After the bookstore we wandered around for the other scenes in town. A couple of art galleries --- the peninsula is thick with art galleries --- and antique shops. Also the curious shuttered and abandoned building named The Pier Group Shops, according to a sign that looks like it was abandoned in place in 1982. It turns out the place was abandoned in place in 1982, the result of some impossible-to-follow argument among people with money in the thing. The building's shockingly dilapidated considering how much tourist money there is in town, and even the sign is growing so shabby as to be almost too affected. The 'E' in ``Pier Group'', for example, had two of its nails rust through, and so it dangles, almost upside-down, from the last, below the line of the text. Plans to do something with the property are allegedly under way, according to what is clearly not the same local news article that's run every sixteen months since 1983.
We went to the ice cream shop next to the water wheel restaurant. bunny_hugger had been in there way back in the day, before it was closed to all but private functions. We sat on the open porch and drinking coffee and tea and watching the small river and the wheel. It turns out the wheel was always an affectation, and never did any milling or other work. I seem to remember there also being some story about the wheel being built without construction permits, but that's been forgiven because now it's been around a long while and people take pictures of it and stuff. I may have the details wrong. It's in too damaged a shape to turn, which somehow puts it in that weird class of things that improve the look of the area by looking like ruins.
North of town is a mill pond and we went up there to look for wildlife, particularly fish. When we'd been there before we would look into the still water and consider how we didn't see any fish, and then we blinked and suddenly we saw them all. This time, despite being open to it, we never did see fish. Maybe we were too early in their life cycle; the 2013 visit was in early August, after all. We didn't see any fish to speak of. Just the occasional --- splash!
And then we did see something. A good-sized mammal, puttering its way across the pond. Then another going back the other way. We were too far away to get a good look at it, but I did my best to take photos and a movie and that ... doesn't quite clear up what we saw. A beaver seems like the obvious guess. Possibly an otter, although its head seems a bit stocky for that. Something that's able to dive under and stay a good while and will vanish into shore-side wood-lined burrows anyway.
After this crossing we waited a good long while hoping to see a return from these creatures. They never came back, and eventually we walked back to the main areas of town, along the way spotting a red squirrel with some harsh words for us.
Though we had been to the beach at Omena and at Suttons Bay we hadn't done much beach-walking this trip. And bunny_hugger wanted to find a fossil. So we went to the marina and wandered around the sand there, at least once a flotilla of geese finished their march through the lawn, beach, and water. While bunny_hugger looked I tromped along this wedge of grass that was on the verge of caving in to the waters beneath. (It would be a drop of like two feet, but you could photograph it to look dramatic.) She would have a magnificent find: a Petoskey stone. These are fossilized coral, named for the town of Petoskey in northern Michigan where they came to public attention, and who knew you could just grab one like that? She's got an eye for fossils that I just haven't.
We were going to meet bunny_hugger's father and brother for dinner. Her mother still wasn't up for going out anywhere. We got back to the house to find that they had gone already, to the restaurant, in Northport, where we had just come from. I concede we could have better organized this. The restaurant was the one that had the dog prints in the cement out front, which it turns out is just part of the chain's gimmick. The place has some decent 10-to-20-dollar dinners (bunny_hugger's father was particularly taken by the au jus sandwich, and insisted on going back the next day, when he did not get the au jus). And it has an arcade. It's not as frenetic a blend of restaurant and arcade as, say, a Dave and Busters, but it does give kids something to do besides trying to sit still and read the menu.
Among the things it gives: pinball. They had a Junkyard, a late-90s Williams table that's familiar enough from home, but still a pretty reliable game to play. We gave bunny_hugger's brother the quick explanation of what to shoot for (it's the wrecking-ball crane in the back of the playfield) and had a three-player game in which he beat bunny_hugger. We took another round and this time he beat me.
Still, it's an appealing combination of things. They also had a two- or three-lane bowling alley, bringing to us thoughts of how we like bowling, although not enough to actually bowl.
Back home we'd continue our progress through Mice and Mystics and after a couple handily successful rounds we started to believe we just might finish the last chapter while on this vacation, with bunny_hugger's brother composing the whole story about how the archer-mouse Lily would become the ultimate hero. It didn't happen that Thursday, but we'd have two more days to try.
Trivia: After the defeat of Western Union's Americal Speaking Telephone Company in patent suits in 1879, stock in the Bell Telephone Company rose from $50 a share to nearly $1,000. Source: Destiny of the Republic: A Tale Of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President, Candice Millard.
Currently Reading: The Greek War of Independence: Its Historical Setting, C M Woodhouse.
PS: OK, but what does Bronner's have in raccoons and guinea pigs? More than just this.
Animatronic raccoon drummer. This critter would keep swaying back and forth and hitting the marshmallow drums and if it doesn't make perfect sense what he's doing, so what?
A flock of guinea pig ornaments. More guinea pig ornaments than I imagined to exist, although they missed the Abyssinian breed, the one with the complicated sworls of fur that look all crazy. The guinea pigs shared space with hedgehogs.
Hiking and log cabin ornaments! And I know you're thinking to joke about that clearly being a German-made hiking raccoon, but we know better. Would he only have the one walking-stick if he were German? Yeah.