Thursday, September 23, 2021

Postcards from the Lake: Road Trip to Traverse City

Traverse City, Michigan, is the largest city in Michigan's north, and it sits beside the beautiful Grand Traverse Bay. It's a popular vacation destination with its annual cherry and film festivals and offers a number of cultural activities. It's also known for its Michigan wines and the many vineyards on the Mission Peninsula. Most of the photos here show the beauty of that area.

My reason for visiting on a beautiful, mid-September farewell was to attend a final farewell to one of my graduate advisors, Keith Adler. Keith was a great guy -- a warm, wonderful fellow with a wonderful sense of humor, a beloved professor and a generous soul with grand humor. When I first retired, I did a northern Michigan "retirement tour" to query other retirees of my acquaintance with their best tips for having an enriching retirement. Keith and his wife, Carol, were on my list.


The wonderful afternoon I spent with them is etched in my memory, enjoying a delightful lunch and Keith's delicious baking along with lively conversation at their lakeside home. When I left, Keith attached a screw to my front bumper, dangling and held up with duct tape. That screw has held for nine years! 

I picked up my friend and former work colleague, Mike, and we attended the memorial, which was held in the garden of Carol's sister. It was one of the most touching afternoons I've spent in a long while, meeting members of Keith and Carol's families and reveling in wonderful memories. When we left, Carol gave us each a jade plant, a starter from one of Keith's. (He was a horticulturalist before he was an advertising guru!)


 It was great spending time with Mike, who moved to Traverse a couple of years ago. I hadn't seen him since the pandemic (apart from our lunch group Zoom gatherings). He took me on a tour of the area.  It's all beautiful but the prettiest part is Mission Peninsula.


The peninsula is home to many of northern Michigan's wineries. OK, I'm not big on Michigan wines. We don't have the climate to grow a good red to save our souls and I'm not fond of the fruity varieties. That said, I have had a few perfectly adequate white wines. 


I love the neat order of the grapevines that seem to line most of the roadway.

The only downside of the peninsula is when there is a lot of traffic. (Don't go on a weekend!) And you may well end up behind this vehicle which does affect the forward view!

This wasn't my first trip to the peninsula. A few years ago, Rick took me to Traverse City to tour the former Northern Michigan Asylum where my great grandfather spent the last 13 years of his life. On that trip we also drove out to the tip of the peninsula. I loved the lighthouse there and the view. So, after Mike and I enjoyed an early dinner and lots of good talk, I headed home and decided I'd go back out that way for another look.


The Mission Point lighthouse was decommissioned in 1933 and had a rough go of it for some time with vandalism and creature infestation. When Peninsula Township purchased the building in 1948, they began to restore the structure. It now houses a gift shop (closed when I visited, both times!)

The lighthouse overlooks an expansive beach. On this day, the sun was low but many were still enjoying the warm September hours of early evening.


Also on the property is a restored cabin built in the mid-1950s by early settlers. It was moved to the park and furnished in the 1990s to show visitors how early settlers lived.


Although it was closed (again!) I was able to capture some views from the windows.

And yes, I wanted the quilt!

I'm not big on driving the up-north two-lane roads after dark and it was getting that way, so I was off. As I was driving along I couldn't help but notice the astoundingly beautiful almost-full Harvest Moon. It was almost a driving hazard, as when it came into view I could hardly take my eyes off of it! The only chance I had to get a photo (and a pretty awful one at that!) was at a light in Kalkaska (I didn't feel safe stopping along the road to shoot it!). 


When I got home it was mostly sheltered by trees and the results were unremarkable.


They temperatures dropping big-time here up north.. It's now officially fall and I should be neither disappointed or surprised -- but yes, I am sad. I'm grateful to have had this wonderful day and the opportunity to both see one good friend and bid a final farewell to another. 


Almost time to bundle up -- but in my brain, I'll still be thinking summer!

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53 comments:

Karen said...

Thank you for taking us along for the drive. My aunt and uncle live in T.C. right on the bay. I long to visit.

Linda Sue said...

In spite of the sad farewell that was a lovely trip. You are certainly a darling!

ashok said...

Its really a beautiful place!

William Kendall said...

Beautiful shots. I'm sorry about your friend.

Valerie-Jael said...

Glad you were able to enjoy your trip in spite of having to say farewell to an old friend, that's always sad. The moon was really beautiful, I got some lovel pics on Sunday. Have a great weekend, hugs, Valerie

Iris Flavia said...

Oh, you have wonderful friends for sure!
That screw made me smile big. And ohhhh, the chairs on the deck at the peninsula... so beautiful.
I´ve never seen a lighthouse attached to a house!
Beautiful moon.. Burger King, LOL... what a pic, you made me laugh!
You look very happy and yes, I am sad, too Autumn has hit. In the most true word nearly for me.

Sandi said...

Used to go there when I was a kid. Thanks for posting these photos. 🙂

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Jeanie

I am glad you could make this memorial for your friend, sounds like a wonderful trip. Beautiful scenery along the way. The views of the lake, the barn and lighthouse are all wonderful. Love the moon capture and your cute selfie. Take care, enjoy your day. Have a happy weekend!

DUTA said...

That's life. There comes this time when we have to bid farewell to dear people. The beautiful sites and sights along the road are there for us, to condole us and make it all bearable.

Penny from Enjoying The Simple Things said...

I think you should paint a picture of the lighthouse!

Lynne said...

Great post Jeanie. . .
Traverse City area, Mission Point, lovely to visit.
(Especially on non touristy days, if we can ever find those days!)
Love the picture of you . . . great color to enhance your beauty!

Sad for the death of your professor friend.
I like that kind of memorial, at home, sharing a jade plant too.

Fall/Autumn is here, colors will be popping fast/soon.
Temps in the high 40’s here this morning, 9/24 . . .
Out came the sweaters!

Marilyn Miller said...

What a beautiful adventure north. Hugs to you of comfort at the loss of a dear friend. What a precious gift of friendship. I was touched that you would want to learn about retirement from dear friends. Also touched that his wife gave you a jade plant representing his friendship. That first picture is lovely with just a touch of red and the shadows on the fence. Love seeing the lighthouse and cabin and even the beautiful vineyards. And then to end the day with a beautiful moon just for you. Thanks for sharing!

Amy at Ms. Toody Goo Shoes said...

Condolences on the loss of your friend. Looks like a beautiful area. I'd like to sit in one of those Adirondack chairs on the dock.

La Table De Nana said...

You have had and have great friends..as you are to them.
Sorry for your loss Jeanie.

thepaintedapron.com said...

Lovely tour Jeanie, I love the lighthouse and old barn. I'm glad you got to go to your friend's memorial, and the Jade plant is such a special gift. Time to start bundling up, we are even having low temps in the South!
Jenna

The French Hutch said...

Such a a lovely area of your state, the lighthouse and cabin are unique. You did have a beautiful day for the drive and to say goodbye to your friend. The jade plant will always leave you with special thoughts of the professor. Wonderful break in our weather here, I think we may even need a light jacket in the evening...........

gigi-hawaii said...

You have such a unique blog, one that I truly admire. This tour was quite interesting, as I have never been to Michigan. I did not know that there are wineries there.

Joanne Huffman said...

I really must had north again sometime. I was in Traverse City about 7 years ago and loved it.

Victoria Zigler said...

Sorry it was for a sad occasion, but sounds like a lovely roadtrip. Shame the gift shop was closed again. Could be they thought it was too late in the season for potential visitors... That happens with a lot of touristy shops over here.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

These final farewells become more frequent as we get older. It's good if it enables us to reflect positively on the contribution made to our lives by the recently departed. Best of all is to summon your own memories. I am sure you did just that, Jeanie.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I am sorry for the loss of your friend but I am glad you got to gather to celebrate his life. I love that you took a plant clipping home. What a wonderful way to remember him.

Fall is kind of here but not fully. It’s the in between times where it can still be nice and warm during the day and then cools off at night. So it’s my fave weather. I would feel differently if I was by the water, though!!

Nancy said...

I am so sorry that the visit was for saying goodbye to a wonderful friend. But it sounds like it was a nice road trip and a beautiful day for you.
enjoy your week my friend.

Pam said...

Beautiful.....I love the chairs lined up and all the buildings. That is the sort of thing I love to go visit and take pics of.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I'm glad you got to say goodbye. Beautiful place. I've heard of its beauty from my daughter-in-law, who had her first reporting job there.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

This was definitely a bittersweet trip, Jeanie, but also nice that you shared memories of a very special friend. Sometimes, even saying good bye is important.

Maggie from Stillness at Cherith said...

A beautiful, if sad, farewell.
That lighthouse is a beauty.

Jenny Woolf said...

Such a touching post. What a talented interesting person Keith must have been, and I like the photo. I know you can't always tell from a photo, but I think I'd have warmed to him and enjoyed his company. Great to catch up with Mike, too.
The old lighthouse looks cute. I stayed in one once on the Californian coast, years ago, that was a youth hostel. Such an evocative place to stay. And really that log cabin looks cosy, although from what I've read of Canadian memoirs (yes, I know Canada's a little further north ) it must have been anything but cosy in the winter!
I can see that the brightness of the moon has burned out the image of the wires in your picture. It must have been really dazzling. I once woke up and saw one like that in the sky above our house, it illuminated the trees including the cherry tree which was in full blossom. It really reminded me of that rhyme"Boys and girls come out to play, the moon is shining as bright as day." It seemed like you could read a book by it! So I am not surprised you were mesmerized. Thanks for sharing this nice trip with us!

My name is Erika. said...

I read this this morning, got distracted by the phone, and I am finally making it back. This is a wonderful tribute to a friend Jeanie. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend, but I did enjoy the views of Michigan. Have a super start to your weekend. Hugs-Erika

Joyful said...

Beautiful part of the country. I'm glad you were able to make the send off for your friend and to say hello to another. We (the world we) haven't had much of a chance for interactions with others but little by little, here and there we can connect and it makes a world of difference.xx

anno said...

Condolences to you on the loss of a teacher, mentor, and friend in your life. This post is a poignant tribute to your friendship and a reminder to treasure the moments. Sharing the jade leaves seems like a great way to pass along a legacy of nurturing growth and beauty. Thanks for sharing the beauty you've found, even in a somber occasion. Much love, xoxox

Pam Richardson said...

I am so sorry for the loss of your friend and I know you will treasure sweet memories of him. What a lovely drive along the way, the jade plant is a lovely keepsake of your friend!

Betty said...

always hard to say goodbye but what lovely memories you created, such a beautiful place :) the jade plant is interesting I haven't seen one before.

Rajani Rehana said...

Mind blowing post

Anca said...

Condolences. xx

The houses look so wonderful. I especially like the cabin, it is full of character.

Arti said...

Wow you’re still enjoying summer. So green and lush. We’ve transitioned into fall and I don’t mind, cause the colours are just wonderful. 😉

Salty Pumpkin Studio said...

Sorry for the loss of your wonderful friend. Your day drive into the night is a travel guide to enjoying life in the company and memories of friends.

Sherry's Pickings said...

such lovely photos jeanie. and i do love a lighthouse! this one looks marvellous. sad to hear about your friend jeanie. it gets harder as we get older and lose more loved ones.
take care
sherry x

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

It's always sad to say goodbye to good friends. I know thuis was a memorable trip for ypu, dear. Your photos were so impressive and I loved that the lighthouse has been restored. It's a beauty and so are you, dear friend. I look forward to autumn in my world, too. Right now, it's still hot here.

Miss Val's Creations said...

Beautiful tour Jeanie! How wonderful that you stayed in touch with former professors and mentors. Massachusetts has pretty wineries too but like Michigan, the grapes don't exactly make the most palatable wines. They are always fun to taste though! SC only grows muscadines which my taste buds don't care for either. It is always a treat to see museums of early settlers and appreciating the simply conveniences we have now that did not exist then. That is a gorgeous moon!

Sandra at Maison De Jardin said...

Good morning, Jeanie. So sorry for the loss of your dear friend. I know you will miss him, but treasure your memories. Michigan is such a beautiful state, I know you are proud to call it home.

We are seeing autumn arrive here as well and it is most welcome! Wishing you a lovely week - enjoy the days!

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

If we're lucky, life gives up great friends and great memories that last forever. A really sweet post.

handmade by amalia said...

A beautiful tribute. Fond memories should be treasured.
Amalia
xo

Buttercup said...

I'm adding the Cherry Festival to my endless want-to-visit list. I've been to the area, but not for the festival. I fondly remember Moomer's Ice Cream, which I think is relatively close by.

Buttercup said...

Oops, hit the reply button too soon. Gorgeous photos and you touched my heart. I spent yesterday afternoon at a memorial for a work friend, who died last month. We met forty years ago and stayed friends. It brought back such a cascade of good memories. My sympathy.

Misadventures of Widowhood said...

I love that part of Michigan. I have many great memories of visiting there both before and after it became wine country.

Lowcarb team member said...

It was nice to see your photographs from your trip, and I especially liked the last one :)

All the best Jan

The Joy of Home with Martha Ellen said...

I'm so sorry about the loss of your friend, Jeanie. What a wonderful day you enjoyed remembering him. We have not visited your area, but it certainly has a good ambassador that takes lovely photos to tease. I love the log cabin and the wonderful lighthouse!

Hena Tayeb said...

So sorry for your loss Jeanie.
It's wonderful that you were able to make it to his memorial and have such beautiful memories of him.

Divers and Sundry said...

I'm sorry for your loss but glad you got to attend the memorial.

I'm always pleased to see historic sites restored and maintained, and it looks like they recognize what a treasure they have. The beach scene is wonderful. Such a wide horizon! I forget how big lakes can be! That's a great shot of the moon through the pine branches.

Sandra Cox said...

So sorry for your loss, Jeanie. It sounds like he lived a rich, fulfilling life.
Love that lighthouse:)
Take special care.

Rain said...

Hi Jeanie, just wanted to say thank you for your very sweet comment on my blog last week, I felt the love and support. ♥♥

Prims By The Water said...

Ahh Traverse City...not much of a city in the early 1990's when I was there last. Mission Point and Suttons Bay were my fav! Janice

Pamela said...

I love that little cabin! I could live there.

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