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LakeStyle Magazine

Your seasonal guide to the wonders of West Michigan

Home & Garden ‘Tis the season for … Farmers Markets

West MI Travels

Muskegon home to pair of moored museums

Summer 2021

Outdoor Adventures

Adventure awaits at Silver Lake LakeStyle Magazine • Summer 2021 • 1


So Much Sand, Fun & Adventures to Explore locally!

SILVER LAKE SAND DUNES - Hart

visitors bureau

231.873.2247 | Think Dunes.com 2 • Summer 2021 • LakeStyle Magazine


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LakeStyle Magazine • Summer 2021 • 3

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Eat. Sleep. Beach. Repeat. Welcome to the second issue of the inaugural year of LakeStyle Magazine! This seasonal guide to the wonders of West Michigan is designed for you to learn more about all that this incredible area has to offer. Thank you to those that called, emailed and stopped by to let us know how much you enjoyed our very first issue that came out in March! We are so happy to highlight Manistee, Mason, Lake, Oceana, Newaygo and Muskegon counties, and our contributors continue to bring you their award-winning writing and photography. Please enjoy this summer edition of LakeStyle Magazine!

Amanda Dodge, Editor

Hello again! That very catchy phrase - “sun’s out, fun’s out” could not be more true for our area! Lake Michigan is starting to warm up, and there is so much to do and see along the lakeshore. I was able to go for my first swim in the big lake just yesterday, and it was so calm and relaxing. My children had a great time as well, and asked to come back every single day this summer! Even a sudden burst of rain didn’t dampen our fun - though it did send my husband scrambling to cover our gear on the beach. We plan to return soon. Here’s to more summer adventures!

- Amanda amanda@oceanaheraldjournal..com

lakestylemag.com

Amanda is the managing editor of the Oceana’s HeraldJournal and the White Lake Beacon. She has her Master’s degree in journalism and specializes in graphic design. She, and her husband, David, live in Oceana County with their three children. On the cover: The Oval Lake Michigan access in Oceana County

LakeStyle Contributors

• Amanda Dodge

David L. Barber

Jeanne Barber

Andy Roberts

Steve Begnoche

Caleb Jackson

David is a retired journalist who has been published in several state and national newspapers and magazines. He lives in Manistee County with his wife, Jeanne, and their two cats, Kat, and Kaboodle.

Jeanne is a freelance photographer from Manistee County. Her photos have been published in several Michigan newspapers and magazines. She currently serves as executive assistant at the Manistee County Council on Aging

Andy joined Shoreline Media in May 2012 as a sports reporter. He enjoys covering all eight schools in his coverage area and making it to as many games as possible. Andy and his wife, Amy, and their two sons live in Oceana County.

Steve has focused on photography since retiring from the managing editor’s position at the Ludington Daily News. He’s an avid kayaker, angler and outdoors enthusiast. His community involvement seeks to enhance appreciation of our area’s natural qualities.

Caleb grew up next to an Air Force base somewhere along the east coast of Florida. He writes stories sometimes, and the blue landing lights from the runways at the Air Force base back home, haunt him to this day.

4 • Summer 2021 • LakeStyle Magazine


LD-JOURNAL | WHITE LAKE BEACON

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Ludington Daily News 202 N Rath Ave. P.O. Box 340 Ludington, MI 49431 (231) 845-5181 (231) 843-4011 fax Oceana’s Herald-Journal 123 State Street PO Box 190 Hart, MI 49420 (231) 873-5602 (231) 873-4775 fax White Lake Beacon PO Box 98 Whitehall, MI 49461 (231) 894-5356 (231) 894-2174 fax

Publisher: Ray McGrew VP/CRO: Banks Dishmon Sales: Monica Evans, Shelley Kovar, Jan Thomas, Stacie Wagner Graphics: Judy Lytle, Julie Eilers, Shanon McDowell, Robin Moline, Candy Bryant News: David Bossick – Ludington Jeff Kiessel – Ludington John Cavanagh – Hart Amanda Dodge – Hart & Whitehall © Copyright 2021 Shoreline Media

Contents

West Michigan blooms in a cascade of breathaking colors throughout the summer months, and this Monarch Butterfly in Pentwater soaks up the Oceana County sun. • Steve Begnoche

Trending Recipes.....................................32 Apple turnovers for summer gatherings

Outdoor Adventures.............................9 Healthy Living...........................................35 Adventure Awaits at Silver Lake Michigan Legacy Art Park West MI Travels......................................17 Senior Style..............................................40 Muskegon home to pair of moored museums Gardening, art, good for seniors Home & Garden.......................................25 Backroad Finds........................................47 ‘Tis the season for … Farmers Markets Delving into a different era

LakeStyle Magazine • Summer 2021 • 5


The world takes a lot out of you. Is it possible that your home seating could help restore you? Perhaps if it adapts to your body and supports you in ways no other seating can. Experience Hegg’s Gallery of Fine Furniture and decide for yourself with the help of our talented staff.

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www.heggsfurniture.com 6 • Summer 2021 • LakeStyle Magazine


Benona Shores Golf Course

Oceana Golf Club

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LakeStyle Magazine • Summer 2021 • 7


The Silver Lake sand dunes are one of the most popular attractions in Oceana County • Photo courtesy of the Silver Lake Sand Dunes Area Chamber of Commerce 8 • Summer 2021 • LakeStyle Magazine


Outdoor Adventures

Adventure Awaits you here

Silver Lake offers a wonderland of attractions amidst awe-inspiring natural beauty By ANDY ROBERTS

S

ummer has arrived in West Michigan, and with it one of the area’s biggest attractions - Silver Lake. With the most stringent restrictions brought about by COVID-19 now a thing of the past, the area is open and ready to welcome travelers from around the state and the country. “This year, the big thing is letting people know things have reopened and are back to normal,” Silver Lake Chamber of Commerce executive director Scott Beal said. “A lot of the visitors from other states aren’t clear (when they arrive). The big message here is that everything is up and running and good to go.” Located in the small village of Mears in Oceana County, Silver Lake is a popular tourist destination that hosts events throughout the summer. So well-known and popular is Silver Lake, and particularly the nearby sand dunes, that the area has its own chamber of commerce, which can be visited at ThinkDunes.com for a full accounting of the area’s offerings. Despite last year’s abbreviated summer season dunes campgrounds didn’t open until late June as stay-at-home executive orders were not lifted until early that month - Silver Lake State Park manager Jody Johnston, who’s been with the park since 1997 save for a three-year detour as Holland State Park manager, said that by his estimates, the park actually saw more visitors in 2020 than in a normal year. He said an average year generally yields about a million visitors, and last year it was more like 1.6 million. The ability to naturally social distance while still getting outside and having a good time at a vacation destination was likely a major factor. “Last year, people were cooped up and this was a great way to still social distance and get out and enjoy the outdoors,” Roy Gardner, who is assistant manager at Wild Bill’s ATV Rentals on Silver Lake, said. “We anticipate this year might be busy as well,” Johnston said. “We believe it might be partly because of the COVID crisis, with the outdoors being safer. I think that was a trend we really saw, and it was probably one of the good things we saw from the crisis. Numbers were up in all those areas - campers, boats, even our rustic campgrounds - we don’t run any (at the state park), but out in the woods, those were up more than in the past. Hopefully that trend continues.” LakeStyle Magazine • Summer 2021 • 9


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Based on what Beal has seen already in the early weeks of summer, the area is on course for an even bigger year in 2021. Two more pieces of great news came through recently with the reinstatement of July 4 fireworks at Silver Lake (to go with a July 3 display at Pentwater and a July 2 one at Hart Sparks) and the Silver Lake Apple and Barbecue Festival, set for Sept. 10 and 11. “We get a lot of calls and e-mails, and the main thing is people trying to find a date where they can find availability,” Beal said. The biggest draw in the dunes is the portion that can be driven on by off-road vehicles (ORVs). Johnston said the Silver Lake dunes are the only ones east of the Mississippi River that offer off-road enthusiasts the opportunity to drive on them (he believes the nearest ones like them are in Oklahoma). There are about 2,000 acres of sand dunes, he said, with about 450 of them designated for ORV usage. Visitors can bring their own off-road vehicles, rent them from one of the merchants that offer them, or enjoy a tour of the dunes from Mac Wood’s, which offers group outings. “I think it’s just the experience in itself,” Gardner said of the draw of taking an ORV on the dunes. “The dunes are a phenomenal thing here. it’s unique to any part of the sand dunes, the way they’re blocked off.” Gardner, who’s only been at Wild Bill’s for a year but said 2020 was a successful year at the business, added that about half the people who rent ATVs from Wild Bill’s are interested in exploring the property and climbing the large hills. The other half are more interested in sightseeing and “proving they were there” by taking pictures atop the dunes. Interestingly, the ORV era has gotten progressively bigger, Johnston said, as the dunes edge further into the trees. But that’s far from the most unusual fact about the dunes; that might be the existence of piping plovers in the dunes. A piping plover is a small bird that, Johnston said, is “related to a kildare”, and there are two active nest sites in the Silver Lake dunes area. By state law, because the plover is designated as an endangered species in the Great Lakes area (it’s considered the slightly less urgent ‘threatened’ nationwide), Silver Lake State Park and surrounding areas have to accommodate the plover’s nest sites. To do so, Johnston said, the park has moved the ORV boundary 100 yards from where it had been so the eggs can hatch and the new plovers can move about. “It does affect our operations a little bit,” Johnston said. “Mac Wood’s dune scooters have had to adjust their route. It’s just another thing that shows what a unique environment we have. It’s not just, come shred the dunes with your buggy. We’re a highly regulated dune mass.” Even apart from the dunes, there’s any number of possibilities for visitors, including family-oriented attractions. Beal said Mac Wood’s rides are the best way for a family group to see the dunes, and Wave Club Water Sport rentals offers boat and jet-ski rentals for exploring the lake. There’s a designated beach


The Little Sable Point lighthouse, just south of Silver Lake State Park, offers guided tours. • Photo courtesy of the Silver Lake Sand Dunes Area Chamber of Commerce LakeStyle Magazine • Summer 2021 • 11


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“Specializing in Smiles” 12 • Summer 2021 • LakeStyle Magazine

area for those who love to swim or catch rays. If visitors are into golf, Golden Sands Golf Course is nearby. Like watching racing? The West Michigan Motorsports Park has events throughout the summer. Interested in lighthouses? The Little Sable Point lighthouse offers guided tours. A Craig’s Cruisers location on the main drag of Silver Lake offers mini-golf, go-karts and other kid-friendly fare. Those willing to venture a bit from the main drag can visit places like Lewis Adventure Farm and Petting Zoo and Country Dairy, both in New Era. And, of course, there is no shortage of great food options nearby either. “We’ve actually seen more and more familytype visitors the past couple of years,” Beal said. “There’s a lot more of those families coming in and hitting those 4 or 5 spots. People really enjoy being able to hit all those spots and bring the kids. It’s not just the dunes and the ORV-ers.” The state park offers over 200 campsites that are considered modern by state park standards, Johnston said. This means they have hot water, toilets and showers. Those wanting to camp or have an extended stay would be advised to either be patient or visit during the week as opposed to a weekend; Beal said waiting lists are already building up for many weekends at the campgrounds, and the various hotels and Airbnb sites nearby are in a similar boat. “Reservations are highly recommended because we are so busy,” Johnston said. “You can reserve up to six months out, and once we get to mid-June and past the high school graduations, we’re busy every single weekend. “What we’ve seen the last couple of years, and we were seeing this trend before COVID, we’d advise people to come in the shoulder season, May and the first half of June, and September and october. We can have tremendous weather (in those seasons) sometimes. Also, we advise people to come on weekdays, arrive on Sunday and leave on Thursday. We saw some of that last year, probably for people avoiding crowds.” Whatever you visit for and whenever you make the trip, it’s clear Silver Lake offers a lot for any vacationer. Gardner summed it up, passing along an anecdote about running across new Chevrolet trucks being tested on the dunes the same day we spoke to him for this story. Even a mundane Wednesday can be special on Silver Lake, whether it’s on the dunes or somewhere nearby. The excitement is rising for a great summer. “From a nature lover who likes to see the outside, you get beautiful scenes, you get to see lake Michigan, the way the sand moves out there.” Gardner said. “The unique creations people make, from trucks to custom-designed vehicles, it’s exciting to see. “On a scale of 1 to 10 (for excitement), I’d say most of them are at a 10. Most people are excited to (go out on the dunes), and have never done it before.”


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LakeStyle Magazine • Summer 2021 • 13 www.themarketludington.com


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14 • Summer 2021 • LakeStyle Magazine

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LakeStyle Magazine • Summer 2021 • 15


USS Silversides (above) and the LST 393 (below) museums in Muskegon County• Jeanne Barber

16 • Summer 2021 • LakeStyle Magazine


West MI Travels ‘FANTASTIC … UNIQUE … SPECIAL’ Muskegon home to pair of moored museums celebrating the Greatest Generation of WWII By DAVID L. BARBER

B

olted and burnished by Rosie the Riveter and her Day of Infamy-awakened co-workers, two celebrated warships christened to carry what would become the Greatest Generation, today serve as moored museums in the stilled waters of Muskegon. To wriggle and wind your way through the endless maze of passageways of USS Silversides and LST 393, to climb their narrow ladders and explore their hidden-in-plain-sight nooks and crannies, yields an unforgettable experience – educational, emotional and inspirational – that no books, movies, or classrooms can equal. And, keep in mind, as you make your way from bow to stern in the heart of one of those spirited vessels, and then the other, if you turn an ear to the humbling, haunting echoes that give both ships life, you just might hear the eternal laughter, shouts, whispers, cries and silence of the brave crews who served aboard the legendary Gato class submarine that scored 23 confirmed sinkings of enemy warships – the third-

most of any allied World War II submarine – and the massive, box-like landing craft that ferried soldiers and tanks from defiant England and America to the shores of Omaha Beach during the liberating D-Day invasion of Normandy. LST is a military acronym – an abbreviation – for Landing Ship, Tanks. Of the dozens of parks, museums and memorials that honor our veterans across the six-county LakeStyle coverage area – including all those cemeteries, big and small, that date back to the Civil War and before, and that have their own localized war monuments located on their sacred grounds – USS Silversides and LST 393 open unique windows to what life and death was like for our military personnel in the earlyto mid-1940s, from when the first bomb fell at Pearl Harbor, to when the last bombs fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. To stand on their decks IS to stand on hallowed grounds. At its 34th Annual Lost Boat Ceremony held a few weeks ago – May 30 – the bell of the Silversides was rung 52 times in honor of the same number of submarines lost to enemy action during World War II. At the beginning of that ceremony the four-plane Hooligans LakeStyle Magazine • Summer 2021 • 17


A statue of a WWII bugler is located in front of the LST 393. The ship, which saw action during the D-Day invasion is now a museum located in Muskegon. • Jeanne Barber 18 • Summer 2021of• Normandy, LakeStyle Magazine


Flight Team performed a flyover that left the bright blue skies over the Lake Michigan shoreline painted with white puffy contrails. They then delivered an emotional Missing Man formation in which one of the four aircraft broke away from the others and soared toward the heavens to honor those airmen lost in combat. The historic military war birds consist of T-34 Mentors (trainers) and L-17 Navions. Two members of the United States Submarine Veterans of World War II Association – who also serve as board members to the Silversides museum – sat topside of the 80-year-old battle-tested submarine during the ceremony, shaded by their traditional Australian Digger headgear. Greatest Generation submariners Don Morell of Muskegon and Roger Whitman of Coopersville received an appreciative standing ovation when introduced to the large gathering. A third WWII veteran sat in the crowd. Australian Digger hats are dark blue, with a gold band and gold trim on the edges of the brim, and each adorned with a large white plume feather. Archivist Amber Dowdy said museum personnel at USS Silversides are always ready to roll out the red carpet for members of the Greatest Generation, especially submariners. And, given advanced notice, they will give those honored visitors a hands-on experience that will take hostage of four of their five senses – touch, sight, sound and smell – as they start up the massive diesel engines in the submarine. “Yes, absolutely, if we’re given enough notice (of their visit) we’ll even fire up the engines for them,” said Dowdy. “There’s all sorts of smoke and smells and noise, it’s fantastic. It’s not something you can get in a lot of other places – it’s unique. It’s pretty special. “Their reactions (is one of) amazement. To hear them tell of how they ‘slid down these stairs,’ or did this, or that, is interesting – special. People come here and want to see history, but they don’t expect to relate to the experience, but that is what we give people here at the museum. “We honor the 52 submarines that were lost during World War II, that’s the main purpose of our (Memorial Day weekend) event,” said Dowdy. In all, America’s Great Arsenal of Democracy turned out 263 submarines of various size and class that sank several hundred enemy ships – military and commercial ships carrying military supplies – for a total of 5.5 million tons of enemy losses. In the ebbing years of the war, 28 of those submarines were laid down in a shipyard located along the eastern shores of Wisconsin on Lake Michigan. Built at the Manitowoc Shipbuilding Company – which lies 60 miles northwest of Ludington – 25 of those “Freshwater Submarines,” as they became known, would sink 132 Japanese ships. Today, Manitowoc is the home port to its own World War II submarine museum at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, where the USS Cobia (SS 245) is permanently moored. Besides USS Silversides in Muskegon and USS Cobia in Manitowoc, other Gato-class submarine museums include the USS Cavalla in Galveston, Texas; USS Cod in Cleveland, Ohio; USS Croaker in Buffalo, N.Y.; and, USS Drum in Mobile, Ala. The keel of USS Silversides was laid down in November 1940, at the Mare Island Navy Yard in Vallejo, Calif. Launched in August 1941, she was commissioned just days

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Greatest Generation veterans Don Morell of Muskegon (left), and Roger Whitman of Coopersville - both of whom served aboard submarines during World War II - sit topside of the USS Silversides during that museum’s 34th Annual Lost Boat Ceremony, which took place over the Memorial Day weekend. • Jeanne Barber

after that sleeping Sunday morning surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. With its shorter-than-a-school bus conning tower, low sleek hull and shark-nosed bow, USS Silversides could never have been mistaken for any other warship of its era, anymore than a hummingbird could have been confused for a crow – its profile is that diminutive, and distinguishable. Slightly longer than a football field and barely half as thin as a high school basketball court – it measures just 311 feet long by 27 feet wide – and with passageways so narrow for two crew members to walk side-by-side would make for crowded conditions, the search and destroy submersible contributed mightily to the American war effort and ultimate victory. Silversides and her 76 Gato-class sister boats could dive to depths of 300 feet – it’s worthy to point out that’s the same distance as her length, bow to stern – though some were believed to have gone a bit deeper to escape enemy depth charge counter attacks, causing them to fall to crushing depths that placed perilous stresses on their egg-shell delicate steel hulls. With a maximum surface speed of 21 knots, or 24 miles per hour, and a top submerged speed of just 9 knots, or 10 miles per hour, submarines during that era were as close to being sitting ducks as a moving target could be. Yet of the 14 war patrols submarine 236 made during the war – that was Silversides hull and tower number – only one crew member was killed in action, and that came on its first patrol May 10, 1942, during a 75-minute surface battle with a Japanese guard boat. Deck gunner TM 3 Mike Harbin was 20 • Summer 2021 • LakeStyle Magazine

killed that day and, just hours later, buried at sea during an emotional ceremony veiled in somber naval tradition. But if the war delivered unyielding moments of terror and heroic action for the crew of USS Silversides, it also delivered unforgettable moments of calm and humor. During its fifth patrol in 1943 near the Solomon Islands, the sub’s official patrol report would be etched to indicate: “Proceeded on surface toward assigned position … a frigate bird made a high level bombing attack, scoring a direct hit on the bare head and beard of the OOD (Officer of the Deck), Lt. Bienia. No indication by radar prior to attack.” For its contribution to the war effort, USS Silversides was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation for cumulative action over four patrols, as well as 12 battle stars. Constructed alongside USS Silversides is a two-story conventional museum that houses thousands of submarine-related paraphernalia, and hands-on materials and equipment intended to enhance the visitor’s realization of what life was like aboard a WWII submarine. USS Silversides is listed on the U.S. national Register of Historic Places, and as a U.S. National Historic Landmark. Moored just a few feet off Silversides’ bow is the Prohibition Era United States Coast Guard Cutter McLane, which today also serves as a floating museum. Permanently tied up at Heritage Park on the southeastern shores of Muskegon Lake, LST 393 was one of 1,051 such ships built during WWII that could transport 20 or so Sherman tanks in its cargo area. Sailing across open waters, the ship wouldn’t stop until it reached the shorelines – literally – where


it would open two large doors on its bow, lower its ramp, and then stand guard as those tanks drove off into battle. “Imagine a boat like this (LST 393) rolling up onto your beach, it’s front end dropping down and a couple dozen Sherman Army tanks driving off, imagine them coming at you,” said Brendan Sturette of Muskegon. “Now imagine 500 of these boats doing that same thing like they did on D-Day. Talk about taking the war to the enemy. “I’ve been inside both the submarine (USS Silversides) and this LST, many times, and both are incredible, it’s like I see something new every time I come in. Both make you appreciate the American workers who put them together – so many, so fast. We won the war on the beaches and the battlefields, but we also won it in the factories.” During its repeated voyages into harm’s way and back again, LST 393 earned three battle stars for its participation in the invasions of Sicily, Italy and Omaha beaches. The 328foot long ship with a crew of about 120 officers and enlisted personnel made 30 trips between England and France in the immediate days after D-Day, and was being prepared to take part in the Pacific Theater of war when Japan finally surrendered. An impressive ship/museum, LST 393 today is divided into a boat load of cubical areas that hold countless interesting exhibits in its six decks, including: • U.S. Army weapons, knives, bayonets, field and mess equipment • Model aircraft and ships from WWII • A display dedicated to “Women of the Military” • Military uniforms • A WWII Jeep • Posters of WWII • 10-foot long model of the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise • The battle flag flown over LST 393 at Omaha Beach on D-Day • Hundreds of WWII-era photos and maps and an untold number of other displays and exhibits, as well as ones that look back on all wars that followed, including Korea, Vietnam and Afghanistan. After viewing those exhibits, visitors can walk through the ship’s lower and main deck areas, including its galley and mess, crews quarters, radio room, chart room, sick bay, officers quarters, captain’s quarters, pilot house, and more. LST 393, just one of two of its type that remain in the world, is tied up along a pier of downtown Muskegon. Permanently moored about 20 minutes due west of LST 393 in the Navigational Channel that tethers Muskegon Lake to Lake Michigan, USS Silversides is just one of six Gato class submarines that have been preserved. Hours of operation: USS Silversides, September through May, Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (June through August extended hours, seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.); LST 393, now through Labor Day, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday through Sunday. Locations: USS Silversides, 1346 Bluff Street; LST 393, 560 Mart Street. Both are easily accessible from Lakeshore/ Shoreline Drives. Telephone numbers: USS Silversides, 231 755-1230; LST 393, 231 730-1477. Websites: Silversides, silversidesmuseum.org, and, LST 393, lst393.org.

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oft-talking Pete Wilson unleashed a hearty, fatherly laugh that caused those sitting nearby to laugh along. Their collective chuckles – led by the kindred patriarch, himself – were meaningful, sustained, and served as proof-positive that if the Mason County farming family grows anything, it grows joy. Oh yeah, and then there’s all those tasty greens and other mouth-watering goodies they harvest, too. Talk about Christmas in the spring, and summer and fall! So, just how does the lifelong farmer, his wife Jill, and their 12 children – “yes, we’ve been blessed with a lot of kids, we have an even dozen (ages 2 ½ to 24)” – bring in their crops, year after year? “Well, we eat as we go,” Wilson said as he let loose with his spirit-defining laugh. “Sometimes I’ve teased (our kids) about being bunny rabbits, so I made a rule: ‘hold on guys, you gotta’ put in two hands full of beans per basket, before you can eat one.’ Otherwise they’ll just sit there and eat green beans.” The Wilson family’s Kids Ranch Farm CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) near Free Soil is one of many small family farms located in Western Michigan that has, over the years, developed a strong base of customers who come back season after season, year after year. Shopping at local farm markets, said Wilson, has been and will continue to be critical to the long-term viability and sustainability of West Michigan’s familyrooted farming communities. And why is that? “Well, I think there are a couple reasons,” he said. “One, it’s a way to get the freshest, best-tasting vegetables and fruit, for sure. Two, I also like the fact of supporting our small, local farmers. “I kind of like the old-fashion, small family farms, over the big factory farms – though I understand here is a place for that – but without people stopping and buying our consistently (good products), a lot of little guys would just die out, so it’s a good way to support your small, local farmers.” Wilson also finds the seasonal maze of mom and pop roadside stands that patchwork the area to be appealing – and appetite quenching – too. “I like those little roadside stands, too,” he said “Usually, you see them on M-22 or US-31, like in Pentwater, where somebody might have a stand set up. I love LakeStyle Magazine • Summer 2021 • 25


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those roadside stands. When my wife and I go on our anniversary trip in the fall, or something, we’ll stop and get some cider or donuts or apples.” Farmers markets, by nature, experience notable changes in product availability throughout the summer and fall. On Saturdays, Wilson takes his harvests to the Manistee Farmers Market. “Right now, in Western Michigan, you’re going to find mostly salad type of materials, or, asparagus,” Wilson said. “Pretty soon you’ll start seeing fruits coming in – if they didn’t get frosted out – strawberries, cherries, peaches, and then apples in the fall. “In July you start getting into your green beans, and then tomatoes, and later in the year, sweet corn, and then in the fall, some more salad mix – spinach, winter squash. “One of my last things will be winter storage cabbages. I also kind of revisit spring with cauliflower and broccoli. Then, apples are a big thing in September and October.” Referring to his family’s website at kidranchfarm. com, Wilson said, in part: “Our approach is sustainable, transparent agriculture. Sustainable: achieved by following the natural cycle of life pattern in our gardens. (Grow, die, decay, feed new plants.) Our plants grow using the sun, rain (and groundwater), and nutrients found naturally in the soil. We then harvest the plants for us, our customers and our animals. Plant and animal waste is then put back onto the gardens to build up the soil for the next crops. Pests are kept at bay through healthy growing conditions, predation, row covers (insect barriers), hand picking, and sprays derived from living organisms. This natural and simple approach is referred to as organic gardening, also known as traditional or ‘old fashioned.’” “‘The team’ happens to be our family – one dad, one mom, and a dozen kids,” the website continues. “In general, we farm together. Some of our older ones have moved on to pursue interests and careers of their own but still find themselves volunteering to help out from time to time. Everyone pitches in to some degree or another. Some like to weed with a hoe, others prefer hand weeding, and still others prefer yanking out old plants and feeding them to the pigs. Like most people, the kids all enjoy putting in the seeds and new plants. Almost everyone enjoys picking produce, except for the beans. We love to eat fresh beans, but no one enjoys a sore back or knees from picking the beans off the plants. This is the reason the beans are a more expensive item at the farmers’ markets. Together, the family decided that the price of beans had to be worth the labor.” Michelle Gaglilardi is programs director with the Michigan Farmers Markets Association (MIFMA). That organization publishes a list of Farmers Markets across the state, with the caveat that data within is self-reported from each individual market. “As gathering places where people get to know one another, Michigan Farmers Markets provide access to fresh, affordable food and knowledge to families in the community,” said Gagliardi. “Many of Michigan’s markets accept food assistance benefits, including SNAP


A selection of produce can be seen at the Pentwater Farmers Market. • Steve Begnoche

Bridge cards and Double Up Food Bucks, which allow families to stretch their food dollars twice as far by matching the dollars spent on fresh fruits and vegetables. “Michigan farmers markets provide a chance to learn more about your community through access to fresh, local food and other products. You can ask questions, get recommendations, and know you’re getting the freshest and best produce available.” If the Wilson’s family farm and others like it are “gathering places where people get to know one another,” and if the Manistee Farmers Market is a reflection of other farmers markets in the area, then this just might be a banner year for crops in West Michigan – assuming Mother Nature plays along. According to the Michigan Farmers Markets Association, June 2021, website (mifma.org), farmers markets in the six-county LakeStyle area of Muskegon, Oceana, Mason, Manistee, Lake and Newaygo counties include: MANISTEE FARMERS MARKET Manistee County Season: May through October: Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon Riverside Park/Veterans Memorial Park, Manistee Programs: WIC Project FRESH; SNAP Bridge Cards;

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LUDINGTON FARMERS MARKET Mason County Season: May through August: Friday, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. 150 North James St., Ludington Programs: SNAP Bridge Cards; Double Up Food Bucks Market Manager: Heather Tykoski Contact: 231-845-6237; www.ludington.mi.us/195/Farmers-Market PENTWATER FARMERS MARKET Oceana County Season: June through September: Monday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 231 S. Hancock St., Pentwater Programs: Market FRESH Market Manager: Eva Gregwer Contact: 231-869-4150; www.pentwater.org NEW ERA FARMERS MARKET Oceana County Season: June through September: Tuesday, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m (second and fourth Tuesday of the month) 1820 Ray Ave., New Era Programs: WIC Project FRESH; SNAP Bridge Cards; Market FRESH; Double Up Food Bucks; Certified Market Manager Market Manager: Sandy Whitaker Contact: 231-861-5018 MONTAGUE FARMERS MARKET Muskegon County Church Street, Montague Season: May through October: Saturday, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Tuesday in June, July and August, 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Market Manager: Steve Coverly Contact: 231-893-1155 ext. 1757; www.cityofmontague.org MUSKEGON FARMERS MARKET Muskegon County 242 Western Ave., Muskegon Season: May through November: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Programs: WIC Project FRESH; SNAP Bridge Cards; Market FRESH; Double Up Food Bucks; Market Manager: Michelle Primer Contact: 231-722-3251; www.muskegonfarmersmarket.com SWEETWATER LOCAL FOODS MARKET Muskegon County Season: Year round: Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon 6401 Harvey St., Norton Shores Market Manager: Diana Jancek Contact: www.sweetwaterlocalfoodsmarket.org/ GRANT FARMERS MARKET


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M A D E I N L U D I N GTO N , M I C H I G A N LakeStyle Magazine • Summer 2021 • 29


Customers and vendors enjoy beautiful weather at the Manistee Farmers Market. • Jeanne Barber

NEWAYGO FARMERS MARKET Newaygo County 28 State St., Newaygo Season: June through October: Friday, noon to 6 p.m. Programs: SNAP Bridge Cards Market manager: Colleen Lynema Contact: 231-652-3068; www.rivercountrychamberofcommerce.com

Newaygo County 135 S. Maple St., Grant Season: June through October: Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Programs: WIC Project FRESH; Market FRESH Market Manager: Pete Pickard Contact: 231-282-0424 FREMONT FARMERS MARKET Newaygo County 7 E. Main St., Fremont Season: June through October: Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Programs: SNAP Bridge Cards; Double Up Food Bucks Market Manager: Karen Baird Contact: 231-924-0770; www.fremontcommerce.com

Note: Other farmers markets maybe located within each community, please contact a local community’s chamber of commerce.

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elebrations are common in the summer months. July 4 is Independence Day, and that momentous occasion lays the foundation for a month-long celebration of Americana. Few fruits have been associated more with America than the apple, due in large part to John Chapman, affectionately known as Johnny Appleseed. Chapman was born in Massachusetts during the Revolutionary War. Chapman’s father fought in the war, then survived to return home to farm and teach his son the family business. The younger Chapman is said to have spent 40 years clearing land and planting apple seeds in Midwestern states. Apples thrived and became important foods for early settlers. Apples were easy to grow and store for use throughout the year, plus they were — and still are — versatile fruits that can be used in many different recipes. Apple pie is a popular dish, but a close cousin to pie — turnovers — can be just as delicious, and a sweet treat for barbecues or other events this summer.

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1 1⁄2 cups thinly sliced, peeled apples (roughly 1 1⁄2 medium-sized apples) 1⁄4 cup packed brown sugar 2 tablespoons water 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon granulated sugar 1⁄4 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon butter or margarine 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla 1 box refrigerated pie crusts 1 egg

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“Diversity” by David Barr, founder of the Michigan Legacy Art


Healthy Living Park • Jeanne Barber

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ne of the most beautiful sculpture parks in all of America is just a pleasant drive from anywhere in LakeStyle country that is West Michigan. And even as hummingbirds, bluebirds and their flocks of feathered friends were returning from who knows where, and their burrowed-in brethren – the chipmunks, whistle pigs (a.k.a., woodchucks) and camera-shy northern Michigan black bears – were shaking off their snowed-in slumbers, the Michigan Legacy Art Park was springing its way to the top of a growing number of gottago-there bucket lists. Combining the best of what Mother Nature can sculpt and paint, with the best of what Michigan artists have created, the park – now 26 years old – was recently recognized as one of the Top 10 Best Sculpture Parks in all the United States, coming in at No. 3 in a USA Today Readers Choice contest. “That was a huge, huge honor,” said Tobi Karch, interim operating manager at the Michigan Legacy Art Park. “We’re incredibly honored to be selected in this nationwide poll. The Art Park was up against other venues that certainly are better known, but we believe this recognition reflects our truly neat concept of showcasing art by Michigan artists depicting aspects of our state’s history and our beautiful natural settings. “Being recognized among the 10 best sculpture parks in the nation was an honor in itself, but being named No. 3 on that list just illustrates the impact we’re having. It’s pretty incredible. I think it’s really going to bring about a lot of visits this summer.” Located in the rolling hills and forests of the Crystal Mountain Ski Resort near Thompsonville, the Michigan Legacy Art Park – open daily during daylight hours – was founded over a quarter-century ago by Michigan resident and internationally-renowned artist David Barr, who passed away in 2015. Barr’s own sculptures in the art park include “Sawpath Series,” “Solar Month,” “Fairy Ring,” “Diversity,” “Nurture/ Nature,” “Stockade Labyrinth,” “Transit Survey,” and “Big Two Hearted.” His half-century body of work includes sculptures for many public spaces, including “Transcending” in Detroit’s Hart Plaza, as well as work for numerous private collections and various international projects “The Michigan Legacy Art Park has truly become a natural extension of David Barr’s work,” said Karch. “It reflects the global influence he had for the concept and great appreciation of our world, of his own creations exhibited. “There’s more than 50 pieces of art in the park. We LakeStyle Magazine • Summer 2021 • 35


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have a piece of art that was installed recently (in June) called ‘Michigami Down Under.’” Created by artist Donald Rau, Jr., of nearby Thompsonville, “Michigami Down Under” is a sterling example of the inspirational and emotional sculptures that are located throughout the Michigan Legacy Art Park. “For me, as I started on the path toward retirement, there came an unusual and rewarding turn as I discovered the world of metal sculpture,” Rau wrote on the Michigan Legacy Art Park’s web page. “At the age of 60, with encouragement and motivation from my wife, I found my ‘artsy’ side as she often tells people. Today, over 14 years later, I find myself busier than ever designing and creating metal and glass sculptures, while enjoying every moment in my studio. “I have created numerous carbon steel and stainless steel works incorporating added elements of glass for striking contrast and color. Designs may come from an inspirational moment I have, a whimsical thought from my wife, or a request from a client to fill an unusual place in their world with something different. Many of my works have become focal points in client gardens and homes from Crystal Mountain Resort in Northern Michigan, to the far west of Tucson, Ariz.” Rau said, “... prominent works can be found in Trinity Lutheran Church in Frankfort, Betsie Valley District Library in Thompsonville, along with the children’s garden of the Traverse City Michigan Public Library.” “In 2014, I was invited by the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum to display my sculpture entry into the Grand Rapids, Michigan ArtPrize Competition, outside the entrance of the museum,” he said. “The following year I was invited to display another sculpture project during ArtPrize 2015 at First Park Congregational Church.” Other of Rau’s projects have been displayed at the Elizabeth Oliver Art Center in Frankfort, Jordan Valley Arts Council, the Building 50 art show in Traverse City, and at the Twisted Fish Gallery in Elk Rapids.” Just a few weeks ago, in early June and after months of delays due to COVID, the weather and more, a dedication ceremony to officially welcome Rau’s “Michigami Down Under” into the Michigan Legacy Art Park was attended by dozens of people. “That particular piece, the concept, was floating around for a couple of years before I finally proposed it (to the Art Park),” said Rau. “A good friend of mine had approached me about four or five years ago with the idea – the concept. His father was a commercial fisherman on the Great Lakes, and he has some Native American heritage. “So, I played around with the idea in my head for a good year and then formally presented it to the Art Park about two years ago; and they accepted it just prior to this pandemic. I actually fabricated it and constructed it during all of last year. “The number one criteria for any piece that is accepted now into the permanent collection has to relate to something about Michigan history, and I don’t know how much more Michigan history you can get than fishing the Great Lakes, and the Native American involvement,” said Rau. The Mission of the Michigan Legacy Art Park reads:


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“Enriching lives through experiences that connect art, nature, and Michigan’s history.” Though she has only returned to the art park for the summer – she has her own business in Traverse City she’ll return to – Karch said she feels right at home being back in a park, at a position that means so much to her. “As far as my feelings, when I walk through the park, I remember walking through the park years ago with David Barr,” said Karch. “ And though I had walked through it before, when I walked through it with him, as he pointed out what the art meant, or what his decision was, he was an incredible, inspiring artist, as founder of the art park. “Now, I feel like he kind of is with me, or is someway, as I come back for this summer to help guide the park to its future. There’s a lot of me anchored in the past with really strong memories of David as he explained to me his vision, and also the kind of person he was.” Karch reflected on working at the park from 2003 to 2006. “I was the first executive director and the first paid employee, it was all volunteer-run up until that point,” she said. “Then I went on to other endeavors. Now the park is between executive directors and they are currently in a search for a new executive director. Currently I work as an academic tutor and I have some time this summer and the board reached out to me and asked if I’d be willing to take on this leadership

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position for the summer while they do a search for a new person. And I said, ‘absolutely.’ “It’s great to be back and to be once again in the park on the grounds of Crystal Mountain – it’s as if I never left.” Past and current leadership at the park, said Karch, has been critical to its growth and now, national recognition as one of the best sculpture parks in America. “Today, we have an education director, we have an artistic director, and typically, we have more people working in the office,” she said. “Renee (Hintz, former director) grew the park tremendously. She grew the gala event, the volunteer base, and just really the park is doing an amazing job, in general. “We’re here, we’re strong, we’re ready to move forward. But for me, I do have one foot in the past, because of my past relationship with the park, and the honor of being its first executive director. The art park will always have a special place in my heart. “We have an ADA path (American Disabilities Act) that helps people to get up to our amphitheater, so it’s not so challenging to walk up because it is pretty steep to go up the main trail,” said Karch. “We also were named a Blue Star Museum. We allow veterans to come in and enjoy our park, free of charge.” Over the years the Michigan Legacy Art Park has won a number of awards, including: President’s Plaque, Keep Michigan Beautiful, Inc., 2014; Governor’s Award for Innovative Tourism Collaboration, 2009; Great Lakes Cultural Award, 2004, Michigan Association of Community Arts Agencies; E. Ray Scott Award, 2005, Artserve Michigan, to Ken Stevens for Art Park Educational Programs; Governor’s Arts Award, 1998, to Crystal Mountain for MLAP Partnership; Community Arts Award, Traverse Area Arts Council. Other artists and their work within the 30-acre Michigan Legacy Art Park that has over 1.6 miles of trails include: • William Allen – “Frog” • Dewey Blocksma – “The Wheels of Progress”


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“Michigami Down Under” by Donald Rau, Jr. • Jeanne Barber • Byung Chan Cha – “Satisfaction from Nature” • Robert Caskey – “Harbinger” • Caroline Courth – “Complements” • Sergio Degiusti – “Reaching Out” • Brian Ferriby – “Superior”; “Michigan” • David Greenwood – “Fallen Comrade” • Bob Holdeman – “A Dream of Home” • Fritz Hortsman – “Singing Tree” • Patricia Innis – “Logging Camp”; “Robins!”; “Serpent Mound”; “Hemingway Haunts” • Gary Kulak – “Barn Chair” • Kaz McCue – “A.M.” • Michael McGillis – “Five Needles” • Rebecca Nagle – “Inside a Historical Mystery: Mounds” • Sandra Osip – “Unravel” • David Petrakovitz – “Mysterious Traveler”’ “King Stanley” • John Richardson – “Ontonagon” • John Sauve – “Man in his Element” • Les Scruggs – “Weeping Willow” • Nolan Simon – “Table and Chairs No. 3” • Lois Teicher – “Bonnet” • Eric Troffkin – “Communications Vine” • Joe Zajac – “Masonry Vessel” (temporarily not on view) • Anonymous artist – “The Trap” • The top 10 winners for Best Sculpture Park in America include: • Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park, University Park, Ill. • Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Grand Rapids, Mich. • Michigan Legacy Art Park, Thompsonville, Mich. • Brookgreen Gardens, Murrells Inlet, S. C. • deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, Mass. • Glenstone, Potomac, Md. • Art Omi, Ghent, N.Y. • Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle • Desert X, Coachella Valley, Calif. • Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden, New Orleans

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L

ife is good when you’re asked a multiple choice question, for which every answer would be correct. Question: What benefits do senior citizens get from gardening A – Exercise B – Fresh air C – Fellowship D – Growing their own food? Without missing a beat, Sarah Howard, executive director of the Manistee County Council on Aging, delivered her answer. “All the above, every single one of those,” she said. “Gardening is really good. People who do gardening are outside, they’re in the dirt, they’re moving in different directions – you can sit on a stool and do it, you can stand up and do it, whatever works. It’s really good for them. “During the pandemic, the one thing that people who were isolated and not exercising lost was their mobility. So if people get out and garden – and you’re up and down and moving around – it will get them back in shape, because that’s one thing our seniors have really suffered from being sedentary – just sitting. This year has just made a mess. “A lot of people grew up on farms and now, they just don’t have the space to do it, or, it’s not compatible with their health needs – it’s too hard to get down onto the ground, (and back up again),” she said. “But for those who can ... they are getting back to their roots.” Really? “Getting back to their roots?” Even Sarah had to chuckle at the double-meaning of her statement. Today, she said, the Manistee County Council on Aging and Senior Center is partnering with the Manistee Community Kitchen, to grow food for their pantry. “They will be utilizing our property for the next garden


Gardening, art,

he body and mind of senior citizens By DAVID L. BARBER that they put in,” said Howard. “So, this fall, they’ll be getting it all ready. What we’re hoping is that we will get volunteers from our senior center who will get involved with that program. “We’re also going to have raised-garden beds here for our seniors, so they can do their own gardening, especially if they live in an apartment where they don’t have a place to garden – this will be a place that they can come and get their (raise) produce.” The possibilities of what new programs they might offer in their new home – the former Saint Mary’s of Mount Carmel Catholic Church on the city’s north side – has staff and the senior citizens it serves there, excited. The new home, just a few blocks from Lake Michigan and visited off and on throughout the day by wandering deer that come and go, is much larger than the previous which was located in the downtown corridor. “It’s endless, honestly, just endless, despite our deer friends, which we have many,” she said, laughing. According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), benefits of gardening for seniors include: Exposure to vitamin D – Vitamin D increases calcium levels, which benefits bones and immune systems. Decreased dementia risk – One study found that gardening could lower risk of dementia by 36 percent. Researchers tracked more than 2,800 people over the age of 60 for 16 years and concluded that physical activity, particularly gardening, could reduce the incidence of dementia in future years. Mood-boosting benefits – Another study suggests that gardening fights stress even better than other hobbies. Participants completed a stressful task and were then told to read inside, or go outdoors and garden for 30 minutes. The gardening group reported better moods afterward, and their

blood tests showed lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Enjoyable aerobic exercise – Gardening is a great form of aerobic exercise, plus, you might become so engrossed in your work that you don’t even realize you’re breaking a sweat. Pulling weeds, reaching for various plants and tools, and twisting and bending as you plant will work new muscles in your body and help with strength, stamina, and flexibility. Helps combat loneliness – After retirement, many people struggle with fewer socialization opportunities, and community gardens can be a fun way to engage with others while providing benefits to neighborhoods. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, community gardens are “collaborative projects on shared open spaces where participants join together in the maintenance and products of the garden, including healthful and affordable fresh fruits and vegetables.” Howard said she’s also excited what new art-related programs might be created to accommodate the center’s growing membership. “I think anything you do, where you are being more creative, uses parts of your mind that we don’t otherwise use if we’re just sitting there watching TV,” she said. “We’re going to do a ‘Makers Space’ for painting and pottery, quilters … that’s one of the rooms that we’re going to have in our activity area, so it will have places for all kinds of arts – for making things. “We already have one painting class scheduled for June. It’s huge. We all have a lot of plans for what we want to do, and I’m excited. We all can find something that we’re passionate about. I am amazed at what we will be able to do here.” LakeStyle Magazine • Summer 2021 • 41


Sunrise cross over Manistee Lake. • David L. Barber

Serenity of the lakes: special, spectacular, spiritual By DAVID L. BARBER Some see simplicity in a sunrise – or sunset – over a lake. Others see something spectacular. And there are those who see something truly spiritual when the sun – whether saying good morning, or good night – leaves its calling card on the surface of a lake, big or small. Not long ago, as I sat along the western shore of Manistee Lake, the morning sun yawned and began its peek-a-boo ascent over the eastern horizon where, with the skilled hand of a master artist, it painted a brilliant golden cross on the rippled easel’s surface. It began as an every-day awakening. Then, it turned spectacular. And finally, for me, it became spiritual. After just a few minutes and even fewer clicks of my camera trigger, the cross faded into the morning mist. But the moment – the message – remains with me. It’s teasing moments like that for which I give thanks, how a lake and the sun will etch tranquility into our soul and senses. We all have memories of the lake: whether of splashing, skipping stones, swimming, fishing, boating, walking along the shoreline, or simply sitting and watching the sun come and go so gracefully, one in spirit with the water. With warmer weather taking us hostage, my wife and I will seek shared solitude most evenings as we sit and look out over the Lake Michigan horizon, hoping we’ll see a freighter pass by. Sometimes we’ll share sandwiches, or ice cream. Some42 • Summer 2021 • LakeStyle Magazine

times we’ll just sit and talk about this and that, and how our day had gone. Most times my wife will walk the shoreline for several minutes in search of beach glass and colorful stones – she always carries a camera, “just in case” – while I’ll sit and read, do a word puzzle, feed the seagulls, or nap. All the while, the great lake in front of us remains a gracious host – a motivator, a sanctuary of inspiration. All lakes, big and small, are that inviting, and, given the circumstances, that inspirational. Three years ago a friend, “Doc” Wagoner, lie dying. My wife and I loved Doc dearly, and I was called on to write about him – his life and his legacy – because the Manistee Senior Center had been renamed in he and his wife’s honor. But while the tears came, the words would not. Finally, after sitting alone along the shoreline of Lake Michigan, I wrote, in part: “As the sun kneels behind the Manistee Lighthouse, my thoughts seem lost within the pale horizon. And as I sit here with pen in hand – my bare feet buried in the warm sand – I doubt even the approaching nightfall will provide me with a darkened refuge from which to hide from the swimmers, beach walkers and sunset seekers. For you see, I’m crying. Quietly and in hiding, of course, but I’m crying, nonetheless. I’m thinking about Doc, whose own sunsets – known but to God – seem so uncertain to the rest of us. Strong and gentle, kind and courageous, the curse word


that is cancer has a stronghold on my friend and yet Doc is at peace with that. So much so that he, himself, is helping those around him – me included – to find peace with his journey. And it is that peace Doc is sharing – in heart and in spirit – that is causing me to not wait until Doc’s last sunset before I write a tribute ABOUT him. Rather, I’ll write one TO him. Because if anyone should read this, it should be him. Doc, I love you. Your other Wednesday morning breakfast buddies – Ted and Stan – love you, too. Your friends and family all love you. Oh, you are loved alright, more than you can ever imagine. As I sit here pushing my feet deeper and deeper into the sand, and as I listen to the cackles and squawks of a squadron of seagulls that keep buzzing me, I’m overcome with emotions – and tears – as I think of all you mean to me, to your friends and family, and, what the heck, probably even to these stupid, annoying seagulls. I know the numbers Doc – you delivered over 6,000 babies throughout your doctoring career … (B)ut let me ask you this, do you have any idea how many people you’ve delivered out of the shackles of sadness with your calming words, humble actions and embarrassingly sunny smile. You’ve brought a lot of joy into this world, Doc, and I’m not talking just about the delivery room. Your kindness, friendship, caring, humility, loyalty and so much more are qualities we all try to emulate, but all-too-often, fall short of. Those qualities – those life-affirming promises of faith and friendship you possess so greatly – are statements of a life well-lived; statements of truth and love that should command us not wait until after-the-fact to write about. As you and I have talked privately about so many times in recent weeks, you can’t wait (until) you’ll join the love of your life in the heavens beyond the setting sun. You and your bride will be reunited among the angels, themselves. In the scriptural words of St. Paul, my friend, you ‘fought the good fight … you kept the faith,’ and I don’t want to wait until after the fact to tell you that. You are an inspiration, sir.” I share my retrospects of Doc to illustrate how healing it can be to seek peaceful surroundings during moments of stress and pain. If not for the lake and the sun that befriended me that somber evening a few years ago, I’m not sure I would have found the words to write about Doc, to Doc. When he read my column, Doc squeezed my hand as we sat in spirit-binding silence. In the same vein, if not for the sun rising over a much smaller lake a few months ago, I would not have been witness to the brilliant golden cross that served as a reminder of the greater calling we can respond to, or not – it’s up to us. It’s no secret we writers are a fickle lot. We’re not easily defined and, the older we get, we look to escape the shackles of rules and guidebooks, of headlines and deadlines, if only to sit along the sun-bleached shoreline in search of serenity and inspiration … … and to sit with Doc again, and embrace our calling.

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The Barn Antiques in Oceana County • John Cavanagh 46 • Summer 2021 • LakeStyle Magazine


Backroad Finds

Delving into A different era

Antiques and Vintage abound in West Michigan By CALEB JACKSON

S

ummer is finally here and for many that means the revival of their favorite activities, like swimming, hiking, or maybe even taking a cruise out on the lake. But, while summer in Michigan is a wonderful time to venture outdoors and get some of that sun we have been missing, it doesn’t mean that’s all there is to do. It is also a great time for antiques. West Michigan is in a sweet spot for the antiquing crowd. First of all, it’s old enough. The territory of Michigan was established in 1805, and it officially became a state in 1837. On top of that, all 83 counties in Michigan were established within the 19th century. Oceana, Lake, Mason, Manistee, Newaygo, and Muskegon in particular were all founded within a 30-year period, between 1830 and 1860, with Oceana being the oldest, having been formally established in 1831. Given that the generally agreed upon age for antiques is one hundred years and older, this puts us in a nice ballpark. But it is also good we are not too old. Obviously, the older the antique, the more work it takes to care for and preserve it. Many antiques are also devalued by being “modernized” or “repurposed.” In short, it becomes more difficult for older antiques to survive for a variety of reasons. The other benefit we have in West Michigan is that we are not known as a hot spot for antiques. You can find “Top 10 US Towns for Antiquing” lists on the internet all day long, and I guarantee you West Michigan will not be on them. Instead, you will see places like Clinton, Tenn., or Millerton, N.Y. This is good, as it keeps the prices low while simultaneously containing much of our market in the area. If West Michigan did come up on one of these searches, we would be inundated with collectors and resellers coming from all over the country, increasing the demand and reducing the supply of antiques. As a result, the prices would go up and many of the antiques in our markets would end up in collections scattered around the US, or maybe even the globe. Now, any readers interested in antiques will be familiar with the highly desirable “barn find,” but for the uninitiated, a “barn find” is a rare and valuable item that has been tucked away in somebody’s barn for decades, or maybe even centuries, just waiting to be rediscovered. West Michigan is peppered with deLakeStyle Magazine • Summer 2021 • 47


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crepit old barns and generational family farms. This alone should be enough to whet the appetites of any collectors out there, but unless you are in the business of acquiring large quantities of farmland, the likelihood of encountering one of these barn finds is rather slim. Still, as properties in this area get sold, and barns are cleaned out or renovated, many of these items could end up in circulation. And so, I have taken the liberty of constructing a little list of shops and malls where antiques can be found. I will be focusing on the six counties previously mentioned: Oceana, Lake, Mason, Manistee, Newaygo, and Muskegon. However, rather than give you a list of shops in each county, I will structure the list according to the types of shops available and cover a few counties in each category. I feel this format will not only be beneficial to experienced antiquers, who may be preferential to one shop type over the other, but it may also be useful to the curious newbies who might otherwise not know what they are walking into.

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Up first we have your regular old antique shops. This is probably what most people imagine when they think of walking into an antique store. One shop comprised of antiques amassed by, and sold for the profit of, the store’s owner. It is quite a different format from the consignment style shops and antique malls, which we will get into later. Shops like these are often in regular store fronts, or sometimes even historic buildings and old houses, adding an air of charm to the antiquing experience. One of the many perks of these style shops is that the owners are usually incredibly friendly, helpful and knowledgeable on their stock, since they have spent many hours of research getting to know each and every item before sticking a price on it. Even if you don’t intend on buying anything, it could be worth it to walk into one of these shops just to get into a discussion about antiques and learn a thing or two form the shop owner. Another benefit is the often meticulously designed layouts of the shops, and that’s not to say that the other types of shops aren’t presented nicely. It’s just that, having a sole proprietor means that entire floor space can be organized in one large, homogenous manner, unlike antique malls where each vendor is restricted to an individual stall. In shops like these different rooms or sections could be organized by the types of antiques. You can have a shelf dedicated to old tools, and one room that is strictly kitchen supplies. Or they could choose to organize everything according to period. One room might be 1930s memorabilia, while another is 19th century knick-knacks. If this sounds like something that interests you and you are in Newaygo, check out Attic Adventure in Fre-


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The Barn in Oceana County • John Cavanagh White RiverAntiques Light Station 50 • Summer 2021 • LakeStyle Magazine


mont. If you are in Muskegon, Seven Sisters Antiques and & Gifts might be something that you enjoy. If you want to visit one of these traditional style shops in a historic building and you are in Mason County, you are in luck. Go to Cole’s Antique Villa in Scottville, or Sunset Bay Antiques in Ludington.

Barn Shops This next category is a bit of a Michigan special, as you won’t find these types of shops everywhere in the country. It is essentially the same as the previous category, but instead of being in a store front or a regular building, they are shops operated out of old barns on private property. In the whole six county area, there are only two such shops that I could find and both of them are in Oceana, which seems appropriate, given that it is the oldest county on the list. We have Pole Barn and a Passion in Hart, and The Barn Antiques in Shelby. Both displays are massively impressive, and the barn atmosphere just makes it feel that much more authentic. Pole Barn and a Passion also has a garage full of antiques to rummage though, and the owner, Kurt McQuesten, is incredibly kind and helpful. These places are worth visiting for the experience alone, and besides, it may be the closest you come to a true and honest “barn find.”

Antique Malls The last category of stores we have are the antique malls. In Manistee we have Maryann’s Antique Mall, and if you’re in Lake County, there is the Paul Bunyan Antique Mall in Grand Haven. You can’t miss this one, there is a very large wooden sign for the shop that looks like Paul Bunyan. Then, if we come down to the Muskegon area, we have Airport Antique Mall in Norton Shores, and the Montague Antique Mall & Collectibles in, of course, Montague. Antique malls like these differ from the regular antique shops because they are comprised of vendors who rent a booth in the mall and rely on the staff to sell their goods. While many of the cashiers at these stores are very knowledgeable on antiques, it’s practically impossible for them to be as intimately familiar with the stock as the more private style business owners are. The upside though, is the sheer number of antiques in a place like this. Many larger antique malls usually divide up the booths in a grid like patten, turning a large building into heavenly labyrinth of antiques. Places like these are wonderful just to get lost in, and if you do, you will most likely discover antiques that you didn’t even know existed before. One of the benefits is that different vendors usually specialize in different things. If you are interested in vintage toys, there is probably a booth for that. If you’re looking for baseball cards or records, there is probably a booth for that. This brings a sort of natural sense of order to the place. If you know what

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you are interested in, and you know which vendors specializes in it, you can walk in and go straight to that booth. However, the draw back here is that two similar booths could end up on opposite sides of the mall. Furthermore, you are likely to never meet the vendors themselves, the ones who are truly knowledgeable about the items being sold. Although, many vendors may leave business cards or contact info somewhere in their booths. While we are on this subject, I also wanted to mention consignment shops. This list is focused on antique stores specifically, and so consignment shops didn’t make the cut, but they are still a great place to discover antiques. In a consignment shop, an individual looking to sell something will sign contract with the shop owner. The shop owner provides the market, and in the event that the item sells, they split the profits, usually in something like a 60/40 ratio. This method of sale brings in all sorts of valuable items, many of which are antiques. The shop owners decide how the items are displayed, much like the regular antique stores, while the stock is supplied by a multitude of individuals, kind of like an antique mall. The result is a nice middle ground between the two but be prepared for some higher prices. You’re paying more than one person on this one, and they both want their cut. If you want some friendly advice, I think it might be worth it to wait if you see an item you like in a consignment shop. Once a contract nears its expiration, the prices for the relevant items tend to come down.

Off the Beaten Path That’s the end of the list, but that’s not all West Michigan has to offer in terms of antiques! If you’re a seasoned antiquer, you already know that some of the best finds come where you least expect them, so keep your eyes out for any yard sales, thrift stores, auction houses or estate sales. If you’re tech savvy, even websites like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace can yield results. If you want to visit any of the antique stores mentioned in this article, keep in mind many of them are seasonal business and they may be operating on limited hours for the time being. Luckily, you can find all of them online, and most of them do have active Facebook pages with phone numbers listed. I recommend you give them a call to check what their hours are. Happy hunting!

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