So many reasons you should attend your next high school class reunion!

This weekend marked the 35th Reunion of the Elk Rapids High School Class of 1983.  Wow… what a great party of the best people!  So… you may think you don’t want to attend your next class reunion, but think again, because you are probably missing out!37094900_10157249396172069_2538177057477623808_o

  1.  You spent every weekday of the school year with these people, and whether you like it or not, they had some impact on who you are today.37150900_10157249391267069_114224603697512448_n
  2. You’ll get to see your best friend, that you just don’t get to see enough!37112591_10157249392667069_5267147505820237824_n
  3. Everyone will be surprised by the unexpected person you haven’t seen in over 35 years.37106275_10157249392417069_3625641959118340096_n
  4. Even the exchange student from Brazil showed up for the party.  37130315_10157249391437069_1257980708224237568_n
  5. Guaranteed fun with your favorite people in the world!37095157_10157249391047069_3750223090471141376_n
  6. You might even find out that your ancestors knew about your beautiful home town, long before you did!37145287_10157249391617069_7938141934390870016_n
  7. Some people just never age!37118482_10157249391027069_2477411336187805696_n
  8. Having the big party at a place you had your 6th grade play…  priceless!

I think I hugged every single person that walked through those doors…  My face hurt by the end of the night, from smiling so big.  A great time was had by all!

Bottom line…  This is just seriously one very fine bunch of people that I grew up with!

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Happy Independence Day!

The 4th of July has always been a favorite of mine…  Wonderful fireworks all around Northern Michigan!  But there’s more reasons that its a favorite.

Happy Boat Dogs

img_6635My favorite wine and a sunset on the water!img_6637Boat time with friends and familyimg_6644Dinner served boatside

img_6656Beautiful sunsetimg_6659My happy place… the captains chair on my pontooon!img_6662Patriotic Boaters

Beautiful skylines and warm nights!

img_6673Beautiful clean clear watersimg_6674Splashing through THE Sandbar… yes…  It’s the world famous Torch Lake Sand Bar.  This is where I grew up… and where I celebrate the freedom of our country every year.   img_6676

Enjoy every minute, and appreciate whats around!  Never take these things for granted.  It’s all great!

Happy Birthday America!

Happy National Cherry Festival Week!

Last weekend it was 96 degrees, windy, and humid!  … and yes, after a bit of anxiety, I gave up my weekend on the boat to celebrate the opening weekend of the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan with no regrets.

First of all, the Blue Angels were in town!  Any time of day, you could look up and see them practicing performances.  I even saw a few of them fly over my house Saturday afternoon during their show. Such a thrill to see them again!

Once the excitement of the Air Show died down, we made our way from the Turtle Creek Casino, via Lyft driver, to the festivities at the Open Space.img_6592

What a great view from the backside of the Beverage Tent!  Ohhhh… They have a great selection of beers, along with wines from Chateau Grand Traverse, as well as Cherry Margarita’s, and refreshing Adult Lemonade, and bourbon cocktails.  (So glad Lyft and Uber have become a part of Traverse City’s culture… getting around is a breeze when someone else is driving!)

The opening concert of the week; Pat Benatar and Neil Geraldo, with Loverboy as an opener!  Wow…  what a fantastic night of my kind of music…  80’s all the way!

My very first concert I ever went to was in 1982 at Castle Farms in Charlevoix, Michigan…  Yes… it was a Loverboy concert!  They were just as good this day, as they were back then.  The aging rockers put on a great show!  (Of course, the audience, including myself, was equally as aging!)

Of course, Pat Benatar and her husband Neil Geraldo, put on a great show as well.  So much talent in one night!  Many of their songs brought back great memories and prompted the crowd to stand and cheer!  My “fun meter” was off the charts, and I woke up with a very scratchy voice on Sunday from all of the “woo hooooing!”

All this, in one night… and the festivities have just begun…  More big name concerts from Dan & Shay, Sheryl Crow, Dustin Lynch, along with a few more are in the lineup for this week.  Of course, any night of the week, locals congregate at the beverage tent for refreshing adult beverages and good company.

A visit to the Gibby’s Fries trailer is a must as well…  It’s a long time Traverse City favorite!

Other events this week, Cherry Pie Eating Contests, Cherry Pit Spit, Kids events, parades, and much more!  Check out the event schedule at www.cherryfestival.org!

Oh… and Sunday while I was at a family picnic on East Bay, the Blue Angels were visible in the distance once again during Sunday’s airshow!  Where is a good camera when you really need one?

So, if you are near the area this week, make sure you join the rest of the crowd to celebrate everything that is Cherry!  … and enjoy those Fireworks on the 4th, whereever you may be!img_6623

Things to know before heading to the Torch Lake Sandbar

Summertime in Northern Michigan… yes, it’s that time of year, and there really is no better place to be than splashing through the beautiful waters of the Torch Lake Sand Bar on a hot summer day.  BUT, if you’ve never been there, there are a few tips you need to know before heading out.

  1. When anchoring on the sand bar, use at least two anchors to secure your boat.  Front and Back Anchors can keep your boat from swinging into other boats around you on a windy day.
  2. Lotion up before getting into the water.  This helps keep “Swimmers Itch” from affecting your skin.  Also dry off quickly when you get out.  This is another good preventative for the parasites carried by duck feces in the water.
  3. The sand bar is a public place.  You can get arrested for public drunkenness, drugs, indecency, etc…  Be respectful of families around you. There are Antrim and Kalkaska County Sheriff boats out there, along with Michigan State Police, Michigan DNR Boats, and even Coast Guard helicopters monitoring the crowds every day in the busy summer.  They are there to ensure safety at all times.
  4. Mark your anchors with floatables.  This will save a few toes from stubbage.  Walkabouts are a must when on the sand bar to socialize and meet new people.  An unmarked anchor can lead to  a painful toe if you happen to stub your foot, or step on an anchor that isn’t marked.
  5. Take care of your garbage.  If you brought it with you, take it back with you!  Torch Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.  It needs to stay that way!
  6. The locals love to grill!  If you get offered some of their grillings, by all means, try it!  It’s great stuff!
  7. Bring money for the Burger Barge.  Dave does a great job with his burger flippers, and has the best souvenir’s on the water!  https://www.facebook.com/The-Burger-Barge-280618472591/
  8. If you park in an open spot, don’t be surprised if someone maneuvers up and anchors next to you.  It’s a big place, but the shallow spots are in demand.  Many times, regular’s will even jump in to help you get where you want to be and help you anchor.
  9. Locals hang out on the East Side.  It’s more protected from extra wakes caused by boats cruising past the sandbar on the West Side.  The younger crowd hangs out in the center, where all the action happens.  Take your pick of places, depending on your mood!
  10. Relax, enjoy, float, and socialize!  It’s one of Michigan’s premiere spots to cool off.   The clear clean (and sometimes cold, depending on the wind direction) is worth the trip!
  11. Fabiano’s delivers pizza to the sandbar!!!  Just give “Pizza Boy” a shout along with a description of your boat with MC #’s, and approximate location.  Check them out at www.fabianosontorch.com.   They also have a limited number of short term boat slips and pontoon boat rentals available.
  12. Torch River Marine is a seasonal boat slip marina.  Plan on putting yourself on the wait list for a slip here for the summer.  It’s a first class operation with both in water boat slips and on demand rack storage.  Boat rentals are available as well.  www.torchrivermarine.com
  13. This year’s fireworks are scheduled at Dusk on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2018.  Check them out… They are spectacular!

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This is where I grew up most every summer of my life…  It’s a place I don’t take for granted.  What can I say, it’s made me a “lake snob”!  See you out there soon!

Another good dining establishment! Blue Water Bistro and Pizzeria, Alden, MI

Last week, Alden got an addition to its already wonderful cast of businesses.  The Blue Water Bistro and Pizzeria, (formerly Poma’s Pizza, and way back Sonny’s Pizza) opened last Friday night with  good reviews from the locals.

So, OF COURSE, Saturday night we had to venture over for a taste.  The new restaurant has a few bugs they are actively working out, but overall, I think its going to be a hit!

First off, they have a full bar with a nice selection of wine and beers, including some great local craft beers.  Of course, my refreshing favorite choice:  Tito’s and Soda with Orange slices served tall in a jar mug.  img_6562

My favorite part of the evening, was the small plates that were served.  There were five of us at the table, so we ordered a little of everything to sample.

  • Flaming Cheese and Bread…  This is a must have!!!  Tequila lime flamed at tableside… this is a gooey fantastic treat to start with.  I HIGHLY recommend it! It’s on the menu as “Blue Water Cheese Bread”… Don’t miss out!
  • Hot Wings…  These were nicely done as well.   They were just spicy enough to be perfectly flavorful.
  • Bruschetta…  Always one of my favorites where ever I go.  This place does it up very nicely!  Very fresh and flavorable… those are the words I choose to describe this selection.
  • Drunken Mushrooms…  Marinated in a wine/garlic sauce.  Good on its own… great if you add a little of the flaming cheese on top! (Just our tables experimentation… )
  • Shrimp Scampi Fritta…  OK, so I cant review this one, because of my severe seafood allergy.  But it certainly looked good.

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Oh… and did I mention the amazing bread plate that showed up before dinner?  No words needed… just enjoy the picture.  #honeybutter #yumyum

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Then dinner was served…

  • Three of us ordered the Blue Water Trio, which included an Olive Garden type combination of Lasagna, Fettucine Alfredo, and Chicken Parmesan.  The Lasagna was good… the Chicken Parmesan was OK (but it’s not always a favorite of mine anyway)…  The alfredo sauce on the fettuccine was delicious, but I wish there would have been more sauce.  The fettucine was sadly lacking moisture.  Overall, it’s an OK choice, but next time I’d try something different.
  • Another diner ordered the Lobster Mac and Cheese…  I heard a few yummy noises being made across the table over this one, so I’d say it was a hit.
  • The almond crusted scallops on a bed of linguine with white wine sauce was another choice at our table.  It looked tasty to me, and I didn’t hear any complaints, so I’d say it’s a keeper on this menu

Next time, I’d love to try the Steak Gorgonzola…  Yes, there will be a next time.

Oh… I cannot forget to mention the wonderful Creme’ Brule’ for dessert… Simply delish!  It was a perfect finish to our meal…  And we all left with full happy bellies.

One last note on the atmosphere of the place… I love the garage doors on the front of the building for outside dining and cocktailing in the summer months.  The place was packed Saturday night, so the tables inside seemed a bit crowded together.  The high top tables were super cool looking, but seemed a bit over tall for a few shorter people in our group.

Of course, keeping in mind that the restaurant just opened, they do have a few service and kitchen issues to work out over time.  But I really have confidence that this place is going to be a big hit in the Torch Lake area.  I will definitely go back!

Check out the rest of their wonderful menu at www.torchlakepizza.com!

 

 

5 Reasons to visit Alden, Michigan this summer!

This little gem of a town in Northern Michigan often goes unnoticed… What people don’t realize is just how adorable Alden, Michigan really is!  Why?  Well, here are just a few of my simple reasons:

  1. Torch Lake!  Yes… this town is located on the east side of Torch Lake.  Beautiful views can be enjoyed from the docks at the boat launch.  You can visit by boat, or by car.  A quick 30 minute drive from Traverse City is all it takes.img_6524
  2. Alden’s Mill house…  This is a must stop for my favorite spice blends and fun kitchen gadgets.  It’s a quaint unique shop with something for the awesome chef in everyone!  Check it out at their website…  https://aldenmillhouse.com/  They ship anywhere as well, so treat your favorite chef to some Miracle Blend, or Big Dave’s Burger and Steak Blend.  No kitchen is complete without it!
  3.  The Alden Bar & Grill.  Burgers, Ice Cold Beer, and friendly locals gather here.  My personal favorite is the Alden Bar Burger.  They even have an outdoor patio for those warm summer evenings.  You just can’t go wrong.
  4. The Alden Depot Park and Museum.  Stop in for a visit and learn about the history of this beautiful little town, relax in the park overlooking Torch Lake, or play a quick game of volleyball in the sand courts. It’s the epitome of “Pure Michigan”.  You can check out all it has to offer at https://www.michigan.org/property/alden-depot-park-museum
  5. The Stroll!  Every Thursday in the summer it’s all about Alden…  Meet up with friends, Stroll the streets, listen to live music, and check out all of the shops.  Alden has so much to offer.

For more details on this great town, check out VisitAlden.com.  Enjoy  your visit… You will want to return for years to come!

New Boat… Shakedown Cruise…

Here in Northern Michigan, we get boat fever if we don’t get out on the water enough.  Those of us who are lucky enough to own boats, often get this condition called “Two-foot-itis”…

This is a condition where you have a nice boat that is enough, but then you walk down a dock and see a slightly bigger boat that just might just be a touch more your style!  My friends, Terry and Susan Roote, remedied this condition this week, by upgrading from their 28 ft SeaRay Express, to a 32 ft Regal with twin engines.  Note… my knowledge of engines is limited, so I have no idea what kind of engines, HP’s, etc…

So…  as soon as they rolled back into town with their boat they invited a couple of us for a “Shakedown” Cruise to run out any bugs that might exist.   Off to Torch River Marine we went to meet up for our cruise down Torch River, through Lake Skegemog, and into Elk Lake.

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Good times for sure!  The boat ran like a champ, topping out at 55 mph across shorelines of Elk Lake, and onto the South end Sand Bar, where we tested out the water with our toes for a minute.  Elk Lake is actually about 63 degrees.  Not bad compared to the icy waters of Torch Lake! img_6487

The day wasn’t a top notch sunny day, but we threw on sweatshirts and had a great day!

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Of course the cruise down Torch River is always a relaxing treat!

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Siri, the boat dog!

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Getting the hang of the twins!  Terry did great with his new boat…

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The sun tried to come out for a few minutes, casting a glow across Lake Skegemog’s “Stump Hell”…

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Susan got a quick minute to handle to boat as well.  Boat’s just make people smile really big!

What a super fun day we all had!

Did I mention they have a beautiful Bed and Breakfast at the South end of Torch Lake also?  If anyone is ever curious about visiting this amazing area, just check their place out at UpFromTheRoote’s on Facebook!   They are great hosts!