Celebrating 18 Years of Marriage – Weekend Getaway Day 4

Sunday February 10, 2008 

Officially our anniversary date. 18 years ago this day I married the absolute love of my life! We had a great time while away. It was a good thing we got that massage the night before we left. We woke up to sub-zero wind-chills and winds gusting at 30-40 mph. It was down-right bitter to say the least. The drive home was treacherous. We had a rental car that the body shop had given us due to Shannon’s car being repaired (long story). It was a Ford Focus, which is small and as it turns out, not very good in high winds and slick conditions. I was WK (white-knuckling) all the way home. We made it safely, but I sure could ahve used another massage after that drive!

I enjoy taking Shannon to the yarn stores. I like plugging in the addresses into my GPS and just heading out. Plus, knowing that Shannon enjoys it so much adds a thrill for me too. God had certainly blessed us over the past 18 years. Our children are both saved and filled with the Holy Ghost, I have a great job, we have a great little home, we help pastor a world-class Apostolic church, and we have a great big wonderful God looking out for us ever step of the way.

I have been invited as the guest speaker at a marriage retreat in a couple of weeks. God has granted us widsom through-out not only our marriage but our ministry. I look forward to encouraging other couples to pursue a happy marriage. It’s one of the most rewarding investments a person will ever make; investing in a relationship of a husband and wife.

Celebrating 18 Years of Marriage – Weekend Getaway Day 3

Saturday February 9, 2007

Day 3 – Traverse City
We started our day with breakfast at Mabel’s Restaurant. This was without a doubt one of the best breakfasts we had the entire weekend. I had the Irish Omelette and Shannon had the Denver with egg-subsitute. We also bought a loaf of their homemade cheddar bread. Delish!

We had every intention of just chilling out and relaxing the entire weekend but that didn’t work out quite that way. Well, the chilling part was certainly a factor with sub-zero temps and windchills, but the relaxing part only came after we ran our legs off from store to store.

Before heading out to the yarn stores and outlets we booked a room for our final night at Grand Traverse Bay Resort and Spa. We were able to get a room for $199/night with a beautiful view of the bay in the “tower.” Our room included a hot tub (for 2), King sized bed, kitchenette, and wi-fi access. This may sound like a lot of money, but this was to be our last night away and we wanted to end our weekend on a high-note. We also booked a massage at the resort’s spa . This included a 1-hour massage. It was fabulous! I didn’t know they could do those things to your body. FYI: I had a man and Shannon had a lady…no hanky panky here!

Lost Art Yarn Shoppe – Traverse City, MI
We headed to a couple more yarn stores today as well as some shoe shopping (my favorite). Our first yarn store was “Lost Art Yarn Shoppe,” in downtown Traverse City. As most yarn stores are, this was quaint and offered some patterns that Shannon was surprised to find, like hair-pin lace patterns. The lady that tended the store was “snippy.” Shannon mentioned that she was pleased to find the hair-pin lace patterns to which the lady quipped, “well you know that’s for crocheting.” Shannon was well-aware of this fact. Another thing that turned Shannon off was when a customer asked about another local yarn store, Yarn Quest (see below), the lady “acted” like she never heard of the store. That’s bad business not pointing customers to your competitors. That says you’re paranoid and that your competitors are likely better than you.

Plamadon Shoes – Traverse City, MI
Across the street from Lost Art Yarn, I stumbled on a nicely staffed shoe store called, “Plamadon Shoes.” We were waited on hand and “foot” by a swee young lady named, of all things, “Winter.” She was very attentive to my concerns and tastes and we wound up purchasing 3 pairs of shoes and (2) bags. I purchased a couple pairs of “Keen” brand shoes and (1) pair of Merrell’s for Nathan. My shoes were Keen Bostons and Briggs. Nathan’s Merrells were Barcelona’s. The bags were by Keen as well called Alameda 15, made completely of recycled material. Hats off (or shoes as it were) to this team. They were top-notch in service, friendliness, and variety of merchandise.

Yarn Quest – Traverse City, MI
By far one of Shannon’s highlights was this store. Yarn Quest on Garfield, in Traverse City, was a good find. Shannon was able to get authentic Irish Yarn along with some patterns. She was very pleased with the staff. Shannon said she felt like she could just sit there and knit for hours. We returned for some more yarn for Shannon’s knitting partner, Pam. The ladies nearly hugged Shannon and were genuinely happy to see her. Now I know why Lost Art Yarn Shoppe was so hesitant about recommending them. They were awesome.

Irish Knits – Cedar, MI
Usually when you shop at yarn stores you’re greeted by ladies that average in age from 50 and up. This store was different. The staff was around 35 and under. Irish Knits was another nugget on Shannon’s yarn travels. They were located about 15 miles from Traverse City in a sleepy little town called Cedar. A very pleasant experience for Shannon.

Thistledown Shoppe, Sutton’s Bay, MI
Maybe it was just the time of year. The dead of winter can wreak havoc on small shops in the north. There is little or no tourism and to survive, the stores often have to skimp on inventory and variety. The Thistledown Shoppe appears to have fallen prey to the winter lull in business. They were certainly not worth the drive this time of year. Shannon was very disappointed, although the drive to it was beautiful even with all of the snow.

Dinner
Once we finished our massage we headed to a restaurant, I think it was called City, but can’t find information or links on the web to it. Suffice it to say, I know why. It was lousy. Not a very good ending to our day. We headed back to our hotel and relaxed for the evening.

There is a severe weather front that blew in over the evening. It didn’t bode well for our travel the next morning home.

Celebrating 18 Years of Marriage – Weekend Getaway Day 2

Friday February 8, 2008 

Day 2 – Ludington to Traverse City
Shannon’s really into knitting. In fact, I’ve tried to talk her into blogging about her knitting thoughts and ideas and to even blog about the many knitting stores I’ve taken her to. We visited Nautical Yarn at 108 S. Rath Ave. in downtown Ludington. It was a quaint store that Shannon was able to purchase some leather purse handles for a project she was working on. 

The Yarn Market – Beaulah, MI
On our way to Traverse City we visited another quaint yarn store in Beulah, MI called The Yarn Market at 254 Benzie Blvd. in downtown Beulah, just minutes away from beautiful Crystal Lake. The store was at one time the bank for Beulah. In fact, the office of the store is located in the large vault of the former bank. Shannon purchased a magnetic pattern holder and some patterns.

Holiday Inn – Traverse City, MI 
From there we headed into Traverse City. We spent several hours turned around despite having a GPS. My GPS (Delphi Nav200), nicknamed Betty (it has a female voice), did an excellent job of getting us where we input the addresses, but when we wanted to get a general feel for some of the area, we got turned around. Eventually we settled for the night at Holiday Inn in downtown Traverse City.

If you are on a budget I recommend this hotel although the rate was cheap enough ($80/night). It is an older hotel, and clean enough, but the linens and decor were a bit dated. We even had a corner of our room with a view of Grand Traverse Bay. As another note, I did not sleep well in this hotel due to a convention of loud kids, with dogs, running the hall ways until almost 2 a.m. I called and complained. The staff immediately sent security up to squelch the noise, but right after the guard left, the noise picked back up with a vengeance. I think once the group found out they were getting to us, they relished in that fact and were that much more malicious. I yelled out the door once in a feeble attempt to quiet them to which the adults (yes they were bad as well) said, “now we know who complained!” I was greeted by their 2 poorly groomed Schnauzers. I quickly shut the door and stuffed earplugs deep in my ears.

Blue Tractor Cook-shop – Traverse City, MI
We had dinner before settling in for the night at the Blue Tractor Cook-shop in downtown Traverse City. I had fish and chips (cod, whitefish, and one other fish) and Shannon had a stuffed chicken breast. The meals came to about $35 with beverages. Overall we had a great meal in a rustic, but clean setting.

Celebrating 18 Years of Marriage – Weekend Getaway Day 1

Thursday February 7, 2008 

Shannon and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary this weekend. February 10, 1990 was the start of a joyful journey that I have never looked upon with any regret. Shannon has brought so much joy to my life that I cannot imagine life without her. When asked if I love her as much as I did when I married her, I must say no, I do not love her as much as I did when I married her…I love her MORE!

How does one celebrate an 18th wedding anniversary. Well you start by packing your bags for a weekend retreat. We don’t like to go far, but far enough to feel as though you’re getting away from it all.

Day 1 – Ludington
We left on Thursday (2/7/08) for Ludington and stayed in a beautifully appointed Holiday Inn Express. I would highly recommend this hotel as the attention to detail and ammenties was astounding. In fact, they raised the bar for the weekend that was difficult to match, let alone beat. We arrived in Ludington in the evening so there wasn’t much we could see or do at night. You may ask why we chose Ludington and I have 2 reasons. One, Shannon wanted to be by the water and two, there were a couple of yarn stores Shannon wanted to visit. Good enough reasons for me!