We were originally planning to spend seven days at a private campground in Traverse City (which is on the northwestern side of the Michigan mitten) before heading further west for a couple nights at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. But, upon arriving at our Traverse City campsite, we knew we’d want to stay as long as possible. Holiday Park Campground used to be an “Airstream only” resort, but is now open to anyone, and, as everyone in the RV world knows, Airstreamers know a thing or two about design.
The campground is spacious, green, and built around a beautiful lake…
Even better, because it was after Labor Day, we scored an enormous lakeside site, complete with a separate terraced patio and built-in fire pit, for a very reasonable price.
So, we quickly changed our plans to take full advantage of our good fortune. We cancelled our stay at SBD and extended our stay in TC.
Sleeping Bear Dunes
Since we would no longer be camping at Sleeping Bear Dunes, a top priority was driving out there for a day visit. So, on a particularly blue sky/sunny day, we packed up the dog and headed for the lake. One of the things we really appreciated about this park was how dog friendly it was. When we visited Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in the Upper Peninsula, we were a bit disappointed to find that, while the park advertised itself as dog friendly, in reality, there were only a handful of locations where we could go. At Sleeping Bear Dunes, on the other hand, we could take Thor just about everywhere. Winning!
We visited the very popular Empire Bluff Trail which starts with an easy walk through a forest…
interrupted by occasional glimpses of the perfectly framed waterfront scenery…
Eventually, the landscape opens up and visitors can take in the whole coastline…
which is not hideous.
We also checked out the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive which takes visitors along several lookouts in the interior of the park.
Finally, we headed to the very large dunes.
As soon as you approach them, you’re greeted with this sign:
Turns out, there are a lot of people who like to walk or run down the dunes, only to learn that getting back to the top is brutal. Not only do they need to crawl on their hands and feet in deep sand for hours to make it to the top, but the dunes get full sun for much of the day. And the people who think it’s a good idea to run down to the bottom are rarely the same people who think it’s a good idea to pack adequate water, sunblock, and a hat.
Standing at the top, it’s hard to explain just how enormous these dunes are.
Indeed, you could be forgiven if you didn’t even notice the two people who were about halfway up the dunes, taking a break, in the picture above.
Here, let me crop the photo a bit for you:
And here’s them modeling the “Oh my god I hate my life right now” crawl…
To be clear, these dunes are not the same ones that make up the safe (but still tough) “Dune Climb Trail” that is located in another section of the park. That trail is difficult, but not moronic. Unfortunately, it is one of the few places in the park that is not dog friendly, so we couldn’t partake, but we did a quick drive-by to check it out.
Overall, we had a fabulous day at this lovely park. There’s lots to see and do, it offers wonderful views, and it’s dog friendly to boot! If you find yourself in Northern Michigan, don’t miss it!
Mission Point Lighthouse
Traverse City is located on the southern end of a large bay on Lake Michigan. Reaching north from Traverse City into the bay is a long, thin, strip of land which is home to numerous wineries and orchards. We spent one afternoon driving up to the northernmost tip of that peninsula in order to visit the Mission Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse is part of a park, so after walking out on the beach to view the 1870 structure:
and checking out a closer up view:
we explored some of the heavily forested trails in the park. They were, per the usual, lightly trafficked and made for a good spot to get Thor some exercise.
Traverse City, the largest city in Northern Michigan, has become a popular tourist destination for both summer and fall activities, and has graced several “best places to live/retire” lists.
The surrounding region is famous for its tart cherries and hosts the National Cherry Festival in July, which brings in about 500,000 tourists. The rest of the year, the yummy fruit is still easily available from stores such as Cherry Republic, which serves up all manner of cherry goodness to patrons. Best of all, you can snack your way through the store in one giant cherry buffet.
The city has also become known for its film festival. In 2005, Michael Moore began hosting a large film festival at several locations including the historic State Theater downtown. The festival has brought additional notoriety to the region.
Finally, the city dishes up delicious cuisine. From some of the tastiest fish and chips we’ve ever had at a place called Scalawags (which was, oddly, located in an office building downtown), to inventive worldwide cuisine at Alliance, to terrific pizza at The Filling Station, we ate really well during our visit.
One of the things we really came to appreciate about Michigan, in general, is its creative drinking opportunities. Not only is the state absolutely drowning in fabulous breweries, but they also have wineries, and some wonderful cocktail bars too. Without going into a bunch of detail that no one cares about regarding specific beers, I will simply say that we enjoyed every brewery we visited. And we visited a lot of them. Because beer is delicious.
We spent one afternoon sampling the breweries in the downtown area. One of the coolest was The Filling Station, a brewery/restaurant built on the site of an old train station. Neat, right?
We also visited Low Bar, a speakeasy style cocktail bar in the basement of another brewery. Not only did they have a very large cocktail menu, but check out their not-insubstantial menu of whiskeys:
And the drinks were tailor made to create “cocktail envy”…. defined as “The situation that arises when one observes another patron’s cocktail being crafted and immediately decides he or she must have one, too.”
For us, it was “The Boss,” a Mezcal, Cognac, cherry, and orange liquor concoction. After our bartender mixed the ingredients, she poured the liquid into a tall glass bottle, filled the empty space in the bottle with smoke, and corked it. She then set it on its side to allow the smoke to infuse the liquid. A) delicious; and B) entertaining!
Speaking of creative drinking opportunities, about 200 miles south of Traverse City, was Kalamazoo, our next destination. This town also knows a thing or two about fun bars. Take the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange where, just like on a regular stock exchange, commodity (in this case: beer) prices change based on demand. So, the prices of individual beers adjust every 15 minutes based on demand within the bar during the previous “trading session.” Making matters even more fun, every couple hours, the entire market “crashes” resulting in a five minute period when all beer prices drop by 30% to 40%. Patrons are encouraged to “buy, buy, buy” which sends prices back up for the next trading session.
We were there early in the evening, so prices were still relatively high, but as the night wears on, they drop significantly. Prices are tracked on video screens throughout the bar as well as a NYSE style ticker that surrounds the lower floor.
Our former home state of Virginia has very tough liquor laws. The state’s Alcohol Beverage Control board is known for being rather puritanical, requiring bars to post a certain percentage of their receipts from the sale of food – meaning, there are no “bars” in Virginia. They are all restaurants that happen to serve booze.
If the folks at the Virginia ABC saw what was going on at the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange, they’d have a stroke.
Which is why we loved it.
As for the rest of Kalamazoo, the downtown area featured several neat re-purposed historic buildings and nice artwork:
We loved Markin Glen, the county park we stayed at, with its picturesque ponds and walking trails…
and a campsite that had an enormous backyard for Thor:
But we really didn’t explore this small city much.
During our week in Kalamazoo, I spent a day up in Grand Rapids visiting the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum, and, on a different day, we both drove up there to visit Founders Brewing Company – one of our all-time favorites. We also headed west to Lake Michigan where we spent some time with our former neighbor from D.C., Ray, and his brother, John, who have a rather nice view of Lake Michigan from their house:
For those of you who’ve been around for a while, you might recall John had us on his radio show way back when. This time, we did an update interview and, because they know we have an interest in historical sites around the country, they organized a meeting with Ron Taylor the last surviving member of the House of David. “What’s that?” you ask? Read on…
The House of David
The House of David was a religious society founded in the early 1900’s by husband and wife, Benjamin and Mary Purnell. They claimed that he was the “seventh messenger of God” and established a commune that soon boasted over 1,000 members. Members believed that by joining the community and following its strict rules, they would be granted eternal life.
While some claimed (and continue to claim) it was simply a cult, several factors differentiated the House of David from other religious groups.
First, they established a very modern society, one that operated on over a thousand acres and produced fruits, grains, and lumber. Additionally, they operated a cannery, a blacksmith shop, a printing shop, a carpentry shop, a steam laundry, a hospital, schools, a restaurant, and an electricity plant.
Second, the group was open and welcoming to members of the larger community. This was not an insular group, but, rather, a hugely important part of the town of Benton Harbor.
They operated a large vacation resort, a zoo, and an amusement park. They ran an enormous farmers market. They had several artistic groups – musical bands and orchestras that not only performed locally but which also traveled around the Vaudeville circuits. Years later, and even today, people from the region recall fond memories of spending time at the property and interacting with its warm and welcoming members.
Third, and related, the group became famous for its baseball team. From the 1920’s to the 1950’s the community’s baseball team played against amateur and semi pro teams across rural America. The men, easily identifiable by their long hair and beards, were genuinely talented ball players. At one point, the team began hiring professional players who grew beards or wore false ones in order to play for the team. Because Major League Baseball required its players to shave, the House of David team was not permitted to play in the major leagues, so they often played in the Negro League.
They also, obviously, had a sense of humor…
However, in other ways, the religious commune was similar to others in that members were not permitted to own their own property, they were prohibited from consuming alcohol, tobacco, or meat, and they were required to be celibate. And, in the end, the original group was undone by a sex scandal. In the 1920’s, several young women came forward to allege that Benjamin Purnell had sexually abused them. Over the course of several years, cases were brought in both civil and criminal court and the story became a national sensation – drawing tons of media coverage. Eventually, the group was found to be a public nuisance because of the founder’s actions, but because he died before the case ended, the group was not disbanded.
Upon his death, the group split into two separate communities, one led by Mary Purnell and the other by another member of the original group. Mary Purnell continued to build her community up, adding significantly to the properties and managing the community for several decades.
The last remaining member of the group led by Mary is Ron Taylor, the man we met. He has turned the building in which Mary used to preach into a museum, showcasing the history of the House of David.
Since there are no new members, and no descendants of existing members, it will be interesting to see what happens when he passes on. According to their beliefs, when the last member dies, the second coming will be upon us. If that’s true, I really need to get this blog caught up already.
On that note, next up, Ann Arbor, the incomparable Henry Ford Museum, and Michigan Football!
Where we stayed:
Holiday Park Campground, Traverse City, Michigan
Markin County Park, Kalamazoo, Michigan
Wow, I continue to be so impressed and surprised by how blue the water is! So pretty! I love the lighthouse, it’s very quaint. Obviously I would really enjoy all the drinking establishments ???? the beer stock exchange is super creative! Looking forward to seeing you in Music City!!
Yeah, the colors of the waters in Michigan never ceased to amaze us. We never would have expected such bright blues and greens. It was one of many things we really enjoyed about our visit. Well, that and the beer! 🙂 . Looking forward to seeing you too!
So you can feel free to write all the words you want about beer. How will we shamelessly copy your itinerary next summer if you don’t give us exact instructions about every place to visit and what to order when we get there? I suppose we will just have to console ourselves with staying in the same campgrounds and hiking the same trails, because those all look fantastic.
I have so many questions about the House of David. Did they actually collect and keep all the newspaper articles about their founder’s scandal? I would think they would want to ignore that part of their history. Did they make efforts to recruit new members after the split? Were they ever recognized for being one of the first vegetarian cults? Does the last member feel guilty that his death will bring the apocalypse upon us all? This seems like one of the more unique places you have visited yet. I would be so fascinated I would never get out of the museum.
Haha. I promise, you will have no problem finding good breweries in Michigan. I don’t think second rate beers last very long with all the excellent competition around. I highly recommend the campgrounds we stayed at – though Holiday Park really only works if it’s their low season. During the summer, the prices are astronomical. There’s also a state park closer to the downtown. I don’t think it gets great reviews (small, unlevel spots, etc), but it’s an option if you’re just looking for a reasonably priced spot closer in.
As for the House of David, Mr. Taylor was very straightforward about the allegations against the founder and what happened to the community. He clearly felt that the allegations were not true and that there were other reasons behind the negative headlines, but he did not shy away from what had happened. He also had on display several of the legal opinions and briefs from the court cases, which was pretty neat. As for recruitment, I believe new members were brought into the group for many years, but at some point, it stopped. Mr. Taylor himself didn’t get involved until the 1960’s or 70’s, if I recall correctly. As for our imminent demise, he really did not seem all that concerned about it. Thanks a bunch, Ron!
If you are interested in checking it out, you can reach out to them directly when you’re going to be in town and see about visiting the museum. I think it’s mostly appointment only, but he was very nice and happy to chat, so if you want to see it, just reach out when you’re in the neighborhood. It really was a fascinating place.
I can’t blame you for extending your stay in TC with that spectacular site! And a lake site to boot! Score! Sleeping Beat Dunes and Lake Michigan sure are beautiful. Can you believe the idiots that actually run down that dune. We watched many really struggle to come back up. Nothing worse than sand with one step forward and four back down. We’ve stayed in the little town of Empire a couple times at the Indigo Bluffs Class A Resort (they have a campground for others). That area of Michigan doesn’t have mosquitoes and no one knows why. But I love it! What a cool concept the brewery in Kalamazoo has. They know how to promote having another!! The House of David is certainly a different commune concept. I can imagine your visit with the last living member was quite interesting. Not a well thought out theory with everyone being celibate!! Hope Ron Taylor holds on til you get your blog caught up!!
Yeah, I guess if the group had kept recruiting new members, it could have kept going, but for whatever reason, they just stopped at some point and nature being what it is, this will be the end of the community. I guess it can be tough recruiting folks when you tell them they can’t have money, meat, alcohol, or sex…. kinda puts a damper on things. Anyway, I remember seeing that Indigo Bluffs place and it looked really nice. When I scored a site at SBD, I stopped looking at other options – and then I ended up canceling that site anyway. Go figure.
Wow, if your site at Holiday Park had a giant fire hydrant for Thor, it would have been perfect. LOL. The beer exchange is genious! I wonder if they have a cap on “market price” or can the prices sometimes go crazy? I’d never make it back up the dunes, I can’t imagine why anyone would think running down would be a good idea! Fascinating history about the House of David. I’ve never understood celibacy mandates in religion. Talking with Ron must have been very interesting.
I have to believe there’s a floor price for each beer at Kalamazoo Beer Exchange. I don’t know how they could stay profitable,otherwise. As for the dunes, you and me both. I’d definitely be one of the people in need of a rather pricey ‘rescue.’ Those folks must get such dirty looks from the rescuers. I mean, really… who thinks that is a good idea?? And yes, meeting Mr. Taylor and learning about the House of David was really fascinating. It’s rare that a member of a group like that is so willing to discuss their beliefs and answer questions from an outsider. It was a cool experience.
I’m sooo jealous…we had to cancel our stay at Sleeping Bear Dunes because I had made the mistake & reserved a site in a “no generator” loop and it was hot! Couldn’t find anything in Traverse City. You really scored some great sites! Guess we’ll have to return to MI one day. But, we did find some Petoskey stones!! Hope Thor is doing better.
As always, beautiful pics & interesting post.
Oh man, that sucks. I have almost screwed up and booked a site in a ‘non-pet friendly’ site a couple times, so I know the feeling. It’s easy enough to make a mistake like that. I wish I had known about the Petoskey Stones before. I looked them up after you mentioned it on Facebook and they look so neat. I guess all of us should return to Michigan at some point! Thanks for asking about Thor – so far, he’s continued to do really well. He’s had one or two episodes with indigestion, but nothing terrible, and we’ve been diarrhea free for several weeks now. Woo hoo!!!! (It’s the little things in life… 🙂
As you know, exploring more of Michigan has long been in our plans, so thanks for the excellent suggestions! Your campsites are beautiful, although I was also wondering if Thor was missing his giant fire hydrant. But I’m sure he was happy being able to accompany you on the hiking trails. One of the things I’ve known that I would NEVER do is hike down the dunes to the lake. I’ve done some stupid hikes in my life, but I draw the line at that one.
Traverse City looks like a blast! Your post will be our guide to eating and drinking our way through the city. Is this one of those places that you think, “Yeah, I could live here…if winter didn’t last for 6 months?”
The history of the House of David is fascinating. But what’s up with the religious cults (yes, definitely a cult) that require celibacy and then the leader turns out to be a jerk? If the second coming is indeed upon us, I’m not worrying about our blog because I know there’s no way I’m ever getting caught up. However, I am worried that I may never get to have one of those smoke-infused cocktails…priorities, you know.
You guys would absolutely love Traverse City. We ate so well while there. I promise Alliance is right up your alley, and there were a couple other places I didn’t mention above. But whenever you get there, rest assured, you will not got hungry!! The cocktail bar was really fun, too. The drinks were all as beautiful as they were tasty. And yes, Traverse is absolutely one of those places we would consider as a long term spot if not for the cold. So much of Michigan was like that, really. I honestly wish we could just pick the whole state up and move it south. Maybe swap it with Mississippi? I don’t know. Just spitballing, here…. 🙂
Hi! I just adore your blog posts and love following your adventures. Question: what site/app/method do you use for finding your campsites? How far in advance do you plan/reserve your spots? We are new and appreciate any advice, thank you!
Thanks for reading and thank you for your kind comment! As for campgrounds, I typically rely on campendium.com to do most of my research. I figure out what town we want to go to and then look at the nearby campground options on the campendium map. If there are no reviews on Campendium, I’ll go over to campgroundreviews.com There are also a handful of bloggers who keep track of the places they stay and I’ll often use their websites to get ideas.
As for reservations, if you’re trying to stay in Florida for the winter or Bar Harbor, Maine in the summer, you need to start making reservations 6 or more months out (11 months for Florida state parks). For less popular places at less popular times, you can wait until much closer. I, personally, like to have all our reservations set months in advance, but that’s also because we like staying at places for at least a week. If you’re willing to take a 2 or 3 night booking, you don’t have to plan quite as far in advance. Basically – it all depends. 🙂
I wouldn’t panic too much about reservations. You can always find “something.” It might just not be the nicest site in the nicest park for the longest time, but you won’t be stranded. On the other hand, for us, we like to know where we’re going to be and we don’t like having to pack up and move every 2 days, so I make our plans way out in advance.
I can’t wait to get to those dunes next year and run right down to the lake wheeeeeeeee!!! I wonder if it’s easier to just get in the water and swim to a better shore access point?
I’m not sure why all you drunken sinners are worried about getting caught up on your blogs before The Ascent. Where do you think you’re going anyway? Heathens. ????
So, I think the reason the signs say that the water level is really high is that you can’t walk on the beach for several miles and then come up the dunes at a less steep spot. The water reaches right to the base of the dunes, so there’s nowhere to walk. Presumably, you’d have to swim…far. I don’t know how many miles, but it sounds like quite a bit and more than most people could handle. Hence – you HAVE to climb up and that is no bueno. I do think you should try to do it next summer though and tell us how it goes. It would be fun to have a first person account. Talk about great blog material!!
And yeah, with comments like mine, I think the path to hell is already well paved…. 🙂
The first place you showed of dunes, it was so breezy that we could barely see! Sand was blowing in our faces so we then went to trail. The ranger said you may get exfoliated while up there today! Well I did! The sand stuck to my skin because I had sunscreen on. And let me tell you, what a hike! We couldn’t get too close to shore, the wind was too powerful. Such a beautiful part of our country, we spend a lot of time on the western side of MI.
Oh wow, yeah, when it gets windy there, it must be brutal. There’s a reason those dunes exist, after all. Honestly, I can’t imagine visiting that park at all during the colder months. It must be so frigid and so windy! But I absolutely agree. That whole region is just gorgeous. We truly enjoyed our time in Michigan this year and would love to come back and spend more time. It’s a wonderful state!
I can’t wait to explore this part of the country. The House of David history was very interesting. Since there is one remaining member, is the farm still active? Loved your campsites.
Hi! I do not believe the farms are still active. Mr. Taylor has been keeping up several of the historic buildings and I know some of the property is rented out as apartments, but I don’t think the farms are there anymore – I’m not sure if the groups still owns them or if they’ve been sold. I probably should have asked as that would be interesting to know. And we loved those campsites too. It’s amazing what a difference a week can make!
Wow that first campsite was gorgeous! I love it when you write about beer because I can add all those places to our list of places to visit … and the Kalamazoo Beer Exchange will definitely be at the top of the list, I can’t wait for that fun visit 🙂 I also forgot that you guys were famous radio personalities, I will have to hound you for an autograph if (and hopefully they do) our paths ever cross.
Haha… you are stars of screen and we’re on the radio! Who woulda thunk it?? 🙂 The Beer Exchange is definitely fun and, as an added benefit, they have many good local craft beers to choose from, so, not only is it a fun environment, but it’s also a good spot to try several local brews. Win, win!
What an awesome site you got by the lake. These pics are totally taking me back to our tour through that area a few years ago. Such nostalgia. And you took lovely pics!!
Thanks Nina. Actually, I’m pretty sure I first heard of Traverse City and Marquette from your blog, so I guess it’s all first circle. Hard to believe that was 3 years ago already. Time flies. Hope you are all well!
I have been following your blog for about a year now and finally decided to post a comment. First of all, thank you for all the information that you provide. We are a little over a year away from starting our travels and the content that you provide continues to be fantastic. I will be developing a blog soon so I can give back to other fellow RVer’s.
I grew up outside of Chicago and my parents would take us to Michigan in our trailer at least a few times a year. It was great to read your story and reminisce of those times (too many) years ago. We went to Sleeping Bear Dunes a few times. I am almost certain that me and my older brother were some of the foolish ones that went down the dunes to the water, but back in the early 70’s maybe there were no warning signs? At least that is what I am telling myself ????
We were into cross-country skiing and we would take the trailer pulled by our station wagon into Michigan in the middle of winter. Once we were stranded by a blizzard outside of Kalamazoo after staying at Fort Custer State Park outside of Battle Creek. I highly recommend that you get out of there before the first big snow fall! My bet is that Kevin still does not own warm enough socks for that adventure.
Haha, it’s like you know us well! As soon as we decided we were going to visit Michigan this summer, I started plotting how early we needed to get out of there to avoid the cold! We are definitely NOT winter people and Michigan is definitely NOT somewhere we want to stay too long as the seasons changer. I think we did really well with our trip though – and even since then – as we’ve managed to stay in a nice band of 60-80 degrees.
Your childhood memories there sounds wonderful. I imagine the parks and the lake must be incredibly beautiful during winter, and if you’re a snow sport lover, what a wonderful place to get out and about! Speaking of snow, can you imagine sledding down those dunes?? Ha! You’d never (ever) get back up in the snow, but what a ride!!
Anyway, thank you for stopping by and commenting. I’m happy that you’ve found some helpful information on here. Best wishes as you get closer to your launch date and please send em the link to your blog once you get it up and running!
You had some beautiful days on the lake. We missed Kalamazoo but love the Lake Lelanau area. Great story about the sect. I am refraining from posting the thoughts that popped into my head.
We certainly got lucky with our weather while there. Honestly, if I had my way, we would have stayed up in Grand Rapids rather than Kalamazoo because there’s a lot more to see and do there, but there weren’t many great campgrounds and we loved Markin Glen. We also would have spent more time further north (near Traverse) as that area really is beautiful. But I’m happy we got to see what we did. You really never can see it all!
One of our rules is never to be in a hurry. Another is living in the now. I need to stop reading your posts.
It is simply impossible to see it all and do it all… we’re just trying to take in as much as we can, for as long as we can, before the wheels come off the bus… But it does get mighty tiring, that’s for sure!
Great post & photos as always. Please share your update interview when available.
Thank you very much, and yes, I will. I checked before I posted this and it hadn’t been uploaded yet. John said he was several weeks behind, so I’m not sure when it will air, but I’ll let you know!
Another great post! I always look forward to the fun and interesting things that you guys do. That brewery pricing system is interesting; I’ve never heard of such a thing. Keep living the good life!
Thanks Tami! It is a pretty great life and it’s fun sharing it with folks on here. I know you guys are having a great time too, seeing all the incredible stuff out west. Your photos are making me want to get back there asap!
Love, Love your travel write ups!! We have used them several times in our own RV travels….thank you so much for taking the time and effort. You do a fantastic job. We plan to hit the UP this summer.
Thank you so much, Lou! I appreciate it and I’m glad people find this stuff helpful. One place we didn’t get to visit near Traverse that came highly recommended: Historic Fishtown in Leland, Michigan. It’s an old fishing village that is supposed to be a fun place to visit. There’s a restaurant right there called the Cove and a sandwich shop, whose name is escaping me, but two different locals recommended that town. We just ran out of time. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the area as much as we did! Thanks for reading and thanks for your comment!
One of Dave’s goals is to spend time in Michigan dury Cherry season, what a beautiful area. Interesting read, there’s so much local history out there we have no idea of, we even found a few this summer in IL.
Honestly, I had no idea that Michigan was the home to so much cherry related goodness. If I had known, I might have tried to get there in time for the festival. On the other hand, 500,000 tourists is a lot and it was nice to be there when things were a bit quieter. Either way though, Michigan was a great place to spend several weeks and if you guys can make it up there at some point, I have no doubt you’ll enjoy it!
Im catching up!
The only part of western Michigan we drove to was Traverse City just to get a pie. Looked liked you had discovered interesting places and quirkiness (the Boss) in that part of Pure Michigan. Since we wont be back in that part of the states, thank you for enjoying for us what we missed.
The commune reminded me of Amana in Iowa, a commune type of living which unfortunately did not survive. All that was left was a museum.
You know, we heard about some pie places in TC, but we failed to take advantage. I imagine a place that specializes in cherries would probably have some fantastic cherry pie… damn. Guess we’ll have to go back. And never say never about getting back there yourself! You never know!!