Collecting Islands

When I was a kid, I collected rocks; now I plan to collect islands, specifically, Great Lake islands.

In middle age, after having built two successful careers and raised two daughters to the point of finding myself an empty-nester, I hunger for a bit more adventure in this life of mine.  As Louis Auchincloss wrote in one of his memoirs, “. . . a [person] can spend [her] whole existence never learning the simple lesson that [she] has only one life and that if [she] fails to do what [she] wants with it, nobody else really cares.”

I am a writer who teaches writing courses at local colleges and designs instructional programs for corporate clients.  I enjoy escaping to Pelee Island, a Canadian island in Lake Erie, where my husband and I have owned one or another cottage since 1994.  In the last few years, I’ve grown particularly interested in visiting and reading about other Great Lake islands.  This interest first surfaced during an impromptu happy hour with my husband, Craig, on the porch of  Harbour View Bed and Breakfast on Mackinac Island on Saturday, September 26, 2009 and was probably helped to the surface by the 2008 Heritage Weekend trip to the Lake Erie Islands led by my friend, Ron Tiessen of the Pelee Island Heritage Centre.

. . . But then, we’ve always loved islands and chose to camp on many during our pre-cottage years:  in Michigan, in Canada, and in Europe.

Since family vacations to Pentwater on Lake Michigan as a teenager, I’ve always felt fortunate to live surrounded by the Great Lakes, in “the mitten” that is Michigan. At this point in my life, I would like to figure some things out about what is around me and get to know, really know, a few small pieces of this amazing planet we call home. Great Lake islands seem a good place to start. My daughters, Meagan and Caitlin, both very adventurous and brave young women, have provided me with much inspiration for undertaking this project, and my husband, Craig, as always, is cheering me on, agreeing to take care of Baron, our beagle, while I’m on island time.

By this afternoon of July 7, 2011, my idea has ripened, and the time seems finally right to begin working toward the goal of visiting each of the islands in the Great Lakes Basin that I can access by ferry or bridge.  Today I’m heading off to make a few “pilot” trips to the nearest of these islands to see what I find.  And then I plan to figure out how I might share what I’ve out about these special places with others, so perhaps we’ll all be more likely to treasure and take care of them, a modest legacy for future generations.

Welcome to Great Lakes Island Escapes!

GREAT LAKES ISLAND QUESTION:

What is your favorite Great Lakes island and why?

(To post your response, or to otherwise respond to the posting above, hover your mouse to the right of the title of this post and click on the comment icon which appears.)

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