Riding to the Albany Restaurant - Blessings on Mom's Day
Written by Denise Conroy
We live a very remote area in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where life is simple and good. One of the highlights of my week is when Tom and I go out to eat at a small country restaurant, The Albany. Over the years, we have become good friends with the owners, Karen & Ralph. Ralph owns big Draft pulling horses and Karen grew up riding saddle horses but only recently purchased a horse of her own after many years without one. Their barn is right out back behind the restaurant.
Often I will haul Reese over to ride with Karen and we have a great time. She knows so many trails and we ride along the dunes and swim in the lake. It's so much fun.
Well, for the past year or two, I have talked about what a GREAT ride it would be if we could ride our horses TO the Albany for dinner. By car it is only 7 miles - BUT finding a trail to take us there wouldn't be an easy task.
This week when Tracy asked me what I would like to do for Mother's Day, all I could think about was what fun that sort of trip would be -- I would be riding with my family (with the exception of my son, Andy - HI Andy! We missed you but you were with us in spirit!!) PLUS getting to enjoy a nice burger at my favorite restaurant. ;-)
I have a great husband and he called Ralph's son, Adam who knows the trails like the back of his hand. Adam would have to show Tom exactly where to go on foot first -- which took alot of walking and wrapping branches with survey tape, so we wouldn't get lost. Tom did an awesome job and was a great guide.
I was up bright and early (today) - Mother's day, eager to go! We tacked up the horses and headed out at 9:15 a.m. -- I was totally geeked! The weather was absolutely prefect and horses were well fed and rested...and ready.
Tracy even took over the picture taking so I could get in a few photos. ;-))
Tom had to take a few breaks (LOL) but not for long. ;-)
We went thru this gorgeous Hemlock area -- and the terrain changed constantly.
Tom took a couple wrong turns but he did very well considering he had only been thru there a few times. We crossed a nice little creek and the horse's really appreciated that....they all drank well. It was 1:15 - exactly 4 hours later that we arrived at the Albany Restaurant. What a great, great ride!!!
Ralph graciously invited us to keep our horses in his barn while we ate lunch. And filled the troughs full of hay. They were all in heaven! The only thing Reese wasn't sure of, was these HUGE horses standing next to him!! It was a hoot! We loosen the horse's girths and removed their bits - and tied them up. Reese has never felt a butt strap before, so he sort kept backing up to it and then walking forward. It was funny. Ralph has water mixed with electrolytes and we offered that to the horses as well. Reese drank like a fish....Zig and Chy were still taking in all the newness and happy with their hay for now. ;-) One thing I have to say about my horse is that he will eat and drink ANYWHERE. It is so comforting to know that.
(photo below of Reese with his new buddy -- who kept stealing his hay! lol) Reese figured he better not argue with him. ;-)
The Restaurant was quiet and wonderful. This is Tracy and me --- Tom is taking the pics. Thanks Tom!!
We had planned on taking pics of us on our horses in front of the restaurant, but completely forgot and they were already loaded in the trailer!! ugh. So this is the best I could do. ;-) So basically, we rode 4 hours to the restaurant and then hauled the horses home from there. We felt an 8 hour ride would be too hard on them....and probably too had on us! LoL.
I feel so blessed to have such joy in my life and a wonderful family who loves me so much that they would go out of their way to make my dream come true. This is a day that I won't ever forget!
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!