Embrace the season change!

Ugh… it happened this weekend.  I got that feeling… that rainy day, cooler temperatures, stay at home and watch movies and do laundry all day feeling!  Fall is sneaking up on me.  I know its right around the corner, because it keeps reminding me in the most obvious ways.

Leaves are turning colors…  it’s raining more often than it has in the past month…  the outside temperatures are slowing falling.  I need a sweatshirt when I sit outside at the campground.   So now I have to admit it!  I love the fall colors.  I love sweater weather (but I love summertime more).  I love staying home and feeling cozy, padding around in my kitchen creating warm delicious dishes in my crock pot.

So guess what…  I’ve decided that I’m going to enjoy this weekend of summer weather, and then focus on the beauty of Autumn in Northern Michigan.

Things to do in Northern Michigan during Autumn…

  1. Winery/Brewery tour.  Anywhere you go in Northern Michigan, there’s a wide selection of craft brews and spirits.  Old Mission Peninsula, Leelanau County, and The Chain of Lakes region from Elk Rapids through Bellaire are wonderful areas to taste your favorites AND enjoy some of the most incredible views of the fall colors.
  2. Don’t put that boat away just yet!  Color tours via water are amazing.  One of my favorite fall cruises is from Torch River through the Chain of Lakes into the Intermediate River to visit the quaint town of Bellaire.  Colors generally peak the first two weeks of October, and USUALLY the weather is good enough to throw on a light jacket for the day trip.  The trip is an annual favorite for locals too!
  3. Visit some “Foodie Towns”…  Traverse City has tons of restaurants of all cuisine’s…  it’s becoming a good place to visit for a variety of dining experiences.  But I do have a few favorites outside of T.C.  A few of my favorite towns that are just a short drive from Traverse City, are Glen Arbor, Elk Rapids, Boyne City, Charlevoix, Northport, Leland, and Petoskey, just to name a few.   If you get out an explore these towns you will find great dining options like, Art’s Tavern, Pearl’s New Orlean’s Kitchen, Stafford’s Weathervane, Cafe’ Sante, Fischer’s Happy Hour Tavern, and the Cove.
  4. Get out and enjoy outside… Yes… there I said it!  We all need that fresh air and exercise.  We have bike/walking/hiking trails everywhere in Northern Michigan.  Personally, I can’t wait until the TART (Traverse Area Recreational Trail) trail extends towards Elk Rapids!
  5. Camping… there are so many great places to camp around here!  There’s nothing like a great campfire and roasting s’mores.  It’s not just for summertime, afterall.  Timber Ridge Campground in Traverse City offers year round sites and cabins.  My summer experience at Torch Grove Campground in the Torch Lake area this summer has lead me to make some new wonderful friendships that made my summer the best, so why not keep on camping until the snow flakes fall?  Check out some of the best campgrounds in the area at https://mynorth.com/2017/07/10-best-northern-michigan-campgrounds/.

So, don’t just hibernate until next spring… get out there and enjoy our beautiful spot in this world!  Enjoy those vibrant colors…IMG_1805

 

Lunchtime blog: Summertime… Sandbar… Sunshine… Swimmers Itch???

Summertime in Northern Michigan means spending time on some of the clearest, most beautiful waters in the world.  (No… I’m not exaggerating… it’s so blue, it’s almost like you are in the Caribbean!)

A lot of my weekend time is spent out on my pontoon on my favorite sand bar on Torch Lake, which borders both Antrim County, and Kalkaska County.  When you look in the water, it’s so clear you cannot imagine anything lurking in the waters.  But as the warmth of the summer months draw in the ducks and geese…  it brings this nasty parasite (carried by the birds).  It’s the dreaded SWIMMER’S ITCH!  It might not hit for a day; it might hit right away…  It might even bypass the occasional person who is completely immune to it!

Its itchy, nasty, and can ruin a good time for a few days.  But somehow it never seems to slow us down from enjoying the summer.  We cope… We slather down with hydrocortisone cream,  and we move up the lake to deeper, cooler waters where the parasite doesn’t seem to thrive.

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The skin condition doesn’t last long… but it’s still an inconvenience.  So, don’t let it kill your good time!  Lotion up your skin before you get into the water (with SPF 15 at least, of course).  Dry off as soon as you get out of the water.  Keep a bar of Lava Soap on hand too, because it seems to scrub those little buggers away very well once you hit land.38422392_10157308032517069_878782731469717504_n

In the meantime… I’m spending today itching just a bit… Next weekend I think I’ll park North of the Sand Bar in the deeper water so this doesn’t happen for awhile again!

Until next time…  Float on!

Enjoy!

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

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!