Saturday, August 22, 2009

Favorite Vacation Spot - Revisited

This is a reposted excerpt from a piece I published on 5-16-07.

A friend of mine from way back has a piece of property in Northern Michigan that is right on the St. Mary's River just south of Sault Ste. Marie. His cabin is on Neebish Island. I had my first invite up there around 1993. I have since been blessed to visit several years in a row and, most recently, I have introduced the place to DaHubby, Flicka, and Pojke (then in utero *wink*). It was and is an absolutely perfect slice of heaven.

So, when I saw a call for submissions from Michigan History magazine back in 2003 because they were putting together a special edition in tribute to the "Islands of the Great Lakes", I knew I had my writing assignment cut out for me. But, how could I describe this place in 300 words or less!? This is how:

"It was so little but has had a powerful effect on me.

One little island. One little cabin. Everybody running out on their docks when the distant rumble of engines reaches their ears. At that point, the St. Mary’s River seems almost narrow enough to swim across yet upbound thousand-foot freighters glide by effortlessly several times a day. A single freighter is well worth the drive from downstate.

Neebish Island seems to be the wilderness sister to its neighbor, Sugar Island. Everything about it says “shhhh, don’t tell anyone.” The ferry is harder to find. The signs are harder to notice. It seems quieter, greener, and full of hidden roads, paths, and treasures.

I first arrived at Neebish around 1993 thanks to a dear friend whose family has had a cabin on the island for decades. The wall space over the desk is covered in photos documenting the generations of this family that have used, appreciated, and added on to this piece of property.

Almost everybody along this stretch of beach are distant relatives of the same family. Yet, they are considerate and welcoming of strangers and guests. That includes the unofficial welcoming party of often more than a half of a dozen dogs, well trained and well mannered, who wander freely and play for hours on the beach.

The adopted motto for those using the cabin is “a rainy day at Neebish is still better than a sunny day downstate.” Cell phones are turned off. There’s no television. Only a radio. It takes a day or two but you get on “Neebish time”: eat when you are hungry, sleep when you are tired, read a lot, and visit the rest of the time.

I have been so blessed by this tiny slice of heaven. It is a magical place."

I was selected - as were DaHubby's photos! It was our first published pieces! And, it made my love for this place all the sweeter....

Saturday morning, when this is scheduled to publish, the Vikings and I will be heading north to pick up DaHubby near Big Rapids, then off to Alpena for the night, and then up to Neebish for some family time. We will also make it into "DaSoo" aka Sault Ste Marie - DaHubby's old stomping grounds.

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