Tuesday, May 05, 2009
It's always nice to get away when one has been bustin' butt for weeks. I had been in my dye kitchen in the basement dying yarn for so long that I started to feel a bit like Gollum. I was lucky enough to have a 4-day girl weekend right on Lake Michigan. Seal, Macy and I flew to Chicago where Tara picked us up and whisked us off to her beach house 2 hours north.
This is her beach"'cottage", not too shabby and plenty of room for 4 women and all our wine. It's located right on Lake Michigan, near the quaint village of Douglas and the adjacent artsy town of Sagatauk. In 1830 it was a big lumber area, until they stupidly cut all the trees down. Then in the 1880's Chicagoans began coming up for the summers, making it a resort town. In the 1920's artists established an artist colony nearby, Ox-bow, now part of School of the Art Institue of Chicago. Many of the homes are of the Arts and Crafts, Italianate and Colonial Revival style. Luckily the trees have grown back and it's heavily wooded, nearly all the way to the beach. Lake Michigan looks just like the ocean, with waves lapping and white sand beaches. Huge dunes line the coast.
This house is just down from Tara's, covered in local stone.
Because a ravine is between the small road and the houses, bridges were built to each house. They all vary in style, but I found them all quite charming. Some had little benches built in and twinkle lights along the railing.
Homeowners also own a bit of beachfront. One can walk all along the coastline, you just can't 'loiter' on someone's property. There is also a public beach.
I had no idea what Lake Michigan would look like. I really was surprised it looked like the ocean, with the waves being large enough to surf when it was windy.
Here we are out on a shopping adventure, looking for more art and jewelry.
Seal wanted to get this butterfly but just couldn't figure out a way to get it on the plane.
Douglas has many sculptures around the town.
We came across this young ceramic artist who is doing big, bold pieces. I had to take this pic of because I liked the colors, purple, teal, orange and chartruese, a new colorway in the making.
My favorite stop was this darling studio, a former one room schoolhouse.
It was previously turned into a home, with the boy's cloakroom a kitchen and the girl's cloakroom the bathroom. Now it's the studio of Dawn Stafford, an artist who does amazing oils and prints. She was so charming and nice, welcoming us to her light-filled space.
The school was built around 1867. Tall windows show a view of the peach orchards in full bloom.
I was taken by this artist's vignette. She's ready to grab her flowered bag full of tools and supplies, her straw hat and venture out into the nearby fields for a day of painting.
She was nice enough to pose for a photo.
Across the road was a pick-your-own peach orchard.
Our next stop was "Art Barn", a clever business that has different stations for teaching pottery, jewelry, fused glass, stained glass and mosaic work. It was so colorful and well organized. Tara said it's packed in the summer on rainy days.
The tables are mosaics and the chairs happily painted in cheery colors.
Macy amongst the color.
Don't you just want to grab some paints and start painting?!
or doing a mosaic?
Out front was a water tower with petticoats up top blowing in the wind, ala "Petticoat Junction"
But the big draw that weekend was "Tulip Time" or "Tulipalooza", a 10-day Dutch celebration, honoring the tulip. We arrived just in time for the Klompen Dancers, a thousand young dancers in wooden shoes and Dutch costumes.
NOT Klompen dancers!
Besides lilacs, tulips are my favorite spring flower. They are so cheerful and fun. Amazing that this large flower can stand so tall and straight on one thin stem.
The skies cleared briefly and I got this shot of the ferris wheel, reminding me of tulips going round.
Before we left Chicago, two of my friends, Chris and Cathy, picked us up and took us to see Oak Park, the neighborhood of Frank Lloyd Wright. This is the home he built in 1889.
Another example of his architecture. I wish we would have had more time to walk these beautiful neighborhoods. The day was sunny and crisp and it was so enjoyable seeing the Wright's architectural talent right there in front of us. All in all, it was a perfect weekend, spending time with girlfriends, eating well, (thanks Tara for the best strawberry/rhubarb pie I've ever had!), seeing a part of this beautiful country I've never seen, and not being in my basement dyeing yarn. Ahh! I love vacations!