Monday, June 16, 2014

Winery Writings

It feels so good to be writing again. How have I let myself become so busy that I have not had any time to do something that I love so much. This must change, starting now.

I am companionless for the next couple of days. Glen has gone back down state to work, by his own choice I will add. Mallory is back at her interning duties of making copies, filling trail maps, and delivering ranger lead event schedules to various locations around Sleeping Bear Dunes. Being companionless for a short time is not an unwelcome event, I am free to explore at my own pace. I am not holding anyone up as I take photos and talk to random strangers. I find talking to fellow travelers and locals one of the most enriching components of vacation.

I chose to begin my adventure at The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, or in other words the decaying parts of the Northern Michigan Asylum. I don't think that I will ever get enough of this place. I could wander it every week and find something new to photograph. Even though the day is sunny and bright, the shadows cast by the buildings allow for some haunting shots of the boarded up entranceways and glimpses of rust, decay and the damage done by vandals.

After being inside a couple of these buildings last week Friday when we did the Guided Historic Building and Tunnel Tour, I have a new appreciation for all of the work involved in the restoration process of these buildings.

As I rounded the backside of these architectural marvels, I noticed a small, brown, furry creature scamper down the side of the hill that is behind the buildings. I saw where it went and I knew that it couldn't escape that area without me seeing it, so I set out to see who the furry creature might be. I approached the corner of the building where I had seen it go and as I rounded it there stood a darling baby fawn sniffing around one of the outside door frames. Where was this precious baby's mama? Then I remembered the pitiful cry that I had heard coming from the top of the hill earlier, it must have been this fawn crying for it's mother. I gently slid to the ground to watch the sweet darling. It had scampered into the bushes next to the door when it saw me. I tried so hard to get a photo of it, but the little one was doing a good job of hiding. As I moved a little closer it scooted to the far back corner of the buildings where it quickly laid down under some bushes. I left the sweet fawn and continued walking around the rest of the unrestored buildings.

A quick stop at the car to shed the Paisleys, the Paisley were essential for walking around the buildings as there is a lot of broken glass and knee high weeds near the buildings. My feet happily strapped into my Chaco sandals, I set off to wander around the restored and in-process of restoration buildings. This is something that I have not done before, since it is usually raining or snowing when we come here.

As I made my way towards the front of the restored buildings, I stopped to watch some construction workers at a building that is in process. As I turned away from the construction scene I was stopped by an older gentleman pushing his elderly aunt. They were out enjoying the beautiful blue skies and sunshine, soaking up Vitamin D. They had stopped to watch the construction workers as well. As I turned the gentleman says to me "It is amazing all the machinery they need today to do what they did by hand back when this place was built in the late 1800's."

As I chatted with the gentleman and his aunt, I discovered that they both grew up here in Traverse City and both remember coming here to the asylum for field trips when there were patients still here. Kind of a scary field trip in my mind. The gentleman recounted a time he came here for a field trip and one of the boys in his class, that one boy who always had to be first for everything, he was the first one in the door of the asylum and was greeted by a female patient coming out of her room completely naked with her arms spread wide for an embrace. Needless to say after that the boy was less inclined to be first in line.

The gentleman told me when he was in his 20's he moved to Detroit to work in the automobile industry. After six years there he couldn't take it anymore and moved back to Traverse City, he missed it too much.

The gentleman also let me know that on Thursday nights from 6-8 p.m. down on the big lawn under the white dining tents they have live music and you can get a burger as big as a salad plate, chips and a pop for $5. A very good deal in his mind. Well if Thursday didn't happen to be my birthday, not quite what I am desiring for my birthday dinner, we might have had to check this event out. Of course, next week would be a better week to go, the live entertainment is an Elvis Impersonator.

It was time to get his aunt back so we parted ways with a wish to each other to enjoy the rest of the day. I finished wandering the front of the buildings and returned to my car.

It was fast approaching the noon hour and I was starting to get hungry. I thought I would unload my camera, grab my purse and wander over to the winery Left Foot Charley which was right across the street. I remembered that they had small plate samplers of meats and cheeses and I could purchase a glass of wine. The perfect lunch.

I wandered into the winery, the only person present at the moment was the girl behind the tasting bar. I asked about their small plates. She pulled out their "Munchies Menu".  I ordered the Ploughman Lunch, a little bit of everything; meat, cheese, bread and fruit. I also ordered a glass of their Kerner Wine. She recommended I take my glass of wine out to the patio. She would bring the Ploughman out  as soon as she prepared it.

I chose a black metal patio table in the shade. I set my wine down and took a couple of shots of it with my phone. I pulled out my notebook and pen and began my summer version of the Coffee Shop Chronicles, the Winery Writings. Perfect for summer don't you think?

The Ploughman arrived, the presentation was perfect, and it is all about the presentation. The cheeses are from the famous Zingerman's Deli in Ann Arbor, a place that is on my bucket list for Glen and I to go to. The cheeses were heavenly, the bread and slices of salami and prosciutto divine. I texted a photo to Glen, his day at work probably wasn't looking too good after that.

After I finished my delightful plate and my even more delightful glass of wine, I tried to write some more, but the little crawly bugs that had been on the table now decided to crawl on me. Time to pack up, return my wine glass to the girl behind the counter and continue on.

I decided to go back to the spot where I had seen the fawn and take a few shots of the area with my phone. As I peered into the corner where I had last seen the precious little one, I saw an ear flick and I knew the baby was still there. It breaks my heart to know this little one is all alone. I really hope that mama is nearby.

Well all good adventures must come to an end eventually. I returned to the car, and drove off in the direction of the grocery store.


  1. A good idea to do Winery writings during the summer months. It sounds like you had a lovely outing and an interesting talk with the people you met! I love chatting to people I encounter on my little outings, especially if they're locals. I had to look up Chaco sandals as I didn't know what they were!

  2. We had dinner there (Trattoria Stella) the last time we were in TC and both the food and the atmosphere were amazing. We had local wine paired with the dinner too :-)

  3. The Asylum looks like a place with many photo opportunities. Your first image does look spooky, I like it. Winery Writings sounds like a great idea.

  4. Love your writings! I would love to wander the Asylum! Your photos are awesome. I hope mama deer came back for the fawn. They do tuck them away so they'll be safe, then return.

  5. Sarah, You have just described a near perfect day by my standards. While I love spending time with my husband or sons and girlfriends, too, there is something so relaxing and freeing about an artful adventure all by myself. Your pictures and your story were a joy to read - and please permit me to heap praises on your writing. Your style is open and engaging and your creative descriptions make me want to read more.

  6. Sarah, it was so much fun spending your day with you through your words and photos. I get such a sense of your personality from reading about your adventures - it makes me feel like I really know you.

  7. What a fabulous, fun day! I think enjoying one's own company is a good thing. I do. Not for long stretches but I do enjoy my own company. In fact, I require some solitude every day to keep my balance. It sounds like you're having a delightful vacation!

  8. So enjoyable your writing and photographs . . .
    I wonder where the momma was . . .
    Interesting information is found when we visit with strangers . . . Happy Birthday wishes . . . snuck that in, didn't you . . .
    I hope you are enjoying your alone time . . .

  9. Loved your post and what a wonderful day it looks as if you have. Those days when you can explore alone and do a little writing are priceless. Hope that baby finds its mama! Your first shot especially is awesome! Have a great day Sarah!

  10. So glad you're back to your writing! You sound like you had a great day exploring. Pretty cool that you got to chat with the gentleman and his aunt. I certainly can not imagine taking children on a field trip to any asylum!! I have read the mamma deer to leave their little ones, usually in a fairly safe place. They stay away, but near, so they don't attract predators to their young. She then returns several times a day to feed them. I hope this is the case with the little one you saw. Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

  11. Sounds like you had the perfect day. Glad your getting back to doing what you enjoy - I can feel you needed this. I hope the little fawn finds it's mum.

  12. I so enjoy traveling Michigan with you.

  13. Wonderful writing. I am thinking about that baby deer... hope it did find it's mother.


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