Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Michigan Staycation- Double JJ Resort

For part of our staycation, we headed to the Double JJ Resort in Rothbury, Michigan. Due to our schedule, we weren't able to use the snow tubing hill, but we took full advantage of the indoor waterpark. The waterpark is not as large as, say, Great Wolf Lodge, but there were four nice slides, a lazy river, an indoor/outdoor hot tub, a small wave pool area, and two areas for smaller children. There was also a family locker room, which is always nice for those of us with smaller kids. We ate three meals there and they were all quite tasty. The breakfast was included with our package and was a pretty typical buffet, but the lunch and dinner at Rustler's Roost were much better. There are other restaurants there, but the hours vary and they weren't convenient for us this particular visit. Since my parents also came with us, we got a one room suite with a full kitchen and jacuzzi tub. The room was beautiful and comfortable. I can't wait to go back and check out some of their other activities. Staying at the "Back 40" and having some dude ranch experience seems like something my son and I would really enjoy, the husband is less excited about trying it out, but I'll convince him!

Total cost: ~$350 which included overnight accomodations in a one room suite with full kitchen and jacuzzi, 5 passes to the waterpark, 5 breakfast buffets, 5 lunches, 5 dinners and a late night snack and coffee run.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday Tidbit

The model for the smiling chef on the Cream of Wheat box is believed to be Frank L. White, who died in 1938 in Leslie (pop. 2,044). A granite gravestone with an etching of the cereal box was placed on his grave in 2007. White was photographed for the cereal box about 1900 while working at a Chicago restaurant.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Staycation February 15th-Frankenmuth

Day three of our staycation was the first that we really ventured out to do something specific. Our family, along with my mother-in-law, decided to spend the day in Frankenmuth. We headed out around 10:30am and our first stop was actually in Clio at Runyan Pottery Supply. I'm including this because, if you're a clay artist, it's a beautiful place! I highly recommend it for the ceramicists and potters that are reading.

Next was a lunch stop at Halo Burger in Birch Run. Halo Burger is a Flint institution and I get one whenever I can. There are several locations in Flint, Fenton and Birch Run. Their burgers are fresh and include all the fixin's. Olives, mushrooms, bacon and peppers are also available and I always get the olives!
Cost for 4 lunches: $19.18

Once in Frankenmuth, we tried to go to the Michigan Military and Space Museum, but it was closed for President's Day. I'll try again some other time. Instead, we went to the Frankenmuth Historical Museum, next door to the visitor's center downtown. Admission is $2 for adults and $1 for children or $5 for a family. It was a well put together display with some hands-on elements for the kids. It told the story of the Germans who settled in Frankenmuth through present day. I would allow a half-hour to one hour, depending on how long you spend reading and doing the hands-on parts.
Cost for museum admission: $5
Cost for some souvenirs: $15

After the museum, we went across the street to the Harvest Coffeehouse. It's owned by a young husband and wife and is welcoming and fun. There's a "kid's cave" for little ones to play while mom and dad have some coffee and there's an assortment of couches and tables for your relaxing pleasure. The menu is extensive, varied and reasonably priced. My son had a kid's cocoa which was a perfect temperature for immediate drinking. I had a raspberry french soda and my mother-in-law had a special Valentine's latte. All three were excellent. Please, stop by the Harvest House when you need a bit of refreshment!
Cost for 3 drinks: $7.75

After the coffee, we walked down the street to the other side of Zehnder's where the ice sculptures from snowfest were still mostly intact. There was a large assortment of amazing designs and I hope that some year I actually make it up to see them being carved! After that, we drove back to Bronner's to browse the giant Christmas store. No matter what time of year it is, Bronner's can put you in the holiday spirit! For more on Bronner's check out my earlier post.

When we were done at Bronner's we headed back downtown for the famous chicken dinners. I know some people feel a strong allegiance to either Zehnder's or the Bavarian Inn, but honestly, I think they are both wonderful! I've tried a wide range of dishes from both restaurants and everything is excellent. This time, though, we all opted for the all you can eat family style chicken at Zehnder's (also available at Bavarian Inn). Well, my son chose macaroni and cheese, but he's 3, he'll learn! For $18.95 a person you get a cup of noodle sooup, a selection of homemade breads and jam, garlic toast with liver pate and cheese spread, cottage cheese, coleslaw, cranberry relish, dressing, gravy, butter noodles, mashed potatoes and, of course, yummy fried chicken. Also, a dish of ice cream. Everything is all you can eat except for the soup and ice cream and if you can't finish you can take home anything that is on your table after you're done. Instead of ice cream I had a piece of their homemade cherry strudel, which was exquisite!
Cost for 4 meals (including 3 soft drinks and a glass of wine, strudel and tip): $95 (there are often coupons available if you check the website)
Cost for some treats from the Zehnder's bakeshop: $15

Cost for the whole day: $156.93

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesday Tidbit

The Saginaw River is only 20 miles long, but with its tributaries is the largest drainage system in the state.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Michigan Stay-Cation: February 13th

As promised, here is my first post about our "staycation". Day one wasn't all that exciting, really. We laid low and watched the Olympics. We did head out to lunch at our favorite local mexican restaurant, El Patio. There are 3 locations: Waterford, Farmington and Milford, but I've only been to the Waterford restaurant. Everything has always been fresh and yummy. Service is lightening fast and the staff is friendly and outgoing. If you prefer carry-out, call as you walk out the door. Your food will be ready and waiting. One time I ordered take-out and then was delayed for a few minutes. When I arrived, they re-made everything (and it was a big order)! It took about 5 minutes and they wanted to make sure my food was as fresh as possible!

Day 1 cost: $30.25 (3 meals, 3 drinks and tip)

Get out there and experience some local restaurants. I promise you will find one (or lots) that will knock all the chains off the map!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tuesday Tidbit

Vernors ginger ale was created in Detroit and became the first soda pop made in the United States. In 1862, pharmacist James Vernor was trying to create a new beverage when he was called away to serve our country in the Civil War. When he returned, 4 years later, the drink he had stored in an oak case had acquired a delicious gingery flavor.**

**Vernor's son suggested in 1936 that the formula was not actually developed until after the war.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Michigan Stay-cation 2010

My husband has a week long vacation from February 13th through February 21st. Normally, we would head off to somewhere a bit warmer. This year, however, we decided to stick closer to home and explore all the good stuff our local area has to offer. So, get ready to experience a southern Michigan stay-cation! Destinations include Frankenmuth, the Double JJ Resort and the Grand Rapids Public Museum. I'll try to keep track of not only what we do, but how much it costs for those of you that are trying to watch your finances.

Watch out Michigan, here we come!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Famous Michiganders

Ok, so he was raised in Indiana and now resides in California, but on September 25, 1956 in Marshall, Michigan a future Mythbuster was born!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tuesday Tidbit

Sault Ste. Marie was established in 1668 making it the oldest town between the Alleghenies and the Rockies.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Birmingham Restaurant Week

I love food and I love local restaurants. Any time you can get a 3 course meal at a great local restaurant for $15 (lunch) or $25 (dinner) is a good time! From now through February 12th (excluding the weekend) you can get this great deal at a selection of Birmingham restaurants. Be sure to tell your server that you want the deal!

Check here for the list of restaurants that are participating!