Midland, Michigan

It's our last morning in Michigan. When we go to sleep tonight, we will be in Ohio. It will be a first time visit for both of us. Growing up in a military family, we traveled a lot, and so I can't say for sure I've never visited Ohio before. If I did, I don't remember it. For sure, Mike and I have never RV'd in Ohio, and so it will be a new state for our map. 

We finished up our time in Michigan on a high note yesterday. I had the privilege and joy of meeting a dear blogging friend, Gail. You might be familiar with Gail's blog, Shedding the Wolf. I think Gail and I started our blogs around the same time. I was amused by her sense of humor and touched by the stories she told about her work as a hospice chaplain.

We'd spent the whole day together when Mike took this picture of us. And what a day...packed with all the best activities one can enjoy with a blogging/quilting friend. She picked me up at our campground and took me on a tour of Midland. Our first stop was the "Tridge." It's a trio of bridges over the Tittabawassee and Chippewa Rivers. You can read about it and see more (and better) pictures of it at that link I've given you. It's hard to see the third bridge in the image below, but you can see it just under the span of the bridge in the foreground.

We thought we'd walk across, but then were unable to it because it was fenced off. A bystander thought they were painting it or something.

We also walked the main streets of Midland. They're closed to traffic for the summer making a wonderful gathering place where people can walk without worrying about cars. Looking across the sidewalk in the image below, you can see there are some chalkboards set up for anyone to begin drawing. There was also a cornhole game and a small soccer "field." Gail tells me they have live music at times. While we were there, some piped music was playing.

And everywhere, there were beautiful gardens. Look at these pretty begonias.

But we were only getting started because Gail took me to see a corner dahlia garden, and I do loves me some dahlias.

We had some lunch, and then visited Gail's home, where I met her husband, Jack. After that, we visited the Park Bench Quilt Shop, and this was a great shop.

Walking through the front door it looks like this.

It isn't a large shop, but everything they had was pretty and colorful. They had a good supply of Kaffe Fasset and some cute quilts hanging on the walls. Do you see the cats on the left side of the image below?

To the right of that, I liked this "Dot to Dot" quilt. It reminded me of the Quilty 365's we were making several years back. This one actually has smaller circles and (if I've counted right) 440 of them.

There were walls of fabric on both sides.

And plenty to look at in the store's center too.

There appeared to be a class going on in a separate room, and their batiks were shelved there.

I selected this digital print. I love the bright colors and clean lines of the digitally printed fabrics. I don't have a reason for this one...I just liked it.

And this one made me think of the dahlia garden, and so I chose a fat quarter for my regional print.

After that, we did something completely and delightfully unexpected. Gail had arranged for a tour of the Alden B. Dow home. As it turns out, Midland is the home of Dow Chemical, and one of the sons of the senior Mr. Dow, Alden, was an architect who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright. What a beautiful home he'd designed and built for his family and for his work. 

His motto was "gardens never end, and buildings never begin," and it was clearly seen in how the home was designed. It was sunken just a little below ground level and surrounded by a pond and some beautiful gardens. There was no photography permitted inside the house, but you can see more pictures and a short video at the link I've given you.

Here's how it looked from the outside. It's appearance is deceptive because the house was 20,000 square feet, and it sure doesn't look it at first glance.

Standing inside before our tour started, I took this picture through one of the windows. As I mentioned, the pond surrounded the house and the interior was designed in such a way that the eye was drawn from the interior to the exterior fairly seamlessly.

Standing outside, you can see the room where we were when I took the image above. In the image below, you can see how it might have been to stop one's work and venture outside to gain a fresh perspective.

Looking in the other direction, there were stepping stones that would allow sure-footed people to walk right out into the pond.

Look carefully, and you'll see some lazy ducks sitting there.

Mr. Dow patented these "unit blocks" to use for building his home. It's going to be hard to explain this without actually being there, but I'll try. They're simple cinder blocks, but rhomboid shaped. 

When stacked side by side, only the square face shows. You can see how it looks on the back wall of the image below. Now look at the wall in the foreground. The blocks are stacked together with one missing between each one present. I'm hoping you'll understand how they came together to form a solid, but with a square appearance. Also, notice in the image above, there are two miniaturized versions sitting to the right of the cinder block. You can see how they fit together there too. The rhomboid faced in opposite directions with each row. They came in different sizes, but the house was built mainly with the ones 12 x 12 inches on their square face. Clear as mud, right?

Okay, well moving on, the place was surrounded by beautiful gardens.

Red was his favorite color, and so there are pops of red throughout the house and also in the garden.

The roof was made of copper.

Here, I snuck in a picture from a screened-in porch kind of room.

Finally, just off the grounds of the house was the Post Street School. This is where Mr. Dow's wife, Vada, taught school before they were married. You can read a little more about the school right here.

So that was the end of our day. Gail dropped me back at the campground, and our day was finished. It was so much fun meeting a long-time blogging friend for the first time. I'm guessing we've corresponded in writing for at least a decade, and so finally getting to meet was quite a treat. 

Gail came bearing a gift of some pillowcases she made.

Aren't these fun? I love this camping theme, and these will go nicely with our crazy RV bedspread.

The kitties were given this little cat stuffed with catnip. They've both killed it several times already.

Thank you for these wonderful gifts, and thank you for a wonderful day, Gail. 

Okay, so it's time to get underway. We have a long drive ahead of us to Loudenville, Ohio. While there, we'll be visiting Mohican State Park. More adventure awaits.


Barbara said...

Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart. ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Julierose said...

What a wonderful tour Gail set up for you;)) What fun to meet up with a blog follower...;)))
Hugs, Julierose

Sara said...

What a FUN day! Your photos say it all - and make me want to visit there myself.

Darlene S said...

What a fun day with Gail. Looks like a beautiful place, also fun walking area. That bridge was quite interesting. Have fun in Ohio. I hope the Fall colors will be showing off for you to enjoy. I visited Cincinnati and Glendale Ohio many years ago, during a peak Fall display. I wish I could remember the highway we took a drive on, as it was a great way to see the color and visit several historic sites. Enjoy seeing another State on your great adventure. As always, I look forward to hearing about your trip and seeing your photos. Any Drone videos this trip?

gpc said...

It was so much fun to have you here!

Quilting Babcia said...

What a fun day, it's always special when you can meet a blogging friend in person.

M. Hair said...

Good time with friends is the best. What an amazing home. Thanks for the link. Didn't know about the house and I even lived in Michigan for a brief time. Safe travels to Ohio.

Karen said...

What a wonderful tour- the house is intriguing!

Linda Garcia said...

The Dow house is amazing. I can see the most interesting aspects of those cinder blocks. On the face of the wall, they look square like standard cinder blocks, but on the inside, the surfaces are resting on other blocks to distribute the weight and the joins. I wonder about the blocks transferring cold in the winter. I worked in a cinderblock building and it was always freezing and drafty in the winter.
The little kitty catnip toy brought forth a memory from childhood. I loved cats since I was a little girl, but my family had 3 large (Large) German Shepard dogs who would kill a cat on sight! So my mother found this printed panel of a cat, almost exactly like your toy one, but mine was about 12 or 14 inches tall and maybe 8 or so inches wide. A brown and tan tabby. I haven't thought about that pillow in years. I have no idea what ever happened to it. My entire adult life I have had cats. As a young adult I had one at a time, but once we moved to the country, I generally have 3 at a time to keep the mouse population in control.
I love traveling with you. Always an adventure!

Jenny said...

What a wonderful day, meeting up with your blogging friend and being taken out on an adventure! And so kind of Gail to make those wonderful gifts for you and the cats. Certainly a day to remember.

Anonymous said...

My HBO just went up several notches. I've said for year as I've followed you, that you are my HBO. Beautiful blog.
The house tour and the quilt store.. Batiks... Be still my heart !!, We're fantastic.
Thank you.

piecefulwendy said...

I'm very behind on reading your posts, but what a fun day you had with Gail, and how neat that the two of you were finally able to meet in person. That looks like a very cool house. That little cat quilt is adorable.

quiltzyx said...

What a wonderful day for you & Gail!
The lovely quilt shop - so many luscious colors all around, and I love the dots you picked out!
I very much enjoyed the Dow house & thanks for giving us the link to the video tour too.

Happy Trails!