Summer lovin’

Summer is a hard time to be a blogger. There always seems to be so much going on…and even when there’s not anything going on, I tend to be suffering from heat/humidity exhaustion (read: I’m crabby and blame it on the weather) and the last thing I want to do is sit down and write a blog.

Luckily, I got to escape my Scary House and heat-induced bad temperament for a weekend and visit one of my favorite places – if not my hands-down favorite place – in the world: my Aunt Susan’s cottage in South Haven, Michigan.

Our Ladies Weekend haven

Technically, the cottage is in Covert, not South Haven, but that’s a fairly minor detail. The important thing is that Susan’s house is located on a beautiful piece of Lake Michigan shoreline. With all due respect to the Northern Atlantic (on whose shores I spent the past three summers), there is not a piece of (non-tropical) coastline in the world as gorgeous as Lake Michigan coastline.

Lake Michigan sunset

Susan has a great big deck overlooking the water, and as glorious as it is to sit there and gaze out over the horizon, eventually the water calls and you have to go in. This year was even more of a treat, as Lake Michigan was warmer than I have experienced it, and had huge, rolling waves to boot.

Going for a dip

As beautiful as the scenery is, it’s only part of the attraction. One cannot go to Ladies Weekend (the term we’ve coined for our annual pilgrimage) without eating – and drinking – very well.

Friday night’s dinner is almost always pizza and beet salad from Martini’s in Kalamazoo (trucked up to the cottage by the last of Susan’s Kzoo friends to arrive). Saturday night has been many things, but for the past several years it’s been ribs, cooked and sauced at the local butcher shop and reheated on Susan’s grill, accompanied by roasted broccoli and fennel, the best baked beans I’ve ever tasted, and garlic bread. Snacks are also high-quality – bread and cheese from Zingerman’s, walnut pate from the food co-op, fresh fruit…the list goes on.

As for beverages, several of our ladies are wine enthusiasts (myself included) and bring bottles that have been purchased in advance and set aside sometimes for several months. Since this is July, the selection usually involves a lot of Sauvignon Blanc and in recent years, rosé. Beer also makes an appearance, usually in the form of microbrews (this year brought several selections from the Corner Brewery, including the most delicious Espresso Love Stout).

Beer, bread, and cheese - mmmmm.

Certainly not the least of the attractions is the company. Ladies Weekend is attended by the women on my mom’s mom’s side of the family, including those who have joined by marriage, and over the past few years, the younger generations (me first, followed by my younger cousins). These are not necessarily relatives I see all the time, and even the ones I do see frequently are more relaxed at Ladies Weekend. Everyone is more fun, myself included.

With cousins Catherine and Olivia

So…that excuses me from one weekend of blogging. I realize I’ve been absent a little longer than that. Stay tuned this week – I have a lot of posts in the queue coming up.

Until then, I leave you with a question: Where is your favorite vacation spot?

*Photo credit to Catherine Brown Miller and Olivia Chadwick – I was too lazy to take many photos this year, so I had to steal some from you ladies – hope you don’t mind!

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