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Around the Lake

Around the Lake October 4-10, 2011

Journal kept by Susan Hanes during a week long trip around Lake Michigan, from October 4-10, 2011. Photos by Susan Hanes and George Leonard, copyright 2011.

Around the Lake

Around the Lake October 4-10, 2011


a weeklong trip around Lake Michigan, we encountered much that we had not planned, and we missed things that we would have liked to see. Although we had not intended to take a fall foliage tour, the coincidence of our timing and the perfect weather we enjoyed resulted in our being in northern Michigan during the height of the fall color. We would have liked to have visited the parts of northern Michigan where people have ow n ed p ri va te h omes for generations; along the spring-fed, deep water, sandy bottom smaller lakes where historically, families h a ve s p e n t s u mme r s w h i l e husbands commuted from Detroit or Chicago on weekends. Over the years, residents have tenaciously resisted any attempt to develop tourist facilities in these beautiful, unspoiled areas. But by choosing side roads and byways, we were able to get a sense of the lives of those resident families and enjoy the beauty and variety of our own Lake Michigan.

Around Lake Michigan October 4-10, 2011


Tuesday, October 4

Saugatuck, MI

Got away at 9:00 and sailed through Chicago morning tra!c and over the Skyway to the Indiana Tollway; a crisp and cloudless fall morning for our road trip around Lake Michigan. It was Jake’s intent to show me more of the Midwest, where I have lived longer than anywhere else. Crossing into Michigan, stopped at the welcome station and read that it was the site of the first travel information center in the U.S., opened in 1935. Exited I-94 at New Bu"alo and followed the shaded local road, passing modest cottages and preposterous mansions; numerous For Sale signs on both indicated hard times and poor choices. Jake pointed out the Lakeside Inn, a getaway for the Chicago elite since 1915; the city’s orchestra used to come and play there. Noticed the first colors of fall as we drove along the Red Arrow Highway, passing Union Pier, Lakeside, and Herbert; the antique malls and produce stands that dotted the way were mostly closed, either for the season or permanently. Stopped for sandwiches on homemade bread at the Broad Street Café in St. Joseph; it had once been the local fire station. Wisps of fog masked the sky in places, showing us that the lake was not quite ready to give up its summer temperatures. Joined the Blue Star Highway to South Haven. Stopped to watch a lone sailboat glide out to the red lighthouse at the end of the pier; saw that boats in the harbor were starting to be hoisted out of the water for the winter. Could not leave South Haven without a visit to Sherman Dairy Bar for some of the best ice cream around. Jake earned a coveted Sherman Pig Badge after eating an entire “Pig’s Dinner,” consisting of sliced bananas, four double-scoops of ice cream, four toppings, whipped cream, and cherries, served in its own trough. (Needless to say, we skipped dinner later.) Reached Douglas on M-2 at 4:15 and drove briefly through this attractive little town before continuing up the road a couple of miles to Saugatuck. Checked out a couple of hotels before deciding on the Bayside Inn, where we negotiated a good o"season rate for a large room with a deck on the Kalamazoo River. Actually, the bedroom and bath were miniscule but there was enough room in the main area for a large party. Walked around the pleasant town as the sun was slipping low, looking into shop windows advertising end of season sales on clothing, crafts, and art. Returned to our room for wine on the deck; watched as boats eased up and down the river; saw a fish jump completely out of the water, sounding like a fat man doing a belly flop. After sunset, the temperature dropped quickly and chased us in for the night. We agreed that it had been a lovely, peaceful day, quite unlike our usual adventures. 191 Miles 2






Wednesday, October 5 Glen Arbor, MI Nice breakfast at the inn’s communal table: frittata and breads with Michigan tart cherry jam. Out on the deck, watched a pair of ducks floating across the still water, their intersecting wakes following them. On the road at 9:00; the car thermometer registered 49 degrees. Stopped for gas before driving to Holland, a town of 35,000 founded in 1847 by Dutch Calvinists. It is home to Hope College and 170 churches. Drove through the campus of the college and stopped by the nearby park to pay respects to a statue of city founder Albertus van Raalte. Saw that Wednesday is market day and wandered along the stalls of apples, pumpkins, and mums. Bought cider and apples for the road. A trio of young musicians had set up in the center of the market place and entertained a group of delighted preschoolers. Back on the road, noticed more leaf turning as we drove toward Grand Haven. Brief stop in Muskegan; I was fortunate to spot a small sign for Hackley Public Library where Karachi friend Susie Gloriod Kroes heads the Technical Services Department. Paused just long enough to give her a hug and snap a photo, as we had just seen each other at the Portland KAS reunion. Continued on M-31 to Ludington, another harbor town on Lake Michigan with a broad main street and imposing brick courthouse. Drove around the harbor and stopped to photograph the white lighthouse at the end of a long pier. The road narrowed to two lanes as we proceeded past acres of Christmas trees and old barns framed by cornfields, through Manistee, Onekama, Bear Lake, and Beulah, located on the southeast corner of Crystal Lake. The trees seemed to become more vibrant with each mile. Continued along the north shore of Crystal Lake on M-704. Jake pointed out that most of the docks had been brought in for the winter. He pulled in to Crystal Downs, a classic links golf course lined with large Cape Cod houses overlooking Lake Michigan. It was nearing 3:00 as we followed M-22 toward Empire on the Leelanau Peninsula. By this time we had decided that the fall colors were really perfect, with just a little green setting o! deep crimson and gold. Visited Sleeping Bear National Seashore on the northwest coast of the peninsula, named earlier this year by ABC's Good Morning America as the "Most Beautiful Place in America". I don’t know about that, but the massive dune was remarkable. Followed the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, which allowed us to see the dune from above and below. Visited Glen Haven Coast Guard Station, first established by the Life Saving Service in 1871. On to Glen Arbor by 5:00, securing a room at the cozy Sylvan Inn B&B before setting out again for Jake to show me glimpses of his past: Old Settler’s Park overlook, where he almost drove his car over the cli! (and ended the evening’s possibilities with his date), the bridge separating Big and Little Glen Lake, and homes of old friends. He called Don Matschke on a whim; by chance he was home and we joined him for drinks at his place before going to dinner at the Western Avenue Grill, better known to the locals as the WAG. 249 Miles 10








Thursday, October 6

Petoskey, MI

A night of utter frustration as my computer crashed and I lost yesterday’s writing. Being a journaler herself, Rose Gladfelter, the innkeeper, was sympathetic. Breakfast in the parlor and on the road at 9:30, continuing along M-22 up the Leelanau. It was another perfect fall day. Drove through the Homestead, a resort and condo complex set in rolling forested hills. Two miles south of Leland, passed a sign that indicated we were at the 45th parallel, halfway between the North Pole and the Equator. In Leland, visited Historic Fishtown on the Carp River that connects Lake Leelanau to Lake Michigan. A 140-year-old fishing village, Fishtown is a collection of shanties that house a variety of shops, including Carlson’s Fish. Talked with a young man who makes terra cotta tiles; he gave up a basketball career to follow his potter father. Staying on M-22, noticed numerous vineyards and tasting rooms; the peninsula has a micro-climate conducive to growing wine grapes. At the Grand Traverse Lighthouse, slipped through the diminutive keeper’s house ahead of 72 third graders. I climbed the narrow steps to the light tower. (I am not sure I could have managed it had I, too, had the Pig’s Dinner at Sherman’s.) Looked at local art at the Tamarak Gallery in Sutton’s Bay and poked around a couple of nearby crafts shops. Following the Tart Trail (M-633), visited two wineries, L. Mawby for sparkling wines, and Willow, a beautiful vineyard on a hill operated by Jo and John Champton, where we bought bottles of Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. Did a little cheese tasting at Black Star Farms and came away with some aged Raclette. Continued on M-22 down to Traverse City where we picked up M-37 north along the western coast of the smaller Mission Peninsula. Fearing we would run out of gas, stopped to ask for the nearest pump at Old Mission General Store, where Gus, the proprietor, wore a bowler hat and boomed out a greeting like the retired actor he is. The place is filled to the rafters with everything imaginable; wished I’d had time to poke around. Gus sent us five miles back down the road and fortunately we made it. Retraced our way to the lighthouse at the end of the peninsula with views of the lake. Backtracked to Traverse City and up through Charlevoix to Petoskey; amazed at the amount of new development between them. Booked a room at the 1899 Historic Perry Hotel where we chose a view over the parking lot for a savings of $100. Made an easy dinner decision by eating in Noggin’s Pub in the hotel’s lower level; overcooked pork and sauerkraut made a hearty meal, somewhat mitigated by frosty glasses of local beer. 200 Miles 23











Friday, October 7

St. Ignace, MI

Our arrangement at the Perry included an elaborate breakfast in the Rose Room, with a view overlooking Little Traverse Bay. Day Four of perfect weather. Window-shopped in downtown Petoskey, getting the feel of this town of 6500. Packed up and drove around the bay to Bailey’s, an unpretentious shop with a huge selection of Petoskey stones, the unique fossilized coral remnants that date from 350 million years ago. Bought several for grandchildren and a silver necklace piece for myself. Ten miles brought us to Harbor Springs, another coastal town with a New England feel. Nice shops and pretty houses, many dating from the 1860s. Jake pointed out the elite Wequetonsing Golf Club that opened in 1895, and the guarded community where people used to come on their private rail cars in the late nineteenth century. Backtracked to Boyne Highlands to see the ski resort that o!ers summer amenities such as horseback riding and golf. Turned o! on M-119, known as the Tunnel of Trees: 20 miles of narrow, winding coastal road under a surrounding canopy of fall color. The area was once filled with Native spirits and perhaps it still is. Continued to Mackinaw City, a tourist center lined with fudge shops interspersed by places selling ta!y, popcorn, and pizza. No wonder Americans are fat. Entered Mackinaw Park for a view of the bridge and took a photo of the lighthouse there. Crossed over the 5-mile Mackinaw Bridge to St. Ignace on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. After securing a room at a Holiday Inn Express, stopped at Manley’s, a colorful little shack selling smoked fish and jerky displayed in a dingy case. Discussed options with two bikers who had come in with us; learned from Manley that there was no trout available as his supplier was on his usual bender and would not be in before next week. We settled on a crock of smoked fish pate. A local fellow, wearing full Michigan regalia, was sitting at a table to the side and peppered Jake with unanswerable questions such as, “What is the di!erence between Chicago and Chicago, Illinois?” After waiting for a punch line that was not forthcoming, we gathered our pate and departed. At St. Ignace Grill, sat at the bar for happy hour-priced wine, and eventually moved to the deck for a fish dinner with views of a rosy sky over the lighthouse. I will admit to falling prey to the power of suggestion and persuaded Jake to take me to Murdick’s Fudge where I indulged in a half pound of chocolate, which I ate myself. Attempts by Jake to make me feel guilty were met with reminders of Sherman’s Pig’s Dinner. 97 Miles










Saturday, October 8

Sault Ste. Marie, MI

Joined the swarm at the breakfast bu!et in the lobby of the Holiday Inn. Were first to arrive at Arnold’s Dock where we bought tickets for the 9:30 ferry to Mackinac Island. Yet another gorgeous day; a slight breeze and a cloudless sky. The ride took less than 15 minutes and deposited us at Main Street, lined with even more fudge shops. I counted six di!erent names and most had several locations, even on the same block. But then, the island claims to be the fudge capital of the US; tourists are sometimes referred to as “fudgies.” Trekked up the hill to see Fort Mackinac, founded during the American Revolution and remaining active until 1895. A short film provided an introduction and context as we wandered through various buildings. Interpreters dressed in Prussian-inspired dress uniforms depicted U.S. Army soldiers. Continued along the upper road a half-mile to the Victorian Grand Hotel, gingerly stepping over copious amounts of horse manure, as carriages are the primary form of transportation on the island. As we stopped at the desk to pay our $10 entry fee as non-resident guests, discovered to my delight that this was the 21st annual Somewhere in Time weekend, when members of the International Network of Somewhere in Time Enthusiasts (INSITE) gather in period costume to socialize and live their own fantasies in the film’s setting. It was such a treat to see those beautifully dressed guests in the hotel’s magnificent setting. After my initial hesitation, I discovered that they were pleased to pose for photographs. There was a special shop set up for the weekend, and I bought a pair of period earrings from Jo Addie, the attractive and e!usive founder of INSITE. As I was making my purchase, she earnestly explained how being an extra in the movie had changed her life. Stopped for a glass of wine in the Geranium Bar while we watched the costumes parade into the main dining room. It was fun to see the juxtaposition of plumed hats and bustles with shorts and Hang Loose tee shirts; I almost forgot what century we were in. Caught the 2:00 ferry back to St. Ignace and took I-75 north to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan’s oldest city, arriving just in time to make the 3:30 Soo Locks Boat Tour. The Soo Locks have been referred to as one of the great wonders of the world and still comprise the largest waterway tra"c system on earth. Our two-hour excursion took us through the locks, as the water is raised twenty-one feet to the level of Lake Superior. We cruised under the International Bridge and railroad bridge and crossed into Canadian waters where we watched one of Canada's largest steel plants in operation, returning to the lower harbor of the St. Mary’s through the newly restored Canadian lock. After three boat rides and lots of sightseeing, we were happy with Applebee’s for dinner and a night at the Comfort Inn next door. 59 Miles 54













Sunday, October 9

Fish Creek, WI

Another bu!et crush; a family group from India contributed to the confusion. I really detest these supposedly good deals; too many people, too much starch, too much chaos before my Styrofoam cup of co!ee. By 9:30 we had checked out and were driving through the Hiawatha National Forest on road that was totally flat, straight, and devoid of other vehicles. Not particularly interesting scenery: scru!y trees—mainly young conifers—with little color. Saw signs for deer bait, “cheap ciggs,” and “Carin’s Zoo & Gifts,” and passed numerous closed-down motels, some of which had been converted to storage sheds and others simply left to rot away. As we neared Munising, started to see a roll to the countryside and more color to the trees. Passed hunters by the side of the road and a truck hauling a trophy deer. Took a picture of the sign as we entered the town of Christmas, commenting that its post o"ce is probably one of the busiest in the U.P. Pulled o! at a sign announcing “Muldoon’s Pasties #1 in the U.P.” and got in a long line to buy one beef and one veggie at $5.50 each. Apparently, this is what one does on Sundays up there. Smiled at the array of “Yooper” paraphernalia for sale: a Yooper Dictionary, an assortment of hats and tee shirts, and refrigerator magnets with such phrases as, “Da U.P, Da Best Place on Earth” and “Say Ya to Da U.P. … Eh?” Stopped at a roadside table and ate our rather doughy pasties as we gazed out over Lake Superior. Continued along the coast as far as Marquette, at 21,000 the largest city in the U.P. and the home of Northern Michigan University. The town has several impressive nineteenth century buildings and a mammoth pocket ore dock. I am not sure I would like to be there in the winter, as annually it averages over 140 inches of snow. Left Marquette and drove south on M-41 toward the Lake Michigan side of the U.P. Missed a turn but connected with M-35 farther south, driving through farming country. Crossed into Wisconsin at Menominee, MI and Marinette, WI. Road signs for snowmobiles reminded us again that this will be another world in a couple of months. Waded through road construction in Green Bay, but eventually found Lombardi Avenue and Lambeau Field, where I took a picture of the home of the Green Bay Packers. Continued around Green Bay and up the north coast of Door Peninsula, named for the number of shipwrecks that arrived at “Death’s Door.” Felt quite smug as we saw the long line of cars leaving Door County until we realized that it was Columbus Weekend and just as many had no intention of going home. When we got to Egg Harbor and discovered that the annual Pumpkin Patch festival was in full swing, wondered if we would be spending the night in the car. After mile after mile of NO VACANCY signs, stopped to ask at one place that sent us up the hill to another. Overpaid for a tiny room with no frills at the misnomered Apple Creek “Resort” outside of Fish Creek. Shared a surf & turf dinner at Summertime. The sweet strains of Nat King Cole that accompanied our meal were somewhat eclipsed by a woman at the bar in the other room who was making sounds like a wounded animal. In spite of the reminders provided by the numerous rotund diners who surrounded us, split a slice of homemade pie made with local cherries; our server insisted that Wisconsin is just as much of a cherry state as Michigan. 414 Miles 70




Monday, October 10

Chicago, IL

Early departure; it was a relief that our “resort” did not include breakfast. Drove north on the peninsula, passing Ephraim’s 1853 Moravian Village and stopping at Anderson’s Dock, named after Aslag Anderson who built a store and a dock there in 1858. An old warehouse at the dock has been pained red and “signed” by boaters with their boat’s name and the years they had docked there; it has now been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Good stu!. Crossed over to Bailey’s Creek and followed M-57 along the southern coast to Sturgeon Bay. Found this road to be more scenic, with forest colors and dairy farms, most of which were designated Land-O-Lakes suppliers. Had breakfast at the Cedar Crossing Inn in Sturgeon Bay. Great co!ee; the sticky buns were huge, insuring that we would not be stopping for lunch. Continued on M-52 to Manitowok, along fields of sunflowers and corn yet to be harvested. On I-43 at noon and then I-94 south from Milwaukee; back home by 3:00. Total driving: 1466 Miles




Journal kept by Susan Hanes during a week long trip around Lake Michigan, from October 4-10, 2011. Photos by Susan Hanes and George Leonard, copyright 2011.


2011 Lake Michigan  

A autumn drive around Lake Michigan