Let me tell you a secret- adventure is here- RIGHT HERE- under your nose. You don’t have to go far, spend a lot of money, or take a week off work to find a sacred spot. All it takes is a little research, an attitude of spontaneity, and most importantly, a willing companion.
Before I moved to Michigan, our family lived in Illinois for a few years. I was a young mother, balancing the task of caring for my children while also craving exploration. Lucky for me, I met some incredible friends during this time in the suburbs, making this season in my life a little easier.
A Yearly Tradition
One of these friends is like a sister- she is the blonde to my brunette, but in all other ways, we are the same. She is tall, long-limbed, and always on the hunt for thrilling escapades in the wild. Her name, Teal, reflects her naturally wild beauty.
Over the years, we have seen each other through thick and thin- changes in our marriages, with our children, our jobs, and our locations. Lucky for me, she has always held me accountable for one girls’ trip a year. As we’ve settled into more stable yearly routines, we have chosen to hold these weekends during the late fall.
Over the years, we have traveled to many places- from Marquette down to Southern Indiana. However, last year, we discovered a truly special place that captured our hearts in a big way- and so this year, for the first time, we did a repeat trip.
Our location surprised both of us- landing us in Rockford, MI. There is plenty of natural beauty to go around in Rockford- from the river that runs through downtown to the bike trail that runs for endless miles in either direction.
But, what sets this location apart wasn’t the surrounding area- it was where we chose to stay- at a place called Detach Primitive.
Our Stay at Detach Primitive
What is Detach Primitive? It’s a magical slice of the forest, made for you to decompress. It’s off-the-grid, one of a kind accommodations, designed for you to ditch the screens and dive into nature.
You can stay in a yurt, a hobbit house, an A-frame cabin, or a traditional tipi. All of these are insanely gorgeous, built thoughtfully, and heated with a wood stove or a fire.
A Short Hike or Bike Into This Off-Grid Retreat
Detach Primitive is located just off of the White Pine trail, so you can easily bike into the neighboring towns of Rockford or Cedar Springs for dinners or to hit a local brewery.
The actual accommodations are accessible only on foot or mountain bike. The hike to most of the lodgings clock in at just under a mile. If you are new to backpacking, they provide you with a hearty wagon that you can pull your belongings along the trail.
The Hobbit House
The first year, Teal and I chose to stay in the Hobbit House. It was built into the side of a hill, with a large window looking out into the forest.
Outside of the cabin, there was a swing and a firepit (wood provided). You felt like you were truly alone in the wilderness- the only sound was the creaking trees and falling leaves. We loved to sit out on the swing in the morning, taking it in.
The A-Frame Cabin
This year, with the forecast of heavy rain, we selected an A-frame to stay in. It was heated by a small wood stove, with two rocking chairs flanking this cozy space. There were fairy lights in the cabin, and plenty of space to stay dry and warm.
Things to Do in Nearby Rockford & Grand Rapids
Both Teal and I generate a lot of energy- we like to move, to see, to do, to experience. Throughout our weekend, we filled our time with some thoughtfully chosen hikes, mountain bike adventures, and visited several restaurants and breweries.
If you are looking for some activities in this area- here is a list of the things we thoroughly enjoyed in the Rockford and Grand Rapids area!
Mountain Bike & Hiking Trails
8320 Belmont Ave NE, Rockford, MI
This trail is for intermediate riders as it has fast downhills, table top jumps, roots, rocks and bridges. It is flowy, fun, and sure to make you let out a few “Whoops!” along your ride. The trail is well marked with arrows and intersection posts displaying marker numbers and maps. Total length is about 8.5 miles, but you can make your own adventure with the varied loops.
5950 10 Mile Rd NE, Rockford, MI
With about 9.5 miles of intersecting trail, the trails found at Luton Park have something for everyone. Along your ride, you’ll see a variation of trees, marshes, and bridge crossings over Rum Creek. This is considered “family-friendly”, so a fantastic place to start your mountain biking journey.
Downtown Rockford, just west of the dam in Peppler Park
This is a meandering trail that’s perfect for a short wander after exploring downtown Rockford. The boardwalk offers views of the Rogue River, marshes, and the city.
Brewery Tastings & Great Food
7733 Childsdale Ave NE, Rockford, MI
Located just of the bike trail, we chose to ride to this location. It is set up to enjoy the great outdoors, with the space perfect for sitting out on a sunny afternoon. Their beer has something for everyone- ranging from toasty brown ales, to a variation of IPAs and sours. The food is a perfect match, with a focus on BBQ and unique twists on classic dishes. YUM.
1006 Division Ave South, Grand Rapids, MI
This divine brewery is located just south of downtown. The building is modern, with cozy spaces for gathering, and big windows that showcase their brewing equipment. If you love IPAs, this is the ultimate place for you.
We shared a flight of their IPA selection, and I was hard pressed to decide which was my favorite. I ended up purchasing copious amounts of canned beer to go home with me, as well as a sweatshirt and coozy. Arvon is quickly making it’s way to the top of my list.
6266 West River Dr NE Belmont, MI
This was the most pleasant surprise of our trip! The space overlooked the river beyond, with a cabin-like feel emanating from within. We had a pleasure of taking a “Yoga on Tap” class with Aptitude Fitness.
Not only was the yoga fantastic, but the beer and food was too. The beer menu had an amazing range of options- with some styles of beer I had never heard of. Their German and Belgian beers outshone the rest, proving that all styles of beer have a place at the table.
An added bonus was the food- the birria quesadilla was one I’d come back for again and again.
A Bonus Experience
5041 Alpine Ave NW, Comstock Park, MI
Due to the non-stop rain of our weekend, we exercised spontaneity, and found this relaxing experience. I had never been to any place like this- and it was just what we needed.
Guests are able to choose a private hot tub- some are in the open air, others are covered with a fireplace within reach. Each hot tub is completely secluded, with a shower and changing area provided. You can rent a space for an hour at a time. It is a perfect place to unwind and enjoy the changing seasons.
Fueled by adventure, beer, thrift stores, and yoga, Teal and I thoroughly enjoyed our time away. But, to both of our surprise, what Detach Primitive offered is what we both so desperately needed- the call to stillness and simplicity.
We played games in our A-frame, listened to the rain, completed a puzzle, and stayed up late by the wood stove, discussing life and the joy we are finding in our ordinary days. The best part about our trip wasn’t what we found in our explorations- but instead in the invitation to slow down, stare at the forest, and breathe deep.
Don’t wait another year to plan something meaningful- instead, I’d encourage you to grab a friend and get out there to explore!