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Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Lake

Once a year, my father's side of the family gets together in an historic cottage in Holland, Michigan for a reunion of sorts. When Atticus made his first appearance last year, it marked the 5th generation of our family who has attended this yearly gathering that we have lovingly dubbed "The Lake." Yes, it's important enough to earn an definite article. Situated in the historic Ottawa Beach neighborhood along Lake Michigan, the house itself is well over a hundred years old with the amenities to match. It sleeps 20ish people (more if you count the year Brian and I bought an air mattress and slept on the screened-in joke), but boasts only two bathrooms and one shower. There's no heat or AC, virtually no insulation, and the floors have bowed in the middle after over a century of wear. It smells like mothballs, is in terrible need of redecorating, and there's always sand in the beds no matter how many times you wipe your feet. Sure, we could rent another cottage along the boardwalk, but it just wouldn't be the same lake experience. And despite the aforementioned qualities, it's memories make it as comfortable as a 5-star hotel. Maybe even more so.

Over the years, we've started some die-hard traditions, including a near-nightly trip to the old General Store at the edge of the boardwalk for vintage candy and blue moon ice cream, or the a short drive south to Sagatuck, MI to visit art galleries and the Soda Fountain for old-fashioned sodas and root beer floats. But our real purpose is to soak up the sun on Ottawa Beach during the day before watching it set over the water at night (usually bundled up in sweaters because, unlike Texas, it cools down in the evenings, making the weather absolutely perfect).

This year was extra-special because we got a chance to lay my grandmother to rest by spreading her ashes along the sand dunes at sunset. It was a beautiful way to say goodbye to the woman who made these traditions possible each year, though it will never be the same without her.

We just got back this afternoon and I am already waxing nostalgic because it will be another year before I can return. But enough from me...check out the pictures below to get an idea of just how cool this place is:

Oh yeah...we also took my aunt and uncle's private jet. NBD

Flirting, as usual
The youngest pilot ever
"Driving" a Model T
At the Gilmore Car Museum

Blue Moon Ice Cream
Family time

Chasing birds with Hannah

Papa Gogo!

I could eat those cheeks

Big Red Lighthouse
Walking the pier with Dada
Family Jam Session

Boardwalk to the beach

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