was built with milled lumber. But, that's all I know. I just liked this view as we traveled along.
A couple of years ago, my husband and I spent some time in Great Smoky Mountains National Park for our vacation. One of the trails we did was the Alum Cave Bluff Trail. There are two bridges you cross early on in the hike, and this is one of them. I loved the light . . . not too bright. It made for a very serene location to snap pictures. I love bridges, for some reason, and this one captured my fancy.
The trail is 2.2 miles to the bluff, and well worth the trip. It's a beautiful trail, and goes through a number of interesting rock formations, and through some incredibly beautiful forest. At one point on the trail, you might be able to spot a Peregrine falcon nest, if you know what you're looking for.