The Village at Grand Traverse Commons


To celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary, Terry and I spent a day in Traverse City. One of our destinations was The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, a collection of small retail shops in the beautifully-renovated former Traverse City State Hospital.


The architecture and attention to detail displayed was simply exquisite.


There’s an interesting history behind this former state hospital. Several books have been written about the facility, which I hope to borrow from the library. One of Terry’s relatives was a patient and, sadly, died there in 1926. This ancestor was 70 years of age at the time he passed away; I’m unaware of the circumstances surrounding his death.



I enjoyed these ornate gates.



I knew my Mom would enjoy this Michigan-shaped license plate collage. Too bad its price sticker wasn’t in my budget:) Since the shop didn’t have room to display the upper peninsula with the lower, the UP was leaning up against a wall inside the shop!

Most of The Village shops were way too upscale for us, but I purchased a few small gifts there. The mystery and architecture of the buildings made the visit worthwhile, in my opinion.







The Village at Grand Traverse Commons
former Traverse City State Hospital
20th anniversary getaway


Cemetery Adventures

DSC_0453 trees

Christian and Rebecca traveled north with their grandparents for a Saturday adventure. Meanwhile, Terry and I escaped to a local brewery and steakhouse to celebrate our recent 18th anniversary. I sent my camera with Rebecca so she could capture said adventure.

DSC_0462 Rebecca Ellsworth Cemetery sign

Their destination?

The East Ellsworth Township Cemetery, where several of our ancestors were buried.

I’m puzzled by this sign for several reasons. Firstly, it appears that the sign-painter initially spelled the township name incorrectly as Ellworth, and was later persuaded to insert the missing “s.”

Secondly, the date of the cemetery’s establishment is listed as 1909. I have photographs from a visit several years ago which indicate another of our ancestors buried there as early as 1894. Odd.

DSC_0475 christian

Anyway, this cemetery is east of the village of Luther, Michigan, where portions of my mother’s family settled in the late 1800s. Christian and Rebecca helped their grandparents tidy the family plots during their visit.

DSC_0469 Bird, Earl and Matilda

The tombstone of my Great-Grandparents, Earl and Matilda Bird. On my long-neglected genealogy blog, I posted a mini-biography of this grandfather who died tragically from a dynamite explosion.


A brother of my Great-Grandmother Matilda.

DSC_0471 Heidrich, Charles

Another of her brothers with his wife.



Thunderstorms were approaching and our cemetery crew was prompted to work quickly.


DSC_0476 christian

DSC_0478 Bird homestead

Rebecca snapped a current photo of the Bird family homestead, which was established by or before 1916, according to a property-tax receipt. Some of our relatives still own the land.

DSC_0489 smiley sign

I don’t recall exactly where this sign stands, but it’s at a corner marking one of the turns on the route from mid-Michigan to Luther. I have no idea who Raymond was, but my mom remembers driving by the smiley sign in her childhood. I remember it from my childhood. The original smiley sign was missing for awhile after decades of weather faded and destroyed it. This sign is a recent replacement, which caused my mother to smile! (Personally, I’m groaning in frustration regarding the smiley sign’s missing apostrophe. How about you?)


DS games occupied the children during the rainy ride home.

Many thanks to Grandma and Papa for providing the day of adventure for the children and the opportunity for our anniversary date. Rebecca, you were a wonderful photographer to document the day of adventure. Thanks also to Papa, who photographed Rebecca so that her presence was not forgotten:)


photos by Rebecca (and Papa)