Sunday, August 2, 2015

Making Summer Memories: Our Long Lake, MI Vacation

The cabin from the lake, the lake from the cabin. 
We discovered a hidden gem of a vacation spot.  Michelle and I had been looking at Michigan lakes north of us for a few weeks, when she mentioned it to a co-worker who knew of someone who knew someone who rented a cabin on a lake.  The cabin was on Long Lake, not north but due west of us near the Indiana border, in Reading near Coldwater, MI. Never heard of it, but it was only an hour and a half away. Perfect distance! We checked it out online, the lake and the cabin, liked it, thought about it for a day. Michelle decided to go for it.  I helped by saying "Let's do it!"

And so we spent a wonderful week, the last week of July 2015, in a small but cozy cabin with every amenity and great caretakers, a short car ride away through pretty countryside, and situated on a picturesque lake that could be on the cover of  a "Travel Michigan" magazine.

The kids played in the water every day, most of the day.  We played yard games around the cabin. Josh drove to Toledo to work his 5-10 pm UPS job, then come back at night a few times; he loved it. Alli came with her German Shepherd Kato for an afternoon and overnight. Julia came on Friday to pick up Philip, and got to cruise the lake on the pontoon boat we all enjoyed. We lit the fire pit near the lake at sunset, watched the stars fill the sky and a full Blue Moon rise. We sat in awe, relaxed, blessed. We roasted marshmellows, novices at making a fire at first, better by week's end with Alli's help.  And what's a camp fire without s'mores! Michelle made sure we had them. She and the boys used the paddle boat several times, then found the pontoon boat even better for cruising around the lake, seeing the pretty houses and gardens, spotting turtles, watching swan and geese glide by. Kyle was our boat captain, but Josh, Philip, and even Chase, took turns at the helm. They all loved the water. Couldn't get enough. Their lake paradise, and ours.
From top left, the Capri drive-in; Julia & Philip on a pontoon cruise; the boys in the boats and in the water; lake views, a Blue Moon, our cabin from the pontoon; and me watching the world go by.

Philip on the dock at sunset
and moon rise.

We also found plenty to do around Reading and Coldwater, Michigan, historic towns on the old trails west.  We went to a real outdoor drive-in movie, the 1950s Capri, which the kids found fantastic and I remember fondly. We went "antiquing" at an old barn, where the boys each found something special. Philip adopted an old teddy bear, got a small glass kitten for his mom, and found a little wind-up ghost toy for me, such a special gift. What an eye for his Nana Franna's wind-up toy collection, inherited from friend Barbie Britsch! Kyle discovered antique Coke and Vernor's bottles, vintage designs, great logos. Chase hung onto an old toy car.  We went to Adventure World for go-carts and miniature golf.  We stopped at a roadside farmer's stand for fresh corn, peaches and blueberries, devoured in one day pretty much.  We ate outside every day, on the lovely deck with a gas grill, usually joined by the friendly neighborhood dog Blackie, a laid-back black lab.  The kids made new friends a few houses down. Hours of  water play, delight, fun and, for the grown-ups, pure relaxation.

"We're making summer memories," Michelle reflected, as we sat by the fire, watching a gorgeous sunset. The clouds pink, the colors golden and pastel.  "Maybe we could have a cabin like this one day," Josh added. "Something to dream about," I thought.  "We're making dreams, too," Michelle said, as if reading my mind.  "Dreams can be realized. Dreams can come true."

For sure our Long Lake, MI vacation will stay with us for a long time, long enough for some dreams to become precious realities for my children and grandchildren.

Some early fall colors emerging, their reflection shimmering
in the golden light of the clear lake. 

Long Lake, MI is a series of lakes connected by various channels and canals.
 It's clean and clear, reflecting the landscapes and foliage.
We even saw the full moon shimmering in the lake.  In the lake! Amazing.
Mesmerizing.  The bottom is marshy close to shore, with plenty of seaweeds,
but people who know the lake swim out towards the middle. The kids didn't mind
playing near the shore at all. 

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