Saturday Small Talk

Hi, folks! It’s Saturday, and that’s fun. What are you up to this weekend? I’m running a triathlon this morning (YAY!), and enjoying a rest day tomorrow.

After this race, I’m looking forward to changing up my fitness routine a bit. I found a class I love at our Y on Friday mornings, and I’d like to start doing more weights and resistance training, less straight-up cardio. Any recommendations? Books or plans you’ve done and loved?

In case you missed it….YOUR favorites on Balance and Blueberries and local, insider tips for what to see and do around Norfolk, VA.

Social media isn’t all bad.

If you own a small business and want to up your knowledge, check out these 4 (FREE!) online learning opportunities.

100 great books for kids.

I adored this camping guide–How to Camp (and actually enjoy it).

And if you’re inspired after reading that one, here are the top 100 campgrounds in the US.

Get your summer drink on this weekend.

Once blueberry season arrives in northern Michigan (it’s so close!), I want to make this pie.

Fun ways to hang more photography and not break the bank.

Those of us who aren’t always extroverts or introverts.

The power of writing to help you clarify your thoughts.

Enjoy your weekend!

3 Islands Worth Visiting this Summer

With average temps in the upper 70s and low 80s, ample amounts of sunshine, and an abundance of freshwater coastline, you can’t go wrong visiting Michigan in the summertime. It’s my favorite season, favorite place to explore, and (if you aren’t lucky enough to live here) makes a great vacation destination.

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With our 3,000+ miles of coastline, Michigan has many, many islands only a short ferry or plane ride away from the mainland. Last summer, I explored three of the more remote ones, and had a great time on each trip.

To celebrate my 27th birthday, we hopped on a ferry and went to North Manitou Island, off the coast of Sleeping Bear Dunes. We were there for 3 days and 2 nights, and backpacked the perimeter trail. It’s a great first backpacking trip to test your mettle and/or get your body in shape for a longer trip. The views from the West side of the island can’t be beat! Next time we go, we’re making a beeline westward, hanging our hammocks, and staying put for the weekend.

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Later in the summer, I explored Beaver Island with two dear friends. We stayed at Saint James Campground, only a mile walk from the ferry. If camping isn’t your thing, there are a bunch of hotels and vacation rentals on the island. Several homes on airbnb.com look great!

St. James, the town on the North side of the island where the ferry stops, is very walk-able or bike-able. Alternatively, there’s public transportation and cars available for rental. Pay attention to hours of operations–they’re limited! If you’d rather have your own wheels, the ferry will haul your car for a hefty fee. One afternoon, we rented bikes (with baskets!). We pedaled to the beach to sunbathe, did a loop back to town, and then out to the lighthouse.

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Close to the end of summer, Bob and I took a week off, packed our hiking backpacks, and flew (on a sea plane!) to Isle Royale. What an amazing trip! After 7 days of backpacking our way from West to East, we arrived in Rock Harbor, and spent the night at Rock Harbor Lodge. If possible, get a room with a killer view of the water and a balcony. You won’t get bored. There are plenty of hiking routes around Rock Harbor, kayaks and canoes available for rent, and guided tours to different places near Rock Harbor.

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Have you ever explored an island? Where did you go and what did you do?

If you’re interested….Backpacking in Virginia and the Smokies.