Friday, August 2, 2013

Lunch At the Insane Asylum and Goodbye Traverse City

My friend, Mim Van Horn, invited me to lunch at the site of the Northern Michigan Asylum for the Insane, later known as the Traverse City Regional Psychiatric Hospital, which had opened its doors in 1886 and closed in 1989.  Well..let me tell you, brothers and sisters, when we arrived at the central hospital complex, which is comprised of over 380,000 square feet of solid masonry construction...my jaw dropped, of course, but then that wasn't the end of my surprise.
Northern Michigan Asylum For The Insane - 1886

Northern Michigan Asylum For The Insane 1886

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons 2013 - Traverse City, MI

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons 2013 - Traverse City, MI

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons 2013 - Traverse City, MI

Now named The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, this huge Victorian-Italianate-style hospital complex has been transformed from abandoned buildings falling prey to the ravages of weather, and eventually the scheduling of demolition of the entire site, which at one time had included spacious cottages for patients and staff housing, a bakery, furniture making and carpentry shops, food processing and cold storage, root cellars, barns and pastures for a world-renowned dairy herd, and a massive power plant.  And then one day all the funding went away, the doors were opened for all to leave, and the city within a city was no more.
Old Cooler Door  in root cellar - Grand Traverse Commons 2013

Grand Traverse Commons - Basement 2013
  This majestic Traverse City landmark, in close proximity to the center of downtown, is undergoing one of the largest historic preservation and mixed-use redevelopment projects in the nation.  The spirit of pride and entrepreneurial spirit as well as an interest in saving a historic legacy has proven to be one one of the most effective responses to sustainable long-term economic growth for generations yet to come.  

We enjoyed a delicious lunch in an area previously known as a root cellar in the basement of the transformed development - Tratorria Stella - I think my head went 180 degrees at all there was to see (and what I was hoping I would not see).  Locally-owned shops, condos and parks now thrive on the 320 acres of preserved parkland.   
Trattoria Stella at Grand Traverse Commons 2013
It's hard to believe we've been here the entire month of July.  Where did the time go?  Warp speed is what we're experiencing, and that's not funny when you're our age!  Michigan is definitely the state you need to put on your list of "Let's go there!"  You'll notice I've added a new interest - well, I may need a little practice, but at this time of our life, as they say "GO FOR IT...BUT HURRY!"  I asked RV to capture the moment and I'm so glad I got out of the kayak as dry as when I started.  (Can you tell which kayak I'm navigating?)
Kayaking at Indigo Bluffs 2013

Kayaking at Indigo Bluffs 2013

Kayaking at Indigo Bluffs 2013

Goodbye Traverse City area....largest State Forest in the nation....legend of Sleeping Bear Dunes....world's largest freshwater shoreline.....outstanding regional festivities.....more public golf courses than any other state....historical sites and attractions....and you are always within 6 miles of a lake.  REALLY!!  As far as blogs, I could write about 10 more entries about some of the places we have visited in this area.  This really is a jaw-dropping area of Michigan!

We're "moving on up", as they say....to Petoskey, Michigan, about 93 miles north of where we are now.  Our base will be Hearthside Grove Motorcoach Resort for the next week.  

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