Traverse City Record-Eagle


September 2, 2012

What they did on their vacation

Now that our first season as vacation rental owners is winding down, we're looking back at what we learned.

n Not all vacations are equal

We're the kind of vacationers who don't like to stay put, moving on every few days.

So I was surprised to discover that here in the vacationer's paradise called northern Michigan, many vacationers prefer to skip the dunes and the shops and the wineries and the coastal villages and instead read on the screened porch, sit by the water or pick berries along the wooded trails. Indeed, some hardly leave the premises at all.

At first I took this personally, especially after tacking up on the bulletin board detailed itineraries for some of my favorite day trips. "What's wrong with them?" I asked my husband, after the second or third such vacationer left without experiencing any of the region's highlights.

Now I know that vacationer styles vary, from folks who are up and out before we rise and rarely return before dusk, to others who leave only to find a grocery store or restaurant. Food for thought for the area's tourism providers.

n Water, any water, is king

My deepest fear was that vacationers would be disappointed in our tiny, wake-free lake and its natural shoreline — frogs, clams, silt and all. Instead they seem delighted, content to spend whole days sitting by its side, paddling around in the kayaks, throwing water toys for their dogs, roasting marshmallows in the fire pit. Maybe a view of the bay isn't all people are after, after all.

n Vacationers still cook

Summer vacationers love to cook, and they do it with a passion. And not just simple grilled fare, either, judging from the complex aromas that waft in through the cold air return and the food waste in the trash bins we empty. Of all the cottage amenities — after the decor, that is — they're most grateful for the ample spices and good knives.

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