What makes someone want to live on an island?
Loreen Niewenhuis pondered this question in her book, A 1,000 Mile Great Lakes Island Adventure, which recounts her journey traveling to many of the islands in each of the Great Lakes. This is the third in her Great Lakes Adventure series and the last time she spoke with us she had just completed hiking the shorelines of all five Great Lakes.
Before planning for her trip, Niewenhuis says she didn't know just how many islands existed in the Great Lakes.
Soon she learned there are "thousands, tens of thousands, of islands and I had no idea before I started researching."
The trip also included many historic landmarks along the way. Niewenhuis was able to take part in the Bicentennial reenactment of the Battle for Lake Eerie that included 15 tall ships replicating the maneuvers of the battle. In the reenactment, she helped to hoist the sails and while she says they weren't allowed to fire the small canons they yelled as a replacement for the noise that would have been emitted.
Isle Royale in Lake Superior was another notable stop. Niewenhuis was able to volunteer with the island's long running predator and prey study.
The trip ended on Mackinac Island where Niewenhuis was able to experience the closing of the Grand Hotel. She describes it as a celebration of the end of another season, and it was Niewenhuis' first time staying at the hotel. The ceremony included a parade of the rocking chairs and planters being brought in from the hotel's large front porch.
The book is a personal journey of discovery, history and an exploration into what makes islands so special.
Niewenhuis says she understands the appeal, "There's something about having a watery edge and being able to see the weather coming and being separate, having your own time on that island. There is a very special person who is drawn to that."