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Sunday, 26 June 2016

Elliot Lake's Got Talent ... and HOW!!!


Elliot Lake's Got Talent ... and HOW!!! 


It's one of those things that we always meant to do, but never got around to it. The Coffee House at the CC, in Elliot Lake, is one of those 'things'. We were either out of town, or found that the tickets were completely sold out when we were here. That is, until the generosity of Lois Jones of 'Women in Song' made itself known to us. 


Women in Song (Lois is in the middle).

Lois had been a Facebook friend until she bumped into us at the Civic Centre at the end of May. She joyfully introduced herself to us and told us she was performing that evening. After sharing our regrets that we had been unsuccessful in getting tickets, she kindly gave us two spare tickets that had become available due to cancellations. Boy - were we thankful for her - it was a great evening - and we're now hooked!

On Friday night, we were thoroughly entertained for over two hours for the amazing cost of just $5.00 per person - and were in awe of the sheer talent from some of our local performers. 

The room is nicely set up, providing a welcoming ambience. 


Each table has its own program, flowers, and candle.


To darken the room from the glaring sunshine, there are pictures of famous performers that adorn the windows. 



Ryan, from Eastlink TV, was covering the evening. 


Before the performances begin, the venue gradually fills up and you get that feeling of 'family' gathering together. 






Cheerfully emceeing the whole event, Murray Finn shared some stories with the gathered audience - some of them very funny, others very moving. We had met Murray when we first moved to Elliot Lake, three years ago. He was looking after the Art Gallery when we visited it for the first time, and made us feel very welcome. 

Murray Finn


First on the program was Roger Legacy, who sang with his guitar for the first half-hour. We were treated to covers of Gilbert O'Sullivan, Simon & Garfunkel, and Gordon Lightfoot - as well as a hauntingly beautiful original called, 'Through an Old Man's Tears'. A very talented man whose guitar playing was mesmerizing. 


Roger Legacy

Victoria Thompson was up next. Her amazing voice held our rapt attention with songs from Cam and Streisand, to mention just two. The audience joined in with 'Leaving on a Jet Plane', but it was her interpretation of 'Memory' from the musical, 'Cats', that made the hairs on my arms stand up! I also loved her performance of the Welsh National Anthem, which she sang a capella in Welsh. I wish I had recorded it because it was truly beautiful. Victoria was accompanied on piano by Ponto Paparo who, himself, was a guest performer in May. 

Victoria Thompson


Ponto Paparo - performing in May




'Memory' from 'Cats'.


Last, but not least, our friend, Amber Piette, performed with her partner, Justin Villeneuve. They are both pursuing solo careers, but come together as the 'Creek Stones' - producing harmonies that are reminiscent of the Everly Brothers. (They actually sung one of the Brothers' songs, 'Down in the Willow Garden, which was alluring).  From songs by 'Of Monsters and Men' to several originals, they were captivating - both with their stage presence, and with the integrity of their personalities. 


The Creek Stones





While all this was going on, a talented young artist sat quietly at the back and produced amazing drawings that were inspired by what she saw and heard during the evening. Jade Farquhar, a principle artist who specializes in tattoo designs, was introduced at the beginning of the evening and I managed to get her permission to show one of her creations in this blog. 


Jade Farquhar

Jade's interpretation during Roger Legacy's performance of  'Georgia on my Mind'.


All of this is made possible by the hard work of Kate Matuszewski, who is well-known in Elliot Lake for devoting so much of her time to organizing entertainment in town. 


Kate Matuszewski


Our friend, Jane MacDonald, of Creme de Chantilly, provided the catering with her delicious choice of cake and cream. (Last month, it was a tasty pie!) She, and her staff, served with smiles that we have come to expect whenever we frequent her establishment. 




Coffee House at the CC (Civic Centre) may be enjoyed every month through the year (except summer), but be sure to get your tickets early to avoid disappointment. 

Does Elliot Lake have talent? You bet... and then some!





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Saturday, 18 June 2016

Marquette, Presque Isle, and a Junk Art Exhibition!

Beautiful Azaleas outside a Vacuum Store, near to the restaurant we patronized.

Marquette, Presque Isle, and a Junk Art Exhibition!


One of the many benefits of house/pet sitting, is that you get to meet some wonderful people, who delight in sharing some of the best spots to visit during your stay. Our hosts, Susan and Clarke, were certainly no exception and we have not been disappointed by any of their suggestions. Far from it, as we found ourselves checking their list of things to do and see on a daily basis while we were staying in their lovely home. 

Marquette - just 40 minutes from where we were staying - is the most populous city in the Upper Peninsula, and has its own charm - especially in the downtown area, near the harbour. 

We noticed the uniqueness of some of the architecture on the main street. 




We liked the 'gingerbread' effect on the red building.

The whole street was punctuated with these lovely blooms

Notice the outdoor restaurant patio on the left, overlooking the harbour

The Wild Rover - Irish Pub


We were attracted to the twin towers of St. Peter's RC Church, which stood out among the other buildings in the area, and the doors to the front entrance were splendid. 


St. Peter's RC Church

The Main Entrance Doors - St. Peter's Cathedral

The old City Hall and the County Court House were also imposing, and we were struck by how neat and clean everything was in the surrounding areas. 


Marquette County Courthouse

Old City Hall


As our visit coincided with my 65th birthday, we patronized a small restaurant called, 'The Pasta Shop'. It wasn't fancy - by any means, but the sauce was to die for, and we'd go back there in a shot! 



The harbour is picturesque and sports a lovely park alongside it, with a neat row of houses on the other side of the road. 




A nice park, though ball-games were prohibited


You can actually book to sail in this schooner, which looked like it was permanently moored there in the summer months. 


The schooner, 'Coaster II'.

Superior Odyssey Tour


Passing the Northern University of Michigan, with its 'Superior Dome' stadium (billed as the world's largest wooden dome), we made our way to Presque Isle - which is a must-see for anyone visiting the area. 


Superior Dome - North Michigan University

This popular 300 + acre forested headland, juts into Lake Superior and is well known throughout the U.S. for its natural beauty. We parked the car, and walked around the perimeter path, following the coastline for most of the way. It was truly awesome, with views and vistas that elicited many 'oohs' and 'ahs' from us. From the lusciousness of the green forest floor and canopy, to the crystal clarity of the surrounding water, and the sheer beauty of the rock formations - we truly felt we had died and gone to heaven! 


The sunlight streaming through the trees made for a beautiful walk.





The grass was tall and soft - really nice floor covering

Continually amazes us how trees seem to cling to life

The clarity of the water is obvious from this picture


Towards the end of the hike, (we went counter-clockwise), we came across a banquet hall, and an open-theatre, which revealed a variety of uses for the local community and beyond. 

Open Air Theatre

BBQ and Banquet Hall

Banquet Hall from a distance


Of further interest, there was a memorial to Charley Kawbawgum - the last chief of the local Chippewa peoples, who was well-known and respected by the local community. 




Reluctantly, we left for home, but paid one more call to another point of interest to which Susan and Clarke had referred us. 

In the late 1990's, a man called Tom Lakenen - a welder - started to make sculptures from scrap iron - really big sculptures. The story goes that he adorned his front lawn with them, but the officials of Marquette did not approve and tried to ban them saying that they constituted 'signage' and were therefore illegal. 

Not to be put off, in 2003, he purchased 37 acres just east of Marquette, and built his own park which he named after himself - Lakenenland. It is open 24/7, year round, and is totally free for people to drive through, or leave their car and walk around (which is what we did). We were left totally gobsmacked at the sheer artistic creativity of this man! We took so many pictures that we decided to make a slide show of them so that you could enjoy them for yourselves. There are over 80 art pieces - each of them unique. 

Enjoy the slide show:- 

We were appreciative that he had a couple of areas where people could sit and eat a picnic - one even had a grill and some wood for people who wanted to BBQ for themselves!! 

What a great spirit! It's truly inspirational - and we would certainly recommend you to stop there and allow yourself an hour or two. You would not regret it. 

It was the perfect finish to another wonderful day!

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