Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Playing Hooky

Well, actually I wasn't. Our payroll person at work told me I wasn't using my vacation days fast enough and told me I had to take a day off this week. Wow...twist my arm.

So a friend and I headed up north to my favorite part of the state, the Benzie-Leelanau area along the coastline of northwest Lower Michigan. Actually, I wouldn't tell my travel companion where we were going, which added to the fun factor, especially because she's a flatlander for whom this was all new. ("West Branch?...Mackinaw City?...you're not going to tell me, are you?...")

It was a beautiful day; no rain, no bugs, not too hot, not too cold, not too many fellow tourists. We had lunch at the Phoenix Cafe in downtown Beulah; drove around the lovely Crystal Lake, oohing and ahhing over the aquas and azures of the water; then headed north to the Sleeping Bear Dunes in Empire, where, en route along the winding Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive through forests and cottonwood-dotted dunes, we enjoyed a terrific view of the Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands; backtracked down to Frankfort; and made a stop at Beedazzled/Sleeping Bear Farms, which sells star thistle honey, the best honey in the world, as well as all manner of soaps and candles and sundry gifts. It really is a parallel universe, this part of Michigan; Planet Mellow, land of sand and seagulls, cherry orchards and woodlands, home of old hippies and young artists, boaters and bikers and hikers, denim-clad organic farmers and Izod-clad retirees, yuppies from Chicago tooling around in their Mercedes and good ol' locals in rusted pickups; the travel equivalent of a comfortable porch swing on a sunny, breezy summer afternoon.

The Frankfort light (photo taken last year, but you get the picture, so to speak)...one of the many stops on our itinerary Posted by Picasa

6 comments:

Cozy said...

WOW....You must have had SOME Day!!!! Glad to Hear You Are Taking Some Much Deserved Time Off!!

Bad Alice said...

I want someone to twist my arm into having a vacation.

RuthRE said...

Nice :)

LutheranChik said...

What's so interesting, and perplexing, to me is that my fellow Michiganians do not seem to have the same appreciation for this area as do tourists from other states. When I talk to locals in my community about going up north, they say, "Oh! Did you go to the casino?" That's the prevailing mentality around here. Of course, the beauty part of that is that it leaves more space for the more discerning among us.;-) (And I seem to have made a convert...cool.)

Anonymous said...

Next time you are in the Empire Area - stop by the fresh fruit stand of Sleeping Bear Orchards - about a mile north of Empire on M-22. On weekends, at least, they sell fresh - in season - fruit but they also have a "to die for" peach salsa!

LutheranChik said...

Mmmm...salsa...(And American Spoon Foods, which is based up north, also has a delicious mango chipotle salsa...not very Michiganian, but I tried some poured over a brick of cream cheese and served with crackers not long ago, and it was very, very good. They now have an apple chipotle salsa using local fruit, which might be interesting.)

I love the produce stands up there, and the fact that so many of them work on the honor system...in some cases we're talking about significant, valuable fruits and veggies, and there'll just be a suggested price and a collection box on a table. That is so great. And I love the support for Community Supported Agriculture up there. It's just a special place for many reasons.