Third Annual Girls Beach Retreat – September 18 to 20, 2017

MONDAY: September 18, 2017
Three cars separately set out for a meet-up in Porter, IN. Cathy Full starts out from St. Charles to pick up Patti in Geneva at the eye-blink of dawn, they both drive to Lynn’s in Downer’s Grove.  There they all pile in Lynn’s chariot and start out for the “dive in Porter”. Mary Smith starts out from Monee to pick up Sue in Oak Forest by 9. From there they pick up the 57 freeway (I know that’s an out west term, but 30 years out there and I forgot what the FREE way is called in the Midwest) then lose the 94 freeway and have to circle back to find it again. Joan Goliak starts out from Evergreen Park – probably early because she beat Mary and Sue to Leroy’s “Hot Stuff” Mexican restaurant on Route 20 in Porter, IN. Liz was already in Michigan City and missed a rare opportunity to hear all about our waitress’ torn rotator cuff and other ailments. The waitress was actually very nice, and kept apologizing for having to carry out the food for a 6-top two plates at a time. After Sue and Patti started on their margaritas “made with love” (read: extra little bit of tequila), they forgot what food was ordered let alone how long it took to get to the table. Making it easy for the cook, five of the six ordered the enormous breakfast with eggs, meat, bread and potatoes. Sue, always the odd-one out, had biscuits and gravy spiked with a side of chorizo. Good thing neither Sue nor Patti were drivers.

After breakfast we all followed Joan to Liz’s cottage in Michigan City by about 11:30. While Joan drove on to her house in Grand Beach, MI, the rest of us lazed around at Liz’s just yakking, sipping wine and enjoying the beautiful day. Liz prepared her wonderful pasta with sausage, fresh basil and cherry tomatoes along with crusty bread for dinner. Liz’s sister Jane joined us for dinner and into the evening with more talk and more wine. You really have to be there to appreciate the hilarious tellings of the Butler family, Riordan family and Corley family hijinks. At one point Sue opined that her family just wasn’t funny and she felt a lack in her childhood at not having laugh-out-loud stories to tell. She got them all back, however, when at one point Liz introduced a deck of cards with questions on them that she said she had played on another retreat she attended with her nursing school cohorts. Sounded good to everyone, so Liz began the first question: “What is the most spiritual experience you have had?” Everyone was thinking, and Sue decided to start: “Coming back from the dead” was the most spiritual thing she had experienced, she said. Everyone else just threw up their hands laughing and said “ok, who can top that”.  That was the end of the game.

TUESDAY: September 19, 2017
We were supposed to all meet at Joan’s in Grand Beach before working our way to Journeyman Distillery and other parts of the area. Confusion ensued as to whether we were to meet at 10 AM Indiana time or Michigan time. (This one gets us every time). Joan and Liz made a definitive decision that all times for activities would be on Indiana time. (WHEW!). Since we at Liz’s (Liz, Mary and Sue) were running a little late and we had invited Jane to join us again, we arranged to just meet at the distillery/restaurant. What a great place! Journeyman distills their own whiskey, bourbon, vodka, gin, and more on-site. The restaurant overlooks the distillery and with 3 flights of booze (5 1-oz. samples each) to choose from, we were in booze heaven. Lynn and Sue shared two for a great assortment, Liz, Patti, Cathy and Joan each had one. Mary and Jane were good girls.


Following lunch we drove over to Sawyer Home and Garden Center which was such a hit last year. Everyone bought produce, Lynn found a floppy straw hat – just the thing for the rest of the afternoon.  Heady from apple and berry perfume in the produce market, we tried a couple of other stores that proved to be closed on Tuesdays. Eventually we caravanned back to Joan’s for naps and snacks before dinner.

A couple of days before, Joan’s husband had made a perfect prime rib on the grill for us which Joan brought accompanied by monstrous tomatoes, lettuce and mini-buns. We ate out on the deck overlooking the bird feeders. PERFECT! – until the mosquitoes started in.


WEDNESDAY: September 20, 2017
The hot, sticky day started with brunch at Jane’s cozy year-round home in Michigan City just a few blocks from Liz. Jane provided a lovely quiche, fruit, Irish soda bread, and Mimosa repast with lively conversation and house tours. All full, we went wine buying at Aldi’s and antiqueing in downtown Michigan City. A stop at Hoity Toity again same as last year and a stop at an Irish jewelry shop were about all we could do with the heat and humidity. Damn old age! After that it was gas up and go.

We all decided though that these experiences were worth doing twice a year. We will be planning on both a Spring trip and a Fall trip in 2018. Big thank yous to Liz, Joan and Jane for their tireless hospitality, and thanks to all who came and made the days so worthwhile. Now, even though both Patti and Sue were distracted by fun or heat on the last day, and both forgot to take pictures, there are many of Monday and Tuesday for your enjoyment. Remember to click the little four-arrow box in the bottom right corner to view full-size.

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