If you’re like me, vacations seem to get stacked in a corner, and banished into the maybe someday pile, or stashed on my idea shelf. So, when my husband Jeff and I decided to get out of town for our 18th wedding anniversary, it felt like moving out of our comfort zone. I knew we had to get intentional about resting when I felt that stifled feeling similar to writer’s block, yet applied to all of life. I felt like my creative juices had dried up. And, Jeff a very routine-driven individual, had a sense of just getting by with not much joie de vi•vre.
A week before, I did a Google look up on my computer for the area we would be visiting for ideas of fun activities. I also researched the weather to see what days would be best for these activities and made a tentative plan.
When the day we were to leave finally arrived, Jeff wasn’t feeling the best, so we decided to leave the next day. When we finally arrived at our destination and drove into the woods, at the camp in Port Huron, dusk was just starting to settle in.
The green trees, with their lacy canopy swayed in the breeze as if beckoning us to come and rest awhile. We had leftover pizza we grilled. We settled in to the cottage and then drove to the Break water or pier at Lexington Harbor to watch the sunset.
Sunday morning dawned fresh and beautiful. We had a leisurely breakfast from the grill, went to church, and returned to the cottage for steaks, potatoes, and corn on the cob (you can find some inexpensive steak at the store if you look for it). That evening we decided we would venture to Sarnia, Ontario for fish and chips.
Going over the Blue Water Bridge stirred excitement, as I watched the gorgeous aqua water below and looked out over the point to the Ft. Gratiot Lighthouse.
We checked out some expensive sit down restaurants, and then decided we would go back to a fish and chips wagon by the St. Clair River Warf, right below the Blue Water Bridge. We got our food, a double portion of what we expected, and sat in the car at our river side restaurant table for two.
A wind surfer entertained all us cars lined up on the wharf as we sat watching fierce storm clouds gather over the Great Lake Huron.
Wind whipped across the water from the lake, the surfer rose sometimes 10 to 15 feet above the water. Finally, when the storm came close lightning and thunder forced the young man to shore. Jeff and I ate half of our meals and decided we needed to go back to the cottage…even though the storm was raging… we had to cross that 233 high bridge to get back to the cottage. The wait on the bridge took over half an hour. Wind howled. Rains pelted the wind shield; lightning slashed streaks through the sky. We sat suspended over angry rapids of the St. Clair river channel.
Over the radio we heard songs about God seeing us through the storm. Hale beat against the car as we crossed through customs and back into Michigan. Arriving safely called for celebration. We decided to stop at the Double Tree Inn restaurant called Steamers. Since it was the hotel we stayed in on the first night of our honeymoon, it felt extra special, to sit in the restaurant and split a humongous desert and reminisce a little. Did I mention we had a window seat and could see the St. Clair River and watch the traffic on the Blue Water Bridge and watch for any river freighters?
We lingered in the restaurant for some time, celebrating our safe passage over the stormy bridge while we enjoyed our peanut butter and jelly tiramisu.
Arriving back at the cabin, we discovered we had no electricity. We spent the rest of the evening driving to a store for ice and packing the food into the freezer. The next day we had hoped to spend on the beach. Some of the beaches were closed. We looked at one of the park beach entrances and huge trees had been uprooted, as if a tornado had passed through. We also realized we had left Jeff’s swim shorts at home. Plus, it was cloudy and rainy. We decided to eat our picnic lunch we had hoped to eat on the beach, by the Lexington Pier. Biting flies and rain hurried us along. Later we looked through the charming shops in Lexington hoping to find a deal on a swimsuit for Jeff, but after we had enjoyed ourselves shopping with no swimsuit deal, we went to Meijer’s and found Jeff new swim shorts (on sale). Since we hadn’t showered that day, we stopped at a nearby beach and swam. As the sun set over the horizon, we washed our hair in the lake (using biodegradable camp soap).
Tuesday we bungeed the bikes to the car rack and drove over to Lexington for the start of a 10 mile bike ride (Thank you Schwartzs). The ride proved gorgeous as we peddled up a slowly rising incline.
Scenery came slowly, so we could enjoy it all. We passed by apple trees, a golf course, farms, a vineyard, old stately homes, and lovely vistas full of wildflowers and flitting birds.
When we finally arrived at our destination, The Swinging Bridge, we felt a real sense of accomplishment. We met a group of young men who had also seen a dream of theirs come true. They were playing for the first time on a Frisbee golf course for which they had petitioned the city. It was fun to see their excitement.
We rolled back into Lexington a little later than we had planned, but all was well and we had had a great bike ride.
Wednesday we enjoyed a full day at the beach, jumping in the waves, and flying the kite Jeff and I bought on our honeymoon (we had flown it at the Marquette Beach at that time). People sat smiling at it, those bright colors, the long flowing tail… just as they had 18 years ago. It made me think about the way Christ centered marriage can be a testimony to the world. Our marriage has come through some rough times, but with God’s help, we have learned a lot, like the power of humility, the need to continue to depend on God every day, and… the need to share God’s grace and mercy with one another.
One last stop at the Blue Water Bridge before going home, we took our dog, Kia-Jane for a walk along the side of the river and got to talk to a lot of people. We saw two freighters come through the river. One was so huge, it looked like it was the shore…and I had to do a double take. It appeared seemingly out of nowhere due to a fog.
Even though taking a little time off meant we had to break ourselves away from the routine, it was worth it.