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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sometimes no plan is the best plan

Rustic cabins at Cedars Resort are a good place to get away and enjoy the great outdoors.

        Some of the best vacation plans are impromptu, maybe no plan at all. Certainly planning can be beneficial, but sometimes it is fun just to do it, “go with the flow” as flow used to say.
For our 25th wedding anniversary, my wife, Phyllis and I had a well planned trip to Ontario, Canada. We visited three different fishing camps. It was a great trip. However, 25 years later, things were different. We had less coins in our pockets, less mobility in our bodies, and less time between doctor appointments.
We had planned to take a trip in June, but that didn’t work out. Then came July, followed by August, and finally September rolled around. There was a week on the calendar with nothing scheduled.
As to planning, we only knew we wanted to head north and we would like to spend at least part of the time in a cabin surrounded by the great outdoors.
Using the internet, I found Michigan’s Pure Michigan tourism site. It is a good site, packed with information on visiting the state whether you are looking for antiques, top-notch hotels or golf resorts, or looking for a northwoods getaway. Somewhat by accident, I found a link to Cedars Resort near the small community of Central Lake in the far northwest corner of the lower peninsula of the state.
It is not unusual to find a place that looks better on the internet than it does in reality. But, after talking with Jo Ellen at Cedars, I decided it was the place with a cabin in the woods on a lake for us. It didn’t disappoint. The cabin, the resort, and the owners were far better than I anticipated.
And, I found heading north after Labor Day, rates at most motels and lodges are less than summer season rates, and most places you visit are less crowded. There may be a few exceptions during peak fall foliage time. We also discovered some businesses close early for the season, and ferries on the lakes run less often.
On the way north, we had a late pleasant lunch at the Streamline Family Restaurant in Rochester, IN, and then spent the night at a local motel at Montague, MI, a pretty little town near Lake Michigan.
The next day we headed on up the west coast and stopped in Ludington to view the lake. At a lakefront park, we also found a dog park where our rat terrier Tyler could get in a run on the beach. Then it was on north to Central Lake and Cedars Resort.
Cedars has five rental cabins on one of several interconnected natural lakes, which eventually make their way to Lake Michigan. The lakes offer plentiful boating and fishing opportunities. Panfish probably are the primary target of most anglers, but there are walleye, northern pike and several area lakes contain muskie.
One of the other cabins was occupied by a pair of young men who specialize in muskie fishing. They primarily fish Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. In the Hoosier state, they concentrate on the Tippecanoe chain of lakes in the northeastern part of the state.
Cedars is centrally located between Traverse City and Petoskey in Antrim County. There also is skiing, snowmobiling, golfing, hunting, kayaking, canoeing, and lots of opportunities for exploring back roads and small towns as well as a large variety of shopping and restaurants.
The Cedars is operated by Chris and Jo Ellen Dick, who have been operating the resort for 14 years. Boats are included with the full-furnished cabins.
We enjoyed side trips to Traverse City, Torch Lake, Petoskey, Charlevoix, and a visit to a friend at Lake City.
As always, we found a wealth of god places to eat, including many locally owned family-type restaurants. One unique spot is the Front Porch in the village of Ellsworth (less than 400 people).
Several years ago the community’s only restaurants went out of business. There was no place for locals to gather for breakfast or lunch, no place for coffee drinkers to gather and discuss the happenings of the day.
So folks got their heads together and opened the Front Porch, It is a nonprofit that was opened by the local ministry. Only the cooks are paid, the rest of the staff are volunteers. There are no fixed prices and the foot is great. People pay what they feel they can afford.
Should you decide to visit Ellsworth and the FRont Porch, there is a wonderful shop across the street that features Michigan raised or built products.
The Junker’s trip was a pleasant getaway with very little planning. For the most part, it just happened. The weather was beautiful and nothing was more enjoyable than a sunset across the lake one evening after a rain. The sky was golden, and I was lucky enough to grab my old Nikon for a photo. It will be a lasting memory of a fun trip with wife, Phyllis, and our dog Tyler. And by the way, Cedars Resort is pet friendly.
If you go, possible websites:
Pure Michigan tourism:
Cedars Resort:
Front Porch:

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