Back in 2008 Miss Sadie and the Cowboy started a lucrative tourist-season enterprise. They offered tour guide services, referrals to their favorite secret places to find the True Up North Experience, and tourist picture-taking. (That last was difficult, as they lack opposable thumbs, but they secured the services of an assistant at a very reasonable price.)
The season is upon us once more, and like all the other businesses that cater to the tourist trade, Miss Sadie and the Cowboy are fluffing up, laying in supplies, and looking forward to seeing old friends. Here they are inspecting a Classic Up North Tourist Picture Taking Location in Elk Rapids to make sure that everything is ready for Show Time.
Those of you from Around Here will recognize that particular landmark. The Swan resides at Rotary Park. Look for it on the bank of the Elk River as you come into town on US-31, right next to the Chamber of Commerce A-frame. If you are a Tourist Person—or even if you are not—this would be an excellent place for you to stop for a little rest.
During the day you can go into the A-frame for clean restrooms and a plentiful supply of valuable Tourist Information. There are nice resting benches outside, along with picnic tables and grills personally inspected by Miss Sadie and the Cowboy, who are very particular when it comes to dining facilities.
The Rotary Park pavilion, where The Public Is Welcome, is a dandy facility for families and social groups.
There is plenty of parking, a bike rack, and a nice little dock on the river side, where you could moor a kayak or canoe if you are out and about on the water. Or you could just sit out there and fish. Or just sit.
Two grills, a woodburning fireplace, enough tables for a crowd and a gated railing to corral toddlers and spaniels round out the amenities. (OK, the railing will keep them corraled long enough for you to have a little breather and then the toddlers will figure out how the latch works and make good their escape, followed by the miscreant spaniels. You are parents. You know how toddlers operate. We won’t even discuss spaniels.)
Spend some quality time watching the river flow by. Listen to the redwing blackbirds and gulls and ducks. Watch the mute swans browse the weeds for their supper. (The Cowboy wishes to emphasize that the swans are decorative but wild. It is prudent to keep a respectful distance.)
On Friday mornings from the end of May until mid-October the Elk Rapids Farmers Market fills the park with fresh and delicious local foods and flowers. That is another very good reason to stop here. I don’t see how you can go wrong.
See a sample Tour Guide at The nooks, the crannies, the incredibly perfect ways to spend part of your vacation in Torch Lake Township. Watch this space for the 2012 version, Miss Sadie and the Cowboy Recommend: Adventures in Antrim County.