A Weekend Retreat in Alpena, Michigan

During the same trip as my time in Ossineke earlier this month, I spent most of my stay out around town with Chris and my parents. I had packed light, only bringing pieces I could walk in, lounge in, and shop in all on the same day. 

We spent our morning at the harbor. Among other favorite places around town, it’s become a given that we’ll wind up out on the breakwater any time I’m home. It’s one of those spots in a city everyone makes their own—dog owners, runners, boaters from the yacht club, angsty teens, and businessmen lunching from their cars. 

This time the lake was covered in ice, slowly thawing itself out, and in the coolest shades of slate and green, sometimes almost sea-glass green. Every once in a while we could hear the ice crackle apart and see tiny bubbles rising beneath the thin sheets of ice. 

I’ve been coming here since I was very little, climbing out over the rocks with my sister. Now that I think of that, good grief Mom! You must have been worried out of your mind!  But then again, maybe she had that mysterious mother’s sense and trust. Whatever it was, it taught me how to move on my feet and trust my footing, and connect with the earth beneath me. As a result, I grew up a little fearless around similar terrain. Several years ago while visiting my sister in Colorado, I decided to yolo and climb a waterfall barefoot, despite the explicit warning signs not to. Another time I took a series of photographs of my dress in the wind on the coastal breakwater in Southern France. When I got back down to the beach, one of the men we were traveling with was shocked at my gumption to climb up there, barefoot. I remember thinking, You kidding me? That was nothing. 

After a while we left for caffeine to Cabin Creek Coffee, which is my favorite coffee shop in the area. The menu is huge—HUGE—and they’ll still make you something you’re craving off-menu. Like a mocha chai. Which was out of this world. Thank you ladies. They also offer an original, full menu of Shakeology shakes. I immediately saw myself moving back, running every morning in some vibrant, kickass Nikes, and ending downtown for a protein shake. Dangerous, is what that is.

We ended up near the north end of town, taking a walk along the river where a brave soul was still ice fishing. The path takes you behind the old brewery, where I hold ten million and one memories. After things hit the fan in 2008, the brewery changed, and then eventually closed its doors. I can never walk past it without getting incredibly sappy and quiet and my heart just chokes itself out. You know something? And this is going to sound a little bit selfish, but, a part of me is at peace that it’s closed. Don’t get me wrong, the building is gorgeous and it’s on AMAZING real estate where tall ships dock, historic train tracks run through, and the summertime vibe has never been so killer… But it’s a place that was mine, and left when I left. It didn’t live on to become someone else’s, passing hands and bartenders and fresh 21-year-olds, then 22-year-olds… it closed. Sealing it’s last years inside that I was a part of. 


I pulled myself away and after a couple of days we loaded up the car and headed back downstate. Looking around our home, I know now I'm ready to move. I'm ready for our next stop. I think I'm learning how restless my nature is, a bit rebellious and a bit headstrong. And until I find what's calling for me, we're ready to shake off the rugs, find new ground, see what else we're made of, and hit the road north whenever we feel like a Shakeology on the beach.

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