Friday, July 18, 2008

Beaver Island Adventure!

Friday, July 11

3am: Alarm goes off. Groan but realize we're going on a mini-vacation, so it's ok.

3:45am: Out the door, all packed with Anna awake, not sleeping like I want to, meeting mom, dad and Sheila at the Speedway.

4:15am: Arrive at Speedway, get Krispy Kremes and chocolate milk jugs for Gary and I. Gary gets Micky D's.

4:30am: On the road, headed to Charlevoix!
Between 5:30 and 6:30am: We're listening to our book, I start nodding off, so we turn it off b/c I keep missing things. Anna falls asleep shortly after we leave the gas station, by the way.

7:15am: After a beautiful drive through East Jordan, near Charlevoix Lake, we arrive at the Beaver Island Boat Company to await our ferry.
7:30 - 8:15am: Change Anna, feed her her bottle, sit around waiting for Gary and dad to park the cars and to get on the boat.

8:30am: We take off into Lake Michigan on our 2 hour ferry ride to Beaver Island. It was an overcast day, a little wind but a nice day nonetheless. Anna did fine on the boat ride. She didn't quite find her sea legs, so she looked like a drunken sailor trying to stand up on things. She ate and played, and took about an hour nap before we arrived at the harbor. Gary enjoyed being outside taking in the view, I enjoyed the company, a cat nap and Martha Stewart.

10:45am: Arrived at the harbor on Beaver Island. From a distance it's what I expected - a small area with some shops and restaurants and lots of cottages/homes. It was beautiful.

11:00am: Unload our stuff and walk to our first nights lodging. Yes, we walked with a large suitcase, overnight bag, duffle bag, pack-n-play, booster seat, Anna, her car seat and base along with the rest of the families belongings. It was less than a mile, but that was not fun.
11:30am: Arrive at the house Gary's friends own and graciously let us stay. This was a place rich in cherished memories, lots of laughs, history and family. Mismatched furniture, rooms closed off with curtains rather than doors, a wood burning stove for heat and no screens for the summer. A vintage stove and an old way out of tune piano complete the picture (oh yeah, creepy crawlies that didn't sit well with my mother in law and sister in law). The water ran cool, even on hot. We figured out sleeping arrangements and figured out our day.

12:00pm: Head over to Dalwhinnie's for some lunch. A small eat in breakfast, lunch and dinner restaurant with a bakery counter filled with sugary baked goods.

1:00pm: Stopped by the grocery store for some essentials and headed back to the house.

1:15-2pm: Walked the property, took my "Christie pictures" as some of my family call it, full of wildflowers, unidentified metal objects and mossy rocks and trees. Got the Trooper ready for the grand tour of the island.

2:00pm: Loaded in the trooper to begin the adventure of the day. We headed over to the Whiskey Point Lighthouse for some photo opps of the beautiful lighthouse and watery vegetation. Stopped by the gas station (it was $5.49 a gallon, the highest in the country) to put 5 or so gallons in. The guys talked to the lady in the gas station and got a map of places to see. So we got the low down on where to go and started driving. Gary was driving, so we harassed him as we drove right by a few of those highlighted places. Finally we arrived at the Beaver Island lighthouse to climb 52 stairs to the top. This is where it got ugly. Gary's dad took over driving and we were looking for the big tree and the big rock. We felt like we were driving around in circles for hours. We did do a little circle tour but eventually found the big rock (which was very large) and the big birch tree or the Bicentennial Tree of the state. We headed back home, which seemed like it took forever.

6:00pm Arrive back at the house to repack for dinner. We had a nice (and expensive) dinner at Nina's on the lake. Good food, great company.

7:30pm: Back at the house, got Anna ready for bed and we were all sitting around the table in what the Wyman’s refer to as the, “Big House” when my dad found a poem in the living room titled, “Ode to Anna”. Thinking that this might be something cool to read dad brought it into the dining room where we were all hanging out and read it out loud to all of us. I wish that I had the text of the poem with me now to place in the blog, but I did not think that far ahead. In short the poem was about a woman named Anna from Beaver Island who according to the poem was the, “Emerald of Beaver Isle”. The poem talked about her life and death and her wishes for the family to continue on. Upon our return to the mainland I made a point to ask both Matt and Mike about the poem since I was very curious about the history behind it. It turns out that the Anna of Ode to Anna was their grandmother who was born on Beaver Island; their Grandfather met their Grandmother when he was stationed on Beaver Island while working on charting the great lakes. The history of the property then turns out that the, “Big House” was their grandparent’s home, and the, “Small House” was their grandmother’s brother’s house who was from what Mike remembers a lifelong bachelor which is why the small house is so small. How neat is it that we had another Anna back on the property once again, I can’t help but wonder if their grandparents were looking down and smiling?

8:30pm: We wanted ice cream and found that the whole town shuts down around 8. Not a soul in sight. So Gary and I headed back to the house.

10:30pm: We all started to get ready for bed and turned in for the evening.

Saturday, July 12

5:00am: Anna wakes up coughing and seems slightly un-rested, probably because the air in the house felt damp and musty. I hear her coughing so it's time to get up and check on her, in the living room I'm greeted by mom and Sheila also checking on Anna. We put Anna back down and hope for some more sleep.

7:00am: Anna wakes up for good this time so Gary and I get up with her and begin our day. Everyone follows suit shortly there after, some brave a cold shower and the rest get ready for the day.

8:15am: Head out to Dalwhinnie's for some giant full of goodness cinnamon rolls.

9:00am: Take a walk around town. See some people setting up for a small art show, take a picture of a giant hole in a tree and visit mom's friend Terry at the Harborview Motel. Strolled a bit more and went in shops that were open and visited with the locals.

10:00am: Mom talks to Terry and says that with how congested Anna was, we were going to head back that day to the main land and stay in Charlevoix a night because of it. She says she has vouchers she can give out a couple times a summer and she would love for us to use it. So we obliged as we were loving island life, packed up our things from the house and moved into the motel.

10:45am: Sheila stays back with Anna while dad, mom, Gary and I head out to Whiskey Point to see the Poker Run come in. Anna sleeps a bit, eats and plays.

12:00pm: We head back to the motel, regroup for lunch at Daddy Franks for some good ole island deep fried food.

12:45pm: Gary and Anna stay back for a well needed nap for the both of them. Meanwhile, the girls and dad head out to check out the shops and stock up on Beaver Island gear.

3:00pm: We get back to the motel, wake up Gary to head out to the Antique Toy Museum and Marine Historical Society. The toy museum with very kid oriented nickel and dime treasures, along with beads, little toys, games and a strange woman who runs it to boot. She seemed to fit in well. The marine museum was cool. Filled with history of the marine life that once was. The man was very friendly and talkative until..... he asked me what I thought of global warming. Ha. I laughed and said I think it's a big marketing ploy. He said well I think George Bush would agree. After that he wouldn't look or talk to us much more. Apparently he didn't like my answer. With that said and the face of that crazy lady at the toy museum has sign and stickers made that said "This mama's for Obama", I was charting democratic waters. :)
4:15pm: Head back to the motel where mom and Anna are hanging out. We decide to go sit by the pool (the only pool on the island). Anna of course freaked out at first, but soon loved kicking the water. So I brought her in to get her suit on. I gave her to daddy and she loved being in the pool! I went and got my suit on, so we played pass the baby in the pool between Gary, Sheila and I. We swung her around and even dunked her under once. She did awesome, didn't cry once. We had such a good time in the pool. I miss having one or at least a lake to go to! Someday. :)

5:30pm: All of us head in to get ready for dinner. We asked Terry what would be a good place to grab some good food. So we packed ourselves up in the Trooper and went to Stoney Acre Grill, a barn like restaurant with Donnegal Danny's Pub attached. We had a great dinner with great company.

7:00pm: Back at the motel for some R&R. Anna had a bath in the sink, ate and drank some grub and went to bed. She was quite tuckered out from the busy day we had!

8:15pm: Gary, Sheila and I walked up to Daddy Franks again for some ice cream - the only way to end a vacation day. It was a hoppin' place with it being a summer kids hang out. When we approached the counter, we found two high school, we thought, guys running the place. One seemed like a surfer, punk kid and the other a hippie, super happy guy. Gary asked for extra butterscotch on his sundae (after I saw him dump a ton on already), he got it back and said "thanks for hooking a brother up". All this after the bantor between the two of them on how many people were in line, running out of ice cream or hot fudge and various other oddities, he comes back to Gary with "keepen it real for all the gangsters all across the world." Say what? The very last place or person that we thought would say something so old school, so.... Gary. :) It was great.

8:45pm: Return back with 4 sundaes and a flurry enjoyed by all. Upon finishing our sundaes, we chat a bit and turned down Sheila's request of playing games as we were all so very tired from the past 2 days activites.

10:45pm: We start to all turn in for the night.

Sunday, July 13

5:30am: Anna starts to wake up and desparetly needs a diaper change. After waking Sheila up, we get her situated. I bring her into my bed (yes Gary and I slept apart in twin beds, hehe) to see if she'll cuddle with me for a little while. It worked for a while in Anna terms.

6:15am: We get Anna ready for the day and we follow suit. We were all showered and ready to go by 7:30am I think. Crazy!

7:30am: Packed up and headed to where? Dalwhinnie's of course. Again a repeat of a yummy breakfast. We take note that it's a tad bit windy out and hope our boat ride will be ok.

9:30am: After packing up the room, the guys bring our luggage down to the dock, bring back the Trooper and we await to board our ferry to go home.

11:15am: We finally board and notice it's still windy. The winds were out of the west and some knowledgeable guy, ahem no, said the waters should be calmer. Nope. Everyone but Sheila and Anna spent the 95% of the boat ride finding a way not to lose our lunch if you will. For Sheila, the woman behind her gave her the push to lose her lunch along with a dozen other people. Not cool at all. Anna slept the whole way home. :) It was probably the worst boat ride I've been on. But I remained focused on my breathing and ended up in the clear. Gary laid on the floor and the parents sat back and held their own pretty well. An older guy turned white and, pardon the language, ralphed like I've never heard anyone before. That's where self restraint played a big role.

1:45pm: Arrived back in Charlevoix with much enthusiasm to get off that boat! Yeesh. We packed up the cars and got out of dodge. Gary and I visited Matt and his fiance Tammy for a little while, saw their new house and where Matt works. It was nice to see them again.

5:30pm: On the road again, listening to our book where I stayed awake to listen and even drove a bit. :)

7:50pm: (GPS told us when we'd arrive home) Got home after an adventure that we'll never forget!

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