What I Did on My Summer Vacation 2013 (Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast – Day Two)

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Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn Waynesville, NC

Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn
Waynesville, NC

I realized while writing my post on the Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn that there was just too much for one post. I hope you’ll indulge me in my need to expand on this great location and all there is to do in the area.

Wonderful King-size Bed Library Suite Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Wonderful King-size Bed
Library Suite
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

First, let me tell you more about the Library Suite. It’s a huge, beautiful room on the first floor directly adjacent to the formal dining room. Meals are served in the common room, but this, more formal room, can be used for special occasions.

Bedroom Fireplace Library Suite Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Bedroom Fireplace
Library Suite
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

As I mentioned before, the bed was huge. It’s also extremely comfortable. The pillows were some of the best I’d ever slept on. There’s a large fireplace in the bedroom portion of the suite. It’s just comfortable – not at all stuffy. The paneling in both the bedroom and the bath is gorgeous.

Magnificent Jetted Tub/Shower/Dressing Area Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Magnificent Jetted Tub/Shower/Dressing Area
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

In the bathroom there is a mammoth, jetted tub and a huge, stand-alone shower. Even the ceiling is beautifully paneled. Another fireplace can warm the bathroom. This is, easily, the most beautiful room I’ve ever slept in – anywhere in the world.

Bathroom FIreplace Library Suite Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Bathroom FIreplace
Library Suite
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

We woke up to a less rainy day on Wednesday, August 21. Why do I mention the date? You’ll see. We were excited because we had on definite site we had planned to see in the Waynesville area.

Common Room Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Common Room
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Breakfast at Andon Reid was superb! It was nice sitting with people from all over the country (and world – we met a couple from Belgium). The food was thoughtfully prepared and just the right amount to start the day well without feeling overstuffed. I want to make special mention of one of the “starters.” It was a banana split! Now, bananas and I usually have a love/hate relationship. I love them, my tummy hates them. This however was a banana with fruit and flavored yogurts instead of ice cream. Delicious! The best part…my tummy didn’t grumble even once.

Wheels Through Time (Photo from Internet)

Wheels Through Time
(Photo from Internet)

Right after breakfast we jumped in the car and headed to Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley. After watching several episodes of “What’s in the Barn?” we were anxious to see this fascinating museum full of one-of-a-kind and very rare motorcycles. We don’t ride, but are both very interested in history and this place quickly turned into a must on our “bucket lists.”

Wheels Through Time Maggie Valley, NC

Wheels Through Time
Maggie Valley, NC
(Photo from Internet)

After a short drive to Maggie Valley, the museum was easily found on Victory Lane. Funny…no cars in the lot. Even funnier, there was a car coming out and someone was closing a gate behind it. We pulled in and a very sweet lady came over and asked if she could help us. We told her we were going to the museum. She got a surprised yet confused look on her face and said, “But the museum is CLOSED on Wednesdays. It always has been. Tuesdays and Wednesdays.”

After we got the car turned around, we sat and tried to figure out what in the world we were going to do next. Neither of us is interested in going to casinos. (There is a very large casino run by Harrah’s in Cherokee.) We really hadn’t brought proper hiking shoes to do any long-distance walking and the weather was still “iffy.”

Having a “smart” phone can be a very good thing. I just checked with Trip Advisor as to what was available in the area, and up popped gem mining! We had done some gem mining (with nice results) near Spruce Pine, NC several years ago. No there wasn’t anything worth thousands of dollars, but there were some really nice, cut-worthy stones. The main thing was that it was a LOT of fun! Off to Smoky Mountain Gold and Ruby Mine.

sm_pic_aboutus

Smoky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine
(Photo from Website)

We walked up to the flume (water rushing down a table set up so that you can wash the dirt off your rocks to see if there’s anything worthwhile). Being the only customers there, the employees were happy to see us (it was getting close to the end of summer tourist season and well before leaf-peeper season). What a nice group of friendly, helpful fellas! We stayed for a couple of hours and washed lots of rocks. Yes, there were some gemstones, but I don’t know if any were really worth much. There were some “silver quartz” and some citrine. The citrine has nice color, so maybe, some-day we’ll see if it’s worth cutting. There is a shop attached where they can tell you what you found and if it’s worth cutting, but – unlike the mine in Spruce Pine where the cost of cutting two stones is included in the price – they charge to cut the stones. The store also has jewelry and polished stones for sale. For us though, the “hunt” is the fun part.

Gem Hunting Rocky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine Cherokee, NC (Photo from Website)

Gem Hunting
Rocky Mountain Gold & Ruby Mine
Cherokee, NC
(Photo from Website)

We headed back to Waynesville and walked around town some more. I was starting to get rather melancholy as I knew our visit was coming to a close. I know I will go back to Waynesville frequently (and maybe move there someday if we’re lucky). I just hate to leave.

Walk Down to Fire-Pit Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Walk Down to Fire-Pit
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Back at Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast, we told Mark about the fun we had gem mining, and that Wheels Through Time is closed on Wednesdays. He told us that he wished we had asked, because he knew that the museum was closed and he could have saved us a trip. Yep, we should have asked, but Jim and I found our own fun. At least now, there is a definite destination for our next trip.

Sitting by the Fire Pit Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Sitting by the Fire Pit
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

As the evening was falling, we walked out to the fire-pit to spend a little more time looking at Eagle’s Nest Mountain. The bats started flying (no, not all that close to us) as the sun slipped away. The sky put on one heck of a beautiful display for my last night there. I took photo after photo, trying to capture the memory. One by one, the lights in homes on the mountain came on. It was a beautiful sight!

The Sky Blazes Over Eagle's Nest Mountain From Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

The Sky Blazes
Over Eagle’s Nest Mountain
From Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

 

Night Begins to Fall On Eagle's Nest Mountain From Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Night Begins to Fall
On Eagle’s Nest Mountain
From Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

 

The Sky Begins to Blaze Over Eagle’s Nest Mountain From Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Finally, was time to go inside. Clouds still obscured the stars, so I didn’t get to see one of the sights I had really been looking forward to. Just so you know, in Waynesville, the sky on a clear night is magnificent. Usually, one can see the Milky Way, satellites moving across the sky, planets, and shooting stars. Not this time.

 

After another fabulous breakfast on Thursday, we packed up the car and started our trip home. Mark and Kari made us feel so welcome. I know that the next time Waynesville is on our agenda, we’ll absolutely head for Andon Reid Bed and Breakfast Inn.

 

Up Next: What I Did on My Summer Vacation 2013 (Rocky Top?)

 

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What I Did on My Summer Vacation 2013 (Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast – Day One)

 

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Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

The Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn is in beautiful Waynesville, North Carolina. If you’ve been following my blog, you know how important Waynesville is to me. Sadly, we no longer have any close family in the area, and (as you might remember) our family’s home on top of Eagle’s Nest Mountain burned to the ground in late 1980. That left us with a question as to where we would stay for our Waynesville portion of our summer vacation. Luckily, I found the Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn on Travelocity. What a terrific find!

Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn Waynesville, NC

Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn
Waynesville, NC

Mark and Kari Barbar purchased the Inn in November of 2012. The home was built in 1902, and had been transformed into a bed and breakfast several years ago. What Mark and Kari have done is absolutely remarkable. They have somehow maintained the true feel of “coming home” and made all their guests feel like family.

Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn Carriage House

Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn
Carriage House

From the moment we drove up, I knew we’d made the right choice. The house is absolutely lovely, and the new carriage house (which used to be a dilapidated garage) is gorgeous. We parked our car in their ample (but tree-shaded) parking lot and started walking up to the house. I had to stop dead in my tracks. There, out the back of the house, in all its glory, was Eagle’s Nest Mountain. “My” mountain is the view. I had to suppress a huge lump in my throat.

Parking Area Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn Waynesville, NC

Parking Area
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn
Waynesville, NC

Eagle’s Nest Mountain
From Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn
Waynesville, NC

Our first “greeting” came from the neighborhood kitty. She had been curled up on the ample porch and sauntered down for the obligatory petting. I’m told that Kitty is not on the payroll, but perhaps she should be.

Back Porch Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn Waynesville, NC

Back Porch
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn
Waynesville, NC

Kari (who works her “regular” job from home) jumped up and came out to greet us. Mark usually is the first person to meet new guests, but he was busy mowing the ample lawn during a break in the drizzle that seemed to accompany us throughout our stay in North Carolina. She brought us in through the door to the common room which was breathtaking. The room is comfy with a whole wall of windows facing the mountain, and a beautiful fireplace. I could just imagine how nice it would be to curl up in one of the oversized chairs in front of the fire on a cold, winter day.

Fireplace & Huge Windows
Common Room
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Mark hurried in and apologized for not greeting us (which was totally understandable as he had been busy wrangling the lawn mower on the steeply sloping front yard). He showed us to our room – the Library Suite which is breathtaking!

Mark then showed us around the rest of the Inn. It has been so tastefully restored and cared for. All of the rooms are well-appointed and inviting. The basement has been turned into a game and fitness room. There are all kinds of fitness equipment, a pool table, dartboard, other games, and the only television in the house. I would imagine that this room would be a great place to spend time. It would be especially great if the weather was stormy and preclusive of being out and about.

While the Barbars were traveling in Asia, Mark learned some wonderful needlework skills which are on display in a particularly intricate piece in the stairway. He is a former school teacher and principal. He always knew that he wanted to be an innkeeper, and he is excellent in this role. Kari is still working, but they make a great team.

 

The Carriage House
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn
Waynesville, NC

We then got a tour of the carriage house which Mark painstakingly renovated into a gorgeous, comfortable hideaway. It has all the charm of the main building, but has many modern conveniences like remote-controlled blinds. I can imagine that this would be the choice for honeymooners as it is totally separate from the main house, but has access to all the amenities. It absolutely amazed us that all the renovations had taken place in less than 9 months.

Common Room
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

We headed back in to the main house and set about getting settled in our room. I can’t forget to tell you that Mark also bakes! In the common room were some delicious lemon bars for the guests, as well as full candy dishes and a small refrigerator stocked with sodas and water. No nicety was overlooked (including welcome chocolates on the bed).

Wonderful King-size Bed Library Suite Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

Wonderful King-size Bed
Library Suite
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn

After getting settled, we headed back out to the common room to enjoy our lemon bars and water. Another two couples were there enjoying putting a puzzle together. They had not known each other before arriving at the Andon Reid, but seemed to be old friends. The place just seems to foster friendly mingling.

Common Room Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn (Note the puzzle on near table)

Common Room
Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn
(Note the puzzle on near table)

Available to all guests was a basket full of restaurant menus, and a table holding brochures from local attractions and maps of the area. Mark showed us some wonderful options for drives and told us how to find local waterfalls and beautiful vistas. We can’t wait to get back to Waynesville to take advantage of (hopefully) better weather to take these hikes. We took Mark up on his offer to call for reservations at The Sweet Onion which he highly recommended. If you read my earlier post on Waynesville, you know that we agreed!

Eagle's Nest Mountain Awaits My Return

Eagle’s Nest Mountain Awaits My Return

We decided that we had plenty of time to take a drive before dinner, and Eagle’s Nest Mountain was calling. Off we went up the mountain. I don’t think I could ever get tired of being on that mountain. I know that it has many old stories about unusual happenings on it (which I discussed in an earlier post), but it’s always felt like home to me.

 

Evening Falls Over Eagle's Nest Mountain (As Seen From Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn)

Evening Falls Over Eagle’s Nest Mountain
(As Seen From Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast Inn)

After our drive and fantastic dinner, we came back to the Inn to plan our tomorrow. It was still rather wet and soggy outside, but the porches that surround the inn are expansive and perfectly furnished to sit and relax. I did manage to take lots and lots of photos of the mountain as night descended. It was a perfectly wonderful way to end a very happy day.

 

Up Next: What I Did on My Summer Vacation 2013 (Andon Reid Bed & Breakfast – Day Two)

 

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What I Did on My Summer Vacation 2013 (Folk Art Center & The Grove Park Inn)

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After enjoying a sumptuous breakfast at Oakland Cottage, we were off to explore Asheville. Our first stop was the Allanstand Craft Shop at the Folk Art Center (Milepost 382 Blue Ridge Parkway).

Folk Art Center - Blue Ridge Parkway (courtesy HCPress.com)

Folk Art Center – Blue Ridge Parkway
(courtesy HCPress.com)

It was raining (as usual) when we arrived, so I didn’t get to take photos of the outside. Once, inside, photos were forbidden, so I won’t be able to share with you. I do understand why no photos are allowed as there could be some who would profit at the expense of the artisans who display and sell their goods here. The photo below is from their website (http://www.southernhighlandguild.org/pages/guild-shops/allanstand-craft-shop.php).

Folk Art Center/Allanstand Craft Shop (Courtesy Southern Highland Guild website)

Folk Art Center/Allanstand Craft Shop
(Courtesy Southern Highland Guild website)

I was particularly excited by the stained glass art there. Unfortunately, it was priced appropriately for the work and that was beyond my pocketbook. As a dabbler in the medium, I was thrilled to see such innovation, and it gave me renewed interest in seeing what I could do with the ideas I got from the work in the shop.

 

Other crafts included beautiful pottery, unique glasswork, jewelry, needle arts, woodworking/carving, and painting among many others. So many talented individuals make up the Guild. The volunteers who man the shop are so nice and welcoming. I really recommend a visit to the Folk Art Center if you are on the Parkway, or to any of the other locations (see the website for locations and hours). We’ve been in four of the shops and each one is unique and carries art from the 200+ guild members.

Grove Park Inn Asheville, NC

Grove Park Inn
Asheville, NC

From the Folk Art Center, we were off to explore The Grove Park Inn. This is a destination I’d been wanting to experience for a long time. As I mentioned in earlier posts, I’ve been in the Asheville area many, many times over the years; however, never had I been to The Grove Park Inn. Our friends, Eric and Gloria, confirmed that this was a destination that must be experienced.

 

I was always fascinated by the story of the Grove Park Inn. There seems to be so many tie-ins with my own, personal history. No, I’m certainly not related to Edwin Grove or his son-in-law, Fred Seely, but their lives were lived in and around many of the same locations as mine.

 

Grove was born, and began his pharmaceutical fortune in Tennessee until doctors told him to seek the fresh air of Asheville. He also was a real estate developer in Atlanta (my home for over 20 years). He purchased the land on which the Grove Park sits around the same time as George Vanderbilt was building his famous mansion.

 

Fred Seely was a pharmaceutical pioneer whom Grove met in Detroit (my current home area). Seely married Grove’s daughter, and the two men planned and built the Inn which opened in 1913. Today, it is part of the Omni hotel system, but it maintains its timeless elegance and incomparable position overlooking Asheville.

Enjoying the Rockers Grove Park Inn

Enjoying the Rockers
Grove Park Inn

One of the nice touches is the presence of the many rocking chairs in front of the Inn. It’s a nice place to wait for your car – or to just sit and wait for the rest of your party to arrive.  

Giant Brass & Art Glass Lamps Outside Grove Park Inn

Giant Brass & Art Glass Lamps
Outside Grove Park Inn

While sitting and rocking, one can enjoy the massive brass and art-glass lamps, the pretty flowers, and the cute bear & butterfly statue.

Adorable Bear & Butterfly Statue

Adorable Bear & Butterfly Statue

I enjoyed making “rock pictures.” I think the one below looks like a bear. Do you see it?

Do You See a Bear?

Do You See a Bear?

The Arts and Crafts movement is beautifully on display in the Grove Park. Everywhere we looked, there were masterpieces of stone, glass, wooden furniture, and space. The fireplaces on either end of the lobby are massive! I believe they are every bit as big as the one in the Biltmore. A six-foot-plus tall man can stand in the opening and still be dwarfed. The stacked rocks are magnificent. I could imagine how cozy it must be to sit in a comfy chair in front of one of these fireplaces when winter is raging outside.

One of the MASSIVE Fireplaces in the Lobby Grove Park Inn

One of the MASSIVE Fireplaces in the Lobby
Grove Park Inn

All of the fixtures and furnishings are kept completely true to the period in which the structure was built. As beautiful as the interior is, it doesn’t detract, even slightly, from the amazing view. 

Two of the Beautiful Arts & Crafts Style Lamps Lobby - Grove Park Inn

Two of the Beautiful Arts & Crafts Style Lamps
Lobby – Grove Park Inn

We were there on a gray, rainy day, and even that couldn’t spoil the enjoyment of the Inn.

IMG_20130818_135352_924

View from Sunset Terrace Grove Park Inn

View from Sunset Terrace
Grove Park Inn

We had lunch on the Sunset Terrace. We had their “famous” Lobster Cobb Salad. Honestly, it was a very nice salad, but the lobster was limited and the price was outrageous. Of course, the view, the service and the ambience are what you are paying for, so the experience was worth the price – once.

"Famous" Lobster Cobb Salad Grove Park Inn

“Famous” Lobster Cobb Salad
Grove Park Inn

We also had dessert. (Oh, come on! We’re on vacation!) I ordered the chocolate cake with the cherry in-between the layers. It came with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. I’m sure that this is normally very, very good, but mine was pretty dry. I took most of it back to the B&B. On the other hand, Jim had the butterscotch pudding (in a Mason jar – isn’t that novel) with caramel topping. He finished every last spoonful.

Chocolate & Cherry Cake Grove Park Inn

Chocolate & Cherry Cake
Grove Park Inn

Butterscotch Pudding with Caramel Grove Park Inn

Butterscotch Pudding with Caramel
Grove Park Inn

There are all kinds of terrific shops in the Grove Park. There are also conservatories, a grotto pool, and so many other sites that we didn’t even get a chance to see. We’ve decided that, some day, we will have to book a stay at the Grove Park so that we can experience it all.

SO Much More to See Grove Park Inn

SO Much More to See
Grove Park Inn

Up Next: What I Did on My Summer Vacation 2013 (Waynesville: A Journey “Home”)

 

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What I Did on My Summer Vacation 2013 (The Oakland Cottage B&B)

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Oakland Cottage Asheville, NC

Oakland Cottage
Asheville, NC

The Oakland Cottage in Asheville, North Carolina is where we stayed for our first three nights of our vacation. It is managed and run by Jim and Mary. We were greeted warmly – like old friends. I knew immediately that we were going to enjoy our stay. The Oakland Cottage was built in the same timeframe as Biltmore House. It is said that one of the architects from Biltmore designed Oakland Cottage. I really appreciated all the craftsman-style architectural details and the beautiful antique appointments.

Lobby and Hall Toward Rooms

Lobby and Hall Toward Rooms

The building was used as a tuberculosis sanitarium for African Americans during the 1940s. Although there have been some changes to layout (our room was probably partially a porch in earlier years), the amazing floors and woodwork are all original. Today, Oakland Cottage is a lovely, accommodating B&B that I would gladly visit again and again.

 

Our Room was the Garden Room (Room 5). It’s a spacious room with a huge, king-sized bed. There is also a daybed/trundle. The bathroom sports a jetted tub with a great shower.

Garden Room (#5) Oakland Cottage

Garden Room (#5)
Oakland Cottage

Dressing Area Room #5 – Oakland Cottage

Through the sliding door is a small balcony with a small table and two chairs that overlooks the garden.

View of Garden From Room #5 - Oakland Cottage

View of Garden
From Room #5 – Oakland Cottage

Pretty Visitor to The Garden
Oakland Cottage

As I mentioned in an earlier post (and which will probably be a recurring theme), it rained much of the time while we vacationed. I have to say that the rain actually was welcomed in our room as we could open the sliding door a crack and listen to the rain fall through the night. So very soothing and restful. Another huge bonus was being awakened by the singing of a Carolina Wren (how very appropriate, I thought). I have to say, too, that the bed was amazing. It was so comfortable and the pillows…well, they were the best ever. I must remember to ask where those can be purchased.

 

Open the Slider & Listen to the Rain/Birds

Open the Slider & Listen to the Rain/Birds

Prior to breakfast, we all gathered in the appropriately-named “Gathering Room” for coffee or tea which was served from a beautiful antique table. This was also where we met several of the other guests who were visiting at the same time. Every one of us seemed to be thoroughly enjoying ourselves, and I didn’t hear a single complaint.

The Gathering Room Oakland Cottage

The Gathering Room
Oakland Cottage

Coffee Before Breakfast Oakland Cottage

Coffee Before Breakfast
Oakland Cottage

Coffee/Tea Station Oakland Cottage

Having our dear friends, Gloria and Eric, with us was wonderful. We had so much to catch up on. We continued our conversation over an excellent breakfast served buffet style in the comfortable dining room. I must say that the food was very, very good and exactly what we needed to get our day of discovering Asheville started.

 

Breakfast Buffet Table

Breakfast Buffet Table

 

Breakfasting Area

Breakfasting Area

The front porch is another favorite spot. What a comfortable place it is to unwind after a day of exploring, or just sit, read and relax. 

Relaxing on the Front Porch Oakland Cottage

Relaxing on the Front Porch
Oakland Cottage

If you have an opportunity to visit Asheville, North Carolina, I highly recommend that you plan to stay at the Oakland Cottage. It’s convenient, unusually well-priced, and so comfortable, you may not want to leave. I know that we will be back.

 

Up Next: The Folk Art Center & The Grove Park Inn

 

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WIDMSV – The Fourth of July – Keweenaw Style

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WIDMSV? What I Did on My Summer Vacation!

There’s something special about a holiday in a smaller town. It’s especially nice when it’s Independence Day and the weather is sunny and clear. We spent the day in Copper Harbor and the evening at the Eagle River Inn. It was so much fun.

We started the day going for breakfast in Copper Harbor. The place we had intended to eat wasn’t opening for breakfast that day, so we went to another restaurant, The Tamarack Inn. The service was spotty (which is somewhat understandable on a holiday), but we could tell they were trying to please. I had the fritter, French toast. AWESOME! Didn’t think I’d have to eat again for a week, though. We watched the remainder of the parade (which, sadly, we missed most of). What we did see and hear was the fire department with their engines all decked out with flags and bunting, people on bikes, people walking down the street all dressed up in red, white and blue, and others with their dogs in costume. It was a hoot! How, clearly, Americana is that?

 

 

From there, we drove up to the spot where US 41 starts! US 41 is a highway that has been nearby for a large part of my life. I grew up in St. Petersburg, Florida. Not far from there is  where US 41 becomes the ‘famous’ Tamiami (Tampa to Miami) Trail. It also runs through Georgia very near where Jim and I lived for so many years. As you can see from the photo, it runs from the very tip of the Keweenaw all the way to Miami, Florida.

We also got a wonderful surprise while we were taking photos of the sign. A male American Redstart was singing very close by. Before we knew it, he popped into view. Right after that, a Northern Parula started calling from just across the road. We waited and, sure enough, he flew right overhead and continued singing. I guess it’s never too late to look for ‘love’ in the Keweenaw.

 

From there, we headed back south (well, honestly, there isn’t much further north we could go without being in Lake Superior). We stopped at an outlook where the Eagle River flows into the Lake. Such a beautiful spot!

 

There were some really gorgeous flowers growing right by the river. I just had to take a photo. Then we walked out onto the rocks and saw some spectacular lake views.

 

  

Walking back up to the car, we saw this male American Redstart singing away. He was right over head and didn’t move when I focused my camera on him.

 

Then we headed to Studio 41 (http://www.studio41copper.com ).

 

What a fabulous place! It was hard not to buy everything in the shop – well, except for the price tags. Thing is, they represent several local artists as well as the works of the owners.

One of the items we bought was this gorgeous copper bracelet. The photo really doesn’t do it justice, and my almost constant wearing has dulled the shine to a lovely patina.

Another purchase are these fabulous maple leaves! They have these sculptures in many sizes, but this spray is just perfect for the location on one of our smaller living room walls.

 

After that, it was off to The Berry Patch once again. We enjoyed our ice cream so much the day before, we just had to go back. Of course, there’s something intrinsically American about ice cream on the 4th of July. In honor of George Washington (well, not REALLY), I had the tart cherry sundae. What a treat! The sweet, smooth, velvety vanilla ice cream with the tart cherry preserves… HEAVENLY! And, here, I’d thought I wouldn’t have room after breakfast. I guess it must have been all that walking in the fresh air.

 

We took the drive along the Lake Superior shoreline. This is such a gorgeous drive. The day was clear and, once again, the lake was flat and calm. I would love to have the time to paint all the beautiful views.

We stopped along the way at yet another lighthouse. This was in Eagle Harbor. They had built an observation deck with these informational plaques.  I thought they were very interesting.

 

 

Just where the road curls away from the shoreline you come to The Jam Pot (http://www.societystjohn.com/store/ ). They are a Catholic Monastery of the Byzantine rite. The monastery bakes amazing breads, cakes and cookies, but we were there for the jam. What jam it is! They have so many varieties that it is virtually impossible to list them all, but we made sure that we bought bilberry and thimbleberry. They also have a full line of sugar-free jam.

  

Right next to The Jam Pot is Jacob’s Creek Falls. It’s so nice to find such a pretty waterfall so easily accessible. Even though it had been a drier than usual summer, the falls had plenty of water and it was so nice to enjoy the cool air and listen to the sound of falling water on rocks.

 

Once back at the Eagle River Inn (http://www.eagleriverinn.com/ ) we dropped off our purchases and headed down for the barbecue. That smoker that they built sure puts out some delicious que! A great pulled pork sandwich and a beer? That says Independence Day to me! We headed out to the beach to stand in the water and enjoy the company of new friends. There were a couple with their parents from Minnesota there. They also had two of the funniest, most friendly dogs (a Weimaraner and a German Shorthaired Pointer). We had a grand time visiting with both humans and canines.

A group of children came down the beach with their own version of a Lakes freighter. Interestingly enough, there was the life-sized version out on the lake at the same time.

We were really enjoying our evening waiting for the band to set up and the fireworks that would begin around 11 p.m. That was until a big storm blew up! There was a small boat that had come to anchor off the Inn to enjoy the band and the fireworks, but he had to head off in a hurry to beat the oncoming rain and wind. Mother Nature had her own fireworks in store for us! I thought the tent that had been set up for the band was going to end up in Wisconsin, but some brave souls held on until the storm eventually passed. By this time, we were up in our room and had decided to call it a night. We figured that they’d have to wait until another night for the fireworks and we were leaving in the morning.

 

We should have had more faith in the hardiness of the partiers. Sure enough, around midnight, the storm had cleared out and the fireworks were set up. The band had not stayed, but they had radio so the party continued and the fireworks went off. We really had an excellent view from our room as we faced the beach.

I was a little sad that we weren’t staying longer in the Keweenaw. I know that we will definitely come back. We will absolutely make reservations at The Eagle River Inn, and – this time – we’ll be able to bring our “kids!” One thing I can pretty well assure you of, is that we won’t be doing our travel to the Keweenaw in the winter. We saw this marker on our way south.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Up Next: Escanaba (In Da Moonlight?) and Kipling

 

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WIDMSV – Eagle River Inn; Brockway Mountain Drive; Visiting an Old Friend’s Family

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

 

WIDMSV? What I Did on My Summer Vacation!

 

We reached the upper parts of the Keweenaw Peninsula expecting cooler weather. Unfortunately, the ‘weather gods’ didn’t get the memo. It was in the mid-90s! Again, it’s not SUPPOSED to be that hot in the Keweenaw. For the most part, they don’t have air-conditioning. They usually don’t need it. Phew!

Eagle River Inn (Beach side)
Photo from their Website

Representative Room
Eagle River Inn

We checked into our room at the Eagle River Inn (which was so clean and newly refurbished, we could still smell the fresh paint). The Eagle River Inn has been a labor of love for Mike and Marc (the proprietors). They have spent every penny they could come up with on fixing up this wonderful inn which is only steps away from one of the prettiest, most accessible beaches in the Keweenaw. Their attention to detail is amazing. They have turned this location into a comfortable, friendly, destination inn that we will look forward to visiting over and over again.

One of our “neighbors”

 

Did I mention that the Eagle River Inn is DOG FRIENDLY??!!!! They are! I believe that the future of inn-keeping is in pet-friendly accommodations. More and more, people consider their pets integral parts of the family. The idea of leaving a family member behind in a kennel or alone at home is troubling. A key to enjoying a family vacation is for the WHOLE family to enjoy the time together. I really have to commend The Eagle River Inn for being so forward thinking.

 

It was far more comfortable driving in the car – with air-conditioning –so we decided that the Brockway Mountain Drive sounded like a good idea. The drive is a beautifully scenic road that runs from just north of Eagle River up to Copper Harbor. The views winding up the road are just beautiful. There are views of Lake Superior

 

Inland lakes

 

 Valleys

 

 Rock outcroppings

 

I have read that there were plan to put a cell tower on Brockway Mountain. (Okay, y’all, this wouldn’t be considered a “mountain” in the south – well, except maybe Florida. In Michigan, however, this is surely a “mountain” as the glaciers really scraped most of the state flat.) It is the highest point around and I understand the need for communications, but I certainly hope that they figure something else out that won’t mar the beauty of this amazingly pristine area.

 

Wild Berry
(World’s Best Ice Cream!)

As we reached the end of the road, we found ourselves just a little ways from the Wild Berry. I had found out that one of my high school classmates had grown up in Copper Harbor, Michigan. She and her family (the Nousiainens) had owned and run the Wild Berry Ice Cream store. Her brother, George (who had been a few years ahead of us in school), had moved back to Copper Harbor and was still running the store.

 

ICE CREAM!!!!! What a marvelous idea! It was especially welcome in this heat. We would have loved to visit more with George and his wife, but we weren’t the only ones thinking that ice cream sounded like a good idea. The place was packed! We did, however, get the opportunity to treat ourselves to sundaes made with local fruit and some of the best, smoothest, most delicious ice cream I’ve ever eaten. (In retrospect, I wonder if the ice cream was really as fabulous as I remember or if it was just because it was so very welcome.)

Thimbleberry

 

I opted for thimbleberry. A thimbleberry is related to raspberries. It’s a delicious, tart fruit with LOTS (and I do mean to capitalize that) of seeds! It’s absolutely delicious, but the pips… I tend to think they’re worth dealing with.

 

Bilberry

Jim opted for bilberry. Bilberries are related to what we call blueberries. In fact, in Europe, these are what they know as blueberries. This special variety only grows in the Keweenaw and especially in the wilds around Copper Harbor. Bilberry is known to be good for maintaining healthy blood-sugar levels and the leaves make a tea that is good for blood pressure. I guess that means that Jim was eating “health food.” Yeah, uh huh…

 

All I can tell you is that we both thoroughly enjoyed our sundaes, and it was great to be able to visit with family of an old friend. We immediately made plans to come back the next day for more camaraderie and, of course, more ice cream.

 

By the time we finished our ice cream and said good-bye, we were getting pretty worn out. It had been a very long day starting with birding (and getting eaten alive) in the morning and lots of driving in the middle. We decided to head back to the Eagle River Inn, grab some dinner, and try to get some sleep.

 

The road that we took back south followed the shoreline of Lake Superior. What a gorgeous place this is! We stopped at a couple of outlooks along the way. At one, there was a couple who were tossing a ‘duck’ out into the Lake for their chocolate lab to fetch. We enjoyed watching the dog swim out again and again (obviously enjoying his game), retrieving his prize, and returning it to his people.

 

We wanted to make certain that we got back to Fitzgerald’s (the superb restaurant at the Eagle River Inn) for our dinner reservation. The special was smoked prime rib! They have a huge smoker in the parking lot of the Inn. It smelled so wonderful when we left that we wanted to be sure not to miss out.

Fitzgerald’s
(Photo from their Website)

We were rewarded handsomely! That was one of the finest meals we’ve had in a while. The meat was smoked to perfection and the accompaniments were excellent. Jim had a smoked-fish appetizer. I tried it, but I decided that I’d save the room for dinner. I did, however, have a nice ‘Bookers.’ I must make a special note of the tremendous variety of whiskies that Fitzgerald’s stocks. Whether it’s bourbon or scotch whiskey that float your boat, they probably have your brand – or a brand that you’ve been wanting to try. They also have an excellent selection of whiskies from other parts of the world (Canadian, Irish, even Japanese).

Sunset at
The Eagle River Inn

 

After eating a huge meal, and the long day, we were ready for a good night’s sleep. This was the first time it really occurred to me that we were much further north. At 11:00 p.m., it was still light (and still HOT)! After snapping several photos of the amazing sunset and a late lakes’ freighter, I finally drifted off to sleep. Tomorrow is the Fourth of July! I figured I wouldn’t be getting much sleep at all then.

Lakes Freighter

 

Up Next: The Fourth of July – Keweenaw Style

 

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WIDMSV – Visiting Houghton and The Eagle Has Landed

If you’re reading this in email or on Facebook, click on the title! It will take you directly to the blog (an easier viewing page.) If you’re already in my blog, WELCOME! (One more hint: If you click on any of the photos in the blog, they should open up in a browser window so you can get a better look!)

 

WIDMSV? What I Did on My Summer Vacation!

 

After spending a couple of hours birding the Pesheekee Grade, we were ready to eat. There really isn’t any place to eat breakfast in the Michigamme area that we could find, so we headed on to Houghton. As much as I would have loved to visit the KBC brewery, it really wasn’t a prudent place to consider for breakfast.

 

The first restaurant we attempted to go to had been highly rated, but we opted out after a really poor experience. I am not going to name the establishment in my blog, because my southern heritage always taught me that, if I couldn’t say something nice – say nothing at all. Besides, even mentioning it here is giving it more attention than they gave us.

The Library Restaurant and Brew Pub

 

Luckily for us, we found The Library Restaurant and Brew Pub (http://www.librarybrewpub.com). It wasn’t quite time to start serving lunch yet (it was just around 11 a.m.), but we were courteously seated and given water and menus. Our server, Brian, was very nice and made us feel quite welcome. We opted for lunch and were very pleasantly surprised. I had the shrimp po boy and Jim had a combination sandwich. It was roast beef, cheddar cheese, and a BLT all rolled into one. He loved it. The experience was completely pleasant and the food was superb. They also are one of the innovators and first to use the new bill-paying service called “Tabbed Out.” What a smart idea that is! I hope more restaurants start using it soon. (Automatically pays your tab with your chosen credit card without having to wait for the check. It also computes tip and pays the establishment without passing your credit card around. BRILLIANT!)

Keweenaw Gems & Gifts
(Photo courtesy of Keweenaw Gems & Gifts)

We felt so much better after a good meal that we decided to stop at Keweenaw Gems and Gifts (http://www.copperconnection.com/) to see what kind of wonderful stone and metal arts we could find. What a ‘dangerous’ store. There were so many wonderful treasures, we had to really narrow down our focus. Once again, we could have totally blown our budget. We did make a couple of purchases. One was this lovely polished Petoskey Stone (Michigan’s State Stone) clock for Jim’s desk at work.

Petoskey Stone Clock

I just have to mention Lily, the Labradoodle. Lily comes to the store with her people. She’s the ‘official’ watch dog. Once she actually meets you, she’s a terrific ‘hostess.’ What a fantastic dog!

Lily
(Photo courtesy of Keweenaw Gems & Gifts)

We also purchased some gifts for friends. I just LOVE getting my Christmas shopping done before the Fourth of July!

Look at all the Treasure!
(Photo courtesy of Keweenaw Gems & Gifts)

From Houghton, it was on to Eagle River. Eagle River is on the western coast of the Keweenaw peninsula. Our destination was the Eagle River Inn http://www.eagleriverinn.com/. We had read interesting reviews of the inn and I had written to the new owners and was very favorably impressed by their positive attitudes and their obvious desire to provide a terrific experience for their guests.

Marc & Mike (Proprietors, Eagle River Inn)
(Photo by Shawn Malone)

The Eagle River Inn is right on the beach. It’s only a few steps from the deck to the water. It’s especially nice because the beach there is nice, stone sand and the water is clear and the bottom is that same sand. Many places on the lake are rocky which makes it difficult to get to the water. It’s even harder when the rocks are covered with vegetation. (I wonder if we noticed more of that due to the extraordinarily hot weather or if it’s a symptom of invasive, non-native vegetation I’ve been reading about.) I will be writing more about the Inn (and their terrific restaurant, Fitzgerald’s) in coming posts. I’ll say right now, though, that I wish we’d scheduled more than two nights at the Inn. Here’s a photo of a sunset we saw our first night. The sunsets there are so breath-taking, you’ll undoubtedly see more photos of them in coming posts.

Sunset – First Night
Eagle River Inn

Up Next: Eagle River Inn and Brockway Mountain Drive

 

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