Posts Tagged ‘Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore’

Other than issues with United/Continental, this vacation was pretty awesome. The sucky things were all airplane and head cold related (and I’m absolutely convinced that I caught this head cold from the germ-bag seated behind me on our first outgoing flight).

We had a 10:30 AM flight to ORD that had the wrong gate info on the board and we had to RUN like crazy people through the terminal to board our flight on time (we got there about 2 minutes before our seating group boarded, hooray for being in sardine class?). Then we had a layover in Chicago that couldn’t decide which gate it was leaving from before we even had a plane (gate changed three times and in the end left from it’s original gate assignment about 2 hours late). Oh well. We weren’t in a rush. I did realize, while we were on the ground in Chicago, that I had neglected to pack a camera. No fancy camera, no point and shoot, nothing more than the camera on my phone which takes OK photos but nothing worth sharing. Oops.

Once we arrived in Traverse City I reveled at how nice/big/shiny the new airport is! Wow, what an upgrade from the Detroit-style dumpy airport I’d been through at least 20 times as a teenager (to/from camp and two years of boarding school with a sprinkling on auditions in there too).

We rented a tiny car but were upgraded to a Nissan Sentra (I don’t want one, the seat isn’t comfortable for my short-y self and the breaks were jumpy). We watched the sun set as we drove to Interlochen (using our new GPS!) and met up with Andrea’s mom and sister at the Maddy Cabin. That cabin is BEAUTIFUL! Dinner was a perch sammich and key lime pie at The Hofbrau and then to bed. Day one was a FULL day.

view from the deck of the Maddy Cabin

Thursday and Friday we spent the day on campus seeing shows and visiting all the new buildings that have cropped up in the last 11 years. The only ones in the pipeline when I was there were the Writing House and a new visual arts buildings, they were tossing around the idea of a new library too. Now there are a whole bunch of new buildings and some of the old ones have been updated (the Shed is no longer crappy and the Phoenix got A/C and a total makeover!). After two days of stalking, we finally caught up with Mr. Holland who invited us to the string faculty potluck on Friday night at his new house. It was really great to catch up with him, Joan, and my class piano teacher/Venture Troop leader Dr. Coonrod.

DuoPlay piano of Gershwin/Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue at the Music House Museum

I’d have more pictures for you, but I forgot my camera and didn’t buy a disposable 35mm until we ventured into Traverse City on Saturday to buy goodies for my dad at American Spoon Fruit, wander around downtown, and stock up on provisions for a picnic dinner while waiting for Les Preludes on Sunday night. We also visited the Music House Museum, Grand Traverse Distillery, and Moomers on Saturday too. I was super disappointed that the ONLY flavors I could eat the day at Moomers were the vanilla and vanilla soft serve. I prefer Blue Bunny vanilla from the Melody Freeze over Moomers and Glacier Ice Cream over both of those (though for a dollar/cone you really can’t beat the Melody Freeze).

Grand Traverse Distillery

Grand Traverse Distillery stills

We rushed through the things we wanted to do on Saturday to get to the dance recital on time, but it was relocated from the dance pavilion (lots of seats) to the dace building (not many seats) and we didn’t get to see it. Oh well.

Sunday was stuffed with concerts, including seeing HSCO (now called the Interlochen Philharmonic) conducted by Mr. Holland and included a piece for harp ensemble and string orchestra!

Dedicated to the promotion of world friendship through the universal language of the arts.

why yes, that is a VERY tall man conducting NINE harps

Mr. Holland and me, backstage at Kresge 8/5/12

Mrs. and Mr. Holland, 8/5/12

After they brought out a podium for the concert master to conduct the Interlochen Theme, we hung out with the Hollands backstage for a bit and offered to help Mr. Holland pack out his studio. He retired in May after teaching 40 years at Interlochen Arts Academy. I’m a little disappointed that I missed both my 10 year reunion (to get married) and the 50th anniversary of IAA/Mr. Holland’s retirement party, but this was what I needed, more personal interaction and less party time.

Les Preludes was preceded by the final movement of Beethoven 9, played by WYSO. It was well done, but I remember playing FULL symphonies as a kid, but maybe they just felt like full symphonies at the time….

Les Preludes 2012

Monday I started to feel a little crummy, but we had to check out the Maddy Cabin and head out by 11 AM. We packed the car up early and packed salads and sandwiches made with all our leftovers. We went to go help Mr. Holland load the van only to discover that he’d used the “Packing Survival Kit” I’d left him to bribe the maintenance guys to do it for him! If you’re wondering what’s in a Packing Survival Kit, it’s 4 Milky Way bars, a box of kleenex, and a box of Tension Tamer tea.

sunset on Green Lake from the Kissing Tree, Interlochen 8/5/12

After packing the car we learned that Mr. Holland had used the candy bars to bribe the maintenance guys
to pack his car for him, we said our goodbyes and hit the road for the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. I was feeling pretty crummy, so we didn’t do the dune climb, but we did take a 2 mile dune hike that met up with the crest of the dune climb. I count it as a minor miracle  that neither of us got poison ivy on that hike. Think Fire Island amounts of poison ivy around, I guess the leaves of three really like sand dunes.

overlooking a shallow lake, it’s only 12′ deep and looks so tropical!

Since I wasn’t feeling well, we did mostly driving activities like visiting the old Life Saving Station and driving the scenic loop. There were a few photo worthy stops along the way and the little driving guide from the ranger station was very helpful. There were also phone numbers to call and listen to a Ranger Talk about some of the points of interest along the loop, but it was windy and hot and we didn’t feel like sitting in the car to listen to them.

dune hike, Sleeping Bear Dunes scenic loop 8/6/12

There were definitely people out there who were ignoring the weather conditions and climbed all the way from the scenic overlook down to Lake Michigan. They are NUTS!

scenic overlook of Lake Michigan with North Manitou in the background

We visited Glen Arbor and got a takeout pizza and some local beers and spent a quiet evening reading on the patio before retiring for the night at Fountain Point. It’s a cute place and the bed was super comfortable. But I wish their website better listed their activities though, we would have gotten there earlier and left more energy for ourselves because I really wanted to try paddle boarding and they rented them out at $25/four hours to guests! Oh well, next time?

Tuesday we slept in and ate a big breakfast of milk tea, cinnamon toast, and cheese slices at Fountain Point before heading out to a cidery, lunch in Suttons Bay, and visiting a few wineries all before heading back to Traverse City. We checked into the Knights Inn (actually quite clean and very quiet with the window closed), and headed to the beach! Finally, we got to wear our swimsuits and spent 2 hours playing in the sand before treated ourselves to a huge dinner and drinks at the Mackinac Brewing Company (after a quick shower and change of clothes, of course!).

playing at the beach on Lake Michigan 8/7/12

Getting home was a whole other adventure, which I’ll write about later since I have no photos to share for it and this post is long enough already.

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Ben and I booked plane tickets and a rental car for a week in NW Lower Michigan! We’ll be gone August 1 through 8 (my birthday)! In my opinion, it’s when Michigan is most beautiful, highs in the low upper 70s, and down to around 55 at night. Maybe Ben will get to see one of those torrential rain storms I remember, but just one because we have a lot of outdoor places I want to visit (and a few indoor).

On the list of places to go:

Empire Bluffs Trail view of Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Empire Bluffs Trail view of Sleeping Bear Dunes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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