It was a fairly familiar story…a small farm no longer able to support itself, but this story has a happy ending. The family looked on the bright side and turned the old homestead into a fun place with something for everyone. ..antiques, trucks and tractors. And if you poked around long enough, you could find true treasures… handmade quilts, brass headboards, a wicker baby carriage, a red Radio Flyer wagon, all sorts of old tools and if you stopped by on the right day at the right time, you could even get fresh, homemade baked goods.
The weather’s warm and the fruits and vegetables are at their peak. Among the barns and sheds built up over generations, Grandma and her little helper carefully hand pick only the ripest tomatoes while the chickens peck around their feet. The orchard is heavy with peaches as Grandad rumbles across the bridge, his trusty old farm truck loaded down with fresh eggs and produce. But it wasn’t all work at Lakeside Farms. The canoe was always ready for a little fishing on the pond, or "duck your head" and paddle downstream to Eagle Bay.
Sunday afternoon invariably included a pleasant ride along a dusty road toward a special destination. The Cider Stand had the world’s best handpicked fruit, vegetables, fresh eggs and crisp, cold apple cider. A scarecrow promised fresh sweet corn for only 25 cents a bushel and a climb up two flights of rickety steps offered a free view of the most spectacular lakeside sunsets ever.
It was a ride worth remembering.
Peaceful Easy Evening
Sunset brings a slower pace to the Edgewood Resort and chaos turns to order. A young couple snuggles by the fire and the tackle shop is closed for the night. The high-powered mahogany speedboats rest along side their hard working little fishing buddies. The rental boats have been cleaned and securely tied to the dock waiting for the hopeful fisherman who will take them out in the morning. The waters of Eagle Bay are calm once more and a sense of serenity fills the air.
This “eagle’s eye view” artwork includes a vignette of each individual painting in the Around the Lake collection. The era is Baby Boomer “prime time”…1945 through the early 60’s. The setting is just beyond the lighthouse – off the Main Lake in and around the imaginary town of Eagle Bay. The memories are of family, friends, vacations, picnics, gatherings, adventures and celebrations of shared good times.
You were always welcome at the Eagle Bay Town Dock. Whether you were launching your boat, meeting a fishing buddy, trying to start your engine (advice was free and plentiful), fueling up for a day on the lake, or simply joining good friends for an ice cream cone, the Town Dock was where most everything started. Weekends brought fishing contests, boat races and concerts in the gazebo during the summer months. The action quieted down around sunset, but that was the perfect time to try catching the legendary “monster” pike rumored to have been in the Bay since Grandpap was a kid. The Town Dock was just a great place to spend time…and everyone was welcome.
As each painting has its own location around the lake, it also has something to say. Here are the individual stories I wrote.
Heading across the bridge on a moonlit frosty night to one of the warmest spots around the lake…Gram and Gramp’s big old farm house with a blazing fire in the fireplace and the family gathered for one of Gram’s fabulous dinners. You were greeted by a frosty snowman…and if you were quick enough, you could catch a glimpse of the deer who knew that Gramps always left some special treats by the old wishing well. After a toasty night’s sleep in one of the big feather beds, the next day’s sun would bring sled rides and ice skating to this winter wonderland.
The annual family trip to the cabin at the lake...a path through the pines and the early summer blossoms...this year’s litter of puppies frolicking on the shore...a delicious picnic dinner awaits (if there’s anything left)...a crackling fire for roasting marshmallows after the sun sets...dad’s old fly rod...a can of worms and the raft in just the right spot for another chance to catch the “big one” that got away last year. These truly are some of life’s little pleasures.
Portrait of Eagle Bay
Over the River
As Good As it Gets
Lighthouse at Eagle Bay
...where talent, memories and imagination merge...
Christmas at Grandpap's Cabin
“5:30 at Mom’s.” This familiar phrase brought early morning fishermen to the cafe. A pre-dawn glow lights the water as the mouth-watering aroma of frying bacon, hot cinnamon rolls and fresh brewed coffee greets the early morning hopefuls.
Wow! Grandpap always said "wait until the weather cools down a bit", and he was right. A proud father and son hold up today’s trophy for everyone to admire. The flag will soon be lowered as the rising moon casts its early reflection over the neighbor’s cabin. Grandma smiles, knowing no one else can cook a better walleye dinner.
One last chance to get away for the summer, renewing old friendships year after year...cozy little cabins each with a fabulous view of Eagle Bay... an inviting fire to chase away the evening chill becomes the center for roasting marshmallows and frightening the “bejeebers” out of friends with the scariest ghost stories. Sailing, canoeing and swimming... one last cast from the bridge before sunset. It’s late August at Rocky Point.
The late afternoon sun begins to drop behind the Eagle Bay lighthouse, toward the horizon, foretelling the evening’s beautiful sunset. Her chores done, Mom and the pups enjoy the front porch swing and take in the shenanigans as Dad and the boys wash the family car. Who wants their little sister to help anyway?
The Cascades Marina at the end of a late summer day. Everything tucked in for the night and the still water barely broken by the gentle dip of an expert’s paddle. Dawn will bring a new bustle of activity… a short order cook, grizzled mechanics, a slow moving store clerk and several youthful dock boys all preparing for the workday. But for now, the silence is broken only by the rush of Mallard wings and the sound of the gently falling water at the Cascades.
No Place Like Home
Sun sets on Eagle Bay. Reflections dance across the smooth, calm waters as the fishermen return to the campsite where the smell of hot coffee fills the air and a warm, glowing fire awaits them. It won’t be long before they, too, are roped into tall tales about the "one that got away". Gram prepares for dinner as Mom enjoys her coffee and finishes one last chapter. Sleeping beside the creek was the best. Who could stay awake with the cool water bubbling over the rocks and boulders, making its way to Eagle Bay?
It’s almost 7:30 and the little town of Eagle Bay is snuggled in for the evening. Inside the church, choir members visit and the ladies trade recipes while the baritone leaves his campsite and hurries across the covered bridge…he sure doesn’t want to be late for tonight’s special potluck dinner. His faithful companion, warmed by the fire, will soon be sleeping to the gentle harmony of choir practice and chirping crickets. Tucked in for the night…homework finished, bathed and ready for school tomorrow, even the kids are quiet beneath the starlit sky. Everything is peaceful in Eagle Bay…but the sign on the town gazebo holds promise of “big fun” soon to come.
Summer was great…but the Christmas holidays brought a whole new kind of fun to Grandpap’s cabin. There was a special trip to the woods to cut the Christmas trees…one for inside, and an even bigger one for the porch. There was firewood to chop, wreaths to hang, trees to trim - and best of all, there were big, bright, colored lights to run up the flagpole. Even though frost was collecting on the windows, you knew that Grandma’s cookies and a toasty fire were waiting for you just inside the cabin that Grandpap had built with his own two hands.
Canadian geese migrate through the clear autumn sky while Legacy's owner sets up camp and his son catches dinner. Just one more weekend of repairs and the old gal will be seaworthy once again. Age and rough water are hard on wooden hulls, but the classic Legacy will ply the waters of Eagle Bay for many more years to come.
What a fun place to stop and shop. Most farms and roadside stands simply offered fruits and vegetables for sale, but Stone Creek Farm was different. There were always special things like jars of honey, homemade crafts, baskets of flowers and even house plants. But the animals at Stone Creek Farm were the most fun. It was the original Eagle Bay “petting zoo”…complete with dogs and puppies, cats and kittens and a barn full of critters to play with.
Life's Little Pleasures
A campfire, where hot dogs and S’Mores were the evening meal, is dwindling to embers while two of the local whitetails, backlit by a spectacular full moon, approach the water’s edge for a drink from the calm, clear water. Suddenly, the protective buck raises his head as the kids turn on the light, sneaking downstairs to the kitchen for a late night snack. But soon things will settle down and the deer will remain undisturbed on the shore…they have all done this before...shared spaces on Eagle Bay.
Representational Fine Art
Hodge Podge Lodge
Every resort area had a special place where the wealthy city folks built their summer homes and Eagle Bay was no exception. “Millionaires’ Row” was where their families enjoyed the pleasant summers away from noise and crowds. The guest docks at the Eagle Bay Yacht Club offered the perfect view of the islands dotted with their huge “cottages." There was time to savor the crunch of gravel under your feet, to read the Veteran’s memorial plaque, wander into the gazebo or simply sit with your dog and wonder what “Millionaires’ Row” would look like from the air.
Bait and Breakfast
For everyone approaching Eagle Bay from the lake, the lighthouse was a beacon of safety and a guide home…no matter what the weather. On this bright, sunny summer day following another big storm, a sailboat reaches into the stiff breeze and a resident eagle glides silently toward the mainland. The lighthouse keeper props his cane pole across the well-worn Adirondack chair and takes a short break to tend to his duties. It was his job to make sure that the lighthouse always stood ready to guide you safely back to Eagle Bay.
As another perfect day draws to an end on Old Orchard Island, Grandma boards the Apple Express for the short trip home. It's great to visit the family but always nice to get back to the farm. The friendly engineer waves as the tender is filled and prepares for its journey back to Eagle Bay. "All aboard the Apple Express."
The name says it all…it really is a Hodge Podge Lodge. The workmanship, the materials, the eclectic design of the main building tell a warm story of several generations’ loving efforts. And the signs tell the rest - comfortable rooms... good food… fishing guides...rental boats...bait and supplies…a hodge podge of everything a family could ever want for a great fall vacation. Amid the splendor of the brilliantly colored leaves and the calm cool waters of Eagle Bay, there was something for everyone.
Stone Creek Farm
Away From it All
The perfect summer retreat…cool, green, shady and quiet. The silence was broken only by the sounds of the gurgling stream, an occasional songbird and the laughter of small children. It was an ideal spot for a picnic…just downstream from the old abandoned mill. It was a great place to look for minnows and tadpoles swimming in the shallows…to explore the ramshackle buildings and to think about what it must have been like in the “good old days” when the mill bustled with activity and served a purpose other than just quiet enjoyment.
Warm autumn breezes and a spectacular sunset lights the turning leaves. Gently falling water slowly turns an ancient wheel as another workday ends at the old gristmill. A flight of mallards wings its way through crystal clear skies above two faithful companions, while a trusty cane pole bends and a bobber sends out tiny ripples at the tug of a “giant” trout. No question about it…this was as good as it gets.