Jacksonville Adventure

Prior to a few weeks ago, I hadn’t been to Florida in over a decade. Ryan’s middle brother and parents have all relocated to Florida, and made plans for everyone to visit between Christmas and New Years. It was just a handy coincidence that in Michigan we were just coming off a violent ice storm, which included several days of below-freezing temperatures and power outages. Needless to say, we were ready to go. Continue reading

Travel Flashback – Portland

Willamette Vista
I don’t know if it’s the close of fall, daylight savings ending, and consecutive weekends spent at home, but I have the travel bug again. It may also have something to do with a construction crew banging on my house all day while I feel trapped inside. That certainly isn’t helping. Evidently my domesticity has some pretty particular limits.

So, while I can’t just jump on a plane and head somewhere exciting (though, come to think of it, why not?) I thought I’d share one of my favorite adventure spots of all time – Portland, Oregon. What a funky and magical place. Continue reading

Close Enough to Vacation

tc blackstar flowers
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. Continue reading

Up North

Glen Haven View 2
While I sometimes lament the fact that my parents live so far away, I should also be thankful that really they’re only a three-hour drive, and are living in (arguably) the most beautiful part of the state.  And, I can go visit them whenever I want.  For instance, just the other weekend, as a combination Mother’s Day / Dad’s Birthday celebration, I made a visit.  Even though the ostensibly spring weather was absolutely horrible, we made the best of it and went for a hike.  A mere 30-minute drive from their house is the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  

Glen Haven View 1
Glen Haven School House
These pictures are from a wonderfully eery abandoned town called Glen Haven.  (Perhaps I’ll provide a fascinating and lengthy history lesson on that later.)  Now occupied by the National Lakeshore, Glen Haven has an amazing beach, a scattering of little old wooden buildings, and a trailhead or two.

DH Day Mom and Dogs
And of course I had to get a picture of my mom holding onto the dogs – Emma and Ruby, theirs and mine.  (Please note the extensive garb my mother is wearing – yeah, that’s a winter ski coat, hat, and corduroys – in MAY!)  Ah well, the dreary weather made for exceptionally moody pictures.  When it’s 100 and humid I’ll look back on these and smirk.

Why is this enrichment, you ask?  I firmly believe anytime you can get off dead center and do a little exploring you are doing yourself a favor.  You never know what you’re going to find outside the walls of your own space, especially if you keep your eyes open to it.  So, while I have been to this general area before, I’d never walked on this trail, or been at the beach when the weather was quite so finicky.  Standing alone on the sand as the cool wind pushes you around gives you a feeling of odd tranquility, and to me, that’s enrichment.