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A Season of Change

Fall is the traditional season of dramatic change in Northern Michigan. In the space of a few weeks, days, or even hours, we may experience any or all of the four seasons in a very short span of time. The morning of October 12th was unusually warm for this time of year. The sun was shining, and the temperature quickly rose to 77-degrees that day. It would be another beautiful Saturday of working outside, and swimming, enjoying the still-warm waters of Lake Leelanau (OK...64-degree water temp in October is something we consider warm). Later that afternoon the sky darkened, and the pressure fell...just like the temperature. By nightfall, it felt like snow might be coming; it turned really cold. Our swimming days of 2013 were over.
"The Last Swim" - Lake Leelanau - October 12th

In the days since, we've been deluged with rain (nearly a foot of it for October and early November), giving a nice needed boost to our low lake levels. Weather forecasts have since included the word 'snow' in them, and even had our first winter storm of the season this week; it's a little early this year. Maybe a foretaste of things to come? (our boys certainly hope so...they couldn't wait to get the sleds out last night and tonight to make a few runs down our snow-covered hill out back; what fun. While we only got an inch here, outlying areas got quite a bit more that made the morning commute a little more challenging).

West Grand Traverse Bay - Photo By Phil Haldaman
But fall is also a season of brilliant color, not only of the leaves, but those gorgeous sunsets - and rainbows - as squall lines come and go off of Lake Michigan, skipping in sheets across many of our inland waterways. Colorful rainbows, some seemingly a half-mile wide, magically appear with every peek of sun through the downpours, casting their colorful brilliance over an increasingly barren landscape of trees whose colorful leaves managed to depart with the last great winds.

With decidedly colder weather now firmly upon us, these are days to enjoy indoor things Up North. With no end of unique restaurants in our greater Grand Traverse Area, Shannon and I decided to try one on a lazy Saturday morning, braving a rainy, wind-driven squall that had settled in over Traverse City. We ducked low under our umbrella to avoid the driving rain, a little lower than the dark clouds that hung over us that day, finding a refuge in Cousin Jenny's Cornish Pasties. It's a wonderful corner restaurant on State St. and Union Ave. in downtown Traverse City with a decidedly British flare. We shook off the cold and the rain, warming up inside to fresh hot mugs of rich coffee with real creme, fresh baked scones, and delicious Cornish pasties that had come out of the oven earlier that morning. It was a great way to relax and enjoy the change of the season. We were on a date in Northern Michigan, and loving spite of the rain.

"Cousin Jenny's Cornish Pasties" - Traverse City, MI
Nick and Jerilyn DeBoer - Proprietors

We also learned of some cool new, uniquely made-in-Michigan products they're offering under the catchy phrase: "2 Beautiful." The name and design are theirs...and it's really catching on! Check out their Facbook page and be sure to follow them: 2 Beautiful or better yet, next time you're in town, why not stop in and see for yourself -- over fresh coffee, scones, and pasties...of course!

Many an enjoyable moment has been spent around this hearth.
Thanks to a good friend who helped us move a lot of firewood off his property and over to ours, we were able to head home to make a blazing fire with some of that wood on the big field-stone fireplace in our livingroom. Made of around 90 large stones from Leelanau County, each was hand-laid around the main hearth to form something that has become synonymous with the enjoyment of cold nights Up North. Everyone should have their own hearth. It's way better than a TV: gives off more heat, is gentle on the eyes, doesn't make much noise...and there are no distracting commercials.

Sunset on Whaleback Nature Trail - Leland, MI

By day, Fall may give us an occasional long glimpse of the sun. Such was the case recently on a Sunday afternoon. After church, and a quick Sunday dinner at home, we donned some warm clothes and drove the 14 miles to the Whaleback Nature Trail, a large wooded dune just south of Leland that affords the hiker with nearly 2-miles of lush trails, some with a commanding view of Lake Leelanau to the right, and Lake Michigan to the left. We saw so many beautiful things in nature that captured our gaze that day. As has happened on so many outings before, our hearts were made full and thankful for the privilege to live here and call Northern Michigan 'home.' Thanks for letting us share it with you. Here's wishing you a very safe and blessed Up North Thanksgiving.

Enjoying a mystical/magical fall walk

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