Food, Michigan

Michigander

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.

img_3073

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

img_3067

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

img_3064

But the little cow creamer was cute.

img_3065

img_3069

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.

hansel-and-gretel

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.

img_3080

Men arrived and began clearing trees.

img_3083

img_3081

Arriving at the Island never loses its thrill.

img_3089

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

img_3087

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

img_3088

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.

img_3086

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.

img_3099

I like to hike to Arch Rock.

img_3111

And check out the view.

img_3106

img_3092

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

img_3136

img_3132

It’s all horses, feet and bikes.

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

img_3150

Browsed some shops. Bought some fudge.

img_3170

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.

img_3194

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

img_3184

img_3182

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

img_3189

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.

img_3209

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.

img_3222

Early morning coffee in Charlevoix.

img_3241

Lunch in Leland.

img_3252

img_3255

I make friends with beagles wherever I go.

img_3248

This is Bella. And her mom.

img_3269

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?

img_3238

img_3240

img_3239

img_3279

img_3281

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.

img_3289

img_3295

img_3292

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

img_3287

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

img_3297

img_3300

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?

img_3324

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.

img_3330

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

img_3387

The vines were pregnant, ready to deliver.

img_3334

Harvest is this week.

img_3333

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.

img_3392

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?

img_3414

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.

img_3411

img_3429

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.

img_3397

I wonder what this building will be.

img_3395

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.

img_3460

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.

img_3464

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Standard
Jesus, Light, Michigan, Stories from the Island

Sunny, Semi-Serene September

I last visited Mackinac Island on a cold and mostly cloudy weekend in October 2014.

DSC_7787

If you know anything about the island, you know that cars are not permitted there. It’s all walking, bicycles and horse-drawn taxis.

IMG_1307

The island bustles with tourists and clip-clopping horses all summer long. But by late October it is a quiet retreat. A beautiful, quiet retreat. This view from my balcony, with the lone worker heading to his early-morning post, captures the autumn serenity.

DSC_7816

The nights in October are serene, too.

DSC_7590

Gone are the late-night bar hoppers, catching the last ferry back to the mainland. Nothing left but the peaceful glow of quiet streets.

DSC_7607

Excitement was high on that last trip as my daughter, two of her friends and I boarded the ferry to the island.

IMG_0710

Excitement was high as we checked into the Grand Hotel.

DSC_7648

DSC_7488

DSC_7487

DSC_7486

DSC_7483

And excitement was high when we returned, as we contemplated all that God had done.

Back then I shared a little something my daughter wrote in the afterglow.

DSC_7474

I’m sharing it again:

Shelby and Lesley and I weren’t the only ones on the island this past weekend. We brought women with us. Women who deserved to be blessed. Women who needed to know how God felt about them and who He created them to be. Women who had stories to tell, stories that would allow us to learn from each other.

We brought former prostitutes and addicts. We brought women who used to work the streets, and women who currently go out and minister to those who still do.

Really, my mom brought them. She planned the whole retreat and listened when God told her who to invite. Perhaps I don’t know all the factors that were taken into consideration when she chose the hotel on the island as our location, but I don’t think any of us thought about the significance of crossing over water to get to an island until Brenda did.

Brenda was one of the women who came with us. When she shared her story last night, we found out she had been gang-raped at the age of fourteen, an incident that propelled her into prostitution, promiscuity, and drug use until she eventually surrendered her life to Jesus.

During introductions on the first morning Brenda said “I know that God brought us across the water to cleanse us from everything that happened over there. When we go back, it’s going to be over.”

I got chills. And I am just so thankful for everything that this weekend was, and a God who brings His children across the water.

I revisited the island this morning for two reasons:

1. WordPress prompted me to do so.

2. I am planning to return with another group of women. Hopefully in sunny, semi-serene September.

Standard
life

Early Morning Magic

Early morning on Mackinac Island

Early morning on Mackinac Island

The early morning has always been a magical time for me.  It started in childhood.  Once a year my parents pulled my six sisters and me out of our beds at four a.m. and loaded us, still in our jammies, into the station wagon, seats folded down into a nest of pillows and blankets.

My sisters all went right back to sleep, but I was too excited.  I laid there, gazing out the window at the darkness and the occasional headlights, waiting for the sun to rise.

Sunrise meant a stop for breakfast, and wriggling into our clothes.  It was usually just after 6:00 a.m. and my dad had a couple of hours of driving under his belt.

Lunch was always eaten in the car – passed from a large bag filled with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or, in my case, butter and jelly sandwiches because I was the only child on the planet who did not like peanut butter (not counting all the kids who are allergic to it), cookies and plums.

Hotel rooms and restaurants could get pretty expensive for a family of nine, so my dad drove straight through.  Twenty hours from Detroit to Jacksonville.  A quick stop for a fast food dinner, and then tucked into bed at grandma’s house around midnight.

We rented a cabin up north for a week every summer, usually with our cousins.  Every morning, a half hour or so before 6:00 a.m, I would hear stirring in the kitchen.  My dad, uncle and two male cousins would be making sandwiches, filling thermoses, and eating a quick breakfast before heading out for early morning fishing.  I wasn’t allowed to go, it was just for the men, they said.  But they couldn’t stop me from peeking out from my bedroom door, watching and listening as they went about their preparations.  I’d follow them to the end of the dock, see them off and then go back to bed.  Yep, exciting things happen in the hazy up north morning just as the sun comes up.

As a kid I bolted out of bed and threw my clothes on as fast as I could at 6:00 am most Saturday mornings.  Because that is when my dad went for a walk.  He’d walk two to three miles to his favorite breakfast spot.   He was a regular there and people greeted him by name, with cheerful affection, and I was so proud of him for that.  He never woke me up to go with him, he never invited me to go with him, but, if I awoke to the sound of him getting ready and threw my clothes on before he could get out the door, he always let me tag along.  After breakfast we would take a fresh route home.  Even now my heart smiles remembering that early morning bonding with my dad.

It was at 6:00 a.m. that I headed to the hospital for one of life’s most magical adventures.  I had gone into labor at 11 p.m., just as I was getting ready for bed.  No sleep that night, just timing contractions and wondering when to go in.  When I finally arrived at the hospital that early morning, I was greeted with cheerful, open arms.   It had been a slow night in the maternity ward, “Come on in, bring your friends,” they said.

Many a magical vacation has commenced at 6:00 am – like the time my friend arrived at my condo, loaded my bike on the roof of his car and we headed to Vermont to ride our bikes all the way through the state, top to bottom.  I’ve mentioned that one before.

Sunrise on Lake Huron

Sunrise on Lake Huron

The Golden Hour

Standard