Instead of hanging around the house and watching people scramble for parking spots along the street, we decided to bring back an old favorite (which you may remember from a previous post), the Cheap Thrills Road Trip.
For this trip, we wanted to revisit a place we've enjoyed in the past, Harbor Beach, Michigan. The drive to Harbor Beach takes you through beautiful little beach towns and along the Lake Huron shoreline.
As we passed through Forester, we stopped, once again, to pay our respects to the grave of Minnie Quay (more info. on the legend of Minnie Quay can be found here). We brought along a small seashell to place on top of her headstone.
It was surprising to see how many trinkets had been left by previous visitors. It's obvious that the story of a young girl's suicide and unsettled spirit touches many people in some strange and amazing way. May she rest in peace.
We strayed from the original Cheap Thrills Road Trip Challenge a bit this time. Instead of bringing a picnic lunch, we decided to use our budget on a late lunch/early dinner. The town of Harbor Beach has a number of restaurants to choose from, but we wanted something we could take to the waterside park, so we ordered sandwiches from Ernesto's Pizzeria.
While our sandwiches were prepared, we walked next door to McNally's Antique Shop. This is a fabulous place. Years ago, it was a grocery store and it still retains the original walk-in refrigerator and freezer (though neither are kept cold anymore) with their huge, thick doors. They serve as mini display rooms and are full of merchandise. The shop owner, Richard, is super knowledgeable and friendly. If you should have the pleasure of dropping into McNally's, be sure to say hi to Richard and tell him Willoughby sent you!
After we picked up our sandwiches, we headed over to Bathing Beach Park at the Trescott Street Pier to eat. The seagulls were out in full force, so we opted for a picnic table under the pavilion. It was a gorgeous day and we had a beautiful view of the water.
When lunch/dinner was finished and we had enjoyed the park and the scenery, we jumped back into our truck and headed south to White Rock. There is a roadside park where you can take a nature walk. Although it's difficult to see in the picture, the goldenrod were covered with butterflies. I was lucky enough to have one land on my arm, but only for a moment.
To the left of the nature walk there is a viewing area where you can see "White Rock". It has a unique and interesting history. At one time, it marked the boundary between Native American land and the territory that was ceded to Michigan. During WWII, the US Air Force used the rock for target practice.
Beyond the viewing area are stairs leading down to the water. There is a small stretch of beach, though I don't think it's used much for swimming and sunbathing.
Mr. Willoughby hopped across the rocks to a large, stony ledge a few feet from shore.....
while our daughter sat on an old, fallen tree to admire the view.....
and I wrote a message in the sand so other visitors would know we had been there.
It was nearing dusk when we decided to head back home. If you live in a rural area, you know that dusk is an active time for deer. We had an incredibly close call with a young doe who ran out in the road in front of us. Mr. Willoughby didn't notice her approaching until I screamed. Had he hit the brakes a fraction of a second later, I would have a very different story to tell.
Back in our own small town, we had to stop to let something else cross the road....
before we could get home.
Once again, we had a great time and felt like we were on vacation for the entire day. In case you're wondering how this measured up to my Cheap Thrills rules, we used less than one tank of gas, were home before nightfall and with the cost of our food and drinks, spent a total of $18. We have no regrets that we decided to take a road trip and skip the local festival.