Sunday, June 03, 2012

Mild Start to Summer

We spent Memorial Day traveling along Highway M-22 between Frankfort and Traverse City in Michigan’s little finger, the Leelanau Peninsula. From our hotel, we drove down to Frankfort on the coast. Some friends of Hallie’s like to go to the Harbor Lights Resort, which is right on the beach. We then continued along the M-22 and other scenic routes near and within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

We got maybe too early a start on the day, because our first stop, Point Betsie Lighthouse, was not yet open. However, we walked along the beach and took pictures and collected stones polished smooth, including a Petoskey stone (Michigan’s state stone).

We stopped at the Hart Visitor Center to find out what we could about the dunes and the lakeshore before continuing on our journey up to the place where you can climb the dunes (we didn’t) and the village of Glen Haven, where you can go to the beach and see demonstrations of blacksmithing skills (we did).  
This is just the first set of dunes. The lake is 1/4 mile away.

From Glen Haven, we drove on to Glen Arbor, a kind of beachy, artsy enclave and then Suttons Bay with its colorful buildings and homes right along the west arm of Grand Traverse Bay, where we had salted caramel ice cream at a small shop. We eventually made it to Traverse City, where we did some window shopping. By the time we got to the point where we sat down for a meal, it was after 3:00. We ate at Sleder’s Family Tavern, where we enjoyed hamburgers made from local beef and kissed the MacGuire the Moose (this one was “retired” 20 years ago. Randolph, the one people kiss now, sits closer to mouth level. Go figure). Finally it was time to go back to the hotel and the pool.

Pulling a puppet rabbit out of a hat at Horizon Books in Traverse City

She loves lemon!
Showing his angry face

Tuesday arrived after a harder than normal night with the kids. We commenced our return trip home by returning to Frankfort and from there going south along M-22 to Manistee and then on to Muskegon. While in Muskegon, we lunched at Max-n-Marley’s Dog House. Delish!

Afterwards, we drove up the road to the Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum (it being—almost—Memorial Day weekend and all), where Mike and Landon climbed aboard the USS Silversides (a WWII-era submarine) and the Coast Guard Cutter McLane (a Prohibition era vessel). Walking through the exhibit and touring the ships gives you a real sense of life aboard these ships and the sacrifices and dangers faced by those serving our country in the military.

From Muskegon we finally got back on the Interstate to take the fast track home. Of course, we just had to make one last fun stop, this time in Portland (outside of Lansing) at Cheeky Monkeys. This coffee house/bakery is home to delectable cinnamon rolls (proclaimed the “best in Michigan” by our former governor) and bacon cheddar scones, among other tasty treats. We indulged while seated on the boardwalk along the river. Pure bliss.  

The following morning while we were listening to the radio as we tried to drag ourselves out of bed, Mike heard about a contest that asked entrants to describe why they call Michigan home. Feeling inspired by our travels of the last several days (and hoping to win the prize), Mike wrote the following:

“As our family drove down to Grosse Pointe from Mackinac Island, I found myself reflecting on Michigan’s unique place names and the picturesque beauty they represent. After all, what’s in a name? When you hear Marquette, Ann and Glen Arbor, or Saugatuck, what memories come to mind? Each name paints a picture of the rich history, the abundant diversity, and the singular character of the Great Lakes State. After all, where else can someone drive the Pierce Stocking trail to see an enormous Sleeping Bear? When my family moved here from another state five years ago, the place names we had grown up hearing provided intriguing clues about adventures to come. Striking monikers like Kalamazoo, Battle Creek, and Detroit played on our imaginations as exciting mysteries. Since moving here, these names have become the soil into which we have planted our hearts as we have explored America’s High Five to the world from tip to cuff and all along its rugged shores. Now each name, from Cheboygan and Bad Axe to Sault Ste. Marie and Muskegon, evokes a memory and reminds us each day how fortunate we are to live here. What’s in a name? For us, Michigan means home.”  

Our friend Paula painted Eliza’s room as part of our effort to convert it into her own room. Photos to follow once it’s all squared away.

Landon and Eliza got a real kick out of story time at the local Barnes and Noble with the Moms Club on Thursday. Then they accompanied Hallie as she took her birthday money and bought an upright freezer. Mike made sure it had a home in the basement on Friday.
(cute random picture)
We found out unofficially on Facebook and then by calling the school district that there will be no half-day kindergarten option. For us, this means that we will go elsewhere to provide schooling to Landon in the fall. Most likely we will do a mix of homeschool and regular school by having him attend a local preschool and supplementing that with school at one of the online charters we have looked into that does an early 5 program. As it is, we’re not happy with the choice the district made, and we feel concerned that its action represents a broader trend in education toward making considerations of the bottom line more important than other considerations. Well, GPPSS, the average daily attendance money that would have gone to you will now go to your competitors.

On Saturday morning, Hallie and Sara took the kids down to our farmers market, then we all went up to the St. Clair Shores Junefest. They got balloon toys, saw Farmer John, played in the bounce house, drank lemonade, ate kettle corn, and bought firearms (well, a toy bow and arrow). This year, the weather was much more comfortable than last year.

Landon threatened to steal the monster's cookies.
Farm hands kidding around putting the baby goats back in their pen

Once we returned, Landon helped Mike add the peppers, zucchini, and cucumber we bought to our tomatoes, which (along with the raspberries, woo hoo!) are coming along nicely. Afterwards, we practiced our archery skills with his new bow and arrow set and slingshot. Try as we might to curb his enthusiasm, this kid is fascinated with things that shoot! Better maybe to teach him how to use them right, eh? All the while we played in the back yard, we heard the distant roar of cars preparing to race at Sunday’s Belle Isle Grand Prix.  

The kids enjoyed another Parents’ Night Out thanks to our branch’s Young Women and their leaders. Mike and Hallie had chocolate and pretzel dipped cones at Wally’s Frozen Custard, dinner from Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds Pub on the Hill, and a movie (Jane Eyre—good stuff!) while also thinking about what we want to do with Landon’s new bed frame now that we see the stain won’t take. Decisions, decisions.  

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