It was the middle of February and we were deep into another brutal cold front that became known as the Polar Vortex. I was 7 months pregnant and Andris was still on crutches after his foot surgery. I needed something else to focus on beyond the cold and snow and ice. That’s when I stumbled upon the Inn at Bay Harbor. A long weekend in the middle of August seemed like the perfect antidote to all the cold and snow. And even though It seemed like forever away….by that point we would have a new baby in the house, Andris’ foot would be long since healed and all the snow and ice would be melted….it was worth the wait.
Andris and I have been searching for a place that could become a standing tradition for our family. A place that we could go to each year and create lasting memories. I remember from growing up our annual pilgrimage out to the Jersey Shore to see my grandmother, cousins, aunts and uncles. I have so many fond memories of days at the beach and nights on the boards, breakfasts on the porch over rolls and crumb buns and dinners filled with laughter, family and friends. I wanted us to create a little piece of that for our family as well.
From what I could find, Bay Harbor seemed to hit all the things on our list of ‘must-haves’…beach, pool and golf. But, honestly, it was more than we could have ever hoped for. I told Andris that Bay Harbor was East Coast charm meets Northern Michigan rustic, with a side of small town quaint. With all the hydrangeas, stripes, Adirondack chairs, sail boats and lake views…it was like a little piece of Heaven.
Andris and I got to sneak away and indulge in two nights in the hotel, thanks to 60,000 mysterious Marriott points and willing grandparents to watch the kids. We couldn’t wait to get there. We golfed, ate, tasted some wine, biked to Petoskey, enjoyed a happy hour and even took in a sunset at the beach. It was cooler than anticipated – hovering in the high 60s/low 70s – but that ended up being a blessing, because we went out to explore and didn’t spend the entire day by the pool (…next year!).
We couldn’t wait for the kids and our parents to arrive. We just kept saying, “Then we need to do this…” or “Lucija will love that” or “My parents are never going to want to leave”. We checked out of the hotel and into our cozy little cottage for the weekend. We spent the next two days soaking in every part of the experience.
We hated to leave that Sunday, but tried to bring a little piece of Bay Harbor home with us. While walking through a shop in Bay Harbor, overlooking the beautiful boats, we saw this picture that we just fell in love with. It’s up in our bedroom and, while it looks entirely random right now, it will fit in perfectly with what we eventually want our bedroom to become – check out the inspiration board here.
Of course, we brought home an ornament to add to our Christmas tree. Andris and my mom had the great idea of using a Petoskey stone, which are kind of the area’s trademark, as an ornament. Sure enough – we found this ornament made from the stone. It will be the perfect addition.
I also had a small DIY in mind for the kids’ rooms as a way to remember Bay Harbor in a special way…until we get there again next summer. I gathered up a bunch of the white-washed rocks from the beach at our hotel and then purchased a couple of shined up Petoskey stones from a local art fair that we happened upon. I tried to arrange the rocks in a jar so you could see the Petoskey stone, surrounded by all the other plain stones. I think I was hoping it would look a little more contrasted, but my intentions were good, even if the result is more just a jar of rocks…:-/ Regardless, hopefully it’s a way to help our memories of Bay Harbor live on in a little way during our everyday.
The trip was nothing short of incredible. We were so blessed to share it with our kids and both of our parents. I hope this is the start of a long held and much loved tradition for our family. Bay Harbor, we’ll see you next year.