Summer arrives: A ghost town, a princess, excellent treats and the return of Stone Circle

Posted on June 18, 2014


Here comes summer

Apology and explanation

The apology part: I did not get a post up about the Wilkinson Summer Lecture series when I should have (the flyer is here). In spite of my dereliction, there was a good audience on Monday for Paul Delange’s talk about Comfort, Michigan, a ghost town on the abandoned rail line between Alden and Bellaire. Paul knows a lot about the history of the Grass River Natural Area and the railroads of northern Michigan. I will make it up to you by telling you more about him soon.

My excuse: It has been anything but a quiet week in the Township. Once our reluctant spring finally emerged we were flung straight into summer. We are awash in green leaves and cheerful wildflowers. On the roadside north of Elk Rapids the cowslips have given way to wild yellow irises, blue-eyed grasses and daisies.

Wild yellow iris

Blue-eyed grass


I’ve had lots of opportunities to monitor the roadsides as I am commuting to a new job at the Elk Rapids District Library (Island House).  I have always loved spending time there.  Now I am unaccountably being paid to be there on occasion. This strikes me as a wonderful development.  You may be sure you will hear more about it.

Following in the pawprints of a princess

Dawn and Katie at the Walk of Art

The ArtRapids! Walk of Art sculpture park has been attracting many visitors, including Dawn Kinster of the Change is Hard blog and Katie, the princess who lives with her. They braved the mosquitos to camp at Hartwick Pines last weekend, and came to Elk Rapids to visit us while they were at it. We took a tour of the village, where the lilacs are in full, fragrant bloom.

Who knew there were two-toned lilacs?

Neither Dawn nor I could remember seeing two-toned lilacs before. We liked them. Katie had no comment. We had lunch.  We did a little window shopping. We went to the beach.  Everywhere we went people admired Katie extravagantly.  It’s exhausting to be a princess.

Katie on the beach - Veterans Memorial Park

After all that, we went back to the Writing Studio and Bait Shop where we introduced Katie to Miss Sadie and the Cowboy.  The Duo gave her a rowdy welcome, which surprised her very much.  Katie is accustomed to dogs who have passed obedience school.  Miss Sadie and the Cowboy are accustomed to . . . each other and to me.  None of us have passed obedience school.  We hope to make a better impression in future.  Katie has gone home now, but you can see the same sculptures she saw at the Walk of Art, including Timekeeper, by Maureen Gray.  (It is on a funny angle because I was lying on my back on the beach trying to make a dramatic image.  I should stick to words.)

Timekeeper at the Walk of Art

Wood fired pizza, Michigan wines, fine live music

On Thursday I persuaded Louan to meet me at the Garden Cafe at Pine Hill Nursery for a little supper. The new wine bar was open, the wood fired pizza oven on the patio smelled really good, there are flowers everywhere – and Robin Lee Berry and Glenn Wolff were busy making the music of the north country.  They are subtle and witty artists and very, very good. They will be at the Cafe every Thursday this summer. There’s a happy thought.

Glenn Wolff and Robin Lee Berry at the Garden Cafe

The pizza is tasty and exceedingly fresh.  There is a nice selection of local wines (try the Gruner Veltliner from Water Fire vineyards on Torch Lake), beers and nonalcoholic beverages to go with it.  There are lots of other good things to eat, too, but I was obsessed with the pizza.  I don’t see how you can go wrong.

Garden Cafe pizza

Water Fire wines

Saturday, June 21, 9:00 pm: Stone Circle opens for the season.

I can hardly wait.  It was a loooong winter, but inspirational for writers who are not me.  I swear Terry Wooten is making some of the best poetry of his career.  Come join us under the stars at the Stone Circle fire–I’m hoping he’ll perform Crossing.  (Find out more at Terry’s Stone Circle website.)