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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World’s Largest Five and Ten

                              The Largest Variety Store in the World.

My hotel in East Aurora, New York was near the downtown, so once I got settled, I decided to explore. Didn’t take me long to realize that a good part of the central block was ALL one company.
Named Vidl*r’s 5 & 10, the store has been there since 1930.
The story goes that back then Robert Vidl*r’s mother-in-law did not like driving the entire way to Buffalo just to get some thread. Being a kind son-in-law, Robert decided to open a variety store right there in town. The Depression was very much happening and most people didn’t think the store would be open more than eight weeks.
Surprise!
The store continued to expand and in the 60’s and 70’s, a series of homey commercials with sons Bob and Ed made the destination even more popular.
Today Vidl*r’s is run by a third generation of the Vidle*r family. The main part of the store has the same wood floors and counters as it did back in 1930, but the store is now 20 times larger than it was then.
Vidl*r’s is in four connected buildings and has two floors. You can browse through 75,000 products and that takes awhile. On the roof is a giant-size “Bob Vidl*r” more commonly known as Vidl*r on the Roof.
I did walk through the store … I can’t remember if I bought anything – if I did, it might’ve been a Mallow Cup. (I was by myself, in a rental car, so didn’t want to cart too much stuff around.) A lot of what they have is trinkety dime store stuff, but it’s interesting and I guess busloads of tourists come to see it … because it is, after all —-

                              The Largest Variety Store in the World.

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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.

 

Garden of the Gods – Part 1

Most people who visit Colorado Springs visit Garden of the Gods. Surprisingly, this is a public city park and is free to all who visit. GOTG is also a National Natural Landmark.

We first headed for the visitor’s center. The center  has several exhibits which we quickly walked through, a gift shop and a balcony overlooking the park. A highlight is the dinosaur picture painted on the floor/wall with a 3D perspective – although it is painted on flat surfaces. My brother pulled out his famous red chair and we got our pictures on top of the picture.

Something I didn’t know, but maybe should’ve known is that Katherine Lee Bates wrote America the Beautiful after visiting the area – Pikes Peak and Garden of the Gods. (You can read about it all outside the ladies restroom.)

Last time I was at  Garden of the Gods was on a hot day in 2006.

This time we went early in the morning (right when the center opened)  when the weather was still fairly cool. We were early enough to get a parking lot outside the center – but already the place was filling up and getting crowded.

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View from the balcony of the visitor’s center.
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And another view from the balcony with Pikes Peak in the background. (Imagine Katherine Bates seeing this and being inspired to write America the Beautiful.)
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The sign by the ladies room.
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And the red chair makes an appearance.
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I look frightened …
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And Barb looks so calm.
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Another view from the balcony  …  my brother in the parking lot.

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