A Frozen Forest

Guest blogger Joshua Nowicki, a Saint Joseph local, shows us how beautiful a Pure Michigan winter can be.

I have fallen in love with living in Saint Joseph along the sunset coast of Lake Michigan.  Every season, every day, and every hour looks different, is absolutely beautiful and is truly inspiring.  The winter is especially amazing; snow and ice make the lakeshore sparkle in the day light; and when the moon is full, it appears to glow at night.

Last year, though very little ice accumulated on the lake, the spray from the waves coated the rocks, trees, and plants in layers of ice.  The first time I saw the frozen forest below the bluff, I was awestruck by the shimmering beauty of it.  It was as if every branch, bush, and blade of grass had been individually dipped in water and frozen like layers of wax on a handmade candle.  Trees were transformed into fascinating sculptures and individual branches into unique works of art. 

The photos shown here were taken last winter.  Both the gorgeous sunny days and pounding winter storms provided stunning examples of the wondrous power and beauty of nature.

From the North Pier to the sculptures on Silver Beach to the breakwalls south of the city, it is simply an amazing experience to get out during the winter to enjoy the snow and ice along the lake.

Of course, after a walk along the lake in the cold and wind, there is nothing as refreshing as a cup of hot coffee and a pastry from one of the local bakeries or cafes.  Caffe Tosi (Saint Joseph), Bit of Swiss (Stevensville), and the Phoenix (Benton Harbor) are a few of my favorites. 

If you are in southwest Michigan on February 8, 2013, be sure to visit the Magical Ice Carving Festival in downtown Saint Joseph.  It’s a great opportunity to watch professional ice sculptors turn blocks of ice into beautiful and fantastical creations.

A word of caution: Walking along the lake in the winter is very cold and can be wet and extremely slippery. It is never safe to walk out onto the ice on Lake Michigan. But when viewed from a safe vantage point, it is a breathtaking experience! Please take caution in your explorations!

For more information about Saint Joseph and southwestern Michigan, visit St. Joseph Today www.stjoetoday.com and the Southwestern Michigan Tourist Council www.swmichigan.org.

Joshua Nowicki is a freelance photographer and graphic designer in Saint Joseph, Michigan and is a member of the board of directors of the Michigan Museums Association where he serves as the Vice President for Marketing.  Joshua’s interest in photography began while working for the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, photographing artifacts, exhibits, and events.  After moving to St. Joseph, Michigan in 2011, he started taking nature photographs to encourage his friends and relatives to visit and enjoy the beauty and serenity of the area.  Joshua’s inspirations range from Lake Michigan and wildlife to sculpture and architecture. You can see more of Joshua's photos at http://www.facebook.com/startvisiting.