Lessons Learned and Learning


I’ve learned so much over the last…how many days?? You too? I’ve colored and cut my own hair, I’ve baked bread from scratch, and I’ve mastered Zoom. And I’ve learned to appreciate a quieter time and to allow my mind to think through complicated issues and find creative solutions to problems that have been vexing me for ages. COVID-19 and its impacts are complicated, tragic, and downright scary. But when I look for a silver lining, it’s there.

We’re accustomed to small-town living here. It’s quiet, charming, peaceful and safe. I love living life in this place, and I love that we get to share the best of our community with our vacationing friends because they make our already fabulous small towns even better!

I’ve been thinking a lot about what our summer and fall will look like when we all start to venture out of our homes and start to find our new normal… Before our world flipped upside down, most of our conversations included the phrase “...so busy…”. Even here in our quaint little place, the culture of super busy had become the norm and too often meant not taking the time for the really important things. 

I miss my family and friends so much, and I find myself more appreciative and grateful for them in their absence. COVID Quarantine has taught me that when this is over, I don’t ever want to be too busy to visit Mom or take that vacation or just stop and smell the roses.  

South Haven Michigan Vacation Shores Vacation Rentals Bayberry Cottage

But I wonder, how will we remember this when we eventually work our way back to “normal”? When all of the signposts remind us to keep pushing ourselves, but none remind us to slow down and take time to recharge…

I ran across this as I was reading, and it struck me as important:

Habits of mind and lifestyle do not change easily. Without noticing, we slowly slip into the routines of our lives, like becoming so accustomed to living on a noisy street that we cannot remember our previous neighborhood and a time of silence. Some powerful force must strike to awaken us from our slumber. Now we have been struck. We have a chance to notice: We have been living too fast.

(Read the whole, fantastic article here.)

As some of you know, my companies like many of our local businesses, depend on our Summer Visitors: second homeowners, vacation rentals and day trippers!  Sometimes writing and posting about designing Beach Cottages and Vacation Rentals can feel a little frivolous. But that’s just not true.  

What we offer to our clients, customers and guests is the opportunity to purposefully take the time to slow down and to stay thoroughly and happily connected to our family and our friends. Of course we all have responsibilities and we’ve got to put food on the table.   But what is most important is a connection to our people,  our health and our emotional well being.   And aren’t we blessed that here, in our charming small town that we find a fun, and safe environment, perfectly suited to both activity and reflection? 

A leisurely cup of coffee from Cafe Julia’s and an adventure packed story from Black River Books, an hour spent walking along the lakeshore scanning the sand for beach glass or stones, a watersport rental to get our heart rates and adrenaline up, and restful nights listening to the waves through open windows as we drift off - these (and countless others) are the things we appreciate here. The things that remind us to balance the crazy busy with time for ourselves and the people most important to us.  I hope that in the end, we can all reprioritize a bit and put our relationships and our own mental health first.

My teams at Bayberry Cottage and Shores Vacation Rentals have worked hard for many years (40+ combined) to provide pretty and restful 2nd homes for our design clients, a fun shopping diversion for our customers, and wonderful vacation rentals for our guests.  Honestly, now that I’ve had some time to contemplate the importance of time just like this, I’ve realized the real value of our work.

South Haven Michigan Vacation Shores Vacation Rentals Bayberry Cottage

As we work toward opening up for our season, we’re looking at a number of changes at Bayberry Cottage and Shores Vacation Rentals aimed at providing services, products, and spaces that support you, inspire you, and offer great escapes for you and the most important people in your life...and we’ve learned, there’s nothing more important than that...right?

Thank you for your support, during this difficult time and always. We appreciate you and we’ll do our very best to continue to provide you with unencumbered time to recharge and refresh. We are counting the days to when we’ll finally get to see you!


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