As I sit here basking in the first warm breezes of the season, I am daydreaming of the long summer days to come. Last year was our first summer in west Michigan after living in Los Angeles for nearly 5 years. To say that my first long winter back tested my patience is an understatement. Of course, I could have refrained from checking LA’s daily weather report (as if it was still relevant) and imagining how I would have spent all of those warm, sunny January days… a hike at Runyon Canyon, gelato with friends on Sunset Blvd, a nap by the pool. Ahh.. my memories of California are sweet, but life soon became sweeter.
My daydreams were interrupted at once when summer arrived and I was swept off my feet! I have to say, it was the best summer of our lives. Nearly every weekend was spent on Lake Michigan, from lazy rivers at Ludington State Park to care-free drives around the Leelanau Peninsula to afternoon hikes and beach days at Saugatuck Dunes State Park. I can assure you, we did not allow one second of summer to slip away.
On a particularly beautiful September day, as we drove back to Grand Rapids from Sleeping Bear Dunes, we spontaneously took a turn and followed signs to the Platte River. With my camera in hand, my jaw dropped at this incredible view of blue upon blue. Are we really in Michigan? I gazed along the pristine coastal dunes and dreamed upon the delicate sliver of sand where the Platte River meets Lake Michigan. I imagined that next time we’ll be much more prepared, like this family, with stand up paddleboards and a picnic for the quiet sandy shores.
And then it hit me. I was in love with the state I grew up in. This place I left behind 10 years ago is speckled with hidden gems to explore. And now I know for sure that the summertime is oh, so much sweeter when you have those few chilly winter days to endure.
by the way, if you'd like to schedule a fine art family photography session at this beautiful beach this summer, where the Platte River meets Lake Michigan, the travel fee is waived! picture your family having an incredibly relaxing beach day.. i'll just happen to be there documenting the moments!