Sunday, November 10, 2013

Taking the Backroads - What Makes My Heart Sing

Even as a kid when traveling on vacation in the car, I would sit glued to the window watching for exciting things to come into view. Whenever I spotted something old, worn, falling down or filled with detail there was this feeling inside me that I couldn't really identify, but filled me with a happiness and joy. That feeling has only grown stronger over the years, I have tried to pin point where it starts and I have come to determine it is in my heart. These are the sights that make my heart sing.


My starting point was M-179. M-179 starts off of U.S. 131 (which runs from top to bottom through Michigan). M-179 is about half way between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo.

The closer I got to my starting point the more snow I started seeing on the ground and by the time I turned on to M-179 there was probably 2 inches of snow on the ground, but the sun was shining and it was melting rapidly.

I spotted this barn shortly after getting on M-179.

This photo is a good reminder to take my sunglasses off before I shoot. I really thought the fence posts were in focus.

I usually take a photo with my Starbucks cup every week at the beginning of my adventure. Soon I will be able to tell you where every Starbucks location is in Michigan :) My cousin Marty had part of the answer right when I posted this photo on my Facebook page, asking where my Starbucks cup was this week. He said "local soft serve ice cream place".

It was a soft serve ice cream shack, just not "my" local one. The sign on top of the building was calling to me to photography the place.

I took a quick little detour off of  M-179 to Yankee Springs.

I found a classic State Park Picnic Shelter.

And you could have your pick of camping spots.

Cute little dock in the campground area.

Once back to M-179 I saw a sign for Historic Bowens Mills, well of course I had to check that out.

A 19 acre historical park that includes a 1864 grist mill and cider mill. It is a working museum that still grinds and sells fresh corn meal through the use of water-powered mill stones. There are multiple historical buildings and they offer tours year round. Sounds like a day adventure in and of itself.

Continuing on, M-179 had such a treasure trove of old buildings to photograph.

Not sure what this building was, but it being on stilts made it very interesting to me. The faded sign on the door of the metal building attached to this building said Taxidermy service.

I spotted this shack through a thicket of trees. This definitely make my heart sing.

The book shelf with ABC on it and the green door that were tucked into the shed were a beautiful bonus.

I did check for any No Trespassing signs before I walked onto the property to get a closer shot, all I saw was a faded No Hunting sign.

Lovely two track further down the road.

One last stop before M-179 ends in Hastings.

I redeemed myself a bit here from my earlier fence post failure.


Hastings is filled with beautiful historical buildings, a trip for another day. The building I visited was the local Wendy's for some tummy warming chili and a coke for some much needed caffeine.

I was one of the youngest customers in the restaurant. I am working to incorporate some people shots into my adventures, so here is my attempt for this week.

After lunch, I continued on through Hastings to M-79.


Another road with a lot of great potential.

McKeown Bridge County Park

From the Historical Marker: This steel Pratt through truss bridge was erected for Hastings Township in 1903. The township contracted with the Massillon Bridge Company of Massillon, Ohio for $2,090 to fabricate and erect the steel bridge.

From the bridge I spotted a beautiful barn that I had to get a closer look at, thankfully there was a little roadside park that was adjacent to the property and I was able to get some nice shots of it.

Farther along M-79.

Historic Charlton Park

I saw the road sign for this place and anything that says historic has me right away. Before I got to the entrance of the park I spotted another beautiful barn.

Turning into the driveway for Charlton Park, I was met with a bounty of historic buildings. The bad news…there was a school class trip there with many little elementary age munchkins running around making it very hard to shoot a building without one of them in the photo. Not the way I wanted to add people to my adventure, plus I didn't want to set any parents off thinking I was a creeper taking photos of their kids. So I stuck to the one building where the kids weren't, no surprise it was the church.

While I was taking this shot, a group of little boys came up behind me, and the leader of the pack said to his group "Stop, she is taking a picture" bless that little boy, there needs to be more of him.

Charlton Center Church - Originally located in Charlton Center, this 1885 Gothic Revival structure served as a Methodist Episcopal Church until 1972 when it was moved to Charlton Park. The original steeple was struck by lightning in 1933. The present steeple is similar to the original, but 25 feet shorter.

This will be another place to come back to explore for a longer period of time.

One last barn for the day. The sun was starting to get high in the sky, so it was time to stop shooting and head towards home.

I did see a great octagonal barn on this road as well, not too many of those exist anymore, but that's a shot for another day as well.

On my way home I took this road.

Many treasures along this road as well...

Linking with Helen at Weekend Walks.

**I downloaded some new Vintage Lightroom presets this weekend. It was kind of fun to play around and change the countryside look back to an earlier day.


  1. I love your mixture of B&W and color photos. You found some really great barns, and I love that bookshelf. I like the way you're incorporating people shots - I'd really like to do that, too - but so far have not been very successful. I think I need to gain a little more confidence in my photography. This is another great adventure!

  2. Thanks for the guided tour I love your bridges it makes me want to go to the middle and jump up and down . And I love the vintage look...

  3. This was one of the best touring posts ever. A perfect day for a journey down those roads with some magnificent images along the way. Thank you.

  4. This is quite the adventure. Count me in as someone that also likes to explore the backroads.

  5. Wow! You covered quite a lot of territory, Sarah! And the treasures you found! It's hard to pick a favorite but I love that little church you found. Of course, I also love the 'ABC's', the barn, the ... well, you get the picture.

  6. Great drive and great shots.
    Thanks for the share !

  7. Well, my heart is singing, too!! Those wonderful old red barns took my breath away! And, the church, beautiful pictures, especially the first one and the one through the window!

  8. Love the two track road shot! Curly Cone yea! Red accents on the barns,yes! Really love the first one, orange leaves and a road. Doesn't get any better!

  9. Gorgeous photos. Love the red barn half and half. Red on the bottom, unpainted on the top. I like the winding road photo, very much . . . although I am feeling motherly with you out alone in what looks isolated. Love this series . . . I can't wait to visit with you again . . .

  10. Another fun adventure. My favorite shot is the church with the window reflections. Are you thinking about a book yet?

  11. Thanks for taking us along on your adventure. I was reading your post and kept thinking, "that's my favorite shot" and then another one would come up that was my favorite! If I have to narrow it down I'd say the ABC book shelf, the barn in the snow and the awesome curvy road. They are all beautiful!

  12. I love your red outbuildings- I recall reading a while back why they're traditionally red but it escapes my mind at the moment. Anyway, very interesting shots. Such a wealth of places to visit in your area - I'm loving your discoveries. The last Wendy burger I had was years ago when I lived in Germany .. I'm not certain we have them over here but the Chilli sounds delicious!!

  13. Oh fun! I love seeing your old building pictures. One day--after surgery, I'm going to go hunting. . . . Another thing that makes my heart sing (besides old building, too) is trees bare of leaves. I love the graphic nature of the limbs against a blue sky.

  14. Did you hear my heart singing too just now? Your barn shots made me swoon, esp. the first one.


  15. Barns & churches, a definite "make my heart sing" moments!! Great trip!

  16. Another excellent adventure! I wish I lived closer so I could tag along in the passenger seat - I promise I would sit quietly and not disrupt your picture taking!
    I could envision a whole 1950's scene outside that Curley Cone of families waiting in line for ice cream!

  17. Love your adventures! Gorgeous barns, we don't really have anything like them in the UK. Love the vintage feel you've created too. :)

  18. You always have the most fun back road adventures, Sarah. The octagonal barn was a real find as were the other ones. There's nothing quite like a barn photographed on autumn.

  19. oh the autumn colours here are absolutely amazing! truly stunning and what a wonderful journey

  20. What a lovely road trip -- so much to see here! Thanks for taking us along. :)


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