Great Lakes Road Trip

Rocks near Petoskey, MichiganRocks near Petoskey, Michigan

Kismet: Fate; a predetermined or unavoidable destiny. To me, kismet is free will on the open road. Following the tug of the steering wheel as the off-center alignment brings you where you normally wouldn’t have time or patience to go. We just spent 16 days and 1921.9 miles on a Great Lakes Road Trip exploring eastern Wisconsin and northern, lower Michigan. Some of our trip was planned, some wasn’t. Here are our kismet moments, in no particular rank or order:

If you ever visit downtown Sheboygan, Wisconsin, first look for Norman Rockwell and then try and park downwind from Field to Fork bakery and grocery on 8th Street. Let your nose guide you in to a lovely place that both supports the local economy and encourages global sustainability. A pleasant surprise and our newest favorite place to eat, Field to Fork was friendly, worldly, and kid-friendly. Field to Fork is the only place I know of in Wisconsin with a cheese cave.

Goodale’s Bakery just off of the main drag in Grayling, Michigan is not the most likely of tourist destinations. Desperate for coffee and adult conversation, we stumbled into the bakery somewhat by accident. A favorite venue for local residents for miles around, Goodale’s Bakery is now on or “must visit” list for next summer (and the summer after, and so on). Here is a photo of my son enjoying the messiest donut in the entire display case. We stocked up on fresh-baked breads and cookies to freeze at the cabin and keep within snacking distance.

Goodale's Bakery

Eating the Messiest Donut at Goodale’s Bakery

If you have (1) a motorcycle or (2) a favorite music CD, please bring either (or both) to the Tunnel of Trees Scenic Highway 119 between Harbor Springs and Good Hart, Michigan. Without a care in the world, we snaked along the bluffs of Lake Michigan, into and out of fields, forest, passing dream homes along the way. Motorcyclists and convertible owners looked content on a summer day fit for open windows and napping kids.

Midway we stopped at the Thorne Swift Nature Preserve at the Lower Shore Drive turn off. A short (perfect distance) hike to the rocky shores of Lake Michigan, we skipped stones, scampered on the big rocks, and tormented the resident biologist with incessant questions. Making a mental note to avoid the drive with trailer in pull or teenage driver, Tunnel of Trees was worth the wanderlust.

Tunnel of Trees

Tunnel of Trees: Senic Highway 119


About the Author

Julie Henning
Julie Henning is a freelance writer and journalist based out of Eugene, Oregon. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and owner of the family-travel website She is a recent past member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and the Association for Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. Julie is the Oregon Coast destination specialist for Bindu Media, an itinerary-focused website launching in Spring 2016 and featuring the work of 200+ professional, indie travel writers. Julie has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Illinois), the Rochester Post Bulletin, Wisconsin Natural Resources (DNR) Magazine, Sustainable Chicago Magazine, Group Tour Magazine, Student Group Tour Magazine, Silent Sports Magazine, Intercom Magazine,, and FTF Geocacher Magazine. Julie has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Ohio Public Radio, and KCBX FM Central Coast Radio and is an affiliate producer with the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio travel podcast. She has blogged for, Travel Oregon, and VISIT Milwaukee. Julie travels with her three kids and black lab as much as possible and lives by the motto, "Not all who wander are lost." Check out some of her best work at