The Gift

Today is a rainy day, and once again I’m not sure what tasks to work on. Most of my tasks are outdoor ones that require a sunny day–or, at least, a rainless one. I probably could find something to do inside the house, but rainy days make me feel cozy so I’m sitting in my chair with my laptop and Hannah Joy, wrapped in a blanket, with a cup of coffee next to me.

Saturday–tomorrow–is my birthday. I’m only telling you this because I’m excited about my birthday adventure. Long ago I decided that the gift I’d like most is to spend the day on a long drive enjoying the beautiful autumn scenery.  So every year we take a long drive and make memories together. We usually choose a general route, but part of the fun of my birthday adventure is being spontaneous so we are willing to change direction or stop to visit whatever seems interesting along the way. For example, two years ago we headed north on the Tunnel of Trees and came upon a sign for free autumn chair lift rides at a ski resort. We followed the sign and went on our first chair lift ride ever. It was fun to see autumn foliage from high in the air. We were going to go to the ski resort again last year, but the resort had been damaged by a fire a few months before so we continued north to the Mackinac Bridge.

Over the last month or so, I have been pondering and pondering where to go for my birthday drive. There is really no wrong answer because here in Northern Michigan every road is beautiful. I seriously considered going to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The UP is very beautiful (Paradise is located there), and I’d love to visit Crisp Point and Whitefish Point Lighthouses and go rockhounding along Lake Superior. We could also maybe visit beautiful Tahquamenon Falls or drive through Seney Wildlife Refuge. But I finally decided that it would be better to go to the UP during the summer when the days are longer and there is less risk of the Mackinac Bridge closing because of high winds. I wouldn’t mind getting “stuck” on the other side of the bridge because the UP is awesome, but it could be a problem if we couldn’t get home to care for the pets. Even taking Hannah with us could be a problem because many motels don’t allow pitbulls–she’s a mix–so we’d have no place to stay overnight.

I finally chose to drive along a scenic road through the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes. Several years ago the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes was voted the Most Beautiful Place in America by viewers of the morning talk show, Good Morning America. Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes is located on the coast of Lake Michigan, not too far away from home. It is forecasted to rain on Saturday, but I have only ever seen Lake Michigan on sunny days and I think it would be fun to witness its stormy wildness so I don’t mind if it rains. In fact, I sort of hope it does. If it’s not too stormy, we can walk the trails and go rockhounding along the shore. The best time to search for Petoskey Stones is after a storm because the waves wash more rocks to shore. But if the Lake is too wild, we will stay far from shore so we don’t get washed away.

There is a touching legend connected to the dunes, told in this video which also shows the beautiful area:

For the last couple of years we have bought pasties for our birthday lunches. Pasties are a traditional Northern Michigan treat–especially in the UP. It’s a delicious meat pie that had been brought here by Cornish miners who immigrated to the UP to work in the mines. I would love to have pasties on as a traditional birthday meal, but we really should head north for those. I told EJ that for my “cake and ice cream,” I would like to have donuts and cider which is a Michigan autumn tradition. I would really like to buy the donuts at a Cops & Donuts bakery because they are so very yummy. And, yes, the bakery is run by cops. There is a story behind its history: There was a doughnut shop and bakery in Clare, Michigan, that had been in constant operation since 1896. The business was within weeks of closing when the members of the Clare Police Department came to the rescue. All nine members of the local police department banded together to save this historic business. They have since opened several other “precinct” bakeries throughout Michigan, and one of them isn’t all that far away. However, the bakeries are all in the wrong direction from where we are headed so we will just eat at wherever we happen to find along the way.

I recharged my camera batteries yesterday so I can take lots of photos. 🙂

In today’s mail I received a gift from a very dear friend of mine. I totally loved it and I plan to wear it for my birthday tomorrow. I took a photo of it to share with you and Hannah Joy insisted on being in the photo as well. The t-shirt says, “Beware of Pitbulls ~ They will steal your heart.”

Hannah Joy really has stolen our hearts.


6 Comments on “The Gift

  1. Have a beautiful and Happy Birthday TJ enjoying the color of fall and time with your dear hubby.


  2. Happy Birthday, TJ! I love the UP- my mom’s side of the family is from Traverse City. The Sleeping Bear dunes hold a special place in our hearts- such great memories there for as long as I can remember 🙂 I hope you had a wonderful trip- I have only been to Macinac once and it was rainy- so I hope you had nice weather!


    • Thank you, Mackenzie! The weather was cloudy, chilly, and rainy at first, but we had a wonderful time.

      It’s awesome that you have such special memories of the area. Both EJ and I were born, raised, and lived all our lives in mid-Michigan. But EJ’s grandparents lived near Traverse City so he was often up here, and my family often vacationed in the area. Our hearts have always been in Northern Michigan. We moved here just over 3 years ago. We so totally love it! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • What a small world!! I EJ’s family and mine know one another somehow. TC is such a majestic place. Just love it! Glad you had a great time 🙂


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