austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

I'm going down to the central part of town

From Paesano's we walked back to the main tourist stretch of town. It's the same street, really, just a couple more blocks down. And then we went past. bunny_hugger had seen on maps a mention of Old Town, and was curious about it. I think we were looking for something specific, too, and we didn't find that, but we did get some view of the parts of Traverse City that aren't just about serving the tourists. Stuff like the post office with its magnificent Art Deco eagles watching over the world. Or the 1930s-style car repair shop that's apparently still (or back) in service and that calls the area Olde Town. Also that apparently there's not universal agreement about whether it's Old or Olde Town.

The historical marker for Novotny's Saloon, one of the city's earliest social centers (and ``headquarters of the Traverse City Hustlers semi-pro baseball team'') and a structure completely destroyed by fire in 1978. So they have the historical site marker on the ``near replica'' completed ten weeks later and raising questions of what the heck they're historically marking exactly anyway. Also statues of people like Perry Hannah, 'Father of Traverse City' and its first mayor. And a plaque on a stone at Lay Park, commemorating Albert Tracy Lay, 'who with Perry Hannah in 1851 founded the first permanent settlement'. The statue and the park aren't near each other. It suggests an ultimate falling-out between Hannah and Lay that the city's trying to hush up.

About six or so blocks into Old[e] Town as we were ready to turn around we saw an open artist's studio and poked in. The artist didn't notice us. We had that moment of worrying whether to just back out quietly or make some noise to draw attention or ... what. He noticed us, though, and stopped his sketching to talk and to show us around. He had dozens of sketches and paintings, including a picture of the gas station we'd just noticed. He apologized that nothing was for sale; he couldn't feel right selling any of his art. He bought the house to have a decent suitable studio after his retirement (I want to say from teaching, but don't really remember; bunny_hugger might). He had found just the right spot for him, including one with a gorgeous side patio, and he could sketch and draw and paint and sometimes re-paint, and he was just far enough from the edge of town that he could afford the place. We were left wondering what's going on that someone could afford to buy a house to be the artist's studio and not actually sell any art. Also, that it was great he was in a spot where he could have that going on. It's an enviable setup, and we did.

This marked our ne plus ultra of the Real Traverse City. We returned to the main drag and the tourist areas. Here I'm thinking of Cherry Republic, the outlet of ... well, cherry stuff. We got some pop and snorked up a lot of jam samples, satisfying our midafternoon snack needs. Once again we were too late to get to the camera shop before it closed, and we also missed the hobby shop there which is just as well because I've got way too many plastic scale models unbuilt to go buying new ones.

We didn't miss Toy Harbor, since we love that little toy store. While they didn't have the full-size raccoon Folkmanis puppet that I had such a good time with last year, they did have plenty to play with and be very seriously tempted by. I believe we also picked up a Dover stickers book. And a roll of kite yarn, so that both bunny_hugger and I could simultaneously try flying kites in winds that weren't going to cooperate. bunny_hugger also spent the dollar or whatever for this amusing tiny kite, a thing the side of a paper plate on a tiny spool of string which, it turned out, really did actually work as a kite.

We also poked into another toy shop, this one inside an enclosed mall in town somewhere, just as it was getting ready to close. We should've set out an hour earlier, or maybe not made that Radio Shack diversion. bunny_hugger recognized some of the miniature dolls as part of a collectible set she'd had ages ago, though, and looked hopefully for bunnies of the right kind. Didn't find them, but it was great looking, and bunny_hugger seemed to enjoy her talk with the shopkeeper.

We did go to Horizon Books, the local indie bookstore that still has this large, Barnes-and-Noble-class storefront in town. It's a good spot to stop for tea or coffee, at least while the cafe's open. And to poke around for local-interest books, which is how I got a book about the ferry and railroad industry of the Traverse Bay area. I also picked up an Archie Comics reprint of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch comics that just seemed interesting in that way that other Silver Age comic reprint books promised to be. (It was.) bunny_hugger, with more recent experience working in larger bookstores than I have, noticed the locked-items case. Some items were like you'd expect, manga and Dungeons and Dragons manuals (high-value shoplifting targets). A guide to no-fault divorce in Michigan seemed like a weird choice. Maybe that's also a shoplifting target. It's not at the bookstores in Lansing, we don't think.

We got wraps from the bookstore's cafe to bring home for dinner; we were just late enough that we'd either have to eat in a Friday-Night-Busy restaurant in town or miss entirely the lower-key places outside Traverse City. (bunny_hugger's father went back to that restaurant we'd been at the night before, where he did not get the au jus sandwich he'd raved about.) And we got back home at what my camera's metadata reports was after 9:30 pm, when it was still perfectly bright out. Seriously, sun sets late around there.

Trivia: The 1848 book Railway Appliances in the Nineteenth Century; or, the Rail, Steam, and Electricity (London) proposed that the speed of trains could be measured by counting the time needed to pass two telegraph poles, which would be placed roughly sixty yards apart, or thirty to the mile. This would be useful as there were not yet effective speedometers available. Source: The Railway Journey: The Industrialization of Time and Space in the 19th Century, Wolfgang Schivelbusch.

Currently Reading: The History of the Calculus and its Conceptual Development, Carl B Boyer.

PS: more Bronner's!


I'm sorry but I can't help noticing you don't have enough raccoons on your Christmas tree so what do you think of these?


Calendar clock outside Bronner's. As you can see, we were there just about a year ago already. This was before the election, so we were happy then.


Pyramid of directions outside Bronner's, showing off some of the places you'd expect (Bethlehem, Rome, the North Pole) and some that surprised me (Yellowstone Park? Bridgeport?) (Not that Bridgeport.)

PPS: Stuff I Should Read: about p-Adics, some mathematics reading I didn't get to just yet.

Tags: bronner's, traverse bay 2017

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