arts&life on the cover/travel
July 18 • 2019
sk Michiganders what they most frequently associate with a Michigan summer and likely the answer will be an Up North vacation. Ask a Jewish Detroiter and the answer could very well be time spent in Charlevoix. The number of Jewish visitors, especially those who own property in Charlevoix, is so significant that it’s nearly impossible to spend a summer weekend in this picturesque town without seeing a familiar face. And Charlevoix, unlike any other vacation destination in the state, is a getaway location that transcends the memories of generations of local families. Those who spent time there when they were young now bring their children and even grandchildren to this charming city known and loved for its pristine beaches, quaint downtown, memorable drawbridge and iconic red lighthouse. “This is where we always went on vacation to spend quality time together as a family,” recalled Glenn Wachler, originally from West Bloomfield but now a permanent Charlevoix resident. Wachler, 54, thinks back with fondness to his childhood, recalling time he spent with his family, particularly his dad. Together they would fish, search for Petoskey stones and watch the sun set over Lake Michigan. Wanting to create similar memories for his
children, he and his wife, Ellen, along with their three kids, spent many summers in Charlevoix and moved there 13 years ago. Despite what was once a seven-hour drive, Jewish families have been vacationing in Charlevoix for at least 100 years. In 1916, the year the Detroit Jewish Chronicle was founded, the paper’s community gossip page began mentioning it as a travel destination. Wachler’s father, Jeff, 91, started going to Charlevoix in 1932. Eventually, he purchased a condominium there. His father (Glenn’s grandfather) also owned property in this northern Michigan town. Glenn still finds it amusing that at one time his grandfather rented an apartment in Detroit but owned a home in Charlevoix. There was a period in the city’s history where openly anti-Semitic sentiments, such as deed restrictions in a few neighborhoods, were hard to ignore. However, Jews were not deterred from vacationing or owning homes in Charlevoix. Rick Berman, a Charlevoix aficionado, has a postcard from a now-defunct hotel that says: “Having a great time, beautiful hotel. They do not allow Jews or dogs.” It’s one of approximately 1,500 postcards in his collection from the city and surrounding areas. These days, blatant displays of discrimination are gone.
COURTESY HOOBERMAN FAMILY
JENNIFER LOVY CONTRIBUTING WRITER
COURTESY KROLL FAMILY
Up North getaway has attracted Detroiters for generations — here’s why.
TOP TO BOTTOM: Todd and Jennifer Kroll with their daughters, Marlee and Lilley, Charlevoix Apple Fest; Paul Hooberman with his granddaughters, 2010, Kilwin’s tour.