Soon after we arrived in Michigan, we headed way up north to visit our beloved Mackinac Island.
Try as I may, words and photos don't seem adequate enough to capture the full sentiment of that little slice of heaven.
Maybe it was because it had been four years since our last visit.
Maybe it was because the weather was dreamy.
Maybe it was because we were forced to slow down without any distractions.
Maybe it was because we were surrounded by dear aunts, uncles and cousins who we rarely see.
Maybe we wouldn't have appreciated it as much if it wasn't a special getaway with just the older two boys.
Without the toddlers tying us down, we were free to log dozens of miles on our bikes, swim in the lake every chance we got, hike to gorgeous views and absorb nature at its finest.
I should probably give fair warning that there is some serious over-the-top wording to follow regarding the most charming place on earth.
But first, let me back up a little bit and talk about our drive to the Northern Michigan.
I grew up in Michigan, which means I saw farmland and wide open spaces every single day. But on this particular drive, it was like I was seeing it all for the very time. How did I never notice the way wildflowers frame every rustic barn?
Or how blue the sky is against towering silos?
Or how acres of the greenest cornrows catch the most beautiful sunlight?
Maybe I've been in Orange County too long, but I was awestruck by backroad USA. We stopped in Amish country for homemade donuts and then ate at our first of many buffets before reaching our destination. Blake and Nash think buffets are the best meal on the planet, so we were off to a good start before Mackinac Island even came into view.
Once we completed the four hour drive, we waited on the shoreline for the ferry to take us to the island. Nash's easy breezy stance says it all about how the rest of our time proceeded. We were never rushed. We weren't worried about the next item on the agenda. We simply kicked back and enjoyed each adventure that came our way.
It's not a true ferry riding experience unless you sit on the open air deck. Blake's patriotic apparel fit right in.
We passed by the iconic Michigan landmark; the Mackinac Bridge.
Growing up, I spent time every summer on Mackinac Island. Seeing the familiar hotels and homes come into view as the ferry inches closer to the shore is always nostalgic for me.
There are no cars allowed on the island which means that bikes are the primary mode of transportation. There is no shortage of bike rental shops or bike parking spots.
Bikes line every street, day and night.
Many choose to be transported by horse-drawn carriages as well. It's kind of like stepping back into the 19th century and being whisked away to a place where time seems to have stopped.
Mackinac Island does not kid around when it comes to their floral displays.
Even the lamp posts are adorned in waterfall bouquets.
As gorgeous and as detail-oriented those arrangements are, the wildflowers along the shore might be my favorite.
Especially when the slanting sun illuminates them.
After settling in to a darling B&B, bike riding along the shore, eating dinner at the pizza & salad buffet (a daily highlight and competition for the boys) and exploring a few shops on Main Street, we rode out to catch the sunset.
Blake and Nash noticed many balanced rock sculptures along the shore and couldn't let the first day end without attempting their own.
We crashed into bed exhausted and happy. Minus deciding it would be a good idea to snuggle Nash in a twin bed all night (which I later regretted after a high amount of kicking and thrashing), I'd say day one exceeded all of our expectations. It was just a small taste of what was to come.