Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Manistee MI, then Crossing Lake Michigan

Hello all: We know it's confusing to have two posts on the same day; we've been to Beaver Island, then Leland, and finally Manistee MI over the last 4-5 days, and there's too much info and and too many photos for one post.

We spent two nights in Manistee, hoping for a weather window to cross Lake Michigan to the western shore and Wisconsin. Today we crossed Lake Michigan to Manitowoc WI. It was as bumpy but not as wet as our crossing from Beaver Island, but twice as long!

On the way to Manistee from Leland, we passed the Point Betsy Light. “Sleeping Bear Point” is in the background behind the lighthouse.

Manistee is a small town on a river. You saw a photo of the enormous freighters in the Beaver Island post; believe it or not, a huge freighter came through this river (and opened the bridge where this picture was taken), assisted by a tug on this turn!

When we got to Manistee, Hank was delighted to meet another friend, Danny, who is also a “pound puppy.” Danny is really a puppy, and his owners are helping him to adapt to a “club paw,” largely by carefully supervising his activity as a callous develops to protect the “thumb” without a pad.

The marina has an area especially for dogs.

As you can see, the "club paw" doesn’t slow Danny down a bit! We enjoyed meeting Debbie and John, Danny’s family.

We went to the Manistee County Historical Museum, which is a terrific collection of items reflecting past times in Manistee, including several rooms with dioramas.

Here are some hair curlers! They are the contraption in the middle, with metal curlers suspended from the hat-like top. You can also see a variety of other household items.

The museum is in the building that formerly housed the AH Hyman Pharmacy, and a section is arranged like the old pharmacy, with remedies and potions from the 19th and early 20th century. The building was one of two in town that didn't burn in 1871, coincidentally on the same day as the famous Chicago fire caused by Mrs. O'Leary's cow. The building has interesting features such as a "speaking tube" intercom system, and coal boilers (now natural gas) that supplied heat to adjacent buildings to fund their own utility costs.

Tom, the associate director, was well-informed about items and local history, and showed us a 1930s Lionel train display that he made.

Tom also played the Edison cylindrical phonograph for us!

We went on a trolley tour of the area. The downtown and homes are mostly Victorian buildings with ornamentation and colors typical of that period. There were many prosperous citizens, making fortunes from lumber, transportation, and salt.

One benefactor, Thomas Jefferson Ramsdell, built a theater which has outstanding acoustics even today and has an active schedule.
This was a controversial project, with objection from the town’s ladies about the types of people who would perform in the theater and thus expose citizens to their lifestyles, etc.

The outside of the building is unassuming, but there is a mural on the ceiling inside the theater (painted by Mr. Ramsdell's son, who knew how these civic-minded ladies had harassed his father), that has nude ladies whose faces are those of the ladies who objected to the building of the theater!

Michigan has excellent state marinas every 30 miles along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. However, they all have high docks, which makes boarding tough for unathletic people like me (KK), and even scarier to watch Hank get on and off the boat. Doug made a ramp for Hank before the trip. Here Doug makes the ramp stable, setting the ramp so it goes across the lifelines and stanchions to the dock.

Here’s Hank starting to cross…

And he’s across!

And here he gets off the boat. Fortunately, he’s agile and has no fear (or maybe no judgment!). We hope that he doesn’t fall in, and then decide that is fun!

I (KK) usually board or disembark with one hand on the handrail on the roof, another on the post, and step from the lifeline railing to the dock; Doug bounds on and off!

We are all doing well. Our best to you, Kathie and Doug.

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