Tuesday, July 22, 2014
One of the reasons that we are parked on Lake Erie is to visit Put-in-Bay and see the Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial. Yesterday we took our bikes and boarded a ferry which brought us to South Brass Island and the village of Put-in-Bay. We got around the island fairly easy all day as there are bike paths, and usually when we have to share the road with motorized vehicles the majority of them are golf carts. In the background of the picture is the granite column of the memorial which has a copper urn on top.
Sunday afternoon we decided to see how close we could get to Cedar Point amusement park and see some of the rides which we have been noticing from across Lake Erie. We drove on the causeway which took us directly into the park, however we were immediately prevented from going any further because of the presence of a ticket booth. What a difference from the late 1800s when a ferry transported people over to that island and there were only white sandy beaches, picnic tables and a dancing pavilion! From Cedar Point we drove to the waterfront of Sandusky for a fish supper. Perch and walleye are the common fish of Lake Erie, we have hardly missed a day since we have arrived here to partake of a fish meal. After supper we walked across the street to a park with an interesting statue. It is of an African American couple with a baby. The sculpture was created with chains.
Sunday, July 20, 2014
I do believe my readers know me by now, that I cannot write on any botanical gardens or arboretums in one posting! And now back to subject of the Dawn Redwoods.
This grove of “living fossils”, with their shaggy auburn bark, was started in the 1950s. They were once believed to be extinct, however in 1941 a 1,000 of them were found in remote areas of China. Scientists from Harvard University sponsored an expedition to collect seeds from the trees and soon the first trees were planted in America. Another interesting tree is the Bristlecone pine, which John has been looking for since he first read about them. This species, in its native environs, can live for millennia, and there are specimens over 4,700 years old in existence. We found one in the Schedel gardens, upon examination of the tiny cones on the tree we discovered they had bristles on their surface.
In my previous posting you may have noticed the thousands of annuals planted along the mansion’s driveway, and also a smaller amount of begonias and other plants around the Los Bailadores Flamenco marble sculpture, pictured above. The beds of the gardens are planted with nearly 20,000 annuals each year. To plant and maintain so many meticulously manicured beds of plants looks like a lot of work to me! Schedel Gardens has a staff of 15-20 full and part-time staff. They also are helped by nearly 100 volunteers, student interns and master gardeners.
As you may notice from the above last two pictures, art has become an important feature of the gardens. The sculpture pictured above is called The Sower. I liked it the best, it gave the impression that the little girl was holding a bouquet of lilies. As a garden brochure has explained it so well, it is an example of “how art enhances the beauty of the gardens as well as how gardens can enhance the beauty of art”. In closing, pictured below are the flowers of a rose of Sharon bush, I have not seen one before with blue flowers!
For more than 50 years this Victorian Mansion was the home of Marie and Joseph Schedel, it was built in 1888. The house, located outside of Elmore, Ohio, was occupied by the Schedels from 1930 to 1989. It sits on a bluff overlooking the Portage River and the property’s two adjacent lakes. There is a total of 17 acres of land on the estate. Pictured below is a path winding its way down toward river. In the background of the picture is the Schedel’s summer cottage called the “shack”.
The couple spent most of their time there as the mansion was too much like a museum for them. The Schedels had traveled to more than 100 countries and brought back ideas of nature and art to use in their home and gardens. They had a special passion for the orient and far eastern cultures, as evidenced in the Japanese section of their gardens.
In the Japanese garden there is a large red Torii, as well as lanterns and pagodas, waterfalls and a small pond. Here the cremated remains Dr. Schedel and his wife lie under a pagoda. In the Japanese Garden, as well as throughout the grounds, are twenty different varieties of Japanese maples. They provide a beautiful splash of color with their reddish colored leaves. We found a small Japanese maple located in the bonsai shelter of the gardens. The structure houses a collection of miniaturized pruned trees known as bonsai, the oldest one being 70 years of age. The practice of expertly shaping the small trees was started in ancient China, but was perfected by the Japanese. Some of the bonsai are pictured below. Here we also found a dawn redwood, we had just seen a grove of those trees in another part of the gardens. More on that tree in my next posting.
We are back in Ohio, parked in East Harbor State Park. Too bad we don't fish, the western basin of Lake Erie has the best fishing of all the Great Lakes combined. East Harbor Park is situated on a peninsula of land stretching into the waters of Lake Erie. The history of Lake Erie, as well as all the Great Lakes, goes back to the Pleistocene Ice Age when glaciers came grinding down from the north. In the area of Ohio massive sheets of ice gouged and scoured the bedrock of the land in East Harbor park (and other areas on the shores of Lake Erie) where there is evidence of glacial grooves or striations.It is a game sanctuary where black-crowned night herons, egrets, great blue herons and other shorebirds find refuge. We have seen many of those shore birds,feeding in the shallow waters of Lake Erie. Yesterday, Friday, we drove to the Marblehead Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the Great Lakes.
The lighthouse was built in 1821. Currently it has an LED green light which flashes every 6 seconds and can be seen for 11 nautical miles. Over the years the lighthouse has used oil, lard, coal and kerosene lamps to incandescent electric and LED light. We climbed all 72 steps to the top of the lighthouse where we looked over the waters of Lake Erie to the Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Put In Bay, as well as the keeper’s house which was directly below us. It was built at the same time as the lighthouse.
From Marblehead we drove to Johnson Island, the site of a Civil War prison camp for Confederate Officers. The Island in recent years has seen lots of development, and we found only a couple of makers noting the island's historic importance. The prison’s cemetery, however, is still present on the island, preserved by the Federal government in 1932. In 1890 206 marble markers replaced the hand carved wooden grave markers, courtesy of the citizens of Georgia. Reportedly 9,000 men passed through the gates of the prison during the Civil War. Some resources indicate that more than 300 died while imprisoned on the island. The cemetery is pictured below, a brass figure of a soldier stands guard over it- he is the “Lookout”.
The cemetery is only a short distance from the shores of Lake Erie
toured downtown Saginaw two years ago. And pictured below is also the Castle Museum, constructed by Lego blocks.
It was constructed by Scot Thompson, a registered nurse from Bay City who started working on the display in 2008. He built with Lego bricks actual structures which are located in Bay City, Saginaw and Midland. We have seen the landmarks of those three cities and Thompson has done a good job in reconstructing them. Also located in this exhibit area is a movie running continuously on how the Lego Company started in 1932 from what was once a wooden toy company in Denmark, a very fascinating story!
When we had visited the museum before it was near closing time two years ago so we just had seen a few displays of Saginaw County’s history on the first floor. This time we made it to the basement of the building where there is a very large HO scale model train exhibit, The Castle Express. We saw three trains running, each having about 20-30 cars. The large layout has over 1000 feet of track. The volunteer running the train commented to us that the Saginaw Area Module Modelers are very happy to have found a permanent home for their trains in the Castle museum.
And for members of my family who perhaps may be reading this, I found in the museum a small display pertaining to the Lufkin Rule Company where our mother worked for about 7 years before her marriage to Dad. The Company first started manufacturing board and log rules for the logging industry in 1869. During the time my Mother worked there, roughly from 1931-37, the company had diversified into manufacturing an extensive line of measuring devices. Lufkin Rule closed its’ doors in 1946.
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
The Detroit Institute of Arts certainly has many expensive prestigious works of art on display, which we should have stopped to see while in Detroit. We have become well aware of that fact as the institute has been in the news while the bankrupt city has been reviewing its' assets. We also had learned about another display of art in The Saginaw News travel section a couple of weeks ago, which is the Heidelberg Project.
Monday, July 14, 2014
That park is now closed and the island is being redeveloped. I think we must have traveled over to Canada several times in my youth- I do remember also traveling the Detroit-Windsor underground tunnel.
This city is about eighty miles from where we are presently parked and it seemed a bit nuts to travel that distance for one day. However, I was adamant that we visit the motor city mainly for the fact that for several years of my youth I had lived there, and I also just felt that it was a major city which we should not pass up in our travels. After seeing it we could also claim that not only had we looked across the Rio Grand River in Texas, but also had looked across the Detroit River and had seen Canada. On the other hand, we have been reading The Detroit News and were quite aware that the city is bankrupt and, according to that paper, Detroit has more people living under the poverty line- 42 per cent than any major city in America. How safe were we traveling into that city? Well, details like that never stopped John and I before, why now? We headed out for the city Saturday. The highway we were traveling on into the city was having road repairs so, whether we liked it or not, we ended up driving through the city. We drove by many closed shops and abandoned buildings. Our first stop of the day was the church and school where my Dad taught.
Friday, July 11, 2014
Today we spent most of our time in two Frankenmuth museums. Both of them are operated by the Frankenmuth Historical Society. The first one we visited is the Frankenmuth Lager Mill Beer Store and Brewing Museum. I am not sure, but I do not believe we have ever run across any historical society which profits from the sale of beer, but that is the case in this town. The beer museum was placed in an old antique flour mill so the history of brewing in Frankenmuth, shown through photos, artifacts and text, is set amid flour milling equipment. Pictured below is a flour filter, next to it are shelves of beer glasses.
It seems strange to me that over the years, when we have made many trips to Michigan because it is my parent's home state, that we have never visited the state capitol. It is about 70 miles from where we are now parked, but despite the distance we had to travel it was a worth the trip.