Go fudge yourself: A trip to Northern Mich.

The dog digs the beach along the northern Lake Michigan shore.

The dog digs the beach along the northern Lake MI shore.

Fudge. Berries. Reheated microwave pretzels for $1. It must be time to go to northern Michigan.

Every year about this time, Caitlyn and I head up to her grandparents’ place on Lake Michigan in a sleepy little town called Arcadia, about an hour southwest of Traverse City. Late July is always home to Arcadia Daze, the town’s annual parade, complete with a clown band and fife and drum corps, $1 microwave pretzels and a surprisingly large arts and crafts show.

This year marked the return of Caitlyn to the craft show circuit, after taking a couple years off for grad school. While she was in a less-than-deal location (at the end of the row of vendors), and it rained, blustered and hovered around 55 degrees the entirety of the two-day show, I’m happy to say she still set a sales record with her fine jewelry. This was her first big show since coming out of “retirement” and the tourists and locals seemed to appreciate her work.

Of course, I appreciated the work of the microwave cook and bought two pretzels, in addition to the pancake breakfast with the local nonprofit Lions Club (Caitlyn and I had to correct each other after we both accidentally called it the Lions Den, a VERY different organization … you’d know

Caitlyn gets back into the arts and crafts game.

Caitlyn gets back into the arts and crafts game.

what I mean if you’ve ever driven on any road trips).

We did eat some healthy food, too. On the one day during our weeklong trip where it didn’t look and feel like a March day, the two of us visited a u-pick berry farm in Benzonia. For $3.50 a pound, you could pick to your heart’s content from golden, black and traditional raspberries. The constant poking of the berry bushes was all worth it once the deliciousness touched your mouth.

Berries are great, but where do you go to shop and eat a real meal? The answer? Frankfort. About 15 minutes north of Arcadia, lies the charming little Lake Michigan-side town of Frankfort, home to Kilwin’s and it’s “But Two, Get One Free” fudge deal – a must for any northern Michigan trip (I recommend the peanut butter, Caitlyn the double chocolate) – A. Papano’s Pizza, used book stores, kitschy clothing shops and one of the few, large public beaches in the area. It’s definitely worth at least one trip there or, in the case of Caitlyn and myself, two just for the Venetian veggie pizza and mozzarella breadsticks.

Gotta pick some berries while Up North!

Gotta pick some berries while Up North!

Unfortunately, it was too cool for us to go in the water any of the days we were there, but our puppy, Bailey, had no reservations about jumping into the “fake lake” of water that amassed on the beach about 10 feet from the Lake Michigan shore after all the rainfall. She had different thoughts about jumping into the REAL lake.

We can only guess how upset she was to be going back to an urban, fenced-in home.

Sorry, Bailey.

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