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.
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
Sam would be all too glad to point out that I’ve not blogged since August 30, a testament to how I’ve once again said I’d do something and yet then failed to do so. I, however, would like to use the excuse that we got eff-ing MARRIED, which took up quite a bit of time, energy, effort, and concentration. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that I gave all my time, energy, effort, and concentration to nothing other than the wedding for two weeks leading up to it. I don’t really think anyone can give me crap about that.
Plus, we are in our new house without internet (except during rare times like this, where somehow we can steal it from a friendly neighbor with an unsecured connection), which makes it very difficult to blog.
While I’d love to bore you all with the details from the wedding, I won’t do that at the moment. I think it deserves a few special posts summarizing different events and emotions from the weekend (if only for the sake of my own memory years down the road), but I’ll throw in some pretty pictures for the sake of appeasing and teasing my (lack of) audience.
(We don’t have our official pictures from our photographer yet, so all these come from the owners of our venue, Campobello Farm. How lucky we are to have so many different people capture our day!)
As much as I hate to admit it, summer is winding down. It’s harder to gauge these kinds of things happening since my biological clock is no longer aligned with a regimented school year, even though I’m living in a four-season environment. August always coasts in nice and easy, and this August is no different: the lake is warm, the air is hot, and it feels like the beauty will last forever…until about this time, when I recognize that it’s Labor Day weekend already and September is on its way. Fingers crossed the weather stays this fantastic to see us into October!
The saddest thing to me about summer ending is realizing that my daily bike commutes to work and around town are about to get a lot more cold, a lot more wet, and unfortunately a lot less frequent. When we lived in town, I would try to ride my mountain bike on the streets in the snow, but without studded tires it was basically a mess and took me twice as long–if not more–to get to work. (A common misconception about winter bike commuting: it’s not the snow that’s bad, it’s that light brown-ish snow where the snow has mixed with the sand and salt to create some super slick substance that is absolutely deadly to try and navigate on a bike. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve wiped out on that stuff. Ick!)Continue reading