Thursday, September 24, 2015

Northern Michigan Once Again – Part 5

The Petoskey area was our base for the second part of our excursion.  The city of Petoskey sits on the southern shore of Little Traverse Bay, a large inlet of northern Lake Michigan.  It’s a good-sized town by northern Michigan standards, and has a thriving, picturesque downtown.  The Petoskey area grew large as a vacation destination at the turn of the 20th Century, attracting thousands of summer visitors to its clean air, rolling landscapes, cool waters, and Chautauqua-like summer encampments sponsored by religious groups. 

Downtown Petoskey, Michigan
The city is named after Chief Petosega, whose father was a French Canadian fur trader and whose mother was an Ottawa Indian.  Petoskey in turn gave its name to fragments of fossilized coral, common along the northeastern Lake Michigan shoreline, called Petoskey stones.  The city is the birth place of noted Civil War historian Bruce Catton, whose widely-celebrated books I read voraciously years ago (and have reread many times since) as they came out around the time of the one hundredth anniversary of that war.

Looking Northwest Across Little Traverse Bay, From Its Southern Shore,
With Open Lake Michigan to the Left.  A Solitary Gull Heads For Shore.
One day we cruised around the east end of Little Traverse Bay to its north shore and the city of Harbor Springs.  We were very pleasantly surprised by how attractive a place it is.  Smaller than Petoskey and Traverse City, at one time though it was a bustling place as the terminus of many Great Lakes steamship lines that brought visitors to the area from big lakeside cities further south.  

Downtown Harbor Springs, Michigan
Harbor Springs sits within a small bay formed by a long finger of land in the shape of a backward comma that juts out into the much larger Little Traverse Bay and that shelters what is said to be the deepest natural harbor on the Great Lakes.  Travelers would disembark at Harbor Springs and take local short-distance trains or smaller ships to nearby towns such as Bay View, Petoskey, Walloon Village, and Charlevoix.
View of Harbor Springs from a Pier in the Harbor 
A road leading north out of Harbor Springs runs along the Lake Michigan shoreline, offering beautiful views of the Lake and of Beaver Island, at times through woods so dense they form the well-known “Tunnel of Trees” over the narrow lane.  On a clear and warm sunny day, we cruised this road for some time to take it all in.     

The "Tunnel of Trees" North of Harbor Springs
R Balsamo

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