Sunday, July 27, 2014

Weathered Barn, Charles Olsen Historic Preserve

As you travel the main state road around Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, you will pass Charles Olsen Historic Preserve situated in Port Oneida. In 1918, this old weathered barn was built up against the hillside. Today, along with the adjacent farmhouse, it is part of a project to preserve these structures by Preserve Historic Sleeping Bear. Charles Olsen, the original owner of the farm, built this type of barn structure to house cattle in the lower section and hay in the upper section. Normally I see these types of barns out west where cattle ranchers are more prominent.

The day before I took these images, I saw this old weathered barn and got a glimpse of the historic preservation sign and was a tad curious. On my drive south from Leland the next day, I passed the barn and decided to capture a few images when I noticed these beautiful wildflowers blooming in a field nearby. I have to say I tire of taking the standard barn image as barns are a staple everywhere you travel, so finding this patch of wildflowers was a plus.

Charles Olsen raised cattle, but he was also was an avid horseman. He actually maintained state road 22 which traverses this area around the dunes before the highway department took over.

As I got out of my car and walked a short way back to the wildflower field, I wondered what flower this was and discovered online today that they are Everlasting Peas or perhaps you might call them Sweet Peas. I was amazed at the many, many Everlasting Peas growing in abundance along the two main state roads near Sleep Bear Dunes. They are so beautiful I just had to get a close up to share with you.

It has stormed here since last evening. The lightning and wind was atrocious around 10 p.m. last night. Thunder kept me awake and then woke me up again this morning. I'm off to finish a home decor project. Have a wonderful Sunday. ENJOY!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Leland's Famous Fishtown!

In northern Michigan sits the small town of Leland. Now most of you may not necessarily know about Leland, but it is home to the only working commercial fishing village in Michigan that is left today. Fishtown is situated along the harbor in Leland and if you find yourself in this area, get out of your car and walk around. It's worth the time and the effort.

Fishtown in Leland dates back to the 1800's and as you walk down the steps to the docks, you almost feel like you might just be right back in 1890. Forty years ago Carlson Fisheries decided it wanted to perserve the heritage of Fishtown which is why it still serves as a fishing village today. Later Carlson sold Fishtown to the Preservation Society to preserve it. I am so glad they did.

You'll find old fishing nets hanging off the side of the dock railings drying in the sun which I found especially charming. As I photographed this fishing net, several women looked at me like I was a little nuts, but I knew you guys would get the symbolic nature of the image.

As you turn the corner of the main walkway to the dock, look almost straight across and you see one of the best representations of an old weathered fishing shantie with its gear sitting out front ready to be put into service.

Walk around the docks and wander in and out of the shops if time allows, but especially stop and read some of the many printed billboard signs sitting outside that share the story of the 'famous' Fishtown fishermen. It really was heartwarming to read about the fishermen. The town obviously is very proud of their hardworking guys.

Behind the dam that flows into Lake Michigan stands a boardwalk connecting the two docks. Standing on the boardwalk, I captured this image of the weathered fishing shanties and the boats sitting in the harbor. It bears mentioning here that the green boat in the left side of the image is an old fishing tug. The tugs, back in the 1800's and early 1900's, were open mackinaw boats made of wood. In the mid 1900's the tugs were modified when gas engines replaced the sails and later when gas was replaced with diesel. At that time a protective cabin was added to the tugs, allowing the fishermen more protection from the elements and enabling them to travel further out from port, and extending the season further into the winter months. Today, the Janice Sue and the Joy, steel fishing tugs, are still in service in Leland. Now how's that for a history lesson!

As I walked out past the harbor toward Lake Michigan, a long rock wall sat adjacent to the marina. No doubt it was built to keep the lake at bay during stormy weather.

This area of Michigan is so 'cool' if you don't mind the term. It is situated about 35 minutes from Traverse City and is very close to the small artist's community of Glen Arbor. Nearby is Sleeping Bear Dunes, so if you didn't get enough of your drive down Pierce Stocking and you kept your receipt, you could take a second drive. I drove a tad farther south on this particular day to visit Point Betsie Lighthouse and Ranger Station. So many little towns just a hop, skip and a jump away from each other. ENJOY!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tall Ship Manitou, Grand Traverse Bay

The first leg of my trip was spent in Holland visiting various beach towns and enjoying beautiful Lake Michigan. On the second leg of my trip, however, I drove to Traverse City to spend a few days. Right as I pulled into town late in the day, having spent most of the day at Sleeping Bear Dunes, I noticed a tall ship out in the bay. I had read there was a tall ship company in Grand Traverse Bay, but I didn't know what time of day they sailed so I wasn't sure I would see the ship on my visit.

On this particular day the wind from a cold front that had come through on Tuesday was still very prevalent on Grand Traverse Bay as the Tall Ship Manitou made its way back to the dock. Now mind you I am not an expert, but it seems to be pitching just a tad to one side with the wind against its sail. I would have loved to have been on that cruise.

As luck would have it, the next evening I drove the road that circumvents the bay before heading back to my hotel and just happened to catch the Tall Ship Manitou again. This time it was pulling into dock, sails down, and in a much calmer Grand Traverse Bay. I love the reflection of the sails in the water. This is my favorite image of the bay and the ship. I found Traverse City to be the best place to station myself as it was in perfect proximity to Leland, Glen Arbor and Empire, all tiny towns along or close to Lake Michigan. Also, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is only about 35 minutes from Traverse City.

I had read this area of Michigan is virtually an undiscovered area and has not turned totally commercial from tourism. I have to agree. There is still a great deal of this area where I found myself almost alone along the lake shore. Vacationing in mid July can be tough because of the heat of summer. After spending last year on the Eastern Shore in 95 degree heat and 100 degree heat index, I opted to travel north. The farther north I drove, the larger and more beautiful the inland lakes were. Glen Lake was so gorgeous I couldn't begin to describe it. Cutting my trip into two destinations in fairly close proximity kept my driving to a minimum on any given day making for a more enjoyable trip. To check out Pure Michigan, the state's tourism website, go to ENJOY!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Gorgeous Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore located in the northwest section of lower Michigan in the Grand Traverse area was recently voted the #1 Most Beautiful Place in America. In my humble opinion, it was and is still #1. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is such a beautiful area with huge sand dunes that seem to rise right into the heavens. Add to those overpowering sand dunes, the crystal blue waters of Lake Michigan and its beautiful beaches, and it is just a phenomenal place to spend a few days.

As I drove the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, I captured one of my favorite images of Sleeping Bear Dunes which features a huge sand dune off in the distance and gorgeous Lake Michigan, as well as the immediate sand dune with its varying flora and fauna. Flowering Baby's Breath bloomed in large patches all over the dunes making for a beautiful scene. Sadly, Baby's Breath actually destabilizes the dunes and invades the native plant species that stabilize the dunes. So an effort is under way to eradicate this flower from the dunes.

If you look closely while driving the Pierce Stocking Drive, you will see small patches of Butterfly Weed growing in the sand. I love the bright orange color and find it even more beautiful with the Baby's Breath.

A favorite stop along the Pierce Stocking Drive is the Lake Michigan Overlook which features a boardwalk that juts out into Lake Michigan. On this particular day, a lone sailboat was sailing across the lake. Everyone around me was busy taking photos of the dunes and walking out on the boardwalk, but I couldn't resist the opportunity to snap a few images of the crystal blue waters and this solitary sailboat. It has such a serenity about it that was irresistible. ENJOY!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Evening Light, Holland State Park

Every now and then one picks a spot on the map, sets out for that destination and ultimately finds exactly what they had hoped for. Along Lake Michigan's eastern shore lies the small town of Holland, Michigan. The town of Holland is separated almost right down the middle by Lake Macatawa, and closer to the lake shore, Macatawa Bay.

Holland State Park sits at the edge of the shore on the north side of Holland. At the very tip of the park is a huge beach and directly across the inlet to the bay sits Big Red, one of Holland's most famous landmarks. I found Big Red bathed in late evening sunlight with a cool breeze and low eighty temps. Not only did I photograph Big Ben from this locale, but also from across the bay looking north. I will share those images soon.

As I sat on the edge of the sidewalk and watched the sun fall slowly toward the horizon, I chatted with two local Holland residents, a doctor and nurse, who were husband and wife. I snapped photos as I chatted with them and they recommended I visit Olive Shores just north of Holland if time allowed. Off in the distance along the beach someone began feeding the Seagulls. Next thing I knew my sunset images captured a few of the birds flying around attempting to grab a bite to eat.
My travels to Lake Michigan were just what I needed to get away from the every day. I had read that Lake Michigan's beach towns were beautiful, and yet, still unspoiled from major tourism. That is exactly what I discovered. I visited quite a few of the small beach towns along Lake Michigan's shore, all within close proximity to the next. I chose to set up residence in Holland, because it was centrally located. Within twenty or thirty minutes, you could be at any one of the beach towns, and to make it even better, along the drive you could stop for fresh picked blueberries or pick your own at the blueberry farms situated near the shore.

Later in the week I drove farther north to Traverse City to spend a few days. During the day I would trek to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to visit the dunes and stop in at the small towns there such as Empire, Glen Arbor and Leland. Each town had its own special charms, but I especially loved Leland with its old historic 'Fishtown'. Throughout the entire area set lakes of various sizes and shapes. The largest, Glen Lake, was my favorite with its breathtaking aquamarines and blues glistening in the sun. I hope your week was good and you are having a great weekend. Back soon with more images from my travels. ENJOY!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Barn Swallow, Bernheim Arboretum

Feeding time at the Pavilion at Bernheim found the parents busy with their younguns when I visited recently. The Pavilion is an octagon shaped building and the oddity was only the west side of the building had Barn Swallow nests with babies, while on the east side all of the nests were empty.

The extra long narrow wings of the Barn Swallows amaze me every time I see them. Obviously, these aerodynamic wings help the Swallows swoop in and out from under the eaves of the Pavilion checking in on the babies. The weather this week in the Ohio River Valley has been 'not the usual July heat wave' that we normally have this time of year. We have had low humidity and the temps have stayed in the 70's and 80's. It has been a fantastic reprieve. This weekend the heat and humidity will be creeping back in. I hope your weather finds you fair wherever you may be. Fortunately, no hurricanes or typhoons are in the news for this weekend, so hopefully things will be a little calmer around the globe. Have a great weekend. I'll be back soon. ENJOY!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Black Swallowtail on Sputnik

Bernheim's typical butterfly bushes didn't make it through the winter. But I did manage to capture this Black Swallowtail feasting on, what I just found out from Google, is called Sputnik. I have to admit the name certainly fits the look of this strange looking flower. This Black Swallowtail was feasting on the bush laden with flowers just on the edge of Lake Nevin.
Have I mentioned that the past two days it has been in the 70's and low 80's with low humidity and beautiful blue skies. On the 4th of July in the hot and humid Ohio River Valley, this is basically unheard of. So needless to say, I have been thrilled. And while the humidity and heat creep back in today, I was happy to have a break from it especially on a long weekend. I hope your weekend has been a good one. Those of you in the northeastern United States and northeastern Canada surely have had enough rain to last you a while after Hurricane Arthur moved through. Have a wonderful day all. ENJOY!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wildflower in the Prairie

One afternoon last summer, I took this image as the wildflowers bloomed in the prairie at Bernheim. It was a beautiful warm and sunny that day.
As I visited my archives this evening, this image caught my eye and I wanted to share it with you. Have a wonderful evening my friends. ENJOY!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Waters in Tremont, GSMNP

The water was flowing fast and fierce on the Little River in Tremont in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park when I visited in May. As I photographed this waterfall I wondered just what this setting would bring. As I viewed these images in my software, I kept coming back to 'out of worldly' feeling. I'm not sure but I think it's the large craggy rocks that leave me with this feeling.

I have been very busy with the magazine lately which has left little time to get outdoors. And the heat and rain added to that.

A very big holiday is coming up. Speaking of holidays, today is Canada Day, so I wanted to wish all of my Canadian friends a Happy Canada Day. Independence Day, or the 4th of July as we Americans tend to call it, is a few days away. Thinking of it conjures up memories of fireworks, flying the flag, and of course, there's hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, good ole apple pie and well, you get the picture. I will be taking some time off and plan to spend some time along the southwest coast of Michigan visiting the quaint beach towns there. Lighthouse viewing, sandy beaches and shopping are on the menu. I am especially looking forward to Saugatuck, an arts and crafts community right in the middle of the coast. Settling on a destination was easy when I checked the temperature gauge for July. Michigan will be much cooler. The heat index here in Louisville made it to 100 today. I refuse to wish for winter after the 'one that wouldn't go away' is finally behind us. Stay cool. ENJOY!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Two Springs

From a fly fisherman in Tremont to a Heron fishing the Little River, from the mountain view atop Clingman's Dome to the view across the meadows of Cade's Cove, this park keeps giving back to me each Spring that I visit.

Just a few of the images from the past Springs I have paid a visit here. Here being the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Stay cool out there. ENJOY!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Black Eyed Susans

Black Eyed Susans are blooming in the prairie at Bernheim. Love them. Bit under the weather, back soon. ENJOY!