My Personal Retreat Up North

One of my birthday gifts back in January was a three day mini personal writing retreat up at the Grand Traverse Resort — alone time for me to revise my WIP, eat room service BBQ pizza, and ramble in the great outdoors a while.

My room was lovely…

My work space was comfortable…

And I did get a phenomenal amount of research and revision done. I even got to have breakfast with my sister while I was there.

After checking out on Friday, I swung by Hartwick Pines near Grayling to take a walk through old growth white pines.

Hartwick Pines, MI

I was the only one there, following someone else’s cross country ski tracks from earlier in the day, listening to the birds and the squirrels and the swooshing of my snow pants.

At Hartwick Pines

It was beautiful.

And it was exactly what I needed after two straight days of sitting, sitting, sitting.

Little Ghost Tree

Being out in the woods alone, with no sound even of distant traffic, is something I really wish I could do more often. It’s as necessary to my mental and emotional well-being as good food and exercise are to my physical well-being.

When it comes to gifts, nothing beats a little alone time in God’s country. Do my guys know me or what?

Driving North on 131 to Interlochen and Points Beyond

On Tuesday my husband, Zachary, and I dropped the boy off at his grandparents’ house and headed north for Interlochen. At the outset, it did not look to be a terribly great day for driving or for the concert.


Soon we were quite pounded with rain and white-knuckling it at only about 45 mph.


But it started letting up pretty quickly and the rest of the trip went off without a hitch.


In fact, the further north we got, the nicer the weather got.


Which is generally to be expected in the summer months.


Also expected on trips Up North are places like this.


Things sometimes get a little strange is all I’m saying. A lot of oddballs live up north (no offense to my sister).

At any rate, the concert was incredible. Quite possibly one of the best I’ve been to. The weather cooled off and the sun setting over the lake behind the stage set a great atmosphere for Brandi Carlile’s fresh sound and amazing voice.


The next day we lazed around the Traverse City and Old Mission Point area with brunch at The Omelette Shoppe on Cass St. and a short walk around the stony beach.


We found a couple interesting rock arrangements.


See the heart? And this…


And enjoyed the lovely cherry orchards and vineyards along M-37.


Too soon we headed back south. But it will only be a few weeks until we get to drive north once more, this time for nearly two weeks.

Soon it will be July (can you believe it?). So I must say goodbye for a couple days so I can finish up June’s short story for you all. Here’s the updated cover, which I’m liking very much: