My trip up north got off to an adventurous start on Monday when I took a detour into Gaylord, Michigan.
My first stop was a visit to Gaylord's City Elk Park. The majority of the elk were bedded down in the snow, though a few stragglers busied themselves grazing or itching themselves on fallen trees.
The group (numbering about 70) is small in comparison to the free ranging herds of the Pigeon River Forest, but is still an impressive sight to tourists and locals alike. And if you're lucky, you might even hear a bull bugle. In contrast to the pasture of the elk park, downtown Gaylord was bustling. Known as the Alpine Village, Gaylord gives off holiday cheer year round.
The glistening snow andbright Christmas decorations only added to the theme, welcoming visitors to stroll the streets despite the freezing wind. I stopped inside the Alpine Chocolat Haus to warm up and was instantly overwhelmed with the candy selection.
Inspired by my time with the elk, I decided to try a dessert unique to Gaylord: elk patties. Made up of a crunchy combination of chocolate and potato chips and named after the waste created by Gaylord's elk herd, these goodies are delicious despite their less than appetizing appearance.