Friday, September 9, 2011

Michigan Trip Day 4

Quick trivia question. Which state has the most lighthouses? My first quess would have been Maine. Wrong...It's Michigan.
 Question 2...What state has the most coastline not counting Alaska? I would have thought Florida...Again Michigan. There are more than 3,000 miles coastline and they are not even close to an ocean.
 We start the day headed to another lighthouse, this one located at the tip of Leelanau Peninsula which separates Lake Michigan and Grand Traverse Bay.

Grand Traverse Lighthouse
The Grand Traverse Lighthouse has the perfect opportunity for people who love lighthouses. For a fee you can spend a week staying in the lighthouse in the "keepers quarters" as a volunteer. No you don't get paid. You pay them! Keepers are responsible for greeting visitors, provide historical information, operate the gift shop etc.  If I lived close enough I would absolutely do this!!  I think it would be so cool to stay in a lighthouse.

Fog Signal Building

Towers like this have now replaced the lighthouses.

The Grand Traverse Lighthouse Flower boat is a tradition that started back in the 1920’s when the lighthouse keeper’s wife asked her husband to drag an abandoned rowboat to the lighthouse so she could plant flowers in it. This tradition is now done every year.

Lighthouse keepers in the 20s and 30s built this and several other stone structures on the grounds.I think this is a crown.

No weather vane needed to show wind direction.

A giant Northern White Cedar believed to be 175-200 years old.

Next we head to Leland a picturesque little village located between Lake Michigan and Lake Leelanau, on Leelanau Peninsula.

Leland's historical district, known as Fishtown, features rustic shanties and docks reminiscent of life and commercial fishing one hundred years ago. Today, galleries and unique shops fill their walls.

Dam Candy Store
So named because it sits near the dam.

Now we are going to visit the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park. As you can see visibility is not good on this day.
The park is named after a Chippewa legend of the sleeping bear. According to the legend, an enormous forest fire on the western shore of Lake Michigan drove a mother bear and her two cubs into the lake for shelter, determined to reach the opposite shore. After many miles of swimming, the two cubs lagged behind. When the mother bear reached the shore, she waited on the top of a high bluff. The exhausted cubs drowned in the lake, but the mother bear stayed and waited in hopes that her cubs would finally appear. Impressed by the mother bear's determination and faith, the Great Spirit created two islands (North and South Manitou Island) to commemorate the cubs, and the winds buried the sleeping bear under the sands of the dunes where she waits to this day. The "bear" was a small tree-covered knoll at the top edge of the bluff that, from the water, had the appearance of a sleeping bear. Wind and erosion have caused the "bear" to be greatly reduced in size over the years. Today only a small remnant remains.From wikipedia.

In 2011, the park was named by ABC's Good Morning America as the "Most Beautiful Place in America". I couldn't tell if it was or not but I doubt that it was more beautiful than my beloved Smoky Mountains.

This photo does not show how steep it really was.

The fog and mist cleared for a few minutes long enough to see the lake right along the shore. It's such a pretty aqua color. Reminds me of the beautiful colors of the caribbean.

I think they are pretty much wiped out! I love to hike but I don't think I will try this.

We cut our trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes short due to the visibility plus we have a few more stops before we head to Ludington for the night.

Tucked away on a wildlife sanctuary in northern Michigan is a shop built of native stones,glass, and wood. A building that brings the outdoors in and blends nature within it's structure.

Gwen Frostic lived all her life with the after-affects of a childhood illness that affected her speech and mobility  but not her art nor her heart.

Definitely a self-made woman, Gwen worked hard at her art and in 1954 set up shop in Frankfort. In 1961 she began building her new studio and shop on 40 acres of "middle-of-nowhere". Her unique design led the shop to blend in with the surrounding area with huge boulders, sod roof, exposed wooden beams, and other unique architecture.

Yes that is grass growing on the roof.

I want this for my front porch!!!

Let's just wander here and there ~~
like leaves floating in the autumn air
and look at common little things ~~
stones on the beach ~~
flowers turning into berries...
From the winds we'll catch a bit
of that wondrous feeling that comes ~
~~ not from seeing ~~
but from being part of nature...Gwen Frostic

This would be nice too...Sigh

This was going to be our last stop for the day but as we getting ready to leave an employee mentioned the salmon run.  She said she would take us over if we wanted to follow.
The salmon run is the time of the year salmon swim back up the river in which they were born to spawn. After spawning they die.
I have heard of this but never witnessed it. It is very fascinating.

This is where they are jumping. It's higher than it looks. Some were even trying to jump up on the higher side on the right.

Almost made it.




My sister captured this photo with two of them.

Well we sure got to many interesting places today but its time to head to our motel
in Ludington for our last night:(
 Tomorrow we head home but not before we have a little more fun!! Stay tuned.


  1. I have to admit those are some fantastic photos. They're enough to make a lot of people want to go there.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  2. How wonderful!
    The story about the bear is so touching, isn't it?
    Very good photos of the salmon, swimming upstream. They kind of remind me of the hikers trying to get up the dune!

  3. I have been enjoying your Michigan vacation with you. I love the old buildings and shops.Great shots of the salmon. I could see my slipping and rolling all the way to the beach. LOL! What a climb.