Friday, September 20, 2013

Free Range Friday ~ Michigan Part Dos, Food Included

Almost all of the buildings in this particular neck of the lake are historic and saved by the generosity of one D.H. Day, who owned most of the land and buildings and gave them to the state, to be preserved and enjoyed by the public in perpetuity. Nice job, D.H.!

After the farm and its outbuildings, the next thing we saw was this canning place. I assumed, wrongly, as many assumptions go, that they would have canned fish. Instead, this was all about cherries. A building for canning cherries, located about as close to Lake Michigan as possible. Not bad.

These days, this is a maritime museum and incredibly, I didn't do more than a glance into the windows. Having no internet connection, I didn't quite understand the significance of the place. Oops, my loss. It's quite tiny and across the street is what was both a hotel and boarding house, where my attention was diverted. I didn't take photos there and I have no idea why. But peering in its windows, it looks like they got out the furniture and just closed the doors. Pots in the kitchen, ashes in the one fireplace we could see. I would love to run a place like this. In summer.

Warehouse turned cannery turned maritime museum. Oh, if those walls could talk.
Jeff, Karen and The One Who Must Be Obeyed. The sand is super soft, with many rocks strewn about and at the shore edge, but no more so than many of our beaches at home.

Slightly challenged, I did put my toes in the water and it was, very surprisingly, not ice cube cold. It was 3 mil wetsuit cold though and I wasn't going to check that out.

Somehow, I can fly and drive and end up at the same spot. My inner compass rocks.

A stout pier once stood for the boats loaded with cherries to deliver to the cannery, along with other supplies no doubt.

One of those boats. These, for me, aren't a pretty boat style, but all you have to do is listen to Gordon Lightfoot sing his song of the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald to know that plying these lakes was and is a dangerous game and whatever design does the job best is the one to use; to hell with pretty.

The dunes here are stunning, some of them 450 feet above the water. They are a tremendous tourist draw and their protection has been well done, with one or two sets of dunes wide open to a climbing public and the rest, while not closed, obviously not as used and well covered with sea grasses and whatever trees grow in sand.

Another generous man, Pierce Stocking - who gets a 10 on the score of awesome names - gave the state another huge swath of property that he'd bought from D.H. Day for selective logging purposes. His gift, so that 'everyman' could enjoy it, is now a part of the National Park Service land. While some of those corporate barons of old pulled some pretty nasty tricks to increase their wealth, they also appreciated the beauty of our country in a way we'll not see again in my lifetime, where raping the land seems to be the call of the crocodiles of fortune.

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The D.H. Day farm seen from an overlook on the Pierce Stocking scenic drive with the lake beyond. I had to keep reminding myself this was not the sea.
As we from Culebra and other beautiful places know, keeping sacred land sacred isn't easy. The man who now owns the D.H. Day farm got, along with his deed, a host of covenants to keep, as well he should. He seems dedicated to preserving this piece of history well, but as this article explains, they are keeping a close eye on him, legally and morally. Would that we could see this enforcement with the Victor Gonzalez's of Culebra. Maybe we need to have Flamenco christened as a National Park.

Here's his story. Thanks, Pierce Stocking!

These deer only meandered away from us, stopping on occasion to look back.

While the hordes of tourists are gone, there were still a few people coming up to this one particular dune to catch the sunset. We stayed until about this point. Maybe I could make a living up here photographing families on dunetops in the sun. We couldn't have had more beautiful weather and lack of crowds.

It's hard to grasp how huge these dunes arem and how high, but I tried.

This is one kid braving the dunes. Karen was sitting at the top of this one when two teenage boys clamored over the top. Huffing and puffing, they looked at her and said "Don't do it." She had no intention of doing it, but appreciated their newly hard earned advice. The dark area is the 'path' used most.

This is not an ocean. This is not a sea. The Park Service does an incredible job over these vast acres; we appreciated it hugely. The whole time I was in this part of the world, as Jeff pointed out, I did not see ONE piece of trash. Anywhere. That's not just the park people, that is THE people.

The moon was two days from full.

Crazy beautiful light. Jeff and I tried to define the quality that made it different from this same time of evening at home and found it too ephemeral to quantify. The light? The texture of the water surface? Maybe both? While I'm sure there is a perfectly valid scientific explanation, ultimately, it's simply a different sort of PFM>

Heading into Glen Arbor for a bite to eat

At Jeff's suggestion, our destination for dinner would be Art's Tavern. We headed into that historical place, where quickly, one of the appetizers was calling my name, loudly. Smoked trout - how or why would I resist smoked trout? - cheeses and a brined selection of olives, capers and baby gherkins.. I thought, as an app, it would be more of a tasting plate. Instead it was enough to share with the table and still be full with some left over. No, not the trout. It was inhaled gone. A super friendly waitress gave us all sorts of ideas for the next day's adventures, including a distillery with handcrafted horseradish vodka. It was fun being a tourist!
Sunset from the porch, the first night
Even though it was a mite chilly, it was no chore to get up early. In fact, we were all awake around 4, when Macky fell off the narrow bed onto the floor, his normal sleeping quarters quite a bit roomier. Since everyone was awake, we came from our various places and stood outside, immersed in the starlight. The Milky Way was the most obvious in a sky so dark that the few familiar constellations I know were hard to find, contesting with a few million others of slightly lesser brightness. I got at least three wishes from falling stars and let the rest go where they may.

A sign you won't see on Flamenco Beach.

We'd already seen so much beauty and barely left a few mile area. This new day, there was much to see, with Jeff as voluntary tour director. That's next.

Have a free from fretting Friday. Do something fabulously favorable.


  1. Definitely on our list now! What beautiful country. I always imagined cold and barren. Cold at times I'm sure, but not barren. Just realized that's Jeff from next door in Culebra. Hi Jeff! from David & Debbie. See you March 6.

    1. It's been an eye opener for sure and far from barren and Detroit city streets too.

  2. Caption Contest Submission:

    "I bet I can get this 16 wheeler through there, just have to drive fast!"

    Wonderful photos MJ, enjoying the trip, William

    1. You're funny! I missed that one but with such a good caption, I'm leaving it now!