Friday, June 26, 2015

Ludington - A Childhood Destination

Last week I took a day trip to a favorite family destination from my childhood - Ludington, MI. My dad, mom, grandmother, and I use to drive up there every summer. My dad behind the wheel of my grandma's mint green, big as a boat, Chevy Impala. We would have packed a picnic for the day, filling it with homemade goodness or stopped for the fast food alternative, Kentucky Fried Chicken. Fast food was still a novelty back in the early 1970's so a picnic in the park with KFC was a real treat. The destination for our picnic was always the city park.

Very little has changed at this park since my childhood days, which I must confess brings me great comfort. The playground still has almost all the same equipment as when I was a kid.

Although the skate park is new within the last decade.

I arrived at the park about quarter to nine, so a little early for a picnic lunch. My first destination was the lighthouse whose pier is located right off the beach at the park.

I haven't walked out to the lighthouse since our daughter was a toddler, and she is twenty-one now, the walk was long overdue. The walk out there was a little windy and chilly, but worth it for the blue sky, the deep blue water and the stunning white lighthouse.

After the park, I drove to the downtown area to begin my walk down memory lane. I am still loving the "walking to discover" concept. I see so many more things than I would if I was driving around.

Many of the streets that I explored I had never been down before, but by taking the time to walk and explore, I found a treasure trove of photographic delights.

If I can find one empty, abandoned looking building per adventure, the whole trip was more than worth while, even if I don't get any other good shots for the day. I found this abandoned gas station a couple streets south of the main street. I never knew it was here...but now I do.

Around the back of the gas station was this grundy overhead service door. Chippy paint love!

This was the door to the left of the big overhead door in the photo above, more wonderful chippy paint and some worn, rusty lettering, double love!

I am still taking the self-portraiture class, so anywhere I find an opportunity to include myself in the frame, all the better. This window was on the back side of the gas station, lovely, unbroken glass panes in a rusty metal grid work frame.

I finally had to tear myself away from all that chippy paint and decay. I continued on with my walk.

Vintage sign love! This town is full of them.

This use to be the most adorable shop filled with cheap souvenirs, I use to get something every summer. A white leather, beaded drawstring purse with the words Ludington in shiny gold lettering stamped on it. A wooden tomahawk with a leather sheath. One year an Indian Chief's huge, feathery headdress. The quality of cheap souvenirs was so much better back in that era, before the introduction of plastic.

This Barber Shop was down some basement steps right on the main street. I never even knew it was there.

The sign for the Stearns Motor Inn is exactly the same as when I was a kid. This sign always greeted us coming into town and it was the last thing I saw leaving town. The Tiki Lounge intrigued me, it made me think of Hawaii Five O, a television series that was on in the 1970's and always came on after I was suppose to be in bed, but a trip to the bathroom could get me a few minutes of viewing. I would stand in the doorway of the bathroom and I had a perfect view of the television, this lasted until a commercial and my parents would catch me watching.

By this time, the sun was getting high in the sky, making photo taking a challenge, so I sought out a deli where I could get a sandwich or a wrap to take back to the city park with me for a picnic.

It wasn't quite the same as my childhood picnics.

On the way out of town I stopped to get a photo of this sign.

Of course, I had to follow the arrow and see if the motel was as cute as the sign.

If I had been braver, I would have walked up to the manager's office and asked if I could take some photos of the charming outside, but I think my brave had been all used up for the day. Maybe next time I will still have some brave left in me.


  1. What a wonderful trip down memory lane... I like your selfie.

  2. I haven't been to Ludington in so many years. I love the concept of "walking to discover". Your self portrait is perfectly you; rust and chipping paint which you love. My favoirtes are the doors to the service station. Awesome photography this trip.

  3. What an awesome place for a childhood visit. You must have felt that the area was somewhat magic when you were little. Glad you had the chance to revisit the magic!

  4. I have enjoyed your Ludington "photo" favorites . . .
    And self portrait "framed" was a Sarah prize . . .

  5. I love it when I go back to a place from my childhood and little has changed. That doesn't happen to often! Love the old chippy buildings and especially the door!

  6. Memory Lane is always worth the trip! It's amazing what we see as adults and especially as photographers. So many great shots!

  7. Isn't it amazing how our memory and reality coincide? Such a great trip idea!

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  9. I so love the billboards and motel sign to me that sums up the United States that I used to watch on TV in the 70's I visited the US in 1976 as a student and so loved the icons that I saw on TV. Thanks for reminding me and I love the petrol station !!

  10. What fun your walking to discover posts are! You definitely see so many interesting things when you are taking your time and using your feet

  11. There is nothing more satisfying than chipped paint. I am always looking at this rather than the newly high glossed surfaces. Some wonderful shots here Sarah xx

  12. I was here a few days ago but I had trouble leaving a comment so trying again…It's always fascinating to see what changes and what doesn't. The vintage signs are great and really love that door! You bring back wonderful memories of family picnics in my youth. And of course adore all lighthouses! Super post.

  13. Love you selfie and the also love the lighthouse image.

  14. Sarah, Your concept of walking to discover is a favorite of mine, too! I love how you took me on this day trip with you. This summer retreat could be just a few minutes from my home - even though we are miles apart. I still feel the connection to your story, your memories, and this special place. It's a blessing that we can see how good our lives are through the lens! Great story telling!

  15. Where are all the people? It looks deserted.

  16. This was wonderful, Sarah. I especially loved the back side of that old service station. I wish I'd been able to do more of this sort of walking exploration while on my vacation but the circumstances didn't permit it. I'm determined to try it now that I'm home! PS - that selfie is awesome!

  17. That chippy door! (big puffy heart) I always look forward to the abandoned buildings you find.


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