Food, Michigan


The hub, my shingles and I went up north for a long weekend.

Yep, shingles.

The doc said it isn’t contagious. I could, however, give chicken pox to anyone who hasn’t had them, but only if they come in direct contact with the rash.

So I packed the antiviral he prescribed, some Benadryl – in case it got itchy – and Motrin in case it started to hurt. Doc said he’d give me Norco if it gets real bad.

Norco if it gets real bad?

God, I hope not.

I’ve heard stories, I’ve seen fear-mongering commercials.

We headed north Thursday morning as scheduled. First stop: Harbor Springs.

We walked the pier at twilight. Felt like a date.

Next morning we snubbed the hotel’s complimentary breakfast and went into town in search of something good. No offense to the lovely, hospitable hotel.


High atop a hill sat Small Batch at the Cupola, with its welcoming porch.


Oh. Linen tablecloths. This is going to be expensive.


But the little cow creamer was cute.



Flash-fried spinach is my new favorite thing.

The hub ordered a Hansel and Gretel Waffle – gingerbread waffle topped with a maple and peach syrup and a cinnamon cream. He gave me a bite. Oh. My.


I had to snag this photo from their Facebook page to show you because his didn’t last long enough…

After breakfast we headed to Mackinac Island, taking the long, coast-hugging way so we could see the property on which my sister’s retirement dream house will soon be built; the final resting place for her ashes.


Men arrived and began clearing trees.



Arriving at the Island never loses its thrill.


You (meaning me) can’t visit Mackinac Island without saying “hi” to John.


John is the extraordinary father of my delightful niece, Mary.


He’s also the Senior Vice President of the Grand Hotel. If you don’t know the Grand, click here. It’s quite special. If you’ve been reading my blog from the start you’ve been there before.

One of these days I’m going to interview John and tell you all about him. In the meantime, this is his bike.


It’s the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time.

Many who visit Mackinac Island never venture beyond the town, except to rent bikes and ride around the entire perimeter of the island.

I prefer the interior.


I like to hike to Arch Rock.


And check out the view.



If you know anything about Mackinac Island, you know there are NO motorized vehicles (except an ambulance).



It’s all horses, feet and bikes.

After lunch we strolled along the boardwalk, strolled past John’s house.


Browsed some shops. Bought some fudge.


And caught the 5:30 ferry back to the mainland. That’s the Mighty Mac in the distance.

The hub wanted to show me something so we took another short detour on the way back to Harbor Springs.


In a beautiful park-like setting behind a Catholic church in the middle of nowhere waits a magnificent bronze sculpture.



It weighs 7 tons and is 28 feet tall from head to toe.


Truly a site to behold. Love the glow of the late-day sun on the tip of the cross.

Back in Harbor Springs we prowled the streets looking for somewhere not-fancy for dinner.


There was a bar on the corner, down by the water, with a note taped to its door: “Friday Fish Fry $10.99.”

As we stood inside waiting to be seated, the hostess asked if we were there for the fish.  The hub nodded. “I’ll save you one,” she said, “there are only 3 left.”

In the morning I took my complimentary envelope of oatmeal to go as we checked out of the hotel and went forth.


Early morning coffee in Charlevoix.


Lunch in Leland.



I make friends with beagles wherever I go.


This is Bella. And her mom.


You (meaning me) can’t be on the Leelanau Peninsula without stopping at Karl’s aka Brisling Pottery.

IMG_3237 (1).jpg

Who am I to disobey?






Treasures in tow, we headed to the hub’s favorite Leelanau wineries.

I lost a round of miniature golf. Only because I’m sick.

And then over to the Mission Peninsula to check into our B & B.

Dinner was pizza at a picnic table at the old State Hospital grounds.




Those are pickled pears julienned on that pizza. A little tangy and very tasty.


Yes, we did go back for breakfast the next day. I mean, look at that stuff.



Rain Man.

The final day of our get-away began with fruit, yogurt, peach and lavender jam on english muffins, pleasant conversation and a goodbye to our B & B hosts.

It was another weather-blessed day so why not head to the tip of the peninsula, to the lighthouse and climb to the top?


On no-more-than-four-inch steps.

While I climbed and took photos, the hub struck up an over-the-fence conversation with a stranger. It was all about fishing Lake Charlevoix.


Hey, why not stop at a couple more wineries on the way back down the peninsula?


The vines were pregnant, ready to deliver.


Harvest is this week.


With the warm weather we’ve had, Chateau Chantal says 2016 is going to be a very good year. Keep that in mind when you buy Michigan wine.


I can’t have any because I seem to have developed an allergy to sulfites.

But you go ahead. I’m going back to the Pleasanton Bakery. Yes, I did already have breakfast. So what?


Pleasanton Bakery chocolate almond croissant + Higher Grounds brew of the day = good.

Some coffee shops charge $5 for a cafe miel and I pay it. But at Higher Grounds I buy a $2.75 cup of their daily brew and add the honey, cinnamon and cream myself. And it’s really good.



As you know from a recent post, I love it when old things are re-purposed. That’s why I love the old State Hospital. The old asylum.


I wonder what this building will be.


The hub isn’t going to read this post. He’s going to think it’s way too long. But he wanted to show me one more thing as we headed home.


He ignored the “Private Property, No Tresspassing” signs like he owned the place and drove me through the woods and onto the grounds of the Pere Marquette Rod and Gun Club. He’s been there fly fishing a couple of times with my brother-in-law, Mike. He’s going back again in a couple of weeks. He wanted to show me and that’s okay. I like show and tell.

Stopping for lunch in Clare on the way home is kind of a tradition. A tradition we haven’t kept in several years. Lunch at Bob’s Broasted Chicken in the Saturday Evening Post Bar.

Back when the rooster was white, you could feed a family of four for $20.

Now that he has a new paint job, it’s $14 for 2.


This photo-bombing patron ought to be in church.

I don’t know if it was the broasted chicken or all the ground we covered, but the rest of the ride home was kinda’ rough.

Might have been a little too much fun for an old gray mare with shingles.

Rainy day today.







Show & Tell & Raspberries

I saw them as soon as I pulled into the driveway, just back from my early morning appointment with the foot doc. They kept calling to me even after I hobbled into the house.

“Pick me, pick me quick,” each bright red berry begged, “before my fragile beauty fades and my perfect ripeness expires.”

So I strapped on my aircast as soon as the brief summer storm passed and gingerly made my way slightly uphill across the uneven lawn. Sun and raindrops were glistening on the clusters of plump ripe fruit, ruby gems urging me on as I picked all that I could reach without over-taxing my healing foot.



As I pulled my berry bowls out of the pottery pantry, it occurred to me that you might enjoy a little show and tell.


M-204 horizontally bisects northern Michigan’s picturesque Leelanau Peninsula. Just off M-204, almost exactly mid-way between Suttons Bay and Lake Leelanua is an easy to miss driveway that ends on a lawn graced with two small shacks and a barn.



the pottery studio

To the right of the shacks, completely hidden by a stand of trees, is a house. In the house lives Karl Sporck, the artist and owner of Brisling Pottery.

On every trip up North, on our way to our beloved Leland and its beloved Fishtown, we pull into that beloved driveway.

Here’s how it almost always goes:

We pull in and no one is around.

The hub and I enter the larger of the two shacks, plates, platters, bowls, cream and sugar sets, etc. line the walls.  Hanging from the rafters are coffee mugs. Really cool coffee mugs.

We each choose a mug and then we choose a platter or bowl or two or three…


Here’s the cool thing about the plates, platters, bowls…




and even the undersides of some of the lids to the sugar jars:


The pottery is beautiful, but it is those little inscriptions of history – those little time stamps – that keep us coming back.

And then, per the instructions on the main shack’s rustic table, we add up our items, figure in the tax and leave the money in the cash box.

Complete honor system.

Before leaving we take a quick peak into the smaller shack – the one that houses ceramic tiles of various sizes.

Almost always Karl appears from the stand of trees just as we are getting back into our car. We chat for a few minutes and I gush over his offerings.

We always leave a note with the cash, just in case, because sometimes we don’t see him at all.

Brisling Pottery was always one of the highlights of our trips up north.

And then one fateful visit, the pottery was gone! Gasp! The tile sign that used to adorn the smaller shack was moved to the entrance of the main shack.  Both shacks held nothing but tiles – mostly made by Karl’s son, a few carved walking sticks and a few wooden spoons.

I have no idea what to do with the spoon, but I thought it looked kinda' cool.

I have no idea what to do with the spoon, but I thought it looked kinda’ cool.

We looked around, bought a spoon or two and then our disappointed faces met with Karl’s outside.

Too many years bent over his pottery wheel had damaged his back.

It was the end of an era.

Last summer we stopped in, just to pay homage, and we were amazed to find a sparse selection of pottery pieces. Karl’s back was feeling better and he was back at the wheel!

I snatched up four small bowls.

Our June trip up north was canceled after I fell and broke my foot, but we are hoping to get up there in August.

And I’m hoping that Karl will be there, and that he will still have a few pieces left.

In the meantime, raspberries and ice cream for dessert.