A day without beer? (Edwin McCain & Sister Hazel Instead!)

We slept in until 8:30 AM (which never happens with D!), and didn’t check out until almost 11:00 AM.  Our night at Founder’s was a reminder that we aren’t as young as we use to be!

Before we could leave Grand Rapids, we went in search of Founder’s Breakfast Stout at several “Michigan Party Stores”.  We ended our search (without anything to show for our work – it just isn’t available!) at a very cool deli called Martha’s Vineyard on Union and Lyons.  This store is a destination!  Regardless of the merchandise, this place has such a sophisticated and tasteful appearance that I just wan’t to explore.  There was a terrific selection of wines and beers.  I swear they had every Rogue product, and multiple sizes and flavors of Lindeman’s products – that’s just the start.  They also specialize in deli products, pasteries and general produce and merchandise ranging from the expected to the ecclectic.

Without our Breakfast Stout, we headed along the lakeshore toward the Chicago area.  We took a brief stop at the Warren Woods Natural Area in hopes of a hike/birdwalk/picnic in the last known stand of virgin beech-maple forest in southern Michigan.  We enjoyed the drive through the old-growth forest of sycamore, beech, maple, and other northern hardwoods. But deer flies swarmed our car as soon as we stopped, so it didn’t take much for us to move on. 

Finding our way back to the highway, we saw signs for wineries, cherries and apricots.  With the intention of shopping for fruit, we did end up also trying a new winery – Free Run Cellars where they are making a Syrah that is extremely impressive!

Then it was non-stop (well, except for the awful stop-and-go traffic!) to north-west Chicago for the Crystal Lake Gala.  Interstates 80 and 94 were just terrible, but I pointed out that we are in the mid-west where all of the roads parallel eachother, so we wound our way through the construction areas and believe we saved some frustration.  Realizing we crossed a time-zone also helped us out on our quest to be on time! The Holiday Inn recommended by the festival planners was terrific!!  It had a great gym, Internet access, our room was huge and extremely confortable…it amazed me that we paid just as much last night for a tiny, crappy room, and tonight we are feeling luxurious!But tonight it was all about the music.  A shuttle took us to the Gala, which was more like a carnival with awesome music.  The rides and the food were pretty much like a town carnival at home, but were were able to purchase tokens to exchange for aloholic beverages (I went out of my comfort zone and had Mai Tais!)

Edwin McCain started on stage right on time and gave a fabulous 1.5 hour show.  The crowd was so small, it was like an intimate evening with Edwin!  Sister Hazel started a little early (I went for a walk on the lake between shows, and I missed the first three songs!) and played almost as long as Edwin.  Both bands did plenty of old favorites (D and I got up and danced to our song…), and some new things as well (Sister Hazel debuted a song there!)

I’m sure I’ll have more to say about this day in an edited entry, but right now, I need sleep…

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