Bay Port

Driving along the shore of Lake Huron, we came to the town of Bay Port.

First we simply walked around and enjoyed the beautiful summer afternoon, listening to the soft breath of the water and losing ourselves in the view.DSC_0133 2.jpgDSC_0131.jpgDSC_0140.jpgThen across the inlet I saw a place called Bay Port Fish Company. Something about it intrigued me and I said to Barb, “Can we go in there?” We didn’t know, but we thought we’d try. We drove out and around to the parking lot.

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I walked in and asked if I could take pictures for my blog and the lady asked the filleters if they would mind. They were so intent on their work, that they didn’t even look up!DSC_0146.jpgDSC_0150.jpgDSC_0151.jpgDSC_0155.jpgDSC_0142.jpgJust a fun visit.

Cheeseburger Fest

The day Barb and I rode up to the tip of the Thumb to see Lake Huron, we found ourselves in the middle of the annual Caseville Cheeseburger Fest which had something to do with Jimmy Buffet, flamingos and a lot of people.

I have not been to a Cheeseburger Fest before and can’t say it was ever on my to-do list, however, just looking at the stuffed flamingoes thrown over the light poles was rather entertaining. I could see no pattern to them – but rather it looked like some little kids were playing and tossed their stuffed birds into the air.

We did eat at one of the main diners in town: Walt’s and to get into the spirit of the day, I ordered a cheeseburger which I can’t even remember the last time I ordered a cheeseburger at a diner. Wow! Truly a good burger. Obviously freshly made.

At that point, we kind of ran out of things to do that were cheeseburgerish and so continued on our way.

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The flamingoes tossed over the light poles made me laugh.

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Everyone had flamingoes in their yards and on their porches.
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And in their store windows.
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Best cheeseburger ever!

 

Lake Huron

I’ve lived a lot of my life by Lake Michigan and a little of my life near Lake Huron.

Last week when I was in Michigan, Barb (great friend) and I headed up to the tip of the thumb. (The lower peninsula of Michigan is in the shape of a mitten and we lived in the thumb. Yes, that’s what it’s called – the Thumb Area.)

On the way we passed the Octagon Barn. You can take tours and Barb said it it’s fascinating inside, but unfortunately it was closed. As we walked along the fence line, a lady from inside (maybe owner) came and talked to us and gave us some suggestions about what days we could come back, but alas …

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So we continued on our journey until we reached the lake in the town of Caseville. The afternoon was warm, but the lake breeze was refreshing.  Pretend you’re there. Pretend you can feel the soft wind blowing your hair. Pretend you can hear the waves against the shore and plop, plop, plop of the boats as they sped across the water. And enjoy.DSC_0109.jpg

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A Chocolate Garden

Last time I drove home from Michigan, I was with a friend; a friend who likes chocolate. So when we saw signs advertising The Chocolate Garden, we were intrigued. We got off the exit and headed down a country road. The place wasn’t too far off the highway, but the rural atmosphere of the location made us think we were in the wrong location.

Then we saw the house with the Chocolate Garden sign. So this time, knowing where I was going, I drove right to it.  Also, there was a lot more activity on the road, with people picking fruit at the neighboring apple orchard.DSC_0060.jpgDSC_0056.jpgThis isn’t just any chocolate shop – they only sell truffles (and a few home decor-type items). The truffles, however, are so good, they’ve been featured on Food Network, and the Chicago Tribune.

To discover which truffles you’d like to buy –  for $2.99, they will allow you to taste test three different kinds. You read what’s in them and then list the three you’d like to try. IMG_0381.jpgIMG_0386.jpgDSC_0059.jpgSo if you’re heading up #94 through Michigan, here’s another place to stop.

Historic Bridges Off of 94

I knew before I left to travel north through Michigan earlier in the week, that I would have some extra time before meeting friends. So before I left,  I checked out the web for some place I could hang out for awhile and take some pictures. I found the Historic Bridges County Park which highlighted  — ahhh … historic bridges.

I knew it was off 94 near Battle Creek, but that’s all. My GPS led me down miles of bumpy roads greatly in need of repair. I thought about turning around, but kept thinking I had to come to the park behind the next bend or the next bend or maybe the next bend –

And then I was there – at a beautiful landscaped area next to the Kalamazoo River. The parking lot was full. People were there mostly to canoe and kayak  down the river. The river itself was so clear, you could distinctly make out every rock on the bottom.

A boardwalk snaked off from the picnic area through fields of flowers and cattails. The afternoon was bright with sunshine enhancing the summer day.

I saw trails going back into the woods, but I stayed near the park area where four of the bridges were located.

If you’re traveling north on 94, and you want a place to hike, or picnic, or just sit and watch the lazy river go by, here’s your stop. And, I think there’s a playground area, too. I didn’t go in the restroom, but other reviewers say they are large and clean. I was glad I took the time to stop.

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The glass-like clear Kalamazoo River.
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Another view of the river.

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As I was coming back from viewing the bushes, I was standing here on the boardwalk – when all of a sudden two HUGE branches cracked away from a tree. I don’t know if there was a storm the night before or what, but they were big and then just hanging there.

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This sign almost made the entire stop worth while!

Graue Mill

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What do you do when the week has been hot and humid and suddenly you have a beautiful, breezy day before you?

You put aside the deadlines that are ticking and get in the car and head out for an adventure.

I had read about Graue Mill, but had not seen it and wasn’t sure what it was all about (other than a mill). Not super close, but not miles away, I went to discover a new place. (After all, I had done well with the Lizzadro Museum and the American Writers Museum – what could go wrong?)

The Graue Mill and Museum is in a park in Oak Brook. The mill is the only working water grist mill in the United States, in Illinois or maybe it’s one of only two in Illinois. Wait, the only working grist mill in the Chicago area. (Sorry, that’s what I’ve read in different places – so not sure what’s what  not being super up on working mills.)- However, their brochure does say that they are  listed on the Illinois HIstoric Mechanical Engineering Landmarks, the only gristmill so designated on a national or local level.  So I do know that.

The mill was opened in 1852 by Frederik Graue, using water from nearby Salt Creek. One of the draws of the museum is that you can see the milling process in the process of milling … however, I did not see that. I’m sure it’s because I was there on a weekday and not that many people were around.. I did get an explanation of how it works. And I could’ve bought a bag of cornmeal or flour, but wasn’t sure I’d use it right away, so I didn’t. But it’s kind of great that you can.

The tour starts on the third floor where a lady explained the making-yarn-from-wool process which was very detailed and very interesting. I’ve seen demonstrations like this many times before, but she’s been doing it since 1992 (or something) and knew a lot of unique, informative details that I hadn’t heard before.

On the second floor, another lady showed me the loom which again, I’ve seen before, but the detail was interesting.

The basement of the building was an Underground Railroad stop.  Hideaways would stay at the mill until it was safe, then they would leave by boat down the creek – a tributary on the Des Plaines River – and eventually make it to the Great Lakes and cross to safety in Canada.

Visting the mill costs a few dollars. The grounds are pretty and contain a bridge to get across the creek and to the other side of the road to Fullersburg Woods Nature Education Center. For somewhere to go on a beautiful afternoon – I would recommend it.

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The mill on a couldn’t-be-more-beautiful summer morning.

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Carding the wool

 

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The loom.
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Me – showing how they “ironed” ruffles into material.

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A very cool alphabet game.

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American Writer’s Museum

I heard about the American Writer’s Museum. Then I heard about it again and again. Then I saw it was voted one of the best 10 new museums in the WORLD! (The museum opened May of 2017.)

I made plans to go with a friend, but meanwhile the 16-year-old and I decided to see what it was all about.  She’s been reading a lot of classics lately and is somewhat interested in journalism (but not sure).  And we were looking for a 16th birthday trip – so we decided to check it out … and I plan to go back with my friend.

The museum is right on Michigan Avenue, and isn’t hard to find, but you kind of have to be looking for it. It’s located on the second floor of a several-story building and takes up just that one floor.

You get off the elevator and a friendly receptionist is there for you to pay the entrance fee. ($12.00  and $8.00 for students).

The entryway ceiling looks like this – (which might be a way to store the books in my house :))

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All the displays are interactive.

We started with a wall full of photographs that were taken by Art Shay – a photographer who took thousands of pictures – many of them of authors. On the opposite side of Shay’s exhibit were more photos – except these were covered in plexiglass which allowed visitors to write captions under the pictures. Mallory and I both had fun doing this.IMG_0079.jpg

 

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Mallory gets creative.

The next room had a timeline of authors – one side was more informational, but still with interactive displays. Opposite were descriptions of books. When you opened the display, there would be something inside which depicted the book or a song, or a video, etc.

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Timeline of American writing, starting back with Jefferson, Abigail Adams, Ben Franklin, etc.

 

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Another picture of the timeline.
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A display of Willa Cather’s characters – my dad always said she was the writer to read if I wanted to read great writing.

On the wall of doors – here’s a couple examples.

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The Gift of the Magi.

The video is behind the door of Fahrenheit 45l.

Then there was the wall of quotes from American literature —-

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Another fun exhibit was the favorite book interactive board – you chose your five favorite books by American authors. Meanwhile, the list on top scrolled through which ones were the favorites – changing by the minute as people voted. Next time I go, I’ll put in different books – that was difficult to do at a moment’s notice, but fun …

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And then Mallory and I got stuck … having so much fun. They have a table of old typewriters … ancient up to a computer (including an IBM selectric). You typed the beginning of a story and then the next person wrote the next part, etc.  Such a creative idea and interesting. They are planning on publishing some of the best stories. We went back several times to read what was happening to “our” stories.

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Mallory types her story.

After that were several interactive boards to create stories (think a touch screen of refrigerator magnets) and a touch screen of Mad Libs.

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Just thought this quote was funny.

We spent about two hours there, and decided that we both wanted to come back.

I definitely say this is a must for all my writer and reader friends.