A Travellerspoint blog

Where We Stayed: Wetmore/Munising, MI

sunny 85 °F

We chose the AmericInn in Wetmore (outside of Munising) for its pool and location near the cabin where my sister-in-law was staying. The pool area is great for kids and families. There is a large waterslide for older kids, which is open for 2 hours in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. There is a small waterslide for younger children that's always open.


The pool doesn't get very deep, and one end of it is inclined so you can wade right in. The depth is 18 inches near the small slide, so it's ideal for small children. My daughter loved it there.

Our room had one king and a rollaway. It was an ADA room, which they may have given us to make room for the rollaway bed. We set the bed up in the wider-than-usual entryway to the room; fitting it in elsewhere probably would have meant moving the king-sized bed.

Looking at my credit card statement, it seemed like we were charged more than our reservation said it would cost. I had misplaced my receipt, so I called the hotel. They weren't able to e-mail me a copy of it, but they did send me one via snail mail. Everything was fine--I just had forgotten about the charge for the rollaway.

Breakfast: The complimentary breakfast had the usual continental options plus waffles and biscuits and gravy. They also had flavored syrups for coffee, which was fun. There was only 2% milk, though.
Bathroom: because this was an ADA room, it had a roll-in shower stall and a showerhead with a detachable handle.
Blow dryer: yes
Elevator: yes
Internet: free wifi. We didn't experience any problems with it.
Nearest playground: not sure
Recommend to friends with young children: definitely
Recommend to childless friends: yes, if they don't mind the pool being more like a water park than a place to swim laps
Website: http://www.americinn.com/Hotels/MI/Munising

Posted by amikulski 18:58 Archived in USA Tagged children hotels michigan Comments (0)

Where We Stayed: Marquette, MI

sunny 80 °F

The Comfort Suites Marquette is a couple of miles away from downtown on US 41, one of the main thoroughfares in Marquette. Even though this was not one of the hotels where my sister-in-law had reserved a block of rooms for wedding guests, we chose it for the on-site breakfast and because we thought that the suite-style rooms would give us more space to spread out. The hotel also had very good reviews on Trip Advisor. There was breakfast as promised, and the customer service was good: the staff called us shortly after check-in to make sure everything was OK with the room. The room was fine, but not as large as we had hoped. It had everything you'd expect in a suite, but it really wasn't any bigger than a standard-sized room with 2 double beds in other hotel chains. Maybe it is the typical size of a Comfort Suites room, though.

One thing that seemed a little unusual is that every room is automatically charged $1.50 per day for use of the in-room safe. I have heard of charges for safes before, but this was the first time I can recall seeing it as an automatic charge. To the management's credit, there is a sign at the front desk notifying guests of the charge and explaining that those who don't use the safe can ask to have the charge removed at check-out. We never used our safe, so we asked to have the charge removed, and the staff person checking us out was very pleasant about it. The downside is that people who want to do express check-out essentially pay the safe charge to have that convenience.

Breakfast: The complementary breakfast was extensive and very good. Their selection of hot choices rotated daily. While we were there, they offered biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, and egg patties with sausage or bacon to make bagel breakfast sandwiches. They also had chocolate and regular batter for the waffle maker every day.
Blow dryer: yes
Elevator: yes
Internet: free wifi. We didn't experience any problems with it.
Nearest playground: not sure
Recommend to friends with young children: yes
Recommend to childless friends: yes
Website: http://www.comfortsuites.com/hotel-marquette-michigan-MI722

Posted by amikulski 18:54 Archived in USA Tagged children hotels michigan Comments (0)

Where We Stayed: Petoskey, MI

sunny 80 °F

The Apple Tree Inn is located on a road that runs along Little Traverse Bay. The hotel boasts that every room has a bay view. In our room, this was technically true, but the bay view was pretty limited.


That photo was taken while I was standing at our sliding door. The view was not visible when sitting down on the patio. We were on the first floor, so maybe the rooms on the upper floors have better views.

The rooms also have VCRs, which struck us as a bit old-school at first. However, once we saw the VHS library in the breakfast area, it made sense. There are children's films in their selection, so that is nice for families. The fridge and microwave in the room were bonuses as well.

The pool and spa area is decent-sized and adjoins to an outdoor deck for people who want sun. When we arrived, the pool was covered up with one of the kinds of covers usually seen on outdoor pools. The receptionist told us to notify the front desk when we wanted to swim so they could remove the cover, which was on to help keep the pool warm. The staff was responsive and uncovered the pool right away when we wanted to swim. The trouble was the water: it was cold. I didn't see the temperature, but I can say that not only did the water feel cold when we got in, we started to feel cold again after we had been in the water for some time. We suspect that the hotel was heating the pool just with the cover alone. Sunlight comes through the sliding doors by the deck, but it's not much compared to what an outdoor pool would get--at least not in the morning, which is when we went swimming.

In all, we enjoyed our stay, but would like to see a better way of heating the pool.

Bathroom: shower/tub combo
Breakfast: The complimentary breakfast included continental items with a waffle station, but had a couple of nice touches you don't see at similar hotel breakfasts. Their lemon bread was really good. For the waffles, they had different flavored syrups and toppings (almonds, raisins, chocolate chips, etc.) that would also work on oatmeal. Instead of pots of already-brewed coffee, they had a variety of K-cup flavors so you could choose what you wanted: although they had a half-caf option, there was nothing completely decaffeinated, which would have been nice to have. There was also hot water to go with a selection of teas (caffeinated and non), but no hot cocoa.
Elevator: yes
Internet: free in-room wifi. We didn't have any problems with it.
Nearest playground: Bayfront Park is a short drive away. It has lots of playground equipment for the kids and bay views for all.

Recommend to friends with young kids: yes
Recommend to childless friends: yes

Posted by amikulski 18:39 Archived in USA Tagged lakes hotels michigan Comments (0)

Michigan Marriages

sunny 80 °F

We had been planning on a visit to Michigan for my sister-in-law's wedding in Marquette on June 30 for nearly a year. Then one of my college roommates invited us to her wedding--also in Michigan, on June 23. We decided to make a trip out of attending both of them.

Because the weddings were separated not only by a week but also by an eight-hour drive, we decided to break up the trip and spend a few days in northern Michigan. We also took our time heading back home. Our itinerary looked like this:

Friday, June 22: drive from State College to East Lansing
Saturday, June 23: friend's wedding near East Lansing
Sunday, June 24: in East Lansing
Monday, June 25: in East Lansing
Tuesday, June 26: drive to Petoskey
Wednesday, June 27: in Petoskey
Thursday, June 28: drive to Marquette
Friday, June 29: in Marquette
Saturday, June 30: sister-in-law's wedding in Marquette
Sunday, July 1: drive to Munising
Monday, July 2: in Munising
Tuesday, July 3: drive to East Lansing
Wednesday, July 4: drive to Livonia
Thursday, July 5: drive back to State College

In all, the drives went well with one exception: sometime between our last trip and this one, my daughter decided that she was afraid of automatic-flush toilets. This was not convenient. We were at a rest stop near Cleveland--our second attempt at a potty break--when my daughter declared that she was going to wait to go potty until we got to my parents' house. We were still 4 hours out from their house, so this was not an option. I decided that we weren't leaving the rest stop until she went. After a text to my husband (so he would know why we hadn't emerged from the ladies' room), repeatedly explaining that there is no need to fear automatic flushing, a few unsuccessful attempts to block the movement sensors on the toilet, some bribery, and frustration on everyone's part, she finally went. Her price: a pack of M & Ms. Not my proudest parenting moment, but it beat an accident in the car or on the side of the road.

We enjoyed both of the weddings. My daughter managed to perform her flower girl duties at her aunt's beach wedding without falling down a sand dune or leaving the ceremony to wade in Lake Superior (between keeping an eye on her and my husband and I being in the wedding party also, we don't have much in the way of pictures to show for it, though). She danced her heart out at both weddings, too!


In between weddings, we spent a couple of nights in Petoskey. It was our way of fitting a mini-vacation into our trip. Petoskey is roughly midway between East Lansing and Marquette, so stopping there also broke the trip up nicely. While there, we drove scenic road M-119, the "tunnel of trees;" ate in one of Hemingway's old hangouts;


and spent time at Bayfront Park with its scenery, playground, and pier.


After my sister-in-law's wedding, we spent a couple of days in Munising to hang out with her, her new husband, some of his relatives, and some cousins. Several of us decided to do a canoe excursion on the Au Train River, with the kids in the group riding in the center of the canoes. As our luck would have it, our canoe tipped about a minute after we set out. My daughter was in a lifejacket and was OK, but she ended up underneath the canoe. I freaked out in the split second I couldn't find her. She was pretty scared herself, and she got even more upset when she learned that her lunch had fallen in the river. We encouraged her to try again with us, but she just wasn't having it; to be honest, I was still pretty rattled, too. We left, took our soaked selves to get a replacement lunch at a drive-thru, and went back to our hotel for dry clothes and some time at the pool. My daughter still talks about our canoeing incident, but we hope that we haven't scared her off permanently.

After Munising, we headed back to my parents' house. On the way down, we heard from my friend in Livonia (outside of Detroit), who invited us to spend July 4 at her place. We hadn't had the chance to see her yet, and going there would make our trip home a little bit shorter, so we took her up on it. It was great to catch up with her.

On our way home, we faced another rest stop with "matical flush" toilets. I was better at blocking the sensors this time, but M & Ms were still required.

In all, we travelled 2,220 miles, about 300 less than our cross-country relocation trip. Even though the mileage was similar, the pace felt slower on this trip (thank goodness!) because we were in most places more than one night. Boarding the dog helped, too. That said, it was a lot of traveling in the space of two weeks. It was wonderful to go to these weddings, and we enjoy spending time in Michigan, but I want to stay in just one place for our next vacation!

Posted by amikulski 17:50 Archived in USA Tagged lakes children wedding michigan Comments (0)

Where We Played: Phoenix Airport Terminal 4

On our way to Austin, we visited the play area in Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport's Terminal 4 by Gate B15. It is a little difficult to see from the main walkway because of an information desk and a railing that block it from view. Head toward the seating for B15 and you will find it. If you reach the Starbucks, you have gone too far. The area is fairly centrally located within the terminal, which has A, B, C, and D wings. Gate B15 is adjacent to the long hallway that connects these wings, so you don't have to walk as far as you might expect. The nearby information desk ended up being an added bonus because the lady working there gave my daughter a little rubber airplane that she played with for the rest of the day.

Terminal 4 is the newest and biggest of the terminals at Phoenix Sky Harbor, so I was expecting the play area to be at least as nice as the one in Terminal 3. I was wrong. It is smaller, with only one station with wall games...


...and a few mats and structured cushions.


We spent about 15 minutes there. As you can see from the side of the picture above, it took less than that for my daughter to become bored and start running around in circles (another kid gave her the idea, but that kid was bored, too).

I always appreciate when an airport has a play space for kids, but this is a pretty small offering for such a large terminal. Sky Harbor would do well to expand it or add more small play areas to Terminal 4.

Parent seating: There is a row of airport seats near the area. Besides that, the nearest seats are the high-top tables and chairs at the Starbucks. Fortunately, the Starbucks didn't seem to mind me or other non-customers sitting there. The seats for B15 are a short distance away, but will be too far for people with small children who want to supervise from very close by.

Floor: carpet

Best for: crawlers to about age 5. The floor mats provide a good place for crawlers, but the small structured cushions probably won't interest school-aged kids much. The wall games will occupy preschoolers and kids in the early grades, but perhaps not for long.

Posted by amikulski 05:59 Tagged children airport playground Comments (0)

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