It’s been since I was 20 or 21 that my friend Holly has invited me up to her cottage in Bellaire Michigan. There were a few years there when I first had Ruby that I stopped making the drive out of fear of being on my own for so many days with my child, in an unfamiliar place to her. Last year I braved it and took both girls, except for the wild car ride, we had a blast and decided to make the trip again this year. I love the adventure of being with alone with my kids, giving my husband some quiet time at home and being away from both my work and chores. People think I am crazy when I say that it’s a nice break for me (since I have the kids with me) but it does give me a much needed break from our daily routine.

Holly’s place is “nestled deep in the forest” claims my daughter. Which it is. Then she is a member at The Torch Lake Yacht Club where we spend most of the day since there are so many things for the kids to do from swimming and tennis to playgrounds and petoskey stone hunts. The only tv Holly has at the cottage plays VHS tapes so the kids had the treat of watching The Little Mermaid one night but no regular scheduled television shows. Relief!

Here are some of the highlights from our trip:

1. The crystal clear blue water on Torch Lake

2. The sound of the trees outside the window at Holly’s cottage. It’s so quiet and peaceful.

3. Taking the girls to play miniature golf for the first time.

4. Making an old school bracelet with string for my girls (thanks for re-teaching me Holly!)

5. Lake Michigan and the beach at Elk Rapids

6. The street fair in Elk Rapids–complete with hot and fresh kettle corn!

7. When asked by her dad, my four-year-old claimed her favorite part of the trip was playing old maid with the kids. It’s the simple things!

8. The Sleeping Bear Dunes—absolutely breathtaking!

9. Eating lunch in downtown Glen Arbor

10. Holly’s Kerig coffee maker :)Oh, and catching up with my college roommate, of course!

11. Strawberry picking (yum!) and making a delicious pie when we got home with the berries.

**The picture of Holly and I is circa 2004**