Sunday, August 11, 2013

On the Shores of Lake Michigan


As a (very late) anniversary celebration, Mr. M and I treated ourselves to a night away in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, a delightful fishing town. Poised on the shores of Lake Michigan between a flourishing port city to the south, and a state forest to the north, Two Rivers has something for everyone: fine white sand beaches, trails for walking and cycling (no, we didn't bring our bikes), kayaking, fishing, historical sites, and great restaurants.

Our first destination was the lovely Point Beach State Forest, home to the historic Rawley Point Lighthouse, one of the largest on the Great Lakes and still in operation. The waters near Rawley Point are full of shipwrecks that occurred before the lighthouse was built (though apparently none have occurred since).


We park in the tiny parking area and follow the path through the woods...


...which open up shortly to reveal the lighthouse and the original lighthouse keeper's residence.


(The lighthouse is now operated by the Coast Guard, and the house is a private dwelling, so this is as close as we could get.)

A charming boardwalk leads over grassy dunes...


...to where Lake Michigan stretches away to the horizon.


Just here the water is full of mossy bits, and looks for all the world like pea soup. (Water clarity is determined by wind direction. Later we will visit another beach a few miles away where the water is crystal clear.)


The immensity of the lake, and the long stretch of shoreline, assuage some of the sea-longing buried in our Californian hearts.


There are even shells in the sand....


...and tide ripples like finely etched drawings.


Farther down the shore, the wavelets have cut into the sand creating miniature cliffs:


We sit on the sand to look out at the lake, but after a few minutes, sand flies appear (out of nowhere it seems) and show an uncomfortable appetite for bare ankles. So up we get and head back towards the lighthouse and the trail to our car.


Back in Two Rivers, we stop at the historic Rogers Street Fishing Village (the buildings of which have unfortunately closed for the day). Along the boardwalk fly flags of Quebec, in honour of the French Canadian fishermen who helped found the city.


Looking back at the fishing village through the bridge railing:


Next we head back to the beach - this time the public beach in Two Rivers. Evening is coming on - the sand is covered with resting gulls, and a white sail catches the rays of the sun.


A powered parachute buzzes overhead:


Not all the gulls are resting - some are still playing in the water and poking about for food:


Full of fresh air and lake breezes, we head back to our B&B. The next morning we bid a fond farewell to Two Rivers, deciding that someday we'll come back with our bicycles to take advantage of the many scenic trails.

In no particular hurry to get home, we stop in Manitowoc (just south of Two Rivers), for a look at the breakwater and some of the miniature shoreline gardens planted along the Marina Trail:



Far out on the lake, a plume of smoke can be seen as a ship heads our way:


Boats at rest in the silver-watered marina:


Flourishing plant life borders the trail and the various inlets:


Among the flowers can be seen woolly burdock...


...tansy...


...and bitter nightshade:


All this time the plume of smoke has been drawing nearer. It turns out to belong to the S.S. Badger, a car and passenger ferry which crosses Lake Michigan daily from spring through fall.

The ferry enters between the breakwaters, sounding its foghorn (which echoes back eerily from the port buildings):


The ship turns very slowly, then backs (even more slowly) up to the dock.


Meanwhile, we follow the footpath to the North Breakwater Light:




Looking back from the lighthouse to shore:


The day has grown very humid. We walk back down the breakwater...


 ...past the marina, with its tantalizing and satisfying view of masts and rigging...


...where a sailor dog waits patiently for his ship to come in...


...then back to our car to begin the drive home.


A very pleasant break from routine, with lots of lake views, beach walks, good food, and plenty of trees and flowers. :)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

38 comments:

  1. This looks like a wonderful trip. I have friends who are staying at Lake Michigan somewhere.

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    1. It's such a very large lake, they could be anywhere! I hope they are enjoying it. :)

      And it was a very wonderful trip, though short.

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  2. That looks like a wonderful trip! I just love the LKe Michigan shoreline. You are making me want to go visit that area again.

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    1. We don't go very often, but always enjoy it very much when we do. This is the first time we were on an actual Lake Michigan "beach" (with sand I mean). It's very beautiful. :)

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  3. I love that first lighthouse and that powered parachute is quite amazing!

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    1. Don't you wonder how in the world it stays aloft? It sounds like a lawnmower flying by - very noisy and not very powerful! :)

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  4. Such awesome photos...thank you for taking us along, it was such a lovely trip.

    Was it just me or did you see a crochet pattern in the sand, too?

    Blessings always

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    1. I am ashamed to say I didn't see the crochet pattern until now ... but you are right! :)

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  5. Sounds like you had a lovely trip. The scale of the Great Lakes always amazes me - I have never seen a lake that needs a lighthouse, has ports, breakwaters etc! Juliex

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    1. They are HUGE! I did wonder at the time if Lake Michigan were the largest lake in the world ... but have just looked it up and it's #5. (Lake Superior is #1.) :)

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  6. I can never get enough images of the real USA, so varied and so beautiful. Thank you.

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    1. That is a lovely way to put it - the "real USA". You make me appreciate my own land even more. Thanks, T-a! :)

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  7. What a beautiful getaway! And a cute little crochet bracelet teaser! It's so fun to see pictures of lakes and shores and lighthouses I can't see in my neck of the woods!

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    1. I did think of you, Deb ... in fact I thought, "This is ONE thing they don't have in Colorado!" (About the only thing.) :)

      That is the Winding Lane bracelet on my wrist ... pattern was posted a few months back.

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  8. Happy Anniversary . We love almost every single wisconsin town that you can visit. Great post.

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    1. Thanks kathy! We do have a lot of nice towns here, I think. :)

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  9. Looks like you had a lovely time! Really nice pictures - I can't quite get my head round the scale of the Great Lakes :-D. Oops, I see I'm echoing Julie there. It looks so much like the sea but the shore is different - ah, no tides, or minimal tides?

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    1. I don't think there are tides, exactly ... there is a continual small ripple of waves but they are probably produced by wind.

      Okay, have just Googled it and apparently there are tides, but they are quite small (no more than 2") and are "masked by the greater fluctuations in lake levels produced by wind and barometric pressure changes". (Now I feel smug because I sort of guessed right about the wind.) :)

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  10. First a very special Happy Anniversary to you both. So glad you could spend time in such a gorgeous place. Love the lighthouse and the beautiful water.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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    1. Thanks Mere - the big day was almost two months ago but we had a lot going on at the time, so we celebrated late. One of the nice things about aging ... it doesn't so much matter when you celebrate things, and you're grateful to celebrate them at all! :)

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  11. Happy Anniversary. What beautiful photos. Looks like a nice, relaxing (if short) get away for you.
    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks Beth - it was very relaxing, considering we were gone less than 36 hours. But just being disconnected from the daily routine made it seem like much longer. :)

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  12. How wonderful for you both to spend such a special time together and in such a gorgeous part of this country. What glorious sights and such a lovely time.
    Thank you.

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    1. Thanks, e - we did have a good time. And I neglected to mention that Two Rivers is the birthplace of the ice cream sundae, so we celebrated accordingly with Very Large Sundaes (hot fudge for me, hot fudge with Door County cherries for Mr. M). :)

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  13. What a lovely place for a mini mini-break. A change of surroundings, even for a day, refreshes the soul I find. And with scenery like this to take in ...

    A belated Happy Anniversary Sue and Mr M x

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    1. Thanks Annie - it did exactly that. There's something about being free to stroll on a beach that for me is the essence of refreshment and relaxation. :)

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  14. I've never been to Michigan but looks so inviting! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. And this was the Wisconsin side ... but I believe it looks much the same on the Michigan shore. If we had gone farther north the coastline would get much grander, I believe. But this was pretty nice. :)

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  15. I've only seen Lake Michigan on maps and it's so north I imagine it always choppy and with icy wind. Where I got that idea, I don't know. Another reason I love blogland--thanks for sharing the REAL Lake Michigan.

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    1. Oh, it can definitely get choppy and icily windy later in the year, but in the summer I think it's pretty pleasant. (The water was cool, but not frigid.) Though I've been in Lake M. on a visit to Chicago and there were quite sizeable waves ... perhaps it all depends on the weather. :)

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  16. Beautiful pictures! I love the lighthouse at the end of the jetty. So pretty.

    A very belated happy anniversary.

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    1. Thanks very much! (And very belatedly.) :)

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  17. What a wonderful and romantic anniversary get-a-way!

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    1. It was. Or as Mr. M likes to say, a lot of bed and a little breakfast. ;)

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  18. What a lovely way to spend a getaway weekend. I really enjoyed reading about your trip and your beautiful photos too. Happy belated anniversary! xo

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    1. Thanks so much - and please forgive this very late response. :)

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  19. Lake Michigan is so beautiful. And so is Lake Superior. And even Lake Erie. I love Michigan.We had great family vacation there two years ago. I wanted to go to the Wisconsin side of Lake Michigan for this year's vacation but we went to Lake Summersville,WV, instead ( its shores are rocky and oldest DS is a rock climber). Beautiful, unique and pleasantly undeveloped place as well.
    I hope to spend some time at Lake Huron, too.

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    1. I have only seen the other Great Lakes from the air - sometime I'd like to go to northern Wisconsin and see something of Lake Superior.

      :)

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