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Last weekend, the Bacon Slayer and I celebrated our 13th Anniversary.  Seems like just last week we had our first date at a Canadian beach culminating in a Monty Python movie marathon. Now here we are, 16 years later, married for for the past 13 of them.  Looking back, that first date at the beach was very appropriate for our lifestyle. We love being outdoors and marveling at the beauty around us. We often take our boys on drives just to see what we can find. Of course, with four boys in the car, that usually means finding a new playground, beach, or ice cream shop.

So naturally, when given the opportunity to hit the town sans kiddos, of course we went for a drive through the countryside to see the fall colors. Funny, that even though we live surrounded by this beauty, real life takes over, and we don’t always “see” what is around us.

Which is exactly why we can appreciate the opportunity to slow down and enjoy an afternoon out. Just the two of us. Driving around. With no agenda.

October is harvest time at the areas vineyards and orchards.  We were able to get this shot of a vineyard on the bluffs overlooking Grand Traverse Bay.

The Selective-OCD part of me likes the orderly rows of grape vines. Neat, tidy, but still sort of wild.

In some areas, our microclimates are mimic that of the south of France, as such the land is very conducive to growing grapes. I’m told that Northern Michigan wine is starting to win awards and gain recognition in wine circles.

Whites, sparking whites, and cool climate reds do well here. These are pinot grigio grapes–I just love how they look like little balls of sunshine on the vines.

I could have hung out in the vineyards gazing at grapes all day, but the vineyards started to get a little crowded.  Sunny autumn days bring almost as many tourists as warm summer days. Besides, we had more exploring to do.

We did find our dream house. The one on the bluff, overlooking the water. What you don’t see are the acres of vineyards and the barn with horses that come with it. Nice location.

But we weren’t looking for real estate. We were looking for solitude, so we pressed on.

I love walking through the crunch of fallen leaves.

Or wondering what used to be on the land.

The mix of deciduous and evergreen trees provides a nice texture difference in the landscapes.

It seems that the farther we drive out on the dirt roads, the more relaxed and centered we become.

The more solitude settles in and we can really breathe.