Tag Archives: michigan



It finally feels like summer to me!

In my world, summer starts Memorial Day weekend and ends on Labor Day. However, I have plenty of friends who work in the school system who would make their summer bookends the last day and first day of school!

We took our annual trip to Michigan over the week of Memorial Day, a little over a month earlier than usual. So my summer definitely feels like it is in full swing. However, I didn’t take any photos this trip… Instead you get a bullet recap of our trip:

  • Lots of Euchre and Hearts.
  • A trip for that fantastic salad at Mr. M’s.
  • Several games of Chase the Bobber for Sham.
  • Ice cream from the Corner House.
  • Annual fill of Kogels – celebrating 100 years!
  • Nachos and flautas from the BT. {I did try to get some better photos of the menu than the ones posted! Haven’t compared them yet…}
  • Friday night auction! We purchased some scotch decanters, some books on birds, some Hobo Pie Makers and… I am forgetting something.
  • Heading back to The Camp.
  • Realizing we really don’t like The Riverwalk {and the really unprofessional manager!}
  • A quick visit to St. Helen, about 40 minutes north of Rob’s parents’ place to visit some friends at their new cabin in the woods.
  • Annual Cherry Wheat!
  • Finishing another Quebecois book – one of my faves!
  • A new-found love for Grapefruit Shandy.
  • A few new to us Michigan brews.
  • Visiting a new Michigan brewery – stay tuned!
  • But most importantly – time spent with family. 

We had the most beautiful weather on the lake… Since Rob’s parents no longer own a pontoon, we were lucky that their neighbors offered us a ride on their boat on our last day. I felt absolutely spoiled and relaxed…

What signifies the beginning of summer for you?

Happy Summer!

The End of Summer?


Although I don’t have kids of my own, this time of year kind of feels like the end of summer for me. I have teacher friends going back to work. I see kids at bus stops and school buses on my way to work. And with Facebook these days, I see the first-day-of-school pics of all of my friends’ kids.

As a child, I loved this time of year! The excitement for what the year had in store, the smell of new erasers, the opportunity to wear new clothes. I’ll readily confess that I’d sometimes wear my new fall clothes just because there were new… Even if that last week of August was too hot for a long-sleeved shirt. 😉

However, as an adult today, I’m enjoying every bit of summer and trying to make it last as long as possible. This past extra loooooong winter we had this year really did me in. But it made me really appreciate summer this year. I do love fall, too. But I think, for the first time in my life, I’m trying to eat up and savor every slice of summer that I can.

With that, I’d like to round-up the last of my summer Michigan adventures. Maybe feeling like a kid again this trip made me more grateful for summer than ever. It brought out the simple happiness inside me. If only I could freeze time to capture that feeling forever…


Speaking of frozen in time…

Sometimes, when we go to Gladwin, I feel like we are frozen in time… perhaps the 80s.

For example, $1.50 beers…

We stopped at that bowling alley not to bowl, but for a pre-dinner beer. We didn’t know it, but it was Happy Hour. The bill came to $3. Seriously. I even ordered a Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy. My choices were not limited Budweiser and Miller Light! When’s the last time you got a deal like that?

Candy Cigarettes

80'sI didn’t even know they made these any more!

Technology {or lack thereof}…

Here, we rarely see people playing around on their smartphones in public. The employees at the local Country Corner Bulk Foods couldn’t be on the phone while running a credit card because the machine shared the same phone line. And I noticed that they use a spiral notebook to keep their inventory. Many restaurants don’t have an online presence or post their menus online.

Which reminds me, it’s time to post the menus of this little coffee shop:

NE3I seriously just noticed that this place is called Northern Expresso. All this time, I thought it was Northern Espresso. That’s even how I posted about it last year

Anyway, I don’t know why I always have trouble deciding what to order here. And as I type this right now, I’m wondering why I don’t get my usual Americano. Did I order that once several years ago and find that I didn’t like the way they made it? I keep trying new, fun espresso drinks and they are usually too sweet for me. That’s even when I add an extra shot of espresso.

The trouble is in the decision-making. Before I know it, I’m at the front of the line and they are waiting for my order. On our last visit, I found a stack of these to-go paper menus on the counter:

NE Menu 1I’m keeping it in my car. Next time, I can peruse all of these options and decide in advance:

NE Menu 2My guess is that I should have a few ideas in mind, just in case they are out of something.

I mean, look at all of the flavors!

Northern Espresso menu

And of course, here is the menu listed in the Gladwin Buyers Guide:

(Click once to enlarge and then click once again to zoom in.)


Still, there’s something refreshing about leaving all of that technology behind – simpler times. That’s sometimes why Rob and I take an unplugged day on a weekend. We come out of it happier and refreshed. I know we will continue to do that whether it’s summer or not. Yes, some dreary days are meant for watching movies under the covers. But a good book will do nicely, too.

Still, one thing’s for sure. I’m stretching summer as long as I can. I am going to make a point of going outside and doing something every nice day that we have left this year. As fall arrives, I surely will miss walking every Saturday to the Farmers Market. It’s something I like to do on vacation, too:


Gladwin, Michigan Farmers Market

But once fall has set in, I’ll open the windows, get under the down comforter, and breathe in that cool, brisk autumn air. I will dig out the things that I find most comfy {that one’s for you, Rob!} to enjoy sweatshirt weather. I’ll get geared up for Football Season. Then, I’ll put out all of my favorite colorful scarves to try to find something position to settle in as the colder weather approaches. But for now, let me bask in the sun or run in the rain. I’m taking it all in…

What marks the end of summer for you?

Don’t forget to comment on this past Wine Wednesday post to enter to win a Wine Bible!

Giveaway closes on Tues 9/10/13 at 12:01am CST.


When Food Tastes Better…


New Beaverton Tavern Menu updated (as of May 2016) in another post! Click HERE.


This week, I’ll be finishing up the last of my posts on our trip to Michigan. Here’s something I learned:

Food tastes better and is more appreciated and savored after a HARD workout.

It was mid-July and I wasn’t quite back into running. Yet, I still knew that I needed to get some sort of exercise. This was when I was working on my LOST 42K virtual race. During that time, I did some longer walks than I had done probably in the past year. But on both occasions, two meals that I loved last year didn’t please me much. In fact, I was somewhat disappointed. 😦

First up, the nachos and puerco flautas at the Beaverton Tavern this year were good, but didn’t leave my taste buds as satisfied as they usually do – even after a 7.65k power walk around the lake and back. I still think I will get them again next time. Maybe things were just “off” for me that day.

As an aside, I need to post their menu, in case you are looking for it. If you aren’t, check the interesting variety of food at this place! {Or just feel free to scroll down past them.}

First is the Menu found in the Gladwin Buyers Guide.

And now some photos of the menu from the dimly lit bar. You can click on the photo of each menu to enlarge them.

Apostrophe Pet Peeve

Apostrophe Pet Peeve

Have you ever had South of the Border Spaghetti?

Have you ever had South of the Border Spaghetti?


Pizza or Dessert?


Later in the trip, when we dined at Castaways in Bay City I knew that I wanted the Island Burger because I adored it so last year. But again, I just wasn’t thrilled nor satisfied. I am almost 100% positive that it was the fact that last year I ran 3+ miles in 95-degree heat beforehand. This year, I was still out of commission from running and I just took the dogs for a walk. It wasn’t a very long one. Sham continues to be a little difficult on a leash. I didn’t work up a sweat at all. It was a bummer.

So was my burger.

It’s amazing how much running can do for you mentally. During a run, I’m fighting with myself most of the time. After a run, I feel incredible, lighter and happier. And later, when I’m up to eating, it makes food even more pleasurable.

One thing that I’ve discovered is that working out is the true form of relaxation. Why? I wouldn’t say the working out itself is particularly relaxing. However, the relaxation part is how you feel afterward. There’s a sense of accomplishment. Afterward, you can sit on your butt if you want to and just watch TV or read or do anything you want…


You aren’t relaxing at all if you just come home and “relax” because you think you deserve to do so. Instead, you’ll feel guilty for all the stuff you aren’t doing, like the workout you promised yourself or the mess you’ve meant to clean up. And you’d probably have the energy to do that cleaning after you’ve worked out, too.

Have you noticed you enjoy food more when you’ve worked out?

What is your definition of true relaxation?


An Irish Pub Calls for Chicken


This post is meant to show you some photos of the funny things I only TOLD you about O’Sullivan’s Pub last year

Over the past ten years that I’ve been going with Rob to Michigan, we first discovered O’Sullivan’s Pub just last year. We really did enjoy it; so we had to go back. First, I need to post some silly photos of the menu for those of you who are looking, since they don’t post theirs online. You can click to enlarge.

And again, just as I did last year, I wondered if they bought their furniture from an old Buffalo Wild Wings.

Carved into our booth.

Carved into our booth.

Rob’s mom was smart and ordered the Reuben Sliders that we all so adored last year. Knowing how good the corned beef, was, Rob and his dad opted for another take on the Reuben, which they each really enjoyed:

Nathan's Special - Corned Beef, Pastrami, Swiss cheese, 1000 island dressing served on rye bread

Nathan’s Special – Corned Beef, Pastrami, Swiss cheese, 1000 island dressing served on rye bread with onion rings

And although we were in a self-proclaimed Irish Pub, I didn’t order any fish and chips nor corned beef. Instead, I did what worked for me in Ireland. I ordered CHICKEN!

Chicken Finger Salad - chicken fingers, lettuce, onion, tomato, cucumbers, black olives & shredded cheese

Chicken Finger Salad – chicken fingers, lettuce, onion, tomato, cucumbers, black olives & shredded cheese

It may look like your basic salad. But it was sooooo good and hit the spot for me that day. And I splurged with that perfectly cooked, fried chicken with just the right crunch to make it worth it!

And now, for the bathroom I was telling you about last year:

Finally, the women’s bathroom was just strange to me. It was just the one-person restroom, not the kind with stalls. It was very narrow, but had two toilets! I guess, ladies, if you are out at the pub drinking with friends, this is just plain efficient.


Two toilets in one women’s restroom…

We still love this place. And because I like to get a fried chicken salad about once every year or two, I just have to remember that this is the place to get one where I’ll be satisfied.

What’s the strangest restroom you’ve been in?


Beer Here!


Earlier this week, I mentioned that when we are dining out in Michigan, sometimes there are places where we like to dine and there are some places that are just better for drinks.

Piper’s Pub happens to be one of the latter. I’m just not fond of the food here, despite the fact that menu doesn’t look too bad:

Yeah. Piper’s Pub is another one of those dining establishments that doesn’t put its menu online. The menu above is from the Gladwin Buyers Guide.

Rob loves the Bleus Burger here, but when I tasted it last time, the meat seemed “funky” to me. Maybe I’ve just been spoiled with good meat at so many of the farm-to-table restaurants we have going on in the Twin Cities. I do like the blue cheese sauce and the ciabatta bun, though. Can I get this one sans meat, perhaps?

Pipers Burger2

Bleus Burger – blue cheese and bacon

In fact, most of the crew gets burgers when we dine here.

Pipers Burger

M-61 Cheddar Burger – cheddar cheese, onion rings, BBQ sauce {although this particular burger was ordered without the sauce}

I thought that the onion rings on the burger was a brilliant idea. Although, I’m sure that most people just take them off and eat them separately. All the burgers/sandwiches come with fries. It’s an extra $2.49 to add those pub fries that I love so much.

Forgetting that I was going to give a salad a try next time, I ordered a grilled cheese. I didn’t have high expectations, so I wasn’t surprised with the turnout being sub-standard:

Piper's Grilled Cheese

Grilled Cheese – provolone and cheddar

But I did steal a few of Rob’s fries, which are, in my opinion, the best food at Piper’s.

I also got a few photos of the actual menu. Let’s analyze it a little more closely, shall we? Maybe I can find something to order next time.

Pipers MenuHoagies and wings don’t usually excite me. I remember that, last year, someone ordered wings and said Buffalo Wild Wings are better. And do people actually order Hoagies at a sit-down restaurant?

Piper's MenuI actually don’t even recall this menu page! Pizza? They have pizza? Why haven’t I tried that? My guess is that we already had Pizza at M’s and were either pizza’d out or knew it wouldn’t live up. we knew it couldn’t live up. It might be worth trying sometime, though. Maybe.

Pipers Menu2I like to call these apps The Usual Suspects because you can pretty much find them on every menu in this neck of the woods. As for the salads, the fact that there are no descriptions probably shied me away from going that route. I always fear bad chunks of old iceberg lettuce and a mealy tomato. And from our experience last year, I can tell you that nacho pile could be a pile of something else. And I don’t even think that’s because I’m comparing them to the most perfect nacho you’ll find in the area at Beaverton Tavern.

Wait! There’s chili on the menu. If I’m looking for a semi-decent-healthy choice, I might want to give this a try in the future. I don’t remember that being on the menu either. But when it’s July and I just got done swimming in the lake, my first thought is not a big bowl of chili. And would this still be the same funky meat? I’m guessing no, because it’s probable that the burgers are frozen patties. I doubt they’d break those up to make chili.

Pipers Menu4Actually, those wraps sound good, too. It’s interesting how much more you see on a menu when you don’t have to make a decision in two minutes! It looks like there actually are a few things to try if we go back next summer.

Finally! On to the beer. The beer selection is quite good for a small town! The more interesting beers, however, are offered in a bottle rather than on tap. We are okay with that. I’m sure it would be hard to move them otherwise. We wanted to know what was offered, so we asked for a beer menu.

Pipers Beer Menu

Piper’s Pub Beer Menu

Yeah. This is what we got. I think it’s the only list in the place and really for the servers’ reference! Okay, so the beer list isn’t that extensive, but there are excellent beers on it! At least three of those hail from Michigan. Here’s my fave of that bunch:

Pipers Beer

New Holland Brewing – Dragon’s Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout

In fact, this is probably one of my top ten beers of all time.

I am never disappointed when I order it. For the first time ever, I turned over the bottle to read the back. I love the description and now I have some food pairing ideas! And look at that alcohol percentage. This one could be dangerous! It’s too easy for me to drink…

photo 2 Truthfully, though, I always commend a bar or restaurant that serves local beers. Holland, MI may be a few hours away from Gladwin, but serving beer from your own state is local to me!

Have you had Dragon’s Milk?

Name one beer that would go in your list of Top-10-of-All-Time.

{Yeah, that’s a selfish one to get new brews from you!}


Gladwin Menus


It’s finally time for me to recap our Restaurant Impressions of our Michigan travels this past July when I felt like a kid again. A couple may be repeats from last year – but with a twist. And if you don’t live in Michigan or don’t plan on going anytime soon, please… stick with me these next couple weeks while I throw these posts in here and there.

You just may be inspired to do or make something!

Or you just might find our experiences funny.

Laugh if you want, but many people find my blog by searching for a menu of restaurants in Gladwin, Michigan. Why? Many restaurants in Gladwin County do not post their menus online. Some don’t even have a website or online presence! It seems sooooo 1980s. But it some ways, it’s refreshing. In other ways, it’s just darn annoying when you want to remember what you ate there or what was in a dish you had when you are trying to blog about it. {Oh wait, am I am the only one?}

But for those looking, you may have come to the right place today!

If you live in Gladwin, you can actually find a whole slew of menus in the local Buyers Guide!


While I tried to photograph as many menus as I could before ordering without being looked at too strangely, I felt like this guide was a good supplement to anything I may have missed.

And so we begin…

Mr. M’s.

Mr. M’s is a restaurant we visit at least once each time we are in Gladwin. The food is comforting. You can’t really go wrong. But their menu is HUGE!

Menu3Yeah. A bit hard to read in that photo of the Buyers Guide menu. Here are some closeup photos:

Although, for some reason, I didn’t take a photo of the pizza menu! We love the Mini Pizzas here. They remind me of the Personal Pan pizzas I’d get for free as a kid from Pizza Hut during the Book It! program. The crust and topping ratios are perfect. So is the size!

Finally got photos of those pizzas because I didn’t last year. However, I didn’t get a photo of that salad I love there because we didn’t go back this time. But I did find a description of the contents! It’s the Mr. M’s Chicken Signature. Yum!

Menu - M's Salad

And they have a nice pile of nachos!

Plug for the Gladwin County Carriage Festival! Woot! Woot!

Plug for the Gladwin County Carriage Festival! Woot! Woot!

Despite this note on the menu below, we don’t go to Mr. M’s for the drinks. Read more about why here from last year.

Mr M's Menu2We did stop for drink for fun one afternoon… on the bar side. Which also seems stuck in the 80s and still reeks of smoke despite the fact that smoking has been banned in restaurants in Michigan for a few years now. At the bar, I saw a sign that kind of confused me:


Pale-o Beer?

With all of the Paleo-hype these days, I was thinking that this was a Paleo-friendly beer, which I did not know existed. And it actually sounded strange to me in a small town where you hardly even see things advertised as gluten-free. Then I realized what they were trying to advertise…

A PAIL o’ beer!

A bucket of five bottles of beer for just $10. It’s a deal, but it’s funny how a little spelling error can confuse little old moi. I told you that you’d see some funnies if you kept on reading!

Instead, I think we’ll cross the road for a beer

Which restaurant do you prefer to dine, but not really drink?