Saturday, January 31, 2009

Labor Day Excursion.

After leaving Vermillion, we traveled east on U.S. Highway 6 towards the city of Lorain, Ohio. The sun was sinking lower in the sky, and sunset was within a couple of hours. Once we arrived in Lorain we found Lakeview park along Lake Erie fairly easily. The park in itself was perfect. It was full of all the amenities you could every want for a summer family getaway.
Check out their website below for a full description as well as some site history.
(Be sure to go to the parks link on the left and choose Lakeview park)

Both the Lorain East Breakwall light and Lorain Lighthouses are visible offshore from this beach.

Lorain Lighthouse

After we walked along the beach for a while, we stopped at an interesting find. They had the playground right on the beach! Taylor loved it! When we took a break from playing we continued walking around the 20+ acre grounds.
Taylor also found the large water fountain in the center of the park. We knew we were in trouble when she kept getting closer and closer to the wall. It was a warm day, why not?

Taylor getting sprayed by the water fountain

She kinda looks like a wet puppy, and yeah, we had to lead her away too!

Another attraction to the park was the beautiful rose garden. The Historic Lakeview Park Rose Garden is full of more than 250 rose bushes with countless varieties. We almost missed the sunset because we were so taken by the garden.

beautiful roses throughout

The perfect ending to a perfect day. The sunset over the lake was breathtaking. Unfortunately for me, when it was time to start snapping photos, the sun sank into the lake like a weight was tied to it.

the last sliver of visible sun- sinking into the lake

Until the next adventure...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Now we're hooked!

Now that we are home from our vacation, we find ourselves planning our next "road trip". As it turns out, labor day was perfect. We didn't have much to do with family or friends, so we decided to do something the three of us would enjoy together.
Armed with a small cooler, our guide book, and a camera we headed to the lakefront. We drove toward small town of Vermillion, Ohio. This light was a bit difficult at first to find (actually, instead of stopping and asking where the park was located we drove around aimlessly). After circling up and down US Highway 6 a couple of times we agreed to just pull into the downtown area. Sure enough, at the bottom of a small hill at the end of Main Street was The Inland Seas Maritime Museum. Of course, the museum is open daily from 10am to 5pm, so when we stroll in at 5:15 they are already closed! Well, looks like we'll have to make another trip.
We still made the most of our visit and walked around the grounds.

Vermillion Lighthouse

Taylor really enjoyed getting her feet wet on the beach. We strolled along a while, collecting shells and rocks and even found a playground nearby. Matt and I watched her climb on the jungle gym while we took in the late summer breeze off the lake. We could hardly pull her away, but we had more to see.

Taylor on the beach

With sunset approaching, we made it back to our Jeep, and headed east to Lorain.

More to come...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Our daughter.

Taylor, our pride and joy, has brought so much to our lives. I thought today I'd share a few of her travel pictures. She really enjoys going places. Even if at this age she doesn't fully comprehend where we've been, she still loves going!

Today my husband had his shirt on from the Soo locks when Taylor walked up to him and said, "that's from Michigan right daddy? We're not in Michigan right now. We went there to see the boats." This from a three year old!

Her other favorite line is that we went one day and seen that big lighthouse by the tall grass. I don't know which one she is referring to, but it seems to come up a lot when we talk about places we've been.

More to come!

I hate being sick!

Sorry I've been off a couple of days, I've been bitten by the flu bug. Today is the first day that I can sit up longer than a half hour. Even with the flu shot this has been rough. I think every joint and muscle in my body aches! I hope to re-join society soon, but for now the computer will have to do.
I guess on the upside, we have been snowed in from a pretty nasty winter storm. We accumulated another 10" of snow, with another 2-4" tonight into tomorrow. So I guess if you're stuck inside, might as well be sick.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mackinac Island

The Grand Hotel--only $900 per night!

Beautiful gardens, crystal blue waters, warm summer breeze, creamy fudge...oh yeah, and watch out for the "road apples"! These are just a few memories that come to me while I sit here and drift back to the island.
Mackinac Island (pronounced mack-in-aw) was perfect!

We woke in the morning to catch an early ferry over to the island from St. Ignace U.P. Michigan. Well, we had good intentions of catching the 8am ferry that would take us under the "Mighty Mac"...but as usual we were getting off to a slow start. So the 8am ferry turned into the 10am ferry, and it was a photo finish!
As we were pulling into the parking lot, the last horn blew to load the ferry! Imagine four adults and a 2yr old dashing across the lot (We must have looked like O.J. hurdling obstacles in the airport). They did hold the ferry a moment so we could purchase tickets and board- whew!
The ferry ride was breathtaking. What a sight of the Mackinac Bridge.

It is a bit hard to see here, but the Mackinac Bridge is just above the picket fence.

The water, so clear! I've never see water so crystal clear and blue before. You could see all the way to the bottom! We then passed the Round Island Lighthouse and the Round Island Passage Light on our way to the island. I wish I would have gotten better shots, but I think I was too taken by the picturesque sites around me.

Yummy fudge- if you've every been to the Mackinac area you know what I'm talking about! The whole island is ONE HUGE FUDGE FACTORY! Every third shop on the island is a fudge or candy shop that gives FREE samples! Our tour guide told us if you stopped and had a sample at every fudge shop you would have eaten over a pound of fudge! Now there's a challenge I'm willing to take!

Oh, and watch out for "road apples"! There are only 3 motor vehicles permitted on the entire island; an ambulance, a firetruck, and a police vehicle. Every other mode of transportation on the island is either man-powered or horse-powered (and I mean the hairy-hay fed type, lol). Even the street sweepers are horse drawn.

The island if full gorgeous gardens filled with blooming flowers. I could sit and sway in the breeze all day!
Our day on the island was very relaxing. I definitely will be back again sometime! I felt so at-home up north, I wish I could stay longer!

Taylor playing in the sun!

More to come!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Quote of the day.

I stumbled across this while walking through a few blogs this morning. I thought it beared repeating.

Every morning in Africa, a gazelle awakens. He has only one thought on his mind: To be able to run faster than the fastest lion. If he cannot, then he will be eaten.

Every morning in Africa a lion awakens. He has only one thought on his mind: To be able to run faster than the slowest gazelle. If he cannot, he will die of hunger.

Whether you choose to be a gazelle or a lion is of no consequence. It is enough to know that with the rising of the sun, you must run. And you must run faster than you did yesterday or you will die.
This is the race of life.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Soo Locks @ Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan

Intriguing...That is one description that comes to mind about the locks the first time I saw them. Our family watched for hours as ships would come in and pass through. My mind couldn't help but wonder, where were they going, where had they been, and what an adventure they must be having.

Daddy and Taylor--She needed a mid-day snooze.

While at the Locks Museum we learned about not only the lock themselves, but how this to many crew was their "home away from home". In the small amount of time they spent passing through, a crewmen could get a haircut, check out a library book, pick up and send out post mail, etc. Of course, it was only a matter of minutes it seems it took for them to pass, but I imagine if you were agile enough you could get done what you needed. The tour guide was explaining that this was more evident in the earlier years, and now many of these resources are seldom used.

While here we also enjoyed a pasty across the street at a small diner. Pasty (pronounced pass-tee) for those who may not know, are a must-have local favorite when visiting the U.P. Much like salt-water taffy when on the coast, you gotta have at least one pasty when up north. Pasties I would say, are in the pot pie family. The easiest way for me to describe them is; imagine a gravy-less, stuffed full pot pie without the bowl. Yummy!

More to come!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Upper Penninsula, Michigan

Whitefish Point Lighthouse

Before I continue, I wanted to take a moment to thank our visitors and fans for stopping by..I truely enjoy the company. Thank you!

Our vacation to the U.P. was a very action-packed four day excursion. After we visited the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, we traveled into the forest to the Tahquamenon Falls State Park. There we hiked the trails to the upper and lower falls.

(excerpt from brochure)
The Upper Falls is one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. It has a drop of nearly 50 feet and is more than 200 feet across. A maximum flow of more than 50,000 gallons of water per second has been recorded cascading over its precipice.
The Tahquamenon rises from springs north of McMillan and drains an area of more than 820 square miles. From its source, it meanders 94 miles before emptying into Whitefish Bay. The amber color of the water is not rust nor is it muddiness. It is caused by tannin leached from the Cedar, Spruce and Hemlock in the swamps drained by the river. The extremely soft water churned by the action of the falls causes the extensive amounts of foam which has been the trademark of the Tahquamenon since the days of the voyageurs.

I have to admit that I cannot pronounce the name of these falls, but due to the tint of the water, they have been given the nickname "tea falls". The hike was beautiful, the mosquitos could carry you away, but overall we all enjoyed our time.

My husband and I invited my parents to travel with us on this trip, so we didn't make it to as many lighthouses as we had hoped. For being a short trip we really had it packed full of activities.

We headed back to the "Mainland" that night only to find that Madonna was at the Traverse City Film Festival and every hotel within a hundred mile radius was booked. It looked very grim for us finding shelter for the night. My husband and I felt like Mary and Joseph- weery and desperate for somewhere to lay our heads. We checked every hotel and motel at numerous exits, picking up other room seekers at every stop. Finally, after hours of knocking on doors we found a small mom and pop motel (under 20 rooms) that had two room vacant. The small convoy we'd been traveling with continued on into the night, I wonder how far it took them to find rooms? Could you imagine four um.. full-sized adults and a toddler trying to sleep in our jeep? Oh I really don't care to imagine.
More to come.....

Friday, January 16, 2009

Shipwrecks and Lights.

After I finished my lengthy post the other day I thought, well maybe I could show a few more pictures of our vacation. So starting with this post, I am going to start with some of our vacation pictures.

This is a picture of the Lens that sits center stage inside the museum.

Here is a bell recovered from one of the shipwrecks.

This is Whitefish Point Lighthouse.
I will be adding more as time allows. I thought this would be a good way to let others view our pictures of our adventures.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The start of it all.

I've always loved lighthouses. From a very small age my parents took our family to a nearby lighthouse during the summer, but it wasn't too long ago that it became much more. Back then it was just that...a lighthouse. Something beautiful to go see on a Sunday afternoon if we were up by the lake. In the past few years my husband and I had become more frequent visitors to that very lighthouse, even taking our newborn daughter. To be honest, she has been places her mother has not, twice! She has climbed the tower with her grandparents (something her mother and father have not done yet). It wasn't until a more recent trip we've taken to Whitefish Point (Paradise, U.P. Michigan) that my love for lighthouses flourished into an obsession.
I've looked at lighthouses as landmarks for years as a place go and see, but that trip changed my perspective. There is alot more than the beauty of the structure, there is the purpose.
Whitefish Point is also the home of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. Rich with history, the museum houses pictures, stories and artifacts of ships and crew that have met their fate on the great lakes. The famed Edmund Fitzgerald is nestled approx. 17 miles offshore from here. After seeing the most heart-wrenching documentary of "The Big Fitz" we then toured the light keeper's quarters and walked the beachfront which seemed to stretch for miles. Over and over the call from the ship stuck with me. If they could see the light, they would be safe. The lighthouse that night meant home, safe and nurturing like a mother. There was no light that night, the storm had made the lighthouse dim. With this the lighthouse became so much more to me. Not just on that night, a sorrowful November 10th, but on many nights everywhere they are looked to for hope. With this seed began a conquest.
As the months flew by I began researching shipwrecks and lighthouses. The two for me merged into an obsession for learning and seeing all that I could.
I know realistically we may never see ALL of the lighthouses, but it is a goal we are determined to shoot for.
This is just the beginning......

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Some Ideas

So I was showing my husband what I've been up to lately with the blog when he asked "So why don't you have any pictures up like him?"
Him being James, our first follower, whos own blog has inspired me to start a blog of our own capturing our adventures. (Thanks james by the way--yay!)
We don't have many shots, and looking back I really don't think my pictures are anything sepectacular. So I sit here and sigh. Some day I do really hope to gather our experiences into a journal or guide.
Then our daughter climbs up next to me and we start reflecting together. "Mommy I remember that lighthouse." or "Mommy remember that one lighthouse by the tall grass?" Then it hit me. I may not have top-of-the-line equipment or gallery quality shots, but the shots I've got we've gotten together. We have the whole day trip together; the walks, the food and even the playgrounds we've visited. Memories my daughter will carry with her forever.
So, not as depressed as before, I am starting some of our photos off with a picture of our daughter taylor strolling along a beach looking for a lighthouse this summer.
Never let down your dreams!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

What's this???

Well, the best description I can give you....A NEW TOY!! Matt and I have gotten ourselves a Garmin NUMI GPS unit for christmas to "help" our travels this year. Eh, we'll see. I hope once I figure out the tricks it will save me hours of prep and mapping time. I've found a couple of websites that has POI's set up already for light buffs but I haven't taken the time to sit and figure out how to make them work for me yet.
I'm pretty excited though, it can help with other places to see and things to do when we are away from home.
So that was a couple of tasks I had for myself to get done today; unlock maps and charge the GPS as well as get ahold of tech support to find out how these files and such need to be set up.
Just briefly, countdown 6 days til the close of the 2008 shipping season. Soo Locks are icing over more and more each day as traffic there has slowed to a crawl. I've added the camera link of the locks to my blog as well.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


Welcome to our blog! This is the first of (I hope) many writings sharing our family's lighthouse travels. We are excited to finally get this going, a project that has been long in the works. My family and I have been visiting lighthouses for a few years now, but have never thought of making it more than a hobby. Now it's an obsession! In the next few months I will be working on updating this blog, as well as plotting and planning our next season of scouting. Any suggestions or referrals are always welcome! Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to bookmark this blog to catch all of the updates!