Questions You've Heard If You Live On Beaver Island

Questions You've Heard If You Live On Beaver Island

Let's put these queries to rest

I've lived on an island in Lake Michigan for a large chunk of my life, about seven or eight years. My family moved to Beaver Island when I was going into fifth grade. We had been visiting the island for years, so my mom wanted to give it a try. Ever since then, I've called Beaver Island home. Understandably, when people find out about where I live, they tend to have a lot of questions. Sure, it can get a little annoying to answer the same questions over and over, but I tend to forget that most people don't live on islands. Of course people are going to be curious. Heck, I would be too if the roles were reversed. However, sometimes people ask questions that are... a little odd. Here are some of the funniest and most frequent questions my fellow islanders and I get asked:

1. Is it actually an island?

This is, by far, the question that I get asked most often. I don't particularly understand why. Are there lots of places with "island" in the name that turn out to not be islands? Have people deceived you by saying they lived on an island, but it turned out they were lying so now you're weary? Even though I get asked this all the time, I never really know how to respond.

2. Do you have cars?

Most Michiganders are familiar with Mackinaw Island, which is pretty famous for not having any cars (except emergency vehicles). They travel by horse-drawn carriages, and in the winter they use snowmobiles. That sounds great in theory, but Mackinaw Island is way smaller than Beaver Island, so it would take forever to get anywhere that isn't right on main street. Plus, I'm not a big fan of the smell of horse manure.

3. Do you have electricity/phones?

Sure, on the surface these questions seem innocent enough and not particularly funny. It seems that people sometimes ask these questions whilst talking on the phone with someone that is currently on the island. If you called someone and they pick up, odds are within range of somewhere that has electricity.

4. Is there a bridge?

Nope, although I certainly wouldn't be against a bridge. However, I've been told that building a bridge 32 miles long would be too expensive.

5. Then how do you get there?

Just like you would get anywhere else when a large body of water is in your way: by boat, or by plane. Sure, you could wait until the lake freezes and try walking, but you probably shouldn't.

6. Is there a school/how many kids did you graduate with?

Yes, there's a school that covers kindergarten through twelfth grade. There are around fifty to sixty kids enrolled currently, and when I was in school, there were four other girls in my grade. Needless to say, the dating pool was small in high school.

7. What's the name of the lake on the other side of the island?

Again, not a completely outrageous question, except this person was not asking about the inland lakes. No, they wanted to know what lake was around the other side of the island. It's Lake Michigan all the way around, folks.

8. Do you sell meat on the island?

Not everyone is a dedicated vegetarian. Is being vegetarian an island stereotype or something?

9. Do you have fast food restaurants?

Nope. No McDonald's, no Burger King, No Wendy's, nothing. In fact, we don't have any kind of chain stores. When I moved off the island for college, I was elated that I was able to order a pizza at practically any time of day. I still get a rush when I call up Domino's past 10 PM.

10. Where do you go shopping?

We have this cool little shop called Super small, but it has everything you could possibly want! Sarcasm aside, we do have a grocery store and other little shops, but most people order stuff online or go shopping when they go to the mainland (yes, we do actually call it "the mainland").

11. Do you have a Beaver Island license plate?

Every state has it's own cute license plate design and I certainly wouldn't be against getting a special Beaver Island plate for my car. Unfortunately, Beaver Island is not it's own state. We are a part of Michigan.

12. Where are the fudge shops?

Check Lake Huron.

Special thanks to Hannah Robert, Jenna Battle, Sally Stebbins, Lori Sounders, Alexandra Dartt, Deborah Robert, Courtney Smith, Cynthia Johnson, Andrea Moore, John Mcneil, Patrick McGinnity, Clairessa Rose, and Susi Myers for sharing their experiences.

Cover Image Credit: Fresh Air Aviation

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10 Different Places To Take A Horse Riding Vacation

Adventurous Horse Riding Trips

As I have gotten older, I have become interested in more vacation adventures that I can take and include my love for riding horses and take pictures.

1. McGinnis Meadows Cattle & Guest Ranch, Libby, Montana.

This is an opportunity to work with real ranch hands and to participate in cattle sorting and participate in an actual drive.

Cattle Sorting at McGinnis Ranch

2. Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa, Lajitas, Texas.

This is a full-service resort's equestrian center offers lessons and trail riding through the desert mountains bordering Mexico. The resort includes an 18 hole champion golf course, fossil exploration and bird watching expeditions, historical tours and exploring where Comanche and Pancho Villa once roamed.

Trail Ride Lajitas Golf Resort

3. Bitterroot Ranch, Dubois, Wyoming.

This ranch sits south of the Yellowstone National Park, the ride will be a pack trip with a guide, with the wranglers mixing it up and roughing it with the essential comforts. This remains one of the only mean to experience wilderness and other remote, often in restricted areas.

Trail Riding on the Ranch

4. Historical Ride: The Wyatt Earp's Vendetta Ride, Tombstone, Arizona.

This is a five-day historic ide that shadows Wyatt Earp and his posse's trail of retribution against the cowboy faction.

Tombstone Trail Ride

5. Sugarbush Tolt Trek, Vermont.

Riding the Icelandic horses through the countryside of Vermont's Green Mountains. The magnificent views of the ski area, riding through the forest, and neighboring farmlands. The journey continues via "Enchanted Way," a wonderful terrain used by cross-country skiers in winter.

Riding the Icelandic Horse

6. Navajoland, St. George, Utah.

This adventure takes in the most spectacular and interesting parts of the Navajo Indian Reservation. It's deep in the heart of the Southwest Desert. The ancient Anasazi people built a highly developed civilization a 1000 years ago. The ride crosses three distinct portions of the Navajo Indian Reservation, Canyon de Chelly, Monument Valley and Navajo Mountain.

Navajoland Camping on the trail

7. Willamette Coast Ride, Oregon.

An adventure that includes wine tasting and beach riding. It begins in the burgeoning wine country of Willamette Valley, continues through the Coastal Range Mountains, and ending on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. The ride includes the luxury of wine tasting, riding through vineyards, ascending forested mountain trails and having an opportunity to gallop on the beach.

Beach riding on the coast of the Pacific Ocean

8. Scotland: Trail Riding in the Highlands.

This is the only opportunity to ride coast to coast in the UK. The week-long or ten-day rides take the rider through the East, North, and West coast and also beach rides. There is also a seventeen day, 250 miles ride from the East to the beautiful beaches of the North Coast, the beautiful scenery of the wild West Coast, riding out on a huge and snaking loop, and bringing the ride to an end at the beaches of the East.

Coffin Road overlooking Loch Brora

9. Argentina: Ceiling of America Trail.

An adventurous ride through the Aconcagua region among the most massive mountains in America, including its tallest peak, the Aconcagua (23,200 ft).Riding at the heights over 10,000 feet, through the small trails, past unspoiled valleys, and colorful creeks. Witness huge herds of guanacos that still roam free and see where the Andean condors' nest.

Riding through the Mountains in Argentina

10. Greece-Kephalonia

The vacation begins at a German-Greek Ranch, having the opportunity to ride mostly Italian Haflingers.The rider will be able to venture the mountains forested with black conifers, green hills, ancient ruins, herds of goats and donkeys. There is the scent of wild herbs, timeless monasteries, and sandy beaches. It is also the island that Captain Corelli play his mandolin. The accommodations include a small apartment complex and/or with the guides in their own house in the village.

Mountains of Greece

Cover Image Credit: Samantha Clingenpeel

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Here's Why Your Next Vacation Should Be To Walt Disney World

If you haven’t checked out Disney in a while give them a try.

Last week I returned home from a vacation to the what some people call the most magical place on earth. That’s right you guessed it. I went to Disney world. My family spent the new year at Disney and Universal Studios Orlando trying to make the most of the winter break. The weather wasn’t the best and there were lots of people there but, I was impressed with Disney nonetheless.

The first day we arrived at our Disney resort we were met by the luxurious property with plenty of helpful staffers to guide us around and give us lunch recommendations. We decided to stay in the hotel and eat at the food court. While the food was expensive, it certainly didn’t disappoint with many options that satisfied everyone’s appetite. The weather was gloomy due to misty conditions, overcast skies, mild winds, and brisk temperatures.

Half of the family decided to go out and brave the weather to experience Disney’s Animal Kingdom. After walking through the park in the freezing rain we finally ended up in the Pandora section of the park modeled after the planet in the popular 2009 film, Avatar. There weren’t too many people in the park due to the weather so, the lines were significantly shorter than normal wait times.

We decided to take advantage of this and ride one of the two must do rides in Animal Kingdom, The “Na’vi River Journey”. On this ride, you are on a boat and you drift through the water in search of the Na’vi Shaman of Songs. The special effects and technology that Disney has used on this new ride are absolutely incredible. It’s an amazing ride that allows you to feel like you’re actually in Pandora.

After this fun ride, we were ready to call it a day. However, one of the workers told us that the best ride in the world was the “Avatar flight of passage.” People had waited almost six hours to ride it on Christmas day. And with the wait being predicted to be less than two hours, we decided that we had to take advantage of this opportunity. The line was constantly shuffling forward and after a quick wait, we entered into the side of a mountain.

The detail on both the inside and outside of the structure is incredible. The line snaked through an incredible building that depicts different scenes from the avatar movie. Leaving diehard fans like the man in front of us trembling in awe. In reaching the front of the line we have to go through a debriefing process before our mission. We are walked to holding rooms where a video plays giving you instructions and explaining the ride. Then you enter the ride and stow your belongings. You are then linked given glasses and linked with an avatar body that is riding on the back of a banshee.

The experience begins you fly throughout the world of Pandora as wind whistles past you and mist from the ocean sprays you as you take a low dip. Your senses are completely fooled as you actually feel like you are on the back of a giant bird. You are even able to smell the nature around you as you weave through the trees.

I didn’t want it to end. After leaving we all concluded that it was well worth the wait that was less than an hour and a half. Hopefully, Disney is in the cards again soon so I get to experience the Avatar Flight of Passage again.

If you haven’t checked out Disney in a while give them a try. It truly is a magical experience that has something for the whole family. I hope this encourages you to go take your own Flight of Passage as you create your Disney experience.

Cover Image Credit: Brandon Arlington

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