Archive for September, 2009

New pages

I’ve been doing a little blog maintenance and have added a few new pages. The goal will be to continually add information to the pages that refers to content that I’ve already written. The new Porch Envy tab will showcase all of my official porch research and the Up North Peeps tab will contain interviews with northern people.

Blog banter

Also, I have re-thought the 5-posts a week concept. It was becoming a major time committment and I was up way past my bedtime many-a-time just to keep my blog current. So… I’ll post when I have time and not stress about skipping a few days here and there.


Read Full Post »

OK folks, you already know that I am always drooling over the wonderful porches in Traverse City and that I have a serious case of porch envy. And someday, maybe I’ll have a wonderful wraparound porch, but for now, this is what our front porch looks like. When we finally have the cash to build our wonderful porch, I want to be fully educated, so I took a stroll down my incredible street: N. Elmwood Avenue. Here’s a sampling of a few porch beauties that are out there!

Elmwood Porches (3)
The above porch was an addition last summer and I watched it’s progress on many walks down our tree-lined street with my four-legged-friend, Wyatt. Now, I can’t imagine the house without the stone accented pillars and picture perfect shrubbery. The homeowner decorated with a wonderful fern basket, similar to the Crafstman porch that I also love and previously pined about.

Elmwood Porches (5)

This porch is very simple but is totally balanced with neat shrubs and hanging baskets. The white wicker furniture looks inviting and is probably a wonderful place to sip lemonade and read a book while people-watching in the neighborhood.

Elmwood Porches (9)

The stunning Victorian porch above (complete with porch swing) is totally idyllic. The uniform columns and stone rails (with matching urns and planters) really anchor the porch. The huge windows still offer views of the street from inside. I even love the simple hanging porch light that is centered- it further unifies the space. The landscaping that flanks the porch is equally inviting. I’m sure they enjoy watching the butterflies as they sit and watch the world go by.

Elmwood Porches (8)

This next one is very simple in design. The home appears to look more similar to our farmhouse-style house. I would expect that our future porch would look similar to this one, but it would also wrap around on the south side of our house to connect to the south porch that has an entry door directly into the kitchen.

Elmwood Porches (6)

The above porch offers a wonderful circular seating area but it’s hidden by too many hanging ferns. The wrap around porch also wraps along the north side of the house, so there are plenty of options to sit and enjoy the neighborhood!

Elmwood Porches (10)

And finally, the above Craftsman-style porch offers a shady retreat.

I’ll continually go for walks through Traverse City’s wonderful neighborhoods and will snap pics of my favorite porches. I hope to acquire many porch styles and will keep you updated as to what I find. Until then, my porch jealousy is peaked!

Read Full Post »

Most Traverse City people know John Robert Williams as one of the guys who founded the Traverse City Film Festival and as a local photographer who has operated his photo studio in town for 30 years. His studio also shares his moniker, John Robert Williams Commercial Photography. Some know of his 22 years of creating zany laugh-out-loud floats in the National Cherry Festival’s Cherry Royale Parade. JRW 2009  4x5 color

John is a community visionary and leader whose philosophy is to “pay rent to the community” through activism. John is also a bike nut. He has over 40 bikes in his garage, each has a name and most of them are one-speed fixed gears. Obviously with a love of bikes, it’s no surprise that John was a founder of what is now known as TART Trails. The trail group was formed when US31 was widened all the way out to the Grand Traverse Resort in 1986 in preparation for the Governor’s Conference; however, when the road was widened, it left no room for shoulders or sidewalks and there was no where for cyclists or pedestrians. Thus, a group called Citizens for Better Ways was formed and later became TART Trails. When the first phase of TART was paved in 1989 from Barlow to Three Mile, John worked with Rotary Charities and Homestretch to build affordable housing along the trail and rail corridor.

John has always found studios fascinating- whether it’s a studio for photo, film or radio. He sees them as “places to create.” With a philosophy like that, it’s also no surprise that John was one of the Traverse City Film Festival founders with Michael Moore and Doug Stanton. This summer, the festival celebrated it’s fifth year but John knew it would be a resounding success from the beginning. He just knew that Northern Michigan was ready for the culture and art that a movie festival would bring to the region. He thought that the festival would draw crowds of people who are interested in movies as well as the area’s burgeoning wine and craft brew industry, restaurants, fresh foods and unique shops. Also, John was a founding member and musical director at WNMC, Northwestern Michigan College’s radio station.

Of course, with all of this activity in the community, you’d bet he’d have a strong home base. He’s married to Terrie Taylor, who he’s had a crush on since the 8th grade. Terrie is also an amazingly generous person, spending six months a year in Malawi leading a research team to understand and end childhood malaria in Africa. 

John also has 2 sons, Evan and Colin, who are just now beginning to appreciate their dad’s sense of humor, love for community and zest for life. To view John’s work or to book an appointment for a family portrait, visit him at www.jrwpix.com

The photo was taken in John’s studio with his camera and equipment, but with my eyes on the viewfinder and finger snapping the pic. I’m no pro photog, but I think I did ok.

Read Full Post »

Looking for the best breakfast in Traverse City? Try the El Dorado restaurant on Front Street. The Tex Mex inspired cuisine is more than you can eat, but oh so good. El Dorado
Check it out next time you are in town. Your stomach will thank you.
El Dorado

Read Full Post »

Two weeks ago, I went fishing on East Bay at 5:00 a.m. It was an early morning, but rewarding. We saw a stellar sunrise. My friend Jim is a regular out on East Bay during salmon season and has a boat that is decked out with fishing doodads- fishfinders, downriggers, lures, depth sounders, rods and more.
Fishing (5)
Basically, all I had to do was show up and reel ’em in. When we got out on the water, it was dark. The moon and stars were on full display. We drank coffee and enjoyed fresh pastries from Potters (yep, they open really really early and we stopped on the way out to the boat launch and picked up a few pastries for the road boat.)
Fishing (3)
Well, the 4:20 a.m. alarm was all worth it when I reeled in two salmon including the 15-pounder below. The salmon was amazing! We grilled it on a cedar plank. The plank needs to soak in water for about an hour, then brush the plank with olive oil on both sides, place the salmon on the plank, season the salmon with lemon pepper after drizzling with olive oil (just enough so that the lemon pepper has something to stick to.) The entire plank goes on the grill for about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of the fish. We paired it with potatoes on the first night. For dinner number two, we had a salmon salad. I mixed my own dressing- a lemon vinagarette- which complimented the light meal very well. Fishing

Read Full Post »

Editor’s update 3/17/2010: Dogs are required on-leash in Hickory Meadows. -Thanks

Our evening routine includes a hike through Ashton Park, through the playground at Willow Hill Elementary, along a ridge path that leads to a two-track walking path that takes you to Wayne Street directly across from the neighborhood entrance to Hickory Meadows, Traverse City’s unofficial dog park. Below is the ridge path that you can pick up just past the playground equipment at the elementary school.
Walk to Hickory Meadows (3)
Below is the two-track walking path that connects the Willow Hill Elementary ridge path to the entrance to Hickory Meadows.
Walk to Hickory Meadows (6)
This piece of property happens to be for sale by the City of Traverse City although it is very narrow, has utilities running through it. I hope it doesn’t sell, so we can keep our evening walk in tact. The alternative would have us walking up the Wayne Street hill which doesn’t have sidewalks and is a narrow street.
Walk to Hickory Meadows (7)
Once you cross Wayne Street, we arrive at the beautiful entrance to Hickory Meadows.
Walk to Hickory Meadows (11)
There are several informational kiosks that details the history of the property, outlines wildlife and wildflowers to look for and educates trail users on the Oleson family who used to own the property. The trails are used year-round for dog walkers, runners and mountain bikers. In the winter, many people cross country ski. In fact, I think the trails are even more crowded in the winter than in the summer!
Walk to Hickory Meadows (14)
Some of the trails hug the edge of the park property and take advantage of the tree canopy and undulating terrain.
Walk to Hickory Meadows (17)
Pictured below is a bridge over a dry creek bed. In the early spring, there is plenty of water flowing under the bridge due to snowmelt.
Walk to Hickory Meadows (18)
Once you cross over the bridge, the trail takes you to the open field! Try not to step on the grasshoppers! They are everywhere!
Walk to Hickory Meadows (22)
Wyatt loves the freedom of running in the field. He also enjoys running through the tall grass. Sometimes the grass is so tall that we can only make out his black tail wagging through the grass. Every time I see him running through the grass, I think of the Little House on the Prarie.
Walk to Hickory Meadows
To experience Hickory Meadows for yourself, check out the Grand Traverse Conservation District’s site. And do check it out. It’s a great place to go for a hike with or without Fido. If you do plan on bringing Fido, check out 31 Dogs, a local website for dogs and dog owners in Northern Michigan.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »