We celebrated this guy on Tuesday, an awesome dad to Cam and superb husband to Jane. After work, the plan was to meet Chris for a Cam haircut and then head out for birthday dinner. However, Jane and her son encountered some car trouble and Cam announced "this is not going to make for a good day." But we had someone to celebrate and places to be, so we made it to dinner and ate outside in the sunshine at JT's, located just around the corner from the car repair shop.
Cam started his short stint with summer school this week, attending Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings from 9am-12pm. He couldn't wait to see his friends and teachers. Interestingly enough, the theme for this session is "Let's Go to Summer Camp!" Well, that's kind of what we were planning....
On Friday, the packing brigade began with Cam supervising progress. Even though we had a list, our intuitive son remembered a few things we may have overlooked. It was a 3-hour drive to Charlevoix, Michigan where our final destination for the next 4 days and 3 nights was Fisherman's Island State Park.
Fisherman’s Island State Park boasts over six miles of unspoiled Lake Michigan shoreline. The island in which the park was named no longer exists. Due to years of lower water levels in Lake Michigan the island has become a peninsula now lush with native wildflowers. There are 80 rustic campsites with 15 of those nestled in the dune area along the Lake Michigan shoreline.
"Rustic" in reference to camping means outhouses only and wells to pump fresh water. Bathing, if necessary, is recommended in Lake Michigan. This was our 3rd visit as a family to Fisherman's, but our first time staying at a campsite right on Lake Michigan. Our extended family friends (who first introduced us to the campground), Katherine (Cam's former nanny) and her husband Paul and son, Bexley, along with Katherine's mom, Miss Ann, had already been on the campsite for five days before we arrived. Other friends, Zach and Aubrey were staying two sites away. Our first sunset was nothing short of spectacular and the others didn't disappoint. Staying in a tent and walking right to the beach in a few steps was the only way to camp, we all determined. The beautiful weather certainly made our stay that much more enjoyable. Cam floated for a couple of hours on a new green raft, compliments of Auntie Karen. Jane lounged on a blue chair, given to Cam by Miss Amanda's Aunt Carol. With a small rope, Jane kept connected to Cam as we lazed in the big lake and soaked up the sun. In the meantime, Chris found a spot in the shade and tried out his hammock for the first time.
Per a tradition for Jane and Cam, each morning, they took their 20 minute ride to Boyne City to pick up a Starbucks coffee for Jane. Normally, this wouldn't be an exciting outing but Cam and his mom hop on a car ferry in Ironton! The four-car cable ferry began operation in 1876. In the early days, the Ironton ferry was powered by horses. It's a quick 3 minute ride on the ferry, but the panoramic view right from car in the middle of the water seems surreal.
Another day, we all ventured to the creek, south of our campground, where the boys played in the creek.
Of course, we had s'mores at the campfire with square marshmallows (why did it take so long to come up with these?!) and Cam decided he likes them best with Reese's peanut butter cups.
Another fun campfire experience was making popcorn on the fire with the famous Jiffy Pop.
You can take Cam out of his routine, but you can't take the routine out of Cam. Our son insisted on completing his sight word tasks each morning, following his same usual activities of brushing his teeth and getting ready. One of the best parts of camping, though, was the absence of electronics for our maturing boy. Not once did he request use of the iPad to watch shows or play games.
We were thankful for the change of scenery, the renewal of close friendships, and the memorable time in nature along with countless bouts of laughter woven into every single day.
See you next year, Fishy Island- we can't wait!!
In preparation, sometimes, Cam's parents lag behind their son's timeframe. When we were finally ready for take off, Cam announced:
"Let's get this show on the road!"
Another choice quote from our weekend:
"What was camping like in the old days?"