March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!!
John had an appointment in Traverse City on Friday, so we decided to make a much needed get away out of it.  We haven't been to TC since our lighthouse explorations last October.  We booked a condo at the Tamarack Lodge on East Bay.  It is right on the beach and had gorgeous views from our bedroom and family room.  The boys loved it. They had their own bedroom, bathroom and mini kitchen.  We loved it for the same reasons.  It was really nice and relaxing having so much room.  We didn't have time to visit any real lighthouses on this trip, but we did come across some good faux ones.
painting of Old Mission Point Lighthouse on the wall

Our first stop was lunch at Scalawag's in downtown TC.  John loves their famous wild caught whitefish.  I am a land lubber, so I go for the chicken. Everything is deep fried, but they use zero trans fat oils.  It definitely doesn't qualify as healthy, but it is good quality food and nothing tastes greasy.  Their hush puppies are the best.

after the kids eat their meal they get
 to pick out a shell

Irish bagpipers across the street
watching the bagpipers
After lunch we headed to the lodge to check in and drop off our bags.

our baggage handlers

the lobby

representing Ireland

After checking in we took the kids to the Great Lakes Children's Museum.  It's right across the street from West Bay.
big baby checking out the scene
Captain Stewart
inside the tower

Daddy trying to optimize the channel system
in front of the tower

Now it's time to head back to the lodge and relax. We ordered pizza and had some friends over, fun!

beach time

movie in their bedroom

watching the sunset from the balcony
mirror hugs

this day is done!

March 12, 2011

Holland Harbor Lighthouse-Big Red

location-Holland, MI
active beacon-yes
stamp-yes, at the Holland Municipal Museum
players-Jen, John, Lincoln, Spencer, Jackson, Manya and Grandpa

Rockford dam at sunrise
Jackson is now 15 months old and we are finally doing his baby dedication at church tomorrow.   Manya and Grandpa came in last night for it.  Aunt Kristen and Uncle Beau are coming in for the day tomorrow.  So, today we wanted to have a fun day trip and Daddy is actually home for it.  Usually, his schedule doesn't work out that he has the day off when we have visitors.   The boys we're really excited about that.

brothers gotta hug

The morning started out with Manya and Grandpa taking Spencer and Lincoln to Herman's Boy in Rockford.  It's a local roastery and bakery.  They started their coffee roasting company in 1901 and everything is 100% natural, no chemicals.  Manya and Grandpa love their coffee and go there almost every time they are in town, now my uncle on the east side of the state even has it shipped to him.  The bakery has a large variety of fresh bagels and other items.  When everyone was done eating they got some yummy bagel sandwiches to bring home for the rest of us. 

Next, we were off to "Maple Sugar Time" at the historic Van Raalte Farm in Holland.  They had a little walking tour of the different ways to make maple syrup with tour guides at each post.  They taught us the Native American, the pioneer and the current methods.
world's most easy going baby

hot coals to boil the sap
sugar shack


Smelling all that maple syrup got us hungry.  Off to New Holland Brewing for some lunch and a good view of the St. Patrick's Day parade in downtown Holland.

watching the parade
St. Patrick's Day Parade
pizza in hair
so sad when he ran out of celery
wise guy
so excited when we 
asked for more

 After lunch, we completed our adventure with a visit to "Big Red".  Holland Harbor Lighthouse, known as "Big Red", was meant to guide ships that wanted to enter Lake Macatawa from Lake Michigan.  We visited last summer up close and personal. This time we had a winter visit from across Lake Macatawa in Holland State Park.  It was very cold and windy, but they were actually quite a few cars there.  We didn't last long, but it was still fun. 
icy footprint
John and Jax waiting this one out