Monday, July 5, 2010

24 Hours on The Island

I almost don't even want to write about our fourth of July weekend at Kelleys Island, because I feel like my words won't do it justice. It was a beautiful weekend; the perfect getaway that I think we needed.

Kelleys Island is a little island (um...obviously) in Lake Erie. I have visited it a number of times with my family or friends. We have pictures of me toddling around there in my little pink bathing suit and strawberry blond curls when I was just a couple years old. We didn't go there every year, but I've been there enough times that it has become a special place for me.

At the last minute on Friday, Luke and I decided to go there for the fourth of July to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousins. Last-minute trips are my favorite kind :-) We excitedly spent Saturday night packing and preparing instead of going to see fireworks at the park like we had planned. And the minute church let out on Sunday morning we were off on our three-hour drive to the ferry. We had fun on the ride listening to the comedy channel on Luke's iphone radio, and reading the book I had purchased specifically for our getaway, "Eat Pray Love."

Once on the ferry, we jumped out of the car to enjoy the breeze. As we got close to the island, I got increasingly more excited as memories kept filling my head.We went straight to the campground when we arrived on the island and set up camp. Of course it happened to be the hottest day of the year so far, pushing 95 degrees with lots of humidity. We headed down to the beach to cool off a little after putting the tent up.
Our men...Jared, Luke and Doug

And my cousins Rachel and Sarah...they are the ones who both have a bun in the oven! ;-)

After our trip to the beach, we had a great evening lined up! First was our delicious dinner. We all couldn't move after we ate. I don't know why, but food tastes so much better when you're camping!

After we stuffed ourselves silly on ribs at dinner, it only made sense to head into the little downtown area of the island for ice cream! I wish I had gotten some good pictures of this area. It's so quaint and adorable with it's few restaurants, souvenir shops, and a putt putt course. My favorite is the fudge shop, which I unfortunately didn't have time to visit this trip. There's always next time! Anyway, our ice cream was delicious, and I had fun eating it outside on the picnic tables in front of the restaurants.

After dinner, we all sat in the back of my uncle's truck (totally legal there) and took a long drive around the island. Here we all are with the wind blowing through our hair:
We saw some beautiful scenery during our drive, including the lake, some deer, the quarry, the sun setting, and some adorable/beautiful houses. I love houses, so I snapped pictures of some cute ones
Here are a couple more images from our drive. The second one, in person, took my breath away. The picture does not do it justice.
Our final destination of the evening was the old ferry dock. It was a pretty secluded area, and it felt like we were on the tip of the island. There we spread out a blanket and set up some chairs so we could watch fireworks. First we contemplated going on the old ferry to watch them...
But decided that would probably be considered trespassing, so we better not! ;-)

Once we got settled in our seats, we realized we had a looong wait before the fireworks would start. Luckily, there was another show going on for us to watch until it was time...
The fireworks had nothing on this majestic display!

However, once it got dark, the fireworks weren't bad either. Any direction we looked, we could see fireworks going on for about 45 minutes. We must have been watching 5 or 6 shows at once! And while they were far away and a little small, it was so much fun! Cedar Point's were probably the best of the bunch. We passed around a pair of binoculars during the show so it would feel like we were a little closer ;-)

I thought we would call it a night after the fireworks, but the best was yet to come. We got "home" to the campsite, and sat around the fire. We all tilted our heads back and looked up at the sky. I kid you not, we probably saw 4 shooting stars while we were sitting there, in the span of just a few moments. Even though it was close to midnight, we decided to walk out on the pier to get a better look. We got there and sat on the rocks beside the pier and looked up. I have never seen so many stars in the sky before. It was so clear, and they were so visible! Breathtaking is not a strong enough word. After a few moments, we all just laid down on our backs on the warm cement and looked straight up. I looked up and could see nothing but stars as far as I looked. I have never in my life felt so small. I felt so close to the creator in that moment. I don't know how you could see what we saw, and not believe. I can't believe the creator of all those stars and galaxies created me too. I wish I could put into words how it made me feel...anyway, that was the highlight of the trip for me!

It was hard to walk away, but sometime between 12:30 and 1, we walked back to our tent. So past my bedtime...I felt like such a rebel! ;-) Although it was still over 80 degrees, I promptly fell asleep, and slept like the dead until 9:00 this morning!

Today we spent most of the day at the beach. There are two different beaches, and we went to the one that's a little less crowded where all the boats come in. We swam, we went out in the boat, got way too sunburned, and enjoyed the scenery...
My favorite part of the day is when I was sitting in a beach chair with the sun shining down on me, waist-deep in the water, devouring my book while little waves came in every few seconds to splash me. I realized I was totally relaxed. I have not felt so relaxed in such a long time. My worries were a distant memory, and all felt right with the world. I already want to return to that moment!

All too soon it was time to leave, and I realized that I think we only spent about 24 hours there, total. But it was the best 24 hours I've had in awhile, and maybe the best 4th of July ever. I had forgotten how much I love Kelleys Island. I really can't even explain why, except that it feels really nice getting away from everything, it's beautiful, and I feel close to God there. I may have been just a few short hours from home, but I might as well have been halfway across the world, because I felt so free and detached from the real world.

I hope to go back soon! I even suggested we go back for our anniversary next weekend...but it is super expensive to visit, mostly because of the ferry ride. Anyway, I hope that when we have kids, we can visit often. I can see it becoming our special little place in the world :-)

I hope your holiday weekend was as blessed as mine was!


  1. That place sounds enchanting, Jessica! That would be neat if it could become your family's special place!

  2. Glad to hear you had such a good weekend, Jess!! I have heard a lot of positive remarks about Kelleys Island but never really cared to I really want to!!

  3. This post got me choked up... Kelley's is my favorite place in the world. I've been thinking about taking a day-trip there by myself... and your post reminded me of all the things I love about the island. :-)

  4. Looks like a wonderful time! I'm glad you had such a relaxing 4th!

  5. Sarah: you should totally go sometime! I hope I didn't build it up too much, but my experiences there have been unbelievable.

    Laura: I think it would be amazing to take a solo trip there sometime too. It's the kind of place where you don't mind just being by yourself.

  6. I love that peaceful feeling of reading on the beach when you're totally relaxed! Glad you got a chance to enjoy it this weekend!


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