This was, as I think is true for a lot of people, the summer that wasn’t. Ryan and I didn’t get any vacations scheduled aside from our annual events, and so they just never happened. (I had grand plans that included a lot of camping and weekend road trips, alas.) So, a few weeks ago I said THAT’S IT, and went up north for a four-day break from reality – also known as my parents house. Being retired from education, they are in a unique position to empathize with my lack of out-of-town adventuring; they’ve had summer vacation literally their whole lives. So when I arrived they had a full docket of summer-vacation-eqsue entertainment for me. Except it was 60 degrees and raining. So more like a drizzly European holiday, rather than sunny, friendly, beachy northern Michigan. But I’ll take it. There’s just something so cozy about a sweatshirt, shoes, and socks after a few weeks of heat. And like a kid on a long car ride, I packed a big bag full of things to do – I was ready. We went hiking, poked around downtown, went to some antique and resale shops, wine-tasting, and ate a lot of great food.
The two pictures above are from Tamarack Gallery, right across the street from Leelanau Cellars – the first stop on our impromptu wine-tasting trip. Sunday’s weather was especially gloomy, which is perfect for driving up the coast from Traverse City, through Suttons Bay, to Northport. The gallery is built in an old home, and is refinished perfectly. I felt a little suspicious taking pictures inside an art gallery, so I secretively shot a few in their upstairs area.
Our next stop was at Blackstar Farms – an oldie but a goodie. I don’t know how many times I’ve been here, and it never gets old. If you come to my house and drink wine (this goes without saying), it will no doubt be served in a Blackstar Farms glass. Call it kitschy, serving wine out of the glasses they give you at a tasting room, but whatever. I find it charming.
After our tasting, I took a few more photos around the farm. That ceiling in the tasting room is pretty amazing.
Cue the random bike photo… After dinner on Friday night (where we fled to the outskirts due to the massive crowds in town for an equally massive lacrosse tournament) we ventured downtown for some coffee. We walked by this bike which I found both nostalgic – my oldest brother was a professional cyclist for many years – and nifty. This was about the only photo I could capture before the torrential downpour – awesome for walking, not so much for having the camera exposed to the elements. (Need to work on nature-preparedness in my camera bag. Or get a camera bag.)
Saturday we hiked at Lake Dubonnet, not too far out of the city. This is one of my favorite places to hike around because there are two different lakes, a really neat little campground, and plenty of weird old stuff in the woods. Last time I was there was in the fall when my middle brother was in town, and it was interesting to see the changes between fall color and lush summer. It feels a lot like Colorado or even Maine in some parts. For me, one of the best parts about exploring in the outdoors is the memories that always surface – I spent my childhood taking long summer camping vacations with my family around the country. So whenever I’m hiking, places always remind me of each other. Let’s face it, the Spencers are woods people. We love the outdoors.
And that’s that. I guess you can could also call this post “what I did on my summer vacation.”