Well alright alright alright. Welcome you guys to another installment covering our recent family reunion trip in Traverse City. This post covers Day 3 and Day 4 of the trip.
And yeah, it’s a “shorter” one than normal. Because while Day 3 is a full trip day, Day 4 is our travel-home day so like, it’s not all full of stuff and fluff and what not.
But still, things happen. And I write about them.
That’s a blog, you guys.
Let’s do this.
Day 3 – Lots of s**t happening today!
I gotta be honest with you guys up front. Day 3 is a bit of a roller coaster. There’s highs, there’s lows, and there is a point that might make be a tad vomit-inducing. But on the plus side, remember in the Day 1 and Day 2 post when you were like halfway through and thought to yourself, “will this ever end?”
Well, good news. That won’t happen here.
Well, it may still happen here actually. You may still wish it was over before it actually is but your misery won’t last quite as long.
I have really high self-esteem.
Day 3 began somewhat early, up at around 7AM. But the morning was relatively uneventful. Carrie had put some quiche and some pastries out for breakfast and the kids were up watching Encanto when I walked into the kitchen.
I grabbed some quiche and coffee and I got to enjoy my breakfast with a Teddy on my lap.
In case you’re wondering, No. I am not trying to show Teddy the wonders of blogdom. We are looking for a choice Sesame Street episode in that pic there.
Now, the plan for today was to hit Sleeping Bear Dunes so that people could either hike or go for a nice drive.
That was the plan.
But, well, everything went to s**t.
Let’s start from the beginning.
Like I said, the plan was to go to Sleeping Bear Dunes but before that, we were all going to go to Traverse City first to see Scott and Carrie’s other house. So we all got ready and met out in the driveway to head over there when all of a sudden…
Yeah, there was a weird smell kind of wafting through the air. I can’t quite place my finger on it. It was like a cross between dirty diaper and dirtier diaper.
Thankfully, the guys that worked on Scott’s house were also working on the house next door so Scott called them over and they came to the conclusion the line to the septic tank had ruptured.
I’m no doctor.
They told Scott they should be able to fix it by end of day so we were like, “kk.” And off we went to Traverse City.
Gertie. Was. Ready.
We were at the Traverse City house within 30 minutes or so and yeah, it was nice. I mean, look at this coffee maker. It’s in the wall, you guys. That’s when you know.
And look at Scott. He’s all….
What? Same energy.
Remember earlier when you guys were like, “I love that picture of Gertie. GIVE ME MORE GERTIE!!!!111 But could you maybe include more feet next time?”
Are YOU in luck.
Here are some pictures of Gertie thoroughly enjoying Chris’s foot.
And here is a truly adorbz picture of Gert laying on a chair.
You’re welcome. And I don’t know. Those may be the last of the Gertie pics. Sorry.
I know it’s gonna be…ruff.
And not only did Traverse City have an in-wall coffee maker. But it also had a trampoline, my dudes. And Gwen, Sophia, and Owen took full advantage of it.
All that bouncing and Gertie-ing, though, worked up quite an appetite, yeah? Time for lunch, folks.
Lunch today was about a 20-minute walk into town or a quick car ride and we had our choice. I chose the walk because when it comes to lunch, you just never know what kind of damage I’m gonna do. So better to be safe than sorry.
As we were walking, we passed by a statue of the founder of Traverse City, John Traversity.
Ha, kidding. His name was Perry Hannah.
Anyways, we walked on and…
Oh right. Jeesh. Sorry about that.
Here he is.
The walk through the Traverse City downtown was super nice, full of little shops and cafes and what not.
Lunch today was at The Little Fleet.
Which is like this collection of food trucks AND a full bar AND a taco shop. It’s like someone climbed inside my brain, looked around my dreams, removed the naughty bits, and turned it into a restaurant.
So, there were 4 total food trucks here:
- Glendale Ave. – burgers, fries, chickie nuggies
- Cordwood BBQ – barbecue, doy.
- Good on Wheels – Vietnamese street food
- Traverse City Pizza Company – dude, come on. Do I really have to tell you? Ugh, it’s pizza.
And there was also a Happy’s Taco Shop inside near the bar.
I was having trouble at first deciding on what I wanted for lunch, the choices were overwhelming. Thankfully, Scott suggested we get a drink. What a splendid idea. That would both postpone the need to make a food decision and help ease my anxiety once I actually had to make said decision.
It had like just become afternoon so I really only had one drink on my mind. So I walked up to the bar, stared at the mirror in the back and repeated her name three times.
Bloooooody Marrrry. And a Miller High Life back.
Works every time. The downside is, of course, that the bartender tends to give a weird look. And also, the whole “possibility of being found dead with your eyes scratched out” thing.
But you guys, this was a REAL good Bloody Mary. I don’t LOVE too much spice in my Bloody but I do like a little. This one had a perfect amount of it. But the best part? Rather than put a piece of celery in there, they put in…
Brilliant. And the Miller High Life on the side didn’t hurt none either.
I think, between our entire group, we ordered from each food location. Which is good. Because that meant I got to sample something from all of them.
As I was deciding on where I wanted to spend my money, Shannon brought over an order of the Banh Mi Fries (Crispy potato fries topped with pickled carrot & daikon radish, Vietnamese herbs, jalapeños, and a sriracha aioli) from Good on Wheels (https://good-on-wheels.square.site/), which I of course was more than happy to help her out with.
Ooh yeah these things were nice. That aioli was like, “Aioli? More like Aye-Aye-Aye-oli.”
I decided to get my main meal from Good on Wheels as well and initially, I really wanted a Bao Bun, but they were all out so I opted for the Rice Bowl (Choice of protein served over Jasmine rice with pickled carrots and daikon radish, cilantro, scallions, cucumber, togarashi, and a fried egg) and for my protein, I went for the pork belly.
This was really good though I dunno. I kind of found myself wishing I went for a different protein. I do love pork belly usually, but these pieces were a tad too chewy. The dish overall, though, had a good flavor. But if you ever find yourself at Little Fleet, keep in mind you could def for sure taste the cilantro and while I dig on cilantro, I know that’s not everyone’s bag, baby.
I also put in a couple orders of the Vietnamese Chicken Strips with Sweet Chili Sauce for sharesies.
These were good for sure, but unfortunately it seemed like everyone had filled up on their own food and didn’t leave room to eat other people’s food.
Which I really don’t understand.
Because I also tried Jeff’s Cheeseburger Taco from Happy’s, Nickie’s pizza from Traverse City Pizza Company and both Steph’s parmesan fries and Sophia’s chicken nuggets from Glendale Ave. I did all that for you, my reader. Because you deserve the full picture.
All were good. But what was the best thing I ate that day?
I think it was probably a tie between the Banh Mi fries and the Cheeseburger Taco. If I went back, I think those would be the two things I would order.
All in all, though, a really good lunch you guys.
Time to head back to the house.
As we were heading out of The Little Fleet, Sophia decided she wanted to climb up this little wooden platform and then jump off of it.
And as you can tell by literally everyone’s faces in this picture, fun was had by all.
Right? Like, literally everyone in those two pictures looks completely unimpressed. Pick a higher platform next time, Sophia. I mean, you gotta work a little harder obviously to win over this crowd.
In addition to platforms, there were also other things outside Little Fleet. Like donut shops.
Now, I spotted this donut shop when we came in to Little Fleet but I didn’t wanna say nothing. Because, like, I am known as really liking donuts and sometimes? I don’t know. Sometimes I just don’t wanna be so on the nose.
But, fortunately, like three separate people pointed it out to me – expressly to me – when they saw it. Which caused a whirlwind of emotions to stir up inside me. I mean, I love that my family knows me so well, obviously. But on the other hand, it’s like, “hey, you look like you realllly like donuts. There’s a place where you can get some more to stuff in your fat face.”
Eh, I mean. It’s valid either way.
Regardless, of course we got donuts. Chris, Jeff, my mom, and I walked into Peace, Love, and Little Donuts and were greeted with wondrous sights and smells.
Donuts. It smelled and looked like donuts.
The vibe in here was definitely groovy.
And all the donuts are hand-topped and hand-frosted to order. How it works is you grab an order sheet and indicate how many of each flavor you want in your box. And then they give you the flavors you asked for. Supply-and-demand.
In a store with both “peace” and love” in its name and overflowing with tie-dye?
How to make sense of such a political conundrum. On the one hand, we all want peace and love, right? I mean, a world filled with only love, driven by peace would be a wondrous thing. On the other hand, capitalism rewards those that work hard, right? Isn’t that the whole thing? I mean, Easy Rider? Atlas Shrugged? This is gonna take a little bit to work out. I am gonna dedicate the rest of this post to…
Oh, look. Donuts.
I feel like I was saying something important.
So, both Chris and I each ordered a dozen of these little beauties. And now, I am going to do my best to try and name them all. But.
Here it comes.
I donut know if I’ll be able to.
OK these were mine. Let’s start from the top left. Deep breath.
Birthday cake. Cannoli. Magically Delicious (Lucky Charms). PB&J. Another cannoli. Fruity Pebbles. Oreo. Another PB&J. Another Fruity Pebbles. Another Magically Delicious. Oreo. Salted pretzel.
Now onto the dozen Chris bought.
Starting at the top left again.
Cinnamon roll. Chocolate chip cookie dough. Two Oreos. Cherry pie. Maple bacon. Samoa. Another Oreo. Coconut. Another Samoa. S’mores. And erm. Snick Jagger, maybe (Snickers)? I really can’t remember what that last one was.
We decided to eat them back at the house with everyone else. But I just want to on record now saying these donuts were Leh. Git. Of the ones I tried, I think I actually liked the cannoli one the best but both the Fruity Pebbles and the Magically Delicious were also super fun. I liked they were so small so you could eat a bunch and not hate yourself.
Also, since we were eating these back at the house, we carried them the whole way and I couldn’t believe how many people were like uncomfortably staring at our donuts as we walked down the street. I started to really understand how it must be for women out there that have to put up with that guys staring them up and down constantly.
It’s like, “my eyes are up here, dude.” Jeesh.
As we were walking home, people in our group would duck into different shops and what not. And at one point, Brad said he and Holly had stopped in at a fudge shop and got a chocolate-covered Twinkie because he thought of me when he saw it.
Again, conflicting emotions on that one.
The walk was a nice walk, especially because at one point, Carrie suggested a little nature walk alongside the street for those that wanted a little more atmosphere.
And it was a nice little walk for sure.
I also should mention that we drove by this area earlier on the way to the Traverse City house. And Scott pointed it out, saying that “the girls go sledding down that hill.”
Carrie informed us this was most assuredly not the case. And in fact, Jeff spotted this sign which supported her narrative.
If I am recalling the way the day unfolded correctly, when we got back to the house we learned that the guys working on Scott’s septic line called him and said they probably wouldn’t be able to get it fixed today. Soooooo…..
That meant we were all now going to be staying in the Traverse City house for the night. And THAT meant that a bunch of us had to go back to the Sutton’s Bay house to grab our stuff. I won’t bore you with all that hubbub, bub.
But what I will bore you with are some rando pics at the Traverse City house. Because those pictures are WAY more fun than pictures of me trying to stuff my Hawaiian shirts into my suitcase.
But yeah, we all unpacked our stuff and took up various rooms throughout the Traverse City house. Gwen was gracious enough to give Nickie and I her room while Myles and Owen took the air mattress in the living room.
Given everything that had transpired, the hike to Sleeping Bear Dunes was a no-go. Which was a bummer, but obviously these things happen. You know what was NOT a bummer?
It was dinner time, y’all!.
And dinner tonight was at the Jolly Pumpkin, a restaurant in Traverse City.
To be clear, this was the Jolly Pumpkin in Traverse City. NOT the Jolly Pumpkin in Ann Arbor, which was about 4 hours away. I only want to point this out so you don’t, as Nickie did, send members of your party directions to the Ann Arbor location instead of the Traverse City location.
Don’t be a Nickie.
I mean, be a Nickie in most instances. Nickie is an incredible person and I love her very much and she is beautiful AF. But like, when it comes to directing people to a Jolly Pumpkin restaurant in Traverse City. Then.
Just like, if you don’t see this entrance…
…you may be in Ann Arbor.
We put our names in and while we were waiting, we once again gave into our seemingly endless vanity and had a little photoshoot in the woods.
First, let’s get one of just the kids.
OK, now Nannie with the grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
That’s great. OK, now everyone. Come on, everyone up there.
OK, now. Just Teddy.
Our tables were ready at about 6:30 and the hostess led us out to the patio in back. Now, remember. There were 20 of us. So we were looking at two long tables and two small square tables. And we were given carte blanche as to how we might want to make use of these. Which was a mistake.
We like really had a hard time with this. A U-shape would have been nice but we would have run out of space for all the seats we needed. An L-shape? Even worse. Much to what I can only imagine was the joy of the other patrons, we moved these metal tables all over the place. And finally landed on…
Two long tables. Basically just a square table at the end of a long table. Two of these. Separated by a pole.
Interior decorators we are not.
But mercifully, our waitress saved us from ourselves with some chips and dip.
And these chips were rull good. They weren’t just regular old run-of-the-mill, corner store, find-them-in-your-pantry, boring-AF potato chips. These things had curry on them you guys.
And like, I had the best seat in the house because I was not only seated next to my beautiful bride but I also had this dude legit hamming it up for the camera over to my right.
Also, at one point in the meal, Sophia decided that all of us were someone else. Nickie, for instance, was me. And I was Nickie. And I don’t wanna toot my own horn or anything. But I do a pretty great Nickie. It’s a little pitchy here and there, but it’s kinda spot-on.
OK, right. Starters.
Based on how much we liked it during our wine tasting the day before, we ordered some of the Smoked Whitefish Dip with Flatbread Crackers.
While the dip we got at Mawby was cold, this one was warm. Which was real nice. And shizz was smoky.
Right. Yeah. That.
We also ordered some Amber Ale Cheese Dip (sharp cheddar cheese, siren amber ale, cayenne pepper, toasted baguette).
Sooooo good. That cheese was on point.
Next up? The JP Nachos.
These things were covered in smoked pulled pork, melted pepper jack cheese, sharp white cheddar cheese, borracho black beans, salsa, and cilantro lime sour cream.
Stop. Just. Stop.
And finally, in our appetizer parade, the Truffled French Fries (parmesan, fresh herbs, truffle oil, sea salt, amber ale mayonnaise).
And we obviously ordered too many appetizers. Because I’ve run out of ways to say “food good.” But yeah, these were good as well. I think the nachos may have been my favorite app, but I probably ate the most truffle fries. Partly because they were really good, but also partly because I was sharing them with Scarlett, who was a huge fan.
Oh shoot. I almost forgot. There was one more starter.
Grey Goose martini, dirty with olives. Classics never die, innit?
Now, all of this came out at about 7:15 according to my picture timestamps. I only say this because when I look at the picture of my entrée, the timestamp says that came out at 8:05.
This was a long meal. Is what I am saying to you now. In fact, it was so long, the littles had to get home and to bed so some people had to cut out before the entrees came and we had to bring their food home in a doggy bag.
I mean, you really can’t blame the restaurant entirely though. There WAS 20 of us.
And at least all this time gave Gwen and Matilda enough time to completely freak all of us out. They both kept saying things like, “they’re gonna get you tonight” in very creepy ways to which one of us would reply with “who?” and then they would come back with “you’ll see.” Or they would tell us we would be in a living nightmare or a real-life horror movie.
And yeah, I was obviously not gonna sleep tonight.
But right, my entrée. I went in for the American Wagyu Beef Burger, described in the online menu as being hand-pattied and char-grilled, with Wisconsin cheddar, arugula, tomato and sriracha mayonnaise.
And yeah, you guys. I mean, sometimes a burger just hits. Know what I mean? I was in the mood for a good burger and that’s what this was. A very good burger.
Oh, I also paired it with a beer.
I think it was an IPA? I can’t remember the name though. I am pretty sure it was a short name. One syllable. Kip? Ned?
Whatever. I got a beer. It was good. What do you want from me?
It seems like Traverse City is the land of cornhole as every restaurant we visited seemed to have some tables set up. And I mean, when in Rome…
Overall, it was definitely a solid meal at Jolly Pumpkin. The food was delicious. It maybe took a little longer than we had hoped, but that again probably just comes down to how deep we were rolling up in there. And I typically prefer a longer meal anyways. It’s just with all the babies and what not, it was felt a little harder.
After dinner, it was back to the house. Chris drove with Paulette, Nickie, Owen, Gwen, Matilda, and me as passengers. And both Gwen and Matilda decided in the car that now Nickie and I were Matilda’s mom and dad. Gwen, meanwhile, was Matilda’s grandmother and Owen was her husband. This continued through not only this car ride but also straight through to the next day when we were saying our goodbyes. I am pretty sure I am still Matilda’s dad. It’s hilarious.
But the night was far from over. I am pretty sure Scott broke out the whiskey early on and we broke into the fudge purchases from earlier in the day.
A bunch of us were hanging in the living room, having some laughs, when for some reason we started talking about one of the greatest movies ever made – Jaws. Gwen and Matilda said they had never seen it and asked if they could watch it.
I mean, I was game for it. Scott and Carrie – you know, their parents – were less enthused by the idea. But through some rather aggressive pleading, mainly from me, Jaws found its way to the TV. To be fair, both Gwen and Matilda were literally making less-than-veiled threats on our lives earlier at dinner.
As the movie went on, it was kind of becoming clear that they were starting to get a little freaked. So Carrie, smartly, said some folks were heading to the hot tub and the girls could stay up late if they wanted to come out as well.
Of course, I found it hard to leave Quint and Hooper behind.
But eventually I did make it to the hot tub myself and I mean. Of course it was nice. It was a hot tub.
As I was soaking in the hot tub, I noticed in the window above, some cards had started to be played. And I was having some serious FOMOOPC so the next thing I had to do was get out of the…
Fear of Missing Out On Playing Cards.
It’s a legit condition. I’ve read about it in medical journals.
So right. Next thing I had to do was get out of the hot tub, dry off, and insert myself into others’ fun.
Which I did.
We played some high-stakes rounds of “President.” Which is a kid-friendly way of saying a-hole. Because, like, that’s what we need. Kid-friendly a-hole.
Really though, guys? We have been doing this for a while. We have been playing kid-friendly a-hole for a while. A while back, we replaced all the roles with kitchen appliances so we didn’t have an a-hole. Like instead of President, Vice President, and A@!hole, we had Refrigerator, Oven, and well…we kind of have wavered on really what is the a-hole of the appliance world. Like, it has to be the most useless appliance out there, but still like a normal appliance. Like, it couldn’t be an electronic bread maker or something.
I’ve always contended it was the Electric Can Opener. I mean, seriously. You can’t open cans with a normal can opener? So yeah, that’s always been my a-hole. But I feel like some have suggested other things like blenders and microwaves.
Yeah, microwaves. How the crap would I make Hot Pockets without a microwave? It’s obviously the electric can opener.
But yeah, we played “President” for a while that night. And it was pretty awesome, actually. I remember a lot of laughs at other peoples’ expenses and what not. Oh and Brad and I played a one-on-one game of Thunderstruck at some point. Which is never a good idea. Ever. That’s the game where one person starts drinking their beer at the first time they say “thunderstruck” in AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” and can’t stop until the next time it’s said, at which point someone else starts drinking their beer and can’t stop until it’s said again, and so on and so on. But typically, this is played in a group and not one-on-one.
Yeah, it’s not a good idea boys and girls. Listen to your Uncle Wayne.
But that was kind of the whole thing of Day 3. Kind of a kooky day. But hey, we’re a kooky family. So it all seemed to work out.
Onto Day 4!
Day 4 – In which we leave Traverse City and go back to Boston
Yeah, Day 4 was our last day.
Which was obviously…
Well, it was for everyone. Except Sophia obviously.
Oh wait, back up a bit. I should mention that Jeff and Shannon had already taken off for Florida early in the morning. Like, super early. I think they were up at 5AM for Scott to drive them to the airport. Wait did I say I “think”? I meant “I know” on account of we set an alarm so we could say goodbye to them when they left.
Yeah, I know. We’re the best. Well, we didn’t drive them so I guess we aren’t “the best.” Scott is probably the best. But we are pretty good too.
So yeah, at like 5AM we said goodbye to Jeff and Shannon. Which was sad obvs. But, good news you guys! We are gonna see them next week on account of they are coming to see us when we are in Disney World!!! Whoop to the frikkin Whoop!
Back to the rest of the fam squad.
We had an 11AM flight on Day 4 and were up and ready to go by like 8:30AM. Since the Traverse City is super easy to…
Yeah, traverse. It’s easy to traverse.
I had to. Again.
But since it is, we had a little bit of time and we hadn’t actually done any real souvenir shopping. So a bunch of us drove into downtown Traverse City and hit up Cherry Republic because we didn’t know when we would ever see a cherry again.
They have cherries in Boston?
Onto Cherry Republic.
This place was CHERRRRIEEESSSSS!!!!
Like, legit cherry EVERYTHING.
Cherry jam. Cherry candies. Cherry dip. Cherry wine.
And the best part? They had samples of like everything. I tried some cherry dip, cherry gummies, cherry red pepper jelly. I literally had an entire meal here.
I bought some cherry gummies and sour balls for the kids and Nickie and Myles bought his girlfriend, Hannah, some stuff. And I think everyone that walked in there walked out with some stuff. Including my mom, who bought a ton of jellies and sauces and what not and then put them in her carry-on.
Which, guys, pro tip? Don’t do that. She ended up having to do the old carry-on/checked luggage switcheroo at the airport. Which is no bueno guys. Just don’t do it.
Speaking of the airport though, it was time to go.
Now don’t start that again.
But yeah, it WAS sad town time. Because we had to say goodbye to Scott, Carrie, Gwen, and Matilda. Ugh so so sad. But we had SUCH a good time out there. And we can’t thank the Traverse City Goodreaus enough for everything they did to make this trip happen. Their generosity. Their hospitality. Their planning. It was so amazing and literally…
So yeah, it was insanely quick through security and to our gate at the airport.
Look at Holly and Scarlett and Teddy. They are very happy with how quick it all went down.
While we were waiting for our flight, we grabbed some coffees at the café and Brad of course grabbed some cherry pie. Because he just can’t let it go.
And soon enough, we boarded. And once again, look who we were behind.
So cute. Teddy is obviously looking for cherry pie crumbs.
The flight from Traverse City to Boston is a little over 2 hours. And towards the end, we flew through these beautiful, fluffy white clouds.
Which, while super pretty, did cause some turbulence. Which Nickie was not a fan of. She has now made it her mission to rid the world of beautiful, fluffy clouds.
Oh, I should also mention that at the start of the flight, Sophia was…well…she wasn’t happy about the fact that she wasn’t sitting with Owen.
Thankfully, the flight was pretty empty so Owen was able to move up and sit with Steph and Sophia. This apparently put Sophia at ease.
But that’s kind of it for the pictures you guys. I mean, we landed, got bags, said our goodbyes to everyone (sad face), got in an Uber with Nannie, and went home.
Well, that’s not true. I have one more picture. Of a puppy that was very happy to see us.
But that was our trip, guys. And yeah, what a fantastic time. Traverse City and Sutton’s Bay were seriously beautiful places. And we did a lot of fun stuff out there. But obvs squad the things we did were great, but they were made even greater because of the people we got to experience them with. The best part of this trip was being able to be with so many people we love. I personally feel so blessed to have so many awesome people in my life.
And thanks for following along. I know it was a short trip but don’t get all sad-face. We have our Walt Disney World trip coming up in no time. So calm down everyone.
See ya real soon!
Last post – Days 1 and 2