LAKE MICHIGAN

I spend most of my days in the water. Whether it be in the ocean or in the big beautiful freshwater lake I’m so lucky to live on. My parents opened up our surf shop, Sleeping Bear Surf and Kayak, when I had just turned 5 which ultimately lead me to who I am today. My mother had spent her summers up here with her family growing up, they had a stunning house right on the lake at the base of the glorious sand dunes right in the heart of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. She grew up with many neighbors out here but over the years as the original owners passed away the houses went as well and the land was given to the National Park.  Thankfully this magical place we call Muzzys Palace, named after my sweet grandmother, still sits in the woods today and is a way to bring my extended family together. The house is one of three that is left along this pristine lakeshore and will be in our family for generations to come. Thanks to our grandparents for building it before 1964, when the National Park was established here in  what is nicknamed the ‘Third Coast’.

Muzzies has been an oasis for me over the years. It’s a place of solitude that I can come to where I feel at home and at peace. Mainly due to its closeness to the lake and the isolated feel it has, away from the little town I live in and out of range for service. It forces you to be completely in the present moment and let your feet sink into the sand, listening to the waves crash on the shore. I have spent many days laying in the hot sand, letting my body mold into the ground and giving my eyes a rest. As well as playing in the crystal clear waters that sit so elegantly in front of the house.

It’s where I learned to surf at the ripe age of 5. To me the waves felt like they were massive, mountainous beasts and could take me out in one swipe. But all my fears went away as my dad plopped me up on the 5 foot surfboard and walked me out into the break as he told me exactly what to do. I gripped the rails of the board as fiercely as I could as we let the waves crash over us, waiting for the perfect one. My tiny hands could barely touch the water to paddle but the help from my dads push guided the nose of my board towards the shore. I could feel the board flow with the speed of the wave as I heard my dad behind me saying to pop up. With all my might I pushed my little body up and stood to my feet, letting the wave carry me all the way to shore while I screamed with joy. I leaped from the board onto the shore and jumped about as my dad walked back in to grab my tiny surfboard and help me catch another roller. There were many days spent like this, always asking my dad to push me into waves even when it was dead flat. My little body craved being in the water. And soon I gained the confidence to paddle out on ankle biter days all by myself as my dad watched from the water. Now 15 years later with the tiny soft top surfboard hanging in my bedroom, I have been fortunate enough to travel to many different countries and embrace the different surf it provides, although nothing is as good as surfing at Muzzies Palace.

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