Posted on 5 Comments

Michigan visit in July

I’m trying to catch up on my writing about trips earlier this year. After my clay workshop in Doylestown I drove to Michigan to join my sisters at the church we grew up in for their 150th anniversary. I was glad I made the effort to get there. I saw lots of art, birds, family, and friends.
I spent a few days with my niece at the U of M Biological Station where she works on the Piping Plover Project. This bird is on the federal endangered species list. In the mid 1980s there were only 16 nesting pairs in the Great Lakes Region. This year that number is at 76 pairs, due in no small part to the efforts of this project.

My niece is one of many zoo keepers, students, and other volunteers from around the country that go to the Station each summer to assist in the hatching and raising Plover chicks that for one reason or the other have lost their parents. I was taken with the care that was given to these chicks! Their own outdoor area at the beach, at the lab, indoor and outdoor facilities, heat lamps if necessary and they are fed a varied diet several time a day.
The people working with the birds do try to limit their exposure to humans so when it’s time for them to be released they want to go with the other birds. The three chicks that were there when I was were small for that late in the season. I asked what if they’re not ready to fly south when the others go, the answer was someone may fly them to the gulf coast.

My niece said University of Minnesota Professor and Principle Investigator of the recovery effort Francie Cuthbert says the the Piping Plover is an umbrella species for beach ecosystems, protecting the plover also protects other species of fauna and flora that might otherwise be overlooked.

You could almost see these chick change each day.

I made a quick trip to the bridge, I haven’t seen it in many years. When sorting through my Mom’s papers I read that my grandfather, her dad, was one of the first people to drive over the Mackinaw Bridge when it opened. I can remember before it was built waiting for the ferry to take us to the UP.


Then I was lucky to be at Little Twin Lake near Mancelona to observe the first Loon chicks on that lake in 15 years.

It was fun watching the family and how fast they could cross the lake. Sometimes the 4 would be together and other times one parent and one chick. You probably know this but the loons claim a territory, usually 60-200 acres and will chase off any loon that tries to intrude upon their area. The loon call is haunting.

It was a wonderful week of kayaking, bird watching and sailing.

Even though I’ve been to Charlevoix dozens of times I had never taken time to see the Mushroom Houses –

The builder was Earl Young. He studied architecture for only one year before deciding the regular way to build things was not for him. So over  51 years he built 30 structures in Charlevoix. Each is totally unique, mostly built of stone, and he designed each to fit into the unique landscape upon which it sits. “Earl Young’s houses feature his signature designs, along with wide, wavy eaves, exposed rafter tails; cedar-shake roofs; and a horizontal emphasis in design.”

Of course the flowers were beautiful.

I can’t go to northern lower Michigan without driving around the Lelanau Penninsula and visiting all the little towns and art galleries along the way.

Had to get this new piece from one of my favorite Michigan artist.

If you don’t live in Michigan you may not know that the west coast of the lower peninsula of Michigan is pretty much all sand dunes from Empire south. The largest and best known are the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes.

And Michigan has about 124 working lighthouses, at one time there were 247! Here are just a few of them.

I made a quick trip to Saugatuck to see my friend Sandra, visiting art galleries and the Federik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Here the emphasis isn’t on flowers, although there are some beautiful ones, it’s on sculpture set in natural surroundings.

We went to a Paula Poundstone performance at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts, she was so quick and so funny. They also had this amazing show of work by Michelle Stitzlein. She creates art with recycles materials. Garden hoses make up a large portion of her work.
Screenshot 2018-10-01 12.17.11



My sisters, nieces, and I went to tea – something I’m not used to doing – and it was really neat. The name of the tea house is Sweet Shalom Tea Room and it’s in Sylvania, Ohio, a suburb of Toledo. They do formal teas on Fridays and Sundays, each month has a different theme with a menu reflecting the theme. When I think of going to a tea I think of tiny bites of something and one type of tea. Not at these teas, we got pots of 8 different teas and when we were finished with the food we were full! Everything is served on vintage dishes, vintage tea pots and they do a short program about the theme of the month. It was really nice.

I got home from this trip just in time to visit Colorado for a week…..  I kind of overbooked this year! But looking back I’m glad I did, not knowing what would come up later in September … Florence.




5 thoughts on “Michigan visit in July

  1. Great trip, fun seeing it all since I haven’t been back in about two years. Bucky used to guard the plovers during nesting season at the mouth of the Platte River.

  2. What an awesome trip, I did not realize the lower part of Michigan had so many great gardens and art displays. So happy you have this to offset all you are dealing with now!

    1. Thanks Flossie, yes Michigan is full of flowers, I think because the season is shorter and the winters colder the flowers have to step up their game! There is a lot of art there, especially on the west coast of the lower peninsula. Hope you are doing well! I kind of got my mess from the flood cleaned up, still have to replace doors and get my pottery studio back in order. Will have to replace some equipment but compared to a lot of other people I came out good.

  3. Jan, did not realize there were such large sand dunes on the lakes.
    Did the name Shalom relate to religion in some way?
    Glad you have been able to see such beauty.

    1. Hi Arlene, yes especially the Sleeping Bear dunes are huge. As far as Shalom, they say –

      The name “Sweet Shalom Tea Room” was inspired by the biblical word “shalom”. The definition of shalom includes peace, harmony, completeness, wholeness, wellness and perfection. It is our hope that you will find peace and harmony within these walls.

      I also assume the owners are Jewish because they are closed on Saturdays. Hope you are well!

Leave a Reply