An art studio, a lighthouse, and a picnic

Mornings come early when you have a six year old, even on vacation. At least, with our six year old they do. We woke up in Honor and an hour later we were on the road again. This time, our first stop was minutes away, at a place I have always always wanted to go. And finally, I made it!

Gwen Frostic was so many things in her life – an artist, an inspiration, a Rosie, a poet. I love her art, her vision, and the fact that I graduated from the same high school that she did. So when I learned that her studio was still around, open, and operating as a store and a letter press in the very area we usually vacation in, I wanted to go. But it never happened, for one reason or another. But this time around, I made space for it.

We arrived bright and early, just as the doors were opening. We were the only customers and it was nice to have the place to ourselves. It was so quiet, we could ask questions, and I could just soak it all in. While I wandered about, Billy and Wyatt talked to the employees about the press that operates there. Apparently you can watch it run, but we were there on the wrong day for that. Another time, because I will definitely be going back.

I poked about, bought a few things. Listened to Billy talk with the employees about how not as many people send cards or letters anymore, and I think I want to do that, send letters on beautiful stationery. Anyone want a pen pal?

I bought a few cards, a new journal, and Wyatt picked out a few stickers. I have my eye on a print though for our bedroom redo, and those wine glasses.. I need one.

We got back in the car, and headed to our cabin! I was excited to get there after all the chaos. We checked in, looked around, flopped a bit, then..set out again. This time to Mission Point.

First stop was the lighthouse. We walked around a bit, then I asked Wyatt what he wanted to do next. He requested a picnic, since this kid loves them. For real. We got back in the car and found a place that sold deli sandwiches to go, the Bad Dog Deli. I had also spotted a sign for a place called Old Mission Flowers, and when I looked it up, found that it was a U-Pick Flower stand. Right up my alley, and just about the perfect setting for a picnic! We ate our lunch swinging our feet from the back of the Subaru, looking out at the wonderful color of the flowers, the hummingbirds playing, butterflies floating from flower to flower. I thanked Wyatt for suggesting this idea, we would have probably missed all of this beauty without his picnic request.

It was pretty ingenious really. There was a clean, bright shed filled with clippers and vases of different sizes and sorts. The prices were based on which vase you chose, you pick the flowers, and then either deposit money into a tube, or PayPal Old Mission Flowers. A complete honor system. I loved this part of our day. So did Wyatt. I think this was our favorite stop. Although, we only had one more left, the Secret Garden at Brys Winery. I actually didn’t go to any wineries this time around, due to Covid, but I wanted to see the lavender at the Secret Garden. This was a fast stop, I took a few photos, and we left. We were ready to chill out at the cabin for the rest of the day by this point. So that is what we did!

Which brings us to the end of day two. Another perfect day.

Up North Michigan

We are home! We had so much fun all. So relaxing and full of new outdoor adventures, but with just enough down time to fully chill out and just be.

At the last minute though, it looked like this trip may not happen. At 10 pm Saturday night, I got a text from the rental property manager saying that the cabin may not be ready to be checked in to on Sunday, the day we were supposed to arrive. We were only going for three nights, and it is a four hour drive so we of course did not want to miss any time! I went to bed anxious and when I woke up the news wasn’t any better. There was a plumbing issue, and the plumber said it might take some time. After some texting back and forth, and some quick googling on my end, I was able to secure a night at a motel nearby (at a motel our family has stayed at before and I know and like even!), had that night at the cabin refunded, plus extra for the inconvenience. I didn’t ask for that part, but they offered which I thought was really nice. However, all this kerfuffle put us way behind schedule. And on top of all that, another disappointment! We we planning on meeting up with Jeanie from Marmalade Gypsy at her summer house on our way up, for lunch and a chat. With all of the confusion and uncertainty we agreed to meet this fall instead, since Jeanie doesn’t live too far away from us during the year. So that was a bummer but another meeting is in the works! I am looking forward to it!

Once everything was settled, we finally hit the road, Billy declaring “Let’s go to Traverse City” as we pulled out of the driveway, just like my dad used to when I was a kid. (Except he said, “Let’s go to Florida!”, his favorite vacation spot)

The drive wasn’t too bad. We stopped about halfway there to stretch our legs and get some snacks, and I couldn’t resist a photo with this big guy!

I actually have my Smokey the Bear t-shirt on, although you can’t see it here. He was telling us that the potential for fire was low that day. Good news!

We got back in and Wyatt and I began to get restless. He fell asleep and I checked the miles left to go about every five minutes until we got there. Finally we pulled into the familiar little town of Honor, Michigan. My stepmom’s family rents a cabin in this area every year for the last thirty years, and our family was introduced into this tradition about fifteen years ago, staying a night or two with them occasionally. The town feels like home after so many visits there, and while this was an unexpected detour, it wasn’t a bad one. We checked in to the Honor Motel, which is bright and cheery and airy and clean, dumped our stuff, flopped on the beds for half an hour, and when Wyatt told us he was hungry, decided we had probably better think about dinner.

We ordered take out from The Cherry Hut, ate it in our room, then ventured out, again, but this time to see the beach. We had considered going to the Cherry Bowl Drive-In theater, a family favorite, but want to wait until we can come up here with my brother and his family for Wyatt’s first visit. The kids will have a blast there. So, we opted for the beach. Every other year Wyatt has hated sand and the lake with a virulent passion. That was actually the impetus for my even booking this trip! I found a cabin that had a shallow lake and a small beach so Wyatt could give it a whirl. So when we took him to Beulah Beach we thought we would just sit up on the sand and look at the water as the sun set. However, as soon as Wyatt spotted the lake he had different plans.

He scoots when not using his walker, and he does this thing Billy and I call his superscoot when he is excited and going fast, his version of a run. He superscooted as fast as he possibly could to the water, and got right in! He was having a blast, and we had to stop him a few times from scooting in over his head! Mr. Fearless all of a sudden I guess. (which on some level makes me both excited and nervous!) After a bit of playing, in his clothes I might add, the sun was fading fast, and the water feeling colder. Good parents that we are, we hadn’t anticipated this and while we had a towel, we didn’t have a change of clothes. So we dried him off, and buckled him into his seat in just his skivvies. It’s just a five minute drive thank goodness, but he thought it was hilarious to not have on shorts or a shirt.

And by this point, we were all ready to just veg out for the rest of the night. We got Wyatt showered and in his jams, let him play with his tablet before he zonked out half an hour later, and we binged a few episodes of Virgin River on Netflix.

And, day one was done. A mixed up and muddled beginning, but it turned out just fine.

Hello July!


July, you are not my favorite month. I am not a fan of being hot and sticky and sweaty and Michigan summers are hot and sweaty and humid. Our family tends to shy away from the sunlight like vampires, hiding out in the air conditioning during the day, and then emerging in the evening as it cools off. None of us are summer lovers, in this house. But July, you have your own beauty and charm, and this year, I will embrace you more. You are a month of sunshine, and bright colors and flowers. Insects and birds are cheerily going about their business, flowers riot through gardens. There is a plethora of fresh fruits and vegetables at the farm markets, bursting with flavor, and more bright colors. That is probably my favorite thing about you July, your vibrancy.

This month is a busy one too. We have so many fun things planned, in our own ways, of course. The fourth of July and family picnics. The lavender festival, the Detroit Kite Festival on Belle Isle. Bastille Day, watching the Tour de France together. Music concerts at the zoo. And three whole date nights for Billy and I, three weeks in a row! A dinner and tiki bar with new friends, a party with old coworkers, and then finally a date night at the zoo actually. I also see many more family dinners – my brother and I are trying to make them as weekly as possible. Iced tea parties with my boy once a week as well. Fresh salads, fresh fruits, simple easy meals. Trips to the library always feel so summery to me too.

As for me, I am going to a mom’s retreat in Texas at the end of the month, just my stepsister and I. I have to admit, I am super nervous. Beyond nervous and anxious. I have never been away from Wyatt more than 8 hours and now I will be gone for three nights. But I am doing it. I am teaching Wyatt to not let fear rule his life, and that begins with me. I have to do things that maybe I am scared to do, to show him that it is ok. I am also excited to go as well. I have always wanted to go to Texas, my whole life, and now I am. There is a chance to see some of my old college friends who moved to Austin as well, which would be a great big bonus. And this is a retreat for moms of kids with special needs like my kiddo, and the event coordinators have so many activities planned if we want to do them – or we can do whatever we want. Two and half days where I can do whatever I choose. So, this is going to be fun. I will get to hang out with my stepsister too, and really get to know her better, as we met when we were older. I am looking forward to that. It is a chance for me to grow, and it is good to push ourselves to that growth. Or that is what I keep telling myself!

I think this month too, I will revisit old children’s classic books, and just books that I loved as a child. I am also doing the Paris in July challenge, so that is on my mind too, all the fun reads and things I can for that. It has also been one year since I decided to start phasing out plastic, with Plastic Free July, and I signed up for a challenge for that as well, to keep me motivated and give me some new ideas. I need a push to get on that again, and the challenge will do well for that!

How about you all? Any big plans for July?