Petoskey, Michigan

Petoskey KOA

July 5, 2021

After a lovely 4th of July at the Airbnb over in St. Ignace, it was time for us to head back across the bridge and grab the trailer from Mackinaw Mills for the quick little trip over to Petoskey – or so we thought. Unfortunately, we weren’t the only ones heading back to the Mitten from the U.P. following the holiday weekend and there was quite the traffic jam ahead of the northern toll booth. It took about an hour for my bitching and moaning to eventually kick in and clear up the traffic and by then we were finally cruising along the bridge on our way to pick up our little home before heading west towards our campground for the next week, the Petoskey KOA.

Like most KOA’s, this campground was a little on the pricier side (especially since it was one of the only campgrounds in the area), but again, with KOA, you get what you pay for – a clean, well-managed park with ample amenities and top-notch service.

Once we were all checked in and set up (as well as my parents, who were also staying here for a few more days before heading back to Oklahoma), we began scouring Google Maps for a good gluten-free restaurant to relax/refuel following our surprisingly long travel day. We ended up settling on the Petoskey Farms Vineyard and Winery, which turned out to be such a good decision. Located on a beautiful property nestled into the hills a few miles inland from Petoskey, this little family owned and operated farm/vineyard/restaurant was right up our alley. The mother and daughters conducted the waitressing/sommelier duties while the father operated the pizza oven, producing some of the best gf ‘za that we have ever come across!

After dinner, we made our way into Petoskey and wandered around downtown for a bit before making our way down to the shore to look for Petoskey Stones (more on that later) and take in thebeautiful scenery that Lake Michigan has to offer.

The next day, we opted to venture back into town, first on bikes (once again, without Sam who had to work ☹️), then again later that evening for dinner at the delicious City Park Grill, which, in addition to the great food, is also famous for being one of Ernest Hemingway’s hangouts when he lived in Petoskey as a young man – even featuring a hole on the bar where he used to extinguish his cigars!

Sadly, the time had come for my folks to leave us and make the long trip back to Oklahoma. However, just as they were scheduled to leave Petoskey, another familiar set of faces came rolling into town – my old high school buddy, Beau (aka Traber) and his girlfriend, Kristen, who made the trip from D.C. in their converted short bus! If you know these two, you will understand when I say that this wacky bus (which they purchased from a hippie commune 😂) fits them perfectly. Beau put a ton of work into this thing and we were blown away by how comfy it was on the inside!

Admittedly, life out on the road can get lonely at times when we are not near any friends/family, but this week in Petoskey was the exact opposite. We had such a good time hanging with Beau and Kristen – from exploring Petoskey’s many breweries to checking out farmers markets sprinkled throughout the area, or just hanging around the KOA chilling by the campfire and playing games (don’t ever play Code Names with these two, they’re cheaters)!

Man, time flies when you’re having fun, and before we knew it, the short bus was rolling out of the campground as Beau and Kristen made their way back to the real world. We were sad to see them go, but Sam and I still had a one day left in Petoskey, and we wanted to make the most of it, so we put on our bathing suits, packed a bag, and made our way over to the nearby Petoskey State Park to do a little relaxing (and detoxing) out in the sun – see banner pic. This little day trip turned out to be a great little cherry on top of our trip to the area. Not only was the weather absolutely perfect but we also managed to find an elusive Petoskey Stone, which at first impression, looks like any old rock, that is until you get it wet, then it seemingly “comes to life” and reveals its true identity – a fossilized piece of coral from the prehistoric reef that once dominated this part of Lake Michigan.

We absolutely loved our stay in Petoskey and its wild to think that we originally booked it as an afterthought, just as a stopover between Mackinaw City and Traverse City. Not only was the natural scenery stunning, but the town itself was seemingly out of a storybook – from the perfectly manicured/landscaped public spaces to the charming Victorian style homes which seemingly came in every color imaginable. If you have never been to this area, make it a point to get up to Petoskey at some point. You won’t be disappointed, I promise!