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!

The Rise and Fall of the Shopping Mall?

In the late 1960’s, shopping malls popped up all around the country. I remember, because I was a kid way back then, and one of my favorite pastimes was loading up into the car with my mom, Grammy, and aunties to hit the Paka Plaza in Jackson, Michigan. It was a joy to wonder through the toy department at Sears Roebuck to pick out the favorite teddy bear. If I remember correctly, I picked a somewhat girly bear. My cousin, Erin (yes, thats you dear!) picked the cuddly brown bear with the boy clothes. She was much more of a tomboy than I was back then. (Strange how my memory works!) While my mom and my Aunt giggled about sizes marked with TT… They said it meant “teeny tiny” size!

Then we moved UpNorth.. Rapid City, Michigan… Torch Lake… Aka 3rd most beautiful lake in the world! No malls.. But we took many long drives back to Jackson to hit our favorite spots, along with many relatives and in 1972 they got a wondrous new indoor mall.. Westwood Mall… This quickly became a new favorite, with its extra expansive JC Penney, and Hudsons!

UpNorth shopping was mainly downtown. Traverse City, with its famous Milliken’s Tea Room, among quaint boutiques with unique clothing items. In 1978, the community scored big with the opening of the Cherryland Mall. The community had come of age with its flagship department store, Prange’s, along with Sears Roebuck and Kmart, not to mention Main Street Sports (Kudos to the Gallagher family!). The place was usually packed with happy shoppers, until around 1991, when the community was introduced to the Grand Traverse Mall. Oh the joy of shopping became larger!

Flash forward to today… Milliken’s is gone from downtown. Westwood Mall is still surviving. Cherryland Mall is now the Cherryland Center, struggling to fill vacant spaces. Multiple stores in the Grand Traverse Mall are slated to close, leaving it’s development company in search of new tenant’s. Who is to blame? Some say Amazon.com.

Well.. Amazon is convenient, but… in my recent travels to Raleigh, NC (Crabtree Valley Mall) and Estero, FL, (Coconut Point Mall) I was pleased to find good busy bustling malls with amazing shopping, and very few vacant spaces! My anxiety about the death of my favorite sport is eased! Now… What are these communities doing that our struggling malls can learn from?

Perhaps its quality over quantity? Maybe it’s the economy setting of the communities? What if it’s simply a matter of making time to spend a family shopping day on occasion, instead of blindly ordering something to be delivered to your door?

This is simply one of the things that randomly runs through my brain from time to time

In the meantime… Get out there and hit those local malls… Make memories! Happy shopping, all!

Today’s lunch time blog! One of my favorite local hangouts… A review of Peegeo’s in Traverse City, MI.

Thirsty Thursday… yes, it’s a weekly holiday where the ladies all meet for dinner and drinks.   This week we ended up at one of our favorites, Peegeo’s on High Lake Road in Traverse City.   I realized I have never reviewed this place before!  So here it goes.

This place holds a little piece of my heart.  The minute you walk in the door, it’s like walking into “Cheers”.  Everybody knows your name (No I don’t run a tab like George or Cliffy…).  After one visit, you are considered a local by the owners, George and Susan VanKersen.  Of course, I’ve been a local to this place since 1992.  So my opinion may be a little biased.  But I do believe its general just a fun place to go!  The bar is lined with locals telling stories and spreading cheer, no matter what time of year it is.

My menu picks:

  • Hangar Steak (George does it right!)  It melts in your mouth!
  • Mexican Chicken wings…  One of my favorites!
  • Cherry Chicken Salad… for those times I feel like a need some veggies.  But it’s soooooooo delish!
  • BBQ Ribs… Mmmmmmmmmmm…
  • Mexican Combo Plate…  So much goodness on one plate.
  • Mike’s Sicilian Pizza…  Seriously the best pizza I have ever eaten in my life!
  • The London Broil… Comfort food at its best!

Of course there’s so many options on the menu other than this.  But these are my favorites!  Did I mention the Mike’s Sicilian Pizza is the best ever???  Check out their menu at www.peegeos.com.

Cheer’s to the local’s at Peegeo’s!  Nice job!

P.S.  to my people at McGee’s in Acme, MI… you are next!  You know I love ya’ll!

Shades of Autumn in Northwestern Lower Michigan..

The boat is put away for the season.  Summertime 2017 is in the books with great memories.  So this weekend, when Mother Nature offered up some beautiful summer-like weather, a trip to one of my favorite spots was in order.  Deadman’s Hill, overlooking the Jordan River Valley, just North of Alba, MI.  IMG_1796

When I was a kid (like 5 or 6 years old), my family would make the trip UpNorth to visit cousins.  The visits would turn out hours worth of fun and adventure throughout the beautiful Jordan River Valley, whether it was four-wheeling, snowmobiling, hunting, or canoeing the crisp clear waters of the Jordan River.  It’s one of the biggest reasons my family ended up moving North.

Deadman’s Hill was always an annual favorite autumn stop with my “Grammie” Scripter.  Color touring Northern Michigan was one of her favorite pastimes.  This place brings back so many memories for me!

Years ago, there was no fence holding people back from touring down the hill, so as energetic little kids, we all loved to hike down the log slide, and attempt to race back uphill as fast as we could.  Nowadays, the log slide is something to just enjoy overlooking with a good camera.  Oh, don’t we all wish we had that childlike energy???

One the way back from the trip, a stop in Boyne City for lunch was in order.  Café Sante was just the ticket… with views of Lake Charlevoix to love!  The food was amazing, and desert at the Alpine Chocolate House…  enough said!  #chocolatecoveredpotatochips!  It was truly a five star day!

Weekend drives in the autumn are one of my favorite things!  Now we all get to prepare for what comes next… yes, that fluffy white stuff that falls out of the sky.  For now, we’ve been blessed in Northern Michigan with an unusually long Indian Summer.

 

Eye on the prize… selling a home, through the eyes of a homeowner.

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Real Estate is a roller coaster ride…

Recently I decided to list my house for sale, because, lets face it… right now Northern Michigan Real Estate Inventory is low, sales prices are high, and it may just be the time to sell, and move onto bigger and better things.  Mainly, having that perfect dream home built on that beautiful piece of property somewhere yet to be found.  So, I contacted my old college buddy Pat to list.  Pat’s been around the real estate racket for years!

Boom-shakalaka, we have a listing!  My adorable house in the woods is on the market.  As each prospective owner walks through my home, I find myself facing the emotional bonds that I’ve built with this house in the past seven years, everything from the dog monument out front that holds the memories of two of my beloved late pooches, along with a pooch from the previous owner, to the back patio area that I had poured as soon as I moved into the house.  Each closet that I clean out to make a move more simplified brings about thoughts of “why am I selling the place I call home?”

The bottom line is that its just time.  Even with each showing pointing out things that other people find to be faults with the home, I know in my heart, this house has great bones… I know this, because that quote comes directly from the previous owner.  The cathedral ceilings, the beautiful brick fireplace, along with the country kitchen and hickory hardwood floors are all things that make this place a home.  So its hard not to feel a bit insulted when a low bid comes in.

“Don’t panic!”, says that little voice in my head…  just counter offer.  Keep your eye on the prize.  Every homeowner has a threshold price in their head, the lowest they will go.  When a prospective buyer walks from that price, its tempting to go lower.  But what will I end up living in?  Bottom line is that I have a budget for my next place, and anything less is simply unacceptable.  I think that’s true of any home seller.

… and the next showing is lined up.  The house is spiffy cleaned, and ready to show its best features off.  Seller’s market?  Lets hope so…  buckle up for a ride!