What do these two things have in common? In 1886, Mr. Dorr Eugene Felt invented the Comptometer, the precursor to the modern-day adding machine. Mr. Felt’s invention was so successful that he soon became a millionaire. Felt used part of his riches to build a summer home for his family on the shores of Lake Michigan in southwest Michigan. The beautiful 25-room “cottage” featured stunning architectural details and every modern convenience. Sadly, Mrs. Felt died shortly after the home was completed, and Mr. Felt shortly after that. The home and grounds eventually took on a storied history, being sold to a seminary, then a prison, and finally, the state police, with the beautiful mansion crumbling further and further into ruin. Eventually the building and grounds became unused, vandalized and in disrepair, not unlike Felt’s dreams of happy family summers on the shores of Lake Michigan. Today, restoration groups have restored the mansion to its 1929 splendor. The mansion and grounds are open for tours and receptions.
I first met the Felt Mansion in the summer of 1971, with a group of friends who were having a beach party on the grounds of the then St. Augustine’s Seminary. Though, at the time I didn’t know the mansion existed, as a large school building had been added between the path to the beach and the mansion, obscuring the home from view. I met the mansion again in about 2012 on a trip to Saugatuck to relieve the beach party years, and discovered the mansion by accident looking for my old haunts. The dormitory had been demolished, leaving a clear view of the mansion, then under restoration. I returned to the mansion again last summer to tour the completed restoration.
The structure is now beautifully restored, but modern additions of a catering kitchen and multiple display cases of Felt’s Comptometer caused me to limit my photos to the architectural details and the exterior, capturing the details most in keeping with the original 1929 mansion.
Felt Mansion, front.
The Felt Mansion seen from the water garden.
Beautiful even from the back
Poor St. Augustine, left behind.
Repeating finials on the carriage house.
© Huffygirl 2015
I found this little Hobbit Underpass on the way to the beach in Saugatuck State park. I expected to see Hobbits lurking nearby, but then Hobbits can avoid being seen if they really want to.
© Huffygirl 2013
Beach, bird, boat.
I tried to catch as much as I could in this photo: the beach, Lake Michigan, a kayaker we met on a journey from Lake Michigan to Detroit, a gull flying overhead, and Holland Light House, about eight miles in the distance. How did I do?
© Huffygirl 2013
On a day so sunny that I felt like I needed sunglasses for my sunglasses, Best Husband and I ventured to Saugatuck, Michigan, for a winter’s day adventure. We ate lunch at The Butler, a restaurant located in one of the original town buildings from 1892. We poked around in interesting little shops, ogling expensive kitchen knives in The Butler Pantry kitchen shop, and admiring original artwork in the many art studios. We tasted exotic olive oils at The Olive Mill, and peered into windows of restaurants we had not seen before, hoping to savor them on another visit.
Then, the real adventure began. We left the downtown area and drove to the shore of Lake Michigan at Oval Beach. One never knows what they’ll find on the Lake Michigan shores in the winter. Often the water’s edge are encased in thick ice floes that may change daily with the weather. Other winters we’ve been to the Lake Michigan shores to find no ice at all. This day, we were not disappointed. The shore was blanketed with a massive ice floe, spreading out 50 to 100 yards from the shore. Not wanting to become an icy death statistic or an unexpected guest of the Coast Guard, we wisely kept to the water’s edge as we walked and photographed this amazing gift of nature.
Channel lighthouses in the distance.
Ice floe at Oval Beach, Saugutuck.
A break in the ice at the distant edge shows the thickness, about 1 foot. Notice the sand mixed in with the ice.
Ancient pier pillings with sand dunes in the distance resemble a lunar landscape.
The ice is not as solid as it may seem.
Remains of a long lost pier remind one of so many penguins toddling off to sea. The sand dunes in background are part of the ice floe.
Wave-formed sand dunes line the edge of the floe; waves crashing up onto the ice floe from open water behind it.
Open water at last, viewed from Douglas Bluff, far above Lake Michigan.
© Huffygirl 2013
Gusting breezes, wind-swept sand, dark clouds rolling onto land,
Summer’s sun gives little heat, with winter’s sand beneath one’s feet.
Waves roll in as sunset looms, as winter lowers its darkening boom.
Waves crash in for day’s last light, as summer bids its last goodnight.
© Huffygirl 2012
(Summer returned to Michigan for one day only, when temperatures reached 70 degrees in the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy, November 11, 2012.)
One summer’s day in November, original poem by Huffygirl, © 2012)