It’s a lot to take in

How have you been doing?  I haven’t had the time or energy to write much more than a caption since this virus hit.  Lately I’ve been feeling jaded, like the world is quickly closing in and things are not going to ever be normal again.  I’m restless! 

Every time I glance at my feed, it is stamped with ugly grief.  I can’t escape the misery, why is this happening?  I’m sick of fulfilling everyone’s needs, I’m exhausted from constantly hearing them shout for “Mommy”.  No break from anything, no one is going anywhere without me.

I’m tired of the political commentary.   Listening to a man whose supposed to lead but instead insist on dividing our country….  In this time of need. Are you telling me that unity, peace and equality are all just a fantasy?  A concept that we cannot actually achieve? 

Maintaining Sanity

It’s taking a little more effort to maintain my sanity.  I’ve never had depression or anxiety.  Most of my friends see a smile on my face when they encounter me.  Now as soon as I start to feel happy, I see a post, a headline or another story that deflates the joy from me.   Unmasking my shield and riveting me because people chose to hate in secrecy.  On top of all that the virus keeps spreading, distancing me, floating in the air threatening the lives of my friends and my family.

You can’t blame the feed, we are all just maintaining.   Riding the pandemic at different speeds, you’re allowed to be on another wave than me.  We all go through separate phases of healing.  Seeing anyone else’s pain brings it all back to me.  A wave of compassion, a beg for mercy, a feeling of despair when I see someone else ‘bleed”, on their knees or asking just to breathe.  I assumed that was an automatic response for everybody but some people need protest and memes to understand the value of life it seems.  I’ve been going through some shit silently, trying to process and guide my family.

Laufty Life Summer Vacation Lake Michigan Beach
Family Beach Day Social Distancing

Out of Control

Is this pandemic ever ending?  Our children’s back to school will be, a short walk to our kitchen island.  We are protesting and erupting.  Here I’ve stayed day after day watching as our honorable country name fades away, buckling from the scenarios that we set in place.  I like control, and productivity this environment feels stagnant to me.

Thus I decided to take my family away, a week to clear our minds, some time to hide away.  A breather from the negativity and some quiet time for reflecting.  You can redeem your summer and still stay safe.   In our home we teach integrity, in our home we represent every shade.  With that said let’s get back to Living the Laufty, then again that is why you follow me.  I’m swallowing the grief and looking for experiences that will create amazing memories. 

Here is the Michigan Beach guide to a COVID safe family retreat:

Blue Fish Vacation Artist Colony Vacation Rental
View from the backyard of the Artist Colony Rental

Artist Colony

I keep my eye out for unique rentals and when I found this listing, I thought it looked like exactly where we needed to be.  The Artist Colony property ID# 4333710 was located in Sawyer, MI really provided us with privacy and a gorgeous view of the lake that was so calming.  We woke up every morning to the sound of crashing waves and watched the sunset from the screened in porch in the evenings.

The house was owned by a Chicago photographer Stephen Deutch whom also had a passion for sculpting.  “He studied woodcarving and sculpture in Budapest and subsequently learned the art and profession of photography by working with his wife, Helene Deutch, an established photographer in Paris in the early 1930s. They did commercial, portrait and fashion photography in a studio there before coming to Chicago in 1936. Beginning with Cornet magazine, based in Chicago, Deutch did work for many other magazines and for newspapers, as well as for major department stores and advertising agencies.  Some photographs show African American celebrities, such as singer Lena Horne and baseball player Jackie Robinson”  Smithsonian Archives of Art

Home of famed photographer Stephen Deutch

Every nook and cranny of the home was filled with inspiring pieces.  The décor was the opposite of the house we live in so it felt like a totally break from our daily routine.   We don’t collect or display artifacts, we don’t have many nick knacks.  The change in scenery was therapeutic, to be surrounded by nature in addition to all the paintings and carved wood pieces.

VRBO Rental

The Artist Colony Primary Room

This is our second time renting from the management group Blue Fish Vacations and they did a fantastic job of pointing us in the right direction, highlighting the best areas food and activities.  The house (property ID# 4333710) is on VRBO charming, two rooms have double twin beds, one has a full bed and the primary room has a small queen.  There is only one full bath so getting ready can be tight,  but the space was sufficient for our young family.

It is an older home no central air conditioning.  It is well stocked with a lot of extra things, toys/umbrellas, portable chairs for the beach.  Aluminum foil, plastic wrap, charcoal for the grill, showed that they made an effort to make sure you had everything you need.  The girls were squealing about the lake bugs getting in, that’s pretty typical of a waterside cottage.

High Tides and The Beach

The screened in porch was our favorite place to sit and we spent most of our time chilling out there on wicker chairs playing board games and enjoying the breeze.   There were a long set of steps that lead directly to the beach. 

According to Captain Bill at Oselka Marina the water is very high right now.   Many homes have had their beaches washed up.  Especially the homes that didn’t invest in lining the shore with WI boulders.  Many have experienced erosion over the past year.  This was the case for our Tower Hill property, we could walk out to a lookout point with a sandy patch and breathtaking sunsets, then a steep inclined prevented us from direct access.  A map was provided and we had to venture through a wooded path to trek to the beach. 

New Buffalo Marina
New Buffalo Marina

The walk was maybe 10 mins carrying the chairs, toys, umbrella and towels we needed.  It was fine by me these kids could use a little grit and it was a bonus to get exercise/hiking in.  On one trek back from the beach Misha and I sang the ants go marching and we counted up to 73.  If you are brave enough you can take a special short cut, balancing on a fallen tree and crossing over a wooded canal that looked a little too murky to me. 

CoVid Safety while Traveling

There is plenty of space on the beach to isolate with your family and abide by social distancing.  People also showed courtesy when crossing paths on the walk to the beach.  Michigan requires masks in every public building and we had our luxury silk adult and children’s masks from Swurly. 

Blufish Vacation Rentals management company took extra precaution when cleaning.  This meant a later check-in time (6pm) and an earlier departure (9am) still, we were just grateful to be able to get away and explore.

Repeat Destination :  Warren Dunes State Park/Lake Michigan

We’ve been to the area before so we had to repeat some of the good spots we previously found to eat.  Read about our last trip here.  This year we repeated our favorite restaurants in the area we also added indulging in the local fresh food markets. 

The Stray Dog

All of the establishments we dined in were very forward with their efforts to stop spreading the virus, the waitstaff wore masks and we were able to snag outdoor seating at most spots we visited.  The only place we had to eat indoors was The Stray Dog, their roof top deck is reserved for 21 and up, can’t blame them for wanting to make that drink money!

Dining/Markets:

Flagship Foods

This market has fresh fish flown in daily, we tried the Salmon and Walleye and grilled it.  Delicious!  We also picked up some ribeye steaks from Falatics Foods .  We enjoyed fresh cherries and peaches from the fruit market on Red Arrow Hwy.

The Stray Dog- New Buffalo

Crispy fun atmosphere on the water, tasty drinks and coastal American eats: fish tacos, burgers, craft drinks.  There are real pics of rescued dogs all over the walls, how chic.

Planks Tavern

We booked our table for our nice dinner out through the open table app.  They do not allow you to reserve outdoor dining but we lucked out and got a seat overlooking the harbor.  There is a wide range of cuisine to choose from.

Silver Beach Pizza

Voted the best pizza in Southwest Michigan, we picked ours up and took it back to the cottage. 

Greenbush Brewing

We sent James to pick up dinner from the brewery that we had visited on our last vacation.  We really like their brisket/mac and cheese and their gumbo.

Explore/Activities:

It’s hard to know how to move, when everything is fear inducing on the news.  Before COVID hit we had already figured that private tours is where it is at! I’m definitely the most social being in our family so the social distance thing is getting to me.   If you’re looking for a family activity that is safe and still liberating check out Oselka Marina’s Private Tours this was our second cruise and it was outstanding.  They run a tight ship they sanitized the Yacht before and after and the captain will wear a mask. On the last two beach vacations to Michigan this was the highlight of our trip!

Yacht Tour Oselka Marina

Other things we did;

Captain Mike’s Fun Park

 Batting Cages, Go Carts, Arcade, and Mini Golf

Warren Dune’s Beach

 St. Joseph- Shopping

New Buffalo- Shopping

Round Barn Winery

Round Barn Winery
Round Barn Winery