Happy Labor Day!

Cheers to the bridge walkers through out Michigan today… Whether it’s the Mighty Mackinac Bridge, or the Aarwood Bridge… It’s been a great day! Photo credit:. Becky Shepherd… September 3, 2018. Aarwood Bridge, Rapid City, Michigan.

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!

7583841840_img_0307

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!

Summer is here… and Torch Lake is back in full swing!

Yes…  It’s memorial weekend.  The weather is amazing here in Northern Michigan, at last!  The boats, yes…  the boats are ready to be in the water zipping around the lake and loafing on the sand bar at the south end.  It’s good to be a Michigander this weekend, especially if you own a boat!

7583841840_img_0308The water is a bit cold, but it sure doesn’t stop anyone from dipping their toes in to see if they can handle the ice cream headache that may result!  (Sparty on friends, Sparty on!)

img_6461

I personally just love days like these!  The water is so clear and clean… and did I mention COLD????  The air temperature was a solid 85 degrees. They tell me the water is 60 degrees, but my feet completely disagree!  Still… This place is the best place to be.

7583841840_img_0319

A cruise up the river was a nice break from the crowd.  Happily, this natural piece of artwork on Torch River has survived yet another winter!  It’s a favorite of mine.

7583841840_img_0317

Swanny even tried to pay us a visit to see if we had extra crackers on board.  Sorry buddy, no crackers for you!

7583841840_img_0321

Days like today, it gets so hot cruising the river, you just have to stop off for a dip before you head on under the bridge.

… and we get an additional day of this!

Happy Memorial Weekend to all…  Take time to remember all the veterans who gave their lives so that we can enjoy weekends like this.

 

Lunchtime blog… Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Now someone get me out of here… ;)

Yes, I live in Northern Michigan… It starts snowing here about November 15th (sometimes October 1st, depending on the year…) and it never stops until about March 31st.

When I was younger, I loved that first sign of a good snow storm.  I kept my downhill ski equipment loaded in my trunk so I could head on over to the hills (Michigan has hills, not mountains.) and ski to my heart’s content.

Somewhere along the timeline, my preference changed…   Most of my ski buddies quit skiing, or moved away.  Now I prefer a nice sunset with palm trees in the silhouette!  It just happens with age, I guess.  My love for Mogul hopping has turned into a love for sunshine, boating… and crafting by a fireplace if I can’t travel.  Occasionally I spy my ski equipment stashed in the corner of my garage and think “maybe… just maybe it’s like riding a bike”.  Well… it is, until you wake up in the morning and every muscle in your body is locked up in pain.  It’s worth it now and then just to get out there and feel that rush, and know that “I’ve still got it!”…even though jumps and bumps are more or less off limits, because I just don’t want to break any bones.

The view from my office window in the wintertime, does not include sunshine.  Just white fluffy flakes falling from a cloudy sky.  Sometimes they aren’t so fluffy… those are the ones that pile up fast and heavy on the ground.  Then you have to shovel… A LOT!  It’s so cold out there sometimes that my eyelashes freeze up and my face hurts!

Friend: “Want to meet for drinks after work?”

Me:  “No… I wish I could, but I have to get home and shovel two tons of snow off of my sidewalks.”  (At least I got smart and hired someone to plow my driveway!)

This is my common conversation this time of year.  My adorable 12 lb. dog loves that she gets to race around outside while I shovel.  She goes back into the house with a face full of snow balls that melt all over the floor in a big puddle.   I guess the bright side is that I can count that as quality entertainment.

My brain needs sunshine… warmth… sea shells…  Yes, I need to plan a trip to somewhere warm with palm trees and sunsets!  Meanwhile, I hope you all enjoy the beautiful view from my office window.  “Sledding anyone???” I say, as I pour myself that hot cocoa with some favorite creamy liquor infused liquid!