In honor of the last day of summer…


 My father was a child when he started vacationing in Pentwater.  Surrounded by lustrous forest on one side and the vast expanse of Lake Michigan on the other, this house he inhabited with his mom, dad, sisters, and brothers sits high atop the sand dunes and looks out over an unforgettable view. For the past 70+ years, as my Dad has grown and changed from a curious independent boy to a strong passionate grandfather, the cottage and its surroundings have also grown and changed with him. He has witnessed the trees growing taller, now towering overhead; the sand dunes shifting; the beach contracting and unfolding; the incredible wind storms engulfing and retreating; family members invading and woefully leaving; and tourists coming and going.  But one thing always remained the same: his love for this special place and the memories it holds for him.   And, one final constant for each and every one of us that visits-  the view never changes or loses its beauty!








All of us Neilsons grew up “summering” in this cottage and on this beach.  I’ve watched sunset after gorgeous sunset from this private deck, and each is the most beautiful I’ve ever seen!

I’ve had laugh after hilarious laugh in this heavenly home, and each is the most joyous I’ve ever felt!

I’ve witnessed hummingbird after awe-inspiring hummingbird from this sun-washed porch, and each is the most fascinating I’ve ever observed!

I’ve ran mile after familiar mile on this magnificent beach, and each is the most thought-provoking I’ve ever run!





Pentwater gives the illusion that time CAN slow down.  With a book in my hand, sand at my feet, and the sound of waves rolling to shore- life seems to stand still.  I can PAUSE, take deep heartfelt breaths, and capture the fleeting moments at hand.  I can finally sit with myself, actually sit with just MYSELF, and be OKAY with it!  I don’t need to RUN, I don’t need to HIDE, I don’t need to PEOPLE-PLEASE.  In this short time, I relish the fact that I can just BE ME.  It’s a beautiful thing to be kind and gentle with yourself.  To sit quietly and practice self-love.

I can feel my feet fully grounded in the sand, I can listen closely to the sounds all around me, and I can open myself to beauties that might otherwise escape me entirely.  To be present.  To be grateful.  To be happy.  To live fully in each moment. Very hard tasks to practice!  But sitting quietly on the beach at sunset, I am reminded that life isn’t last year or ten minutes from now; it’s NOW, this moment!  I can let go of past regrets or future to-do lists and now become free to catch subtle shifts in the world around me.











Sitting in these quiet moments, with ears and eyes wide open, is like turning to the first page of a new book.  I get excited with possibility, and I want to fall in love with the many things that I have yet to feel and know.

On these vacations, my time with my books are golden moments lost in hypnotic words.  Print is so beautiful to me!  I’ve been a passionate reader since childhood.  I become entangled in the story, mentally embodying the main character, and eagerly enduring the twists and turns of the adventure unraveling.  Personally, I find it thrilling to get lost in a character!  To remove myself from the busy-ness of life and imagine myself in another space and time. Books pull me in and slow me down.  And Pentwater is the perfect place to read them.













Whenever I return to Pentwater, childhood memories come rushing forth.  Since I was born, I have spent two weeks almost every summer here.  Entire days spent in the sun-soaked sand, only taking a quick break for lunch, and then back down the stairs to sand castles, wave surfing, sailing, sand-volleyball, sand-baseball, and reading!   Pentwater holds a very special place in my heart.  Whenever I return, it feels like home. This is where I grew up and this is where I belong.  The first night I arrive, I give my parents a huge hug, and then run down the 200 steps to the beach to find the lake glistening in the sun, no end in sight.  Excited to dip my toes in the icy water,  I am a child once again!  And with my soul enmeshed with the sand, each forward step I take I become a little more grounded, and a little more at peace with myself and my role in this world.



“You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life.” – Walt Whitman



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