Ahh, Western Michigan. My yearly escape from the pavement, smog and traffic of suburbia. Here I find relief in sparkling lakes, sandy beaches, deep green forests, and spectacular sunsets – with nary a traffic jam in sight.
And then there are the farms. Lots of farms. Lots of farms with fields of green and gold dusted with purple.
And the barns! Red barns, white barns, beautifully weathered old barns.
The area near the coast is a hot bed of fruit production, thanks to Lake Michigan’s warming influence and a longer growing season. Fruits grown include peaches, pears and plums, apples and apricots. But what Mason County is famous for is its tart cherries. Wonderful, dark, juicy cherries.
Guilty confession: this is a stock photo, not one of mine. There sat a bowl of beautiful cherries in Betsey’s kitchen, and it never occurred to me to take a photo. Stupid me – I ate them instead.
Of course, there are other things raised here besides fruit. Like asparagus and snap beans. Corn and wheat. Dairy cows and other livestock. Christmas trees!
On a corner in the middle of nowhere, a country store. Well, to a suburban girl like me it seems like the middle of nowhere. No doubt the locals consider it a congested intersection. In fact, you can find it on Google Maps – at the corner of West Nurnberg and North Quarterline Roads. Reckon that’s progress for you.
Mennonite girl working in a roadside field. Farming is a way of life for the sizable population of Mennonites and Amish in Michigan, as it is for communities in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and other locales.
The dirt and gravel roads I traveled on in Michigan had me wishing for my trusty Forester SUV instead of a rental sedan. I wouldn’t have tried the road at bottom left even if it wasn’t a private road.
Coming up: Sleeping Bear Dunes