We arrived at our site around 3pm on Friday August 27th, our drive up was wonderful and peaceful and arriving to much cooler temps was a huge blessing.
My initial impression of the campground was not the best, it was probably the most rustic campground we have ever stayed at. The roads are very much in need of some upkeep to at least fill in all the holes. I would rate the cleanliness at about a “C” at best, not that there wasn’t trash receptacles because there were plenty but there was also plenty of trash just scattered around, not to mention plenty of dog deposits as well, perhaps they like many other businesses lately are short handed in the help department, it wasn’t a huge eyesore and it could be perhaps we have been spoiled by the other places we have stayed at. All the picnic tables are in need of a good paint job or at least some cleaning. Our 2 sites needed some cleaning from cigarette butts to goose poop and bottle tops. I was just sort of a put off is all. For the money we paid they could at least check the sites before we get there.
We stayed on a “point – peninsula” and as you can tell in the pictures the views were wonderful. After paying for two sites we realized we didn’t need both sites so won’t make that mistake again
We didn’t utilize it but they have a very nice swimming area with a couple rafts anchored out a bit.
We did notice that on the weekends they had nightly “train” rides for the kiddos and apparently they also do a park wide water fights when the weather is super hot which it wasn’t when we stayed so we missed out on the water fights.
All in all we really did enjoy our stay, it was beautiful weather (with the exception of a couple fast moving storms that rolled thru) the place is really quiet and the perfect distance from downtown Alpena. The folks in the office are super nice and accommodating, we had a jack that wouldn’t retract and they loaned us a power drill.
Would we stay there again? Absolutely, we love being by the water and this site had it on 3 sides. Surprisingly the bugs weren’t bad either, that shocked me because I figured being on the waters edge they would be horrendous and they weren’t.
Click HERE for a few pictures including our neighbors that had a tree fall on their pontoon, missed the camper and the vehicles and the damage to the pontoon was not sever at all, in fact, they had it out on the water later that day. I heard that some other campers in the park didn’t fair so well, one had a tree fall on a camper and another on a car.
We enjoyed going about a month earlier then last year, the weather was perfect and the park was not to overly busy. We had great neighbors on both sides and even tho we didn’t have a waterfront site, we did enjoy our views from across the “street”
So we took our annual trek up to Aune Osborn last month for a week.
We took a most beautiful drive up to Whitefish Point along the lake, taking us thru several small villages and Bay Mills, the sights were amazing and we have decided that is the ONLY way to drive up there. We have visited Whitefish Point several times over the years, both Bruce and I are shipwreck buffs and have a special place in our hearts for the Edmund Fitzgerald. Each year they have a anniversary memorial on November 10th to mark the sinking, we have never been to this but Bruce wants to go up for it next year, this will be very moving.
We also enjoyed several “new” recipes that I acquired prior to our trip. For some reason I always like trying to make new things when we go camping, all which I might add, were very successful.
You might wonder why I titled this post “Dog Days of Fall?” Well, we cut our trip short by one day so that the next evening we could go pick up the newest member of the Bailey Clan….. this little cutie right here….
His name is Duke, he is a blue great dane and in this picture he is 7 weeks old. Duke was born on July 15th, 2019 in Vicksburg, Michigan. We visited him several times before bringing him home. We anticipate some great adventures with Duke and are enjoying the journey so far.
Next year Duke will be our camping buddy. We so look forward to our many excursions with him.
What a difference a year (and a week) makes, last year when we were here we had to run the furnace every night of our stay, this year we have only ran it once and only because it was cool and rainy all day and the camper got pretty cold.
We have had just perfect weather, cool at night for sleeping and 65-75 during the day with plenty of sunshine!!
Our only snafu this trip is our observation camera stopped working so we thought we needed to install and longer antenna (thanks to amazon prime 2 day shipping) after the antenna install the camera still didn’t work at all, the hubby being the handyman that he is tore the entire thing apart to discover we had a broken wire to the antenna, as I type this he is in the midst of fixing it, fingers crossed it works.
Today is our last day in Empire, we head home tomorrow morning, I am at 50-50 with my feelings on this, its been so nice here and our stay so enjoyable that I hate to see it come to an end BUT on the same hand I do miss home, our other dog and our son Aaron. Same feelings every trip so it eventually becomes the norm.
We really didn’t do any adventures on this trip unless you count a trip or two to Traverse City where we did some shopping and signed up for a Costco membership. Other then that, just good eats, great company and TONS of relaxation!!!
Until our next trip (end of June to St. Ignace, Michigan for the annual car show. Happy Camping!
Our final trip of the season was a relaxing 10 days in the beautiful Aune-Osborn campground bordering the waterway of the Saint Mary’s River. We had the wonderful experience of seeing different great lakes freighters passing by numerous times a day and even at night.
With the weather being that of typical Michigan fall, rainy, windy, cool, we did manage to get a few activities in. We took a drive over to Newberry and visited Oswald’s Bear Ranch, we also had the pleasure of doing a dinner cruise through the Soo Locks, we got to see and experience how the locks worked, a lot faster then I would have thought, we also got to see an eagle perched on a rock in the middle of the river.
The dinner cruise itself would normally take about 2 hours but ours ended up being over 3 hours due to a technical problem getting thru the locks on the Canadian side, they had put the train tracks down with the understanding that no other tours were coming thru, so we had to do a turn around and ended up going thru the American locks instead. We looked at it as an added bonus to our cruise. The staff was fantastic and the food and dessert were amazing. Highly recommend doing the dinner cruise!
From there we drove over to Munising to pick up pasties and fresh whitefish to bring back home.
We had visitors during our stay, our son Aaron and his friend Joe came on the first Saturday we were there, the ONLY nice day we had so we celebrated with grilling steaks and drinking some beer. On Tuesday some other friends came to visit for the day so we did a bit of coffee drinking and shopping downtown. Then on Wednesday and Thursday we had yet another set of friends that came and stayed at the campground with us on their way to Minnesota. Was so nice having company.
The campground itself is very nice, quiet and on such a great location, just outside of town, about 10 minute drive from the casino and another 10 minute drive to your big box stores and fast food.
This was the longest time we had spent in our 5th wheel so that was a sheer joy, adapting to eating, showering, cleaning, doing dishes, watching TV and sleeping, it didn’t take long to get the hang of everything and we enjoyed every minute of it.
We would highly recommend this campground and we ourselves do plan a return trip in hopefully better weather. Be sure to check out all the photo’s from our trip 😉
Located off exit 42 from I-69 South, Cornwell’s Turkeyville Campground, peaceful, clean, well organized. reasonably priced, they also offer a discount to Good Sam club members of 5$ off each night.
We had a great time, short but sweet two day escape. Thursday night we took a drive to Battle Creek and at dinner at the buffet next to Target. Picked up a few groceries then headed back to the camper for the evening.
We enjoyed the dinner theater right there at Cornwell’s the next evening, fun and great food!!! We packed up and headed home Saturday morning about 10am.
Heading down to Turkeyville campground for a couple days this week, 17 short miles from home. Just a quick getaway to satisfy our camping cravings. This will also tie us over until we head to Sault Ste. Marie next month for a glorious 8 days along side the St. Mary river in a campground called Aune Osbourne, we are extremely excited for that trip and each of us have installed the app called Marine Traffic on our phones so we can see information on all the ships we will be seeing coming and going from the locks. We are hoping to squeeze in a final trip someplace in October before putting Randi to bed for the winter.
Our tentative plans for next year include a 9 day stay in my hometown of Munising for the 4th of July, I have been to a lot of different towns and cities for the 4th of July in the 33 years since leaving Munising and have yet to find one that celebrates quite like they do.
We are also going to try to plan a trip south someplace, not sure where yet or not sure it will even be south yet LOL We might just go east. Hershey PA perhaps 😉
Petoskey is a real melting pot of small town touristy and big town stores. just about anything you could want you can find there.
Our campground (Petoskey KOA Holiday) was VERY nice, all the sites are paved. The folks working there are very pleasant and help you in anyway they can and will be found wearing bright yellow shirts riding around on golf carts numerous times per day. We had a issue with a pesky bee wanting to burrow into our picnic table so we flagged one of the workers down who promptly brought us back a spray can of bee killer and told us just to flag him down when we were done with it.
You can tell the owners take great pride in their campground. All the areas we saw were very clean and tidy, well lit and the most impressive thing we saw was an area called “Kamp K9” this was a fenced in, double gated area with “toys” that you could take your dog to for some off leash fun, there was even a bench in there for us “hoomans” to sit on while your dog was enjoying playtime. What a nice touch!! I am not sure if this a standard at all KOA’s because this is the first one we have ever been to.
“Quiet” time (10pm) was observed very well by a very full campground, we have zero complaints with noise.
Their camp store was stocked to the gills with pretty much anything you might possibly need during your stay, from RV parts to groceries to toys to trinkets, a VERY well stocked store. We were impressed.
We did hook up to the parks cable connection and it was fantastic, we didn’t watch much TV but when we did it was great, nice selection of channels. The free WiFi was OK but a touch slow for me and there was a decent signal where we were. Would be great on a short term basis but not the best for doing any TV streaming.
A “MUST SEE” on your trip should definitely include a stop at Kilwin’s Chocolates main store. I can not put into words how fantastic this place is especially for other chocolate lovers like myself. Think Willy Wonka!!!!! We did the FREE 30 minute tour and at the end had 2 samples of chocolate. PLEASE do yourself a favor and try the Toasted Coconut ice cream, think Mounds candy bar!!!! Yes, we brought some home.
We seemed to touch on all the regular sights, we walked the blocks of downtown checking out some of the local shops, lots of clothing stores and specialty shops. Several places to eat or get coffee, like this neat little place….. Although we didn’t stop in I couldn’t resist taking pictures.
All in all we had a fantastic 4 days in Petoskey. We even took a road trip up to Sault St, Marie to check out our next campground, Aune Osborn, next to the St. Mary’s river.
It might seem like a short trip but it was our maiden voyage with Randi and we wanted to stay somewhat close to home. Bruce took extended days off and I did as well.
We departed home around 7am on Thursday morning, the actual drive up to Empire was uneventful with the exception of stopping into the Clare rest area so that Bruce could nap for a couple hours, you see, he works night driving truck, he got home about 6:30 that morning and we hooked and booked so after working 13 hours I was amazed that he made to to Clare before waving the white flag of surrender.
What I like the most was the fact of the rest area had ample parking for our rig, Bruce was able to actually lay down in a bed instead of stretching out on a seat, I was able to turn on my WiFi hotspot on my phone and kick back and watch Netflix while he slept. Yes that was different for us and we LOVED it!!!
We arrived at our destination around 2-3pm what a beautiful place, Indigo Bluffs, and VERY friendly and accommodating staff! Our site was huge, of course with it being our “first” time we spent the extra money and got a premium spot. The pad was made of paver blocks that we designed in a beautiful pattern, we had a picnic table, big fire pit, the site was set up for an outside kitchen but was not completely open yet due to the park opening in the week prior to our arrival, that was not a problem for us as it gave us a great place to stack our firewood where the grill would be installed latter.
It was a quiet place and very peaceful, we met a few other folks that were staying during the same time as we were. Our site was one of 3 located by their pond area, very well landscaped and we had a sitting area down by the pond. The trees on the opposite side from us were lit up after dark each night. (see photo gallery) We enjoyed our outside speakers each night as we sat by the fire. What a relaxing experience!!
The park itself was very clean and well kept, some improvements were being made to other areas during our stay but it was not a problem at all, not noisy or messy. This park is divided into a couple areas, RV Resort (where we stayed) and RV Park which was separated by fence and trees.
We took a drive thru the “park” area as that is where the big dumpster is located and we needed to dump our trash, they do offer on site pick up but we had missed the cutoff for it, newbies and all 😉 The “park” area was almost as nice as the resort area, it just isn’t landscaped as much, beautiful wooded sites with ample room and full hook-ups as well. Bruce and I both agree that we will be returning to this park and will stay on the “park” side next time.
We have ZERO complaints about Indigo Bluffs, we enjoy as much of the amenities as we could possibly do with the Michigan weather as it is.
During our stay we took a few drives around, we stopped at a few local establishments, one of our favorite was Grocers Daughter Chocolates, PLEASE make a point of going there if your ever up in that area, such a great variety of artisan organic chocolates, be sure to ask for a “fudge” cicle, you WON’T be disappointed 😉
We also ate dinner (pizza) at Empire Village Inn, another “don’t miss” the best pizza we have had to date!! One morning we ate breakfast at Joe’s Friendly Tavern, yes I said tavern, I am not positive but I think it is the only place to get breakfast in Empire. All the above mentioned places can be found on TripAdvisor, I highly recommend using this app as you travel.
We also drove up to Glen Arbor, it is about a 7 mile drive from Empire, neat little beach town with a awesome place to get coffee, Leelanau Coffee Roasting Co. which we visited a couple times as I wanted to get a couple bags of coffee to take home. I recommend a stop 😉 Also found on TripAdvisor. The IGA store in Glen Arbor is also a neat place to visit, not a large grocery store but packed full of goodies.
We took the M-22 drive all the way around headed to Traverse City, what a beautiful drive, lots of “beachy” type things to see and towns to stop by. Stopped and took some pictures of Sleeping Bear sand dunes.
All in all it was a fabulous first trip!! Looking forward to our next trip in about 3 weeks to Petoskey.
Please be sure to check out all the pictures from Empire, Michigan by clicking on the link below.