Note to self: Vacations are good for you and should be long and occur with more regularity

Until a few weeks ago, we had not had a proper vacation in three years. Sure, we have traveled now and then, usually connected to a work- or piano-related event that required staying in a hotel away from home for a couple of nights. Never for longer than four days, however, and rarely just for fun.

I have wanted to capture a few highlights of our recent vacation here without boring you readers to death with a detailed travelogue, and so have struggled a bit with this post off and on all week. I thought about measuring our time away by the birds we saw. Far fewer cormorants on Mackinac Island, for example, or the two sandhill cranes walking alongside M28 near Seney National Wildlife Refuge and again much later in the day still alongside M28 just outside of Au Train — same pair? probably not. Despite several visits to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, we had never seen sandhill cranes outside the Queens Zoo. Then there were the bald eagles and great blue herons. One of the former flew right by my feet as I looked over the bluff at Miner’s Castle on Lake Superior, and one of the latter flew right over my head as I sat crocheting on the shore of Lake Michigan’s Epoufette Bay.

Crochet! I could measure the days by the 20″ squares I crocheted for Robyn Love. When we returned home I sent 24 (or was it 25? 23?) off to New York City for her Avenue of Trees project. Bruce drove so that I could crochet in the car, and I snagged moments for endless crocheting whenever we were stationary… and at least once when we were not. Not conspicuous at all crocheting hot pink variegated yarn whilst walking around Mackinac Island’s little downtown, right? Raised eyebrows in more than one fudge shop, I’m sure!

When we can make the time and afford the effort and expense, one of our favorite places to recreate and vacate to is my uncle and aunt’s home on the north shore of Lake Michigan. We enjoy their company immensely. We enjoy the view and breezes from the bay. It is a tolerable drive from there to the tourist Mecca that is Mackinac Island, and to the far-less-populated southern shore of Lake Superior.

Lake Superior. I cannot get enough of that beautiful and terrible lake. Did you know its depth averages nearly 500′? And its deepest point is 1,332′? Click the link for more information in the overview section. Dare ya.

Cool facts about the photo below left (which, by the way, you may click to embiggen): There are people on the curve of the shoreline next to their boat which is black, upside-down on the rock beside them and at about the halfway point in the curve. Also, the tall pine to the right? When we got there we saw a bald eagle at the top of it. That’s the one that swooped by my feet after soaring over the little cove below.

I could measure our time away in stones. Those on the shore of Lake Michigan’s Epoufette Bay tend to be craggy, pitted and irregular. Those along Lake Superior at the foot of Grand Sable Falls, tumbled and turned until smooth as glass (right photo above). Those that ring Mackinac Island are a mix of round and smooth, and rough and uneven depending on which side of the island you are on. Someone (or more than one someone?) had taken a great deal of time to build cairns and other rock formations — some jumbles, some graceful arches, some impossible and teetering Seussian towers — all around the perimeter of the island.

On our way home, we stopped for dinner with friends at one of our favorite Buffalo eateries. We were early so we wandered around downtown a little, past the Episcopal Cathedral there and the Louis Sullivan building. In doing so, we passed a building’s storefront windows and saw this Duchampian sight and laughed. Maybe we were tired, maybe we were just a little giddy from vacating and recreating so well, but we all thought it was a ridiculous end to a delightful vacation.

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About pattiblaine

Raised under the name of Snyder in the upstate NY town of Vestal, I've worked as a typesetter, a fast food salad bar tender, an art reviewer, a waitress, a part-time nanny, and a very-bad-with-phones temp. Once upon a time I was all-but-thesis toward a Masters in Art History. Now I'm just a mom with a lot of fiber squirreled away throughout the house. We call it insulation. In 2013 I completed a life-long learning program at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and am a postulant toward the diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, NY. In addition to coordinating volunteers for the soup kitchen, I volunteer as a tutor at a deeply impoverished city elementary school, and am a docent at the Memorial Art Gallery.
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7 Responses to Note to self: Vacations are good for you and should be long and occur with more regularity

  1. Lindsey says:

    Looks & reads like a beautiful time away! It seems there were multiple fudge shops? Vacations like yours are the best in my mind: beautiful scenery, with a pace slow enough to actually take in all the beauty surrounding you.

    • pattiblaine says:

      Multiple fudge shops, yes, with rivalries as to who is best, who is first, etc. Mackinac Island’s little downtown reeks of fudge and horse manure. A memorable combination! And the rivalry spills over onto the mainland so there a fudge shops in St. Ignace and elsewhere in the UP. Less horse manure. Thankfully.

  2. Erin says:

    Mackinac Island is one of those places I’ve always wanted to go. (It’s where they filmed Somewhere In Time, right?) Looks like an excellent trip!

  3. pattiblaine says:

    Yes, Erin, in the Grand Hotel there — a 19th century beauty with overpriced rooms. There is quite a bit for a family to do in the UP and on and near Mackinac Island. It’s worth the trip!

  4. Sarah says:

    Sounds like a lovely time! Wonderful photos.

  5. Pingback: For your contemplation… | Every Fibre of My Being

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