Tag Archives: Traverse City

Fall’s Final Hurrah

Last week peak color finally rolled across the Northern Michigan lake shore, and the sun it brought with it bathed Traverse City in resplendent color. Had I been nay-saying the intensity of this year’s Autumnal hues compared to last? Perhaps. Did my husband bid me to hold my tongue? Maybe. Was he right? Naturally. 🙂

After a spell of consecutive rainy days, the clouds finally cracked early last week. The sun beckoned me out for a mid-day jaunt up Old Mission Peninsula, where it’s rays set the Chateau Grand Traverse vineyard ablaze. I reveled in fortuitous timing, nabbing as many shots as I could before dragging myself back to work.

Better still (IMHO), was the little slice of heaven that yesterday’s sun brought right to my own front door. We’re in the fortunate position of living right across the street from a little wooded park. Though its flanked by neighborhood streets and the elementary school, it’s trails feel remarkably secluded. Meandering through the park when it’s back-lit by afternoon sun feels otherworldly.

Alas, the color is fading fast. We’re even slated for possible snow flurries on Halloween. Honestly, I’m okay with it. The brevity of the North Country’s Fall (Spring and Summer) beauty is always a salient reminder to get out while the getting is good. I appreciate the way Shauna Niequist puts it (in Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way):

“The leaves as they spark into wild color just before they die are the world’s oldest performance art, and everything we see is celebrating one last violently hued hurrah before the black and white and silence of winter. Fall is begging for us to dance and sing and write with just the same drama and blaze.”

Blaze on, my friends. Winter is coming. 😉

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Traverse City’s New Clinch Park Waterscape

This past Tuesday a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held and Traverse City residents and visitors were finally introduced to the the new Waterscape park and pavilion at Clinch Beach.

As downtown Traverse City residents for two years and counting, and frequent day-trippers around the greater #NWMI region, we often wondered why the beach nearest our beloved city hub was one of the few we’d encountered that was absent a park. While this latest development didn’t involve installation of the swing-sets this thirty-something is still prone to joining the kids on, it did even better by way of a refreshing splash zone for our youngsters to cool off under during these hot Summer days (re: instant play-date for Jackson). 🙂

New Clinch Park features include a waterfall, splash pad, ropes course, modern merry-go-round, new patio and concession stand, changing rooms, and a well-lit, terraced, grassy lawn – all adjacent to the existing beach, marina, fishing pier and (remodeled) kayak rental shop we already enjoyed. A revamped tunnel affords downtown patrons better-lit passage into the park, emptying just steps from the up-coming Traverse City Film Festival theater addition, Bijou by the Bay.

Some of the finer details we noticed (and appreciate) include a water bottle refill station, a foot rinse, rubberized concrete, and a timeline of the area’s history etched into pavers along the path between the pedestrian tunnel and marina.

While the water features were temporarily turned off during our visit Tuesday evening, rumor has it they are now operational again, thanks to the city waiving the usual 10-day testing period (attributed to confidence in the park’s “high-quality filtration components”). This, of course, means that there will be another venture downtown in our near future, (hopefully) just ahead of this weekend’s National Cherry Festival goers. 😉

Many thanks to the contributors and organizations that made this wonderful new park possible! It’s one more display of the local pride and sense of community that brought us to Traverse City.

[click any image below to view as a slideshow]

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Ode to Street Art

I love encountering art of an unconventional caliber. From slick, sprawling graffiti to rogue wrought-iron installations – the more unexpected the art placement or medium, the better.

It was in pursuit of this obsession that I hauled Jim and Jackson to Petoskey this past Saturday to stroll the sidewalk-chalk art contest line-up at the Chalk & Chocolate festival. While there weren’t near the number of embellished sidewalk squares that I’d anticipated (okay, prayed for), the pigment-saturated path combined with the picturesque bay backdrop did make for ample eye candy.

Here are a few of my personal favorites…

Sidewalk Chalk Moon

Sidewalk Chalk Moon

Sidewalk Chalk Elephant

Sidewalk Chalk Elephant

Sidewalk Chalk Waterscape

Sidewalk Chalk Waterscape

Sidewalk Chalk Abstract

Sidewalk Chalk Abstract

Little Traverse Bay Backdrop

Little Traverse Bay Backdrop

Inspired by the prior day’s display (and considerate of next year’s $500 prize potential), Jackson and I tried our hand at some sidewalk-chalking of our own on Sunday. We’re not grand-prize-great (yet), but you gotta start somewhere, right?

Rainbow Road

Rainbow Road

In loosely related news, I was stoked to find an article in today’s paper on a few unique public art projects that may soon be underway in my own neighborhood – including overhauled car-hoods in the parking deck, embellished benches downtown, and a fresh coat of creativity in the pedestrian tunnel.

Downtown TC already offers an array of street art installations to appreciate, each made permanent by some unspoken public agreement that what’s been erected is sacred – or, at the very least, worth keeping around.

The publicly lauded (and rightfully so) yarn BAYBS (Bay Area Yarn Bomb Society) swath Front Street and it’s fringes with home-spun textiles unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.

Knit Owl Fountain

Knit Tree Wrap

And my personal favorite – from an anonymous-to-me party whom I’ve dubbed ‘the heARTist’ – is the series of stenciled hearts scattering downtown, each of which I’ve admittedly discovered with childhood’s hide-and-find enthusiasm. These spray-painted hearts sounded the kindest of greetings when we moved here – all quiet cues and implied gestures. I say paint the town!

Graffiti Heart Lightpost

Graffiti Heart Bridge

From the sidewalk-chalkers imparting wise words soon washed away, to the fresh purple paint of new dragonfly tags, I revel in it all.

Here’s to you, street artists – stirring souls and senses everywhere, one unconventional art piece at a time.

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