Every year we try to maintain our “end the year/start the year tradition,” where we head north on January 1st to spend the first few days of the new year enjoying northern lower Michigan. This year was particularly great since we found ourselves in a winter wonderland compared to the no-snow, brown gloom we had at home. The snow, to me, always seems to just make everything feel more fun, adventurous, and beautiful.
As the kids continue to do each year, they surprised me with how great they did skiing and snowboarding. This year Leighton felt extra brave and daring enough to go on the big chairlift and experience a few different hills, well above the base bunny hill my poor husband is still trying to master.
This year, in addition to skiing, we added a couple more activities into the mix – ziplining and horseback riding. After having so much fun, I would highly recommend all three. Below is a breakdown of our trip up-north, including what we did, where we stayed and ate!
What We Did:
- Our first full day, we spent the whole day skiing for almost 12 hours at Boyne Highlands. While Michigan has a few different and great places to ski, Boyne Highlands is one of my favorites. It never feels overly crowded, the ski rental process is a breeze, and pricing is reasonable. Not to mention we really appreciate the different food options available when you need to take a break.
- The next morning we went back to Boyne Highlands and did their Zipline Adventure course. I get so nervous for any adventurous activities like this, and I certainly prefer to keep both feet on the ground. But this was so much fun, and the staff definitely made the experience even better. They went out of their way to make all of us feel comfortable and safe, and enhanced our trek through the trails with funny comments and stories.
- After lunch, we all participated in Leighton’s Christmas gift from last year (we are just a little bit behind), going on a horseback trail ride in the winter. The horses were well trained, the staff friendly and not fazed by all of our many many questions. It was a peaceful trail ride through the snowy woods that made for a perfect way to end our jammed packed few days up-north.
Where We Stayed:
- We stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott Petoskey at Victories Square, in a Suite with two queen beds. The best part of this hotel for me, and our room particularly, was that in addition to the two beds, our room had two pullout couches, so everyone had their own bed! The kids would say the best part was the pool or the fact they had little ice creams for sale in their mini store, which my husband made sure to end our nights with. Overall the hotel worked well for us, and I would highly suggest staying there.
Where We Ate:
- Our first night, we went to Barrel Back Restaurant on Walloon Lake, which was amazing! We picked this restaurant because of their good reviews, how many gluten-free options they had, and there was no wait (everyone was starting to get hangry). I am so happy we decided on this place. Everyone really enjoyed their food and their gluten-free Tomato Bruschetta may be the best I ever had. We will certainly be back!
- Breakfast the next day was McDonald’s on the way to skiing.
- Since we were skiing all day, we ate lunch and dinner at the Food Court at Boyne. The fact that the food court has tons of fresh food options, including healthy choices like grilled chicken and a salad bar, gluten-free options, and kid-friendly foods, makes it a good choice. No one walked away upset about their lunch or dinner.
- For a late-night snack, we stopped at Walmart on our way back to the hotel, and everyone got to pick out something!
- Breakfast the last day was muffins, donuts, and protein bars that I picked up from Walmart the night before.
- We had lunch between activities at Cormack’s Deli, a great spot that has been in Petoskey for over 30 years. They have tons of different sandwiches, soups, salads, and desserts. Well worth the stop.
- Our last dinner was Cracker Barrel on the way home. Always a nice, easy, affordable comfort food kind of place.