Do you have a special place? One that recalls fond memories, calms fears or hurts, and warms the heart. A place that is so a part of you that you know each bump, crack, or subtle changes each visit. Some location to long to share with your children.
Many have a camp experience that stays a part of life for years to come. Perhaps it was the people. Or maybe the surroundings. Maybe even neither of those, but more the feelings felt while there.
I have that place. Pentwater. More specifically, United Methodist Church Camp or Lake Michigan Camp as it’s now called. Over 33 years of attending this hidden gem on the shores of the Great Lake. Surrounded by pines and tucked between sandy dunes lies a camp that has been a part of our family’s hearts for years.
When M was 3 months old and still sporting preemie clothes, we rented a pop up for his first camping expedition.
We missed Pentwater the year one month old R was hospitalized with Pneumonia. Our kids play with cousins or kids they see just this one time of year. Dune rides by Mac Woods, go carts at Craig’s Cruisers, Little Sable Lighthouse, horseback riding at Rainbow Ranch, and the great blue water expanse and beach are regular stops.
This year, we almost didn’t go. For me, the familiar, safe haven has lost its magical charm. The calm and peace are gone. The warmth and love for the hills has faded. I repeatedly told myself I could go a year without. A break of sorts. Then I found this.
A sand footprint craft from 1989. Still with me. Memories flooded in. Emotions engulfed me. Pentwater was still in my heart. I wanted my children to have that same peaceful place. Memories to build upon. If perhaps less for me and more for them to make. I counted my summers by the annual voyage north and now my children do too.
Our family loves smokey BBQ goodness. Who knew that we would find some of the best smoked wings in Mears, aka Silver Lake?! The Frickin Chicken Shack left us all devising a plan to skip camp meals and return. Often.
The 5 of us plus my two nieces polished off a small chicken farm. I failed to get a picture of the wing slaughter due to major chicken lickin fingers.
Fall off the bone. Perfect mild seasoning. Slight smokey taste. No need for sauce. Delicious. But if you are the saucey type, the selection is impressive. The table favorite was bourbon sauce.
Please stop in, you will not be disappointed and do get 24 to go for us.
Loading up the jeep sized smoker. He would not give up the seasoning’s secrets. Bummer.
The following guest post was written by our 5 year old Miss E. We worked together on corrections and pictures. She is so proud of her first “published” piece.
This is my family. My family went to Mackinac Island. It was fun.
. We found sea glass. My family went to a hotel.
. We had a good time together.
. We had a good time at the hotel. I love my family.
It all started 10 years ago when we purchased a travel diary to track our BK (before kids) trips. It has now become our family’s way to remember special moments, hidden gems, cool campsites, and of course favorite foodie stops.
The first entry is a New Year’s get away to Las Vegas with Scott and Missy. Both couples were battling infertility so this was a wonderful, relaxing time. My highlight was Mama Mia!
When we set off on new destinations, often I read aloud a few tidbits from previous adventures. It has become a great starting point. I love adding trip details as we traverse from locations to landmarks and again the food stops.
Sometimes we meet and connect with people; Tracy and Peter from Green Bay, WI. They were riding their sweet tandem bike and camping all over northern Michigan wine country. We shared a campfire, dinner, and an evening getting to know them. Another important tip hidden in the book is the location of the best UP pasties, Suzy’s on Highway 2. Great New Orlean’s style food? Try Pearl’s in Elk Rapids. A gem passed on to us from a few neighbor’s is Munising Tourist Park for Lake Superior camping. Beautiful sites! I’ve logged the best hole in the wall seafood outside Charleston, great family camping in Northern Michigan, and some great wine locations as well. Just ask.
To date there are 41 entries! I love our travels and more importantly cherish the moments we get to spend together no matter how small or grand the adventure!
My favorite quote:
It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. -Author Unknown
40 words for forty years.
Birth illness hearing loss
growing changing learning beginnings
college hope education career
love art friendships puppies
infertility hurt excitement birth
motherhood son premature tiny
faith courage patience surprise
rest daughter small strength
shock pregnancy precious family
travel laughs fun now.
This morning, while my husband took the kiddos swimming, I decided to pack up at the hotel and take a long lingering shower. While toweling off, I heard a little scratching noise. Still in just my towel, I looked around to find the source of the sound. Again, this little scratching noise. Upon going to the door to peer out, thinking the kids were returning, the maid was coming in. Luckily I put my foot against the already cracked door. We still had 4 hours until check out! How uncomfortable if I was still showering and unable to brace the door in time!
How could this happen? Hearing. Without my aids, the sound of the bathroom fan, and let’s not forget the tinnitus, I am deaf. So knock away maid, I could not hear you. Maybe hotel rooms should install flashing lights. Or maybe I should check in as “disabled”. Tough times.
A much needed date night. A beautiful Fall drive. Some adult conversation and beverages. All the makings for a wonderful time.
A top the modern City Flats Hotel in Holland is the City Vu Bistro. And a lovely view it is! Unfortunately I was overwhelmed by the food choices and missed the outdoor photo op.
Many reviews comment on the amazing flatbreads. The flatbreads smelled and looked delish, but wanting to not fill up on bread, we opted for four small plates. Two items, the Duck Prosciutto and Mussels, were monthly specials. Being prosciutto crazy, we devoured the duck and all accompaniments; figs, Greek olives, feta, roasted peppers, Granny Smith apple slices, and everything crackers. The crackers were a definite miss step, but each other element allowed for varying flavor bites.
Yummy mussels garbanzo beans, check!
Seared tuna and flaw, delightful!
Barbecue braised short ribs with cabbage and carrots, yes please!
When return, we will sample the flat breads too.
Another date night down for these foodies. I cannot wait for next months night out! Where will our palettes take us?