The drive to Tawas, Michigan is a truly beautiful journey. It’s a relaxing way to decompress and enjoy northern Michigan’s gorgeous scenery. I like to think of Tawas as my happy place!
On the way, you drive past a couple of incredible farmer’s markets. The area’s fertile soil and industrious people combine to provide shoppers with fresh fruits and veggies that are true “farm to table.”
The big draw this year is sweet corn. I’m not much of a sweet corn connoisseur, so I don’t know why this year’s crop is better than most.
Somehow climate and agriculture have combined to create a variety of sweet corn that has people flocking from the “burbs” to the “sticks” to throw down their hard-earned cash on a dozen ears of fresh-picked sweet corn.
Naturally, I love to support small businesses of any kind. Moving to Michigan has given us the amazing ability to support local farmer’s markets and crafters.
I’ve bought a couple of bottles of home-made maple syrup that have been spectacular. No offense to Mrs. Butterworth or Aunt Jemima, but this stuff is the “lick the plate clean” kind of good.
If any pictures of me actually licking the remaining syrup off a plate should happen to the surface, let’s just call it a moment of weakness and get past it. Don’t judge!
Seeing the joy on the seller’s faces when you compliment their product is an amazing experience. It’s clear that selling their life’s work at the farmer’s market, is their happy place.
Back In The Day…
The people in this area aren’t much different than the rugged people who set up logging mills here in the mid-1850s.
Sure they have modern conveniences, but they still have to deal with brutal winters and lake-effect snowstorms that come out of nowhere.
Early settlers took advantage of nearby Tawas Harbor and Lake Huron to ship wood products to the ever-expanding US.
Today there are still a few commercial sawmills operating in the area, but if you happen to make the drive to Tawas, I highly recommend you stop and take look at the Amish furniture store near AuGres called Treasures Forever.
Everything in the store is heirloom quality material that you’ll pass down for generations. The barn-shaped building contains three floors of hardwood eye candy had my husband constantly rushing through the place me saying “you’ve got to come to see what’s over here!”
The Light in the Storm
For me, the must-see attraction in Tawas is the lighthouse at Tawas Point. It was built in 1876 and was in operation up until 2016. This lighthouse is special to me. I’ve been coming to see it for over 30 years. It has a majestic quality. A pillar of strength and safety.
For 144 years this lighthouse has withstood lake air, winter extremes, technological changes, viruses, economic depression, and world wars.
It was automated in 1953 prompting the Coast Guard to reassign its last full-time lighthouse keeper…yet it continued to serve in solitude for another 63 years on the shore of Lake Huron.
Now that it has been replaced by GPS, it continues to serve the Tawas community as a popular tourist attraction. The area around it is now a State Park, and for a fee, you can still go to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy the view.
A Pillar of Safety
The symbology of old lighthouses is overwhelming. They stand tall and proud, provide safety during difficult times, and they continue to find a way to serve their communities. People will always enjoy lighthouses.
Sadly, when I went to Tawas last week, the State Park/ Lighthouse was closed. Our Governor decided opening it for tours presented too much of a public health threat due to the COVID-19 virus.
But…I was encouraged by the fact that there were a lot of people like me being politely turned away. The demand to see this attraction has not diminished…access has.
I enjoy being a proverbial lighthouse for my clients. The person who illuminates a path through choppy seas and tough times. Helping them overcome challenges and negotiate obstacles so that when the storm passes, they continue to stand tall.
My experience during this pandemic hasn’t been as bad as others, and for that, I feel truly blessed. There have been times when I’ve had to trust that I was on the right course, but the way forward is now illuminated clearly.
Be Positive and Visit Your Happy Place
Maintaining a positive outlook during tough situations isn’t easy, but there are positives to take away from this experience.
(Pro tip: limit the amount of time you spend watching the news…and listen critically)
This pandemic had provided me with the following opportunities:
- I got to slow down and spend more time with family
- Going to work in the living room instead of across town wasn’t all bad
- I was able to spend time outdoors and nurture my gardens
- Home-cooked meals became the norm
- I got to take pictures of my happy place from afar
- And I was able to make minor home improvements to help keep the boredom to a minimum
In some ways, I’ve been able to make better connections with my extended family; because I couldn’t just drop by and see them. Instead, I spent quality time talking with them.
I am looking forward to the day when the toilet paper shortage of 2020 is just a distant memory. Now I’m hearing there’s been a run on canning lids…stop the madness!
I don’t fear this virus — I respect it. I take all of the recommended precautions, but I continue to enjoy my life.
That’s my way of showing strength and illuminating the way forward. Just like my favorite, majestic, beautiful lighthouse, I’ll still be standing tall when this storm has passed.