Ready to hit the sand running, we packed up our first picnic of the summer and drove out to Sleeping Bear Dunes with a taste for adventure and the Grand Traverse Pie Company's famous cherry pie.
Faced with two heartbroken and hungry kids, we turned around and headed back to the campground... unsure of what to do with our night. As we drove, Andrew calmed himself enough to point to the side of the road and ask: "What's that?"
"That is a video store, son. It's a glorious entertainment oasis. Would you like to go?"
For the Millennials: Long ago, when Paula Abdul had a career and every gal had a Kirk Cameron poster beside her bed, video stores reigned. This was a time when children begged their parents to drive them to Blockbuster, hoping to beat the Friday rush for Back To The Future Part II or Dirty Dancing on VHS. This was a world of Be Kind, Rewind. This is a world long forgotten, relegated to its place in time before the rise of the Internet (Also, we encourage you to see the classic film "Terminator" which will explain how the whole Internet thing turns out). The video store is a utopia that our children do not know.
We explained this and so much more to our boys as they dried their baseball tears and pondered this entertainment concept.
Three pieces of advice should you find yourself taking your children into a video store for the first time:
1. There are empty DVD cases with pictures on them, and then behind those cases are the actual DVDs. Don't just grab all the cases with the pictures. That will require a lot of re-wandering the video store.
2. Though the excitement and nostalgia may overwhelm you, try to keep from loudly going on an on and on about how you can't believe this place is still in business or that these nice workers are still employed (for now) at this fantastic relic of a business model. It will make the workers feel uncomfortable. Remember, they're caught in a time warp!
3. Think twice before you text your friend and say "This is crazy! I'm in a video store!" Prepare that she will assume you mean an adult video store... because she, like you up until several minutes ago, did not know that regular video stores still existed. It is not appropriate to take children to adult video stores.
Side note, Family Video has a fantastic business model. Genius, actually. The joke is, indeed, NOT on them. Our experience was fantastic, our kids were entertained for days with movies and WiiU games that they had never seen before, and our total cost for this experience was $1.50 out the door. Bring back the video stores. God Bless America.
More than just Family Video, Traverse City is also home to the National Cherry Festival, Gallagher's Farm Market, a fab bike path called the TART Trail (on which we very comically committed to helping our kids ride their bikes... and then decided a mile into it that playing in the park was better), a selection of killer food trucks at The Little Fleet, and one of the nicest campgrounds we've ever stayed at, Holiday Park Campground.
Mark tried to convince April to throw caution to the wind and stay in Traverse City for the rest of the summer, but she kindly reminded him that Northern Michigan is calling! Sadly, we must move on!
Before we sign off, we would be remiss not to mention a long time friend of Mark's and one of our most avid blog followers, Marc Scott. Marc passed away this weekend, doing what he loved... being a crazy cool aviator and flying crazy cool planes. He was Mark's childhood bestie and an all around amazingly great guy. He was also a fellow RV traveler / adventurer and one of the most positive people we have ever met. We are blessed to have had him touch our lives. Our thoughts and prayers are with his partner, Russell, and his wonderful family that survives him. We love you all! The world won't be the same without you, Marc, but you will always be in our cherished thoughts and memories!