1300 miles on the car in 10 days. From Minneapolis to Chicago to Traverse City Michigan on the way up, with an overnight stay at Lucia’s on the way up and then straight through via Chicago on the way back, thirteen and a half hours in the car. About an hour in the car had a nice mixture of fragrance, B.O. and ripe melon, which only intensified as the hours passed.
We stayed in a mid-nineteenth century farm house on Old Mission Peninsula courtesy of our friends Charlie and Barb. It’s a big house, still much the same as it was when it was built, with added conveniences like a fairly modern kitchen and indoor plumbing, it’s an incredibly charming place. In front is a stand of giant white pines and then the orchard, first cherries and closer to the lake, apples. And then there’s Lake Michigan and an incredible stretch of beach which we had to ourselves.
Any trip to the Traverse City area turns out to be all about food. Here’s a few highlights.
Ribs at the farmhouse, we improvised an amazing sauce from the braising liquid and some plum jam that had just been cooked up. Barb whipped up a couple of pies, cherry (what else, it is after all the cherry capitol of the world) and cherry raspberry.
Dr. Mary Clemens, my friend and client came out to the farmhouse and made us a great vegetarian meal, shredded beet and parsnip salad, and whole wheat pasta with fresh tomato soup. And Barb came through with another pie.
Dinner with David and Lucia at Blu in Glen Arbor. Amazing space, with floor to ceiling glass looking out over the lake, and on this night five foot waves rolling onto the shore. We had braised pork belly for an appetizer and I had the duck confit.
Lunch at Cook’s House, a tiny place in downtown Traverse City that seats twenty people at most. I had a ham sandwich with fig compote. Remember on my last trip I had the world’s greatest ham sandwich at Frenchie’s? This was the world’s greatest ham sandwich.
Then back to the other side of the Leelanau Peninsula to Burdickville (you won’t find it on the map) and La Becasse, a restaurant specializing in French country cuisine. Another amazing meal, we split a plate of amazing risotto and I had the rack of lamb, maybe the best I’ve ever had.
On our last day Reb and I drove out to Onema to visit the Tamarack Gallery a wonderful little gallery with an eclectic collection of work by artists all over the country.
Well, it’s been quite awhile since my last post. I could make all kinds of excuses for not keeping this up, but I’m not one for excuses. Except I’ve been really busy, and I’ve been working on editing and producing a blog for someone else, and I’ve had writers cramp and maybe I’ve been a little depressed and I’ve been working on my garden and, well you know, no excuses.
I’m not going to dwell on the past so I’m just going to touch on a few things that have been going on this summer and then move on. It’s not like nothing’s been happening, it’s been a great summer with a couple of trips to Chicago, one to Traverse City and another one planned for Labor Day.
I think I’ve mentioned that I’m working, with the help of the Quinn’s bf Dave and the neighbor boys, on a major garden expansion. I’ve added about 600 sq. ft. at the back of our yard. That’s 600 sq. ft. that I don’t have to mow.
Here’s a little gallery of some of the summers event.
Tuesday evening I returned home from a great solo road trip, that combined business and pleasure. My route took me from the Twin Cities to Chicago, with a detour for some scenic back roads in Wisconsin, and then to Traverse City, Michigan, Â back through East Lansing and Chicago again . I stayed with my daughter Lucia in Chicago, slept at an incredible nineteenth century farm house on Old Mission Peninsula near Traverse City and visited college friends in East Lansing. It was ten days of fun roads, great food and great friends. Too much to really relate in a single post, but I will be posting my road stories throughout the week.
Also today marks the 25th anniversary of abstinence from alcohol. I quit drinking the year Lucia was born, although it wasn’t a conscious decision to not raise my kids as a practicing alcoholic. I just woke up after a May Day party at my Wife’s office and felt so shitty that I decided I never wanted to experience that again. I’d been having black outs and nasty hangovers way too often in the prior five years or so, and I just didn’t want to feel that shitty again, or walk around wondering what the hell I’d done the night before. I made my decision in the shower, Beck was in the room getting ready for work when I got out and I told her, “That’s it, I’m done.”
I made some calls and was talking to a counsellor that day. I started going to outpatient treatment and attending AA meetings right away, but over the years I’ve drifted away and no longer go to meetings. I just kind of take it for granted now, just like I know I can’t eat shrimp since I suddenly developed an allergy. I don’t like to make a big deal about it, I kind of get embarrassed when people start talking about it. But Beck and I went out to a bar last night to celebrate.