Tag: flowers (Page 1 of 4)
Tulip Time Festival in Holland is one of the most popular festivals in Michigan. It takes place at the beginning of May and with the cancellation of the festival in 2020, I had a feeling it would be an even bigger deal in 2021. In an attempt to beat the crowds, we decided to go the weekend before the festival began.
We decided this would be a great time to take the camper out for its inaugural trip for the 2021 season so with just a few weeks advance planning, I booked a site at Holland State Park. This park is very popular in the summer and with good reason. It has a beautiful beach on Lake Michigan with a view of the iconic Big Red Lighthouse and is relatively close to downtown Holland. The campground is made up of two sections, the most popular section is right on the beach (which was not yet open for the season when we visited) and the more wooded Lake Macatawa unit where we stayed.
Because of its popularity, this campground comes with some very strict rules. I had to sign a paper and hang it in the window of my camper agreeing to the 1pm checkout time. There was a sign in the office saying the visitors are not allowed and campers must keep their ID on them at all times in the campground to prove that you are allowed to be there. No alcohol is allowed in the campground at any time and rangers frequently drove around, looking into campsites to check. I’m sure these rules are necessary for peak season but the fact that the campground was only 25% full at the time made a lot of this seem a little intrusive and over-the-top. If I had a reason to be in the area, I would probably stay here again, but I wouldn’t seek it out when I’m just looking for a place to camp for a weekend.
As I mentioned at the top, the purpose of this trip was to visit Windmill Island Gardens and see the tulips. It was pretty chilly this weekend and we even saw snow flurries Sunday morning, but most of the tulips were in the early stages of blooming. I always enjoy visiting the garden and photographing the tulips. If you are looking to see the sights in Holland, Holland State Park is a good base for exploration, but be aware that they do have a lot of rules and they do patrol and enforce them.
This year I knew there were going to be more people than ever camping and it was going to be challenging to get into the most popular campgrounds in the summer. I decided to book the busiest campgrounds (such as this one and Ludington) in the off-season and then try out some of the more under-the-radar spots when the parks would be the busiest. For the most part, I did make reservations about six months out, and with this methodology, I was able to get some really nice sites. I am excited to share those journeys with you!
Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.
The Asticou Azalea Garden is located in Northeast Harbor and is a great spot near Acadia to take a quiet walk and appreciate the flowers in a beautifully manicured garden. The garden has been a local staple since 1957. Martha Stewart even wrote in her blog that she enjoys bringing her grandchildren to the gardens. Since we were traveling with two avid gardeners, I knew we needed to stop at this beautiful place!
While strolling this Japanese-inspired garden, you will see flowering cherry trees, rhododendrons, water lilies, Japanese irises and of course, azaleas. One of the oldest plants in the garden is a weeping hemlock near the main bridge that was moved from its original location in 1957 with financial assistance than none other than John D. Rockefeller Jr.
I may have a black thumb, but I always enjoy photographing in botanical gardens. It is a great time to play with focus and depth of field. Middle of the day is not typically a great time for photography, but with this kind of photography, the lighting can lend itself to interesting bokeh! A totally overcast day would be another great time to visit a botanical garden because overcast skies in landscape photos are boring!
A suggested donation of $5 is requested for entrance. The gardens are open daily from sunrise to sunset from May until October. If you have the time during your visit to Mt. Desert Island, I recommend a stop at the Asticou Azalea Gardens! For more information visit gardenpreserve.org/asticou-azalea-garden..
Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to stop by next week when I share about our rainy day in Maine! Until then, you can check out the Mainely Acadia Trip Report to read about the rest of our trip! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
One of the first stops on our narrated tour of the Park Loop Road was at Sieur du Monts Spring and the nature center. Also at this stop is the original Abbe Museum and the Wild Gardens of Acadia. Being that we were traveling with two plant and flower enthusiasts, I knew the gardens would be a popular stop!
The gardens are filled with 400 species of native plants and are designed to “represent natural plant communities found within Acadia National Park. Mountain, heath, seaside, coniferous forest, and eight other habitats are represented” (Friends of Acadia). It is a great place to get out of the car and stretch your legs along the carefully constructed paths to see the beautiful flora of Maine. Because of the trees, it also stays pretty cool in the gardens on the rare occasion that a heat wave sweeps the area. Near the entrance to the gardens, you can pick up a bird spotting guide and there is also a journal to jot down any birds that you see. It was a very quiet morning on our visit and we were unable to add any sightings to the book, but I did get to take some pictures of the colorful blooms while my mom and grandma admired the gardens and planned how they could recreate them at home.
Also in this area is the Sieur de Monts Spring, which is said to be the birthplace of Acadia National Park. In 1909, George B. Door, the first Superintendent of the park, built a spring house and carved “The Sweet Waters of Acadia” on a nearby rock. This is also the home of Acadia’s nature center which features information about native animals both on the land and the sea, and about the local geology. While there, you can also visit the original location of the Abbe Museum. While there is now a larger location in downtown Bar Harbor, the original Abbe Museum holds a lot of early Native American artifacts from the area in a unique, woodland setting.
Thank you for stopping by! For more information about our Mainely Acadia trip, click here and be sure to check back next week for my next installment! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.
Over the stifling hot Memorial Day Weekend, we headed out for a hike in the Loda Lake Wildflower Sanctuary in the Manistee National Forest near White Cloud. This is the only wildflower sanctuary in the National Forest system and is a joint project with the Federated Garden Clubs of Michigan. This is a bit of a hidden gem. There is not much about it on the internet so before visiting, I didn’t know what to expect. Even though it is advertised as having flowers all season long, there weren’t many blooms on our visit. The brochure says that Pink Lady Slippers, Pitcher Plants, Jewelweed, and Bergamot can all by spotted in the sanctuary. I want to come back later in the summer with hope of seeing more color.
The park is also home to some rural Michigan history. In the late 1800s, the Pere Marquete Railway Company harvested most of the area’s timber and then sold the land to railroad stockholders. Frederick Hanson bought the land but didn’t see any value in it until a family friend convinced him that the land could be successfully farmed using scientific methods. After farming the land for several years, Hanson built a summer home and servant’s quarters on the property. Hanson’s son-in-law, Albert Schmidt, an artist from Paris, inadvertently caused the Hansons to miss their departure on the Titanic. As a thank you, Hanson built Schmidt a studio on the property where Schmidt painted many scenes of Loda Lake.
Thanks for stopping by! If I have piqued your interest and you want to explore this under the radar park, visit the National Forest Service. A $5 entrance fee is required. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.