This was our first full summer in our new East Tawas home. The first summer of “retirement”. My first summer as an empty nester. While it was hard in some ways, and there are things I will change for next year, for the most part it was a great summer. I know technically summer has a couple more weeks left and I will enjoy them. For the purpose of this post though I am referring to summer as Memorial Day through Labor Day.
We were busy almost every weekend.
We started off the summer with friends up for Memorial Day and ended with different friends up for Labor Day. We also had friends here 4 other weekends, Jack and Cassie each spent 2 weekends here and Chad and I were gone for 3 weekends. And just like that, the 15 weekends of summer were gone! As much as I love playing hostess and opening up our home to our friends and family, I REALLY enjoy not having plans once in awhile too during those peak summer weekends. So next year I plan on spacing out our visitors a bit more so that we have some down weekends too in the summer. Spring and fall are beautiful times of year to visit!
I discovered how many cool things our town offers in the summer.
There were Community Concert Band performances on Monday nights a short walk away from our place. They got rained out a couple of times but we did make it for a whole performance and a couple of partial ones. I was very happy to see how many people in the community were in attendance. Side note: most people like to people watch, but I was fascinated by the assortment of portable chairs people had! There are SO MANY options now!
Tuesday nights brought the street dances to downtown East Tawas. A different live band played each week and people brought their wonderful portable chairs again. Everyone enjoyed the music on those warm summer evenings and the kids and couples danced in the streets!
There was an awesome 4th of July parade, Summerfest weekend, Blues by the Bay, Uncorked (an art and wine festival), Sidewalk sales, 2 arts and crafts shows at Shoreline Park. Not to mention all of the live music at Bikini’s beach bar. There was PLENTY of entertainment to be found!
We started a garden
We lovingly planted and cared for our garden plots in the community garden. I celebrated the blooms and was sad over the ones that didn’t make it. I discovered that giant zinnia’s really ARE giant! Chad harvested his veggies and I learned new ways to cook them. He pickled peppers for the first time. We were also heartbroken when a bad wind storm destroyed all but a few stalks of his corn. We know what to do differently next year so when the season is over we will prepare the soil and get an earlier start next spring on prepping and planting. It’s been a fun project.
I got involved in the community
I worked a few weekends at the Friends of the Tawas Point Lighthouse and State Park farm market table. I really enjoyed talking to people, both residents and tourists. Everyone has a story about the Point and it felt good to be able to answer some questions. I also volunteered out at the lighthouse and helped give tours a few times too. My favorite assignment by far was being up in the tower and pointing things out to the visitors. The views are amazing! When I was stationed at the bottom of the tower I had a lot of time to chat with people waiting to go up, many of them camping locally or visiting for the day. I met people from all over the country, and even a few from overseas.
I did a lot of reading
I didn’t realize how much I missed reading until I had the time to do it again! I finished 15 books over the last 3 months. Books on Shipwrecks and Great Lakes Ghost Stories, romances, adventure, mystery. My favorite place to read is my own deck. Many afternoons I could be found outside under the umbrella enjoying a good book. Some days I even walked down the street to the bay to have lunch, take a dip in the water, and read by the beach. Those were my favorite afternoons.
I danced, a lot.
When you live in a beach town it only makes sense to spend as much time near the water as you can. So Bikini’s Beach Bar was our home away from home. Only a short walk away, we spend many weekends there talking to the friendly waitstaff and bartenders, listening to the live music and making new friends. I dragged my poor hubby up to dance many slow dances with me. He reluctantly will do some fast dancing with me too, but usually I am able to find other people so he is spared. He would much rather watch from a bar stool! Our visiting friends and family have all met our resort buddies as we always seemed to end up there at some point over the weekend.
Things I wanted to do more of
I wish I had been able to swim more with Chad. We only had a handful of days when it was still hot enough by the time he got home from work that we could do some evening swimming. He is off on the weekends, but our weekends were so busy that it didn’t allow for many beach days. I’m hoping we get some hotter weather later this month so we can swim once or twice more!
Picnics. We only did it once but it was fun. We packed up the picnic basket and walked down to the beach a few blocks down. We found a picnic table in the shade and played cards and people watched. It was a beautiful afternoon and I wish we had done it more often. There is still time to do a couple of fall picnics, as long as I don’t get sidetracked!
-Parking is very hard to find in town, even during the week. Plan on walking a few blocks.
-Avoid Walmart on Mondays, Fridays, weekends, 1st of the month, and anytime you see the senior bus out front!
-Turning left onto Newman from 23 should be avoided whenever possible
-During a big mayfly hatch you are gonna see people freaking out by the water. I am probably one of them.
-Take a garbage bag with you to the beach to pick up what other people leave behind.
-NEVER change your plans based on the weather forecast!
The summer flew by and I am already looking forward to NEXT summer! In the meantime there are a lot of things to look forward to this fall. Like watching the Detroit Lions find new ways to lose a game, fall leaves and pumpkin spice everything!