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Oh, Brother!

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Veness Travel Media's younger members have their say!

Although we travel all year, often just the two of us, the best trips are when we can take all three of our boys along with us. Ben, Anthony and Mark have strong opinions and we encourage them to express their thoughts about what we see and do. It helps us get a feel for what teens, tweens and gradeschool children really think about travelling, often with surprising results!

The main focus of trips as a family is fun--after all, that's what our readers will be focused on when they visit exciting places all over the world!--but it's work too, and the boys know their input is important. So we decided to take their role to the next level and let them have their say on their own blog.
With pride (and just a touch of fear) we give you:

Oh, Brother!

Introducing Veness Travel Media’s newest ‘bloggers’…………!




Hello my name is Anthony and I'm 13 years old.

I live in England but I come out to America for most of my holidays.

I mainly come to Michigan but occasionally I go to Orlando. Both Michigan and Orlando have some really good places to go to. Orlando has a very wide range of theme parks and water parks to visit, for example, Epcot and The Magic Kingdom both have easy access to them as you can just hop on the monorail and go to them. But if you prefer the wildlife there is also plenty of places you can go to, like Boggy Creek where you can get on an airboat and go out on the lake looking for wildlife. If you want to see some daring acts then you should go down to Gatorland and either take a trip round on the train or you can go and watch some of the shows where the trainers wrestle with gators, or you can watch a scary show on snakes and scorpions.

My previous visits to Michigan have all been jam packed with lots of fun stuff to do such as going to Detroit and supporting the Tigers at a baseball game, and I went to the Renaissance Center to see why Detroit is called motor city. I have also been to the Joe

Louis arena and watched the Red Wings play ice hockey. I also went up north to Lake Michigan and seen how big the lake is. I have been to Sleeping Bear Dunes and climbed to almost the top. I’ve also been to Frankenmuth where I went to a Christmas shop called Bronners which is the biggest in the world. I have most enjoyed going to the ice hockey and baseball games as they are both really fun to watch and anyone of any age can go there. In baseball, as some extra fun, if a ball goes into the stand and you catch it then you get to keep it.




Hi I'm Ben, I'm 17, I live in Michigan, THE BEST STATE EVER!!!!!!!11!1

I like playing video games with my friends, playing guitar even though I'm still a noob, finding weird stuff online, and hangin’ wit ma’ homies.

I’ve been around the world, including pretty much just Europe. It’s really different over there, especially the ‘pretty police’; they’ve got something like thirty colors on just a single car!!!!11!1 What’s with that? I mean, I’ve never seen purple on a cop car before. Is it true that when they find a bad guy he has a thirty minute head-start!?

In France the people enjoy many hobbies such as torturing Americans and cutting in line. But I'm a serious American, so I do something about it…not that I should have. Dublin was also great, even though it rained every day. I still enjoyed it every bit as much as France, even though France did have really good sandwiches! *<: )

Hello my name is Mark and I'm 11. I live in England with my mum and my brother (Anthony), but I and Anthony go on holiday in America (USA). With my Dad (Simon), my step brother (Ben) and my step mum (Susan) and we have a lot of fun.  We mainly go to Michigan (Brighton) but we sometimes go to other places like Florida (Orlando) but we went to Chicago once.
They all have really good places to visit like Orlando:
Feel daring? -  a wide variety of theme parks (my favourite is Magic Kingdom)
Feel like watching breath taking stunts? – Gatorland
Feel like watching wildlife up close? – Boggy Creek
My favourite is the night tour they do at Gatorland and you get to feed the crocs.
Going to Detroit supporting the Detroit Tigers at baseball, live (the best); Supporting the Detroit Red wings at Ice Hockey, live (the best); Supporting the Detroit Pistons at basketball, on TV (the best); Going to the Renaissance Center to find out why it is called the Motor City; Going west to have a dip in Lake Michigan (very cold!); Going north on a long drive to Mackinac Island (the long drive is worth it and there are no cars on the island except a police car and an Ambulance); Going to Sleeping Bear Dunes (a big dune covered in sand in bear shape).
My favourite was Mackinac Island and watching the Ice Hockey games.

The Great RV Trip of 2009!

Our big family adventure of 2009 involved an amazing 7-day trip around Lake Michigan in a large (31ft) RV provided for us by Moturis RV - a highly family-friendly company we discovered at Pow Wow in Miami earlier in the year. It took us from Chicago north into Wisconsin, then across into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and back again via the Lower Peninsula. We stayed in five different campgrounds and really explored some of the big outdoorsy charms of the three states along the way. Here's what the boys said in turn:


When we first got to the RV rental place we (the boys) didn't know what we were going to do. When we saw the RV we were going in, it was cool. We went inside and saw that it was quite big. We watched a DVD and had a little tour of all the spaces we could put our bags and where to empty our waste. Our dad brought the car round and we put all our belongings in the spaces. Our first day we spent driving, we drove to the RV place in the car and then we drove to our first camp in the RV. Our first camp was the Wisconsin Dells. We had got used to being in the RV with all the space. When we got there it was bed time, so we folded out all the beds and went to sleep.

P1060095.JPG(Dad says: The RV rental company, Moturis RV, was based just north of Chicago, and we drove there from MI to pick up the vehicle)

When we got up we had breakfast and decided what to do. We chose to go to the outside water park. So we went there. When we got there the first thing I thought was "wow!" it was huge. The first thing we saw was the water park. There were two of them but the other one was the other side of the water park. We set our things down and went to the first slide. I can't remember what it was called I just remember that it was meant to be something scary. The water was cold! Freezing! First you had to go through a waterfall then go down a slide in pitch black. Then, at the bottom you had to go through another waterfall. We did many more rides including one which was the steepest I have ever seen. We went back and went in the wave pool for 1 set of waves. Then my dad and Ben did this bowl ride where you just go back and forth, up and down. The last ride I did was called something snake or snake something. It was fun, the best ride I think in the park.

(Dad says: it was the Noah's Ark water park, and there is only one but it seems SO big you could easily think it's two!)

We then went on a boat trip, a jet boat trip. The driver purposely tried to get us wet by driving really fast then stopping. A wave of water would come and smack us in the face.

The next day we went canoeing. It was not as fun as kayaking and we crashed a few times. We went in two's: I went with dad, Anthony went with Susan and Ben went on his own in a kayak. We went for ages, every bit of my body ached. Finally we finished. And we only had one stop along the way. Later that day we went to a restaurant with the people that set up the canoeing.

(Dad says: This was in Mosinee, WI, and the restaurant was the Pinewood Supper Club. Quite superb)

The next day was a mixed day; we did lots of little things. We went out on to the little pier. We mucked about until we were bored. We went shopping for cheese. They had really weird shapes like a beer bottle or glass. We also got ice cream and watched how they processed cheese. We also went on this weird boat thing. You make your way to the other side of the lake and back whilst looking at all the fish beneath you. We all got turns steering.

(Dad says: this latter was the Big Spring in Palms Book State Park in Michigan's Upper Peninsula)

Mackinac Island is where we went next. We had to wait for a lift to get to the boat and then went across to the Island. We cycled all the way round the island and a little bit through. We also went shopping, although we didn't find anything of interest. We also went on a boat trip out into Lake Michigan and back. On the boat all we did was relax and watch, it was an ok day but I have had better. Later that night we tried to do a BBQ. At first it didn't work, then it did and we had marshmallows with chocolate in between two biscuits.

(Dad says: the boat trip was actually an excellent catamaran the Mackinac Breeze. True bliss! And British kids don't grow up with ‘smores, either! By ‘biscuits,' he means Graham crackers)

Next was the best day, kayaking. We went kayaking down a river with a lot of bends. It was really just like canoeing; my body ached except it was more fun. We also fed the deer. We were allowed a bag each and we fed deer. Later that night we went to another restaurant.

(Dad says: the kayaking was in the superb Rifle River Recreation Area, while the deer-feeding was a wonderful preservation place called Ogemaw Nature Park near West Branch, MI)

That was the last day, we then just went back to the RV place, returned the RV and looked at some more RV's and that was the end.

(Dad says: OK, he kind of missed a day at the end there, stopping near Michigan City on our way back to Chicago, but he did well with a lot of the detail!)


In our 2009 school summer holiday, my brother and I went out to America to stay with the other half of our family. While we were in America we ended up going on a big adventure in an RV. We travelled all over Michigan and into other parts of the country. We had lots of fun and I'm going to tell you now what we ended up doing.

(Dad says: not quite ALL over the country! MI to IL to WI, back to MI via the UP and then back round to IL)

When we first picked up our RV it looked rather old and small to fit all five of us in so I thought that maybe it wasn't going to be the best trip ever, but as soon as I got inside I realised that no matter how unspacious it was, you didn't get to travel in an RV every day, and from then on things just got better and better. The first place that we went to in the RV was a really cool water park (Wisconsin Dells) in which we stayed for half a day and did a wide range of different and fun rides, all of which were really fun and, if I had the chance, I would definitely do them again. In the evening we went back to the camp for RVs which was called Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park campground; it was really cool there. The next day we went to a jet boat place where we got into this really small boat and the driver did all sorts of really strange tricks that got us soaking wet. It was really fun and I also learnt a bit due to the onboard commentary.

After a good night's sleep we hit the road again and found ourselves at a canoe rental which is what we were going to do that day. The canoes were really slow and hard to maneuver but overall they were good fun to use and we ended up spending most of the day paddling and tiring ourselves out. When we got back to the RV I was glad as I was really tired and achy. That evening we went to a nice restaurant in the middle of nowhere which had really really good food and dessert, we ate and ate until we could not move... much. We went to a new camp which was pretty much the same as the other one except this time we were right next to a lake. After we had filled and emptied all of the RV, we set off to the local cheese factory where we tried some really strange types of cheese and at the end we got some really good flavored ice creams. I got Blue Raspberry.

(Dad says: This RV camp was the Gladstone Bay Campground in Michigan's Upper Peninsula)

The next day we went to a really weird lake place that had a floating hut which went out to the middle of the lake, in the middle of the hut was no floor and you could see right down to the bottom of the lake where there was a strange volcano sort of activity where all the floor was bubbling. For lunch we went to a local café/restaurant where I had really good chili.P1060165.JPG

(Dad says: See also Mark's blog!)

On the next day we took a boat over to Mackinac Island where we did a boat ride around the area and had a bike ride around the perimeter of the island. It was a really exhausting day but it was definitely worth the work as I had lots of fun. In the evening we had a miserable attempt at making smores; they tasted good thoughJ. The next day was kayaking which was good as they are smaller, faster and easier to maneuver than the canoes and due to this I had lots more fun. Later on we went to a deer safety park and fed the deer, it was fun and, when the deer licked your hands, it tickled a lot and made me laugh. In the evening we went to a nice pub where I had a really nice tasting steak and we ate lots and lots of food. Afterwards we took a look round the hotel next door and then it was the end of our trip.

(Dad says: the ‘pub' and hotel were the fabulous Lumberjack restaurant at West Branch and the neighbouring Quality Inn, complete with its unique lumber industry history and Amish furniture)

On our trip I did lots of things that I hadn't done before and I enjoyed every last bit of it. If I had the chance, I would definitely go on an RV trip again.

MICHIGAN IN 6 DAYS (Summer 2008)

Notes about today:
Anthony: We went to Bronner's (the biggest Christmas store in the world) and tried not to get lost in the vast stock of Christmas ware. We had lunch at Zehnder’s restaurant where the waiters and waitresses wear funny German clothes. We went for a walk up and down the main street and took a look in some of the shops. Frankenmuth is based on a German town so there are a lot of differences to most American towns. We stayed at a hotel called Zehnder’s Splash Village where we had quite a spacious room. But we were mostly playing in the water park and going on the two tube slides.
The Almighty Ben The Magnificent: Bronner's was basically a Christ-fest but is still always a fun place to go even if you’re anything else, such as Buddhist or something. Zehnder’s is sort of a fuzzy haze because I couldn’t get over the fact that the previous staff had placed my spoon underneath the tablecloth. It was kind of a chance going to Zehnder’s instead of the Bavarian Inn, which is were we usually go when we visit Frankenmuth. THE CHICKEN IS BETTER AT THE INN AND ZEHNDER’S ONLY TOPS THEIR GRAVY. PLUS, THE NOODLES STUNK
Anthony: I liked the water park best as it was quite big and had quite a lot of different play areas including one with a giant bucket that filled up, then you could stand under it and get soaked.
The Genius and most Handsome Ben: The chicken is always good down in Frankenmuth, but even still, I'm a Bavarian Inn guy. The water park had an excellent hot tub that I would still be in to this day if I could have held my breath just that much longer.
Anthony: I wasn't too keen on Bronner's as it was quite a lot of walking around and looking at different Christmas items and all the big decorations.
Why would others my age like this (or not)?:
Anthony: Other people my age would probably like some aspects but would dislike some aspects, such as the high street (main street) was a bit boring as there aren’t that many interesting shops for people my age. B
en the Destroyer: I'm not like a lot of people on most occasions, so I have no idea what anyone else my age would like. But I have to guess that they would fall in love with the Bavarian Inn.
Mill Creek Park:
Anthony: Mill Creek is a very interesting place to go to as the staff there actually show you how the mill works. The high bridge and the zip wire are really fun, unless you’re afraid of heights. They also have a big climbing wall which is included along with the bridge and zip wire on the adventure trail.
Ben the Intrigued: ZIPLINE, ZIPLINE, ZIPLINE, ZIPLINE, ZIPLINE!!!!!!!! Other than that, the whole thing was educational and interesting. What I liked best: Anthony: I liked the climbing wall best as it is quite high and is really fun to climb Ben the Enthralled: ZIPLINE, ZIPLINE, ZIPLINE, ZIPLINE!!!!!!!!!!
What I didn't like:
Anthony: I didn't much like the mill and the little show there as it was a little bit boring, but it wasn't unbearable.
Neb eht Dyslexic: The mill was a big wooden shack with a log cutter thingy in it. What's the fun in not having something meaty to put in said cutter thingy?? Plus, I didn't get to see the guy with the snake in his shirt.
Would others my age like this:
Anthony: Yes, others my age would definitely like it because they have lots of pretty cool places like a hut where you can pull a rope and then see how water can power wheels. And if you're very very lucky one of the staff might show you his pet snake which he keeps in his shirt.
Ben the Average: It's a good place for walking around, but not if you're a geek. Then it's basically a tech-junkie's nightmare.
Mackinaw Island
Notes about today:
Anthony: Mackinaw Island is a very pretty island where you can go and relax for a few days. What is weird about Mackinaw is that there is not a single car on the whole island so you can walk, rent a bike or get on a horse drawn cart around the island.
Ben the Flabbergasted: It smelled of horse and good food (fudge). It was pretty fun to walk down the center of the road knowing that the worst that could happen was that a fat guy on a bicycle could hit a pebble, lose control of his basket bike, go screaming down the center of the road, and finally come to a screeching halt, thus falling down on you. But other than that ever-present danger looming over our ever-worried heads, it was fun.
What I liked best:
Anthony: I liked taking a bike and cycling along the many paths that wind around Mackinaw.
Ben the Sweet: The smell inside the fudge shops where the air was so sweet that you had to blow your nose every once and awhile to stop the sugar from encrusting itself on the inside of your nostrils.
What I didn't like:
Anthony: I didn’t like the smell of the island as there are lots of horses everywhere.
Yadda Blahblah Bblahblah: Having to work to get the bicycle uphill.
Would others my age like this?:
Anthony: Other children my age would probably get bored as there is not much to do, but it is definitely a good idea to go on a bike ride.
Ben the Amazed: THERE'S FUDGE!!!! WHAT DO YOU THINK A 15 Y/O WOULD LIKE ABOUT IT!!!???!?!?!?!?!?!
Tahquamenon Falls (and Whitefish Pointe)
Notes about today:
Anthony: Tahquamenon falls is a very cool place to go to as you can walk along a path and down some steps and stand virtually right on top of the waterfall. And they also have a really nice restaurant filled with heads and furs of bears, mooses and many more animals. The Shipwreck Museum is quite a nice place to go to find out some ship history.
Ben the Quite Bored: It was a big rocky shelf with water coming off of it, and why didn't the sailors stop going in the direction of the big storm if they knew it was the biggest one that they had ever seen?
What I liked best:
Anthony: The falls, as they are cool to watch.
Just Ben: *sounds of crickets being quiet*
What I didn't like:
Anthony: I didn't like the museum much as it is boring watching the movies and seeing all the different shipwrecks.
Ben the Tiny Bit More Bored: Guess.
Would others my age like this?:
Anthony: Other people my age would like some of the museum but get bored on other parts.
Ben the Thoughtful:: Maybe the falls, but it's just falling water.
Sault Saint Marie
Anthony: There are a few things to do here, like go to the freighter yard and see how the locks work. A good place to eat is called Antlers, which is a very interesting place where at dinner time they can make some very cool noises with some bells they have.
Ben the Confused: What? We went to a freighter yard? When did this happen?!
What I liked best:
Anthony: I liked eating at Antlers as it is fun and the food there is very nice.
What I didn't like:
Anthony: I got a bit bored in the locks as it takes quite a while for the ship to rise and then pass through the gate.
Ben the Dying: Wow, a ship going in the upwards direction.
Would others my age like this?:
Anthony: Others my age might not enjoy the locks but they would probably enjoy Antlers.
Ben the Bullheaded: No.
Traverse City and Great Wolf Lodge
Notes about today:
Anthony: The Great Wolf Lodge is an extremely nice hotel with really nice rooms and a really cool water park with both an indoor and outdoor pool. The slides were all really fun and the hot tub is really nice.
Ben the Solid Opinioned: Best. Hotel. Ever. And the water park is good too, ya know.
What I liked best:
Anthony: My favorite thing was most definitely the water park and in particular the really fun slides.
Ben the []D [] [V] []D: Everything!! Everything's magic!!!! Well, was anyway; then we left. *cry*
What I didn't like:
Anthony: Nothing.
Ben the Open Aired: not-a-thing.
Would others my age like this?:
Anthony: Definitely. The water park is something you have to do when you are at The Great Wolf Lodge.
Ben the Robot [-_-]: Go there and live there. Never leave. You'll hate yourself for it.
Mount Pleasant
Notes about today:
Anthony: We went to Ziibiwing Center and learnt about the Native tribe history.
Ben the still Confused: A museum were I bought some weird dried-corn thing that I still haven't tried when it's cooked. Other than that it was kinda interesting. W
hat I liked best:
Anthony: Sitting down and watching the short movies.
Ben the (insert title here): Leaving the museum.
What I didn't like: 
Anthony: Walking around and stopping to look at animal furs and created scenes.
Ben the Wolf Boy: Entering said museum.
Would others my age like this?:
Anthony: Children my age will probably find it boring as there is not much to do there.
Benny Boy: Fun goes there to die a slow, tortured, and long lasting death in a big room covered in broken glass, barbed wire, lemon juice, cancer cells, pollen, dead clowns, and fire ants. And the only way to escape was to climb through the balloon jungle without touching a single balloon, because they're filled with a slow burning napalm and A1 steak sauce. Not fun.

Simon and Susan Say:

And there you have it! Our 'whistle stop' tour of Michigan turned out to be great fun, even when the guys weren't doing cartwheels over some of what we did. They found humor in just about everything, we were happy to be doing things together, and, most importantly, no-one was injured or killed during the long hours in the car! When asked if they had fun overall, the resounding response was an enthusiastic 'Yes!'

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