Taylor J

Taylor J

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Taylor J's Northern Michigan Vacation In Pictures

Who knew the Midwest was so beautiful?! About 10 1/2 hours North East of Des Moines is a lakeshore that's been designated as the most beautiful place in America. A few years ago, Good Morning America, via a reader's poll, determined that the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore in Leelanau County, Michigan was the most beautiful place on Earth. I've known this for my entire life as i've vacationed up there from almost birth. My Grandmother made the region her home when she retired from school teaching in the 90s. Even though she passed away a few years ago, I still feel her presence with each step I take in this beautiful region of the country. Upon her retirement, she spent many hours volunteering with the Leelanua Conservancy, a nonprofit that makes sure this beautiful land is preserved and not developed. Trust me, with this beautiful lakeshore, millions could be made in real estate, but instead, the Leelanau Conservancy has done a great job at making sure the land is not over populated nor overdeveloped and we can all enjoy this natural wonder.

Last week, I spent the week at my late grandmother's home in Leelanau County. I went exploring and found the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. It's a 14 mile drive that takes your breath away with each stop more beautiful than the last. The stops overlook Glen Lake (named the most beautiful lake in the world) and the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore along the banks of Lake Michigan. Pierce Stocking created this drive so that we could appreciate its beauty. It's incredible. I took the drive late in the afternoon just prior to sunset, the lighting was perfect.

If you are ever trying to figure out a vacation destination, I can't recommend Northern Michigan more. Well, I kind of can, I still feel like its my beautiful secret. It's not a Spring Break destination, there are tourists, but not an unmanageable amount.

This was the third stop on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. This is the Sleeping Bear Dunes Lakeshore overlooking Lake Michigan. The legend is that a momma bear and her two cubs were crossing Lake Michigan from Wisconsin. One cub couldn't go any longer and drowned forming South Manitou Island. The next cub went a bit further, but drowned, forming North Maniou Island. The Mom made it to shore and formed the Sleeping Bear Lakeshore to watch over her poor cubs. The Manitou Islands are off the lakeshore. Photo: Taylor J.

Iowa isn't the only place with covered bridges! This was the first stop on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Photo: Taylor J.

This is the view from high up overlooking Lake Michigan. The DNR warns tourists from going down the dune to the lake because a helicopter rescue is dangerous and costly, $3,000. People still climbed down. I asked a man how long it took to get back up, he said "45 minutes." It's like climbing a mountain of sand. The view from top... breath-taking. Photo: Taylor J.

This is the second stop on the scenic drive. This bluff overlooks Glen Lake. Glen Lake has been designated as the most beautiful lake in the world by National Geographic. It's sparkling turquoise and clear as glass waters are incredible. Glen Lake was the first place I vacationed in this region and will always hold a special place in my heart. It's comprised of two adjacent lakes, Little Glen and Big Glen. Photo: Taylor J.

This is the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore in Empire, Michigan! Photo: Taylor J.

When I left the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, it was close to sunset. I dipped my feet in Little Glen Lake (amazing) and then searched for this little spot in the hills, Miller Hill. My grandma used to take me to this spot to watch the sunset when I was a young girl. Unbelievably, I was able to find the spot in the hill and witnessed this most beautiful sunset! Photo: Taylor J.

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