Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis, Minnesota
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An Autumn Lake of the Isles Walk

On a crisp early October day, a friend and I took a walk around the Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

It was hard not to notice all of the high-end houses in this area, but the lake is what caught my attention because being around water brings my heart peace.

Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Lake of the Isles, Minneapolis, Minnesota

The city is close by but, outside of glancing at it, the noises can’t be heard.  So peaceful ~

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Como Park Conservatory, St Paul, Minnesota
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Japanese Garden at the Como Park Conservatory

We get so few visitors since moving to Minnesota. I wonder if everyone is afraid of the mosquitoes or the snow. (laughing)

Fortunately, we had one brave soul come out to experience our autumn weather and she wanted to go to the St Paul Marjorie McNeeley Conservatory.

My husband and I had been here in the spring and it looks so different in autumn.

Here are a few pictures of what we saw ~ I really like the fence …

Japanese Garden, Como Conservatory

Japanese Garden, Como Park Conservatory

Japanese Garden, Como Conservatory

Japanese Garden, Como Park Conservatory

The sound of a waterfall is so peaceful ~

Japanese Garden, Como Conservatory

Japanese Garden, Como Park Conservatory

There were so many koi in the water waiting to be fed. I wonder what they do with them in the winter … ?

Japanese Garden, Como Conservatory

Japanese Garden, Como Conservatory

Como Conservatory, St Paul, Minnesota

Como Conservatory, St Paul, Minnesota

Como Conservatory, St Paul, Minnesota

Como Conservatory, St Paul, Minnesota

Even in early October, flowers were still blooming.

Como Conservatory, St Paul, Minnesota

Como Conservatory, St Paul, Minnesota

Such a vibrant color on the tree!

Como Park Conservatory, St Paul, Minnesota

Como Park Conservatory, St Paul, Minnesota

I definitely recommend a trip to the Como Park Conservatory ~ especially in autumn.

 

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Fudge

Yes, fudge. My husband’s favorite dessert.

There’s so many different kinds of fudge. And the best kind is the melt-in-your-mouth kind’ve fudge.

On our recent trip to Mackinac Island in Michigan, we saw so many places that were selling fudge that it made me wonder if it’s the fudge capital of the world.  (laughing)

Nonetheless, we walked into The Original Murdick’s Fudge store and bought three slices of fudge ~ chocolate, chocolate mint and chocolate walnut. Yuuuummmmmm.

The Original Murdick's Fudge, Mackinac, Michigan

The Original Murdick’s Fudge, Mackinac, Michigan

In all honesty, I bought one slice for a neighbor who recommended we go to Mackinac Island. But, since we didn’t get a chance to head over to his place right away, I froze it.

As life would have it (who else can I blame it on?), we took the slice of fudge out of the freezer and slowly but surely it got eaten. I just don’t know how it happened.  (laughing)

Oh well …

Now, I know you must think I’m a bad person by now, I mean, who would buy a gift for someone and then eat it themselves?

So I want you to know (honesty is the best policy you know) that I ordered 3 more slices from Murdick’s Fudge ~ this time my neighbor will get all three slices.

Really! You can believe me ….

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Marquette, Michigan

On our travels through Michigan and Wisconsin, we stopped at a small town called Marquette, Michigan, population approximately 21,000.

Since we were just “driving through” I didn’t think we would see anything noteworthy but I was wrong. I’m always interested in learning more about Midwest living.  So, guess what I found?

Do you know what this is?

Fish Cleaning Station

Fish Cleaning Station

Yes, it’s a fish cleaning station. I had never seen one before so this was a first for me. I like “firsts” as it means I’m still learning.

This station came with very explicit directions ~ good to know the head of the fish must go in first.  (laughing)

Directions on a fish cleaning station

Directions on a fish cleaning station

Hmmm … this doesn’t sound like it’s much fun though ~ clean up all blood? Well, I eat fish but I’ve never cleaned one or seen one cleaned before.

Directions on a fish cleaning station

Directions on a fish cleaning station

Does one use a special knife to cut the fish into pieces?

Directions on a fish cleaning station

Directions on a fish cleaning station

I’ll have to make a mental note to find a fish cleaning station while it’s in use ~ now those would be some nice pictures.

Here’s a view of the area right behind the cleaning station.

Lower Harbor, Marquette, Michigan

Lower Harbor, Marquette, Michigan

The picture below is of a Marine TraveLift for boats and is used to lift the boats out of the water so they can be worked on or cleaned.

Marine Travel Lift

Marine Travel Lift

After we left the Lower Harbor, we drove around town and I spotted an old church and had to take a few pictures.  The colors on this rotunda are beautiful.

St Peters Cathedral, Marquette, Michigan

St Peters Cathedral, Marquette, Michigan

Look at the detail …

St Peter's Cathedral, Marquette, Michigan

St Peter’s Cathedral, Marquette, Michigan

Old churches are so beautiful.

St Peters Cathedral, Marquette, Michigan

St Peters Cathedral, Marquette, Michigan

Small towns have a lot of history in them, don’t they?

To read more information on St Peter’s Cathedral, click here.

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Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions
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Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions

Okay so, the original recipe from the New Way to Cook Light cookbook is called Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Shallots, but I had a problem with the shallots. I burned them. I was working on the rest of the recipe and took my eyes off the shallots ~ it happened and it’s over. I was able to improvise quite well (and with plenty of time) with regular onions that I caramelized. Whew!

Loved this paleo vegetarian recipe and I’m sure you will too. I’ve changed the recipe to use the onions instead of the shallots along with using pure maple syrup in place of brown sugar.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need (less the olive oil and imagine there are onions instead of shallots in the picture below) ~

Ingredients

Ingredients

I try to have the onions caramelized before doing anything else because they can sit off to the side after they’re cooked.

Caramelize Onions

Caramelize Onions

Next, I cleaned the two large sweet potatoes, peeled them and cut them into small 1-2 inch pieces

Clean and Peel Sweet Potatoes

Clean and Peel Sweet Potatoes

Dice Sweet Potatoes

Dice Sweet Potatoes

Then I boiled the potatoes until they were soft to get them ready for mashing ~

Boil Potatoes

Boil Potatoes

This is the amount of rosemary that I used ~

Diced Rosemary

Diced Rosemary

Next I drained the soft boiled potatoes, used a hand mixer to mash them, added the rosemary, salt and pepper then added the caramelized onions on top.

Ready to see the recipe?

Ingredients

  • 5 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onions (about 1 large or 2 medium)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 1 1/3 pounds sweet potatoes, cleaned, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Directions

  1. Heat 4 teaspoons of olive oil in a medium skillet over low heat.
  2. Add the onions and the maple syrup to the pan and cook for 30-45 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions are caramelized. Once the onions are ready, remove them from the stovetop and set them aside.
  3. Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with water.
  4. Bring the potatoes to a boil ~ about 8 minutes or until tender, then drain them.
  5. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. (Alternately, you can could mash them with a potato masher.)
  6. Add the rosemary, salt, and pepper to the potatoes and beat again until blended.
  7. Place the potatoes in a bowl then top with the caramelized onions.
  8. Drizzle with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil.

And ~ here’s the final product.

Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions

Paleo Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions

I served this with baked Chicken Thighs and a Salad. Yum!

Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions

Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onions

Oh ~ you want to see my mistake with the shallots, do you? Well, okay. Here it is.  Don’t judge ~ remember that in the end, I was able to save the day. (smile)

P1110627

Burnt Caramelized Shallots

The original recipe was found in the cookbook called The New Way to Cook Light, page 319.

 

The New Way to Cook Light, page 319, 4 small shallots, pure maple syrup (about 1 teaspoon)

 

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World War II Glider and Military Museum
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WW 2 Glider

Behind the Cornish Pump Museum building which is located in Iron Mountain, Michigan sits the World War II Glider and Military Museum which opened in 2011 and has one of only seven fully-restored CG-4A gliders in the world.

We found the museum while on our travels home from vacation through northern Michigan.  We decided to skip the Cornish Pump part of the museum and headed to the back to see the glider (you have to pay two different fees for each section). Side note: There isn’t parking for those with disabilities unless you have someone in a wheelchair and want to push them across a large grassy area.

The Military Museum is very interesting and has lots of interesting displays.

World War II Glider and Military Museum

World War II Glider and Military Museum

But, our interest was more in the World War II glider.

Clyde Unger of Spread Eagle, Wisconsin was honored for his undertaking of the reconstruction of this WWII CG 4A Glider. Mr. Unger volunteered over 15,000 hours of his time from 2005 to the spring of 2011 working on this reconstruction.  Amazing, isn’t it? So much dedication on his part to keep glider history alive.

World War II Glider

World War II CG 4A Glider

World War II CG 4A Glider

World War II CG 4A Glider

World War II CG 4A Glider

World War II CG 4A Glider

World War II CG 4A Glider

World War II CG 4A Glider

The glider is quite large! Humongous! Below are some of the 70,000 parts that are needed for the Glider.

Parts Used for World War II CG 4A Glider

Parts Used for World War II CG 4A Glider

World War II CG 4A Glider

Inside the World War II CG 4A Glider

World War II CG 4A Glider

Inside World War II CG 4A Glider

The costs of the CG 4A Glider from 16 manufacturers varied from $1.7 million for one glider from National, $308K each for seven gliders from Ward Manufacturing Company to $51K each for 60 gliders from Babcock Aircraft. Ford produced the most (4190) gliders at the lowest cost of $15,400 each. (This information was from one of the displays at the museum.)

Glider Statistics:

  • Wing Span – 83 1/2 feet
  • Length – 48 feet
  • Height of Tail Off of Ground – 12 1/2 feet
  • Weight – 3670 pounds
  • Towing Speed – Varied between 136 mph and not to exceed 158 mph depending on gross weight
  • Land Speed – 70 to 80 mph
  • Room to Land at Above Speed – 600 to 800 feet
  • Length of Single Tow Roper – 350 feet
  • Length of Double Tow Rope – 425 feet

Pretty cool, eh?

For additional history on this glider, please click here.

 

 

 

 

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Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan
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Of Vacations and Death (4)

The death of a person in one’s life can leave one with mixed feelings. In my case, I felt a sadness at my father’s death yet my brain wasn’t quite able to process it. Not yet. I cried a bit, composed myself and continued on to what would be the best part of our vacation. Yet, there were moments when tears would swell and I didn’t understand why.

I simply didn’t know my father. And that was probably what made me the saddest. I understand that we can’t truly know people 100% but I would have settled for 50% or even 25% … something more than what I had which was mostly other peoples stories about my father that tended to conflict with each other.

My husband and I continued our drive northward to Munising, Michigan where we wanted to take an almost 3 hour cruise on Lake Superior to see the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore which is a part of the National Park Service.

Upon arrival, we noticed there was a boat leaving within 10 minutes but we decided to wait, have lunch and take the 4 p.m. cruise instead. Later, I was thankful we made that decision because as we headed east on the shore the sun reflected quite differently than when we returned. It was quite spectacular as evidenced in the pictures below.

We were blessed with sunshine which offset the cold temperature just a little bit ~ 54° Fahrenheit. Brrr … We were told that the temperature out on the water would be 10° colder. More brrrrr ….

I had packed a winter hat and a blanket for this trip so carried them onto the boat with me.

Although the waters were choppy, once we left the pier people headed to the back of the boat to take pictures. We were warned by our tour guide not to use up all of our film at the beginning of the trip as the rocks would be prettier later on. Film? We all laughed although he was serious as he said he’s probably one of the few people left who uses a camera that has film in it.

This could have been a very emotional day for me but for the beauty of the earth. I believe that in God’s foreknowledge He knew that I would need to be in this spot experiencing these moments.

Death would not overcome earth’s beauty ~ at least not today.

The rock formations soon started coming into view.

At first, I tried to take pictures through the window glass but they weren’t coming out very well. I walked to the back of the boat where people were crammed together jostling to take pictures. Being as I’m short, I couldn’t take pictures over peoples heads so I went back inside and waited for some people to come back inside. Sure enough, as people got cold, they started flocking back in to the warmth of the interior of the boat. Finally I had my opportunity to take pictures.

The pictures below are just a few of the ones I took. You may see some pictures that appear to be duplicates but there will be variations because of the reflection of the sun ~ one heading out from the pier and one returning to the pier.

God’s intervention in this particular moment in my life was welcomed ~ He couldn’t have had better timing.

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

“But whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

“The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

“Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” Psalm 9:10

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

“As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.” Psalm 27:19

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” Psalm 40:2

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

“But you, God, see the trouble of the afflicted; You consider their grief and take it in hand. The victims commit themselves to You; You are the helper of the fatherless.”  Psalm 10:14

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

“Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord Himself, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:4

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise Him.”  Psalm 28:7

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Lord my God, I called to You for help, and You healed me.” Psalm 30:2

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

“The Lord is the strength of His people, a fortress of salvation for His anointed one.” Psalm 28:8

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

“Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 62:6

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Lord, be gracious to us; we long for You. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress.” Isaiah 33:3

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

“Since You are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of Your name lead and guide me.”  Psalm 31:3

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

“He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.” Psalm 91:4

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and He helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” Psalm 28:7

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

Pictured Rocks National Shoreline, Michigan

 

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore cruise that we took was approximately 3 hours long and went along the 40 miles of shoreline. The price was $36 per person and was well worth it ~ sometimes you can’t put a price on beauty.

Neither can I put a price on a Father who is always there watching over me. Earthly fathers may disappoint because they each have their own weaknesses that they are battling. But not my heavenly Father.

Time and time again He steps into my life ~ He’s always there but it is I who miss some of the everyday blessings He bestows on me. Yet ~ He stepped in again and made sure that I knew He was near me. Standing in front of me to guide me, beside me to listen to me and behind me in case I should fall.

I don’t know if I will see my earthly father in heaven. The last time I spoke to him he spoke of God, but I don’t know what his relationship was like with God when he died.

I will hope ~ that’s all I can do. Perhaps he will answer the questions I have in my heart about him. Perhaps.

For now, I can be at peace knowing that my Father in heaven will never leave me nor forsake me.

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Of Vacations and Death

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Icebreaker Mackinaw, Mackinaw City, Michigan
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Of Vacations and Death (3)

This was a really really strange day. We had breakfast at the Clearwater Lakeshore Motel as they have a wonderful variety of food for their continental breakfast.

From there, we headed over to take a tour of the U S Coast Guard Icebreaker Mackinaw WAGB-83 which is no longer in service.

The tour is self-guided although there were two women who helped direct us along the way.

Icebreaker Mackinaw

Icebreaker Mackinaw

Icebreaker Mackinaw

Icebreaker Mackinaw

The stairs going up to the ship are steep as are the stairs inside as you ascend and descend to different levels.

Icebreaker Mackinaw

Icebreaker Mackinaw

The IceBreaker Mackinaw was built during World War II to help with the war effort by meeting the demands of war materials and transportation during the winter months.

The ship was decommissioned in 2006 and sits in Mackinaw City, Michigan and is open for tours.

Below is a picture of one of the engines.

P1110253

Icebreaker Mackinaw Engine

Here is a picture of some of the uniforms they wore.

P1110246

Icebreaker Mackinaw, Uniforms

Below are a few more pictures of the inside of the ship.

Sleeping Quarters, Icebreaker Mackinaw

Sleeping Quarters, Icebreaker Mackinaw

Stairs, Icebreaker Mackinaw

Stairs, Icebreaker Mackinaw

I had to go down these steps sidesways …

Stairs, Icebreaker Mackinaw

Stairs, Icebreaker Mackinaw

Engine Room, Icebreaker Mackinaw

Engine Room, Icebreaker Mackinaw

Icebreaker Mackinaw

Icebreaker Mackinaw

P1110256

Icebreaker Mackinaw

P1110258

Icebreaker Mackinaw

Kitchen, Icebreaker Mackinaw

Kitchen, Icebreaker Mackinaw

Icebreaker Mackinaw, Mackinaw City, Michigan

Icebreaker Mackinaw, Mackinaw City, Michigan

The businesses who live in the Mackinaw City area looked forward to when the Icebreaker Mackinaw would plod through the Great Lakes ice to pave the way for materials to go back and forth.

The cost for this tour was $11 per person. If you like historical tours, this tour is for you.

The day progressed and everything was going along smoothly until we stopped and I checked my Facebook account. My half sister had posted that our father’s funeral was the following day. I was taken aback as there was no time to order flowers or attend the funeral if any out of state relatives wanted to do that.

Isn’t it strange? Social media seems to be used in place of what I would consider common courtesies.  A call asking if I (or any other out of town family) was interested in attending the funeral would have been nice.

Thank you’s, sympathy cards, calls to offer condolences ~ what happened that people don’t offer these courtesies anymore?

I took it in stride because ~ what else could I do?

We continued our travels to Munising, Michigan which, in my humble opinion, was truly the best portion of the trip.

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Tree, Lake Huron, Mackinaw City, Michigan
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Of Vacations and Death (2)

We continued our journey to northeast Michigan and stopped in a town called Ludington to look at the shoreline of Lake Michigan

It was another sunny beautiful day … except …

Lake Michigan, Ludington, Michigan

Lake Michigan, Ludington, Michigan

It was too windy to take the walk on the pier to the Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse off in the distance. The waves lapped over the pier and we weren’t ready to risk our lives just to see a lighthouse. Would you?

This lighthouse was built in 1924, is 57 feet tall and is open for tours and tower climbing. Although it was not currently open, there were people braving the weather and walking on the pier. It’s about a 1/2 mile walk to the lighthouse.

Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse, Ludington, Michigan

Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse, Ludington, Michigan

When we returned to the car, we continued our drive to what we thought would be the highlight of our trip ~ Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island.  We called and booked a room at the Clarion Hotel ~ a mistake ~ for one night. (More on this hotel in a different post.)

Mackinaw City is a quaint city with most everything within walking distance.

The next morning, we headed to Starbucks before we boarded the ferry, The Star Line, to Mackinac Island. (Side note:  The French pronounced Mackinac as “aw” but spelled it “ac”. The British heard it pronounced “aw” so they spelled it that way. Whichever way it is spelled, it is always pronounced “aw.”) Aren’t you glad you have that tidbit of information?

Starbucks, Mackinaw City, Michigan

Starbucks, Mackinaw City, Michigan

It was this day, September 18th, that I heard my father passed away. I guess if one is going to hear bad news then a day like today is a good day for it. It was sunny, the day felt crisp and although clouds loomed in the distance it never rained.

I felt conflicted ~ sad at what could have been. My father had left when I was about 5 years old and I had only seen him 3 times since then. About 10 or so years ago, he tried to make contact with his five children but I was the only one who wanted to communicate with him. Waiting for the Star Line ferry to take us to Mackinac Island, I looked out at the water ~ my mind was blank.

Star Line Ferry, Michigan

Star Line Ferry, Michigan

Lake Huron, September

Lake Huron, September

The ferry trip to the island took approximately 25 minutes. It was a somewhat bumpy ride because the wind was blowing.

Once on the other side, we headed to a restaurant called the Sea Biscuit for breakfast.  Fortunately we arrived right before they stopped serving breakfast. The food was good (service was great) but they don’t serve much of it so had I been really really hungry I might not have gotten full.

Once we finished breakfast, we stepped outside to enjoy the city. My mind was still numb from the news of my father’s death but I was determined to continue this trip upbeat.

Mackinac Island does not allow cars so carriage horses and bicycles are the norm.

Bicycles, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Bicycles, Mackinac Island, Michigan

The bicycles are for rent ~ the one sign I saw was for $5.00 an hour.

Bicycles, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Bicycles, Mackinac Island, Michigan

We decided not to take a carriage ride although since it was the off season there were plenty of empty ones waiting for tourists to rent. The carriage below is going to the Grand Hotel.

Horse Carriage, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Grand Hotel Horse Carriage, Mackinac Island, Michigan

A neighbor of ours recommended we visit the fort here ~ it’s a long walk up.

Fort Mackinac, Michigan

Fort Mackinac, Michigan

As we started our ascent, we passed the Trinity Episcopal Church which has been here since 1882.

Trinity Episcopal Church, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Trinity Episcopal Church, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Then I took a picture of the view ~ very pretty.

View from Fort Mackinac Island

View from Fort Mackinac Island

Finally we reached the Fort Mackinac entrance …

Entrance, Fort Mackinac, Mackninac Island

Entrance, Fort Mackinac, Mackninac Island

The fort was built by the British army during the American Revolutionary War.  The Officers Stone Quarters, started in 1780 at Fort Mackinac, is the oldest building in the State of Michigan.

“Fort Mackinac was turned over to the United States in 1796. But the fort and control of the Straits of Mackinac were recaptured without a battle during the War of 1812. British forces in Canada learned of the start of the war before the Americans and surprised the garrison with a much superior force of soldiers, European civilians and Native Americans on July 17, 1812. American forces attempted to recover the fort in 1814, but were defeated and also lost two sailing vessels used to blockade the harbor. Following the end of the war, Fort Mackinac was returned to the United States.” MightyMac.org

The “hole” below was of particular interest to me ~ weird, huh? ~ as it was a prison cell. Really it was a dungeon with stone walls and a dirt floor and was supposed to break the spirit of anyone who was placed in the hole as there was no light and was quite damp.

The Black Hole, Fort Mackinac, Michigan

The Black Hole, Fort Mackinac, Michigan

Here are a few more pictures of the fort ~

The Guardhouse, 1828, Fort Mackinac

The Guardhouse, 1828, Fort Mackinac

The "Tea" Room , run by the Grand Hotel

View of the Mackinac Bridge, Michigan

Billiard Room, Fort Mackinac, Michigan

Billiard Room, Fort Mackinac, Michigan

Fort Mackinac, Michigan

Fort Mackinac, Michigan

Firing the cannon ~

Preparing to fire the cannon

Preparing to fire the cannon

Preparing to fire the cannon

Preparing to fire the cannon

Firing the Cannon

Firing the Cannon

Fort Mackinac, Michigan

Fort Mackinac, Michigan

Fort Mackinac, Michigan

Fort Mackinac, Michigan

There are many more pictures but … just a few to whet your appetite for visiting Mackinac Island also known as Mighty Mac.

Heading back to town, I spotted what I call “bicycle pooper scoopers.” The employees who ride up and down the streets in these bicycles are very efficient at picking up the horses, uh, poop.

Bicycle Pooper Scoopers

Bicycle Pooper Scoopers

Here are a few more miscellaneous pictures that I took that I believe you’ll enjoy  …

Horses, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Horse Hooves, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Flowers, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Flowers, Mackinac Island, Michigan

A "Cottage" on Mackinac Island, Michigan

A “Cottage” on Mackinac Island, Michigan

Even the supplies are transported by horses … wow!

Transporting Supplies, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Transporting Supplies, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Horse Parking, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Horse Parking, Mackinac Island, Michigan

We walked “up” to the Grand Hotel. We didn’t stay here as we thought the rates were a little steep for our budget but I recently checked and for October I found rates as low as $127 a night. That’s not too bad …

Park Grounds, Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Park Grounds, Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan

he Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan

The Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan

The street in front of the Grand Hotel is owned by the hotel so in order to “walk” on it or go inside the hotel you have to pay $10 if you’re not a paying guest.

he Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan

The Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Perhaps next time we go we’ll stay at the Grand Hotel and take pictures of the interior. After 6 p.m. though you do have to dress “properly.” I’m surprised that they are able to get away with such a policy in this day and age. I mean, dresses for women? I’m not complaining … just commenting.

Dress Standards, Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island

Dress Standards, Grand Hotel, Mackinac Island

And now, to head back to the ferry dock … beautiful flowers blooming in September.

Flowers, Mackinac Island, Michigan

Flowers, Mackinac Island, Michigan

My mind managed to stay far away from feeling stressed about my father’s death. I knew there would come a time when this wouldn’t be the case, but for now I was thankful that beauty overcame death.

This evening, we stayed at the Clearwater Lakeshore Motel in Mackinaw City. What a difference from the Clarion Hotel the night before. The Clearwater is a couple or so blocks from downtown. It is family owned (very friendly owners), quiet and is right on the lake. When we checked in, we were given matches so we could have a campfire if we wanted to ~ the logs were provided. So very nice …

And, it was not expensive at all. The owners went above and beyond the call as I had left my camera charger at home and believed I was not going to be able to take any more pictures on this trip since my camera had “died.” Not so! The owners gave me their own camera charger and allowed me to mail it back to them. (You’ll be thankful of that also when you see additional pictures.)

Now ~ is that service or what?

Here’s the view from our room … so peaceful.

View from the Clearwater Lakeshore Motel, Mackinaw, Michigan

View from the Clearwater Lakeshore Motel, Mackinaw, Michigan

We took one last drive around the town. The rains were coming, but the Mackinac Bridge enticed us with its beauty this evening.

Mackinac Bridge, Michigan

Mackinac Bridge, Michigan

Yes, the water was that green …

View of Lake Huron, Mackinaw City, Michigan

View of Lake Huron, Mackinaw City, Michigan

Now ~ as this tree in the wind, I would have to allow my mind to process the death of my father. It must bend in the storm of life …

Tree, Lake Huron, Mackinaw City, Michigan

Tree, Lake Huron, Mackinaw City, Michigan

Related Posts …

Of Vacations and Death (1)

Of Vacations and Death (3)

Of Vacations and Death (4)

 

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Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan
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Of Vacations and Death

A planned 8 day vacation and my father’s death all in one week ~ not quite the combination I was looking forward to.

Let me start with the vacation ~ the happy part of our 8 days.

After attending my aunt’s 80th surprise birthday party we headed to Gary, Indiana and visited with an uncle I hadn’t seen in over 30 years.  Since my father didn’t play a large part in my life neither did his family but this uncle kept in touch with me and he told me that my father was not well.

After the visit, we stopped at the Indiana Sand Dunes on our way to northern Michigan. The dunes were quite different than how I remembered them as a child ~ they looked a lot smaller. (haha)

Indiana Sand Dunes

Indiana Sand Dunes

A busload of students were also at the dunes and since it was a tad chilly most were sitting around or playing a game of football.

Indiana Sand Dunes

Indiana Sand Dunes

The view of the Chicago skyline was in the background ~ a bit foggy but still a nice picture.

Chicago Skyline from Indiana Sand Dunes

Chicago Skyline from Indiana Sand Dunes

Our next stop was Holland, Michigan where we would spend the night at the Hampton Inn hotel. The breakfast here was not great ~ just okay. So, we grabbed a quick bite then headed over to a coffee shop named Lemonjello’s which is close to Hope College and had good reviews on TripAdvisor.

After a wonderful hot chocolate, we decided to visit the Windmill Island Gardens.  The gardens feature a 250 year old Dutch working windmill. The tour through the windmill was very nice but does not accommodate people with disabilities because of the stair climbing one has to do to get to the top of the windmill.

Windmill Island

Windmill Island

It was simply a perfect day.

Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

The windmill is approximately 125 feet from the ground to the blades.

Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

Flour is ground at this windmill and is said to have less gluten than most flour (according to the person who was grinding the flour). They sell it in 2 and 3 lbs at the gift shop.

Here’s a view from the top of the windmill. Pretty nice, eh?

View from the top, Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

View from the top, Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

Now, let’s take a look at some of the other areas. (Side note: In the spring, many people come here to see the fields of tulips.)

Flowers, Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

Bridge, Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

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Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

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Flowers, Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

View of the windmill from afar.

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View of the windmill, Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

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Flowers, Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

I saw these dutch shoes hanging on the wall in the gift shop.

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Dutch Shoes, Windmill Island Gardens, Holland, Michigan

Well, I left the best for last (in my humble opinion) ~ the plants in the greenhouse. The greenhouse is an original Lord & Burnham design that was imported by Egbert Gold in 1915 for Marigold Lodge on the shores of Lake Macatawa in Holland, Michigan. The greenhouse was acquired and moved to the Windmill Island in 1965 for growing annuals. Ready to take a peek?

Let’s start with my favorite …

Pencil Euphorbia

Pencil Euphorbia

Jade Plant

Jade Plant

Unknown Plant Name

Graptopetulum  bellum

The Staghorn Fern was massive and hung from the ceiling.

Staghorn Fern

Staghorn Fern

Take a look at the bottom of the Staghorn Fern. Quite impressive!

Bottom, Staghorn Fern

Bottom, Staghorn Fern

There were plenty more plants but these were my favorite.

I am thankful that I experienced so much beauty on this vacation week. It really helped to offset the news of my father’s death which I’ll discuss in a later post.  It’s taken me awhile to be able to find words to write about our travels. Me, speechless? Not quite, but enough to keep me blog-less for a few days.

More beautiful pictures of our travels soon.

Of Vacation and Death (2)

Of Vacation and Death (3)

Of Vacations and Death (4)

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