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Archive for the ‘Recreation’ Category

About a month ago on a sunny early spring day, we ventured to the tip of Old Mission Peninsula. It’s a beautiful strip of land that separates Grand Traverse Bay in two: West Bay and East Bay. At the base of the peninsula it’s about a mile wide and extends northward about 20 miles to the very tip. I’ve written about adventures on the scenic peninsula here, here and here. Our travels led us to the Old Mission Point Lighthouse .

The lighthouse is located on the 45th parallel which is half-way between the North Pole and the Equator. There is even a nifty sign that depicts what other cities around the world share the 45th parallel alignment.

The water levels in Grand Traverse Bay and the Great Lakes are very low (as evidenced by the pictures below) and have been for several years. I’ve read that they are expected to be even lower this year, but hope with the above average snow/rain this spring will increase the lake level.

Even with snow on the ground, the spring sun was warm and welcome after an entire winter of grey skies. We walked the shoreline and rested for a bit atop the rocks and absorbed the suns rays.

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Thanks to Craigslist, we enjoyed the warm summer of 2010 on the water. David found an old Sailfish sailboat listing while perusing the online classified ad site, and the next day, it was in our driveway. Sure, it had seen better days, but it was reminiscent of the old Sunfish that he learned to sail on. Nostalgia aside, it was serendipitous to have made the purchase given that temperatures soon soared and the Bay was warm well into September.

Because the Bay is across the street, we wheeled the Sailfish down the driveway, along the sidewalk and across the State Highway to the waterfront. Jumping the curbs with the craft on the divided highway was the most difficult part about reaching the water.

David fixed the dings and holes with fiberglass and epoxy, sanded it down, repainted the entire craft with marine paint, affixed texture strips for grip, replaced the side rails with new mahogany and installed all new hardware. The waterlogged inner foam made the small boat weigh a ton, so he created a hatch with a cover and hooked up a portable fan to dry out the inside foam.

The refurbished sailboat features a clean white asthetic.
The Sailfish is the precurser to the more popular Sunfish. It is basically a surfboard with a sail. Two people can comfortably ride on the craft, but be prepared to get wet when the boat bobs over waves. Good thing it was a hot summer!

Here’s David taking advantage of the restored Sailfish!

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Some early spring M-22 touring led us to Glen Haven, a charming historic settlement that is now preserved and maintained by Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Below, I am pictured in front of the Glen Haven Canning Company building where fruit was processed and shipped to market via Lake Michigan. Now the Cannery building is home to the Great Lakes Boat Museum.


Our M-22 tour continued as we drove up the Lake Michigan Coast to the village of Leland, home of Fishtown. Since, it was a Friday night, we decided to dine at the Bluebird Restaurant for their 1/2 off pizza special.

The bacon and pineapple pizza was a taste sensation!

We concluded our trip with a drive through Suttons Bay and along the West Grand Traverse Bay coastline back into Traverse City. Not a bad way to spend an evening…touring the scenic M-22 highway, stopping in historic villages and enjoying great food with great company. That’s what life is all about here Up North.

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A winter post! (Sorry about that folks. This has been sitting in my drafts for a while now.) David and I got out of the house for a few Sundays in late winter to enjoy the special Sunday rates at Traverse City’s Mt. Holiday. For just $10 a lift ticket on Sunday mornings, it was too good of a deal to pass up. We met up with another couple and the guys did all of the slope action, while the ladies stayed warm in the lodge catching up on life, reading magazines and tending to her 2-year-old.


Mt. Holiday itself is a charming little ski hill located east of downtown Traverse City. The amenities include a lodge, restaurant/bar, fireplace and changing facilities. The family friendly non-profit ski hill facility is operated by a board of directors. The community-run ski hill is a bit of a rarity. The longtime owner of the ski facility tragically died tending to the hill he loved in 1999. Then the community rallied over the next few years to purchase the hill and continue to run it as a ski resort. It was incredible foresight on behalf of the greater Traverse community because Mt. Holiday is a gem! It very well could have been sold to developers for a housing development.


After hitting the slopes, the boys would join us in the restaurant for some beverages and lunch. Our friend’s son enjoyed every minute of it. He spread out his car collection and made friends with many of the skiers who were refueling in the lodge. Mt. Holiday is truly a family friendly establishment where people of all ages are enjoying the joys of winter. Doesn’t that warm your heart?


Not that I’m dreaming of winter when the warm weather has just arrived… it just gives me the warm fuzzies just thinking about taking our son to learn how to ski there someday. Thanks for being there Mt. Holiday!

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Movies were free all week at the State Theater downtown for Spring Break. Last week, we went to see Fast Times at Ridgemont High… 1982 flashback! Caddyshack was showing after Fast Times, but we didn’t stay for the double-header.

Instead, we headed over to the Blue Tractor for dinner because we happened to have 2 coupons for $2.95 burgers from the Blue Tractor… talk about a cheap date*!

*It wasn’t totally cheap… because we did have the couples special at the movie theater (2 drinks and a large popcorn for like $8)… and at the Blue Tractor we added a basket of fries for $3.99, my fruity N/A drink was $2.99 and David had a $6 beer… so it wasn’t a complete cheap date… but it was still a lot of fun!

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A short drive up the coast of West Grand Traverse Bay brings you to the quaint village of Suttons Bay in Leelanau County. The village offers a bevy of restaurants and boutique shops, including Bahle’s department store. We recently made the drive to partake in the Bahle’s annual winter sale where winter clothes, shoes and gear is 50% off! It’s worth the drive, if you’ve never been!

We stopped at Martha’s Leelanau Table for lunch, a former residence on the main street that was converted into a restaurant.

If the charming red facade isn’t enough to lure you inside, certainly the from-scratch cooking will win your taste buds over.

Once inside, the homey atmosphere makes you feel welcome and at ease. The friendly wait staff is quick to tempt you with the daily soups and specials.

I opted for a soup and sandwich combo. The soup was a bell pepper-tomato-swiss combo with the perfect blend of spices. It was amazing. The Croque Madame panini sandwich was exquisite!

It was a great! I couldn’t have asked for a better afternoon!

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Downtown Traverse City was the place to be on New Year’s Eve. The Cherry T Ball Drop, a charity-based event for Goodwill Inn, is Traverse City’s version of New York City’s famed ball drop. Since the Traverse region is the cherry capital of the nation, our New Year’s Eve celebration included a giant cherry ball drop in the heart of downtown.

At the stroke of midnight, the crane holding the glowing cherry dropped it to the stage below. Then fireworks ensued in front of the stage while the crowd of an estimated 12,000 celebrated with friends and family.

2011 is shaping up to be a banner year. Our house is becoming very comfortable and this spring will mark our 3-year anniversary in this house. We have really transformed this former duplex into a warm, inviting cozy space. We are still planning a big upstairs renovation this spring and outdoor landscaping will take priority on the to-do list this summer. There’s a lot to look forward to in 2011. Cheers!

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