The Bootstrap Boys will be performing in the Dogwood Center’s Black Box on Saturday, July 14 at 7:30 p.m. The group is a four-piece country band who have developed a fresh take on the classic country sound.
Their original songs might bring to mind the likes of Waylon Jennings, George Jones, or Johnny Cash. More than once The Boys have been compared to contemporary country acts such as Sturgill Simpson, Chris Stapleton and other artists who have embraced the return of the country sound of the past.
The Bootstrap Boys include Jake Stilson, Nick Alexander, Josh McBryde, Jeff Knoll and special guest Tom Stolaski. Starting with the old cowboy and traditional tunes made famous by acts such as Sons of the Pioneers or the Carter Family, The Boys have developed a style embracing simple, solid musicianship with rich, four-part harmonies and rounded out with twangy electric guitar riffs and a very memorable performance style.
The Boys recorded their first full length album, "All Boots Aboard", in 2016. They were honored to be nominated and win the award for Best Roots/Revival Album of the Year at the WYCE Jammies in 2017. Recently, The Boys have played with the likes of classic purveyor of Juke Joint Swing, Wayne “The Train” Hancock” and Nashville darling Nora Jane Struthers, as well as having the pleasure of opening for another player in the “new outlaw” pantheon, Shooter Jennings.
Tickets are $12.50 and are available through the Dogwood Center Box Office, NCCA-Artsplace in downtown Fremont, or on-line at www.dogwoodcenter.com. For information, phone 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.
The exhibit “Sojourn: Paintings of Michigan and Chesapeake Bay”, by artist Judith Tummino is on display at NCCA – Artsplace through July 7. The display is free and open to the public.
Tummino calls Michigan home now, but was born in Washington DC and raised in Maryland. As a young person, she loved going to art museums and galleries and it began her love of art. Family trips to Chesapeake Bay and the Shenandoah Valley instilled the love of the landscape and the sense of the beauty of the untouched land. Tummino stated, "My appreciation of the moment is central to my work. I find that as my painting evolves I become sensitive to both the change of the conditions I am painting as well as to the changes on my palette and painting surface. It is this transformation that keeps me coming back to the painting experience. It never loses its interest for me."
Tummino has exhibited widely in the United States as well as in Italy. Her work is included in the collections of the Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Grand Valley State University, Dennos Museum Center, and in Chestnut Cabin and Museum in Port Republic, Maryland.
Stop by and enjoy her work. NCCA-Artsplace is located at 13 E. Main Street in downtown Fremont. Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., with Thursday evenings until 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
By Charles Chandler
One of the great things about summertime road trips is finding and trying new eateries. Mary’s Asian Cuisine is one of our recent tasty finds that is worth the drive from wherever.
Mary’s is hard to miss, it is a yellow (color not to be found in nature) food trailer located on HWY 31 in Beulah, Michigan, population 342. Owner, Mary Ramsey is a treasure herself and has a delightful story to tell.
Mary was born in the Philippines, and grew up in Singapore. A close friend introduced her to Mr. James Ramsey from around Beulah Michigan. Soon they were married and as with all marriages, compromises had to be made. It appears that Mr. Michigander Ramsey could not deal with the heat and humidity of Singapore. Mary, husband James and her eclectic recipes soon arrived in Beulah where she began serving up her wide ranging and crazy good dishes. One of the customers waiting for his food mentioned that the Ramsey’s began their business by serving food to hungry snowmobilers as they flew along the local winter trails.
Mary’s’ menu items represent the places she has lived; there are Michigan steak sandwiches with sweet potato fries, marinated adobo and tocino pork from the Philippines, and traditional Chinese dishes like asian tacos, spring rolls, stir-fry, sesame chicken, rice noodle bowls and fried rice. Mary is quick to tell you that her spices and rice noodles are authentic and ordered from the old country.
Dianne chose the asian tacos, a fusion dish to be sure, three to the order, starting with soft shell tortillas filled with yellow rice, tocino pork, pico de gallo and two kinds of cheese. The melt in your mouth tocino pork is surprisingly sweet, the pico de gallo provides the delightful crunch, add in a little complementing heat and with the yellow rice the dish satisfies superbly. This is a light but filling dish so three is a plenty unless you have teenagers that have been water skiing all day on nearby Crystal Lake.
I asked Mary what she suggested and that was a big mistake, “you want combo, you big man, you want big man meal.” This belly buster was ok if you were a 20-year-old lumberjack or construction worker. It consisted of a huge helping of sesame chicken, adobo pork, and bacon fried rice with a healthy layer of scrambled eggs. We paired our orders with a side of fried sweet potatoes and a pint of fresh squeezed lemonade for each.
The service here is fast and friendly and Mary treats one and all like they are special members of her family. We sat at one of the picnic tables enjoying Mary’s unique Asian Cuisine and watched the steady flow of customers. One of our favorites was the man who arrived in his pajamas. Another interesting customer was wearing a tee shirt that read “Traverse City Fire Department.” We imagined that either he drove down from Traverse or he lived in one of the lakeside homes and had a bunch of friends stops by unannounced because he brought a cardboard box to haul his multiple orders back to the car.
Our meal at Mary’s Asian Cuisine was like our wonderful Michigan summers, over way too soon, so with our take home boxes that should provide leftover for at least two more meals, we were on the road again.
If you find yourself on M 31 passing through Beulah, Michigan, population 342, please pull into that crazy little yellow trailer on the right and sample Mary’s unique Asian Cuisine, you won’t regret it. Smiling Mary is open from the last week in April through the end of October and open daily, Monday- Saturday from 1130AM to 7:30 PM.
Fuego: A Fusion Kitchen
By Alexis Mercer
Fuego may have been created with me in mind. With two of my favorite cuisines (Mexican and Asian) fused together I was looking forward to my first trip to Fuego after a short period of time when it was closed for renovations.
Prior to the closing I had eaten there a handful of times. And loved it to no end. I had even ordered take-out a few times, making the short trip to Grant for the delicious sushi.
My expectations were high and I was hopeful.
I brought a friend who hadn’t eaten there as many times as I had. We had just finished watching our neighbors’ son play Little League at the Grant fields on a Saturday afternoon. We headed to Fuego about 2:30 in the afternoon.
Walking in the front door, we were pleased that it wasn’t busy. In fact, we were the only table at the time. Our server quickly attended to us, offering soda of either the US version or the Mexican version (Jarritos).
With our beverages came a healthy helping of homemade chips that were perfectly seasoned and a big bowl of delicious green salsa. I’m a giant fan of chips and salsa, so I am rather picky, and these were nothing short of perfection.
Each of us chose a different side of the fusion menu: I chose the Fuego California Rolls and she chose Street Tacos with chicken.
Our server, who was very pleasant, quickly returned with our food. And then we were rather silent as we devoured our meals.
My sushi was beautifully presented and tasted divine. The rice was cooked well, the vegetables were crisp and the outside of the roll seasoned with just enough spice to make it memorable.
The street tacos were just as pleasing to the palette. The corn shells were toasted to a crisp crunch. The chicken was seasoned well and the vegetables and cheese on top were all fresh and scrumptious.
It seemed to both of us that the price of the meal would have been significantly more anywhere other than Grant. In Grand Rapids, I am sure we would have paid double for the quality food and pleasant service.
With my stomach full, my wallet not that much lighter, and my taste buds pleased to no end, we left Fuego knowing we would be back again very soon.
“Summertime...and the livin’ is easy…..”
First weekend of summer folks. Time to get hold of the last of the strawberries, nail down some asparagus as well and find yourself some rhubarb (see Terrie Ortwein’s piece on our Nibbler page).
Regardless of the weather this weekend a little outdoor activity like hiking one of our many wonderful trails is advised between raindrops and that 50% chance of rain also means a 50% chance of no rain, right? Assuming, that is, the weather folks have a clue as to what is going to occur meteorologically.
As for entertainment?
Friday at Newaygo Brewing Co. check out the progressive rock band Skyking from 7-11pm.
This red hot four piece band from Grand Haven incorporates the complex vibes of 60s and 70s rock, a dash of funk, and just a taste of classic metal. A very worthwhile listen and while there the opportunity to knock down some fine food and legendary beverages crafted on site. NBC is a slice of IPA heaven and the tunes on tap will make it memorable night.
Do you Rodeo?
If so the annual Adam Scott Memorial Rodeo should be on your calendar for Saturday at the Cowboys and Clowns Arena located between Newaygo and White Cloud just off M37 at 1343 E 40th. You’ll see the signs.Action begins at 6pm.
Further afoot Saturday is the famous and infamous Bizarre Bazaar an annual event in the Eastown section of our metro neighbor to the south. It’s a streetfair extraordinaire with more to look at and be entertained by than one can imagine. If you’ve never been give it a try. You will either be making plans for next year or vowing to never go again so yeah, it’s that kind of thing. N3WH staff have never failed to find the trip to the BB worthwhile.
Starts at 9am.
By Marianne Boerigter
It was Volunteer Appreciation night at the Dogwood Center on Saturday, June 16.
Dogwood volunteers provide countless hours of service that help make the Dogwood Center the strong cultural resources that it is. Over the past year, over 40 community member from all of our communities in Newaygo County helped with fundraising, ticket sales, technical needs, ushers and greeters, and all components necessary in providing such a wonderful venue.
Dogwood volunteers were treated to complimentary tickets to the Christian Howes Quintet concert as a special thank you for their help over the past year. That evening, Dogwood Board of Directors stepped into the volunteer roles of box office personnel, ushers and greeters.
The Don Heaven Volunteer of the Year Award is given annually to the volunteer whose service, dedication, and commitment embodies the Dogwood Center’s spirit. This award is dedicated to Don Heaven. Since the inception of the Dogwood Center, Don has worked tirelessly to make it not only a reality but also an excellent asset to Newaygo County. Over the past years, the Don Heaven Volunteer of the Year Award has been awarded to: Irene Baker, Henrietta Van Meekeren, Marcia Eib, Julie Vanderboegh, Sandy Saliers, Shirley Hooker, Tom Shoecraft, Maxine McBride, Sandy Cruzan, Nevonda Lankhorst, and Dwight Austin. The 2018 Don Heaven Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Georgia Paxton.
Georgia is appreciated for all of the time and extra effort she puts in to make the Dogwood experience special for everyone. She has been volunteering at the Dogwood for four years and works at any volunteer position that needs to be filled.
Georgia and her husband, Dr. Robert Paxton had been supporters of the Dogwood Center even before the building was built. After Dr. Bob passed in 2015, Georgia and her family began the Dr. Robert Paxton Memorial Fund for greater accessibility into the Dogwood.
This fund, along with the Lila Rynberg Memorial Fund spurred the implementation of our current improvement plan that incorporates ease of access, covered drop-off point on the north side of the building, push-button handicap entrance doors, and increased designated walkways and crosswalks. This is an exciting project and will be a great addition to the Dogwood Center for years to come.
The Dogwood Center staff and Board of Directors appreciate and thank all of the wonderful Dogwood volunteers for all that they do! For information on how you can volunteer at the Dogwood Center, phone 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.
By Charles Chandler
ROAD TRIP! Time for a road trip, those are magical summertime words around our house. Our family definition of a road trip is driving more than an hour to see something interesting or to do something fun, with at least one “I may have missed the turn” and or a u-turn. And, if you can throw in a stop along the way for a delicious meal or small bite so much the better.
On Friday afternoon we lashed the kayaks in the pickup and headed north. Our destination was the small park alongside the Platte River at the corner of Lake Michigan HW 708 and Scenic HY 22. The joyful reason for this road trip was to meet up with about 30 or so members of the West Michigan Kayaking Club for a leisurely evening paddle down the Platte to Lake Michigan to play in the waves and watch the sunset. We were to meet up with our fellow paddlers at 6:30 PM so about 3:30 we pulled out of White Cloud and headed up M 37 giving us plenty of time for chatting, seeing the sights and a much-anticipated dinner at the world famous Mary’s roadside Asian diner in Beulah, Michigan ( more on this tasteful treasure later). We love the drive up to the Platte because we travel along M 37, M 155, US 31 and the ever-scenicM22 to see the sights. These sights include our favorite fishing rivers the famous Pere Marquette, the two Manistees, the Betsie and finally the Platte.
Our first point of interest was the world’s largest Brown Trout sculpture in the village of Baldwin. The 25 foot 1000 pound trout sculpture was commissioned by the Village DDA created by artist Ivan Iler of St. Johns Michigan and raised in recognition of the first place in North America where the wily brown trout were introduced. If this sculpture doesn’t impress you, then drop back a block on main street and go in Jones’s Ice Cream Parlor and try one of theirs. They have been serving their homemade ice-cream creations since 1942.
Next up and in my opinion one of the best roadside convenience stops in Michigan. It is on the left a few minutes before you arrive at Mushroom Mesick. This rest stop has everything you could ask for, clean restrooms, a viewing platform for a vista of Hodenpyl Pond, a maple tree that is breathtakingly beautiful in the fall, and an old fashioned hand operated water pump that provides water for whatever. After this stop, it is down M 115 slowing for our first look at the Betsie River and Crystal Mountain and soon it’s a right turn on M 31. Be sure to follow the speed limit up over the hill in Benzonia and down the hill into Beulah, Michigan population 342. Beulah is our dinner destination because it is the location of Mary’s big yellow Asian Cuisine Trailer.
We are off again after a dinner of Mary’s delicious and unique food all washed down with a giant hand-squeezed lemonade. In about a hundred yards we make a quick left turn on M 704 driving slowly so as to admire the lovely homes, boats and quaint lodges along the Crystal Lakeshore. A couple of quick turns to Platte Road, on to Scenic M 22, over the Platte River, and a quick left at the Lake County Township Hall and we are there. The meet up with the West Michigan Kayaking Club was at the small park on the left.
It is 6:30 PM on the dot and everyone is busy unloading and staging their kayaks for the evening paddle. We spot our vehicles down the road at Platte River Beach parking lot and shuttle back to the put in. At 7:00 PM our paddle host Steve, give a quick overview of the evening paddle and a safety briefing and off we go down river to the big lake.
For those that are not familiar with the West Michigan Kayaking Club it is an open public club with no dues or fees and only a few simple rules; Wear your safety equipment, respect the river, the environment and your fellow paddlers, and don’t drink while on the water and, of course, just be nice.
There are about 1700 members in the Club and their published goals are to “bring together friends and fellow kayakers to enjoy and explore Michigan's beautiful rivers and help you become a better paddler.” This weekend the Club members were camping out at the Interlochen Campground and had paddles scheduled for other area rivers including the Boardman, Manistee and the Betsie. You can find more about this group and their next scheduled events by clicking on https://www.meetup.com/West-Michigan-Kayaking-and-Canoeing-Meetup-Group/.
The paddle from Scenic M22 to Lake Michigan is just plain fun; the current is slow, no rocky runs, boulders, log jams, sweepers or portages to navigate. I like it because I can see all the different types of Kayaks and talk to the owners about the features and functions of their specific piece of plastic. The current slows a little bit as you enter the shallow end of Loon Lake and as Dianne my paddling partner puts it “it’s an arm crawl” but soon you are back into the main river. No loons, but some Mute Swans were available for viewing. This paddle is a social event with folks floating along in colorful kayaks giving first and old timers the opportunity to reconnect after a long winter or introduce themselves to other members of the Club.
The paddlers soon coalesce into pairs or small groups and chat as they move down the river, you can hear, what did you do over the winter, how is the family, are you new to the club, how long have you been paddling and so on conservations. One young swain appeared to be smitten by an attractive paddler behind him so not to be rude turned his kayak around and paddle backward as the talked to her. You just never know when or where a Hallmark moment will take place.
Too soon we heard the waves of Lake Michigan and the pretend Coureurs des Bois picked up their paces eager to round the last bend and catch that first thrilling glimpse of the big lake and snoozing bears lying off the coast. A few paddlers pulled out on the lakeside sandbar to watch sunset and others paddled on down and played in the transition zone where river meets the lake. The more experienced and a few brave newbie’s paddled out into the rolling waves of the big lake, waited for a flat spot, turned and with a little skill surfed, accented by a few sequels and woo hoos, back to the sandy beach.
All too soon it was twilight and time to help each other haul out and load the Kayaks. With a few hugs and handshakes, it was off to the camping grounds or to the long ride home. A word of caution from the road, it is a dessert desert from the Platte back to White Cloud, no malt, shake, gelatos, or homemade ice cream from Jones’s in Baldwin, sadly all closed. But you do have plenty to plan your next Michigan summertime ROAD TRIP!!!!!.
Recreational kayaking has become the hot summertime activity in Michigan and it appears that every other vehicle heading north on M 37 or west on M 20 has kayaks strapped on. We Michiganders are blessed with over 3000 miles of blue water trails that can meet every skill level or family’s pleasure. Now there is a section of the White River near White Cloud designated as a Michigan Blue Water Trail. Click on the following line for more details. http://www.michiganwatertrails.org/
Newaygo County Museum and Heritage Center Speaker Series Continues
From our friends at the NCMHC:
On Wednesday, June 20th at 6:30 pm, Gabe Shillman, proprietor of Studio 37 of Newaygo, will speak about art and inspiration. The presentation highlights his personal journey, which led him to open up a space to celebrate the transformative power of art. Another main theme is the inspiration behind the incredible mural and panels that he and his business partner Stacey Kirk created for the Museum, art that forms the backbone of the Newaygo County Museum and Heritage Center’s newest exhibit “A Delicate Balance; Our interaction with Newaygo County’s Natural Resources”
Studio 37 opened in February of 2016 in downtown Newaygo. The studio’s mission is make art accessible to everyone, and they do an admirable job of it, hosting art exhibits and openings, teaching classes to all age groups from children to seniors and all in between. The studio also acts as a venue for local music and as a gathering spot for the art community and those interested in art to come together.
Gabe is a Flint native who ended up in Newaygo County with his wife Nina, a native of Grant. An accomplished author of 5 books and a gifted singer songwriter whose works have appeared in TV commercials and been used by John Mellencamp.
Gabe’s foray into the painting is relatively new. A self-taught artist, he began painting about three years ago as a way of dealing with a bout of depression. The therapeutic value of art spoke so powerfully to him that he sold his substantial construction business to open the studio to share art with all. Although he originally opened the studio alone, he developed an excellent working relationship with local artist Stacey Kirk, who now acts as his partner.
The forty-minute presentation, the second of this year’s Heritage Speaker series, will be followed by a time of questions and answers. The Newaygo County Museum and Heritage Center is at 12 Quarterline in downtown Newaygo. Doors are scheduled to open at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free. Donations are matched at 50 percent by the Fremont Area Community Foundation, which provides core operational support for the organization.
The Muse Book Review
By Alexis Mercer
I recently read an article by Jen Hatmaker about the end of the school year for parents. How at the beginning of the year all the responsibilities you tackle with vigor: making lunches, checking backpacks, getting homework done in a timely fashion. Come May, however, these same parents are counting the hours until school is done so these tasks can be over for a short time. That is me. Only it’s triple because I am a teacher and coach, too.
My kids’ backpacks went unchecked (sorry teachers, I know I am the worst return-permission-slip-mom-ever). We got school lunches because ain’t nobody got time to make lunches in the morning when we are pulling ourselves out of bed at the last possible second. We made it to every soccer practice, but darn it if we didn’t have to exceed the speed limit just a teeny tiny bit to get there on time.
Then there was my classroom. All the papers were graded and the lessons were taught, but it might have come down to the very last minute of the very last day. I entered grades and checked the items off my list for completion one by one, thankful that I was going to get a break soon to refresh and rejuvenate myself.
So in these last few weeks of complete chaos, what I needed was a book that wasn’t difficult, but provided a high level of entertainment for my over-stimulated mom/teacher/coach brain. One that I could fall into bed at night and enjoy a few pages at a time before it inevitably fell on my body because I had fallen asleep reading.
The Muse by Jessie Burton was just that book.
Set in two time periods, 1936 and 1967, the story revolves around a painting and its creator. Olive Schloss is the daughter of an art dealer who has recently moved with her parents to a villa in rural Spain. Suffocating under her parents’ rule she desperately wants to tell her them that she has been accepted to art school, where she secretly applied, but that never comes to fruition. Instead she immerses herself in the new life in Spain, befriending a revolutionary Isaac Robles and his sister Teresa.
In the other half of the story, Odette Bastion is a young woman who has come to London from Trinidad, struggling to find her way. She just recently accepted a new position as a typist in an art gallery under the wing of a mysterious woman, Marjorie Quick. A painting arrives at the gallery while Odette is there, and the story begins to unfold in rapid fashion.
The storyline was clever but easy to follow, characters were well-developed and intriguing, and the pace quick enough to make it hard to put down. I very easily painted a picture in my mind about the story while I read.
While I enjoyed the book amidst the end-of-the-school-year push for the finish line, it would also be a perfect summer read while sipping iced tea in the shade on a warm, sunny day.
With pinball a part of the Rockin’ The Park celebration happening in White Cloud now through Saturday, the news spurred a small trip down memory lane.
My first pinball machine encounter was at home, actually.
My Dad was in the car business, something he gravitated toward soon after he returned from what he once called his “All expenses paid walking tour of Europe.” It seemed back in those days the term “trade-in” had a considerably more generic flavor to it. It certainly wasn’t limited to cars since I recall a number of eclectic items arriving at the lot or the house with an explanation that involved said items being part of a deal for a car. Most were non-living things if memory serves.
One such item was a pinball machine.
It was like having magic in the basement to a 7 year old. While my (much, much) older brothers dominated the early action on it, they were already involved with sports and girls so the machine soon became vacant.
I was, of course, lousy at it. There was so much involved what with flippers and lights and trying to boost myself high enough to know where the silver orbs were flying I rarely made flipper-to-ball contact thus games ended quickly.
Sometime after that it was gone. Things like that always seemed to come and go a lot so little thought was given to its departure and it wasn’t until junior high before I became re-acquainted with the silver ball.
There was a bowling alley nearby with about 5 machines and when quarters or dimes could be somehow earned or begged a group of us would gather to test our mettle against the unforgiving machines.
Once again the action of pinball gave way to other interests (sports, girls) and some years went by with infrequent play. Then I met my friend Tim (who says he’s not my friend but really is) and after a softball game we were enjoying a couple of brews when he asked if I payed pinball.
Dozens of quarters later an ongoing competition that has lasted decades was born. The First Street Tavern in Manistee had a particular game we tended to focus on and the quest for pinball supremacy was such that frequent visits to that particular establishment became nearly mandatory.
One day soon after Space Invaders, the neophyte of high tech games though a considerable step up from Pong, arrived on the scene we were visiting Milwaukee with our incredibly patient wives. We had stopped at a bar (of all places) and discovered the Space Invaders install guy had slapped something like 40-50 free games on the machine.
LSC Lil and Sandy bid us adieu (they could see the gleam in our eyes when we asked about staying an extra hour or two) and we agreed to meet later on at a designated place. Tim and I feasted on the free games finally leaving despite there being a few left because, well, we’re both still married since those days some 40 years ago so lessons had been learned along the way about how far to push the envelope.
This weekend the Rockin’ The Park celebration at the White Cloud County Park will be offering folks the chance to do personal battle with these venerated machines. It’s part of the fun to be had at what looks to be a great way to kick off summer. Trails, kayaking, kids games, a whole lot of music, a beer tent, and food vendors all make for a fun family time in the Cloud.
And beyond all that?
They got pinball!
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