Monday, May 28, 2012

There and Back Again

Day four of our trip started out in Houghton with clear skies and warm weather. After a quick breakfast at the Travelodge, Theresa headed the CR-V toward Calumet, just a few miles away. The gallery wasn't going to open until 11:00 but we thought we could wander the town for an hour or so until such time, familiarizing ourselves with the environs at leisure.

Historic Vertin Bros. Department Store, Calumet, MI
It didn't take us long to get to the gallery, arriving shortly after 10:00am. We parked the car on the street - noticing that the meters are located up close to the buildings, to allow for seasonal snow removal. (There are also signs posting no parking during snow season, 7p-2a, every day.) We noticed a jumble sale up the street, checking the contents out for possible future bird homes by our friend Tim Hanks. Thereafter, we wandered up 7th Street, over on Elm and then to 5th. The town was still pretty sleepy so we had plenty of opportunity to enjoy the architecture of this town that aspired to be the capitol of a separate state - and may still be...? We checked out a couple of shops, including the Ed Gray Gallery, finally coming back to the Vertin Gallery shortly after 11:00.

Vertin Gallery, Calumet, MI
Audrey, the Gallery Director, had not yet arrived, so I decided to wait while Theresa went in search of more Roseville Pottery and vintage head vases. Finally, Audrey arrived, having started her morning shipping a painting to a client. We got most of the pottery into the gallery and started unpacking, starting with the leaf pockets. When I assemble an inventory, especially for a new gallery, I create a document with "check boxes" so they can just select the pieces the want, making the whole inventory situation much easier. Well, Audrey liked everything I brought and actually wanted more. Theresa having arrived by this time, she showed Audrey the contents of the sample box while I hunted around for additional business cards, the result a list of additional work we could bring "any time" - including my lace buttons. (Audrey is, in addition to Gallery Director, a fiber artist.) We also shared the work of our artist friends, for most of whom Audrey took additional information, already bubbling with presentation ideas for Chris Hopp's hypertufa designs.

Charley Parker's Poster Design for
Isle Royale National Park
Finally taking our leave, Theresa drove on toward Copper Harbor. The drive was beautiful-woodsy and demanding - the road is series of tight twists and turns. We drove as far as we could toward the point, then back in town. We stopped at a couple of galleries, meeting Steve Brimm, a photographer who lives part of the year in North Carolina, and the Laughing Loon/Patchword Books, where I found some new titles about wildflowers (of course) and Charley Harper's poster commemorating Isle Royale. Wandering west on US-41, we found Gallery 41, a small gallery specializing in UP artists, again run by friendly folks from North Carolina, as well as their collection of German Shorthair Pointers.Steve had given us good directions to get to Brockway Mountain so we could get a good look-out over Lake Superior, although it was pretty hazy by the time we got up to the top. Theresa told me it's the same friendly German woman (and Golden Retriever) who tends the gift shop up there as she remembered from some years ago.

Beginning our trip home, we took M-26 west, stopping in the Keweenaw Shore Nature Sanctuary to collect some memory stones - mostly smooth red granite characteristic of the region. Driving on further, we came to the Poorrock Abbey, Society of St. John, where we stopped at the "Jam Pot" and selected some handmade breads and preserves, including choice Thimbleberry jam (which I will not be sharing, so don't even ask!) We carried on to just shy of Calumet, gassing up a few gallons until we could get to Baraga, where gas prices are about as low as they can be. From there, I got us to Munising, spotting a Bald Eagle perched high in a pine along the highway, as well as a Sandhill Crane and a small flock of Wild Turkeys.

Once we got settled in Munising, we headed to the Dogpatch for dinner (which was... OK - although our waitress, Kay, was very attentive) and DQ for a blizzard, at Theresa's request.

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