I’m sure that, for true winter enthusiasts out there, our weekend was decidedly not wild and crazy. However, Sam and I are both fairly new to winter sports (or I should say, I’m reintroducing myself to most winter sports I enjoyed as a kid), and we spent the majority of this past Saturday burning a lot of calories and exerting our minds and bodies more than most weekends in the winter.
Our morning started off with an early cross-country ski at the Vasa trail. We’ve gone out once already this season, but it was too icy and there wasn’t a good base layer to make it entirely enjoyable. It’s been snowing on-and-off for the past week now, and while there isn’t a ton of accumulation there is a nice coat of fluffy flakes all over everything. It’s absolutely beautiful outside up here in Traverse right now.
It’s officially happened: the first snow storm of the year. Though I know the snow upsets a lot of people, it’s a reality of living up north (and along the water), and it’s something I’ve learned to accept with open arms after how much cross-country skiing we did last winter. It’s hard to know if this snow will last, since it’s still pretty early for snow to stick, but we’ve been without a white–like, a really white–Christmas in longer than I care to remember. I am really hoping for a lot of snow this year (I may revoke that wish in April, but I feel it now).
I am going to try and keep the text to this post short, since I think the photos in this post speak volumes about how labor intensive this project was for us (and Sam’s dad, Fred). While I am making a mental note to share more about our 113-year-old farmhouse with the world (and all the renovations it’s undergone since we purchased it back in May of this year), there’s a LOT to cover in terms of the improvements we’ve done to the house we purchased.
Still, upgrading the front walkway was something we knew we wanted to do from the beginning. The old walkway was a flagstone path with some hob-knobby stairs, and the entire thing wasn’t placed on a solid foundation so that it buckled and slanted in all sorts of places. In short, it was a disaster. We actually pulled all the flagstone out of the path and had a dirt walkway for a while just because we couldn’t stand to look at the stone anymore. I don’t have a very good picture of what the house looked like when we bought it, but I will try and track it down.
Up north, we have an abundance of fall color on the trees and (seemingly) few truly beautiful days to enjoy it. With the time change, it’s already dark when I get home from work so that means more morning runs to get some daylight and enjoying the outdoors on the weekends as much as possible. This past weekend was, as far as I can tell, the peak of color season on the Old Mission Peninsula where Sam and I live. The entire 18 miles out to the end of the peninsula were brimming with gorgeous colors and the weather was a crisp 40-50 degrees outside, making it absolutely ideal for some hiking adventures at the historic Old Mission Lighthouse. Plus, our friends Mark and Rachelle (and their little Yorkie, Tanner) were visiting, so we had every excuse to take them out into the wilderness.
While there are lots of trails to hike on out at the lighthouse, few people know about the two-track dirt roads you can take straight out to the edge of East Bay. I was told these are called the “Fire Roads,” since back in the day they provided easy access to East Bay in case there was a fire in the area. I have no idea if that’s true or not, but it makes a good story. Plus, I am a sucker for off-road driving so I really look for any excuse to ride on them.
This past weekend, Sam was gone at a golf tournament from Friday afternoon until late on Sunday. It was my first weekend staying in our new home alone without my husband, which meant I had full reign to do whatever I wanted to do. Yes, it was lonelier around here, but it was also invigorating to really think about what I wanted to do, since the whole weekend was free and I was the one to decide what I did with my time.
So…what did I want to do with a whole weekend to myself? Apparently I wanted to get up way early and chase the sunrise. (Also: I know that “sunrise chasing” doesn’t sound as cool as “storm chasing,” but just roll with it.)
Sometimes I think about how often I take the sun rising for granted. What if it just didn’t come up the next day? What if the world stopped turning overnight and we never saw the sunlight again? I think I heard that some ancient civilization lived their entire lives not knowing if the sun would return again and if they would need to spend the rest of their years in darkness. Each morning they celebrated its return so their crops could grow, they could hunt for food easier, and go about their day without darkness.
Hearing stories like that makes me want to live with greater respect and appreciation for every single day and the things it brings with every sunrise. I will cherish the good days and learn from the bad, and recognize that each day is its own entity that I cannot dictate or control: I can only choose how I spend the hours I’m given, no matter what those hours may be.Continue reading
I know most people love summer for its endless sunshine, warm weather, and beach days (trust me, I get it…it’s a beautiful thing, especially up here). But for me, nothing beats fall. I love wearing wool socks, lots of layers of clothes, and cuddling up on a couch when the temperature drops. One of my absolute favorite things about fall, though, is the almost-overnight drop in traffic as soon as Labor Day hits. The city clears out, and commuting to work on my bike is even easier with fewer cars to dodge. Of course, people will visit on the weekends for the colorful trees (I get that, too…it’s breathtaking!), but for the most part it’s a much slower pace, and that’s what I love.
The slower pace applies to all aspects of town except for one: the Sara Harding Farmer’s Market. Sure, there are fewer people roaming the market, but the in-season produce this time of year is bustin’ at the seams. The autumn harvest is my favorite thing about fall.
When it’s 75 degrees in late September up here in Traverse City, people are OUT. I mean, like, really out. Sam and I don’t dine out very often: as a vegetarian I tire easily of the selections available in town, plus we enjoy the frugality and recipe flexibility of cooking our meals probably five or six days a week. But when Sam works a 12.5 hour day at the hospital and it’s this gorgeous outside, we deserve to treat ourselves.
Our instinct when it’s warm and sunny outside is to go to The Little Fleet. This business venture is already a gold mine in a place like TC (shorthand for Traverse City), but the entire venture is so tastefully and beautifully done (I know your work went into it, Megan Gilger). The atmosphere is serene yet social, quirky but comfortable. It is easily one of our favorite places to go in town, and we make an event of it because it’s so nice to just sit down and relax.
The bar serves up drinks and the parking lot is open for food trucks of all kinds to pull up, park, and serve up deliciousness. Already it is one of the most popular places in town, and for very good reasons. It is hard to describe it as anything other than just totally awesome.
Both inside and outside boast a warm and welcoming ambiance. We were lucky enough to visit on vinyl night (BYOV and they’ll spin it while you drink and dine!), so the tunes were as good as the food.Continue reading