Great Lakes Adventure part 4: Lake Ontario

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

After our wonderful time on Manitoulin Island, we headed out for our longest day of driving on the trip: 6 hours. We were trying to keep the driving days shorter, because we have lots of kids, several of whom get carsick (along with yours truly). Our 6 hour drive ended up being almost TEN, because of horrendous Toronto traffic. I have been in pretty bad traffic in a lot of cities, including Paris, Rome, Frankfurt, London, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco — but Toronto was the WORST EVER. Which was crazy, because I went there last year and had NO problems at all!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Three of our four with Toronto’s famous CN tower! I’ll give you two guesses as to which kids didn’t want to be in the picture. {The one crying and the one missing…}

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

The old fashioned train station across the street from the CN tower is SUPER cool!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Playing at a downtown playground.

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

A bed! A real bed! I was pretty excited to sleep on a MATTRESS for the first time in a week.

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Lake Ontario!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

It was pretty nice, until the algae rolled in. Then the lifeguard said the beach was no longer safe to swim. But we got to for a little while at least!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Then we headed to a nearby splash park instead.

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

…which the kids thought was super fun anyway!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Gotta love free water parks!

If you missed my posts about Lake Michigan, Lake Superior, or Lake Huron, check them out on my North America Travel page here. Stay tuned for Niagara Falls, Lake Erie, and our Grande Finale!

Great Lakes Adventure part 3: Lake Huron

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

After our wonderful time up at Lake Superior Provincial Park, we headed back south, then east, then south again, out to Manitoulin Island. Our camp ground was called Providence Bay Tent & Trailer, and it was right on Lake Huron. (And it had free wifi!!!! I might have been dying a little from internet withdrawals. My phone didn’t work once I crossed into Canada, so this was amazing!)

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Our campsite!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

This campsite had the coolest forest for exploring! This was only steps away from our tent!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

We got a little rain, but it sure didn’t put a damper on our fun!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

This campsite also had the coolest creatures! We found tons of neat animals and wildlife, and TONS of snails!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Our day at the beach!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Lake Huron had the biggest waves!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

They love the water so much!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Finn really had a blast!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

A few of the waves were so big they knocked him off his feet! (And pulled down his shorts!)

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

The girls, being brave!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Exploring the woods some more — it was such a cool place.

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Connor, king of the rock.

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Finn, practicing his letters in the dirt. Homeschooling, old-school style!

This campground was a blast! Getting on and off the island was sort of a nightmare, and I’m not sure I would do it again… but at the same time I don’t regret it. It’s hard to say! Either way, we enjoyed it! If you missed the posts about Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, catch up on them here. And stay tuned, next up is Lake Ontario!

Great Lakes Adventure part 2: Lake Superior

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Lake Superior ended up being our favorite all-around lake! It was absolutely beautiful, so peaceful, awe-inspiring… words do not do it justice.

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

First we crossed from Michigan’s lower peninsula to the upper peninsula, on the famous Mackinac Bridge!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Then we stopped at the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, to watch the boats go through the locks. Soon after that, we crossed the border into Canada!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

This was my favorite campsite, by a long shot. We were surrounded by trees on 3 sides, with the beach on our 4th side. I fell asleep to the sound of waves crashing on the shore. 

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Lake Superior!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

They loved playing in the rocks and collecting their favorites!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

The stones were a colorful display of hues!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

We went hiking on some crazy terrain!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Big rocks, big cliffs, no railings!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Climbing out on this VERY dangerous ledge to see some Native American cliff paintings.

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Connor and the cliff paintings! It was super cool!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Byron and Lia climbing out to see the paintings.

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Sitting down for a rest on the climb back up.

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Swimming in Lake Superior — it wasn’t NEARLY as cold as I had anticipated!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

We went down the road to a sandier beach for our swim time.

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Burying mom in the sand.

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

They love climbing out on the rocks!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

We had fun exploring the tide pools and rock formations.

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Sophie and I on the beach. I love her smile!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

We went back to the beach again after dinner. Byron and the kids “skipped rocks”, while I read a book.

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

…until this guy came to give me presents!  

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Stay tuned for the rest of the trip! We still have Huron, Ontario, and Erie to go! If you missed my last post about Lake Michigan, read it here!

Great Lakes Adventure part 1: Lake Michigan

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Wow, that was an amazing trip. We hit all 5 Great Lakes in 10 days, swimming in every one of them. I took probably a thousand pictures, but I’m going to break my blog posts up into 5 posts: one for each lake.

Today, let’s talk about our time at our first stop: Lake Michigan! We also visited Mackinac Island during our stay at Lake Michigan. (Yes, I am aware that it’s actually in Lake Huron. But we saw it while we were at Michigan, so I’m lumping it in now. Lake Huron is later!)

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

We stayed at Wilderness State Park, an amazing campground RIGHT on the beach!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

View of the campsites from the beach — just steps away!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

The kids ran off and played in the woods!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

I loved that I could let them run free, exploring and just being kids!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Lake Michigan!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Playing in the water!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

The beaches were soft and beautiful

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

The water was SO clear!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

SO excited for our first beach day!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Cooking our dinner over the fire!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Our first of many campfire dinners around the picnic table!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Gorgeous sunset over the lake!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

And sunrise was just as breathtaking!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

Day 2 we went to Mackinac Island, a quaint little island with no cars. People travel around on foot, by bicycle, or horse & buggy.

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

While on Mackinac Island, we visited the Butterfly House, an awesome little place with thousands of butterflies frolicking around. It was like being in a cloud of them!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

The butterflies were everywhere!

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

We climbed about a million stairs to the top of Arch Rock…

Our Cozy Den's Great Lakes Adventure! ~ All 5 Great Lakes in 10 Days!!

And took a super fun bike ride around the island!

Lots of swimming & hiking at this lake! I think Lake Michigan wins the award for SOFTEST SAND!

Stay tuned for more about the rest of our Great Lakes Adventure!

Au Revoir!

Be back soon!! ~ Our Cozy Den

We’re heading out on an EPIC family vacation — 10 days of camping with all 6 of us in one tent! We’re going to all 5 Great Lakes, and we’re swimming in every single one of them!

Here is our route and major stops:

Be back soon!! ~ Our Cozy Den

So, until I get back, I have some requests of you~

*pray for safe travels

*pray for smooth border crossings

*pray for NO carsickness

*pray for our home to be safe while we’re away

*pray that we don’t lose any more fish during this trip

*pray that we all actually sleep!

*and follow me on Instagram for updates in the meantime!

 

Be back soon!! ~ Our Cozy Den

Hope you all have a blessed end-of-summer and back-to-school! See you in a few weeks!

 

Indian Creek Petting Zoo

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

Recently we took a little trip over the border into Michigan to visit Indian Creek Petting Zoo. It’s located in Lambertville, Michigan, just outside of Toledo, Ohio. My dad had scored a good deal on a Groupon ($25 for our tickets instead of $40), so he gifted us some tickets for our admission.

We’ve been learning about animals this year in science class, so it was the perfect time to visit. We went on a drizzly Friday morning, so it was not crowded at all. Here are some of the animals we got to see (and touch!) during our visit:

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

Petting baby goats!

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

The peacocks were really cool!

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

Alligators creep me out — but the kids liked them!

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

It took Connor some warming up before he would touch any of them. Finally the sheep won him over.

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

Lia is definitely my little animal whisperer: she loved interacting with all of them!

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

More goats!

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

What’s this called again? A za-donk? Zonkey? It’s half zebra half donkey.

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

Sophie liked the llamas. And of course she kept chanting, “Llama llama no more drama… llama llama mad at mama…” and other lines from the books.

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

The bunny pen was another favorite!

Indian Creek Petting Zoo ~ Northwest Ohio Day Trips  from Our Cozy Den

Petting bunnies!

Overall, we had a really nice time there! Like I said before, we didn’t pay for our tickets (we did buy a cup of food to feed the animals). I’m not sure I would pay the full admission price. I can imagine that it costs a lot to run a place of that magnitude, so I understand the need to charge that much, but $45 would have been a lot for our family to spend on 90 minutes of entertainment.

Here is my overall take on the place:

  • It is kind of expensive, unless you go with a coupon or other deal.
  • It was really nice to have hands-on interaction with some of the animals. We got to feed and pet goats, sheep, llamas, & bunnies, and we got to see many other animals as well.
  • The selection of animals was rather small, compared to a regular zoo, but that also made it easier to see them all and spend time with them.
  • It was only sort of stroller friendly. The paths are not paved, so it made for bumpy riding, but it wasn’t so bad that it was impassable.

You can check out current ticket prices & hours on their website HERE and check out Groupon for current deals HERE. (*the deal posted today is not the same deal our family got, it costs more but includes more stuff*)

Check out our other Northwest Ohio Day Trips ~ and follow me on Pinterest for more homeschooling, travel, & recipes!

Frank Lloyd Wright’s magnificent Fallingwater

Frank Lloyd Wright's magnificent Fallingwater ~ Our Cozy Den

I’ve been dreaming of seeing Fallingwater since I was a little girl. I was probably 6 or 7 when I started showing my dad pictures, and begging him to take me. I’ve always had a love of architecture. Some of my favorite features of architecture are balconies, natural light, and the use of stone. I’ve also always loved forests and water. When I was a kid, there was this place I would always go to be alone, that was a huge rock in the middle of a creek in the middle of a forest. I would sit out there and read. Sometimes my brother would try to come bug me, but for a long time he couldn’t get on MY rock, because his legs weren’t long enough to jump to it like I could. Anyways, Fallingwater always seemed to be the culmination of all my favorite things: forest, water, rock, light…

My sweet husband always knew that seeing it was a dream of mine. So when we celebrated our 10th anniversary earlier this year, he surprised me with a trip — saying that he had arranged a babysitter, and we were going to get away for a weekend to go see Fallingwater. Of course, I was elated! We splurged a bit and sprung for the in-depth tour, which is 2 hours instead of 45 minutes. Also, you can’t take pictures on the regular tour, and I knew I wanted to do that!

Here are photos from our visit!

Frank Lloyd Wright's magnificent Fallingwater ~ Our Cozy Den

Steps from the living room lead right down into the water.

Frank Lloyd Wright's magnificent Fallingwater ~ Our Cozy Den

The house has been designed to bend WITH nature, not force nature to bend around it.

Frank Lloyd Wright's magnificent Fallingwater ~ Our Cozy Den

View from the kitchen onto the balconies and waterfall.

Frank Lloyd Wright's magnificent Fallingwater ~ Our Cozy Den

The driveway separating the main house and the guest house. The roof above it is a hallway connecting the two.

Frank Lloyd Wright's magnificent Fallingwater ~ Our Cozy Den

The living room: breathtaking stone floors, low seating all around, and windows on 3 sides. This room sits directly above the waterfall.

Frank Lloyd Wright's magnificent Fallingwater ~ Our Cozy Den

The stone at the base of the fireplace is the original bedrock on the site. Wright used it as part of the flooring, instead of having it hammered away.

Frank Lloyd Wright's magnificent Fallingwater ~ Our Cozy Den

In the living room — where the stairs lead to the water. This is what it looks like closed.

Frank Lloyd Wright's magnificent Fallingwater ~ Our Cozy Den

And when it’s open — the sounds of rushing water drift up, along with cool breezes.

Frank Lloyd Wright's magnificent Fallingwater ~ Our Cozy Den

Possibly the best desk ever — I WANT ONE for homeschooling!

Frank Lloyd Wright's magnificent Fallingwater ~ Our Cozy Den

One of the many balconies. Every bedroom has its own balcony sanctuary.

Frank Lloyd Wright's magnificent Fallingwater ~ Our Cozy Den

Looking from one balcony to another.

Frank Lloyd Wright's magnificent Fallingwater ~ Our Cozy Den

A curved walkway leading up to the guest house, which sits up the hill a bit, at the highest point of the house.

Frank Lloyd Wright's magnificent Fallingwater ~ Our Cozy Den

The guest house also contains the pool, which has no chemicals. Instead, it is fed by a natural spring, which pours in at the corner, and pours out over the far edge.

Frank Lloyd Wright's magnificent Fallingwater ~ Our Cozy Den

A funny cartoon, hanging in the office of one of the caretakers.

Frank Lloyd Wright's magnificent Fallingwater ~ Our Cozy Den

View of the house from across the river.

Frank Lloyd Wright's magnificent Fallingwater ~ Our Cozy Den

The most famous viewpoint to see the house — aptly called on all the signs “View”. You can see the living room, several balconies, and the grand fireplace (which has hearths in at least 3 rooms, maybe 4, I can’t remember for sure).

Frank Lloyd Wright's magnificent Fallingwater ~ Our Cozy Den

A little girl’s dream came true!

Fallingwater is located in Pennsylvania, about an hour south of Pittsburgh. See the official Fallingwater site for tickets and tour information.