Welcome To the Wonderful World of Kitsch Americana

Wandering Highway 31, driving north along the Lake Michigan shore is equal parts mind-numbing, tree-infested sameness interspersed with glimpses of magnificence and moments to marvel.*

One of our first stops was a total accident.

Riverflats Coffee and Tea
Location Cleverly Hidden by the Piper Tax & Accounting Sign.

We had been looking for the Riverflats Coffee & Tea cafe the highway exit had assured us was only 500 feet ahead, when we missed it and drove until another sign lured us to a quintessential part of American family entertainment–the well crafted Ye Olde Tourist Trap. Fortunately, this is exactly the kind of fun and surprises I had been hoping to run across.

Not entirely sure how this sculpture embodies the late 19th century.  Thoughts?
Wall of Murderer’s Delight

The White Pines Village in Ludington, MI is of the Potemkin variety. Buildings were collected from various locations to recreate a fake experience of life at the turn of the century in rural Michigan. (In other words, there is a great emphasis on farming and self-sufficiency.)

I love old homes and poking my head into a modern facsimile of the past. It’s convenient and tactile visual exploration that beats a book hands down.**

I had a great time.  My son, on the other hand, delighted in trying to escape the experience as fast as humanly possible. So, while I am quite overwhelmed with lovely photos, I am not quite as educated as I might be.


Enjoy the images and just imagine the rich, educational experience to be had.  Just, not by any child living today who has access to a digital device instead.

My son, the blur.
I like to imagine that any moment, the family will return and be horrified at the prospect of modern life.  “No electricity for us! That’s the Devil’s work!”***

After our brief sojourn in the bygone era, we gratefully climbed into our air-conditioned car and drove onward to Bear Lake…where amazing adventures awaited us.

You will have to imagine those adventures, as my son is demanding time on the laptop to play Where’s My Water…at top volume might I add. (Perhaps the Amish aren’t entirely wrong about eschewing technology.)


Oh, and we did finally locate the cafe…where we had lunch with a stuffed squirrel.

Squirrel Under Glass
The ‘squirrel under glass’ is to die for! You must try it!

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:

*Warning: travel brings on alliteration–as well as gas.

**Sorry, books. You just can’t compete with the awe-inspiring site of a fiberglass cow milking demonstration.

***And this is why it is a good thing the Amish do not use the internet.

11 thoughts on “Welcome To the Wonderful World of Kitsch Americana

  1. Teal parasols that bare-chested little boys carried around in the front of their rolled-up trousers were the height of fashion in the 19th century! You didn’t know??!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, for the luxury of referring to roadside greenery as “tree-infested sameness”! Looks like an interesting trip to me.

    The inexplicable figures resemble Hummel figurines, but those date from the 1930s. And none of them were shirtless. 😀 I haven’t a clue. Maybe the proprietor is just into painting large plaster statues.

    When I look back at my son’s teen years, I’m grateful the electronic revolution had evolved only as far as the WalkMan and video games you had to play on the television. When his high school friends were using cell phones, and he begged for one, the reality was that he could have one only if he could pay for it himself.

    I wonder if your son would engage more if he were the one responsible for finding info about your destinations online, maybe both before the trip starts and on the road.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my son was engaged in our destination, at least, in as far as he reached as high as he could on the map of Michigan at a rest stop along the highway to pick our next ‘road trip’ destination. His finger landed on “Frankfort”. Good thing he isn’t taller than me yet. My son is autistic, so interactions are always on his terms, but sometimes, we do find a way to meet in shared moments. You are right, though, that technology is a brain trap.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, You seem to be doing a marvelous job with your son and the challenges, despite the brain trap. 🙂 (When he’s taller than you, you can always say he has to stand straight and point south. lol)

    Liked by 1 person

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