Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Harbor Springs

The weekend before July 4, David and I joined Arwen, Bryan, and Camilla at Bryan's parents' condo just outside Harbor Springs, Michigan.  I'd been to Michigan only twice before, both times to Detroit.  Detroit, not lovely at all.  Harbor Springs, though, was stunningly beautiful. 

It was something of a shock to this Southern girl.  To quote my sister-in-law, Maureen, who was in Traverse City around the same time we were in Harbor Springs, "Michigan . . . who knew?"

Arwen, Bryan, and the 'Billa have been down to Washington several times this year to visit us, but this was our first foray into their turf.  It didn't disappoint.

We flew into Detroit on Friday evening and stayed overnight at Arwen's.  Billa was asleep when we arrived, and I was a little curious to see how she'd react to see us at her house when she woke up the next morning.  Within half an hour of everyone waking up, I walked into the living room to this sight:

I think it's safe to say that Camilla is now totally comfortable with David, and also that she was glad to see us.

After we loaded up the car, we piled in for the multi-hour drive "Up North."  We stopped along the way at the Big Buck Brewery and Steakhouse.  I will say two things about the Big Buck.  First of all, I wish that their website had photos of the restaurant interior, because it's HUGE and covered with dead animal trophies.  It was a sight to behold.  Second, they served what I think may be the best stuffed potato skins I've ever had.  Yes, yes, I really am quite the gourmet, I know.

Once we arrived at the condo, we discovered that the beauty of being Up North is that you can do whatever you'd like, or nothing at all.  There was a lot of reading, napping, and chatting.  There may or may not have also been some drinking, at least for David, Bryan, and me.  'Billa and Arwen didn't partake, because Arwen is pregnant, and the 'Billa is, well, a little young to be hitting the hard stuff.

The low point of the weekend was probably Mass at the local parish.  I hate to call Mass the low point, but I do so here only because I'm fairly confident that Jesus would agree with me.  The parish was in a lovely building, but, oh, the hand-holding.  And the Gather hymnal.   And the non-homily homily, during which the priest described an upcoming parish "town hall" meeting, where churchgoers would be able to share their hopes and dreams, their fears and longings . . . all in the name of better discovering how to "be church."

We all agreed that the phrase "be church" gives us the heebies.  We also all came away appreciating our home parishes just a little bit more.

On Monday, we drove north of Harbor Springs to have lunch at a fun restaurant called the Legs Inn in Cross Village.  The weather was perfect, despite the ominous forecasts I'd seen online before our trip, and we ate on a huge patio overlooking gorgeous, sparkling, I-can't-believe-how-it-just-goes-on-forever Lake Michigan.  

For a girl who grew up thinking that Lake Lanier was a big lake, let me tell you:  Georgia ain't got nothin' on the Great Lakes.  But don't take it from me:

I told you so.  

And, of course, we couldn't resist taking some shots of ourselves:

Later, we headed into Harbor Springs proper again, where we ate delicious ice cream at Kilwin's and just looked around at the water and the gorgeous houses along the shore.

Camilla clearly enjoyed herself downtown:

Dinner was Arwen's amazing King Ranch Chicken Casserole, which takes forever to make, but is so . . . worth . . . it . . . .    

The only bad thing about the trip was that it was just too short.  We had to fly back Tuesday evening due to Wednesday work commitments, which meant leaving Harbor Springs pretty early on Tuesday.  Work really does get in the way of everything, doesn't it?  If only we could figure out some other way to pay our bills!

All in all, it was a very relaxing and much-needed escape from D.C.  We can't wait to visit again!


Ali said...

Yay! So glad you got this bad boy blog up and running!

Arwen said...

Um, of COURSE you can't wait! It was only, like, the best vacation ever.

Tee hee.

Seriously, though, Camilla is still talking about "Davi" and "Lauhnen" three weeks later, so you two were a big hit with her. We'll have to make it not too long before the next time.

Maureen said...

How did I get a shout-out in the blog and not even KNOW about the blog?!?

I can't wait for another excuse to head to Northern Michigan - it's beautiful country!