Friday, August 15, 2014

Cottage Living on Michigan's Torch Lake

Jack is home from China for exactly one month and one day, hardly enough time for me to get my Jack-fix for a whole year. So I was delighted when he said that he would come with Ed and me on an already planned trip to Torch Lake in northern Michigan.

Our friends, Bill and Judy, had offered to rent us a week at the cottage that they rent for the summer in Alden, MI. It was closer than Florida and closer than our favorite spots in Ontario, so we took them up on their offer and are glad we did.

Dock in front of the cottage, complete with plastic owl to scare away the sea gulls.
View from porch.
Their cottage sits right on the beach of what is billed as "the third most beautiful lake in the world." (That's what the bumper sticker says). We knew from the moment that we saw the gravel drive that we would like it.

Gravel drive
It's an old, but nicely restored, early 20th-century frame house that features four bedrooms plus a sleeping porch, big living room, a nice kitchen, dining area with a table for eight, and back porch – complete with rocking chairs. Just as we like it, we couldn't see another house through the forest of evergreen, maple and oak trees.

Dining area
Living room
We settled in and began a great week of reading, walking to the nearby town of Alden, swimming and kyaking in the lake, visiting nearby Sleeping Bear Dunes, and enjoying our time with Jack.

Some highlights from our week:
  • Walking along the top of the dunes at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore (and deciding NOT to run down them into Lake Michigan).
  • A crazy-good Italian dinner at Trattoria Stella, located in the former Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane in Traverse City.
  • A round of golf at the Centennial Farm Golf Course in Bellaire.
  • The smoked whitefish and whitefish sausage from The Bellaire Smokehouse.
  • Warm cinnamon rolls and quiche at Afterloon Delights in downtown Alden.
  • A father/son flyfishing float trip in Grayling with a guide from the Old AuSable Fly Shop.
  • Walking up to the Thursday evening Farmers' Market in Alden and buying yellow plums and black cherries, along with a bluebird house and an oriole feeder. 
  • Sitting on the back porch, listening to the lake lap up on the beach and Jack play his guitar, enjoying a rum and tonic.
  • And last, but not least, the homemade cherry pie, delivered to our back door by Ellen and Carl, our go-to Alden neighbors and Louisville friends. 

We head home today and Jack heads back to China next week. Nice to have this treasured time together.

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