Maggie Mae

Maggie Mae

Friday, August 27, 2010


Today I traveled about an hour and a half to go to this Wisconsin Historic Site. I am lucky that it re-opened recently after being hit by a tornado. Luckily no one was hurt and only one building had some structural damage. However, many trees were down and had to be cleaned away. The is huge, having more than 65 historic buildings and I am told about 5 miles of walking paths. Lucky for me they had a excellent tram system set up, to get you from one place to the next. All of the buildings have been relocated to this site from around Wisconsin. They represent what early life was like in the 1800's. They have been placed in separate areas to identify the region the settlers came from. The areas include: German, Polish, Finnish, Danish, Norwegian, African American and even one for Yankee's!

What I liked most was the costumed interpreters that would tell you about the early life and of the families who had lived here. Not only did they tell you about things, but they showed you how things were done.
They first house I went in was the Benson House. On the wood stove in the kitchen was an iron frying pan cooking potatoes and onions. Boy did it smell good. It reminded me of my Grandmothers house. This gentleman told us about the family that lived here.

There was a pantry that had a window opening between the kitchen and the pantry. The cook could pass food through the window to the serving girl. This way the heat from the kitchen did not enter the dining area. In the corner of the pantry was the sitting tub. Everyone had their bath on Saturday night to be clean for church.

This lady was busy making Apple Jelly. She had just filled her glass jars with the boiling liquid. To seal the tops of the jars, she had cut circles of paper to fit on top of the jelly. The first paper was dipped in brandy and carefully laid on top of the hot fruit. The brandy would help keep the jelly from going bad. Then a second paper would have been dipped in egg white to seal the top and edges of the glass. The final layer of paper would go over the top of the jar to keep dust off. Everything was done, just exactly like it would have been done.

The one room school is representative of the times also. Children were all grouped together in one class. They did not have many books, so everything was learned by memory. Ink and paper were expensive, so children did their lessons on slates. The school teacher would arrive early at the school during winter to get the wood stove lit, as everything would be frozen inside. No insulation!

The tornado moved very close to this octagonal barn that houses the restaurant. You can see some of the roof is slightly damaged.

In addition to the farms, there was a Cross Roads Village area where the stage coaches would have stopped. There was a blacksmith shop, cobbler, dry goods store and all the things you would expect to see where people would come to town.

Moving down the road tomorrow, until next time.......

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


That is Welcome to Little Norway, WI. What a wonderful day. I traveled just outside of Madison WI to this authentic fully restored Norwegian farm. In 1850's Osten Olson Haugen bought 40 acres at $1.25 per acre to farm. The first 18 months he and his wife lived in a 8 X 10 cave they dug out of the earth. They had their first of 4 children born while living in this cave. Can you imagine.
This is the entrance to the cave. We were not allowed in there, probably to dangerous after all those years.

They eventually built this family home called a Stue

It probably felt like a mansion after living in such a small place and it had windows.

All of the buildings were built apart from one another because of the threat of fire. This one is the food storage building called the Stabbur. It is set up off the ground to prevent animals from getting to their food.

This is the sod roof cabin. This type of roof provided excellent insulation, both in the winter and summer.

Little Norway has a huge collection of antiques. Here are just a few of the pictures from the different buildings.

They also had authentic garments representing various regions of Norway. All are hand made. They were made for girls about the age of 12. Since each garment could take up to a year to make, they were made with extra large seams to allow the dress to be "let out" as the child grew. Very smart.

The only building on the farm that did not date back to the original farm is "The Norway Building" In the winter of 1892/1893 near Trondheim Norway, this example of an original Stave Church was build for the 1893 Chicago World Fair. It was taken apart like tinker toys, and erected in Chicago. After the fair was over, a wealthy Chicago businessman bought it and had it transported to Lake Geneva WI. The building was passed down, eventually becoming the property of the Wm. Wrigly family (as in Wrigly gum and field). In 1935 it was moved for the last time, to Little Norway.

No visit to Norway is complete with out a least one Troll.

Hope you enjoyed tagging along to Norway. Until next time.........

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I thought I put these videos on the previous blog, but they did not show up. I will try again. This one is of the water draining from the lock. You can see how fast it goes down.

The next one is of the lock gates opening to let us out. Pretty cool. It only took 20 minutes for all that water to drain.

Soo Locks

Woke up today, and although it was a little cool and they were predicting showers, I decided to go for it and book the 2 hour boat tour of the Soo Locks. The Soo Locks are actually on the St. Mary's river that connects Lake Superior to Lake Huron. Sault Ste Marie actually comes from the French meaning little waterfalls (or rapids) on the St. Mary River. I am glad they told me what Sault mean or I would never have known. The first settlers were Indian tribes that fished the rapids, in canoes, not less. White Fish is abundant in these waters at all times of the year. Most of the rapids are now diverted to the hydro electric plant or have become part of the locks.

There is a 23 foot drop from the upper St. Mary River to the lower St. Mary. That is why the locks are needed to get ships from one lake to the next. We were directed to the lock on the far left. This is the MacArthur Lock. It is 800 feet long, 80 fee wide and has a depth of 32 feet. This lock was build in record time of only 14 months during WWII. Most locks take 10 years to build. The Lock to the right was built for the super freighters. The super freighters sailing on the Great Lakes, can be as long as 1000 feet and be 105 feet wide. Our guide said "when a super freighter goes into the Super Lock, there is only 2 1/2 feet on either side of her. Pretty snug foot. The guide book said that crew members use small golf carts or bicycles to get from one end to the other. A thousand feet is like 3 football fields. Another interesting fact was, there is no charge to go through the locks. This is one of the most inexpensive ways to move cargo. She also said that a ton of cargo can be shipped for the average price of a fast food meal. Now that is a bargain! The super freighters only work the Great Lakes. They can not fit through the smaller passage near Niagara Falls to be able to make it to the Atlantic Ocean via the St. Lawrence Seaway.

This is the Edison Sault Power Plant

The St. Mary's River and a large portion of Lake Superior are covered in 1 to 5 feet of ice during the winter months. Because of this, the locks are closed from Jan 15th to March 25th each year. Once spring arrives, the US Coast Guard ice breaker, Mackinaw go through the locks and into Lake Superior to clear a path for the freighters to start coming back through. The ice breakers lead convoys of ships through the ice.

This ship was turned into a museum.

This ship is actually a barge with a tug boat assist at the back.

The international Railroad Bridges are actually several types of bridges at different sections of the river. Above the first and second lock is a lift bridge.
Above the third and forth lock canalis the bascule (jack knife) bridge. It is the larges bascule bridge in the world. The two bridge sections are evenly balanced with large concrete blocks. You can see them in my picture. It is that large block shaped thing on the left of the section.

The third type rail bridge is the swing bridge. Trains run over these rails at least twice a day but unlike running on land, they do not have right of way.......ships do.

I took a few videos, but I think these two are the best. The first shows how quickly the water is drained out of the lock. It only takes about 20 minutes to drop the level 23 feet

And this one shows the lock gates opening to let us out.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

More of Mackinaw City

I went to town yesterday searching for the laundramat. The park doesn't have a laundry because of waste water restrictions. I ended up on the far side nearest the bridge. They have a fort and a lighthouse. Did not go in the fort as it was soooo hot. I did take some pictures of the lighthouse, water and bridge. The lighthouse was commissioned in 1889.

This spot, was one of the most hazardous spots for ships making the turn through the straits. On the left side of the strait is Lake Michigan and on the right is Lake Huron. The lighthouse lasted until 1957. It became unnecessary because of the lights of the bridge. I know, you are probably sick of seeing the bridge, but it is just so amazing, I can't help myself.

I spotted this ship and wondered who was on it and where were they going. Could start a great story line if I was a writer, but alas, I am a reader not a writer.

Sailing ship enjoying a beautiful but hot day on Lake Huron.

I went in and out the shops in town, but did not buy anything. I even resisted the fudge shops. I came back to the wonderful A/C in the MH, took a happy nap, and read. Such an exciting life! Until next time.................

Friday, August 13, 2010

Mackinaw Bridge

I put the wrong video on my last post. I meant to put this video of the bridge.


I had a wonderful day today. I took the fast ferry over to Mackinaw Island. They are so cool. They have a plum of water coming out the back of the boat as the speed across the water.

We passed the "Mighty Mac", Macikinaw bridge. A picture just can't do it justice, so I took this short video from the ferry on the way to the island.

Did you know, at 5 miles long, it is the third longest suspension bridge in the world. The roadway is 199 feet above the water. The number one bridge is in Japan, and the second is in Denmark. I hadn't realize until I looked it up, but I was on the "Halsskov-Sprogoe" when my cousin Janice and I took a train to Denmark a few years ago. Guess I will just have to go to Japan, so I can say I have been on all three.

In 1875, Congress created the Mackinaw Island National Park. It is the second oldest National Park in the country with Yellowstone being the first. I did not know that!

Motor vehicles are not allowed on the island (except for emergency vehicles). You either walk, take a horse, bicycle, or a horse drawn carriage. I decided to save my knees and take the carriage ride. The ride starts out doing the town with a 2 horse carriage. Our guide was both knowledgeable and funny. He said the island is noted for 3 things: The Grand Hotel, bicycles and FUDGE. There are 17 fudge shops in town.
I had a front row seat of the back end of my team!

After four hours of lugging tourists around, the team is changed out for a fresh set. I happened to be on the trip with the change, so we stopped by the barn and picked up these two.

I thought the Mayor's house was really cute and a very sunny yellow.


When we got to the top of the hill, it was time to change our ride for a 3 horse team and much larger carriage. The stopping point had food, FUDGE, shops and a display of horse-drawn carriages inside. Pretty cool.



There are only 16 carriage like this one in the world, and other than the one in the museum, all the rest are here on the island. From here we entered the State Park and stopped at the ARCH ROCK. It is made of Limestone and will probably not be standing in 25 years as erosion will cause it to crumble. I will probably crumble by then too!


We stopped at Fort Mackinaw where a guide in full dress greeted us.


Since you have to pay $10 to get an up close view of the hotel, I did not go inside. I understand their lunches start at $45. and dinner at $60 a plate. To rich for my pocketbook for sure. This is the best you get folks.


Hope you enjoyed tagging along with me. Until next time.................

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dinner in Frankenmuth

I can hardly walk I am so full and I brought back more than half. I had dinner this evening at the Bavarian Inn in downtown Frankenmuth. I decided to go with the Frankenmuth combination dinner. The main plate was sauerbraten, weinerschnitzel, German chicken and potato cakes. To that, the waitress brought side dishes: chicken noodle soup, cucumber salad, coleslaw, cranberry relish, and pasta salad. I thought she was done, when she brought out: buttered noodles, stuffing, green beans with almonds, sauerkraut and gravy. Unbelievable. Those who know me well, no I do not eat mayonnaise, so the coleslaw, cucumber and pasta salad were returned. It was so much food, I just had to take a picture of it. Oh an did I mention they had a plastic box filled with homemade bread. I will have enough leftovers to eat 2 more days.

The Bavarian Inn is one of the ten largest restaurants in the country.

It is so pretty inside with painted murals on the walls.

When I came outside again, they had a beer garden set up with a band playing German folk songs. This is one of the street lights with hanging baskets of flowers.


Not all my time is spent sightseeing. I do play with my little girl. She loves her pink monkey and I love this picture of her, so I thought I would share.

I left St. Clair yesterday and had the most dreary drive. It was foggy/hazy the entire trip. I don't know what the difference is between fog and haze, but it was a very gray day. Once here, though, it was a lot nicer. I am within walking distance of Bronner's Christmas store. The thing is huge. The brochure said it has 7 acres of buildings. That is 5 1/2 football fields. The array of Christmas things just dazzle the mind. In addition, the whole perimeter of the property has all kinds of outside lights. I bet it is really impressive in Dec. with snow on the ground, but don't think I will stick around long enough to see the white stuff.

On one corner of the property there is a replica of the Silent Night Memorial Chapel. The original is in Oberndorf Austria, near Salzburg. The Christmas song Silent Night was first sung there in 1818. I was in Salzburg a few years ago but I did not know about the chapel. It is a beautiful city, one of my favorites. Guess I had to come to MI to see it.


The town itself is like being transported to Bavaria. All of the buildings have that gingerbread look, even the bank and the post office. The street lights all have hanging baskets of flowers with a built in sprinkling system to water them. I was half tempted to go stand under them, it was so hot yesterday.




Looking forward to a great German meal tonight. Until next time..............