The RenFest at Holly, Michigan, runs on weekends from late August to Early October each year. I visited on a Saturday and found it uncrowded and in tip-top form. The re-enactors and vendors and visitors all seemed to be in a good mood and ready for some fun. This being my first visit – and photographs being my top priority – I chose not to go in costume. Of course, there were plenty of costume shops open, so I could have rented or purchased a tunic and a sword. Maybe next time.
Here’s a photo line-up of this colorful historical attraction. (Click on any photo to view it in full screen mode.)
Whenever I return to the Michigan Renaissance Festival, I have decided that a sword is a nice thing to have, but I am going to avoid a kilt. That’s just me. Do what you want. It’s all good. And it’s all a lot of fun.
And don’t miss the traditional turkey drumstick for lunch. It’s actually slow-smoked and tasty.
And then there is the ubiquitous dill pickle right out of the barrel.
Hmm… so much to savor and so few summer days left.
Here is the link to the RenFest website. Have fun!
My road atlas shows the secondary roads in red. Those are the narrow two-lane county blacktops that pre-date the expressways and the superhighways. And it is where the historical sites and nostalgic gems are still found.
M-22 is a redliner’s treasure, as it winds through mature forests and over sand dunes, outlining the Leelenau Peninsula, Michigan’s virtual “pinkie” finger as it were, the lower peninsula being shaped like a mitten. It is punctuated by 150-year-old lighthouses and roadside farm markets offering sweet black cherries and other organic delicacies.
A side spur from this rural delight is another gem, M-109, which winds lazily through the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, an expansive park that is managed by the National Park Service. It is the home of a well-preserved ghost town. Glen Haven is an old fishing village with a historic inn, general store, blacksmith shop, fishing cannary and other buildings.
The National Lakeshore is a wonderland of perched sand dunes, thick forests, abandoned farms and old vacation homes. The shorelines are gorgeous. If there is magic where land and water meet, then this peninsula is entirely enchanted. Shifting sand dunes rise more than 450 above the turquoise waters of Lake Michigan.
Nature lovers and adventurers experience a rush of enthusiasm for a plethora of hiking trails, bike paths, scenic drives and beaches.
Here is a line-up of photos I captured while on a recent visit to the area:
Being over 50 miles from the nearest freeway, M-22 is not on the way to anywhere… except adventure and natural splendor.
My travel tip: If you can, avoid the crowds of the later summer and visit the area in September when the parks are nearly empty and you have your pick of campsites – or cabins. The lakes are still relatively warm and accommodating for water sports like kayaking, paddle boarding and swimming.
After that, the maple forests light up with the vivid yellows, reds, and oranges of autumn.
And after that, it gets nasty out here when the gales of November start whipping off of Lake Michigan and the early snows set in.
I love the activities of summer and the pleasant weather that makes them so enjoyable. Summer is definitely my favorite season of the year. Life is easy. The sweaters are in storage and t-shirts and flip flops are the standard uniform.
Kaye and I are parked in a small town campground for the summer and we have a virtual smorgasbord of events to choose from in the mitten of lower Michigan.
Every town is having its annual summer festival and the air is filled with the aroma of cotton candy and corndogs. Carnivals are buzzing and whirring everywhere as the Tilt-a-Whirl makes its frenzied spin. Food trucks offer gastrointestinal delight (or disaster) at every midway. What fun!
Here are some photos of summer festivals that we have enjoyed in lower Michigan over the last couple of years.
Dog Daze at Marlette, Michigan.
The Thumb Octagon Barn Festival, Gagetown, Michigan.
The River of Time, Bay City, Michigan.
This annual encampment re-enacts a complete timeline of American military history from the native Americans to World War II and Vietnam.
Blues on the Mall, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Creekside Days, Ortonville, Michigan.
Farm Markets everywhere!
I am loving the growing popularity of the local farm markets. They are springing up in every little town and city and offer locally produced health and organic foods in bulk.
Not only that, but some permanent bulk food stores are popping up here and there. In our old neighborhood in Michigan’s thumb (the lower peninsula being shaped like a mitten), Country View Bulk Food store is owned and operated by a Mennonite family and offers a plethora of farm products in bulk. It is growing so fast that the owners are adding space to the building every summer!
There are only a few weeks of summer left and then fall arrives and the weather changes. And our opportunities to take advantage of the summer farm markets and festivals will end for another season. Better get out there right now and make hay while the sun shines, as it were. Soon enough the snow will fly and the outdoor markets will be gone.
Maybe this photo will provide the virtual kick in the pants that you may need to get out to the local festivals and farm markets pronto!