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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Come Summer, You Will Hardly Know Where You Are

Work goes ahead, behind piles of dirty snow in the harbor 

Following my enjoyment of his biography of Charles Dickens, I’ve been re-reading Stephen Leacock’s delightful Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town, the portrait of an imaginary Canadian town and its imaginary inhabitants so lifelike that Leacock’s readers had a hard time beliving he’d made it all up.
In regard to the present work I must disclaim at once all intentions of trying to do anything so ridiculously easy as writing about a real place and real people. Mariposa is not a real town. On the contrary, it about seventy or eighty of them. You may find them all the way from Lake Superior to the sea, with the same square streets and the same maple trees and the same churches and hotels, and everywhere the sunshine of the land of hope.
Mariposa (the imaginary place) is a small North American town--yes, Canadian, but not so very different from Michigan--on the shore of a lake, its population swelling in summer owing to an influx of tourists, so perhaps I may be forgiven if, as I read, I picture various buildings and people in Northport. (It's hard for me to believe Leacock's book was published almost 100 years ago, in 1912, since it feels so current to me.) We do not have Church of England in Northport, but we have churches, and instead of a 20-mile-long lake, we are on the shore of Grand Traverse Bay, an arm of Lake Michigan, but if you know Northport and were to read about Mariposa, I’m sure the latter would seem familiar. 

Northport, however, is a very real place. And despite one of the cruelest winters in living memory (not only for snow accumulation but for sustained brutal cold), never have I seen so many building projects going forward at one time. Here, then, is today’s gallery of what’s going on, beginning with the caboose down behind the Depot, with --

Yes! Solar!

Bowling alley moves closer to Opening Day
Golf course clubhouse amid remains of snow
Big renovations ongoing at the old Ship's Galley
Peek inside galley
New brew pub still under wraps

Downstairs at Lelu....
Now here's some really big news. I've already shown you work going on at Lelu Cafe (and elsewhere), but here's how that looked this morning. Then Keith, the carpenter you see at work here, offered to show me more. So we went upstairs....

Do you know what you're looking at? Can you believe your eyes? At last, at last, the hotel is coming into being! Nine rooms at the corner of Nagonaba and Waukazoo, right across the street from Dog Ears Books and only a short walk to marina, harbor, beach and picnic grounds! Please excuse all the exclamation points, but I've been waiting years for this. Talk about something the town has needed!


alexiswittman said...

Yowza! Such great projects and more, importantly love for a tiny village. Worthy of a short story at least.....

P. J. Grath said...

I will leave this short story for someone else to write, Alexis. In this (and in no other way) I am like Stephen Hawking, who went into theoretical physics because he didn't want to be constrained by facts. Me, neither.

Anonymous said...

Pamela, thank you for showcasing all the big changes happening to Northport--we are really kicking it up for the summer.


Karen Casebeer said...

It's really exciting what's happening in our little village. I'm so impressed with the workers, especially those at Tuckers, who've worked through this difficult winter. Karen

P. J. Grath said...

Trudy and Karen, I realize this morning that I'll need to do another post before long on new names in town. Stay tuned!

Latitia said...

Love seeing Northport on the up and up! Proud of our little town with big things happening! Also, check out that good lookin' carpenter! Go Dad, Go!

P. J. Grath said...

Tish! Your first visit to Books in Northport? Don't be a stranger!