The 1,000-Mile Great Lakes Adventures

Friday, June 29, 2012

Rogers City & The Purple Martin Inn

The Purple Martin Inn

Marilou and Ruth showed me around the inn and town
When I got to Rogers City, I stayed at a unique place.  This building (to the left) used to be a commercial laundry facility that would do laundry for lake freighters working the Great Lakes.  The business closed long ago and the building is now undergoing a radical transformation into an inn/community gathering place/non-prof to support work with foster kids.

Cindy Vezinau is the  visionary behind the Purple Martin Inn.  She is working to make it as "green" as possible, using recycled, reclaimed, and repurposed materials at every juncture of the renovation.  

The inn is named after the Purple Martin colony that returns to summer at the property every year.  It was a joy to sit on the balcony overlooking Lake Huron and watch the birds in flight.  The Purple Martin population has been dwindling in recent years, so it was encouraging to see this thriving community of birds in Rogers City.

Purple Martin in flight

The Purple Martin Inn is also a place for the community to gather.  This year, the first "Martin Mania" weekend festival which included a dance at the main intersection in Rogers City and a bonfire on the beach near the inn.

When the inn is complete, profits will be used to support work with foster kids.  Rogers City has had a camp for foster kids for many decades, and the partnership with the inn will help to continue this important work.  
Interior of Inn

Reclaimed barn wood finishes this ceiling
The inn is still undergoing its transformation and will open sometime next year.  To learn more about this project, check out their Facebook Page.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Awakened to the Call of Loons

My hike has taken me through industrial and urban areas. Now as I head farther north, I am entering the more wild and rugged places along the edges of our Great Lakes.

Arriving in the small community of Presque Isle, I stayed at The Presque Isle Lodge, a B&B with almost a century-long history. This rustic loge was built in 1920 by a furniture manufacturer based in Bay City, Michigan. They made rustic, handmade furniture and wanted a place to showcase their creations. They built the lodge before electricity was even available in the area!

The Spencer family purchased the lodge over 25 years ago. It had been vacant for many years, so they spent the first couple of years lovingly restoring the place.

The inn is huge --around 10,000 square feet -- but much of this is common area as seen in these two photos. There is also a wrap around, screened porch and lots of seating in the quiet back yard. The lodge has the largest remaining collection of the handmade "Habitant" furniture found anywhere.

The Lodge also has frontage on Grand Lake across the street. I spent a restful hour there swinging on a lakeside hammock. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

My bedroom faced Grand Lake and in the morning I awoke to the loons calling to each other across the calm waters.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Rockport Quarry

I have always been a bit of a rock hound, so when I read about an abandoned quarry (now a state park) on my route, I planned to check it out.

The Rockport Quarry is located NE of Alpena along the Lake Huron shoreline.

On the way there, I came across nice specimens of fossilized coral.

This large pile of rocks are the tailings from the quarry operation. Note the people in the shot to grasp the scale.

The next photo is of the actual quarry. It's difficult to capture how large an operation this was. This quarry is over 300 acres and was the site where limestone was extracted for the supporting structures of the Mackinac Bridge!

I wish I had more time to poke around. Since I am backpacking, the only thing I took from the site were photos.

This baby groundhog (final photo) was more curious than frightened, so I chatted with him for a bit.

Learn more about this park HERE

Friday, June 15, 2012

Along the Way

My 1000-Mile Great Lakes hike has taken me along the shores of Lakes Erie, Huron, and St. Clair, along the banks of the Detroit And St. Clair Rivers, and along the edges of many bays and wetlands and bogs.

I've met some interesting folks along the way.

Paul Bunyan and Babe his blue ox were hanging out in the city of Ossineke.

I walked past this group of women enjoying a sunny day on Lake Huron just north of Oscoda. I waved to them and one woman asked me how far I was going. When I said, "A thousand miles," a woman sat up in her lounge chair and said, "I read about you! You walked around Lake Michigan!"

We chatted for a bit and they told me their group of friends had been vacationing at that spot for many years together. Some of them had been friends since high school.

The owners of the Trelawny resort in Ossineke (final photo) have a lovely spot on Thunder Bay. I got some great twilight shots of Alpena from their beach, and I walked for miles along the sandy bay toward Alpena today.

Location:NE Michigan

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Respite from the Long Hike

I'm often asked if I get lonely while on the hike. On my first adventure, I tackled it in small chunks and was often shadowed by my brother Phil who would meet up with me at the end of each day. On this hike, I'm taking it in much larger chunks and without a support car. I have more gear to carry, too, so the hike is more demanding.
I have been taking breaks along the way this time, and I had a wonderful break this past weekend with friends and family who met up with me along the way.

Luanne and Bill (in first photo) opened their vacation home to me and my sister and bro-in-law.

Their friends, Glenis and Charlie (second photo), were visiting from Scotland and they were great fun.

Les and Ron drove me to see the Lumberman's Monument on the shores of the Au Sable River. We walked the 200+ stairs to the river.

The last photo is of me and the monument to the men who logged this area.

Location:Greenbush, MI

Saturday, June 9, 2012

On the Bay

After hiking 54 miles in 4 days, I arrived in the lovely town of East Tawas and checked into the lovely East Tawas Junction B&B.

This inn faces Tawas Bay and is a few blocks from the city center.

My favorite part of the inn was the front porch seen in the final photo here. It's a wonderful place for a vacation escape.

Location:East Tawas, MI

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Turtle Friend

I met up with this wood turtle today. It had hiked up from the Au Gres River and was stuck on the road. We chatted a bit and I returned him to the riverbank.

Tomorrow I will reach the NW edge of Saginaw Bay. From that point heading north, I will be on the shores of Lake Huron.

The clouds were interesting today as I hiked to Tawas City.