Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Ashland Wisconsin and Duluth Minnesota

Katie has released the blog back to me so that I can get back to the travelogue…we circled Lake Superior in late August and early September. There was lots to see.

Sturgeon at the Duluth aquarium.

I could do a separate blog about each town we visited, but in the interest of saving some time, here are just a few images from a couple towns before we headed into Canada.

The side of the co-op was covered in a beautiful mosaic. This is only about a third of it.

Ashland was a town in Wisconsin that we were just driving through on our way to Duluth. We weren’t planning on stopping there, in fact the road moved north of downtown, following Lake Superior’s shore.

But we saw a sign that referenced ‘public art’ with an arrow pointing toward downtown, a block away, so we turned toward town. And we were astounded by our first glimpse of huge murals painted on the sides of many of the retails buildings.

The flowers complimented the beautiful mural.

At first we were just going to take a couple of pictures and move on. But then we realized how outstanding these pieces of art were and we parked and walked from one end of town to the other.

These women were real people who worked at the local diner back in the day.

I’m only showing you a fraction, they were all worthy of photos and I took pictures of all of them on the main street. I think there were a couple more further away.

Sometimes the murals melted right into the afternoon sky.

If you ever get the chance to visit Ashland I recommend giving yourself an hour or more. Plus there was an absolutely wonderful burger place right downtown. I had a really good bean burger.

Mural reflections.

I recommend visiting there too.

Then we got back on the road, heading to Duluth.

The bridge into Duluth.

Duluth is a working town, lots of ships coming and going. While we were at the aquarium we saw a big ore boat come into port. And no matter where we went ships were loading or unloading.

I liked the grey ship with the grey sand against the blue sky and water.

You saw the post about the mansion in town. There’s also Pattison State Park, named after the family that built the large house.

Upper falls. It’s hard to see just how big these falls are.

Lots of waterfalls there, and I was still figuring out settings to make the water smooth. Sometimes I got it right.

Working on my fluid water technique on the lower falls.

The first night we stayed on the top floor of a hotel with a view of the city.

Lake Superior, a ship, the iconic Duluth lift bridge and a cloud front. Perfect.

At night it was so pretty. I could show you that…but you can imagine it. I sort of liked this shot from our window.

Lots of color at night.

Just because it’s fun.

OK, OK…here’s the real night shot.

Took this one with my phone. Phones cameras are amazing.

The second night we stayed at a hotel down near the marina with a lovely view of the bridge and boats.

Early morning light on the marina.

Plus we got to drive across the famous lift bridge!

Crossing the bridge.

After two days of sightseeing in Duluth, visiting mansions, lighthouses, waterfalls, the aquarium and Lake Superior we moved on, heading north into Canada.

Pretty and peaceful at the Duluth aquarium.

I guess I’ll have to post at least one more travel related blog or I’ll have abandoned you at the border.

Roses in full bloom at the Leif Erikson Park at the edge of Duluth as we left town.

And there’s plenty to see in Canada.

Stay tuned.

Building on a building in Ashland.


Houses of different kinds

During the past couple of days we’ve visited a few houses over here in Wisconsin and Minnesota, each one different, but each housing families in the early 1900s.

Our first house tour was in Superior Wisconsin, where we visited Fairlawn, a mansion built in 1891…

Fairlawn mansion.

…the family only lived in the house a few years when Mr.Pattison died unexpectedly. His wife moved the family to California and the house became a children’s home for several decades.

Lots of drapery and carved wood.

Inside the first floor has been restored to look as it did when the family lived there, while the top floors describe what life was like when it housed dozens of children.

We also toured Glensheen, a mansion in Duluth Minnesota.

The grand front of Glensheen.

This one was completed in 1908, and was lived in by an original family member until 1977 when the last daughter died.

The dining room.

With 20,000 square feet, fifteen fireplaces, numerous bathrooms and bedrooms, it’s huge and beautiful.

Lots of carved wood in this house too.

Each of the seven children had their own bedrooms, often with their own bathrooms too.

One of the girl’s rooms.

Most of the rooms had lovely views of Lake Superior. Still, the house was a lot darker inside than what we’re used to today.

Drying linens in the laundry room.

The grounds were beautifully landscaped, complete with a huge vegetable garden, tennis courts and lawn bowling.

The back of the house was more stunning than the front.

Next we headed north, tunneling our way through a couple rocky outcroppings.

Tunneling our way north.

We stopped in Two Harbors Minnesota where we walked the breakwater enjoying a beautiful later summer afternoon.

Such a beautiful day to be near the water.

In the same park was a lighthouse that has become a Bed & Breakfast. It looked wonderful, though it’s privately owned and we couldn’t go inside.

Seems like a perfect spot to relax on the shores of Lake Superior.

Guess we’ll have to make a reservation and stay overnight to see what it’s like to sleep in a lighthouse!

Then we moved on to something that’s been on my bucket list for a long time — Split Rock lighthouse.

We took the tour and learned a whole lot about what life was like when this lighthouse employed three keepers. Then we started to explore.

Stairs ascending the tower.

Up in the relatively short tower there is a truly beautiful lens.

The lens rotates and sending out a bright white light every 10 seconds.

This lighthouse sits high on a cliff; I’ve seen pictures that made me want to see it for myself.

I couldn’t keep myself from giggling with joy when I rounded the corner and saw this jewel of a lighthouse shining in the sunlight.

But nothing could have prepared me for just how beautiful it really is, as seen from the stony beach far below it’s base. I couldn’t stop smiling. It’s just stunning, definitely my smile of the week, and a perfect way to end our exploration of the Duluth area.

We’ll be moving even further north, into Canada, tomorrow. I don’t know when I’ll be able to post again…but you can be sure I’ll have more images and adventures to share when I do!

Me and the lighthouse.


Mesmerizing water and clouds

What is it about bodies of water and cloudy skies that makes me grab my camera? I don’t know, maybe you’re the same way. I don’t necessarily have to have both of them in the same shot to get excited…

Taken from a rest stop on our first day heading north.

…but when I do I just about swoon.

Along Lake Superior’s coast, day 2 of our trip.

And when the water is moving, well, that’s hard to resist too.

Wagner Falls near Munising, where I first figured out how to get that smooth water look.

Waterfalls are some of our favorite things, and there are several in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Some take a little walking to find…

The trail to Chapel Falls.

…but sometimes that’s a good thing.

About the best I could do was this obscured view.

Because sometimes the walk turns out to be more photogenic than the actual falls themselves.

Couldn’t walk past these ferns without grabbing a shot.

Some waterfalls are easy to find, and very full of tourists on a holiday weekend.

This is the image everyone gets from the boardwalk.

But if you wander a bit upstream you can find more interesting angles.

My favorite image of those I captured at Bond Falls on Sunday.

So many beautiful spots up here and I’m very behind sharing with you. There’s the Quincy Mine tour we did, and the sunset on the beach, and the one over Munising Bay, and the night we attempted to capture northern lights, and the town of Ashland in Wisconsin with amazing art, and now, tonight we’re in Duluth.

Utterly amazing.

I don’t know how I’m going to get caught up. Guess you’ll have to wait and see.

Oh, and there’s Santa selling out to the casinos too.


Lighthouse Tuesday, UP Thursday

Original lens, Cana Island Lighthouse

Original lens, Cana Island Lighthouse

Some of you remember when we traveled to Maine last July and took you along to see some of the lighthouses there.  Well, this past Tuesday we explored Door County, that long peninsula that sticks out into Lake Michigan off the eastern edge of Wisconsin.   There are several lighthouses along the coast and we found a few of them.  Want to see a couple?

Below is Bailey’s Harbor lights.  Ship captains lined up the red marker with the lights behind it (see the third structure way in the back?) to know they were in the deepest water of the harbor.

Bailey's Harbor Range Lights

Bailey’s Harbor Range Lights


And here’s Cana Island Lighthouse, built in 1869.


Cana Island

Cana Island

You can go up to the top of this one and enjoy the beautiful view of the lake.

Lighthouse keeper (aka lighthouse docent)

Lighthouse keeper (aka lighthouse docent)


That’s always the best part of lighthouses, at least for me.  Going up the stairs and out into the fresh air with a stunning view.  I like to imagine what it was like to live there every day.

Window on the world

Window on the world

Of course I imagine the beautiful sunny days like the day we were there, and don’t think too much about those long days in January and February.  And March.


Then there’s Eagle Bluff Lighthouse, built in 1868.  This one has a tour, but we had to be back in Green Bay for meetings and didn’t have time.

Eagle Bluff

Eagle Bluff

It’s a stunning lighthouse, brick just glowing in the late afternoon sun, beautiful colors, the red roof, green shutters and golden walls.  It looked like the quintessential lighthouse, sitting high above the lake,  and it just glowed.

Windows watching

Windows watching

We spent the day Wednesday in important meetings surrounding truck safety, then Thursday morning we headed north, through stunning farm country in northern Wisconsin…

We saw these cement silos everywhere

We saw these cement silos everywhere

…and on into the western Upper Peninsula where we stopped at an iron mine tourist attraction.  Do you think this giant mining guy…


Miner guy

Miner guy

….looks a lot like the giant lobster guy we saw in Maine?


Lobster guy

Lobster guy

Me too.

Tomorrow we’re going to explore a little bit of the Porcupine Mountains.  It’s just past peak color here, still very beautiful.  I’m hoping for sunny weather.  Maybe with puffy clouds just for good measure.



I have a more serious, more contemplative blog to write about our meetings.  It’s churning around in my mind and will spew out sooner or later.  Tonight’s not the night.  Tonight just enjoy the beautiful scenery.

We sure did.






It’s all about the water here.

We’ve been traveling up the coast of Wisconsin, along Lake Michigan.  We didn’t get much further north today than where we stayed in Port Washington last night.


Morning fishing.

Morning fishing.

That’s because we slept in and then spent a few hours this morning exploring the pretty little town.  We walked way out on the breakwater; it’s all huge rough stones that you have to climb up and down.  When I was a kid this would have been a breeze.  Now?  Not so easy.

Walking the wall.

Walking the wall.


It's harder than it looks!

It’s harder than it looks!

Then on our way back from that adventure we came across a fisherman landing a salmon!  Huge fish!  I felt sorry for her (he said it was a female)…but it was still interesting to watch.  It took two guys, one with the pole and one with the net to bring her in.

Almost as big as him!

Almost as big as him!

After that adventure we wandered into town to find breakfast.  As we walked up the main street we saw this beautiful church high on the hill.

Cute town.

Cute town.

Of course we had to go up there and see.  Saint Mary’s Catholic Church is stunning, built around 1870, the stonework is beautiful.  It’s beautiful inside as well, though we didn’t take any photos inside.  It has an absolutely huge pipe organ up in the choir balcony.

St. Mary's

St. Mary’s

Then we accidentally found the old lighthouse, built in 1860 while we were trying to find another way down the hill.  Sometimes you find the prettiest, most interesting things when you just wander around!  Too bad it’s only open on Sundays.

Old light house.

Old light house.

Finally we had breakfast which was actually lunch and then we headed north, mostly along the lake.  What a beautiful afternoon we had, watching the lake, the birds, and seeing other lighthouses along the way.

Love this lake, from both sides.

Love this lake, from both sides.

Oh!  I almost forgot!  We also stopped in Manitowoc at a maritime museum and got a tour of a WWII submarine!



During the war the country didn’t have enough capacity to build all the subs that were needed, so they tapped a shipbuilding company here in Wisconsin to build more.  They towed them down the Mississippi to get them to the ocean.  This one, like the one we toured out in LA, was really interesting inside.

Forward torpedo bays

Forward torpedo bays

So that was our day.  Now we’ve settled in for the night.  We’ll see a bit more in Door County Wisconsin tomorrow, then head over to Green Bay for meetings tomorrow night and Wednesday.  We’ll share more when we’re able.

Meanwhile, hope you enjoyed the scenery as much as we did! (Some photo credit goes to the husband.)

Evening sun + red lighthouse = magic

Evening sun + red lighthouse = magic


On the road again…

As the last post hinted we’re on the road.  Want to come along?

First stop was meant to be just a quick break, a little walk after a few hours of driving, a check of one of our favorite lakes.




Lake Michigan.  With a stiff wind from the west we got to see some pretty nice waves.  I kept my camera hidden inside my winter coat most of the time; the sand was blowing with the wind.




There were huge waves being blown into the channel at South Haven.  Pretty cool to watch.  Someone I was with got his feet drenched.




I did not.  Just saying.

Then on past Chicago.  I love Chicago…really I do, but we had places we needed to be, so we just waved at the city as we went by.



Milwaukee was really pretty from the freeway too.  But I didn’t have the camera out and it passed in a flash.

By late afternoon we were near Port Washington Wisconsin.  There were only two hotels advertised on the freeway, a Super 8 that we could see from the highway exit, and a Holiday Inn that was in the other direction.  We headed toward town and the lake.  And this was our view for the evening from our hotel room.


The other side of Lake Michigan.

The other side of Lake Michigan.

This morning we are going to explore what appears to be a cute little town in search of breakfast a bit more satisfying than the buffet scrambled eggs and orange juice offered by the hotel for $6 each.

And so the adventure begins.


Good Morning!

Good Morning!