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Home > Magazine > Travel > Summer Visit to Vintage Lake Michigan

Summer Visit to Vintage Lake Michigan
September 18, 2012

This summer I caught a teensy dose of agoraphobia. Ha, maybe it was more like Ameri-phobia. I couldn't take going to the 4th of July fireworks: couldn't take any more pitbulls, wifebeaters, obesity, tats, boomboxes, or gutteral vocalizings. (Exceptions disclaimer here.)

Then I got an invitation to visit pal Dave Jessop's friend Brian's beach cottage. He'd mentioned it previous years and it hadn't worked out. Suddenly I realized that I needed to say YES.

(Saying Yes is important. Martha reminded me of this when she finally said Yes to going on our Friday Urban Ride. She said it was a life-saver and how long had we been doing this? I said "for years" and that I'm always inviting her but she blows it off. That weekend Dave called. And I said Yes.)

It was the first time I'd visited a private community. It was an old beach resort. Sure, I'd visited people's houses or rentals before, but this was a whole little ol' resort on the beach.

It had rules, too -- which I immediately broke upon arrival: no biking. Push bike til out of resort. OK, I can do that.

The people were immediately friendly. There was elbow room. No pitbulls. (Yes, pitbulls can be sweet.)

Dave and hosts and family and friends hang out here simply. We immediately set to rigging boats for sailing. The boats are old Sunfishes and Hobies with duct-tape repairs and mis-matched hulls. But they're kept up and re-fitted and re-fitted. You make-do at the beach. Sometimes I've felt trapped by Sunfishes at our local lake and I pine for grander things. This beach world showed me that the Sunfish way of life is perfectly fine.

We'd been up north a couple weeks earlier doing art fairs. I was wading back from swimming in Suttons Bay, having to pack up and leave to get home for some minor technical detail. I was thinking then, as I waded thru the clear waters: I'm going home now? I'm leaving this? For that? We'd worked the beaches but hadn't hung out.

Now I got my chance.

I had on my tattered straw hat and was trailing a foot in the emerald green water as I sailed the Sunfish across the beach in front of the resort. I laid back to reduce windage. But kept my foot in the warm water. Then I sailed out farther and farther over the surfing swells...

We all sailed a bit then went for a ride to a fruit stand then Dave cooked up some dinner.

Did I tell you that Dave likes to cook? He's a champ. He's also big on mushrooms and hook'n'bullet. His neighbor drops off dozens of big bluegill filets. Well, they're not big but they come from big bluegills -- big for a bluegill. 10-inchers. Oh yeah. His neighbor catches hundreds each summer from a nearby little lake. I tried it once, too -- drifting across trailing a light line, an ice-fishing lure with mealworm on 30 feet of line: WHAM! The slabbies love that stuff. And, man, they fight. And the eating...nothing better. Which brings us back to dinner... Bluegills and venison and made-now coleslaw. Then guitars on the deck until the wee hours.

Dave does this at home, too, near Chelsea. He hosts no-drop stop-for-swim mtbike rides followed by feasts and music. Can't beat it. They're lifesavers.

Anyway, that beach action was pretty good.

The next day I had pressing domestic matters and had to leave. Yeah, more silliness, but what can ya do? The locals said You leaving? Leaving is bad. Staying is good.

I couldn't agree more.

(And I know what we could do. If ya don't have to punch an inland clock, why not set up shop in a pleasant place? There's only so much "bloom where you're planted" that you can do before you realize that drainage ditches don't nourish the soul. Ideas can do a lot but only so much. They need to manifest in life. People need to both work against ugliness and then FLEE it if it ain't budgin'. Is it really martyrs we need? Sorry, rant over.)


Sailing by day.


Sailing at night.


Busy in the pinewood kitchen.


Bluegills. Venison. Mmmm....


Neighbors on the boardwalk.


Where the guitars play.


The 70's are alive and well. Why change a good thing? Relax...


Shagadelic!

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