Just A Slight Change Of Plans…. | Cary, North Carolina

Loftus Family On The Move

Beautiful North Caroina Feature

Well here we are again with another slight change of plans!! We were all set to settle in the Lake Murray South Carolina area and then spent some time in the Raleigh Areas of Cary and Apex and fell in love with the beautiful and progressive towns. Having  After a few promising land scouting trips we discovered that North Carolina suited all of our needs a little better.

Having so many top Universities in close proximity really provides a wonderful blend of educators, outdoor enthusiasts and fun-loving people. Apex , N.C. was even voted the absolute #1 best place to live in America. So we figured we just had to give it a shot. We have spent the last week meeting people, looking for an immediate place to live for the next year or two while focusing on a home build and researching and visiting schools!!! Phew…

Of course we still managed to have fun while working on getting situated by celebrating the 4th of July as well as having a blast with our Cousins from Atlanta who came to Raleigh for a visit. Wow, can’t wait to see what’s in store for the next few weeks….

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Travel Spotlight | Nassau, Bahamas

Nassau Bahamas : Travel Spotlight

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The first time I was fortunate enough to visit the Bahamas was when I orchestrated a spring break girls trip while at the University of Michigan (Go Blue). We were fortunate to pay only $492 for round trip airfare (Vista Count) was the airline, and I am not even sure it still exists. However we were fearless and had the most amazing week staying at the half moon hotel but going to the other major hotels and beaches to chill, hang out, find beaches and party. Fast forward with several cruises, family stays, and marketing jobs, Nassau has become a staple in our Caribbean.

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Located on New Providence Island, Nassau has an attractive harbor a colorful blend of old world and colonial architecture, and a busy port. The tropical climate and natural beauty of the Bahamas have made Nassau a popular tourist destination.

Nassau developed directly behind the port area. New Providence provides 200 km² of relatively flat and low-lying land intersected by low ridges (none of which restricted settlement). In the center of the island there are several shallow lakes that are tidally connected.

The city’s proximity to the United States (290 km east-southeast of Miami, Florida) has contributed to its popularity as a holiday resort, especially after the United States imposed a ban on travel to Cuba in 1963. The Atlantis resort on nearby Paradise Island accounts for more tourist arrivals to the city than any other hotel property. The mega-resort employs over 6,000 Bahamians, and is the largest employer outside government.

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When in the Bahamas you must try the local staple, Conch.Here is a variation of a conch salad recipe.

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Happy Birthday Denise!!!

Travel Spotlight | The Amazing Cayman Islands

The Amazing Cayman Islands

Cayman Island Tourism Colin and I  had a blast experiencing the culture and beauty of the Cayman Islands while working for a marketing company. We truly enjoyed the friendly locals, pristine waters, gorgeous sand and overall atmosphere. We highly considered placing our roots here before we moved to Hawaii.

The Cayman Islands are a British Overseas Territory in the western Caribbean Sea. The territory comprises the three islands of Grand Cayman,Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, located south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica. The Cayman Islands are considered to be part of the geographic Western Caribbean Zone as well as the Greater Antilles.

The Cayman Islands remained largely uninhabited until the 17th century. While there is no archaeological evidence for an indigenous people on the islands, a variety of settlers from various backgrounds made their home on the islands, including pirates, refugees from the Spanish Inquisition, shipwrecked sailors, and deserters from Oliver Cromwell’s army in Jamaica.

Cayman-Islands-Feature

To get more in depth knowledge of traditions and local culture make sure to click this link below for more!!!

Cayman Islands Information

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Below is an awesome site for Caymanian Recipes if you would like to cook with a little Cayman Island Flare from Recipes social online network!!

Caymanian Recipes

 

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Cayman Turtle Farm

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5 Essentials For Road Trips With Kids | Parenting Tips

Here is a quick checklist of essentials to bring on your next road trip with small kids.

LLS 5 Things You must have in car. Feature

After traveling cross country (AGAIN) with boys in tow we wanted to pass along a few tips so that you won’t be caught off guard and without something you need!

Of course if traveling with toddlers or infants you need to make sure that along with all of your diaper bag needs like wipes, change of clothes,\plastic garbage bags,  etc…But a very good road trip add on is a portable changing pad. They are inexpensive and very easy to pack and store. They come in handy when you stop late at night or if you go into a bathroom  that does not have a  changing table inside. The changing pad also does wonders for germ-o-phoebes who like to avoid any unnecessary dirt or germs.

portable changing pad

Games, Games, Games, It is essential to make sure the kiddos are entertained while driving to ensure your sanity as well as theirs.Printing off a road trip games list off the internet comes in handy. Make sure you pack a kids atlas and  cool books (but beware of carsickness when reading). We also like to cover everything so we make sure to include, fun scavenger road trip games for everyone. These become really fun for everyone and helps to keep the driver alert! Also it’s a must for us to pack a portable DVD player and a leap pad to give our sons multiple options.

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Of course you must pack snacks!!! We like to cut up slices of oranges, apples and grapes and pack individual bags of popped popcorn, pretzels and granola bars. But whatever you choose just remember that things can get really messy so don’t forget your napkins, wet cloths and hand sanitizer.

Blankets.We had to unexpectedly pull of the road in Wyoming due to a winter storm that closed I80!! Yes, this was a first for us to actually experience a major highway being closed due to bad weather. So we were forced to spend several hours at a truck stop with our car running and trust me it was a blessing that we had extra blankets with us. Blankets also come in handy for a quick pull over to stretch legs and play or a picnic.

Headphones.  Trust me, these are a must have! When Ace is watching the dvd player or Kingston is playing with the leap pad, having that noised blocked out for the two in the front seat is priceless!!

LLS road trip essentials ace

Travel Spotlight | London, England

London our Travel Spotlight

Uncle Ryan, Colin’s Brother, moved to London from Chicago a couple of years ago and was kind enough to send us a few pics of cool places worth note. He has already emailed Ace about his favorite football (soccer team) and has truly taken advantage of a relaxed work European work schedule by jumping over to many different countries! He plans on running a marathon in Dublin Ireland soon so we wish him the best of luck!!!
London is an exciting place for children and teenagers. Traveling in London as a family may seem overwhelming but is rather manageable. There are many museums that are free so you can try out many different places without feeling obliged to spend a certain amount of time to get your money’s worth. Also, family discounts on public transportation are very good.

London, England’s capital, set on the River Thames, is a 21st-century city with history stretching back to Roman times. At the center of the city stands the imposing Houses of Parliament, the iconic ‘Big Ben’ clock tower and Westminster Abbey, site of British monarch coronations. Across the Thames, the London Eye observation wheel provides panoramic views of the South Bank cultural complex, and the entire city.

London Big Ben

 

15 interesting facts about London and England that you’ve never heard

toothbrushWe all know that England is an interesting country with an impressive history and I’m sure you’ve heard many interesting facts about it. However, did you know that approximately 2,500 people have to be rushed to hospital every year for injuries caused by toothbrushes?!!

Read on for more crazy facts about London and England:

  1. sandwichNowhere in the UK is more than 70 miles (113km) from the sea! A place called Coton in the Elms is the furthest place from the sea.
  2. It is considered an act of treason to put a postage stamp with the queen’s head upside down on an envelope!
  3. The British eat over 11.5 billion (1,500,000,000) sandwiches every year!!
  4. England’s first telephone directory was published in 1880 and had only 248 names and addresses (there were no telephone numbers as you had to call the operator and ask for someone’s name to get connected).bigben1
  5. Our wonderful city London has not always had this name. In the past it has been called Londonium, Ludenwic, and Ludenburg!
  6. In 1945, a flock of birds landed on the minute hand of Big Ben and put the time back by 5 minutes.
  7. Big Ben is not actually the name of the clock, it is the name of the bell which is inside the clock.
  8. taxiThere are more chickens than people in England.
  9. Black cab (taxi) drivers in London have to memorise every street and important building in London within six miles from Charing Cross and they need to take a test called ‘The Knowledge’ before they can drive a cab.
  10. It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament.
  11. In 1647, Christmas was abolished by the English Parliament. No-one was allowed to celebrate!
  12. On average, 488 people are injured by zips and 3,078 people are injured by slippers every year in the UK.
  13. The picture of the Queen on £1 coins show her age at the time they were made.ukflag
  14. Windsor Castle is the oldest royal residence in the world that is still being used by the royal family.
  15. England was part of the shortest war in history. They fought Zanzibar in 1896 and Zanzibar surrendered after just 38 minutes!

 

London Bridge loftandlearn

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Loftus Land Search***Virginia | The Journey Continues…

Home Sweet Home???

Beautiful Virginia!

The last stop of our spring break scouting trip was the beautiful state of Virginia.

We were pleasantly surprised at all of the scenic and spectacular views of Eastern Virginia! We loved it so much so that we have narrowed down our search to a small area in Virginia as well as North Carolina. So although we did not find our exact land this time, we are hopefully much closer to building our home!!

Stay tuned…

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Loftus Land Search*** North Carolina | The Journey of Building Our Home

Gorgeous North Carolina!!!

After scouting land in Kentucky and Tennessee we scooted on down to North Carolina. Starting off near the North Carolina / South Carolina border, then headed up towards the beautiful inner banks. North Carolina quickly shot to the top of the list!!! Stunning.

 

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Loftus Land Search***Tennessee | The Journey Of Building Our Home

After looking at property in Kentucky we then headed on to Tennessee where we met the nicest people, Realtor Julia White and her Husband. They had a few different locations to show us and we are so grateful for their hospitality, research and patience.

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Loftus Land Search***Kentucky | The Journey of Building Our Dream Home

Wow what a fast blur the last 12 days have been! We made it back safely, thank goodness, from our cross-country road trip. Our search for land to build our home proved successful in the fact that we believe we have narrowed down our search for locations. There were 2 or 3 areas in particular that we could definitely see ourselves planting roots.

It was an amazing and eye-opening experience and I am grateful to have been able to explore different parts of the country and meet new friends! We looked at several properties in Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia after dropping our boys of at Grandma Gaga’s House in Palos Heights, IL. Along the way driving from Boise Idaho we stopped in the following states: Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia.

Ace and Kingston had a wonderful time hanging out at Grandma’s House and doing all sorts of fun things including going to the movies, Going to Fun zone, playing with their cousins Jack and Dylan and going to the Museum of Science and Industry.

I will be blogging a few separate posts covering the entire trip. This first post will cover some pictures from our time in Kentucky!! Kentucky had Thoroughbreds, Distillery’s, friendly people and a deep love for the University of Kentucky…

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LLS Kentucky, Equus Winery

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Travel Spotlight***Beautiful & Magical Ireland. (Mayo, County) | Loft & Learn, Ireland

 

Travel Spotlight***Beautiful & Magical Ireland

After Graduating from Michigan State University, Colin took an amazing trip to Europe and although he loved all of the countries he was able to visit, to this day he raves about his awesome experience in Ireland. He was able to visit Mayo County where his relatives are from. He speaks so highly of this beautiful country, from the country side in all shades of green, to the magical folklore and the friendly and truly joyful people.

Now Colin’s mother Wendy is heading for the “Green Isle”. In April she will take an amazing trip flying first to Shannon, Ireland. Their package for Western Ireland includes a car allowing them to travel around the ring of Kerry, Cliffs of Mohr, and Dingle Bay. After staying at the Killarney Royal she then heads to Ennis staying at the Temple Gate Hotel. After this she will jump over to London to see Colin’s brother Ryan who has moved overseas for work and loves it! This trip sounds so exciting, I can’t wait to see the pictures!!! (of course I will share…)

Irealnd Castle -Feature loftandlearn

 

The island of Ireland historically consists of 32 counties, of which six, collectively known as Northern Ireland, have remained as part of the United Kingdom since the rest of Ireland gained self government in 1922. The name “Ireland” applies to the island as a whole, but in English is also the official name of the independent state (ie the 26 counties which are not part of the United Kingdom), since 1921.

Celtic tribes settled on the island in the 4th century BC. Invasions by Norsemen that began in the late 8th century were finally ended when King Brian Boru defeated the Danes in 1014. Norman invasions began in the early 12th century and set in place Ireland’s uneasy position within England’s sphere of influence. The Act of Union of 1800 – in which Catholics, 90% of the Irish population, were excluded from Parliament – saw Ireland joining the United Kingdom. In the latter half of the 19th century and early 20th century the subject of Irish home rule was a major debate within the British parliament.

After several failed attempts, a Home Rule bill finally passed through parliament in 1914 though the start of the first world war saw its indefinite postponement due to heavily armed unionist opposition. A failed rebellion on Easter Monday in 1916, (after which 15 of the surrendered leaders were shot by firing squad and 1 hanged) showed a hint of things to come with years of war to follow, beginning with the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921) and continuing with the Irish Civil War (1922-1923).

Ireland Cliffs

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Eventually a somewhat stable situation emerged with the self government of 26 of Ireland’s counties known as the Irish Free State; the remaining six, located in the north of the country comprising two-thirds of the ancient province of Ulster, remained part of the United Kingdom — a status that has continued to the present day. In 1949 the Irish Free State became “Ireland” (a.k.a. the Republic of Ireland) and withdrew from the British Commonwealth of Nations. English is spoken everywhere but Irish (Gaeilge) is the first official language. It is part of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic family of languages.

Most people have some understanding of Irish but it is used as a first language by approximately 170,000 people, most of whom live in rural areas known as the Gaeltachts. About 55% (c. 2,500,000) of people in the Republic claim to understand and speak the language. As the Gaeltachts are generally scenic areas it is likely that visitors will go there. Tourists are not expected to speak Irish, but attempts at speaking Irish with the locals are greatly appreciated. The language will also be noticeable on road signs, etc. For instance, a law was recently passed that changes the name of Dingle, County Kerry to An Daingean, the Irish version. This should not confuse visitors, as almost all recent maps carry placenames in both languages in Gaeltacht districts.

In order to enter most Irish Universities, it is necessary for Irish citizens to have taken Irish to Leaving Certificate (Examinations taken on leaving secondary or high school) level, and passed. Indeed it is a compulsory language at school in the Republic, although its method of teaching has come under criticism. Nevertheless, although it has come under threat, and some resent being forced to learn the language, others see use of the language as an expression of national pride.

Mayo County Ireland Pre History

Ire Mayo county

Ireland Mayo County Flag
County Mayo has a rich archaeological heritage dating from prehistoric times to the present. (Achaeology is the interpretation of our past from the study of buildings and objects made by human beings. We are dependent on archaeology alone in any attempt to study the prehistoric period and thereafter to complement what is recorded in written sources). According to the present state of archaeological knowledge, the first people arrived in Ireland sometime before 7000 BC during what is called the Mesolithic period. They were nomadic tribes of hunters and fishing people who built no permanent structures such as houses or tombs. The first colonisation of Mayo probably took place during that period.
In the fourth millennium BC, during the Neolithic period, another group of settlers arrived in Ireland, our first farmers, who introduced agriculture and animal husbandry to the country as well as the skills of pottery-making and weaving. They started a custom of burying their dead collectively (usually cremated) in large stone-built chambered tombs known as megalithic tombs, the earliest surviving architectural structures in the country. There are over 1,500 such tombs identified in Ireland with approximately 160 in County Mayo. This fact indicates the importance of the Mayo region during the Neolithic period and into the Bronze Age (c. 2000- 400 BC) when this phase of tomb-building came to an end.

Early Christian Period
The early history of the county is obscure and frequently confusing with various tribes seeking control. Christianity came to Ireland at the start of the fifth century, if not earlier, and brought about many changes, including the introduction of writing and reading. St. Patrick, Ireland’s national apostle, whose floruit was the fifth century, is chiefly credited with the conversion of the pagan Gaels. Recent research indicates that St. Patrick spent considerable time in County Mayo, where according to tradition and some written sources he spent forty days and nights on the summit of Croagh Patrick fasting and praying for the people of Ireland; and had associations with places like Aghagower near Westport, Ballintubber (well-known nowadays for its medieval abbey which has remained in continuous use through all vicissitudes from its foundation in 1216); and Foghill near Killala, which has been identified by some writers with the Silva Vocluti , ‘the wood of Fochluth beside the western sea’ mentioned by Patrick himself in his Confessio.
From the middle of the sixth century onwards, hundreds of small monastic settlements were established around the country, many of which became very important. Some examples of well-known early monastic sites in Mayo include Mayo itself near Balla, Aughagower, Inishmaine, Ballintubber, Errew, Kilmore Erris, Balla, Cong, Killala, Turlough, Moyne near Cross, and island settlements off the Mullet peninsula like Inishkea North, Inishkea South and Duvillaun More.
‘Mayo of the Saxons’
One of the most interesting monastic sites in Co. Mayo was that from which the county derives its name – Maigh Eo. Colmán of Lindisfarne, having been defeated by the ‘Romanist’ party at the synod of Whitby (in Northumbria, in the north-east of England) in 663, withdrew with his followers, via Iona, to Inishbofin off the west coast of Galway. As a result of disagreement between the Irish and the English monks in the little community, the latter moved to the ‘plain of yews’, about sixteen kilometres south-east of the present town of Castlebar. The monastery they established there, known as Mag nÉo na Sachsan (‘of the Saxons’), became renowned as a centre of learning, and continued to attract monks of English birth for a century and more after its foundation.

Vikings

The Vikings or Norsemen first attacked Ireland in 795 and Mayo around the start of the ninth century. On arrival, they started to plunder and loot places of wealth especially monasteries. It was partly in response to those attacks that round towers were later erected in monastic enclosures (most were erected in the 12 century). There are about 65 of these fine structures surviving in Ireland, with five located in County Mayo: Aughagower, Balla, Killala, Turlough and Meelock. The Viking invasion led to the establishment of settlements in a number of locations like Dublin, Cork, Wexford and Waterford which later developed into towns and cities.

The Great Famine

Early in the nineteenth century, there were a number of famines in Ireland, culminating in the Great Famine of 1845 – ’49, when about a million people died and a further million went into exile. The population increased from an estimated figure of four and a half million in 1800 to over eight million by 1841. The pressure of this vast increase exacerbated the fragile subsistence economy of the period, as land became subdivided into smaller and smaller plots. Destitution was already a fact of life for many and evictions became regular occurrences in the Irish countryside. Most of the impoverished population depended on the potato as their staple food product. Disaster struck in August 1845, when a killer fungus (later diagnosed as Phytophthora infestans ) started to destroy the potato crop.

The green stalks of potato ridges became blighted and within a short time the rotting crop was producing a terrible stench. About a third of the national potato crop was destroyed that year, and an almost complete failure the following year led to a catastrophe for the remainder of the decade. By ‘black forty-seven’, people were dying in their thousands from starvation-related diseases. The workhouses, built in the early 1840s to relieve appalling poverty, were unable to cope with the numbers seeking admission. Various parsimonious relief measures were inadequate to deal with the scale of the crisis.

The number of evictions increased. This process of ‘clearance’ (as it was called) was aided by the ‘quarter-acre clause’ (the infamous Gregory clause, called after its proposer, Sir William Gregory MP of Coole Park, Co. Galway) in the Poor Law Extension Act 1847 which excluded from relief anyone who had more than a quarter acre of land. Any such unfortunate person who was starving had to abandon his holding and go to the workhouse if he and his family wanted a chance to survive. Conditions became worse in 1848 and 1849, with various reports at the time recording dead bodies everywhere.

The catastrophe was particularly bad in County Mayo, where nearly ninety per cent of the population were dependent on the potato. By 1848, Mayo was a county of total misery and despair, with any attempts at alleviating measures in complete disarray. People were dying and emigrating in their thousands. We will never know how many died in the county during those terrible years. The ‘official’ statistics for the county show that the population dropped from 388,887 in 1841 to 274,499 in 1851, but it is accepted that the actual figure in 1841 was far higher than the official census return. It can safely be said that over 100,000 died in Mayo from the famine epidemic and emigration began on a big scale (there was some emigration before the Great Famine). Most emigrants from the county went to the USA, Canada, England and Scotland, to become part of the big Irish diaspora scattered throughout the world.

Ire Mayo county People

Irealand Matt Malloys  Irish Wishes--Happy St. Patricks Day

Irish stew and a pint of Guinness

Irish Stew and Guiness
Irish cuisine can charitably be described as hearty: virtually all traditional meals involve meat (especially lamb and pork), potatoes, and cabbage. Long cooking times are the norm and spices are limited to salt and pepper.

Classic Irish dishes include:

• Boxty, potato pancakes
• Champ, mashed potatoes with spring onions
• Coddle, a stew of potatoes, pork sausages and bacon; a speciality of Dublin
• Colcannon, mashed potatoes and cabbage
• Irish breakfast, a famously filling spread of bacon, eggs, sausages and white and/or black pudding, a type of pork sausage made with blood (black) or without (white). Irish Breakfast is often just refered to as a “fry”, and is usually available well past normal breakfast times in restaurants.
• Mixed Grill. Similar to the Irish Breakfast, but with added lamb chop, chips, and peas.
• Irish stew, a stew of potatoes and lamb (not beef!), with carrots, celery and onions in a watery broth full of flavour
• Bacon and Cabbage, popular and traditional meal in rural Ireland, found on many menus
• Seafood Pie, a traditional dish of chunky fish pieces topped with mashed potato and melted cheese

 

Travel Spotlight, Idlewild | Beautiful & Historic Idlewild Michigan!!!

Historic Idlewild, Michigan

Idlewild feature loftandlearn

This Post is near and dear to my heart because since the young age of six weeks I have also called it home…Idlewild has always been a welcomed vacation retreat for our family that has provided the most wonderful and treasured moments. Fortunately our home and land in Idlewild was passed down for generations has provided a refuge and gathering of fun for all. Many of my most fond memories were made here. From riding bikes, learning to roller skate at the Idlewild club roller rink, fishing, enjoying fish fry’s, camping, hiking, playing volleyball, swimming, boating, exploring, and every board game under the sun was just the tip of the iceberg here in Idlewild.

Late night strolls searching for Snipe (Thanks Grandpa) Ghost stories, roasting marshmallows by the camp style fire and watching fireworks was such an amazing blessing and contributed to an awesome childhood retreat. Idlewild is the type of place that gets under your skin in the most beautiful way and as an Adult I have come to appreciate all the more.

Idlewild Music Heritage Festival loftandlearn

Idlweild Canoe

Idlewild Jones Ice cream

Idlewild historical center

Idlewild Historic Sign loftandlearn

Idlewild is a vacation and retirement community in Yates Township, located just east of Baldwin in southeast Lake County, a rural part of northwestern lower Michigan. During the first half of the 20th century, it was one of the few resorts in the country where African-Americans were allowed to vacation and purchase property, before such discrimination became illegal in 1964. It surrounds Idlewild Lake, and the headwaters of the Pere Marquette River run through the area. Much of the surrounding area is within Manistee National Forest.

Called the “Black Eden”, from 1912 through the mid-1960s, Idlewild was an active year-round community and was visited by well-known entertainers and professionals from throughout the country. At its peak it was the most popular resort in the Midwest and as many as 25,000 would come to Idlewild in the height of the summer season to enjoy camping, swimming, boating, fishing, hunting, horseback riding, roller skating, and night-time entertainment. When the 1964 Civil Rights Act opened up other resorts to African-Americans, Idlewild’s boomtown period subsided, but the community continues to serve as a vacation destination and retirement community, and as a landmark of African-American heritage. The Idlewild African American Chamber of Commerce was founded in the summer of 2000 for the purpose of promoting existing local businesses and for attracting newer ones to the Lake County area.

Establishment (1912 – 1920s)

Idlewild was founded in 1912. During this period, a small yet clearly distinguishable African American middle class – largely composed of professionals and small business owners – had been established in many urban centers, including several in the American Midwest. Despite having the financial means for leisure travel, racial segregation prevented them from recreational pursuits in most resort destinations in the region.
Seeing an opportunity, four white land developers and their wives organized the Idlewild Resort Company (IRC). Erastus and Flora Branch, Adelbert and Isabelle Branch (from nearby White Cloud, Michigan), Wilbur M. and Mayme Lemon, and A.E. and Modolin Wright (of Chicago), organized IRC during the pre-World War I era. To secure land rights, Erastus Branch built a cabin, homesteaded the land for three years, and eventually obtained the title to the land through his Branch, Anderson & Tyrrell Real Estate Company, which became the central focus of the resort community.
One folk saying suggests that the community’s name refers to “idle men and wild women”. Current residents embrace this version of the story by selling playful T-shirts with this phrase at the annual Idlewilders summer festivals.
IRC organized excursions to attract middle class African American professionals from Detroit, Chicago, and other Midwestern cities, taking them on tours of the rustic community, and selling lots. A 1919 pamphlet used by IRC to promote the community, entitled “Beautiful Idlewild”, describes it as “the hunter’s paradise” renowned “for its beautiful lakes of pure spring water” and “its myriads of game fish”. One prominent personality to relocate to Idlewild was Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, who in 1893 was the first surgeon in the United States to perfom open-heart surgery. Williams, Herman O. and Lela G. Wilson of Chicago, three of Williams’ associates from Chicago and Cleveland, and twenty others were among the first group of African American professionals to join IRC’s excursion. Later, tours were conducted by train from Chicago, Indiana, Detroit, Grand Rapids, St. Louis and other cities.
IRC had acquired over 2,700 acres (11 km2) of land. The company sold a good deal of that land, and then turned the island in Idlewild Lake over to Williams and Louis B. Anderson of Chicago, and Robert Riffe and William Green of Cleveland, who collaboratively formed the Idlewild Improvement Association (IIA) and helped build the clubhouse. IIA sold property to such notables as NAACP co-founder W.E.B. Du Bois, Cosmetic entrepreneur Madam C.J. Walker, Fisk University president Lemuel L. Foster, Albert B. Cleage Sr. of Detroit,Fannie Emanuel of Chicago, and novelist Charles Waddell Chesnutt. Madame C.J. Walker, the first self-made U.S. woman millionaire of any race, owned property in Idlewild, Michigan.
IIA was also responsible for recruiting other middle-class professionals, such as NAACP field secretary William Pickens, H. Franklin and Virginia Bray (a missionary and his wife who together founded the first formal church in Idlewild), and the Reverend Robert L. Bradby, Sr. of Second Baptist Church of Detroit (who contributed to the development of the Idlewild Lot Owners Association). IIA encouraged this new influx of community leaders to foster racial pride, economic development, decency, and respect to Idlewild.

The annual Idlewild Chautauqua was organized by Reverend Bradby. These week-long events added an intellectual flavor to the recreational life in the community, attracted people from across the country, and were praised by Michigan Republican Governor Fred W. Green

 

The height of Idlewild popularity (1920s – 1964) courtesy of Wikipedia

Idlewild became known as the “Black Eden of Michigan”. As this new black intelligentsia began to settle in the community, some relocated as activists and members of Marcus Mosiah Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), some as followers of Du Bois’ National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), others as believers of the late Booker T. Washington’s political machine, and others as potential investors. For the majority of these professionals who brought their families, the idea of land ownership conveyed black social status and membership in this community.
Idlewild gained national stature among African Americans during the period between the World Wars. For example, the Idlewild Land Owners Association had members from over thirty-four states in the country. In addition, the Purple Palace, Paradise Clubhouse, Idlewild Clubhouse, Rosanna Tavern, and Pearl’s Bar provided summer entertainment for tourists and employment opportunities for seasonal and year-round residents in the community. The Pere Marquette Railroad built a branch line to the area by 1923. A post office opened that same year. The Idlewild Fire Department was established, and a host of new entrepreneurs began entering the community. Paradise Palace became McKnight’s Convalescent Home.

Idlewild pics

Idlewild pics..

Idlewild beach loftandlearn
Following World War II, Idlewild attracted what some sociologists have labeled the new African American “working” middle class. With the construction of a few paved roads in Idlewild, a reinvestment in the township’s only post office, and greater availability of electricity, a new generation of entrepreneurs began to invest in Idlewild. Phil Giles, Arthur “Big Daddy” Braggs, and a host of other African American businessmen and women took advantage of the market by purchasing property on Williams Island and Paradise Gardens, and began developing these areas into an elaborate nightspot and business center. The cottage started by Albert Cleage in the 1940s was expanded by his sons Louis, Hugh, and Henry.

Many African American entertainers of the period performed in Idlewild.

Della Reese, Al Hibbler, Bill Doggett, Jackie Wilson, T-Bone Walker, George Kirby, The Four Tops, Roy Hamilton, Brook Benton, Choker Campbell, Lottie “the Body” Graves, the Rhythm Kings, Sarah Vaughan, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Dinah Washington, B.B. King, Aretha Franklin, Fats Waller, and Billy Eckstein, and many other performers, entertained both Idlewilders and white citizens in neighboring Lake County townships throughout the 1950s and early 1960s. Arthur Braggs produced singers, dancers, showgirls, and entertainers, which helped Idlewild to become the “Summer Apollo of Michigan”. Braggs produced the famous “Arthur Braggs Idlewild Revue” which not only performed in Idlewild but was also taken on the road to Montreal, Boston, Kansas City, Chicago, New York, and other cities. Braggs’ show helped Idlewild become a major entertainment center and contributed to the financial prosperity of the area.

Idlewild Post

Idlweild room 1960

Idlewild Pics..show

Decline and redevelopment efforts (1964 – present)

Following the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, business in Idlewild declined. Other vacation resorts were beginning to accommodate African American visitors, and with federal law requiring that they be accepted anywhere, African Americans began taking advantage of this opportunity. The national recession in the early 1970s further contributed to an economic downturn in Idlewild, which led to a population decline as local employment options dwindled. Idlewild became a lesser-known family vacation and retirement community, primarily attracting retirees who remembered it from its boom period.
In the 1970s township officials organized a planning commission, zoning board, and other initiatives as a way to encourage community input and to offer specific practical solutions to improve the community. Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) were obtained for demolition, additional roadwork, and other structural changes, which resulted in a complete makeover of the island, renamed “Williams Island” in honor of early community leader Dr. Daniel Hale Williams. In the 1990s, with federal and state funding scarce, attention was turned away from building projects toward the renovation of existing township properties. The federal government designated Lake County as an “Enterprising Community”, which facilitated the development of sewer and natural gas systems. Businessman John O. Meeks purchased and renovated the Morton Motel, and founded organizations to develop and promote the community, including Mid-Michigan Idlewilders and the Idlewild African American Chamber of Commerce.

The National Idlewilders Club continues to organize annual events, including the Idlewild Jazz Festival. The National Idlewilders consists of local chapters in six cities, and Idlewild Lot Owners Association has local chapters in eight cities. Attendance at the annual summer festivals has steadily increased since 2000.

This Post is dedicated to My Late Grandpa, Eugene Henderson Sr. He embodied the very essence of the spirit of Idlewild. From his fascinating tales, Acey Duecy and Bid Whist play,  fishing adventures, and all around love for life and travel was contagious.  I am so grateful to have shared the same moment in time. His presence will always be felt.

Below are pictures from his “Going Home Celebration last summer in Idlewild”

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015
Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015
Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015
Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

 

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

 

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

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#getdownmom #showemhowitsdone
#getdownmom #showemhowitsdone

20150703_201739(0) 20150703_201731

#familydanceoff #love
#familydanceoff #love

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Aunty Mern & Kingston

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

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Grandpa Celebration Idlewild July 2015

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Travel Spotlight | The Beautiful Florida Keys!

This Week’s Travel Spotlight***The Beautiful Florida Keys!

Florida Keys BeachThese wonderful and not well-known Islands south of Miami are a huge favorite for Colin and Myself. Colin proposed to me by surprising me with a week-long vacation starting in Key Largo then ending in Key West with a beautiful dinner at Pier House Resort & Spa and amazing proposal that I will never forget.

Florida Keys Snorkeling loftandlearn


The Beauty and calmness of The Florida Keys make you forget that you are on Mainland USA. The people are extremely laid back and friendly and the brightness of the sun warms your soul. The Long Bridge that connects the keys gives you the most breathtaking and fulfilling views. Creating suspense and the promise of paradise this drive on down through the keys does not disappoint. It is easy to see why Ernest Hemingway fell in love and called the Key West home. It lends itself to relaxation, introspection and creativity.
Vibrant shops and bars sprinkle this charming town with life and character and offer an alternative to relaxing on the beach sipping pina colada’s.

Florida Keys Beaches loftandlearn Bridge to the Keys 1 loftandlearn Fishing Key West  Florida Keys Beach loftandlearn Florida Keys Beaches loftandlearn


The Florida Keys are a string of tropical islands stretching about 120 miles off the state’s southern tip, between the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. They’re known for their laid-back vibe and as a destination for fishing, boating and scuba diving. Key West is famous for Duval Street’s many bars, Mallory Square’s nightly Sunset Celebration and the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum.
Early history Of The Florida Keys

 

The Reach Resort, Waldorf Astoria--A Hilton Worldwide Property
The Reach Resort, Waldorf Astoria–A Hilton Worldwide Property

The Reach The Reach Resort, Waldorf Astoria, Hilton Hotel

Hilton Key Largo
Hilton Key Largo

Grande Suite

 

Florida Keys Early History

The Keys were originally inhabited by Calusa and Tequesta Native Americans. They were later found and charted by Juan Ponce de León in 1513. De León named the islands Los Martires (‘The Martyrs’) as they looked like suffering men from a distance. “Key” is derived from the Spanish Cayo, meaning small island. For many years, Key West was the largest town in Florida, and it grew prosperous on wrecking. The isolated outpost was well located for trade with Cuba, the Bahamas, and was on the main trade route from New Orleans. Improved navigation led to fewer shipwrecks, and Key West went into a decline in the late nineteenth century

Florida Keys Fast Facts

Florida Keys Fun Facts loftandlearn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Information on how to participate in Uncorked..The Islamorada & Key Largo Food and Wine Festival

Click on link http://floridakeysuncorked.com/

Food and wine Festival keys

 

 

 

 

Travel Spotlight***Maui, Hawaii. The Island Vacation That Everyone Will Love! | Loft & Learn Travel Spotlight

Travel Spotlight

Maui, Hawaii

maui map loftandlearn

Well what’s not to love about beautiful Maui, Hawaii? Absolutely nothing! Before settling down on the Big Island Colin, Ace & I had the most amazing year on this stunning Island. With so many activities for the young and old, adventurers and spa seekers, Maui is easily Hawaii’s Island that pleases most people looking for the traditional Hawaiian Ideal.

From Award winning golf courses, to White sandy beaches and colorful flowers, lush hiking trails and waterfalls abound it is truly a sight to behold! Colin’s Aunt & Uncle Marita and Randy and cousin Gillian have lived in Maui for over 25 years now and were so kind to welcome us along with all of the Hawaiians, introducing us to the Hawaiian culture.

 

maui 6 road to hana

map 2 maui

 

One of my most fond memories of Maui is celebrating Thanksgiving on a beautiful beach overlooking the pacific. It was awesome giving thanks while taking in such earth shattering beauty of the beach and sunset. And what a place for my Parents to visit!! Yowza. It was such an honor to learn about this amazing culture and feel accepted and appreciated as well. From Local Legend and Folklore to Luaus’ and Hawaiian dance. There is such a rich history and tradition among Hawaiians that should be celebrated and embraced.

maui 4 trees

maui 5 loftandlearn

maui road to hana map
Keeping true to the Loft & Learn way here are some facts about Maui, the beautiful tropical paradise found on Wikipedia.com
Native Hawaiian tradition gives the origin of the island’s name in the legend of Hawaiʻiloa, the navigator credited with discovery of the Hawaiian Islands. According to that legend, Hawaiʻiloa named the island of Maui after his son, who in turn was named for the demigod Māui. The earlier name of Maui was ʻIhikapalaumaewa.


 

The Island of Maui is also called the “Valley Isle” for the large isthmus between its northwestern and southeastern volcanoes and the numerous large valleys carved into both mountains
Maui’s diverse landscapes are the result of a unique combination of geology, topography, and climate. Each volcanic cone in the chain of the Hawaiian Islands is built of dark, iron-rich/quartz-poor rocks, which poured out of thousands of vents as highly fluid lava, over a period of millions of years. Several of the volcanoes were close enough to each other that lava flows on their flanks overlapped one another, merging into a single island. Maui is such a “volcanic doublet,” formed from two shield volcanoes that overlapped one another to form an isthmus between them.


Polynesians, from Tahiti and the Marquesas, were the original people to populate Maui. The Tahitians introduced the kapu system, a strict social order that affected all aspects of life and became the core of Hawaiian culture. Modern Hawaiian history began in the mid-18th century. King Kamehameha I, king of Hawaii’s “Big Island,” invaded Maui in 1790 and fought the inconclusive Battle of Kepaniwai, but returned to Hawaii to battle a rival, finally subduing Maui a few years later.


On November 26, 1778, explorer Captain James Cook became the first European to see Maui. Cook never set foot on the island because he was unable to find a suitable landing. The first European to visit Maui was the French admiral Jean-François de La Pérouse, who landed on the shores of what is now known as La Perouse Bay on May 29, 1786. More Europeans followed: traders, whalers, loggers (e.g., of sandalwood) and missionaries. The latter began to arrive from New England in 1823, settling in Lahaina, which at that time was the capital. They clothed the natives, banned them from dancing hula, and greatly altered the culture. The missionaries taught reading and writing, created the 12-letter Hawaiian alphabet, started a printing press in Lahaina, and began writing the islands’ history, which until then was transmitted orally.[13] Ironically, the missionaries both altered and preserved the native culture. The religious work altered the culture while the literacy efforts preserved native history and language. Missionaries started the first school in Lahaina, which still exists today: Lahainaluna Mission School, which opened in 1831.


The two major industries on Maui are agriculture and tourism. Government research groups and high technology companies have discovered that Maui has a business environment favorable for growth in those sectors as well. Agriculture value-added enterprises are growing rapidly.
Coffee, macadamia nuts, papaya, tropical flowers, sugar and fresh pineapple are just some of Hawaii’s premium exports and are a prime example of its diversified agriculture. Maui Land & Pineapple Company[17]and Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company[18] (HC&S, a subsidiary of Alexander and Baldwin Company) dominate agricultural activity. HC&S produces sugarcane on about 37,000 acres (150 km2) of the Maui central valley, the largest sugarcane operation remaining in Hawaii.


A controversial feature of Maui sugarcane production has been the harvesting method of controlled cane field fires for nine months of the year. Burns reduce the crop to bare canes just before harvesting. The fires produce smoke that towers above the Maui central valley most early mornings, and ash (locally referred to as “Maui snow”) that is carried downwind (often towards north Kīhei). In November 2009 Maui Land & Pineapple Company announced it was ceasing pineapple growing operations on Maui effective January 1, 2010.


fireknife23

Here is a menu from the Luau at the Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria, Hilton Resort

LUAU MENU
Appetizers & Salads
Surf and Turf Poke
(Pipikaula, Shrimp, Maui Onions, Phole Fe
rns, Kim Chee Base & Wasabi Vinaigrette)
,
Lomi-Lomi Salmon, Fresh Poi,
Green Papaya Salad, Potato Mac Salad,
Maui Grown Lettuce Bar, Cucumber Namasu,
Maui Gold Pineapple and Kula Strawberries
Sweet Bread Rolls with Macadamia Nut Butter
Entrees
Maui Cattle Grilled Top Sirloin Steaks
Glazed with teriyaki sauce
Baked Molokai Sweet Potatoes
Guava syrup & mac nut butter
Fried Macadamia Nut Crusted Mahi-Mahi,
Light coconut & lime flavored sauce
Shoyu Chicken
Kalua Pig
Stir Fried Vegetables
Wok fried and seasoned with soy sauce ginger and garlic
Island Style Fried Rice Lup Chong and Vegetables
Enhanced with oyster sauce and sesame oil
Maui Chow Fun
Vegetables and pork char siu
Island Style Desserts
Chocolate Brownies topped with Macadamia Nuts
Coconut Cake
Pineapple Upside Down Cake
Traditional Hawaiian Haupia
Guava Mousse
Freshly Brewed Hawaiian Paradise Coffee,
Decaffienated Coffee, Assorted Teas
Bar
Hosted bar featuring Mai Tai & Pina Cola
da and Mixed Drinks, Beer, Wine and
Assorted Soft Drinks.
The Grand Wailea, Waldorf Astoria Hilton Resort. Breathtaking!
The Grand Wailea, Waldorf Astoria Hilton Resort. Breathtaking!

Here are some additional Fun Facts about Maui (click link below) from Maui Dream Vacations
http://www.maui-hawaii-dream-vacations.com/maui-facts.html

Here are just a few of the many wonderful memories we had while living on Maui.

IMG_20120303_121446 IMG_20120411_120044

IMG_20120204_140728 IMG_20120204_140639

IMG_20120204_140657 Ace Holiday Photos (1)

Ace Holiday Photos (28)  Ace Holiday Photos (29)

Ace Holiday Photos (6) Ace Holiday Photos (9)

Ace Holiday Photos (7) Ace Holiday Photos (10)

Halloween in Maui
Halloween in Maui

 

Aloha!

Malaika@loftandlearn.com