Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Summer People Are Gone

The summer people are gone...gone back to their other houses in Grand Rapids, Chicago, or basking in the warmth of the Florida sun.

Their cottages stand empty...waiting for them to return again next summer.

This is the time of year that the locals relish. Less people, less noise, less busy, just less of everything.

I went exploring by their empty cottages the other day, something I wouldn't feel comfortable doing in July. As  I walked along the old, cracked, narrow sidewalks. I could feel the history of this Victorian era cottage association in the air.

Cottage History
Construction of cottages in the Ottawa Beach resort began in June 1886. Most cottage owners, hailed from Grand Rapids. Among the earliest cottagers were prominent business people, furniture makers, railroad officers and politicians. For more than a century, the same families returned each summer, often occupying the same houses for decades. From the 1930s through mid 1960s future U.S. President Gerald Ford spent many summer vacations here.

Many of these cottages remain relatively untouched except for routine maintenance. Others look "new" and to me that spoils the charm of these Victorian era cottages. 

After exploring and taking lots of photos, I returned to the Black Lake Boardwalk where my car was parked. It was such a beautiful day that I found a bench along the boardwalk, pulled my journal and pen from my backpack and sat contemplating all this rich history just behind me.

As I sat there, not another human being was in sight. There had been a lone fisherman in his aluminum fishing boat puttering along, but even he had deserted me.

I knew there were others close by, because I hear the sounds of cars, leaf blowers, the beeping of construction equipment and the barking of a dog, but I didn't see them and that was fine with me.

I was enjoying just sitting there writing, gazing out over the lake and reflecting on my cottage explorations. This was a peacefulness you won't find in July. Only in November on the cusp of Winter can this quiet be found.

As always linking up with Lissa at laf Custom Designs for Walk and Click Wednesdays, please click over there to see where the other explorers have gone this week.


  1. Wow - what wonderful buildings! Sounds like you had a perfect day!

  2. Wow Sarah great post. September is my fav in TC. Everyone has gone home and the parades are over. ( have thought of producing a bumper sticker that said 'the parade is over go home' but thought may be bad for the locally economy)
    Know exactly how you are feeling. Glad you had such a great day :). Happy Thanksgiving

  3. Sarah, loved strolling with you along Ottawa Bay...I have only been to Detroit and Deerborn, MI, so I was unfamiliar with
    the beach area.

    Very quaint.

    Maybe I should share my walk from the other day... are these posts connected to a class?

    Thanks, and Happy Thanksgiving!! Andi

  4. Love love Sarah those cottages are beautiful so different to the houses in UK we nearly always build with brick and use very little wood.....It would be great to make up stories of who lived there railway barons maybe with a mad woman in the attic oh I'm getting very Jane Eyre here !!!!

  5. oh those cottages look so dreamy....what a great walk you had!

  6. Wonderful post. I grew up at the Jersey Shore. It was the same, the summer people would leave in September and the peace would come. Sadly that is where most of the damage from the storm is now. I hear our old house is still standing which is nice to know. Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. Sarah, this is fabulous. Cottages? Oh my, I always think of cottages being smaller than primary homes! Wouldn't it be lovely to be able to have two places to live depending on the season? I just love how you add the history. Thanks for joining Walk and Click Wednesdays!

    1. PS I think it's interesting that we chose similar themes ... peacefulness ... stillness! Are we in synch?

  8. So appealing. You always make me wish I lived there.

  9. I agree, so want to walk around your neighbourhood with you, it looks so interesting


Thank you so much for visiting today and taking the time to read my thoughts on life. :)