Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Rescue of Raggedy Andy and Much More

August 7-11, 2018
Sutton's Bay, Michigan

Guess who turned three on August 12, 2018? Sad we were so far away, but he had a great time :-))))

Ezra's Year Two 

Back on August 7, we're out exploring more of Michigan's Leelaneau Peninsula. 

All of the roads are lined with wild flowers - beautiful.
Most orchards have already shaken their cherries so it's a treat to see these full trees.


We stop at Peterson Park, but opt out of the steep stairs to and from the rocky beach.

Instead, we enjoy the water views from up top.

Sleeping Bear Dunes in the distance.
With a history that includes wineries, orchards and farms, there are wonderful old barns among the trees and meadows. 

Weathered layers.

This beautiful stone silo adds even more charm.
Cute little library.

Creepy little mailbox.
Wednesday we get to spend the day with Diana and Jim! After stopping to take pics of the splendid sunflower fields, we head to Old Mission Peninsula (yes, there's more than one here!). We stop at a pretty winery, and a charming general store on our way to the lighthouse. 

Bright sunny faces.

There's always that guy........

No seeds yet.

Views of Marion Island from one of many peninsula wineries.

Old Mission General Store - a step back in time.
The Mission Point Lighthouse at the tip of the peninsula sits nearly on the 45th parallel (half way between the Equator and the North Pole). Funds were budgeted to build the lighthouse in the 1860's, but it was delayed during the Civil War. Lit on September 10, 1870, the 5th order Fresnel lens burned 13 miles into the bay, and kept ships safe until it was decommissioned in 1933. Sadly the lens was stolen not long after.

The lighthouse was vacant and vandalized until local citizens purchased the grounds for the township in 1948. 

Mission Point Lighthouse

Beautifully restored.

Families enjoy the sandy beach in front of the lighthouse - they're wading in the shallows 200 yards from shore.

We stop for brews and appetizers at Rare Bird Brewery. Bill's salted caramel stout and my blood orange Belgian ale are some of the best we've had. Having too much fun to remember a pic. 

A short drive through Traverse City's cute historic district takes us to The Cheese Lady where Diana and Jim promise we will find exceptional offerings. Wow! They are so right. We taste five and leave with 1/2 pound each of three of them. There are five stores in Michigan, each an independently woman-owned business. I highly recommend a stop if you're near one.

I've wanted to visit a cidery and there are a couple in the area. Our guides recommend Suttons Bay Ciders with one of the prettiest views overlooking the water. We enjoy it but I fail to take a pic. Too busy tasting our yummy flight of ciders :-)

We all had our favorites but none of us liked the one with hops - and unfortunately it's the only one available to buy for take-home. The cherry and ginger ones are especially good!
We wrap up our perfect day at Knot Just a Bar overlooking Omena Bay. The food is good, the view beautiful, and the company can't be beat! 

Our wonderful Northern Michigan guides - love them!
There are always fun things happening at state and national parks, and Sleeping Bear Dunes is no exception. Because we "know people" we plan a visit to Glen Haven Historic Village and the Sleeping Bear Point Life-Saving Station for Thursday when extra fun things are happening.

The beautiful lodge was once popular for beach visitors, but is currently closed to the public.

Thousands of pounds of cherries made their way through this cannery in the 1920's. It now houses a large collection of vintage boats.

My favorite is this handsome moustached vessel. The tight weaving is amazing!

Large and small.


Just a peak inside a deck drain.

These wonderful extra-large photo album pages line the walls of the general store museum, and tell the story of D. H. Day, his family, and their influence on the area. 

Grasses always catch my eye, and I loved this mini fireworks in the afternoon sun.
One of the reasons Diana and Jim invited us to join them on Thursday is the firing of the Lyle gun following the life-saving demonstration - just outside the door of the life-saving station which is where they are volunteering.

We also visited them at the lighthouse in Oregon, and just like that gig, they already make this look easy. They're both so good with people, encouraging them to ask questions, offering hands-on experiences for the kids, and sharing the fascinating history of the station that saved numerous lives along the shores of the Manitou Passage.

See how heavy this is?

Rope is "wound" around the pegs of the faking box in a specific pattern that allows the light line attached to the Lyle gun projectile (the heavy thing in the photo above) to fly long distances without knotting. 

The Tally Board - English on one side, French on the other, instructions were sent with the line. Smart!

The Breeches Buoy is used exactly the way it looks - the sailor "puts it on" like a pair of pants and is pulled safely into shore. Through freezing rain and high swells, it must have been terrifying!

The other option was joining up to 10 of your fellow sailors in this surf car - a fully enclosed vessel entered through a hatch. Once sealed, it was water proof. It was also air-proof so the crew only had limited oxygen for making it to shore. I think I'd take my chances in the breeches!

For rescues beyond the range of the Lyle gun, larger life saving boats were used.

Sent out on rails to the deep sand, then rolled across a row of logs.

The ranger collects his life saving crew for the demonstration.

Each crew member works with a partner to complete the necessary steps.

The breeches buoy is sent out to rescue Raggedy Ann and Andy.

This was hysterical with Andy being dragged most of the way and "not looking too good". The kids really got into it and it was great fun for everyone.
After the successful saving of Ann and Andy and their captain, we all move to the beach to see the firing of the Lyle gun. The combination of period clothing and the reading of the actual instructions for loading and firing the gun make this a very real experience. The system of gun, projectile, line, and proper aim over the boat was designed specifically for this life-saving process. 

Station Keeper, Lyle gun, water bucket, crewmen, and the faking box.

The Keeper loads the gun with a small pouch of gun power and tamps it down.

After wetting one fathom of the shotline in the small bucket to avoid the line catching fire at ignition, the crewmen connect it to the 19 pound projectile with three half hitches.

Once the crewmen load the projectile in the gun, the Keeper places the firing pin.

Attaching a lanyard to the pin enables the Keeper to fire the gun from a safe distance. It is very loud, and fires the line very far. Big applause from the crowd! They invite all the kids to come help pull the line back in.
We're so glad our "inside source" told us about this event - it's lots of fun!

Even with so much to see and do here, we spend all day Friday and some of Saturday chilling at our beautiful spot at Wild Cherry. With no pool or other activities, this is such a nice, quiet location to relax.

Hard to beat this front yard - especially when someone else mows and waters it!
Diana and Jim were able to get four tickets to a concert of a local group they've been following for years. We head to the Northport Community Center on Saturday evening where we have great six-row-center seats - yay!

The opening act is a young (16 and 18) singer-songwriter duo called Political Lizard who we really enjoyed. 

Jenna and Caleb
The Accidentals is a trio of extremely talented young musicians. Savannah (Sav), Katie and Michael blend original scores with dynamic lyrics, played on violin, electric bass (think small wooden cello), guitars and drums. Every song was amazing to hear and see. If you aren't familiar with their music, I strongly urge giving them a listen - you'll be an immediate fan!

Katie, Michael and Sav

Sav on guitar - note her very cool violin hanging on the mic stand. She recently scored one of their songs for an entire orchestra!

Katie on electric bass - I seriously want one of these! She does much of the song writing.

Taking rock to a whole new level!
The concert was a wonderful way to wrap up our time in this beautiful area with great friends. Happily we'll meet up with Diana and Jim in Florida in a few months.

Sunday we head south for another quick visit with new friends!


  1. Having a personal tour guide is the best! Ezra is already 3?... Where has the time gone?! I love the tall sunflower stealing all the sunshine for itself :-)

    1. Huge field of flowers and that was the only one growing so tall!! Grand babies grow up even faster than the kids :-(

  2. Sunflowers are my mother's favorite, she'd go nuts with such large fields of them. A fun day and tour of the light house and the boats, most interesting.

    1. These were the prettiest we've seen anywhere. This area (like so many) has a wonderful history that's fun to learn about.

  3. I cannot believe Ezra is already three. What a darling boy he is. Great pictures of his year.

    Those cherries are making my mouth water. Few things more beautiful in my mind than a loaded cherry tree. I had no idea they would still be on trees in mid August. Ours in Virginia were finished by late June. Have you had cherry wine and cherry beer as well as cherry cider? LOL!

    And then there are those fantastic sunflowers. How can anyone not break into a huge grin seeing acres of their smiling faces.

    Can’t believe a Fresnel lens was stolen. How do you do that and what do you do with it? It’s a sweet lighthouse. I’m glad the citizens are taking care of it.

    I remember Glen Haven and Sleeping Bear very fondly. Probably could spend an entire summer there near and in the Leelanau. We really enjoyed the lifesaving station and demonstrations. But they didn’t send the buoy breeches out to rescue Ann and Andy when we were there. LOVE IT! Poor Andy. Great pictures of the firing of the gun.

    You sure did have fabulous tour guides.

    1. Weren't we lucky? It was so fun to learn from locals. The lens was found broken and thought to have been stolen by a group of teenagers on a dare. So sad.

      Ann and Andy and those kids doing the saving was so much fun :-))) Didn't get any beer, but the cherry wine is in the frig!!

  4. I want to do every single thing you're doing. That lifesaving station is so cool—I'm with you, put me in those breeches anyday over that surf car. The brewery, the cheeses, the cider, the music...seriously, I want to do it all. LOL at the sunflower—definitely an overachiever. :-)

    1. It's great that all of that is in a relatively small area without feeling on top of everything else - you definitely need to do all of it!!

  5. Oh, and I meant to say adorable photos of Ezra! (Three already? Seriously??)

    1. Thanks Laurel :-) I agree he's growing up way too fast!

  6. Boy, time is going so fast. I can't believe Ezra is three already. He is such a cutie and loves the camera:) The fields of sunflowers are so beautiful and sure make the drives extra special. We still had the motorcycle during our first visit. Taking it out to ride the Old Mission Peninsula was great fun. Neat that you got to see Dianna and Jim in action!

    1. And the camera loves him :-)) It was surprising how few motorcycles there were in the area with such pretty drives everywhere.

  7. Jodee, that was such a fun week! I’m still shaking my head at how great the Accidentals were. Thanks for the kudos on our gig. We certainly love what we are doing. Love you guys!

    1. We had such a fun time, can't wait to do it again in Florida!!

  8. I always love visiting places with a private "tour guide!" Loved your sunflower photos!

  9. It seems like it only took Ezra one year to reach age three. How did that happen?

    I remember watching a movie of a breeches buoy in use at that museum. Fascinating!

    1. I agree - he's growing up way too fast! Those buoys saved a lot of sailors, but it sure sounds like a scary way to be rescued.

  10. Having your own private tour guides sure makes a visit lots more fun and interesting. The lighthouse is gorgeous! The fields of sunflowers are amazing. And the re-enactment is very interesting.

    Can’t believe Ezra air already three...time sure flies! He is so cute!

    1. Like our guides in Moab!! Always fun to get the locals view :-)

  11. Happy Birthday Ezra! Love the old wood and stone barn and all the flowers. I love Ranger talks, and especially with hands on and demonstrations. This was a good tip. No wonder Jim and Diana do this, they are naturals.

    1. The country drives in this part of the country are so entertaining!