Dune Day Afternoon

While we've squeezed a lot of vacating into each day of vacation so far, today may be our most active.

After breakfast and vest treatments, etc., we left this morning for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on the northwestern shore of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. After a short stop at the visitor center, we headed straight for the climbing dune (above).

After a nice picnic lunch on the grounds, we started up the imposing slope, expecting an arduous climb...but the top was in sight. Wrong. At the point (above) where Calleigh is looking back the way we came, over Glen Lake, our climb had just begun!

About a mile later, Aaron, Nina, Mia and I reached the point where Lake Michigan (2+ miles from our starting point) came fully into view. And then we started the journey back.

Next we took a short drive to Glen Haven Historic Village, where we dipped a toe in the lake and toured a bunch of boats in a small museum.

Our final stop was the Sleeping Bear Coast Guard Station (1902-1942), where we viewed a short demonstration and then toured the grounds and station house, which included a one-room replica of a ship's pilot house (below):

On the return drive, we stopped for dinner at Apache Trout Grill, where the service was great and all the food was excellent. Not cheap, but good.

After dinner we got ice cream and played with the grandkids at Bryant Park at the foot of Old Mission Peninsula before heading up Peninsula Drive and back to Sunset Sands.

Kevin, Aaron and Nina went down to the beach for another sunset and fire in the fire pit...while the rest of us crashed. Another fine, fine day for which to be grateful.

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Location:W Grandview Pkwy,Traverse City,United States

"Vacation Is the Best!"

"Vacation is the best," said my grandson Miles today...and that was when the fun had barely started!

Miles and Mia (with their parents in tow) had arrived at 3:30 am today; the family went straight to bed, and the kids were no worse for wear this morning. After breakfast, Crappaw took all three grandkids down to the beach, where they played happily in the sand until lunch!

After lunch and naps, we all journeyed to Mission Point, where we viewed the 1858 Hessler log home, the unique lighthouse, played on the swings and walked on the beach (and IN the lake as well!).

We returned home for a late dinner and then (while Aaron and Nina grabbed some twosome time in Traverse City) built a fire on the beach and introduced Miles, Mia and Calleigh to homemade s'mores.

I then tended the fire while the kids were bathed and put to bed. I enjoyed a beautiful sunset Compline by the fire:

Aaron and Nina returned in time to see the waning sunset, and joined Aubrey and Kevin for some time by the fire on the beach while Robin and I stayed in the house with the grandkids and read til bed...proving the truth of Miles's declaration: "Vacation is the best!"

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Location:Shorewood Dr,Traverse City,United States

A Lazy Hazy Day

This morning was a rainy one on Old Mission Peninsula, and the whole day was windy and chilly, so we stayed indoors and read, napped, and played with our Porcelain Princess.

At midday I ventured out from our lakeside castle for a walk on the beach.

The day's beauty was unabated. A killdeer followed me up the beach and down, never straying far but never letting me get close.

Whitecaps added drama to already beautiful scenery.

This evening the lovely Robin and I get to spend quality time with our Calleigh Lily while her parents enjoy a date night in Traverse City. And we will be joined in the wee hours by Aaron, Nina, Miles and Mia for the rest of the week! So fun!

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Location:Shorewood Dr,Traverse City,United States

OMP and Traverse City

The lovely Robin, Aubrey, Kevin, Calleigh and I spent another fine day here in Northern Michigan. I started the day by getting up with Calleigh (letting everyone else sleep in). She and I had breakfast together and watched some Yo Gabba Gabba and Sesame Street Silly Songs. She was chillaxin' (below) with her blanket and James Taylor in her Tinkerbell folding chair:

After naps and lunch we headed into Traverse City where we cruised the shops.

Following the advice of one of the locals, we had dinner at Mackinaw Brewing Company.

This brew pub and restaurant is housed in the historic Beadle Building. It was built in 1892 as a harness shop and restored in the 1980s, exposing the solid 18" thick walls made with bricks from nearby Greilickville.

We didn't sample the beer, but everything we tried (from salmon to pasta to brisket) was delicious.

On our walk back to the car, Kevin, Calleigh and I paid a quick visit to the beautifully retro'd State Theater:

We also stopped into the three-story Horizon Bookstore (which I will blog about later, in greater detail).

Oh, and we picked up a small cherry pie at the Grand Traverse Pie Company to take home with us.

The last hours of this fine day will be spent reading and relaxing and, for me, complining in the swing down by the water as the sun goes down. Perfect!

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One Fine Day on OMP

We spent a lovely day today on Old Mission Peninsula, north of Traverse City, Michigan!

After a pancake breakfast (thanks, Kevin) and a leisurely morning (I enjoyed morning prayer on the deck), we headed to Haserot Beach.
Calleigh preferred not to venture off the blanket into the sand (and even less in the water), but busied herself with pouring sand and water ON the blanket...and herself.
It was an absolutely gorgeous day. After returning home for showers and lunch, we all took naps. Ahhhhh. I was thrilled when Calleigh consented to take a walk with her baby and her "Boppaw."
We walked far and wide, and enjoyed every minute. Not sure about the baby's reaction (she slept most of the time).
Dinner and a movie later, a subdued sunset ushered in the night, and concluded a lovely day on Old Mission Peninsula.

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Old Mission Peninsula

After three days and two nights in Grand Rapids, speaking to writers at the ACW Christian Writers Conference, I drove three hours north to meet the lovely Robin, Aubrey, Kevin, and Calleigh at our vacation spot on Old Mission Peninsula.

A beautiful setting, provided by dear friends. We get to enjoy this (and each other, with Aaron, Nina, Miles, and Mia joining us mid-week) all week!

I arrived at 8 pm, and Robin and I walked down onto the beach, sat on the swing together, and enjoyed the setting sun.

Calleigh retired just before I arrived, so I won't get to see her smile until morning.

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A Great Grandkids Day

No, I'm not a great-grandpa...yet. But today was a GREAT day with three GREAT grandkids. It started this morning when Miles, Mia, and Calleigh--one by one--joined me in my prayer chair. They were soon followed by Aubrey and the lovely Robin.

After lunch, I got to take birthday-boy Miles (who turned four yesterday) to a matinee showing of Kung Fu Panda 2. He took off his 3D glasses about 15 minutes into the movie, but didn't seem to enjoy it any less for all that.

Miles and I returned to the house, got into swimsuits, and with Calleigh and Mia joining us, got into the pool...where we stayed the rest of the day. Well, Miles and I did. Mia and Calleigh came and went in the water. But Miles (like his dad at that age) was a fish.

It was a wonderful day with the best grandkids in the world. And the best wife. And the best daughter.

Mariemont Date Night

Had a wonderful date night last night with the lovely Robin. We drove to one of our favorite locales in the area, the beautiful village of Mariemont (just a few miles from where I grew up).

We shared a delightful meal in the National Exemplar, next door to the Mariemont Inn:

After a fine meal, we walked through the hotel lobby, and across the street to the Mariemont Theater (featured elsewhere on this blog) for a showing of Jane Eyre, which we both enjoyed tremendously.

Everytime we go to Mariemont, we lament that we don't make it there more often. Maybe next time we'll get back sooner!

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The Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls

Check out my latest article on Examiner.com: Rustic charm awaits atThe Inn & Spa at Cedar Falls.

The lovely Robin and I were blessed to spend last Sunday at Monday at this awesome spot in the Hocking Hills (one of my favorite places to visit). I'll be blogging more about the experience over the next few days.

Great Strides Walk, Hamilton, Ohio

This past Saturday was our family's long-awaited Great Strides Walk at Joyce Park in Hamilton on behalf of our granddaughter Calleigh McCane and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

More than twenty of Calleigh's team members (some had to leave before the photo) participated in the walk on a beautiful Saturday morning, raising (so far) more than $5,128 toward research to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. And that was just our team. Altogether, 72 people walked that morning and raised more than $9,000 total on the day...with hopes that late-arriving donations might still push the Hamilton total over $10,000.

Aubrey and Kevin McCane did a great job spearheading the effort, and we're all soooo grateful to everyone who donated and participated! It was great fun, and we're already looking forward to next year.

Calleigh (on the left in the photo above with her friend Ezzie Keeton) extends her thanks as well. Or she will, as soon as she's finished with her drink.