• Anthony Manuel Ramos

And Just Like That…,

Last week, Marc and I embarked on a road trip to destinations north and west of Mannsiding Cove. Michigan is a state divided by the Great Lakes - Michigan and Huron - into two peninsulas connected via the Mackinac Bridge – which in itself is a marvel of architecture. Built in 1957, this 26,372’ majestic bridge is the longest suspension bridge between anchorages in the western hemisphere. The Mighty Mac also has a special place in my heart with its ecru towers and “Golden Gate” feel.


The fall foliage on our drive over the bridge and into the Upper Peninsula was as colorful as a crocheted afghan tangled with yellow, green, orange, brown and red yarns. We trotted up to Marquette and checked into a downtown hotel that had just the right amount of historic charm. Driving to Champion, Marc and I enjoyed dinner with some dear friends at their beautiful off-the-grid home nestled among 250+ wooded acres. In the morning, back at the hotel we awoke and had a proper breakfast in quaint Marquette.


Lake Superior is simply superior… a massive body of water with a grandness to match. From the Landmark Inn, our view of the lake included an incredible massive rusted structure that was built to load iron ore on to ships as they anchored in the harbor during their work day. As part of our travels, Marc and I enjoy buying local photography. In that spirit, we purchased a richly colorful photograph of the Northern Lights over Lake Superior and The Lower Harbor Ore Dock. We plan to hang it in our home once we’ve had a chance to get it framed.


As we left charming Marquette, Lambeau Field, where the Green Bay Packers play, was in our sights. As Marc is a Packer fan we wanted to stop and buy some swag. From there we drove to Milwaukee to have dinner and drinks with a longtime colleague of Marc’s, Jan – who is so hospitable and lovely. Craft beers and some of Wisconsin’s famous cheese curds – rounded out our evening with her.


In the morning, we packed up again and left Milwaukee headed to Cedar Falls, Iowa to see our cousins on their specialty horse farm. Having never been to Wisconsin or Iowa, I of course only had preconceived ideas of what the landscape would look like – but Marc had often mentioned how beautiful the rolling farmland is with corn fields and few other crops. We arrived at Little Dickens Farm and we were greeted with the warmest hugs and a wonderfully personalized tour with proper introductions to the horses. It always astounds me to be next to an animal of size. I always need to be reminded how much I love horses – there’s something about their eyes that is so soulful and their stance is so commanding. We had a wonderful visit and could have spent so much more time talking, laughing and reconnecting.

But the road was calling us to get to Iowa City, home of the University of Iowa, by dinner time. As we rolled into Iowa City, Marc pointed to the university where he received his Master’s degree, he identified other points of interest and we quickly dropped our things at the hotel and headed to the home of a friend that has been in his life for a long time. Once we arrived, we stepped down into a hidden garden and we were greeted with open arms. After some wine and charcuterie we ventured out to dinner at the Iowa River Power restaurant – a place that held some sentimentality for Marc.

Iowa City is quite a hamlet, it has everything a city dweller might want or need – and all within walking distance. Coffee, groceries, services, boutiques, restaurants and bars – all a few blocks in every direction. The “city” is unabashedly a university town and arriving on a gameday it was active with collegiate pride.

After two glorious days in Iowa City which included a lovely trip to the Amana Colonies and a New York City worthy dinner at the absolutely stunning and amazing Orchard Green it was on to Appleton, WI to see more family. There we stayed at a cute little boutique hotel and had dinner next door at Rye – a fabulous boîte of a restaurant. Here’s the thing about cousins – related or not – when you connect with people that are as fun, interesting and easy-going as many of our cousins are, it is always a guaranteed good time.


In the morning, we awoke early, grabbed some local coffee and headed back to Milwaukee to take the high speed auto ferry Lake Express to Muskegon, MI where we would wind up our five-day road trip. Later that evening we arrived at Mannsiding Cove – our welcoming home always feels like it’s happy to sit there and wait for us to return. As dusk set in we opened the doors climbed into its fictitious arms and relaxed in its embrace.

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