Back to the Balcony (on shore this time!)

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If you read my Alaskan cruise blogs last month, you just might think this photo is a repeat of my photo of our ship balcony with the chairs.  This time, there is a balcony and a chair again, but instead it is Lake Superior in Marquette, Michigan, at the brand new Hampton Inn overlooking the lake. 
My husband Bill and I drove up to Upper Michigan this past weekend, to the cities of Marquette and Big Bay.  The last weekend in July is Marquette’s annual “Art on the Rocks” festival, a tradition since 1958.
At the festival there are rows and rows of tents with handmade furniture, jewelry, paintings, kitchen items, pottery, and more.  We were within walking distance of the park where it was held, and got up bright and early to be there from the opening.  It was a good thing we had an SUV, because we found a beautiful corner table handmade from birds eye maple, a large photo (of trees) for the family room, and some beautiful pottery. 

Also in Marquette was the blueberry festival, with the quaint downtown area closed off for the day.

The weather was perfect – in the 70’s- much better than Chicago’s 90’s.  We enjoyed walking around, enjoying the weather, music, and food.  Marquette has stunning historical buildings, and our favorite restaurant, Vierlings, with whitefish fresh from Lake Superior which is just steps away from their kitchen.

The bank building and its golden doors.
The clock tower
The art deco theater
One of our favorite restaurants, Vierling’s
Of course, I never leave anywhere without finding the local bookstore.  The one in Marquette is called “Snowbound Books,” a perfect name for an area that gets at least 200 inches of snow per year.  I found lots of treasures here, which will all be the subject of upcoming blogs.

After a couple days of the festivals, we drove about 25 miles to Big Bay, a very small, but beautiful town on Lake Superior.  If you have ever seen the movie “Anatomy of a Murder” with James Stewart, it was filmed in Big Bay and Marquette.  The murder actually took place in Big Bay decades go.  We arrived at our property and were joined by Bill’s cousin Benny, his wife Judy, and son Phil.  Benny already had a fire pot ready to go, and brought along hamburgers and brats to cook over the fire.

Benny constructed his own grill specifically for campfires.
                           
After enjoying our lunch, we sat around chatting and having a great time.  We started talking about the trees in our woods, and I mentioned how much I loved the birch trees.  It sparked a memory of when I was at the Better Homes and Gardens test kitchens with Kristina.  In this particular kitchen, there was a two-sided fireplace that had birch logs cut into various sizes, and then they were placed standing up in the fireplace.  It looked so beautiful, and I made a mental note to remember to do this at home.  However, I never found any birch logs and forgot the idea.  Benny jumped up and said, “I can do that for you!”  He and Phil got on the 4-wheeler and headed off into the woods.  In a few minutes, we could hear the sound of a chain saw, then suddenly they were coming back down the road with treasures for my fireplace!
Thank you, Benny and Phil!  I can’t wait to get these home and put them in the fireplace.  I’ll post pictures later.  I think it’s going to look gorgeous!

It was time to say good-bye to the camp, so Benny put out the fire, and we headed back to the hotel to pack up for home.

A view of Lake Superior looking out from our cliff.
It was a wonderful weekend.  The next morning, we packed up, loaded the car, and had breakfast at the hotel.  However, in all the excitement of the weekend, I somehow failed to do the “last check” around the room for items.  I had left the cookbooks I bought, a couple shirts for Bill, and other goodies in the closet!  Of course, I didn’t figure this out until we arrived back home.   I immediately called the Hampton Inn and the manager went up to the room to find my stash still in the closet.  He called back and said they would ship them to me, and they should be arriving today.  The staff at the Hampton were friendly and helpful throughout the weekend.  I told them it was the only hotel we would stay at when visiting again. 
I’ll report back on those cookbooks later!
P.S. on the cookbooks!  A few hours after I finished writing this blog, my packages arrived from the Hampton Inn, with my cookbooks and other items.  I am so impressed how carefully they were packed and packaged.  Thank you, Hampton Inn!  We will see you again soon, and recommend you to everyone we know going to the area.  You are the best!
(P.P.S.   I am having a great time going through the books now!) 

One Response to Back to the Balcony (on shore this time!)

  1. MsZin August 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    That sounds like a lovely weekend. What could be better than art, good food, cookbooks, and cooler weather!

    I have What’s a Cook to Do. I really like James Peterson’s books. He’s never failed me. And that book is full of great tips and tricks.

    Glad you enjoyed your getaway.

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