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A Trip to Michigan Without a Stroller

One of my husband's oldest friends got married in northern Michigan this weekend, so we went up there for the wedding. Figuring out exactly how to get there was one of our biggest challenges, because Charlevoix, the town where the wedding was held, is a bit away from it all. We were faced with 3 possible combinations for flight and car rental:

Detroit: The cheapest option. Non-stop flights from Phoenix are available, but Charlevoix is almost 5 hours away by car.

Grand Rapids: Compared to Detroit, fares here are about $15 more per person. There are non-stop flights between the Mesa airport and Grand Rapids, but only on certain days of the week. Plus, Charlevoix remains over 3 hours away by car.

Traverse City: This is the closest commercial airport to Charlevoix, but it is still 1.5 hours away. Fares here are over $100 more per person than to Detroit, and no direct flights are available.

We opted to fly into Detroit. This option not only saved us money, but allowed us to break up the drive to Charlevoix by staying with my parents in East Lansing. Our itinerary looked like this:

Thursday: fly from Phoenix to Detroit, drive to East Lansing
Friday: in East Lansing
Saturday: drive 3.5 hours to Charlevoix (it was a late afternoon wedding, so it was feasible to travel the same day), stay the night there
Sunday: drive from Charlevoix to East Lansing
Monday: drive from East Lansing to Detroit, fly to Phoenix

Our next challenge was packing. The weather in Michigan was predicted to be about 40 degrees cooler than in Arizona. That meant breaking out clothes that my daughter hadn't worn in months, not all of which fit her well. It took some effort to piece together outfits for her that fit comfortably and were weather-appropriate.

This trip also marked a milestone for us in that it was the first one we took without my daughter's stroller. We went back and forth about it for a while but ultimately decided against it. Our thinking was that she would probably resist the stroller even when she was tired of walking, and we didn't want to push an empty stroller while we carried her.

We got to the airport early on Thursday to allow ourselves time for lunch and a visit to the play area. It turned out we had plenty of time because our flight was delayed. We also lost time at the car rental: we had loaded up our car and installed the car seat only for Alamo to discover that our car had been recalled and was unsafe to drive. By the time we were ready to go in a safe car and eat some dinner, it was after 11 PM local time. It was nearly 1 AM when we reached my parents' house.

Our time in East Lansing was focused mostly on seeing family and friends. Although we would have liked more time because there wasn't enough to see everybody, we were happy to spend time with everyone who we did see. We also had the chance to go to the Michigan State University homecoming parade. It was my daughter's first and the first one my husband and I had been to since we were students there (actually, my husband claimed that this was his first ever, but I am not so sure). My daughter enjoyed listening to the bands, seeing horses, and getting a blinking pin.


The wedding was held at a venue that looked like a castle. It was really pretty! The reception was probably the most kid-friendly one I'd ever attended: there were juice boxes available at the bar, and every kid received a goodie bag with a glow bracelet and lots of other fun stuff. My daughter had a couple of challenges staying in her seat and off the dance floor during the toasts and first dances: we took her outdoors when that happened. Once the dance floor was open, she got down and made lots of friends!


Our trip also gave us the opportunity to introduce my daughter to some Michigan favorites: cider and donuts and fudge.


Traveling without the stroller went pretty well. There were a few times when my daughter asked to be carried after walking a long time, which was understandable. Usually we didn't have very far to go after that point, so carrying her wasn't too difficult. The toughest time was getting to the parade: we took turns carrying her because she is getting pretty heavy. I did wish for the stroller a bit at these moments, but I'm not sure my daughter would have been happy about it. She probably would have liked being pulled in a wagon. Hmm... I guess we should convince the airlines to gate-check them for us!

Thanks for reading! My next posts will review our hotel in Charlevoix and the play areas at the Phoenix and Detroit airports.

Posted by amikulski 20:02 Tagged children wedding michigan

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